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Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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Monthly Meetings are usually held at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook, IL.  Please check for any changes in venue by reading the event details.  The Temple opens 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. 

For Zoom events, please see your confirmation or reminder emails for the Zoom link. If there is a handout, it is typically attached to the reminder email sent two days before the event. 

Upcoming events

    • 30 Jun 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    • 221
    Register

    Author to speak IN PERSON on his book featuring first-person accounts of prominent 20th century Chicagoans as part of a joint JGSI-Chicago Jewish Historical Society meeting on June 30, 2024

    Neal Samors, an author, co-author, and publisher of more than 30 books about Chicago, will talk about his latest work, “Memories of Growing Up in Chicago: Recalling Life During the 20th Century,” on Sunday, June 30, 2024, at 2 p.m., at Northbrook’s Temple Beth-El. His presentation is co-sponsored by the Chicago Jewish Historical Society (CJHS) and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JGSI).

    Samors will be speaking IN PERSON at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook, Illinois, and his talk will be available online via Zoom for those who register to attend remotely.

    Please register/RSVP by clicking the button at left.

    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, including our collection of maps; get help with family history websites, ask genealogical questions, or just chat, before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged.

    Samors’ latest work, on which he collaborated with Thomas O’Gorman and Christopher Lynch, pays tribute to neighborhoods in every section of Chicago. It also includes reflections on growing up in adjoining suburbs, such as Skokie, Evanston, and Park Ridge.

    The first-person voices in “Memories” are those of dozens of native Chicagoans, at least a third of whom are Jewish—Jo Baskin Minow, Shelley Berman, Richard Elrod, Sheldon Patinkin, Walter Jacobson, and Joel Weisman, among them. Other lesser-known Jewish contributors share stories of growing up in Humboldt Park, Avondale, and South Shore.

    Samors said that he has been collecting the stories of Chicagoans for more than a quarter of a century, and that he was fortunate, over this time, to acquire first-person accounts of former public officials, including Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan, the late Illinois Governor James Thompson, United States Senator and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, all of whom grew up in and around Chicago. Samors said he was able to interview Clinton, thanks to a personal congressional connection: He and United States Representative Jan Schakowsky, attended Chicago’s Sullivan High School together.

    The book opens with Samors’ own boyhood experiences in Chicago’s East Rogers Park. Historic black-and-white photos of Chicago neighborhoods are featured throughout the coffee table-size book, which has been published by Samors’ publishing house, Chicago’s Books Press, and which is available as a print-on-demand publication in soft cover and hardcover at Amazon.com.

    This joint CJHS-JGSI event is free for all. Those who cannot attend in person will be able to view the program on Zoom. Following his talk, Samors will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase. Attendees can also schmooze with him during a refreshment hour, which will feature coffee, tea, and kosher pastries.

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website or phone 312-666-0100. For information about membership benefits, click here.



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

    This 7 pm Zoom session, for JGSI members only, will have a Chicago focus and will feature Mike Karsen. There will be a brief opening presentation on U.S. naturalizations in Chicago.

    This Tuesday, July 9, 2024, JGSI members-only event, will include an open discussion about Chicago-area genealogy. Bring your Chicago-related genealogy questions and brick walls and help answer questions of others. If you want to submit your brick wall question to Mike ahead of time, email him at Karsen.Mike@gmail.com.

    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.

    • 21 Jul 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 Sunday, July 21, 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 participate in this discussion, please consider purchasing a JGSI membership for as little as $25 a year.  See the details at: https://jgsi.org/Membership.

    • 28 Jul 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois
    Register

    JGSI members to share discoveries and research tips in 'Kvell and Tell' program July 28, 2024

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois will hold a hybrid “Kvell and Tell” session on Sunday, July 28, 2024. Six JGSI members will take turns sharing family history discoveries and research tips starting at 2 p.m. CDT.  As a hybrid meeting, the talks may be given from home via Zoom OR in person at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois. The Zoom talks will be projected onto the wall at the temple.

    At 12:30 p.m. CDT, before the presentations, please join us for lunch and networking at Temple Beth-El. Let's talk genealogy! Bring your questions and talk about your research journey, or just get to know your fellow genealogy enthusiasts. Register and order a delicious box salad or sandwich lunch from Sunset Foods. All options are kosher style, dairy. Our help desk and library will be open and available  from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

    Please register/RSVP by clicking the button at left.

