Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois


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

Upcoming events

    • 26 Jul 2020
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer. - Guest Speaker 1:00 pm

    Genealogist Ellen Kowitt to give two talks at July 26, 2020, JGSI meeting

    Ellen Kowitt, past president and current outreach chair of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado, will give two live streaming online lectures at the Sunday, July 26, 2020, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois meeting: “Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen” at 1 p.m., and “What Would Nancy Drew Do in the Quest for Missing Family” at about 2:30 p.m. 

    This event is free and open to the public; however, Zoom will limit attendance to 100. To access the webinar, at 1 p.m. go to https://tinyurl.com/y9sue5mk

    This session will be recorded so that JGSI’s paid members who were unable to view it live will be able to view the recording later.

    For more information about this meeting, see https://jgsi.org/event-3605842 or call 312-666-0100.

    The 1 p.m. presentation, “Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen,” provides a comparative overview of the global powerhouse websites referred to as “Genealogy Giants.”

    For each site, Ellen will provide a subscription cost analysis, description of free access options, and comparison of Jewish record collections and research tools that can be especially helpful for documenting Jewish families. She will also offer tips on when it might be better to search on one site over another, and explain each site’s best features or challenges, including how JewishGen collections found on Ancestry.com differ from comparable collections originating on JewishGen.org, both in content and in the search experience. All levels of genealogists will leave better prepared to answer the question “Which genealogy websites should be I be using right now?”

    The 2:30 p.m. talk, “What Would Nancy Drew Do in the Quest for Missing Family,” is an entertaining “then and now” lecture that showcases genealogy resources found in the text of the classic Nancy Drew series and journeys through contemporary online records, photographs, and maps found in digital libraries, as well as archival collections, cemeteries, and newspapers. This adventure around the world explores old and new tools of the genealogical trade including tackling foreign languages and finding clues and records in untraditional places.

    Ellen Kowitt is past president of JGS Colorado and JGS Greater Washington, D.C. She has served on the IAJGS board of directors and been recipient of IAJGS Program and Stern Awards. Ellen publishes articles in Avotaynu: The International Journal of Jewish Genealogy and lectures often.

    She is currently vice president of the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and accepts clients when she isn't volunteering as project manager for the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project, KehilaLinks; or Ukraine SIG Lyubar town leader research projects, which she has coordinated for 23 years. Ellen has indexed naturalization and probate records at the Colorado State Archives, memorial plaques, gravestones, mohel records, and patient applications of the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society (JCRS) in Denver, Colorado. Last summer, Ellen travelled to Ukraine as part of the Protecting Memory project. For an upcoming list of lectures or more information, visit www.EllenKowitt.com,

    For more information about the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois or the JGSI schedule of future events, visit http://jgsi.org/ or phone 312-666-0100.

    While this program is free, those who join the society have access to several valuable members-only resources on the JGSI website. They include video recordings of more than 50 presentations from past JGSI events, valuable informational handouts from past speakers, access to past Morasha newsletters containing informative articles about Jewish genealogy, and more. To learn about the benefits of joining the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, go to http://jgsi.org/membership_benefits.

    • 30 Aug 2020
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.

    Genealogist Deborah Long to speak on Holocaust research on Aug. 30:

    Deborah H. Long, founder of the Triangle Jewish Genealogical Society in Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C., will present a webinar on “Out of the Whirlwind: Finding Your Family Lost in the Holocaust” at the Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois meeting. Her presentation will begin at 2 p.m. via a live streaming platform. 

    The daughter of two Holocaust survivors, Deborah Long reviews in this presentation the best (as well as some of the obscure) resources and methods for determining the fate of those involved in the Holocaust, including survivors and victims. She will use examples from her own research to demonstrate the documents and artifacts she discovered.

     Deborah has been researching her family’s Holocaust history and looking for surviving family members for more than 50 years. Her research in 2009 led to the discovery of surviving cousins in Sweden, Hungary, Canada and, most recently, in Israel. Deborah is a professional educator, though typically her audiences are licensed professionals. She has written more than 20 books, including a memoir about growing up as a child of survivors titled “First Hitler, Then Your Father, and Now You.” She is the founder of the Triangle JGS in Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    While this program is free, those who join the society have access to several valuable members-only resources on the JGSI website. They include video recordings of more than 50 presentations from past JGSI events, valuable informational handouts from past speakers, access to past Morasha newsletters containing informative articles about Jewish genealogy, and more. To learn about the benefits of joining the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, go to http://jgsi.org/membership_benefits.

