Schedule of 2021 Events

We schedule meetings usually every 3 weeks from January to June and September-December 2021.

Please note: Meeting times, dates, locations and speakers are subject to change.

Information is regularly updated.

Due to the Corona virus situation, our meetings this year will be conducted on the Zoom until it is safe to meet as a group.

Meetings are for paid-up members only. They will receive the Zoom link before the meeting.

Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 1:30 pm Via Zoom

Time: 1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze. Program starts promptly at 1:30

Speaker: David Brill, Experienced Russian Empire Researcher

David Brill has been researching his family history in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and the United States for over 25 years. A longtime member of JGASGP, he coordinates the Russian Interest Group, and is an avid (and self-taught) translator of prerevolutionary Russian records. In addition to managing the Tuchin, Ukraine, KehilaLinks page, David leads the Rovno Uezd Jewish Records Project for the JewishGen Ukraine Research Division, which is currently translating more than 52,000 records of Jewish families from Tuchin, Rovno and nearby towns. In his non-genealogical existence, David is a research civil engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration, specializing in the design and evaluation of airport runways. He has a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Rutgers University, and also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met his wife Michelle. They have two grown children, Ari and Rachel.


Topic: Getting the Most from Revision Lists – A Regional Approach


Revision lists are among the most important genealogical resources from the Russian Empire, and they are often the only available confirmation that an ancestor actually lived in a particular shtetl. They may contain important information pertinent to neighboring towns too. Fortunately, we now have access to greatly expanded online databases, plus new sources of online revision lists and other original documents (such as Alex Krakovsky’s wiki page, topic of last April’s meeting by Joel Spector). This means that it is now easier than ever to expand one’s research beyond the borders of a single shtetl, and discover previously unknown genealogical connections to nearby communities. David’s presentation shares examples from the ongoing Rovno Uezd Jewish Records Project (present-day Rivne, Ukraine) that illustrate the power of a region-wide search. In addition, David will discuss the current status of the Rovno regional translation project, and what a deep reading of the revision lists can tell us about our ancestors’ lives in the Russian Pale of the 19th-century.


Date: Sunday, April 11, 2021 Via Zoom

Time: 1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze. Program starts promptly at 1:30

Guest Speaker: Ellen Kowitt

Ellen Kowitt is Director of JewishGen’s United States Research Division and National Vice Chair of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Jewish Task Force. She is past president of JGS Colorado and JGS Greater Washington DC, and has served on the IAJGS board of directors. Ellen publishes articles in Avotaynu and Family Tree Magazine, and she’s a member of the Colorado Association of Professional Genealogists. For information,


Topic: Comparing Jewish Resources on the Genealogy Giants


Enjoy this comparative overview of Jewish record collections and research tools found on the global powerhouse websites referred to as “Genealogy Giants.” Covering Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast, and MyHeritage, this lecture includes many substantive record examples. Learn how each site can be helpful for documenting Jewish families, and get tips on each site’s best features or challenges. Current JewishGen partnerships with Ancestry and MyHeritage will be featured.


Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 1:30 pm Via Zoom

Time: 1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze. Program starts promptly at 1:30

Special Event: Ask the Experts

Speakers: JGASGP experts to be announced

JGASGP will develop a mechanism using Zoom to allow members to ask their most burning questions and research and breaking down brick walls. Stay tuned for more.

Date: Sunday, May 23, 2021 via Zoom

Time: 1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze. Program starts promptly at 1:30

Speaker: Alex Krakowsky


Ukrainian archives are notoriously difficult and expensive to deal with, if one can get records from them at all. Alex Krakovsky, a Jewish Ukrainian, is using freedom of information laws and the court system in Ukraine to force archives to allow him to scan their records and post them on a public website. Alex uses high resolution scanning equipment to scan virtually all records in an archive, posting to a wiki just for Jewish records. He has spent a great deal of time and his own money doing this important work, constantly doing battle with a very difficult government system. He has also received funds donated for purchase of state-of-the-art scanners, which are now in use in most Ukraine archives.


Topic: To be determined


Save the following dates:


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021





All meetings are for paid members only. Please see our website for additional membership or contact

Our Past 2021 Meetings

Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 1:30 pm Via Zoom

Speaker: Sharon Taylor, JGAGSP Member


Sharon Taylor graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. For ten years, Taylor worked for the University of Colorado School of Medicine as a Professional Research Assistant.


Taylor and her husband live outside of Philadelphia where Taylor continues writing and researching her family and the Jews of Galicia. She is a member of Gesher Galicia, and the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia. Her articles have been published in their journals, on The National Library of Israel Blog, and in Jewish newspapers in Philadelphia and Arizona.


Topic: Extra! Extra! Read All About it: Using to Research Family History


Sharon Taylor’s roots lay in Mariampol, a typical small town in eastern Galicia (today western Ukraine), and in Philadelphia. No vital records are known to exist for the time Taylor’s family lived in Mariampol. In Philadelphia, it was rumored that Taylor’s family was involved in organized crime, an activity that strives to leave no trace. Turning to Taylor explored the tale of her great-uncle’s kidnapping by the Russian Army. She’ll share her results and methodology as she tracks the struggles of Mariampol during the First World War, and finds evidence of her family’s colorful life in Philadelphia in the 1930’s.

Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1:30 pm Via Zoom

Producer: Ron Arons, Author and Genealogy


Ron has presented at 14 of the past 18 IAJGS conferences on a wide variety of subjects and has also been behind the scenes at 4 IAJGS conferences to help produce “Game Show Night/Jewish Genealogy Jeopardy”. Ron has traced his roots to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, England, Belarus, and the Ukraine. In 2006 Ron appeared on the PBS TV series The Jewish Americans. He has published three books including The Jews of Sing Sing and, most recently, Mind Maps for Genealogy. Ron earned a B.S. in Engineering from Princeton and an MBA from the Univ. of Chicago.


