Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois


JGSI Programs  
Detailed meeting location information and map/directions are located at the bottom of this page.

Upcoming events

    • 16 May 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home device.
    Register

    This 7 pm Zoom session is for JGSI members only.

    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.



    • 23 May 2021
    • 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.
    Register

    Online Jewish genealogy resources to be focus of Jewish Genealogical Society talk on May 23, 2021

    Eli Rabinowitz, a board member of the IAJGS who lives in Australia and is from South Africa, will speak on “Journeys from Shtetl to Shtetl” for the Sunday, May 23, 2021, virtual meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. His live streaming presentation will begin at a special time: 7:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. (A separate JGSI members-only genealogy question-and-answer discussion time will start at 6:30 p.m.)

    Registration/RSVP details will be forthcoming. 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.

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

    In his presentation, Rabinowitz will explain how to trace our past and plot our future, using 88 KehilaLinks, over 760 WordPress blog entries, Facebook posts, and other social media. He will also discuss heritage travels in the actual and virtual worlds.

    In his talk, Eli will describe special events including commemorations and reunions of descendants. “An important activity is to visit a local school—either physically or online, to engage with students, especially in towns where a few buildings with Jewish symbols, or cemeteries that often contain illegible matsevot, are the only tangible memories of a once thriving community,” he said.

    It is also important that family histories should be documented and shared at the same time as the special events, Eli said.

    Examples of such recent ceremonies were the Bielski partisans’ descendants’ reunion in Naliboki and Navahrudak, Belarus; the new memorial for victims of the massacre that took place near Birzai, Lithuania; and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lost Shtetl Museum in Šeduva, Lithuania.

    Eli Rabinowitz was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and has lived in Perth, Australia, since 1986. He has researched his family’s genealogy and associated Jewish cultural history for over 30 years. Eli has travelled extensively, writing about Jewish life, travel, and education on his website, Tangential Travel and Jewish Life (http://elirab.me). He writes and manages dozens of JewishGen KehilaLinks and more than 750 WordPress blog posts. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. Eli has lectured internationally at educational institutions, commemorative events, at IAJGS and other conferences, and online.

    He is a board member of the IAJGS—The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, an independent non-profit umbrella organization that coordinates an annual conference of 84 Jewish genealogical societies worldwide.

    Eli also advises on Litvak and Polish heritage tours.

    He writes and manages 88 KehilaLinks—Jewish websites for JewishGen.org, the world’s largest Jewish genealogical organization, with a database of 500,000 followers. His KehilaLinks include sites in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Germany, Russia, China, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Australia.

    The Jewish Genealogical Societyof 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 65 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,


    • 27 Jun 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.


    Photo of Kvell and Tell presenters from 2019, when JGSI events were held in-person.


    JGSI members to share discoveries and research tips on June 27, 2021:

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois will hold a virtual “Kvell and Tell” session on Sunday, June 27, 2021, as part of the group’s annual meeting. Several JGSI members will take turns sharing family history discoveries and research tips. This meeting, which starts at 2 p.m. CDT, also features a brief annual report from JGSI’s president. (A separate JGSI members-only genealogy question-and-answer discussion time will start at 1 p.m.)

    Registration/RSVP details will be forthcoming. 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.

    Those who wish to share their family history discoveries and genealogy tips in the “Kvell and Tell” session as presenters should 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.

    Kvell and Tell presentation topics should relate to Jewish genealogy or family history research methods, anecdotes or discoveries. PowerPoint presentations are suggested but not required. Copies of informative handouts for those in attendance are also encouraged.

    The most relevant presentation proposals will be accepted as time allows, and preference will be given to shorter talks. Presentations will be recorded and later made available in the members-only section of the JGSI website.

    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 65 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.

     
    • 25 Jul 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.

    Jewish name changing to be subject of Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois talk on July 25, 2021

    Kirsten Fermaglich, who has been teaching history and Jewish studies at Michigan State University since 2001, will give a talk on “A History of Jewish Name Changing in America” for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois online meeting on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Her live streaming presentation will begin at 2 p.m. Central Time. (A separate JGSI members-only genealogy question-and-answer discussion time will start at 1 p.m.)

