West Valley Genealogical Society is hosting an open house, 1-4 p.m., Oct. 29.
Organizers will help those interested in starting their own genealogical pursuits.
The West Valley Genealogical Society and Library celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022 and during that time has grown to become the largest genealogy library in Arizona, accordng to its website. Family history researchers can find state, county, and local history information for Arizona, the United States, and many countries.
The WVGS and Library is also listed on the international FamilySearch affiliate libraries.
So, how did it get started?
In 1972, 36 charter members met, elected officers and adopted the name Sun City Genealogical Society. Initially, members shared resource materials at their meetings, but by 1976, this process became cumbersome and it was decided to house the resources in a single location. A member generously agreed to archive these resources at her home. Members then made appointments to visit there and conduct their research.
By 1984, the collection had become quite large and it was no longer practical to use a private home. The society was invited to maintain a research area in the R. H. Johnson Library in Sun City West where the collection remained until that space was needed by that library. By this time, the society had been renamed the Sun Cities Genealogical Society.
By 1990, a long range planning committee was organized, and a fund raising drive was initiated to purchase/build a permanent facility. In the meantime, the library holdings were moved to a leased space in the Valley View Professional Building at 12600 N. 113th Ave., in Youngtown.
Society membership continued to grow and by 1996 additional library space was once again needed. In September 1997, the library relocated to another leased site at 11116 W. California Ave., in Youngtown.
In 1998, after more than 25 years of growth in the Valley, the society’s name was changed to West Valley Genealogical Society to reflect the broader geographical area of its membership. The genealogy collection, along with membership continued to expand.
In April 2001, the society purchased the building at 12222 N. 111th Ave., in Youngtown. After an extensive renovation project to the larger section of the building, the library moved into this permanent home on Dec. 31, 2001. The smaller section was leased to a tenant during 2002-2005. Expansion to this area was completed in April 2006 and included nine additional patron computer stations and shelving to house the growing collection of periodicals.
Through the years, the society has benefited from the endeavors of countless past and present members who have contributed their time, talents, resource materials and/or financial assistance to make the society and its library the organization that it is today.
The WVGS library is a non-circulating, constantly growing research library. We have an extensive collection of books, periodicals, CDs, microfilm, microfiche and maps.
It is maintained entirely by unpaid society volunteers and funded by membership dues, special projects and donations.