Schedule of 2020 Events

There are 10 monthly meetings: January-June; September-December 2020.  

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

Information is regularly updated.  This year we will be having a July meeting via ZOOM.

UPCOMING MEETINGS


Sunday, June 7, 2020 

Check-in: 1:00PM Zoom Meeting

Lecture: 1:30PM

Speaker: Tony Hausner, Town Research Group Leader

Tony has a Ph.D. in Social/Community Psychology from the University of Kentucky. He worked for 26 years for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on research and policy projects. He played a leadership role in 11 town research groups, particularly Skala Podolskaya in Eastern Galicia, where his mother was born. He spent several weeks traveling to Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Great Britain, visiting  ancestral places and other relevant places. He has published articles on these trips and has given several talks about the trips and other topics relevant to Jewish genealogy.

Topic: Jewish Internees on the Isle of Man in World War II

Tony’s parents, grandparents and other family members escaped from Vienna to England shortly after the German Anschluss. After about a year, the British government decided that people from Germany, Austria, Italy and several other countries could be classified as “enemy aliens”. Several members of Tony’s family were interned as “enemy aliens” with men and women housed in separate camps on the Isle of Man. His parents wrote letters to each other frequently. His mother kept his father’s letters which Tony donated copies to several museums. This talk will focus on the history of British internment and Tony’s parents’ experiences. He will also discuss the visit that he and his wife made to the Isle of Man in 2016, the exhibit they saw at the Manx Museum, their meeting with Museum staff, and their tour of the island.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Check-in: 1:00PM Zoom Meeting
Lecture: 1:30PM
Speaker: Robert Watson, Distinguished Professor of American History, Lynn University

 

Robert Watson is an award-winning author who has published over 40 books on topics in history and politics, 200 scholarly articles and chapters, and two multi-edition encyclopedia sets on the presidents and first ladies. His recent books include: Affairs of State (2012); America’s First Crisis (2014), winner of the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal in History; The Presidents’ Wives (2014), released in an expanded 2nd edition; The Nazi Titanic (2016), which is being made into a motion picture; The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn (2017), subject of a National Geographic TV special and winner of the John Barry and John Lyman Book Awards; and the forthcoming books George Washington’s Final Battle (2020) and Escape! The Story of the Infamous Bastille of the Confederacy (2020). Several of his books have been published in international translation, nominated for book awards, and were featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV and at prominent literary festivals.

Topic: The Nazi Titanic

Professor Watson will discuss the shocking and little-known story of “The Nazi Titanic,” which is an event that occurred during the final hours of the Holocaust and is based on his award-winning book. It is quite the story


Sunday, July 19, 2020 

Check-in: 1:00PM Zoom Meeting

Lecture: 1:30PM

Speaker: Sandy Lanman

Sandy began her career as a staff writer for a NJ daily, winning awards for health, medical and human interest writing. As a public relations professional, she has worked in the arts, public television and higher education and continues to serve as a p.r. consultant. She serves on the boards of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission and Central Jersey Jewish Historic Society and is a member of the Mercer County Jewish Genealogical Society at Beth El Synagogue. She has been presenting programs on her search for her mother’s biological family for over 20 years. Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s in communication from Rutgers University.

Topic: Haven or Hell? Jews in the Philippines During WWII

For years, Sandy Lanman knew her grandmother Elsie had escaped Germany to the Philippines only to lose her husband Gunther in the brutal Battle of Manila at the end of World War II. Aside from a few photos and family stories, she knew little else. In 2019, a serendipitous encounter on Facebook led her to Gunther’s great-nephew and a trove of photos of Elsie and Gunther in Manila. The discovery sparked her interest in the history of this little-known Jewish haven. Through film, photos and Elsie’s own words, Sandy’s presentation tells the story of the rescue of 1,300 European Jews and the terrors they faced under Japanese rule during World War II.


November 22, 2020
40th Anniversary Celebration Update
Celebrate with us on November 22, 2020 for our 40th Anniversary Celebration! The party will be at the National Museum of Jewish Heritage! Our special guest speaker will be Daniel Goldmark presenting “Jews in Rock”. Admission will include a kosher brunch by Barclay Caterers, discounted parking at the Bourse garage and entrance to the museum exhibits from 3-5.
Registration: 10:30AM
Event Begins at 11:00AM
Cost: $50 @member
$75 @non-member (will include membership for 2020)
E-invites : TBA . Hard copies will be mailed to those who do not use e-mail.
Please make sure I have your correct e-mail address.
Payment information will be forthcoming.
FYI: We are subsidizing more than 50% of the cost. We want to show our appreciation to everyone who has been a part of our growing organization!
Let’s try to carpool and offer rides to those who do not drive.
More Details to Follow


PREVIOUS MEETINGS 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Research Help and Registration:  1:00PM-1:30PM

Lecture: 1:30PM

Location: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027

Speaker: Fred Blum, Past President of JGASGP

Fred started his attorney service company, B&R Services for Professionals in 1968. In 1988 he obtained his Private Detective license. In 1998 he became interested in his family history. He studied genealogy and was able to locate his ancestors dating back to 1810. To date he has identified 1200 family members. With the knowledge he obtained, in 2005 he decided to volunteer for the IRC Holocaust Tracing Service, to reconnect Jewish, Polish and Ukrainian Holocaust survivors. In 2006 he was awarded the local and national “Volunteer of the Year” Award from the IRC.

Topic: How to Locate Individuals through Genealogy
Fred will teach us some techniques he uses to locate individuals through genealogy. This information will enable researchers to not only locate family, uncover distant relatives, assist in searching for heirs, as well as locating missing relatives.