    Registration/RSVP details will be forthcoming.  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.

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

    In her presentation, Kirsten Fermaglich will offer an overview of her most recent book, “A Rosenberg by Any Other Name” (NYU Press, 2018). “Our thinking about Jewish name changing tends to focus on clichés: ambitious movie stars who adopted glamorous new names or insensitive officials who changed immigrants’ names for them,” she said. But as the speaker will describe, the real story is much more profound. Scratching below the surface, Fermaglich examines previously unexplored name change petitions to upend the clichés, revealing that in 20th-century New York City, Jewish name changing was actually a broad-based and voluntary behavior: thousands of ordinary Jewish men, women, and children legally changed their names in order to respond to an upsurge of antisemitism.

    Rather than trying to escape their heritage or “pass” as non-Jewish, most name-changers remained active members of the Jewish community, she said. While name changing allowed Jewish families to avoid antisemitism and achieve white middle-class status, the practice also created pain within families and became a stigmatized, forgotten aspect of American Jewish culture.

    Using court documents, oral histories, archival records, and contemporary literature, Fermaglich argues that name changing had a lasting impact on American Jewish culture. Ordinary Jews were forced to consider changing their names as they saw their friends, family, classmates, co-workers, and neighbors do so. Jewish communal leaders and civil rights activists needed to consider name changers as part of the Jewish community, making name changing a pivotal part of early civil rights legislation. And Jewish artists created critical portraits of name changers that lasted for decades in American Jewish culture.

    The talk ends with the disturbing realization that the prosperity Jews found by changing their names is not as accessible for the Chinese, Latino, and Muslim immigrants who wish to exercise that right today.

    As a professor in the Department of History at Michigan State University, Kirsten Fermaglich’s interests center around the historical meanings and problematic nature of ethnic identity in the United States: “I am particularly interested in secular Jews as both members of and outsiders to the Jewish community,” she said. “I am also interested in the ways that gender, race, class, and family intersect with ethnic identity.”

     “A Rosenberg by any Other Name” won the Saul Viener Book Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society for the best book published in American Jewish History over the past two years.  Her first book, “American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares” (Brandeis University Press, 2006), looked at secular Jewish intellectuals’ uses of the Holocaust in the early 1960s. Fermaglich also co-edited, with Lisa Fine, the Norton Critical Edition of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” (2013).

    She teaches undergraduate classes in American Jewish history and culture, as well as undergraduate and graduate classes in United States history after 1865.

    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 65 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,

    • 29 Aug 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois has scheduled an event for Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021

    Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus, co-owner, founder and editor of Avotaynu, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy, will give two talks, one on “Family Names” and one on “Given Names.” 

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING IN THIS SPACE. 

    • 24 Oct 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CDT)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois has scheduled an event for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021

    Joel Weintraub, one of the creators of the Steve Morse One-Step website, will give two talks, one on “Finding Difficult Passengers on the Ellis Island Manifests” and one on “The 1950 U.S. Census.” 

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING IN THIS SPACE. 

    • 14 Nov 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (CST)
    • From the convenience of your home computer.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois has scheduled an event for Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING IN THIS SPACE. 

    • 12 Jun 2022
    • 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM (CDT)
    • Details to be announced.

