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Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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JGSI Programs

Detailed meeting location information and map/directions are located at the bottom of this page.

Upcoming events

    • 23 Jan 2022
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Details to be announced soon.

    Understanding Jewish DNA test results to be Adina Newman's topic for JGSI on Jan. 23

    Adina Newman

    “Navigating Your Jewish DNA Results” will be the topic of a virtual presentation by genealogist Adina Newman for the Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois at 2 p.m. CST. This event is planned as a hybrid session, for which registration/RSVP details will be forthcoming.

    The online presentation, which will be free and open to the public, will focus on interpreting so-called “Jewish DNA” results from the major commercial testing companies (i.e., Ancestry, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and MyHeritage), with primary focus on Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. The speaker will dig into common beliefs and misconceptions related to interpreting these results and provide context and strategies to maximize successful research.

    Topics will include ethnicity estimates, tools to understand and locate DNA matches, nuances found at each testing company, and strategies to tackle endogamy. Although not required, familiarity with navigating the various DNA testing sites and viewing DNA matches is recommended.

    Adina Newman, EdD, is the owner of My Family Genie, where she assists clients with their research and blogs about her own family history. Her main interests are in Jewish genealogy, genetic genealogy, and New England. She has a doctorate in educational leadership and a certificate in genealogical research from Boston University.

    She volunteers as a Jewish genetic genealogy Facebook group moderator, social media coordinator for NextGen Genealogy Network, and a discussion leader for ProGen, a self-study group for aspiring and professional genealogists. She was also a 2020 recipient of the AncestryProGenealogists scholarship. She presented four talks for the 2021 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 300 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

    JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 65 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more. Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database.


    • 27 Feb 2022
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Details to be announced soon.

    Mark your calendar for Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, for JGSI's second meeting of 2022.

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

    • 27 Mar 2022
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Details to be announced soon.

    Michael TobiasHow discovery of birth father via DNA led to uniting five half-sibling is focus of March 27 JGSI talk:

    “Ich bin ein Berliner: (Re)uniting 5 Half-siblings from 4 Different Mothers” will be the topic of a presentation by genealogist Michael Tobias for the Sunday, March 27, 2022, virtual meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois at 2 p.m. CST. This event is planned as a hybrid session, for which registration/RSVP details will be forthcoming.

    In this online presentation, which is free and open to the public, Michael Tobias will describe the process that began in July 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom when a woman asked for help in identifying her newly-discovered (via DNA) Jewish birth father. She could not imagine the story about to unfold.

    “In the next three weeks, following the DNA trail and building family trees for each of eight significant DNA hits on three different websites, her ties to four half-siblings were identified, all sharing the same father but with four different mothers,” Michael said. “To be certain of the connections between the DNA matches and the half-siblings, it was necessary to use the JRI-Poland database to create family trees going back to the late 1700s. In the process, the accuracy of the DNA-estimated family relationships could be compared with the true family relationships and the impact of any endogamy could be analyzed.”

    Michael Tobias is a co-founder and board member of Jewish Records Indexing–Poland (1995-); vice president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB; 2019-); Honorary Research Fellow – Genealogical Studies, University of Strathclyde (2020-); and former vice president of programming for JewishGen Inc (1995-2018). He was database matching consultant for the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

    Michael was awarded the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Lifetime Achievement award in Washington, D.C., in 2011. He was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to the Jewish community in the Queen’s 2021 New Year’s Honours List.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 300 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

    JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 65 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations , monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more . Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database.

    • 24 Apr 2022
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Details to be announced soon.

    Mark your calendar for Sunday, April 24, 2022, for a JGSI meeting.

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

    • 22 May 2022
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Details to be announced soon.

    Mark your calendar for Sunday, May 22, 2022, for a JGSI meeting.

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

    • 12 Jun 2022
    • 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Details to be announced.

    The Greater Chicago Jewish Festival is scheduled for  Sunday, June 12, 2022

    For more information, see: https://jewishfestival.org/

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

    • 21 Aug 2022
    • 25 Aug 2022
    • Details to be announced.

    The 42nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is scheduled for Aug. 21–25, 2022, as an in-person event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    For more information, see: https://www.iajgs2022.org/

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

Examples of Past Events

14 Nov 2021 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
24 Oct 2021 “Here Comes The 1950 Census: What To Expect” and “Finding Difficult Passengers on the Ellis Island Manifests” by Joel Weintraub
07 Oct 2021 "Researching Belarus Records for Genealogy" by Paul Zoglin and Dave Feldman
29 Aug 2021 “What the Genealogist Needs to Know About Jewish Family Names” by Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus
25 Jul 2021 “A History of Jewish Name Changing in America” by Kirsten Fermaglich
27 Jun 2021 JGSI annual meeting with 'Kvell and Tell' talks
23 May 2021 “Journeys from Shtetl to Shtetl” by Eli Rabinowitz
25 Apr 2021 "Three Guides, Four Countries: A Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Travels to Their Ancestral Villages" by Deborah Long
21 Mar 2021 “Finding Your Kaplans” by Mindie Kaplan
21 Feb 2021 “Clued-In: Interpreting Real Photo Postcards from the Diaspora” and photo analyses by Ava Cohn
24 Jan 2021 “JRI-Poland Update and More” by Stanley Diamond
22 Nov 2020 “Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research” by W. Todd Knowles
25 Oct 2020 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
30 Aug 2020 “Out of the Whirlwind: Finding Your Family Lost in the Holocaust” by Deborah H. Long
26 Jul 2020 "Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen” and “What Would Nancy Drew Do in the Quest for Missing Family" by Ellen Kowitt
31 May 2020 “A Case Study in Getting Past a Genealogical Brick Wall” by Martin Fischer
03 May 2020 "When DNA or Documents Reveal Life-Altering Origin Secrets” by Steven Flack
23 Feb 2020 “Unique Aspects of Jewish Genealogy” by Debbie Kroopkin
26 Jan 2020 “Family History Resources from the Library of Congress” by Tina Beaird
17 Nov 2019 “Using Periodical Literature for Genealogical Research” and “More than Surname Surfing: Best Practices for Using the Internet for Genealogy” by Curt B. Witcher
27 Oct 2019 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
15 Sep 2019 “A Guide to Sephardic Genealogy” by Sarina Roffé
25 Aug 2019 “More Stories about Things I’ve Learned from Doing Genealogy” by Zalman Usiskin
02 Jun 2019 DNA: Tests, Tools and Tales -- A one-day conference
06 May 2019 “A 3-D View of Immigration" by Susan Weinberg
28 Apr 2019 “Three Hershberg Mysteries” by Barry Finkel
07 Apr 2019 “Resurrecting Grandpa’s Store” by Scott Meyer
24 Mar 2019 “The Margarine Moonshiners from Minsk” and “Conducting Story-Driven Research” by Tammy Hepps
03 Mar 2019 “Who Was B. Berman? A Case Study in Getting Past a Genealogical Brick Wall” by Martin Fischer
24 Feb 2019 “Write It! Tips for Saving and Sharing Family History" by Martin Fischer
27 Jan 2019 “Courthouse Finds” by Tina Beaird
Pre- and post-pandemic:  Monthly Meetings are usually held at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook.  Please check for any changes in venue by reading the event details.  The Temple will open at 12:30 pm for the help desk and library. JGSI members will be available to help answer genealogical questions, help with Internet searches, and help in the library. Scheduled programs will begin at 2:00 pm.

LINK TO FAQ: How to add the event to your calendar.
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JGSI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.