Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

Need something to do during the Covid-19 shutdown?

View one of many free genealogy webinars listed here: 

Free webinars that may help entertain and inform during COVID-19 shutdown.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 morashaeditor@jgsi.org. 


JGS of Illinois members to share family history discoveries and research tips on June 28, 2020:

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois will hold a virtual “Kvell and Tell” session on Sunday, June 28, 2020, as part of the group’s annual meeting. Selected members will take turns sharing family history discoveries and research tips. This meeting, which will start at 12:30 p.m., will also feature an annual report from JGSI’s president, Debbie Kroopkin.

For more information, call 312-666-0100 or see https://jgsi.org/event-3605836. This event is free and open to the public; however, Zoom will limit attendance to 100. To attend this live streaming event, at the start time go to: https://tinyurl.com/y8qnvkg4.

Those who wish to participate in the “Kvell and Tell” session as presenters are asked to send an email to events@jgsi.org explaining their presentation topic idea and estimated time of presentation. Each presentation is to be between 5 and 10 minutes to allow more members to share their discoveries, experiences and suggestions.

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 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

07 Jun 2020 4:00 PM • From the convenience of your home computer at https://jewishfestival.org/
28 Jun 2020 12:30 PM • From the convenience of your home computer. Join us at 12:30 p.m. by clicking on https://jgsi.org/event-3605836
26 Jul 2020 12:30 PM • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill. - Registration and networking, 12:30. Guest Speaker 2:00 pm

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