The following announcement was written by the folks at the National Genealogical Society:
ARLINGTON, VA, 10 May 2016—National Genealogical Society (NGS) President, Jordan Jones, announced the 2018 NGS Family History Conference will be held at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2‒5 May 2018.
NGS selected Grand Rapids for its significant historical importance as a city centrally located between all the Great Lakes. In the nineteenth century, the Great Lakes were major, strategic waterways that helped Americans moving West and immigrants coming from overseas through Canada to settle and develop the Midwest. Cheap land, mining, and the timber industry made the area attractive. The combination of water power from the rivers and rapids, together with access to grain and lumber, encouraged manufacturing and industry, including breweries, furniture, and cereal. Entrepreneurs flourished as Michigan became the center for the automobile industry for seventy-five years, encouraging migration from the south and attracting an influx of new immigrants in search of jobs and the American dream.