    The Greater Chicago Jewish Festival is scheduled for  Sunday, June 12, 2022

    For more information, see: https://jewishfestival.org/

    FURTHER DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 


Past events

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
28 Jun 2020 Annual meeting with "Kvell and Tell"
07 Jun 2020 Mark your calendar for the Sunday, June 7, 2020, VIRTUAL Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
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
22 Mar 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
03 Nov 2019 “Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland” by Mike Karsen
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
11 Aug 2019 Tour of Hebrew Benevolent Society (HBS) Cemetery
29 Jul 2019 JGSI Dinner at IAJGS Conference in Cleveland
23 Jun 2019 Annual meeting with Kvell and Tell
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
16 Dec 2018 "Stories about Things I've Learned from Doing Genealogy" by Zalman Usiskin
18 Nov 2018 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland—What’s New” by Mike Karsen
14 Oct 2018 "Resurrecting Grandpa’s Store" by Scott E. Meyer
26 Aug 2018 “Research Genealogical Resources in Israel From Your Couch” by Daniel Horowitz
29 Jul 2018 “Researching Individuals with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Resources” by Diane Afoumado
24 Jun 2018 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell”
30 May 2018 “A DNA Discussion with a DNA Devotee” by Alvin Holtzman
29 Apr 2018 “Gesher Galicia" and "Galician Portraits” by Andrew Zalewski
08 Apr 2018 “A DNA Discussion with a DNA Devotee” by Alvin Holtzman
11 Mar 2018 "Filling in the Blanks on My Jewish Family History" by Annette Gendler
04 Mar 2018 "Techniques for Using Jewishgen.org" by Debbie Kroopkin
18 Feb 2018 “Researching Jewish Ancestors on Ancestry Library Edition” by Jane G. Haldeman
21 Jan 2018 “Insight into FamilySearch and The Wilmette Family History Center” by Suzanne Hoffman
19 Nov 2017 “My Mother’s Life in Cuba: In Her Own Words” by Martin Fischer
22 Oct 2017 “Apple Does Not Fall: Shtetl Cousins Meet Iron-Curtain Cousins” by Bena Shklyanoy
27 Aug 2017 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland-What’s New” by Mike Karsen
16 Jul 2017 “Choosing the Right Family Tree Software” and “What’s New at Ukraine SIG” by Chuck Weinstein
25 Jun 2017 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell”
21 May 2017 “General DNA and Genealogy” and “The DNA of the Jewish People” by Bennett Greenspan
07 May 2017 "Online Genealogy Tools" by John Miller
26 Apr 2017 “Document and Share Your Genealogy Now!” by Clara Tomaz and Heather Hehman
19 Mar 2017 “Genealogy is Easy, Fascinating, and Fun: How I Found the Feldmans”
19 Mar 2017 “Making the Most of the County Clerk’s Genealogy Resources" by Angela Wright Madison
22 Feb 2017 “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Judith R. Frazin
19 Feb 2017 “Getting the Most Out of MyHeritage” by Daniel Horowitz
22 Jan 2017 “Genealogy is Easy, Fascinating, and Fun: How I Found the Feldmans” by Steven Flack
20 Nov 2016 “Archival Records of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County" by Philip J. Costello
30 Oct 2016 “Techniques for Using Jewishgen.org” by Debbie Kroopkin
25 Sep 2016 “Putting the Flesh on the Bones” and “Evaluating Evidence: Asking a mini-Minnie Question" by Ron Arons
28 Aug 2016 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland - What’s New” by Mike Karsen
09 Aug 2016 JGSI Dinner in Seattle, Washington
31 Jul 2016 "Specifics of Hungarian Jewish Genealogy - Historical Background and a Practical Guide" by Karesz Vandor
17 Jul 2016 “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Judith R. Frazin
10 Jul 2016 “Discover Your Family Genealogy” by Mike Karsen
26 Jun 2016 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell”
05 Jun 2016 Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
22 May 2016 “Cadastral Maps as a Genealogical Resource” by Alex Feller
17 Apr 2016 “German Jewish Genealogy: A Case Study” by Dennis Aron
07 Apr 2016 Newberry Library Tour & Research
13 Mar 2016 “The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture During World War II" by Jeanne Reed
14 Feb 2016 “Jewish Genetic Genealogy - A Study in Endogamy” by Israel Pickholtz
