Introducing Brick Wall Queries


We’re excited to be introducing a new feature in our newsletters and on our website to help our members break down their brick wall problems! Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society is now offering a Queries feature to members (free) and non-members (fee-based).
• Do you need information on a brick wall ancestor? Perhaps another member can help.
• Perhaps you can help another member with their challenges. Do you have expertise in a particular area and can offer advice on where or what databases to search?
• Do you have the same surname in your family database?
• Do you subscribe to a paid website or resource and are willing to search for the info?
• Can you check for a record at your local library, historical society, town clerk’s office, take a cemetery picture, etc.?
Why are we introducing a Queries feature?
• To help our members solve their brick wall problems.
• To build a local genealogical community where members support each other.
• To provide a way for members to pay it forward or be a genealogical angel.
• Because many of our members share the same religious, ethnic, locality, or other backgrounds. Other members may be just starting on this avenue of research and would benefit from our members’ expertise.
• Genealogists love to share both their brick wall problems and their solutions.
• What might take a member hours to research, might be an easy task for another member.
• It’s sometimes helpful for someone else to take a fresh look at a genealogical roadblock.
• Besides our Surname List, it’s another way for our members to seek assistance.
How it Works:
Up to three (3) queries may be posted by an individual each month. If more queries are received than space permits, those who have not previously posted will receive priority space. Posts are free for members and cost $5 per query for non-members.
Queries should be specific, concise, and be related to one event or person. The Queries Editor may edit the request for clarity or space limitations.
Examples of queries:
• Seeking birth and death dates of Therese Fidy dit Lavigne in Quebec. Parents were Jean
Baptiste Fidy and Marie Catherine Guerin. Died before 1802. (Submitted by Jeanne  Leblond)
• Looking for marriage and death dates for Petrus Andras, born 1897 in Zdiar, Slovakia. Possibly killed in WWI. Where can I find military records for Austro-Hungarian soldiers for WWI? (Submitted by Jeanne Leblond)
• Need marriage record for John Benson and Lydia Aldrich, married abt. 1827 in VT or Stanstead, Quebec area. (Submitted by Nancy Netherwood)
How to Submit or Respond to a Query:
Queries and responses should be sent via email to
or submitted through the Contact Us section on our website. Members may also bring their prepared queries or responses to our monthly meeting or to one of our research clinics. Non-members should submit their payment ($5.00 per query) via the Donate
tab on the website.
Answers to queries should include the source(s) of information found or specific information on a website or database. Please send your response directly to WMGS. We will forward the response to the person who asked the question, post it in the next newsletter, and archive it on our website under the Queries section. That way, everyone can benefit from the information.
As a reminder, be sure to periodically check out our Surname List for updates and to see if you recognize any names. The Surname list is updated quarterly.
Note: Because of space limitations, WMGS reserves the right to limit the number of queries that are listed per newsletter. When necessary, queries will be posted in the next available issue. WMGS and its members are not responsible to conduct research, to provide answers for the query, or for the accuracy of the information posted or received. Always verify any information received by checking its source.

Worldwide Indexing Project: October 20-22

As you may have heard, Family Search is having a Worldwide Indexing Project October 20-22.  Would you like to learn more about the project?  Do you have three minutes?  Our friends DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ talk about the project in this video:

DearMYRTLE and the LDS Indexing Project

Be sure to check out the clip at 1:51 when DearMYRTLE displays the WMGS Website.  We’re famous!

Interested in indexing records that will be searchable on  We invite you to attend the following event:

WMGS Indexing Group
will meet at the
Agawam Senior Center
October 16th at 6:00 p.m.
in the computer lab

Dave Robison from Old Bones Genealogy of New England will be there to assist along with a member of the LDS Church. Hope to see you there!

WMGS Elects 2016-17 Board and Three New Directors

Congratulations to the following individuals who were elected to serve as officers of the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society (WMGS):

  • President: Dave Robison
  • Vice-President: Fran Malone
  • Secretary: Ann McDougal
  • Treasurer: Katy Krause

In addition, the following three members will serve as directors:

  • Janie Tarver
  • Jeanne Leblond
  • Nancy Netherwood

Welcome aboard!  We look forward to an exciting and productive year.

The term for our officers and directors runs from June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2017.

WMGS Launches New Website

We are pleased to announce that on March 2, 2016 the new website for the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society was launched.

We invite you to take a look around.  Some of the new features include:

  • A larger font size which is easier to read
  • A calendar which can export to your Google Calendar or Iphone/Ipad Calendar
  • An expanded resources area with pages of genealogy links
  • A Photo album with slide shows
  • A Blog where new articles and information will be posted
  • A Members Only Section with:
    • videos of some of our meetings
    • meeting handouts
    • special documents
    • past issues of the American Elm, a WMGS electronic newsletter 1972-2007
    • list of books available in the WMGS library
    • instructions for submitting names for our Surname Project
  • An expanded social media presence on Pinterest and Twitter

Special Note: WMGS Members will receive login instructions for our Members Only pages via email.  Not a member?  No problem.  Check out our Join page where you can become a member in just a few minutes.

Special thanks to everyone who assisted on the new site.  WMGS members Susan Leverson, Katy Krause and Dee Peterson built this site and delivered it ahead of schedule.  They worked with board members Dave Robison, Fran Malone and Ann McDougal.  Even a few experts from around the globe weighed in.  It was a true team effort.

We hope you enjoy the new site.  Be sure to follow us on the following social media sites:

Lastly, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below this article, or send us a private message on the Contact Us page.

We would love to hear from you.


Exciting News

We are so excited to start building a new website for WMGS.  Our previous site served us well, and we are thankful to the students and staff at Westfield State College who developed it for us.  The site was used from 2010-16, which is quite a long time.

Here’s what you can expect on the new site:

  • A blog
  • Links to our google hangout site and facebook page
  • A new design and larger font
  • The ability to pay membership on-line
  • A members-only section which will include:
    • videos of some of our meetings
    • handouts
    • files
    • past issues of the American Elm
    • list of books available in the WMGS library
  • Behind the scenes – easier computer system will allow for additional users to make simple updates without knowing html programming code. For example, one person can post the newsletter, another can update our calendar, and a third person can write and post an article to our blog.

So stay tuned.  Exciting changes are coming soon!