Jewish Genealogical
Society of Illinois


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

Upcoming events

    • 26 Apr 2017
    • 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook

    Program: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
    Program starts 7:00 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook.

    The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 5:30 p.m. to accommodate those who want to use or borrow genealogy research library materials, get help with genealogy websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 7 p.m.

    How-to video techniques for genealogists to be explained at Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois meeting

    Clara Tomaz and Heather Hehman from Make Your Movie Inc. will demonstrate how to easily create and share a short video about you or a family member at the Wednesday, April 26, 2017, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. Their presentation, called “Document and Share Your Genealogy Now!” will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.

    Clara Tomaz
    Heather Hehman

    For more information about this free event, see the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois website at or phone 312-666-0100.

    Make Your Movie Inc. is a small film company specializing in documentary-style, family films. Their recent films include “Family First: A Story of Two Holocaust Survivors” and “Local Legend: Ellen Stirling.”

    Clara Tomaz is founder and creative director of Make Your Movie Inc., or MYM. She is passionate about enabling people to tell and share their personal stories. Tomaz last year won a $5,000 national film grant from One Revolution Foundation for “turning the perception of disability upside down.” She creates feature-length, documentary films; celebration videos, and digital photo albums. She also teaches filmmaking classes to children.

    Heather Hehman is marketing director of MYM. She seeks to empower people to tell and share their stories. She recently received the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award from the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce. Hehman previously worked for DDB and Leo Burnett, and has been involved with Friends of the Wilmette Public Library and Northwestern University’s Community Council for International Students.

    • 07 May 2017
    • 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
    • Congregation Beth Shalom 772 W. Fifth Avenue, Naperville, IL 60563

    Sunday, May 7, at 7:00 pm   

    Jewish Genealogy in the Western Suburbs

    Where: Congregation Beth Shalom 772 W. Fifth Avenue, Naperville, IL 60563

    Who we are: West Suburban affiliate of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois meeting on a monthly basis with the goal of helping others research and collect the history of their ancestors. Meeting time includes talks and discussions of relevant interest to the membership, as well as help with your questions, issues in your genealogical and family history efforts.

    Meeting agenda: Meeting lecture this month will be a brief overview of the various online tools available for genealogy research presented by John Miller. Afterwards, we will help with any research questions you may have and discuss what we would like to discuss at the next meeting. Feel free to bring your laptops and other electronic devices

    Future topics to include:

    - Genetic testing

    - Techniques for breaking down walls

    • 21 May 2017
    • 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook

    Family Tree DNA founder to give two presentations at JGSI May meeting

    First presentation starts at 1 p.m. Second presentation starts at 2:30 p.m

    Bennett Greenspan, founder, president and CEO of Family Tree DNA, will give two informative presentations at the Sunday, May 21, 2017, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, starting at 1 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.

     “General DNA and Genealogy” and “The DNA of the Jewish People” are his topics at this special JGSI meeting, which is free and open to the public. For this meeting only, the JGSI library and help desk will not be available.

    At 1 p.m., in “General DNA and Genealogy,” Greenspan will address the use of DNA testing to enhance genealogical research and explain the types of DNA tests and their applications. He will outline the basics of genetic genealogy and answer the question of why family history researchers should test their DNA.

    At 2:30 p.m., in “The DNA of the Jewish People,” Greenspan will discuss the genetic profiles typically found among the Jews, including Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Mizrahim as well as the profiles of the Europeans among whom Jews have lived for the past 2,000 years. Some say the Ashkenazim did not originate in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East but instead are descendants of Khazars who converted to Judaism in Eastern Europe. But what do the genetics say? In this talk, Greenspan revisits the genetic ancestry of Jews. Using male-inherited Y-DNA, he compares the signatures common among Middle Eastern populations with those of European populations, with some surprising—or perhaps not-so-surprising—results.

    Nebraska native Bennett Greenspan caught the genealogy bug early, completing his first family tree at around age 12.  He graduated from the University of Texas, where he studied political science. His early businesses included photo-imaging/industrial photography and commercial real estate. 

    Greenspan’s attempts to prove a genealogical theory prompted him to contact Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona. Greenspan persuaded Hammer to use a Y-DNA test for genealogy.  When the test proved Greenspan’s theory, he decided to start a company to take DNA testing directly to consumers, giving birth to both Family Tree DNA and a new industry.

