. . . especially for family history tools and gifts! But it doesn’t matter what you buy, because thanks to a new program your purchases can directly help the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia. GRIVA is now participating in the Amazon Smile program. When you shop online at Amazon.com using GRIVA’s special link (below), Amazon donates a percentage of your purchase to our organization.

GRIVA’s Amazon Smile Link

You must be logged into your Amazon.com account to use the link. For more information on how to use Amazon Smile when you shop, please visit this FAQ.

Help spread the word about our Fall Conference! A free set of bookmarks in PDF format is available on the Resources page to download and print. Share them with friends and other genealogical groups so that everyone will be informed and ready to secure their seats when registration opens. Watch GRIVA.org for the full registration brochure, coming soon!

After our luncheon on June 16, GRIVA will take a break from programs until September. We hope that you will take advantage of July and August to work on your research and explore the topics and techniques that have been showcased at our meetings and other conferences.

Looking ahead

  • Our first fall program will feature Paulette Schwarting who will speak on “Preservation Puzzles.” If you have a portable family object (document, clothing piece, curio, etc.) you are invited to bring it to our September 23rd meeting. Paulette will provide tips on how best to store and preserve it. Please let Pat Dickens know what you are bringing in advance so that Paulette will be ready to speak to your particular need. You may email a description of your object to padickens@verizon.net .
  • Everything is officially in place for GRIVA’s Fall Conference. This year our speaker is Judy Russell, CG “The Legal Genealogist.” The conference will take place on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at Clover Hill High School in Midlothian, VA. Registration will be opening soon, so watch this blog for an announcement.
  • Debora Kerr has provided a handout about Using Pinterest for Genealogy. Visit our “Resources” tab at the top of the blog to access it.
  • GRIVA would love to have more member participation on our Board and committees. We have positions open for almost every genealogical interest. Won’t you help us keep GRIVA an active and successful organization? Contact Pat Dickens (see email above) about open opportunities.

demoGRIVA’s May meeting will be a workshop presented by many of our own members; each will demonstrate a computer program or tech accessory that can be used for genealogy. The evening’s format will be loosely structured, allowing you to view demonstrations of as many of the subjects you wish in whatever order you desire.

Presenters and Topics:

Charlie Dickens – Legacy Ancestry & Ancestry 10 Family Tree
Debora Kerr – Pinterest for Genealogy
Brent Morgan – Ani-Maps Rumblesoft
AJ Seamons – Vu Wand portable scanner
Cat Southworth – Word Publisher
Angie Wilderman – Flip-Pal portable scanner
Pat Dickens – Genealogy on your iPAD
Greg Waehner – Special features of the Ancestry.com book making program MyCanvas

Join us May 27, 2014 at 7:45 p.m. at the Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 West Huguenot Road, Richmond, Virginia. There will be a short GRIVA meeting before the program with refreshments and social time afterwards. Our meetings are free to the public and visitors are welcome.

Old_book_with_gilded_page_edgesOne of the best things you can do to forward the cause of family history is to publish your own genealogical work. In the past, this was a daunting and expensive process. The troubles of finding a publisher and conforming to narrow standards of presentation prevented many good researchers from even trying to share their discoveries with a wide audience. Today, thanks to advances in digital and print-on-demand publishing, all has changed for the better.

Greg Waehner will present “Creating Family History Books on the Computer” at our April 22, 2014 meeting. Greg will explain the steps to develop your own book, showing examples of his own and discussing online resources to achieve your publication. Join us at 7:45 p.m. at the Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 West Huguenot Road, Richmond, Virginia. There will be a short GRIVA meeting before the program with refreshments and social time afterwards. Our meetings are free to the public and visitors are welcome.

Handout for this presentation is available at this link.

Photo by Gregory Bean.

Photo by Gregory Bean.

The study of churches should be undertaken by every serious genealogist. Besides tending to the spiritual needs of their communities, churches were the caretakers of many records of baptisms, marriages, and deaths — which may have not survived in other civil recordings.

Our March meeting will focus on Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Mr. Tony Williams will present a program covering the history of Bruton mentioning resources that may lead people to some genealogical records available to researchers. Mr. Williams holds history degrees from Syracuse University and Ohio State University and was most recently a fellow at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He is a former history teacher of ten years and a renowned lecturer. He is a full-time author living in Williamsburg and is currently writing a history of the Jamestown colony among other books.

Join us for “History of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg” with Mr. Tony Williams on March 25, 2014 at 1:45 p.m. at the Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 West Huguenot Road, Richmond, Virginia. There will be a short GRIVA meeting before the program with refreshments and social time afterwards. Our meetings are free to the public and visitors are welcome.

unclesamEvery spring, the nominating committee of the GRIVA Board is tasked with developing a slate of nominees for officer positions and general Board membership. In plain terms, we would love to have you join us!

The all-volunteer GRIVA Board and its committees guide our organization by coordinating our programs, conferences, bus trips, newsletter, GRIVA GenChat and many other behind-the-scenes activities. The more members we have active on the Board, the more we can do! Have we piqued your interest? Please fill out the contact form below and we’ll be right in touch!

Did you catch the news story on CBS 6 about reporter Rob Cardwell’s family tree? It was a wonderfully produced piece which highlighted both the Chesterfield Public Library and the Library of Virginia. If you missed the piece on WTVR Richmond, here’s the link.

How Can You Find Out if You’re Related To Someone Very Famous?

If you follow WTVR on Facebook or Twitter, please let them know you appreciated the story, and that GRIVA is very welcoming to new members who would like to get started discovering their family history.

GRIVA is developing a committee to plan for future programs. This is your opportunity to help bring the most interesting topics and talented speakers to our meetings. Whether you know people in the greater community able to speak well on genealogical or family history topics, or are willing to brainstorm program ideas and network to make them happen, we need you as a committee volunteer! Please email or call Pat Dickens at padickens@verizon.net or (804) 744-7988. A planning meeting will be scheduled in the new year.


We have received approval from The Virginian Retirement Community to meet at 6:30 p.m. on January 7th, February 4th and March 4th in 2014. We hope to continue meeting on the 1st Tuesday evenings of later months.

The January 7th topics will include:

  • a short demo and discussion about the Legacy family History program
  • sharing different print outs of family trees
  • mobile family tree programs
  • plotting land areas from wills
  • as well as topics as brought up by the group

GRIVA GenChat gatherings are open to the public. Hope to see you there!


Bad Weather Policy:

Just a reminder about GRIVA activities during inclement weather. If Chesterfield Public Schools are closed due to weather, GRIVA activities will likewise be canceled.


Visit our About/FAQ page for helpful information about GRIVA and GRIVA.ORG

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