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Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

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“Learn Just Enough Russian for Genealogy” by Jane Neff Rollins

  • 25 Feb 2024
  • 12:30 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois

Jane Neff Rollins to speak on understanding Russian records for  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.

Registration/RSVP details and link will be forthcoming.

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.

The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:45 p.m. CST to accommodate those who want to use genealogy library materials, get help with genealogy websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome; however, registration is strongly encouraged.

JGSI hybrid event participants may register for both online and in-person events if they are undecided.

The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:45 p.m. for those who want to use genealogy library materials, get help with genealogy websites or ask genealogical questions from genealogy expert volunteers before the main program begins at 2 p.m.

At each in-person JGSI monthly meeting, its “help desk” will operate from 12:45 to 1:50 p.m. Member volunteers will access online databases and answer genealogical questions one-on-one for members and visitors as time allows.

The JGSI library has more than 800 volumes of interest to Jewish family historians. All are available for perusing from 12:45 to 1:50 p.m. at each regular monthly meeting.

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.

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



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JGSI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.