Will Grundy Counties (IL) Genealogical Society (WGGS) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1982 to promote the study of genealogy and family history among people who have an interest in researching their genealogy and family history.
First and foremost among the several guiding principals of this organization is that of thorough, accurate results. WGGS offers educational and informative programs to assist all genealogists regardless of current residency or family locations. Members range in experience from beginners to Certified Genealogists.
The monthly programs offered by WGGS cover a variety of informative and educational topics of interest to experienced researchers, beginning researchers and local and regional history buffs. Some topics of past programs have included how to separate fact from fiction, finding obscure records, how to use online database websites such as Ancestry and FamilySearch, how to restore damaged family photographs, how to research European lines, and experts on local topics such as the coal mining industry, and what sort of tombstone markings to look for, to name but a few.
The monthly programs are always free to attend and members and non-members are always welcome.
With a paid annual membership, additional benefits include receiving the WGGS Quarterly four times a year. Each issue is packed with useful information and data pertaining to a number of research categories such as Federal Land Sales, local One Room Schools, local historical information about cities, towns and villages, rural life, and personal biographies and stories about residents of the past gleaned from member contributions and research of local newspaper collections on microfilm. Each issue contains a Surname Index making it quite easy to locate surnames of interest to readers who can then easily turn to the article of interest. The Quarterly arrives in your mailbox postage paid and completely free of additional charges.
Additional benefits of membership include the contributions of a generous group of volunteers to create and publish several historically significant volumes a year covering such topics as Cemetery Inventories, County Land Plat Maps including the names of all individual landowners, and local Church Record compilations, among them. These volumes, when completed, are sold to individuals and public libraries throughout the country to enhance the volume of data that researchers commonly look for in their studies. In becoming a member of WGGS, you also help support those efforts.
Members can also request research assistance through WGGS Volunteer Genealogists. If a member does not reside in the area or even in Illinois, or just has no time to make trips to libraries and local government offices, our Grundy County and Will County Genealogists can help with that. Typically, the first hour is free to members, then a donation for subsequent hours is appreciated, plus the cost of documents or photocopies.
Additionally, WGGS offers a Pioneer Certificate Program. Provide proof of residency of your ancestor in either Grundy or Will County in Illinois during the period 1836 to 1890 and submit copies of those documents along with the completed application forms. Once approved and verified, a Pioneer Certificate will be issued complete with a WGGS Seal and ribbon.
Where else can you get those kinds of benefits for just $20 a year?