Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois 


Members Helping Members Since 1981

Are you researching Jewish family history and looking for a Chicago area network of experts and enthusiasts?

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.

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

Article Submissions

We are looking for articles for publication in Morasha. Research tips, how-to articles, what you learned all welcome. Articles with several photos or exhibits in jpeg format and a word count under 1,500 words are preferred.

Articles are due June 1 – please let me know now at if you wish to write an article.

Change in Members Only Section

For your convenience. we have combined the "JGSI Meeting Video Presentation" page and the "Meeting Handout" page into a new "Past Meeting Video and Handouts" page. 

39th IAJGS International Conference

Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois members Ava Cohn, Martin Fischer, Steven Flack, Michael Karsen and Debbie Kroopkin have been selected to speak at the 39th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Cleveland, Ohio, July 28 – Aug. 2, 2019. IAJGS is the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, an umbrella organization of more than 85 Jewish genealogical organizations worldwide.


Sunday, June 2nd
DNA: Tests, Tools and Tales

A one-day conference presented by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois.

Our Presenters

LARA DIAMOND has been researching her family for 25 years, starting as a middle school student. She has traced all branches of her family multiple generations back in Europe using Russian Empire-era and Austria-Hungarian Empire records. Most of her research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. As she is an Ashkenazic Jew, she gets to have particular fun with her completely endogamous genome.

Lara is President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland, leads JewishGen’s Subcarpathian SIG, and is on JewishGen’s Ukraine SIG’s Board of Directors. She also runs multiple district and town-focused projects to collect documentation to assist all those researching ancestors from common towns. She blogs about DNA and her Eastern European research. 

GIL BARDIGE has been working on his genealogy since 1979 and now has nearly 1,400 people on his family tree including three branches traced back to his 5th-great-grandfathers born about 1740. His families arrived in Chicago in the early 20th century and were involved in founding Knesses Israel Nusach Sfard (K.I.N.S.), one of the oldest synagogues on the West Side of Chicago.

A member of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society in Ohio, Gil has spoken at a number of local events and international conferences and is a firm believer DNA results can be a valuable tool in genealogical research as it generates clues to help people confirm relationships. Most recently he has managed the mentoring program for IAJGS at its international Jewish genealogy conferences, allowing people to get one-on-one tutoring to help break through brick walls.

For the last 10+ years he has expanded his knowledge of genetic genealogy, testing at each of the major DNA companies. Gil currently manages three Y-DNA projects at FamilyTreeDNA as a volunteer administrator.

Sessions include:

  • Introduction to Genetic Genealogy: Y-DNA, mtDNA and Autosomal DNA, The Basics and Next Steps
  • Leveraging the Power of GedMatch
  • Introduction to Genetic Genealogy: Working with your DNA Results
  • Using Y-DNA and mtDNA: Genetic Genealogy As an Innovative Tool in your Research
  • Autosomal DNA Tools and Techniques: Beyond GEDMaTch


  • Mentoring Session
  • Work with volunteers at a computer help desk.
  • Explore and check out books in the JGSI library.
  • and lunch!

Full brochure available for download here

Register and learn more here

Northbrook Monthly Meetings

JGSI hosts our monthly meetings in Northbrook with speakers, assistance using research materials in our over 800 volume library, and volunteers at computer help stations.

We hope to see you at our next meeting.

Upcoming events

02 Jun 2019 8:30 AM • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, IL
23 Jun 2019 12:30 PM • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill. - Registration and networking, 12:30. Guest Speaker 2:00 pm
21 Jul 2019 • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill. - Registration and networking, 12:30. Guest Speaker 2:00 pm

Members Only: View the video from our recent meeting

“Three Hershberg Mysteries"

Barry Finkel pcovered a brief history of his Hershberg family in Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, including discussing two mysteries that he eventually solved, and he  explained the solutions. Then he discussed one mystery that remains unsolved. Login and then watch here.

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. Many volunteer hours were spent compiling this information.  JGSI is proud to offer free access to both members and non-members. 

Join JGSI Today!

Members have free access to the pay-for-use, additional databases, meeting recordings and handouts, and an online members' discussion forum. 

Learn more about Membership Benefits and Join or Renew.

Polish Translation Guide

JGSI is the proud sponsor of the 3rd edition of “A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents (including Birth, Marriage and Death Records)” by an early leader of JGSI and Past-President Judith R. Frazin.

Learn more and buy your copy here.

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© 2018 JGSI   P.O. Box 515, Northbrook, IL 60065-0515 • 312.666.0100 •