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Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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Please note that IN-PERSON and VIA ZOOM events are listed separately in this JGSI events list and that starting times differ for the two types of events. Make sure you register for the correct event—IN-PERSON or VIA ZOOM. If you change your mind or are unable to attend in person, the Zoom link is provided in confirmation emails for both types of events. Walk-ins are welcome at the in-person events.

Upcoming events

    • 25 Feb 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    • 163
    Register

    Jane Neff Rollins to speak on understanding Russian records for the Feb. 25, 2024, JGSI hybrid meeting 

    “Learn Just Enough Russian for Genealogy” will be the topic of genealogist Jane Neff Rollins for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois hybrid meeting on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.

    Her online talk will begin at 2 p.m. CST via Zoom and at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois. She will be speaking REMOTELY, and her presentation will be projected onto the wall at Temple Beth-El.

    The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:30 p.m. Central Time for those who want to use genealogy library materials, get help with family history websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged.

    RSVP by clicking the registration button at left.

    If your ancestors emigrated from the Russian Empire, eventually you’ll want to seek evidence of their lives back there, Jane said. Those documents will be in Russian, and surviving documents from Russian archives are becoming more available on microfilm or in digitized form online. You can learn just enough Russian (including the eight Cyrillic letters removed from the alphabet during the Russian Revolution that even native Russian speakers can’t read) to interpret those genealogically-relevant documents.

    Jane Neff Rollins began researching her family history when genealogy research required going to the Family History Library in person, and hand scrolling through microfilm. The first time she recognized her great-grandfather’s family on the 1900 census, she burst into tears. She is an alumna of ProGen Study Group 29, and a multi-year attendee of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Forensic Genealogy Institute.

    Although she specializes in researching those with Eastern European Jewish ancestry, her clients have diverse backgrounds, including those with roots in colonial America. Jane has transliterated 19th century Russian language census, business directory, and vital records entries for online databases over the last 20 years.

    She has spoken professionally about genealogy since 2012, and has since given genealogy lectures throughout the U.S. and abroad. Jane’s articles have appeared in NGS Magazine, FGS Forum (for which she won the 2020 Forum Writer’s Award), Crossroads, and Avotaynu, for which she wrote “Researching Jewish Ancestors Who Served in the Civil War.” She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and state and local genealogical societies.

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website.

    For more information about membership benefits, click here.

    • 10 Mar 2024
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    • From the convenience of your home device
    Register

    This 7 p.m. Central Time Zoom session is for JGSI members only. This special online-only event will feature JGSI DNA mavens Alvin Holtzman and Gil Bardige.

    This is a time for an open discussion about genetic genealogy (DNA). Bring your genetic genealogy questions and brick walls, and help answer questions of others. JGSI members are invited to share their DNA discoveries and quandaries related to using genetic tests for researching family history and discovering previously unknown cousins.

    Be sure to register for the March 10, 2024, JGSI members-only DNA discussion by clicking the button at left on this web page.

    If you are not a JGSI member and would like to view this presentation, please consider purchasing a JGSI membership for as little as $25 a year.  See the details at: https://jgsi.org/Membership.

    • 17 Mar 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    • 280
    Register

    Chicago's Jewish West Side to be the focus of the JGSI hybrid meeting on Sunday, March 17, 2024

    “It’s a Small World! Genealogy on Chicago’s Jewish West Side” will be the topic of Marshall High School alumna Beverly Chubat for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois hybrid meeting on Sunday, March 17, 2024. She will discuss and take questions about institutions such as the Jewish People’s Institute and the Douglas Park Theater.

    Her online talk will begin at 2 p.m. CDT via Zoom and at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois. She will be speaking REMOTELY, and her presentation will be projected onto the wall at Temple Beth-El.

    The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:30 p.m. Central Time for those who want to use genealogy library materials, get help with family history websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged.

    RSVP by clicking the registration button at left.