    An entrepreneur and life-long genealogy enthusiast, Greenspan founded Family Tree DNA in 1999, turning a hobby into a full-time vocation. Together with Max Blankfeld, he founded in 1997, a website for college-bound students.

    Family Tree DNA is a pioneer in the genetic genealogy industry and the first company to offer direct-to-consumer DNA testing for genealogical purposes. As the official testing partner for National Geographic’s Genographic Project, FTDNA offers the world’s most comprehensive matching database, helping to unlock family history and connecting people with living relatives across the globe, the company says.

    With just a cheek swab, FTDNA’s suite of tests provides clues for users to further their genealogical research, determine ethnic and geographic origins, and discover shared ancestry across all lines. Testing through Family Tree DNA can help break through brick walls and connect more dots on your family tree.

    For more information about the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois or the JGSI schedule of future events, see or phone 312-666-0100.

    • 25 Jun 2017
    • 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Rd, Northbrook

    Program: Sunday, June 25, 2017

    Program starts 2 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.

    The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois will hold a “Kvell and Tell” session on Sunday, June 25, 2017, as part of the group’s annual meeting. Selected members will take turns sharing family history discoveries and research tips starting at 2 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 3610 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Ill.

    The JGSI meeting facilities at Temple Beth-El will open at 12:30 p.m. for members who want to use or borrow genealogy library materials, get help with genealogy websites or ask genealogical questions before the main program begins at 2 p.m. For more information phone 312-666-0100.

    Those who wish to participate in the “Kvell and Tell” session as presenters are asked to send an email to explaining their presentation idea. Each presentation is to be 10 minutes or less to allow more members to share their discoveries, experiences and suggestions.

    Kvell and tell presentation topics should relate to Jewish genealogy, family history research methods, anecdotes or discoveries. PowerPoint presentations are suggested but not required. The six most relevant presentation proposals will be accepted. Presentations will be recorded and later made available in the members only section of the JGSI website.

    Live online access may not be used during the presentations; however, screenshots are recommended. Informative handouts for those in attendance are also encouraged.

    The June 25 meeting will also feature the co-presidents’ annual report and the introduction of JGSI officers and other board members.

