Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

Need something to do during the Covid-19 shutdown?

View one of many free genealogy webinars that may entertain and inform listed here: 

Free genealogy webinars 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.

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 now edited by Dale Amdur, has won the first-place award for newsletters in the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors’ 2020 Excellence in Writing Competition. 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 

Genealogist Ellen Kowitt to give two talks July 26, 2020

Ellen Kowitt, past president and current outreach chair of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado, will give two virtual lectures for the Sunday, July 26, 2020, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois meeting: “Comparing Jewish Resources on, 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.

For more information about this meeting, see or call 312-666-0100. This event is free and open to the public; however, Zoom will limit attendance to 100. Planning is underway to have the live streaming presentation also be available simultaneously through Facebook Live.

More details on Programs page.

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

Northbrook Monthly Meetings

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

Mark your calendar now for our future events, which are listed on the Programs page of this website. Also, sign up for, 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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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.

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 You can also contact Judith at

Tour of Hebrew Benevolent Society (HBS) Cemetery