In August 1944, the First Reformed Church of Zeeland published their first newsletter titled "Service News" (Service News contains excerpts from Letters of those in the Service. News of the Church and interesting items).
Each month from 1944 through 1946, letters from mothers, fathers, servicemen and women along with messages from “Our Minister” were published to keep the congregation informed of all the events happening within the church family and the community.
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Other topics of interest were news about servicemen at home on leave, where some were training or were stationed, how they were doing, who or what they saw as well as a few photographs. Unfortunately, also included, was news about injuries sustained, those missing in action and those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.
Donated by Dorothy Voss and the First Reformed Church of Zeeland in 2019, the museum now has an original copy of sixteen of the newsletters that were provided to the church congregation in the 1940s. Most of the original copies were in black and white but there were a few that were printed on color paper and/or with color ink. All had an image, photographic or illustrated, of the exterior of the church building.
Although the museum does not have a complete set of this newsletter created by this wonderful group (there are no names included in the original newsletters as authors or contributors), the First Reformed Church still retains a complete set.
These documents are a great resource for researchers looking to find information about how people lived and handled this time in our nation’s history. They are also a great tool for the family genealogists.
Thanks to a good friend and local professional genealogist, Megan Heyl, I know now to not only look for the obvious information on internet sites like Ancestry.com but to look further and check into local historical museums, churches, schools and organizations to find my ancestors.
These sixteen newsletters, along with many other wonderful donated documents and photographs, are available for viewing at the museum in the Archive Room on the second floor (assistance is available) during open hours. If you are unable to make it into the museum, please feel free to contact us and we would be glad to help.
Written by Wendy Combs, April 2020