31 Jan 2016 “Genealogy Research & Book Research Have a Lot in Common” by Walter Reed
22 Nov 2015 “Making the Dead Dance: How to Breathe Life into Your Ancestors” by S.L. (Sandi) Wisenberg
01 Nov 2015 “Getting Started in Genealogy” by Judith R. Frazin
25 Oct 2015 “The Greenebaum Family: From the Rheinpfalz to Chicago” by Joan Adler
27 Sep 2015 Tour of Zion Gardens Cemetery
30 Aug 2015 “Jewish Genetics” by Murray Brilliant
09 Aug 2015 "Stepping Stones to Researching Your Family's Jewish Roots" by Harriet Rudnit
19 Jul 2015 “Family History: Caring for Your Treasures” by Eileen A. Ielmini
06 Jul 2015 35th IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem
28 Jun 2015 Annual meeting with “Kvell and Tell"
07 Jun 2015 JGSI Conference 2015
20 May 2015 “Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland: What’s New?” by Mike Karsen
26 Apr 2015 “Finding Frida: My Mother’s First Cousin, a Holocaust Survivor” by Ken Bravo
29 Mar 2015 “Clued-In: The Stories are in the Details” by Ava Cohen
22 Feb 2015 “Making a Family Tree Coffee Table Book” by Zalman Usiskin
25 Jan 2015 “How I Do Genealogy: Starting Research and Beginning to Gather Information” by Barry Finkel
23 Nov 2014 "Reconnecting with My Lithuanian Roots” by Harriet Rudnit
26 Oct 2014 "Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust" by Walter Reed, et al
19 Oct 2014 "Getting Started in Genealogy" by Judith R. Frazin
28 Sep 2014 “Using FamilySearch.org and the Family History Research Center” by Judith R. Frazin
24 Aug 2014 “Treasures in Print: Finding and Using Historical Newspapers” by Robin B. Seidenberg
28 Jul 2014 JGSI Dinner at IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City
23 Jul 2014 “Looking Outside the BMD Box for Your Mother and Aunts: A Case Study Based on Eretz Israel” by Rose Feldman
20 Jul 2014 “My Cousin the Murder Defendant” by Martin Fischer
29 Jun 2014 "Ethical Wills-Values Handed Down Through Our Genealogy" by Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler
18 May 2014 “Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors’ Arrival Records Online” by Mike Karsen
04 May 2014 JGSI Beginners' Genealogical Workshop by Judith R. Frazin
27 Apr 2014 "Why am I stuck? 10 Solutions to Common Genealogical Brick Walls" by Marsha Peterson-Maass
30 Mar 2014 “Locating Israeli Relatives and Holocaust Survivors: Search Strategies and Integrating Resources” by Rose Lerer Cohen
16 Feb 2014 "The Mystery of the Green Dumpster" documentary film
26 Jan 2014 "From Babylon to Skokie: A Short History of Ashkenazim" by Ron Grossman
24 Nov 2013 "Chicago's West Side Jews vs. South Side Jews" by Mark Mandle
27 Oct 2013 "More, Much More Than Fiddlers on the Roof!" by Brian Zakem
29 Sep 2013 Beginners’ Genealogical Workshop by Judith R. Frazin
25 Aug 2013 "Rembering Jewish Lawndale" documentary film
28 Jul 2013 "Researching Your Chicago Ancestors" by Stephen M. Szabados
30 Jun 2013 "My Cousin, The Gangster" by Mike Karsen
09 Jun 2013 Digging Deeper: Researching Our Ancestors With Technology 2013 JGSI Conference
19 May 2013 "Spreadsheets 101: Excel, the Genealogist's Underutilized Tool" by Jeanne L. Bloom
28 Apr 2013 “The Lemba Jewish Community of Zimbabwe” documentary film
17 Mar 2013 “Finding Living Relatives” by Martin Fischer
24 Feb 2013 "Rumbula’s Echo” documentary film discussion with Mitchell Lieber
27 Jan 2013 Ask the Experts panel discussion
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, which has the event location.

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 map showing location of Temple Beth-El.Select link to view map of Temple Beth-El

Want reminders about our meetings and events?

Email info@jgsi.org and request 'Email meeting and events reminder"

Adding an event to your calendar

You can now import the downloaded .ICS file into most calendar programs, including MS Outlook, Apple iCal, and Google Calendar. Your calendar program will automatically use the timezone of the event to set the equivalent event time in your calendar.

An .ICS (iCalendar) file will be generated containing the event details and a link to the event page.
The file will be downloaded via your browser.

LINK TO FAQ How to add the file to your calendar.
© 2019 JGSI   P.O. Box 515, Northbrook, IL 60065-0515 • 312.666.0100 • info@jgsi.orgwebmaster@jgsi.org