About Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids—one of our nation’s historic crossroads for migration and immigration—is the second largest city in Michigan. The broad spectrum of those who settled in and around Grand Rapids or who passed through on their way West have enriched the culture of this beautiful city on the Grand River. It has a thriving economy with a small-town feel, friendly people, and safe walkable streets. Along with its vibrant arts and music community, Grand Rapids is also known for its parks and outdoor recreation. Many restaurants and breweries are within walking distance from DeVos Convention Center and nearby hotels. Grand Rapids is a one day drive or less from most Midwestern cities. The city’s Gerald Ford International Airport is serviced by five major airlines. See Getting There for more information.

Registration for the NGS 2018 Family History Conference, including tours and events, will begin 1 December 2017 at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/. Sign up for the NGS conference blog so you receive notification of new information as it is posted.

The DeVos Place Convention Center

The DeVos Place Convention Center located at 303 Monroe Avenue NW contains award winning art and has spectacular views of the Grand River. Enjoy a walk along the river in the morning, visit nearby museums in the afternoon, and dine at a wide variety of neighborhood restaurants, cafes, and breweries in the evening. The conference program, luncheons, and exhibit hall will be held at DeVos Place.

Conference Hotels

Hotel reservations will open on 15 August 2017. You may register online by using passkey at https://aws.passkey.com/e/49223318 (No code is required. Just select “attendee”) or by calling the hotel phone numbers below. The daily hotel rate at both conference hotels is $144.00 for one to four guests plus a 9% occupancy tax and a 6% state sales tax. This NGS Conference rate will be available until the conference block is sold-out or until 5:00 p.m. on 2 April 2018. Rooms at the conference hotels must be reserved with a credit card. Both hotels are offering the conference rate three nights before and after the conference dates until sold out. Complimentary wireless Internet is provided at both hotels. Anyone needing a handicap assessible hotel room, should make their reservation as soon as reservations open since the supply is limited.

Amway Grand Plaza

187 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Phone: 1-800-253-3590

The historical Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is the primary conference hotel and is connected to DeVos Place by an enclosed walkway.  The hotel is affiliated with the Curio Collection by Hilton and included in the Hilton Honors program. Opened in 1916 as the Pantlind, the hotel boasts sweeping staircases, floor to ceiling draped windows, ornate ceilings, and large decorative chandeliers. Amway Grand amenities include an indoor pool, fitness facility, business center, spa and salon, gift shop, florist, and convenience store. Refrigerators are available upon request. The hotel features six restaurants: the Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, the Kitchen Counter by Wolfgang Puck for quick, made to order breakfasts and lunches, GP Sports Bar, the Lumber Baron Bar, Cygnus 27 with scenic views of the city, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The Amway Grand is a luxury vacation destination. More details about the hotel can be found at http://amwaygrand.com.

The hotel requires a deposit equal to the value of the first night’s accommodation, including tax. Deposits are refundable if notice of cancellation is received by the Hotel Reservations Department at least forty-eight hours prior to the date of expected arrival. A $50.00 early departure fee is assessed upon check-out to all early departure reservations. Self-parking for hotel guests will be $10.00 per day. Valet parking is $29.00 per day with unlimited in-and-out privileges. Beginning 15 August 2017, hotel reservations may be made online at https://aws.passkey.com/e/49223318 (No code is required. Just select “attendee”) or by calling the Amway Grand Plaza at 1-800-253-3590 and asking for the NGS conference rate.

Guest check-in is 4:00 p.m., however, early arrivals will be accommodated based on availability. Check-out time is 11:00 a.m. Requests to retain the hotel room beyond that hour will depend upon availability and a late departure charge may apply.

  • Courtyard Marriott Grand Rapids

Courtyard Marriott

11 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Phone: 877-901-6632

The Courtyard Marriott is the second conference hotel and is connected to DeVos Place by an enclosed walkway through several city blocks. Courtyard Marriott amenities include an indoor pool, fitness facility, business center, and Bistro restaurant and bar. All hotel rooms include a refrigerator. More details are available at http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/grrdt-courtyard-grand-rapids-downtown/.

Check-in begins at 4:00 p.m. and early check-in cannot be guaranteed. Check out is at 11:00 a.m. and a later check-out, if approved, will be subject to a one-half day full room rate including taxes. Parking at the Courtyard Hotel is currently $16.00 for self-parking and $25.00 for valet. Parking rates may increase before the conference. Beginning 15 August 2017, hotel reservations may be made online at https://aws.passkey.com/e/49223318 (No code is required. Just select “attendee”) or by calling Courtyard Marriott at 1-800-901-6632 and asking for the NGS conference rate.

Conference Events

The NGS 2018 Conference Registration Brochure, which includes the entire conference program and all conference events, will be available online 1 November 2017.

Each NGS Family History Conference includes luncheons with special guest speakers, tours, and events to enhance our attendees experience at the conference and in the host city. The currently available NGS 2018 Conference Announcement Brochure includes information about tours and research facilities. In addition to excursions to the Library of Michigan and Archives of Michigan and to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, conference participants may elect to take a tour of Grand Rapids City or a Civil War tour. Other events include:

Wednesday Evening—2 May 2018—Society Night

State and local genealogical and historical societies from Michigan and surrounding states will be available from 5:00–7:00 p.m. at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel to answer questions about research resources, publications, and membership. While in the hotel enjoy many examples of award-winning art from eight years of Art Prize, the largest annual judged and voter-participation art competition in the United States.


Thursday Evening—3 May 2018—Host Society Event at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

The Western Michigan Genealogical Society invites you to enjoy an evening at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. View the galleries and enjoy dessert and coffee with fellow genealogists while listening to the Schubert Male Chorus, which has been performing since 1883. The museum is a two-block walk across the Grand River. For more about the collections at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, see http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov. The Gerald Ford Library is located at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Gerald R Ford Presidential Library & Museum