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Researching our Families: Three Case Studies

Sunday, May 21, 2023, 02:00pm - 03:00pm

Speakers: Steve Stein, Karen Franklin, and Hadassah Lipsius

Three longtime members of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc. (JGSNY), Steve Stein, Karen Franklin and Hadassah Lipsius, will each present a case study that demonstrates how they resolved a genealogical question in their family research.

Steve Stein will show how he discovered and then resolved a discrepancy regarding the identity of his wife’s Lithuanian great-great-grandmother, using a variety of sources, and ultimately applying the Genealogical Proof Standard. Breaking through this “brick wall” enabled the discovery of earlier ancestors as well as a host of contemporary relatives.

While researching during the scariest days of Covid, Karen Franklin found an intriguing mystery in her family history – that her great-great-great uncle Jacob Kohlberg ventured down to Memphis, Tennessee, during the Yellow Fever epidemic in 1878 to volunteer his services to bury the dead. Not surprisingly, he contracted the fever and lost his hearing, but survived. Karen will describe how she solved the mystery not only of why Kohlberg risked his life for others and what happened to him, but also the story of Jacob’s father Leopold who died of “the fever” in Philadelphia that same year. 

It was nearly 30 years ago when Hadassah traveled to Philadelphia with her father and young nephew to visit the grave of her great-grandmother, Sheina Tauba.  They were shocked to find that her father’s name was missing from the Matzeva. The search for Sheina Tauba father’s name took Hadassah through family correspondence, bad assumptions, US Death records, St. Petersburg, Russia Chorale Synagogue records, St. Petersburg Archive, LitvakSIG and the Vilnius Archives.   


Steve Stein, President of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Inc., is a retired software professional and manager with more than 40 years in the telecommunications industry. He has been researching his own and his wife's genealogies for more than 45 years, whose origins include Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, and Romania. He has volunteered for H-SIG and JOWBR, is currently coordinating research projects and the KehilaLinks page related to Nyasvizh, Belarus, and hopes to start one for Kupel, Ukraine, in the near future. He has served as president of both the local day school and his synagogue.

Karen S. Franklin has been director of Family Research at the Leo Baeck Institute for over 20 years and a leader in the fields of genealogy and museums for many more. She received the 2019 IAJGS Lifetime Achievement award and has served as the IAJGS president, chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums, chair of the Memorial Museums Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and as co-chair of the Board of Governors of She is a founder and past jury president of the Obermayer German Jewish History Awards and has served on the board of the National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis.

Hadassah Lipsius is the 2020 recipient of the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement award. She was co-chair of the 42nd and 26th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and the Program Chair for the 2021 and 2022 IAJGS Conferences. A longtime member of the Jewish Genealogical Society's Executive Council, she is a board and executive committee member of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and the Database Manager for the Warszawa Research Group. Hadassah has traveled to Eastern Europe many times to pursue her family research. 

Location : Museum of Jewish Heritage, Edmond J.Safra Hall
Our May meeting will take place in association with the Museum of Jewish Heritage's Mishpachah Festival, co-presented with JewishGen.

Co-presented with JewishGen at the Mishpachah Festival - a Celebration of Genealogy, Heritage, and Immigration at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
The Festival will be free, in person, and held throughout the day from 10 AM - 5 PM, with a resource area open from 11 AM - 4 PM. There will be genealogy lectures, cooking demonstrations, Jewish heritage panels and more. Four sessions, including the JGS's session, Researching Our Families: Three Case Studies, will be live-streamed. For more information and to register, click here:
Upon registering, people will receive the livestream link. For those who previously registered, an email with the link will be sent.

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