    Beverly Chubat attended the I. L. Peretz and Workmen’s Circle Yiddish folk schools on the West Side of Chicago and spent summers at Camp Kinderland in South Haven, Michigan, in an atmosphere rich in Yiddishkeit and Jewish cultural history. She has a BFA from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Bev was the editor/designer of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society quarterly journal (1999-2019). A writer and an artist, she is now also a freelance researcher for the Chicago History Museum.

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website.

    For more information about membership benefits, click here.


    • 14 Apr 2024
    • 12:30 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    Register

     JGSI Hosts First Annual Share Fair

    Share Fair – JGSI Poster Exhibits

    This special IN PERSON ONLY event is designed to allow interested members to share their genealogical work with others in an open forum. Exhibitors may choose to highlight any facet of their family history research including fascinating discoveries, arcane records, useful methodology, or soliciting help on a brick wall. The chosen subject is to be displayed on a tri-fold poster. While exhibitors are asked to be available to answer questions about their work, no formal stand up presentation is required. 

    For details on how the event will be set up click here

    If you are not interested in creating a poster, but are curious about the genealogy work of our members, we welcome you to join us as an kibitzer.

    The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois, will open on April 14 at 12:30 p.m. Central Time for those who want to use genealogy library materials, get help with family history websites or ask genealogical questions before the poster session begins at 2 p.m. For this special program, these services will remain open for the entire afternoon. The Share Fair itself will run from 2 to 3:45 p.m.

    Walk-ins are welcome to kibitz; however, registration is strongly encouraged. 

    Please note this is an IN PERSON ONLY event with building security in place. The meeting will not be broadcast on Zoom, nor will it be recorded. RSVP by clicking the  REGISTER  button on the left.

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website.

    For more information about membership benefits, click here.

    • 19 May 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    • 300

    Using historical maps for genealogical research is the topic for May 19, 2024, JGSI hybrid meeting 

    “Location, Location, Location: Historical Maps in Genealogy Research” will be the webinar topic of genealogist Ed Mitukiewicz for the Sunday, May 19, 2024, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois hybrid meeting. Ed will discuss various online resources that can be helpful in locating our ancestral towns in Central and Eastern Europe.

    His online talk will begin at 2 p.m. CST via Zoom and at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois. He will be speaking remotely, and his presentation will be projected onto the wall at Temple Beth-El.

    RSVP/registration links will be forthcoming soon.

    Identifying the towns and villages where our ancestors used to live can be a critical step in finding relevant sources of genealogical information, Ed says. However, locating some of those places often becomes quite a challenging task, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, where use of multiple languages, spelling or transliteration errors, appearance of similar names in different locations and countries, frequent name changes, and shifting national borders tend to introduce additional complications.

    Readily available web-based resources—including digital repositories of historical maps and geographic information databases—can help to overcome many of those challenges. This presentation demonstrates the methods and techniques of using such resources in order to enable correlating information from multiple data sources and facilitate locating our ancestral towns in Central and Eastern Europe.

    Ed Mitukiewicz is a mathematician and computer scientist by education, researcher and technology consultant by profession, and amateur cartographer and genealogist by coincidence. Ed has a particular weakness for historical maps—rumor has it that Ed never met one he did not like.

    Ed worked as editor, translator and map consultant during the production of the 2015 “Raise the Roof” documentary film about reconstructing the roof and painted ceiling of an 18th century wooden synagogue of Gwoździec, in southern Poland. Ed has presented illustrative scenarios of using historical maps in genealogical research at a number of genealogy conferences in Poland, Israel and the United States.

    The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:30 p.m. Central Time for those who want to use genealogy library materials, get help with family history websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged.

    For more information on JGSI, see https://jgsi.org or phone 312-666-0100.


    • 16 Jun 2024
    • 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • TBA
    • 300

    Planning is underway for the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival, scheduled for Sunday, June 16, 2024.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois plans to be among the many Chicago-area Jewish community organizations to be represented at this Jewish community event. JGSI member volunteers will staff a table where we can share what we do and answer Jewish genealogical questions for festival attendees.  