Show: Game Show Night – “Who Wants to Be A Rothchild?”

Game Show Night is almost a tradition at the IAJGS Conference. Specifically, ‘JewPardy’ (Jewish Genealogy Jeoprady) has been conducted at six previous IAJGS conferences to much acclaim. JewPardy is a takeoff of the standard game of ‘Jeopardy’ with certain twists to make more germain for Jewish genealogy audiences. Today, we will play “Who Wants to Be A Rothchild,” Ron’s spin-off of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?. The result is an evening of education, jokes, mishaps, and LOTS of laughter. Not to be missed.

Sunday, February 21, 2021 via Zoom

1:00 pm Check-in, Chat, and Schmooze. Program starts promptly at 1:30

Guest Speaker: Miriam Weiner, Genealogist, Author and “Creator of the Consolidated Eastern European Archival Database”

In 1989, Miriam Weiner accepted an invitation from the Polish National Tourist Office to visit the Polish archives as preparation for arranging genealogy tours to Poland. That visit led to a 30-year career working in the archives of Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine. On December 15, 2019, Miriam Weiner will give a presentation about her extraordinary and unpredictable odyssey as she “walked in the footsteps of her ancestors.”

In 1991, “The Jewish Week” in New York referred to Miriam as “The genealogist who lifted the archival iron curtain” and in 1998, “The Forward” referred to her as “The Indiana Jones of pre-war Polish Jewry.”

We are very lucky to have our Lifetime member join us for a special encore presentation!


Searching the new Surname Database

Miriam Weiner Introduces New Surname Database with 2,000,000+ names at her Website!


From 30+ years of working in the archives of Eastern Europe, I have acquired hundreds of various document collections and have formed a close working relationships with archivists on all levels which continues to this day. During the last 2 years, I have created a surname database (searchable via standard search and OCR search) which enables the researcher to access Holocaust name lists, vital records, census lists, school records, property lists, various telephone & business directories, most of which does not appear elsewhere online. Written permission was obtained from archivists, authors and institutions for me to create data files & publish this information. The data entry is ongoing. Additionally, at, a town name search can produce: 1: archive data for that town, 2: images of the town, and 3: link to street map of the town. A surname search can produce 1: document results with that surname, 2: link to a street map, and 3: links to town images. All in a single search!


Date: Sunday, February 28, 2021 Via Zoom

Time: 1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze. Official program starts promptly at 1:30

Guest Speaker: Leora Tec, Founder and Director, Bridge to Poland

Leora Tec is the founder and director of Bridge To Poland, which seeks to educate people about Jewish history in Poland with an emphasis on how the Jews of Poland are being remembered by non-Jewish Poles today. Leora is the Special Projects Partner of Brama Grodzka-Teatr NN in Lublin, Poland and a Mary Elvira Stevens Traveling Fellow from Wellesley College (2018-2019). In cooperation with Brama Grodzka-Teatr NN Leora has created the online video archive, The Neshoma Project: Conversations with Poles Rescuing Jewish Memory. Leora sits on the board of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies. She is the author of several articles including “Bridge Building in the Polish Jewish Landscape in Jews in Dialogue (Brill 2020) and the forthcoming, “An Inclusive Model of Memory Work in Poland: Bridge To Poland as a Case Study” with Professor Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs in the Polish journal Politeja. Leora’s mother, Nechama Tec, is a Holocaust survivor and Holocaust scholar whose book, “Defiance,” was made into the film of the same name starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. Leora holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a J.D./LL.M. from Duke University School of Law.

Topic: What is There for Jews in Poland Today? An Introduction to The Neshoma Project

As we know, ninety percent of Polish Jews were murdered during World War II. It’s understandable that some people, especially Jews of Polish descent, might have reservations about going to Poland, the site of such vast pain and loss. And yet, Poland is an integral part of Jewish history.

Leora Tec has traveled all over Poland having conversations with non-Jews who, in different ways, are remembering the Jews who used to be their neighbors. Those interviewed, working to heal historical wounds, come from many different fields including: scholarship, teaching, guiding, grassroots activities, museum work and the arts.

In this talk, Leora Tec lays out several reasons in favor visiting Poland, focusing on those people she calls Rescuers of Memory, who are featured in the online video archive she created in cooperation with Brama Grodzka-Teatr NN, The Neshoma Project.


Date: Sunday, March 7, 2021 Via Zoom

Time: 1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze. Program starts promptly at 1:30

Special Program: Beginner’s Seminar open to both members and non-members

Speaker: Joel Spector, former President of JGASGP


Joel is a Past President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia, where he has also been chairperson of its Russian Special Interest Group. Joel has given presentations and workshops on the Russian language, both contemporary and pre-Revolutionary, and has provided translations of documents to individuals and groups. Currently Joel is a member of the Ukraine Research Group and serves as its Director of Metric Record Projects. Joel has been actively engaged in genealogy for over 30 years and has been conducting research in several historic Russian language encyclopedias. He has produced a unique English language Index to the Russian language Evreiskaya Entsiklopedia.

Topic: “Finding Your Ancestors: How to Get Started and Where to Go.”

The presentation will focus on how to find information about your ancestors, both those you know and those you didn’t even know you had. We will explore what data is immediately available and review what information can be derived from the many types of resources – local, national and international – and from on-line resources. Throughout, we will focus on the excitement in discovering information about your little-known ancestors and on the various types of information that make the search in Jewish genealogy fun.


Here are links to Joel’s handouts (one in MS Word format, one as a PDF)

Word handout

PDF handout