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Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JGSI) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization established in 1981 and now with over 300 members. JGSI is a member of IAJGS, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

We help members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors and serve as a resource for the worldwide community to research their Chicago area Jewish roots. JGSI hosts our monthly meetings with informative speakers and expert genealogy volunteers to answer your questions about Jewish genealogy.

JGSI hybrid meetings feature easy access to useful research library and genealogy help desk

The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, open at 12:45 p.m. before each monthly hybrid meeting. This allows individuals to utilize genealogy library materials, seek assistance with genealogy websites, or pose genealogical questions before the main program commences at 2 p.m.

During every in-person JGSI monthly meeting, our "help desk" operates from 12:45 to 1:50 p.m. Member volunteers will access online databases and address genealogical questions one-on-one for both members and visitors, as time permits. The JGSI research library boasts over 800 volumes catering to Jewish family historians, including a diverse selection of historical and contemporary maps. All books and maps are available for perusal from 12:45 to 1:50 p.m. at each regular monthly meeting.

More details and registrations for JGSI events are on the Programs page.

ALEC Ferretti to present "The five families of records of the USCIS Genealogy Program"  on Jan. 28, 2024

“The Five Families of Records of the USCIS Genealogy Program” will be the topic of a talk by genealogist Alec Ferretti for the Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, hybrid meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. Alec will explain how U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services records are indexed, why getting ahold of them is so difficult, issues plaguing the agency, what is being done to remedy them, and why the records cannot just go to National Archives. 

More details and registrations are on the Programs page. Additional information and actions you can take regarding USCIS and their proposed fee hike has been recently posted in the Member's Forum. Look there for more information: Access to Federal records.


Upcoming events

Mark your calendar now for our future events, which are listed on the Programs page of this website. Also, sign up for Burbio.com, a free website and mobile app that lists events from local organizations in one online calendar.


The Chicago Jewish Post and Opinion newspaper (August 1962-December 1981) is now available as part of the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections thanks to the University of Illinois and a bequest to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois from the estate of Peggy Morrow, z''l.  Search at

JGSI Jewish Chicago Database (JJCD)

The JGSI Jewish Chicago Database (JJCD) includes information compiled from cemeteries, obituaries, memorial plaques, retirement homes, and other Jewish organizations.

Mystery Photos

Mystery Photos... If you would like to help us identify these people, please click here.

© 2023 JGSI | P.O. Box 515, Northbrook, IL 60065-0515 | 312.666.0100 | info@jgsi.org
JGSI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.