    Further details about the festival will be forthcoming at: https://jewishfestival.org/




    • 30 Jun 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    • 300

    Mark your calendar for the JGSI hybrid meeting scheduled for Sunday, June 30, 2024

    Program details and registration links will be forthcoming shortly.  

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 300 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

    JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 70 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more. Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database.

    For more information, see https://jgsi.org or phone 312-666-0100.



    • 18 Aug 2024
    • 22 Aug 2024
    • Sheraton Philadelphia PA Downtown, 201 N. 17th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Expert Jewish genealogists will be presenting informative family history talks for the 44th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from Sunday, Aug. 18 through Thursday, Aug. 22, 2024.

    Further details will be forthcoming from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies at: https://site.pheedloop.com/event/EVEVKKSMMLYPN/Home

Examples of Past Events

28 Jan 2024 “The Five Families of Records of the USCIS Genealogy Program” by Alec Ferretti
21 Jan 2024 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
03 Dec 2023 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
19 Nov 2023 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
12 Nov 2023 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen--VIA ZOOM
12 Nov 2023 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen--IN PERSON
29 Oct 2023 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
22 Oct 2023 “The Genetic Origins and Migrations of the Jewish People” by Adam Brown--VIA ZOOM
22 Oct 2023 “The Genetic Origins and Migrations of the Jewish People” by Adam Brown--IN PERSON
27 Aug 2023 “Help! I got my DNA Results and I’m Confused!” by Gil Bardige--VIA ZOOM
27 Aug 2023 “Help! I got my DNA Results and I’m Confused!” by Gil Bardige--IN PERSON
20 Aug 2023 "Preparing your Genealogy Materials for Future Generations" by Marcy Maslov
30 Jul 2023 Mark your calendar for July 30 to Aug. 3, 2023, for the 43rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
23 Jul 2023 “Using Social Media for Genealogic Research: the Good, the Bad, and the Exceedingly Strange” by Robin Meltzer--VIA ZOOM
23 Jul 2023 “Using Social Media for Genealogic Research: the Good, the Bad, and the Exceedingly Strange” by Robin Meltzer--IN PERSON
25 Jun 2023 Kvell and Tell 2023 annual JGSI meeting--VIA ZOOM
25 Jun 2023 Kvell and Tell 2023 annual JGSI meeting--IN PERSON
21 May 2023 “Networks and Chains: The Paths of Jewish Migrants from Central and Eastern Europe to Chicago Before 1914” by Tobias Brinkmann--VIA ZOOM
21 May 2023 “Networks and Chains: The Paths of Jewish Migrants from Central and Eastern Europe to Chicago Before 1914” by Tobias Brinkmann--IN PERSON
23 Apr 2023 “In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine” by Jeffrey Veidlinger--VIA ZOOM
23 Apr 2023 “In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine” by Jeffrey Veidlinger--IN PERSON
26 Mar 2023 “Navigating The Center for Jewish History Catalog” by Moriah Amit--VIA ZOOM
26 Mar 2023 “Navigating The Center for Jewish History Catalog” by Moriah Amit--IN PERSON
26 Feb 2023 “Using Online Historical Jewish Newspapers for Genealogical Research” by Janice Sellers--VIA ZOOM
26 Feb 2023 “Using Online Historical Jewish Newspapers for Genealogical Research” by Janice Sellers--IN PERSON
22 Jan 2023 “Ukrainian-Jewish Records: New Online Resources” by Ted Gostin--VIA ZOOM
13 Nov 2022 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen--VIA ZOOM
28 Aug 2022 “Privacy Issues with Online Trees” by E. Randol Schoenberg
21 Aug 2022 Mark your calendar for Aug. 21–25, 2022, for the 42nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
