Leo Baeck Institute Family History Success Stories

  • Speaker: Karen Franklin, Michael Simonson, Moriah Amit
  • Lecture Date: 05-15-2016

Forgetting Fathers: Untold Stories from an Orphaned Past

  • Speaker: David Marshall, PhD
  • Lecture Date: 04-17-2016


Award-winning author David Marshall will speak about his book, "Forgetting Fathers: Untold Stories from an Orphaned Past," which has been described by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as an “un-forgettable detective story born in a deeply felt, personal quest to solve the mystery of his grandfather’s name.” Marshall weaves together the stories of his grandfather and great-grandfather with his own quest to solve the mystery of his family’s past. Beginning as a search for his lost family name, he seeks to understand the origins of his grandfather, who spent part of his childhood in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of the City of New York. He also reconstructs the life and death of his great-grandfather, a Russian immigrant tailor who lived on the Lower East Side and died at age thirty-six in a private sanitarium dedicated to the treatment of mental and nervous diseases.
In addition to discussing his book, Marshall will talk about the compulsion to search for life stories and the challenge of reconstructing family histories from public documents, historical records, family stories, and memories, especially when families preferred to forget rather than remember their pasts.

"Yikhes": Researching Your Roots in the Dorot Jewish Division, New York Public Library

  • Speaker: Amanda Seigel
  • Lecture Date: 03-13-2016

From the Spanish Inquisition to the Present

  • Speaker: Genie Milgrom
  • Lecture Date: 02-21-2016


Genie Milgrom was born in Havana, Cuba, into a Roman Catholic family of Spanish Ancestry. She was always interested in her family genealogy, but when she learned of the possibility of having Converso Jewish roots, her search for the truth about her family’s past took on a deeper significance. In an unparalleled work of genealogy, she was able to fully document her unbroken maternal lineage going back as far as 1480 to Pre-Inquisition Spain and Portugal. She has travelled extensively into Fermoselle, the village of her ancestors in the Zamora region of Spain, while doing field research on the past Jews of Fermoselle.

Knish: In Search Of Jewish Soul Food

  • Speaker: Laura Silver
  • Lecture Date: 12-20-2015

Three Minutes in Poland

  • Speaker: Glenn Kurtz
  • Lecture Date: 11-15-2015

From the Steppes to the Pampas

  • Speaker: Victor Armony
  • Lecture Date: 10-11-2015
  • Description: Victor Armony, a sociology professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal, will speak about Jewish immigration to South America and, in particular, to Argentina, his country of birth and home of the sixth largest Jewish community in the world. His late father, Paul Armony, was the founding president of that country’s Jewish Genealogical Association, and Victor has been researching his family roots since he was a teenager. He will talk about the fascinating history of the arrival and settlement of tens of thousands of Eastern European Jews in Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, and also about the remarkable case of the Jewish “cowboys” in the rural colonies of the Pampas. Victor will describe the different patterns of Jewish migration in the surrounding Spanish-language countries (e.g. Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay), and also the efforts by his father and the genealogical association to uncover and preserve records from Jewish cemeteries all over that region during the 1990s and early 2000s, including some which were all but abandoned and forgotten. Victor will refer to the available resources and databases of genealogical interest in South America, and he will share some memories and experiences regarding his own quest to connect his Jewish-Polish ancestry, his personal Hispanic cultural background, and his children’s French Canadian identity.

Stanton Street Shul Tour

  • Speaker: Elissa Sampson
  • Lecture Date: 09-20-2015

Jews, Liquor, and Life in Eastern Europe

  • Speaker: Glenn Dynner
  • Lecture Date: 06-14-2015

Holly Golightly Was a Nice Jewish Girl: Our Ancestors Reinvented

  • Speaker: Pamela Weisberger
  • Lecture Date: 05-17-2015

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