Past events

28 Jun 2020 Annual meeting with "Kvell and Tell"
07 Jun 2020 Mark your calendar for the Sunday, June 7, 2020, VIRTUAL Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
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
22 Mar 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
03 Nov 2019 “Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland” by Mike Karsen
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
11 Aug 2019 Tour of Hebrew Benevolent Society (HBS) Cemetery
29 Jul 2019 JGSI Dinner at IAJGS Conference in Cleveland
23 Jun 2019 Annual meeting with Kvell and Tell
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
16 Dec 2018 "Stories about Things I've Learned from Doing Genealogy" by Zalman Usiskin
18 Nov 2018 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
14 Oct 2018 "Resurrecting Grandpa’s Store" by Scott E. Meyer
26 Aug 2018 “Research Genealogical Resources in Israel From Your Couch” by Daniel Horowitz
29 Jul 2018 “Researching Individuals with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Resources” by Diane Afoumado
24 Jun 2018 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell”
30 May 2018 “A DNA Discussion with a DNA Devotee” by Alvin Holtzman
29 Apr 2018 “Gesher Galicia" and "Galician Portraits” by Andrew Zalewski
08 Apr 2018 “A DNA Discussion with a DNA Devotee” by Alvin Holtzman
11 Mar 2018 "Filling in the Blanks on My Jewish Family History" by Annette Gendler
04 Mar 2018 "Techniques for Using Jewishgen.org" by Debbie Kroopkin
18 Feb 2018 “Researching Jewish Ancestors on Ancestry Library Edition” by Jane G. Haldeman
21 Jan 2018 “Insight into FamilySearch and The Wilmette Family History Center” by Suzanne Hoffman
19 Nov 2017 “My Mother’s Life in Cuba: In Her Own Words” by Martin Fischer
22 Oct 2017 “Apple Does Not Fall: Shtetl Cousins Meet Iron-Curtain Cousins” by Bena Shklyanoy
27 Aug 2017 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland-What’s New” by Mike Karsen
16 Jul 2017 “Choosing the Right Family Tree Software” and “What’s New at Ukraine SIG” by Chuck Weinstein
25 Jun 2017 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell”
21 May 2017 “General DNA and Genealogy” and “The DNA of the Jewish People” by Bennett Greenspan
07 May 2017 "Online Genealogy Tools" by John Miller
26 Apr 2017 “Document and Share Your Genealogy Now!” by Clara Tomaz and Heather Hehman
19 Mar 2017 “Genealogy is Easy, Fascinating, and Fun: How I Found the Feldmans”
19 Mar 2017 “Making the Most of the County Clerk’s Genealogy Resources" by Angela Wright Madison
22 Feb 2017 “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Judith R. Frazin
19 Feb 2017 “Getting the Most Out of MyHeritage” by Daniel Horowitz
22 Jan 2017 “Genealogy is Easy, Fascinating, and Fun: How I Found the Feldmans” by Steven Flack
20 Nov 2016 “Archival Records of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County" by Philip J. Costello
30 Oct 2016 “Techniques for Using Jewishgen.org” by Debbie Kroopkin
25 Sep 2016 “Putting the Flesh on the Bones” and “Evaluating Evidence: Asking a mini-Minnie Question" by Ron Arons
28 Aug 2016 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland - What’s New” by Mike Karsen
09 Aug 2016 JGSI Dinner in Seattle, Washington
31 Jul 2016 "Specifics of Hungarian Jewish Genealogy - Historical Background and a Practical Guide" by Karesz Vandor
17 Jul 2016 “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Judith R. Frazin
10 Jul 2016 “Discover Your Family Genealogy” by Mike Karsen
26 Jun 2016 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell”
05 Jun 2016 Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
22 May 2016 “Cadastral Maps as a Genealogical Resource” by Alex Feller
17 Apr 2016 “German Jewish Genealogy: A Case Study” by Dennis Aron
07 Apr 2016 Newberry Library Tour & Research
13 Mar 2016 “The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture During World War II" by Jeanne Reed
14 Feb 2016 “Jewish Genetic Genealogy - A Study in Endogamy” by Israel Pickholtz
31 Jan 2016 “Genealogy Research & Book Research Have a Lot in Common” by Walter Reed
22 Nov 2015 “Making the Dead Dance: How to Breathe Life into Your Ancestors” by S.L. (Sandi) Wisenberg
