Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

Want to learn more about genealogy?

Check out some of the informative genealogy podcasts and webinars being offered online mostly for free.

Just download this updated and improved compilation of resources: 

Free genealogy webinars and podcasts list.docx

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. JGSI is a member of IAJGS, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.



Nov. 22, 2020, JGS of Illinois meeting to focus on FamilySearch's Jewish records

“Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research” is the topic of a webinar by expert genealogist W. Todd Knowles for the Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois virtual meeting. His live streaming presentation, which will begin at 2 p.m. Central Standard Time, will be preceded at 1 p.m. CST by a genealogy question-and-answer discussion time. 

Attendees/viewers must register/RSVP in advance at https://jgsi.org/event-3971568. After you register, you will be sent a link to join the meeting. This webinar will be recorded so that JGSI’s paid members who are unable to view it live will be able to view the recording later.

More details on Programs page.

A great honor in memory of Peggy Morrow: Morasha, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois newsletter formerly edited by the late Peggy Morrow z"l and designed by Marcia Hirsch, has won the first-place award for newsletters in the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors’ 2020 Excellence in Writing Competition. Morasha is now edited by Dale Amdur and designed by Marcia Hirsch. Congratulations to all JGSI volunteers who regularly contribute to Morasha!

JGSI members are invited to write articles for Morasha, JGSI's newsletter. If you have an interesting family story or genealogical find, please send an article about it to morashaeditor@jgsi.org. 

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

Monthly Meetings

JGSI hosts our monthly meetings with informative speakers and expert genealogy volunteers  to answer your questions about Jewish genealogy.

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. We hope to see you at our next meeting.

If you would like to receive meeting notices via email, please click here.

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Upcoming events

22 Nov 2020 1:00 PM • From the convenience of your home computer.
24 Jan 2021 1:00 PM • From the convenience of your home computer.
21 Feb 2021 1:00 PM • From the convenience of your home computer.

Join JGSI Today!

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

Learn more about Membership Benefits and Join or Renew.

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.

What's New?

We have added about 1000 death notices to our JUF collection. 

JUF Death Notices & Obituaries Published 1994-Aug 2019 (17,753)

A Translation Guide to 19-Century Polish Language Civil Documents (Birth, Marriage and Death Records) by Judith R. Frazin is back in print. Information about the book is available at judithrfrazin.com. You can also contact Judith at judyfrazinbooks@gmail.com

Tour of Hebrew Benevolent Society (HBS) Cemetery