24 Jul 2022 “The Power of the Catalog – Unindexed Records and How to Find Them” by Risa Daitzman Heywood
26 Jun 2022 Kvell and Tell 2022 annual JGSI meeting
12 Jun 2022 Join us on June 12, 2022, at the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
22 May 2022 “Getting the Most from Revision Lists” by David R. Brill
24 Apr 2022 “Conflict Management: Evaluating Evidence of Identity” by Emily H. Garber
27 Mar 2022 “Ich bin ein Berliner: (Re)uniting 5 Half-siblings from 4 Different Mothers” by Michael Tobias
27 Feb 2022 “What Can We Learn about Our Ancestors from Jewish Surnames Adopted in Eastern Europe?” by Alexander Beider
23 Jan 2022 “Navigating Your Jewish DNA Results” by Adina Newman
14 Nov 2021 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
24 Oct 2021 “Here Comes The 1950 Census: What To Expect” and “Finding Difficult Passengers on the Ellis Island Manifests” by Joel Weintraub
07 Oct 2021 "Researching Belarus Records for Genealogy" by Paul Zoglin and Dave Feldman
29 Aug 2021 “What the Genealogist Needs to Know About Jewish Family Names” by Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus
25 Jul 2021 “A History of Jewish Name Changing in America” by Kirsten Fermaglich
27 Jun 2021 JGSI annual meeting with 'Kvell and Tell' talks
23 May 2021 “Journeys from Shtetl to Shtetl” by Eli Rabinowitz
25 Apr 2021 "Three Guides, Four Countries: A Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Travels to Their Ancestral Villages" by Deborah Long
21 Mar 2021 “Finding Your Kaplans” by Mindie Kaplan
21 Feb 2021 “Clued-In: Interpreting Real Photo Postcards from the Diaspora” and photo analyses by Ava Cohn
24 Jan 2021 “JRI-Poland Update and More” by Stanley Diamond
22 Nov 2020 “Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research” by W. Todd Knowles
25 Oct 2020 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
30 Aug 2020 “Out of the Whirlwind: Finding Your Family Lost in the Holocaust” by Deborah H. Long
26 Jul 2020 "Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen” and “What Would Nancy Drew Do in the Quest for Missing Family" by Ellen Kowitt
31 May 2020 “A Case Study in Getting Past a Genealogical Brick Wall” by Martin Fischer
03 May 2020 "When DNA or Documents Reveal Life-Altering Origin Secrets” by Steven Flack
23 Feb 2020 “Unique Aspects of Jewish Genealogy” by Debbie Kroopkin
26 Jan 2020 “Family History Resources from the Library of Congress” by Tina Beaird
17 Nov 2019 “Using Periodical Literature for Genealogical Research” and “More than Surname Surfing: Best Practices for Using the Internet for Genealogy” by Curt B. Witcher
27 Oct 2019 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
15 Sep 2019 “A Guide to Sephardic Genealogy” by Sarina Roffé
25 Aug 2019 “More Stories about Things I’ve Learned from Doing Genealogy” by Zalman Usiskin
02 Jun 2019 DNA: Tests, Tools and Tales -- A one-day conference
06 May 2019 “A 3-D View of Immigration" by Susan Weinberg
28 Apr 2019 “Three Hershberg Mysteries” by Barry Finkel
07 Apr 2019 “Resurrecting Grandpa’s Store” by Scott Meyer
24 Mar 2019 “The Margarine Moonshiners from Minsk” and “Conducting Story-Driven Research” by Tammy Hepps
03 Mar 2019 “Who Was B. Berman? A Case Study in Getting Past a Genealogical Brick Wall” by Martin Fischer
24 Feb 2019 “Write It! Tips for Saving and Sharing Family History" by Martin Fischer
27 Jan 2019 “Courthouse Finds” by Tina Beaird
Pre- and post-pandemic:  Monthly Meetings are usually held at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook.  Please check for any changes in venue by reading the event details.  The Temple will open at 12:30 pm for the help desk and library. JGSI members will be available to help answer genealogical questions, help with Internet searches, and help in the library. Scheduled programs will begin at 2:00 pm.

LINK TO FAQ: How to add the event to your calendar.
© 2024 JGSI | P.O. Box 515, Northbrook, IL 60065-0515 | 312.666.0100 | info@jgsi.org
JGSI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.