01 Nov 2015 “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Judith R. Frazin
25 Oct 2015 “The Greenebaum Family: From the Rheinpfalz to Chicago” by Joan Adler
27 Sep 2015 Tour of Zion Gardens Cemetery
30 Aug 2015 “Jewish Genetics” by Murray Brilliant
09 Aug 2015 "Stepping Stones to Researching Your Family's Jewish Roots" by Harriet Rudnit
19 Jul 2015 “Family History: Caring for Your Treasures” by Eileen A. Ielmini
06 Jul 2015 35th IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem
28 Jun 2015 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell"
07 Jun 2015 JGSI Conference 2015
20 May 2015 “Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland: What’s New?” by Mike Karsen
26 Apr 2015 “Finding Frida: My Mother’s First Cousin, a Holocaust Survivor” by Ken Bravo
29 Mar 2015 “Clued-In: The Stories are in the Details” by Ava Cohen
22 Feb 2015 “Making a Family Tree Coffee Table Book” by Zalman Usiskin
25 Jan 2015 “How I Do Genealogy: Starting Research and Beginning to Gather Information” by Barry Finkel
23 Nov 2014 "Reconnecting with My Lithuanian Roots” by Harriet Rudnit
26 Oct 2014 "Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust" by Walter Reed, et al
19 Oct 2014 "Getting Started in Genealogy" by Judith R. Frazin
28 Sep 2014 “Using FamilySearch.org and the Family History Research Center” by Judith R. Frazin
24 Aug 2014 “Treasures in Print: Finding and Using Historical Newspapers” by Robin B. Seidenberg
28 Jul 2014 JGSI Dinner at IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City
23 Jul 2014 “Looking Outside the BMD Box for Your Mother and Aunts: A Case Study Based on Eretz Israel” by Rose Feldman
20 Jul 2014 “My Cousin the Murder Defendant” by Martin Fischer
29 Jun 2014 "Ethical Wills-Values Handed Down Through Our Genealogy" by Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler
18 May 2014 “Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors’ Arrival Records Online” by Mike Karsen
04 May 2014 JGSI Beginners' Genealogical Workshop by Judith R. Frazin
27 Apr 2014 "Why am I stuck? 10 Solutions to Common Genealogical Brick Walls" by Marsha Peterson-Maass
30 Mar 2014 “Locating Israeli Relatives and Holocaust Survivors: Search Strategies and Integrating Resources” by Rose Lerer Cohen
16 Feb 2014 "The Mystery of the Green Dumpster" documentary film
26 Jan 2014 "From Babylon to Skokie: A Short History of Ashkenazim" by Ron Grossman
24 Nov 2013 "Chicago's West Side Jews vs. South Side Jews" by Mark Mandle
27 Oct 2013 "More, Much More Than Fiddlers on the Roof!" by Brian Zakem
29 Sep 2013 Beginners’ Genealogical Workshop by Judith R. Frazin
25 Aug 2013 "Rembering Jewish Lawndale" documentary film
28 Jul 2013 "Researching Your Chicago Ancestors" by Stephen M. Szabados
30 Jun 2013 "My Cousin, The Gangster" by Mike Karsen
09 Jun 2013 Digging Deeper: Researching Our Ancestors With Technology 2013 JGSI Conference
19 May 2013 "Spreadsheets 101: Excel, the Genealogist's Underutilized Tool" by Jeanne L. Bloom
28 Apr 2013 “The Lemba Jewish Community of Zimbabwe” documentary film
17 Mar 2013 “Finding Living Relatives” by Martin Fischer
24 Feb 2013 "Rumbula’s Echo” documentary film discussion with Mitchell Lieber
27 Jan 2013 Ask the Experts panel discussion
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, which has the event location.

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 map showing location of Temple Beth-El.Select link to view map of Temple Beth-El

Want reminders about our meetings and events?

Email info@jgsi.org and request 'Email meeting and events reminder"

Adding an event to your calendar

You can now import the downloaded .ICS file into most calendar programs, including MS Outlook, Apple iCal, and Google Calendar. Your calendar program will automatically use the timezone of the event to set the equivalent event time in your calendar.

An .ICS (iCalendar) file will be generated containing the event details and a link to the event page.
The file will be downloaded via your browser.

LINK TO FAQ How to add the file to your calendar.
© 2019 JGSI   P.O. Box 515, Northbrook, IL 60065-0515 • 312.666.0100 • info@jgsi.orgwebmaster@jgsi.org