    Confirmed speakers and topics for this year's “Kvell and Tell” include the following:

    • Alex Feller: "Prenumerantn: Finding ancestors in subscriber lists of 19th century books"
    • Marty Fischer: "Morris Fischer’s Gravestone: Understanding the Symbols on an Elaborate 19th Century Kohanic Matzevah"
    • Scott Meyer: "Finding A Needle in the Haystack—with Artificial Intelligence!"
    • Abby Schmelling: "Jewish Waldheim—Family Histories and Memories"
    • Bob Silverstein: "From Krynki to Elk Grove Village to Krynki"
    • Terry Taylor: "Stories, Secrets, and Mistakes—Gather Evidence!"

    Each presenter will speak for approximately 10 minutes. After all the presentations have been completed, viewers/attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers.

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

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website  or phone 312-666-0100. For information about membership benefits, click here.



    • 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.

    For more information or to register for the conference, visit the conference website here: https://www.iajgs.org/conference/

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

    Researching family, friends, associates and neighbors is lecture topic for Aug. 25, 2024, JGSI hybrid meeting

    “Don't Fan the Flames: Become a Fan of Using FAN Research” will be the lecture topic of genealogist Debbie Trotsky Soren for the Sunday, Aug. 25, 2024, Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois hybrid meeting.

    Her talk will begin at 2 p.m. Central Time via Zoom and at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois. She will be speaking in person 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.

    Registration/RSVP will be available here soon.

    Do you want to find out more about your direct ancestors, but the records you need seem to be missing? Have you hit a brick wall? Learn why FAN research (researching family, friends, associates and neighbors) can help you further your research. Whether or not you are interested in collateral (non-direct) relatives, FAN research is a tool that can be helpful to all genealogists. It may also be referred to as cluster, or collateral research.

    Debbie Trotsky Soren began researching her own family over 25 years ago. After working as a CPA, raising a family and serving on various community boards she earned a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, and now provides genealogical services for others. In June 2013 she toured family shtetls (towns) and visited archives in Lithuania and Belarus. Debbie is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society. She has been on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois for the past six years, and is currently serving as treasurer.

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website or phone 312-666-0100. For more information about membership benefits, click here.

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

    Mark your calendar for the JGSI hybrid meeting on Sunday, Sept.  22, 2024

    Additional details will be available in the near future.

    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, including our collection of maps; get help with family history websites, ask genealogical questions, or just chat, before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged. Feel free to bring your lunch!

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website. For more information about membership benefits, click here.

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

    Mark your calendar for the JGSI hybrid meeting on Sunday, Nov.  17, 2024

    Additional details will be available in the near future.

    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, including our collection of maps; get help with family history websites, ask genealogical questions, or just chat, before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged. Feel free to bring your lunch!

    For more information on the JGSI, visit our website. For more information about membership benefits, click here.

    • 08 Jun 2025
    • 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • TBA
    • 300

    Planning is underway for the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival, scheduled for Sunday, June 8, 2025.

    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/




Selected Past Events

02 Jun 2024 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
19 May 2024 "Location, Location, Location: Historical Maps in Genealogy Research" by Ed Mitukiewicz
25 Apr 2024 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
14 Apr 2024 JGSI "Share Fair" IN-PERSON poster session on April 14, 2024
17 Mar 2024 “It’s a Small World! Genealogy on Chicago’s Jewish West Side” by Beverly Chubat
10 Mar 2024 Genetic Genealogy Open Discussion for DNA Questions and Answers (Members Only)
25 Feb 2024 “Learn Just Enough Russian for Genealogy” by Jane Neff Rollins
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)
12 Nov 2023 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen--IN PERSON
22 Oct 2023 “The Genetic Origins and Migrations of the Jewish People” by Adam Brown--VIA ZOOM
27 Aug 2023 “Help! I got my DNA Results and I’m Confused!” by Gil Bardige--VIA ZOOM
20 Aug 2023 "Preparing your Genealogy Materials for Future Generations" by Marcy Maslov
23 Jul 2023 “Using Social Media for Genealogic Research: the Good, the Bad, and the Exceedingly Strange” by Robin Meltzer--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--IN PERSON
23 Apr 2023 “In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine” by Jeffrey Veidlinger--VIA ZOOM
26 Mar 2023 “Navigating The Center for Jewish History Catalog” by Moriah Amit--VIA ZOOM
26 Feb 2023 “Using Online Historical Jewish Newspapers for Genealogical Research” by Janice Sellers--VIA ZOOM
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
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
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
© 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.