DNA Success in Spite of Endogomy

  • Speaker: Lara Diamond
  • Lecture Date: 11-24-2018


Co-Sponsored by JewishGen.org at the Museum of Jewish Heritage Genetic genealogy is much more complicated when dealing with endogamous populations than the general population, and many people get frustrated when trying to identify actual relatives from the mass of genetic cousins who are actually related in many ways quite far back. Learn how you can have success when dealing with endogamy by examining stories from the speaker's own family's DNA, which include reuniting with branches thought killed in the Holocaust.

Branching Out from Sepharad - Solving a Converso Mystery

  • Speaker: Sarina Roffe
  • Lecture Date: 10-20-2018


Co-Sponsored with the American Sephardi Federation and the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

Sarina Roffé, author of Branching Out From Sepharad, outlines the history of Jews in Spain, the 1492 Expulsion, their history in Syria, and their immigration to the Americas. She will discuss the ancestry and significance of the Kassin rabbinic dynasty, which dates to the 12th Century, and the 50-year leadership of Chief Rabbi Jacob S. Kassin, who led the Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn. At the same time, she solves a Converso mystery. Rabbi Kassin's ancestor arrive in Aleppo in 1540. Sarina solves the mystery of the time gap from 1492-1540.

Searching Historical Directories and More at GenealogyIndexer.org

  • Speaker: Logan Kleinwaks
  • Lecture Date: 05-05-2018


GenealogyIndexer.org is a free website for searching 1 million+ pages of historical European directories (business, address, telephone), yizkor books, Galician secondary school reports, military documents, and more. Containing many millions of personal names – often with towns, street addresses, and occupations, and sometimes with vital dates or patronymics – most of the 2,000+ sources are not searchable elsewhere. This talk will focus on recently added sources and new search functionality. The use of directories in the Warsaw property restitution process will also be discussed briefly. Recipient of the IAJGS 2012 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet and one of Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Websites for 2015-2017.

An Archive in Contexts: The USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive

  • Speaker: Jeffrey Shandler
  • Lecture Date: 04-21-2018


This lecture examines the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive as a major project of public memory situated in a series of contexts: Jewish ethnographies, public memory projects at the turn of the millennium, and the different media used to document the Holocaust.

More Stories from Ellis Island

  • Speaker: Fred Voss
  • Lecture Date: 03-17-2018


From 1892 to 1954, more than 12.5 million immigrants were processed through Ellis Island. Coming from all corners of the world, these souls—whom nearly 40% of Americans can call "family"—left behind possessions and family to reinvent themselves in America. Most were processed through Ellis Island without incident. But some immigrants found themselves detained due to mental or physical illness, because their paperwork was not in order, or because those who were due to receive them did not show. What kind of stories could they tell? This talk will explore the personal, sometimes heartbreaking, stories of those who came through the facility, those whose visit to the US ended there, and those whose stay on the island was unexpectedly lengthy. It will also explain how to decipher the markings on ship manifests.

What You Can Learn From Bubbe's Photos

  • Speaker: Eric Silverman
  • Lecture Date: 02-18-2018


What could be more mundane that clothing? Yet old Jewish garments can illustrate the complex social worlds in which Jews have always lived. For most of Jewish history, clothing represented a tension between dressing Jewish and dressing like everybody else. Clothing, that is, communicated messages about the different ways one could be Jewish in particular eras. This was especially true in the late-19th and early 20th-centuries, precisely the era in which the ancestors of most American Jews migrated to the United States. This talk, lavishly illustrated with images, show how we can ‘read’ the clothing in old Jewish photos for clues about the wider historical processes that shapes Jewish lives, aspirations, and struggles.

Warsaw Genealogical Research

  • Speaker: Hadassah Lipsius
  • Lecture Date: 01-21-2018


Warsaw is the capital of Poland and in the onset of World War II, had the largest population of Jews in all of Europe. Hadassah Lipsius will present a lecture about genealogy research in Warsaw and specifically research of your Warsaw family. Sources include; vital record research, newspaper announcements, business directories, homeowners lists, cemetery records, notarial records as well as business records and much more. This lecture will review the sources, show examples and provide aides and tips in how to perform your search...

Sleuthing in Yiddish: The Yiddish Forward as a Source

  • Speaker: Samuel Norich
  • Lecture Date: 11-19-2017


In this presentation, Samuel Norich, president of the Forward Association, the not-for-profit publisher of the Forward and the Forverts, will provide an overview of the role the Yiddish Forward has played for American Jews for the past 120 years. He will examine the features and innovations that made it the most widely read Jewish publication in the world for the first six decades of the 20th century, and now make it a resource for historians and others delving into the Jewish communities of America and Europe of those times.

Beyond the Manifest: Applying Genealogical Proof Standards

  • Speaker: Emily Garber
  • Lecture Date: 10-29-2017



Co-Sponsored by JewishGen.org at the Museum of Jewish Heritage / Lucille Gudis Memorial Lecture

When several communities in Eastern Europe have similar names and their names have been changed over the years, it may be difficult to unambiguously identify one's family’s shtetl of origin. Considering the investment in time and energy in researching one's family shtetl, it is imperative that one get it right. Yet we do not often apply rigor in identifying our family’s communities of origin. The genealogical proof standard requires rigor in our research methodology. With its application and a well-designed research plan, we assure that our findings are robust and our conclusions not easily challenged. Applied methodology with suggested genealogical sources and techniques will be explored. Resources will include landsmanshaft burial data, online archival material, and the Shoah Names database. The goal is to provide tools and methods for confirming the location of one’s family shtetl in Eastern Europe.

The Jews of Harlem: Rise, Decline & Revival

  • Speaker: Jeffrey S. Gurock
  • Lecture Date: 09-17-2017


In this lecture, Jeffrey S. Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, recalls Jewish Harlem, a neighborhood that was once home to the second largest Jewish community in America. Using periodicals, memoirs, interviews and genealogical materials, Professor Gurock will describe the forces that brought several generations of Jews to settle there, as well as its subsequent decline in the 1920s and reemergence in the 21st-century.

Contact Us

Mailing address:

Benefits of Membership

  • A subscription to our quarterly journal, DOROT
  • Download and read the last 2 years of quarterly issues of Dorot, the award-winning newsletter of the JGS. [NEW]
  • Listen to podcasts of the last 2 year's monthly meetings, where available. [NEW]
  • Free access to Jewishdata.com
  • Discounts on JGS publications
  • Free admission to monthly meetings
  • Discounts on admission to other JGS events
  • Discounts on admission fees and purchases at "JGS Friends"