Past events

19 Mar 2017 Sunday, March 19, 2017: West Suburban Chapter JGSI: Watch a JGSI presentation called “Genealogy is Easy, Fascinating, and Fun: How I Found the Feldmans”.
19 Mar 2017 Sunday, March 19, 2017 “Making the Most of the County Clerk’s Genealogy Resources,”
22 Feb 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 “Getting Started in Genealogy”
19 Feb 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 “Getting the Most Out of MyHeritage”
22 Jan 2017 Sunday, January 22, 2017 “Genealogy is Easy, Fascinating, and Fun: How I Found the Feldmans”
20 Nov 2016 Sunday, November 20, 2016 “Archivist with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, will describe the court’s archival holdings.”
30 Oct 2016 Sunday, October 30, 2016 “Techniques for Using”
25 Sep 2016 Sunday, September 25, 2016 “Putting the Flesh on the Bones” and “Evaluating Evidence: Asking a mini-Minnie Question.”
28 Aug 2016 Sunday, August 28, 2016 “Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland-What’s New”
09 Aug 2016 JGSI Dinner in Seattle, Washington
31 Jul 2016 Sunday, July 31, 2016 "Specifics of Hungarian Jewish Genealogy - Historical Background and a Practical Guide"
17 Jul 2016 Sunday, July 17, 2016 “Getting Started in Genealogy”
10 Jul 2016 Sunday, July 10, 2016: “Discover Your Family Genealogy.”
26 Jun 2016 Sunday, June 26, 2016 “Kvell and Tell”
05 Jun 2016 Sunday June 5th, 2016 Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
22 May 2016 Sunday, May 22, 2016 “Cadastral Maps as a Genealogical Resource”
17 Apr 2016 Sunday, April 17, 2016 “German Jewish Genealogy: A Case Study”
07 Apr 2016 Thursday April 7, 2016 Newberry Library Tour & Research
13 Mar 2016 Sunday, March 13, 2016 “The Children of La Hille: Eluding Nazi Capture During World War II.”
14 Feb 2016 Sunday, February 14, 2016 “Jewish Genetic Genealogy - A Study in Endogamy”
31 Jan 2016 Sunday, January 31, 2016 “Genealogy Research & Book Research Have a Lot in Common”
22 Nov 2015 Sunday, November 22, 2015 “Making the Dead Dance: How to Breathe Life into Your Ancestors”
01 Nov 2015 Sunday, November 1, 2015 “Getting Started in Genealogy”
25 Oct 2015 Sunday, October 25, 2015 “The Greenebaum Family: From the Rheinpfalz to Chicago”
27 Sep 2015 Sunday, September 27, 2015 "Tour of Zion Gardens Cemetery"
30 Aug 2015 Sunday, August 30, 2015 “Jewish Genetics”
09 Aug 2015 Sunday, August 9th. Stepping Stones to Researching Your Family's Jewish Roots
19 Jul 2015 Sunday, July 19, 2015 “Family History: Caring for Your Treasures”
06 Jul 2015 35th IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem July 6-10, 2015
28 Jun 2015 Sunday, June 28, 2015 “Kvell and Tell” session
07 Jun 2015 Sunday, June 7th. JGSI Conference 2015
20 May 2015 Wednesday, May 20, 2015 “Online Resources for Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland: What’s New?”
26 Apr 2015 Sunday, April 26, 2015 “Finding Frida: My Mother’s First Cousin, a Holocaust Survivor”
29 Mar 2015 Sunday, March 29, 2015 “Clued-In: The Stories are in the Details”
22 Feb 2015 Sunday, February 22, 2015 “Making a Family Tree Coffee Table Book”
25 Jan 2015 Sunday, January 25, 2015 “How I Do Genealogy: Starting Research and Beginning to Gather Information”
23 Nov 2014 Sunday, November 23, 2014 "Reconnecting with My Lithuanian Roots”
26 Oct 2014 Sunday, October 26, 2014 Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust
19 Oct 2014 Sunday, October 19, "Getting Started in Genealogy"
28 Sep 2014 Sunday, September 28, 2014 “Using and the Family History Research Center”
24 Aug 2014 Sunday, August 24, 2014 “Treasures in Print: Finding and Using Historical Newspapers”
28 Jul 2014 JGSI Dinner at IAJGS Conference in Salt Lake City
23 Jul 2014 Wednesday, July 23, 2014 “Looking Outside the BMD Box for Your Mother and Aunts: A Case Study Based on Eretz Israel”
20 Jul 2014 Sunday, July 20, 2014 “My Cousin the Murder Defendant”
29 Jun 2014 Sunday, June 29, 2014 "Ethical Wills-Values Handed Down Through Our Genealogy"
18 May 2014 Sunday, May 18, 2014 “Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors’ Arrival Records Online”
04 May 2014 Sunday, May 4, 2014 JGSI beginners' workshop
27 Apr 2014 Sunday, April 27, 2014 "Why am I stuck? 10 Solutions to Common Genealogical Brick Walls."
30 Mar 2014 Sunday, March 30, 2014 “Locating Israeli Relatives and Holocaust Survivors: Search Strategies and Integrating Resources”
16 Feb 2014 Sunday, February 16, 2014 "The Mystery of the Green Dumpster,"
26 Jan 2014 Sunday, January 26, 2014 "From Babylon to Skokie: A Short History of Ashkenazim"
24 Nov 2013 Sunday, November 24, 2013 Chicago's West Side Jews vs. South Side Jews
27 Oct 2013 Sunday, October 27, 2013 More, Much More Than Fiddlers on the Roof!
29 Sep 2013 Sunday, September 29, 2013 Beginners’ Genealogical Workshop
25 Aug 2013 Sunday, August 25, 2013 Remembering Jewish Lawndale
28 Jul 2013 Sunday, July 28, 2013 Researching Your Chicago Ancestors
30 Jun 2013 Sunday, June 30, 2013 My Cousin, The Gangster
09 Jun 2013 Digging Deeper: Researching Our Ancestors With Technology
19 May 2013 Sunday, May 19, 2013 Spreadsheets 101: Excel, the Genealogist's Underutilized Tool
28 Apr 2013 Sunday, April 28, 2013 “The Lemba Jewish Community of Zimbabwe”
17 Mar 2013 Sunday, March 17, 2013 Editor, writer and genealogist Martin Fischer will speak about “Finding Living Relatives”
24 Feb 2013 Sunday, February 24, 2013 "Rumbula’s Echo” focuses on the Rumbula forest murders
27 Jan 2013 Sunday, January 27, 2013 Ask the Experts
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

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Email 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.
© 2016 JGSI   P.O. Box 515, Northbrook, IL 60065-0515 • 312.666.0100 •