Sunday, February, 23, 2020  

Research Help and Registration :  1:00PM-1:30PM

Lecture: 1:30PM

Location: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027

Speaker: Ira Siegal, JGASGP Member

A JGASGP member for the past two years, Ira Siegal has been a CPA since 1980 and since 2010 has been a Revenue Agent at the IRS in the Global High Wealth group in the Large Business & International division which audits the wealthiest taxpayers. He used his audit and investigative skills to find and pull together distant branches of a family tree.

Topic: The Irish Torah
Ira Siegal will share the story of a family heirloom, a Sefer Torah, originally from the town of Oshmyany (now Belarus – near Vilna) that made its way to Dublin, Ireland and then to Philadelphia, carried by his grandfather Isaac Schreider in 1908.
Ira met with the last Schreider third cousin in Dublin in 2018 and more third cousins in Israel this summer in Israel. Research in the archives at Yad Vashem found information on Holocaust survivors.


Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 1:30 pm Zoom Meeting
Speaker: Joel Spector, Director of Metrical Record Projects, JewishGen Ukraine Research Group

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: The Krakovsky Documents: Utilization of the Data by the Ukraine Research Group and Its Preservation on JewishGen

For several years, Alex Krakovsky, a Ukrainian Jew, has been scanning metrical and census records found in long-closed Ukrainian archives. He has placed the indexes, in Cyrillic, on a webpage where they can easily be accessed by anyone interested. This presentation will first discuss the origin and method of Alex’s data acquisition, and then give an overview of the contents of his site. The Ukraine Research Group, formerly the Ukraine SIG, has begun a project to make English language indexes to these documents available. I will
describe the Group’s current Metrical Records Project, whose purpose is to transliterate components of the documents and make the data available for researchers on JewishGen.


Sunday, May 17, 2020 

Check-in: 1:00 PM Zoom Meeting

1:30 pm Lecture

A tribute to Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 21)

Speaker: Mark Halpern, Executive Board Member, JRI-Poland

Mark Halpern was an International Businessman who lived in Japan. Later, while on business in Poland, he became interested in his roots. Now retired, Mark works with JRI–Poland, JewishGen, IAJGS, and JGASGP helping others research their roots. Mark serves on the Board and Executive Group of JRIPoland, is the founder of Bialystok Area Jewish Genealogy Group, is on the  Advisory Board of Gesher Galicia, and is a past President of JGASGP. Mark chaired the program committees for the 2009 and 2013 Conferences and served as advance coordinator for the 2018 Warsaw Conference. Mark was honored in 2018 with the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. Mark’s interest in Sugihara and the refugees goes back to the 2013 IAJGS Conference in Boston, where he met a Japanese gentleman. The following article explains Mark’s interest. https://www.tabletmag.com/jewishlife-and-religion/197643/from-japan-with-love.

Topic: The Sugihara Refugee Story: Survivors and Those Without Whom This Story Would Not Be Told

Most Jewish genealogists know the story of Chiune Sugihara, known as the Japanese Schindler. Sugihara issued over 2,000 Japanese transit visas that enabled many Jews to escape war torn Europe in the summer of 1940. But there is so much more to the story. There were many people – Europeans, Americans, Japanese – who helped to save these people. We will identify some of them and talk about their exploits. We will trace one Polish Jewish woman’s journey from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland to Santa Monica, California using her Sugihara transit visa to ultimately obtain US citizenship. Her journey started in Poland and included stops in Lithuania; Moscow and Vladivostok, Russia; Tsuruga and Kobe Japan; Shanghai, China; Windsor, Canada; and Chicago and Los Angeles over 15 years mostly as a Stateless person. We will document her journey using genealogical methods and records.


 

 

PREVIOUS MEETINGS 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019
Research Help and Registration: 1:00PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30PM
Location: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096
Speaker: Lara Diamond, President, Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland

Lara Diamond is President of JGSMD and has been researching her family for 25 years. She has traced all branches of her family back to Europe and most multiple generations back in Europe using Russian Empire-era and Austria-Hungarian Empire records. Most of her research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. She leads JewishGen’s Subcarpathia SIG, is on the Ukraine Sig board, and also runs several town-focused projects to collect documentation to assist all those researching ancestors from common towns. She blogs about her mostly Eastern European research at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com.
Topic: DNA 101: How to Use Genetic Testing for Genealogical Research
In this session, Lara Diamond will share insights on how to use genetic testing for genealogical research citing various types of tests available (including autosomal, yDNA and mtDNA). She will explain the types of genealogical questions each test can help answer, how each company presents results, the strategies for transferring results from one company to another, and how to benefit from each.


Sunday, February 10, 2019
Research Help and Registration: 1:00PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30PM
Location: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096
Speaker: Linda Levi, Executive Director of JDC’s Global Archives

Linda Levi is Executive Director of JDC’s Global Archives at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and is responsible for archives centers in NY and Jerusalem. The JDC Archives is one of the most significant collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history. JDC or the “the Joint” as it is known to its hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries worldwide, is the major instrument of American Jewish for meeting global Jewish needs.
Ms. Levi is a graduate of New York University and received her MA in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University.

Topic: The JDC Archives and What We Have to Offer Jewish Genealogists
“The Joint” has borne witness to the most pivotal events of twentieth-century Jewish history. The JDC Archives documents JDC operations and activities overseas, serves as a record of life in Jewish communities throughout the world, and testifies to JDC’s mission of providing rescue, relief, and rehabilitation services to global Jewish communities and individuals in need worldwide. Its extensive holdings include eyewitness accounts, correspondence, reports, logs, passenger lists, emigration cards, and much more, including an astonishing collection of approximately 100,000 photographs, which document the organization’s global activities. The presentation will focus on the Joint’s work over the last century and provide sample documents, film clips, and photos of interest to Jewish genealogists. Participants will learn how the Archives are organized, view examples of rich genealogical records, and discover how to conduct research in its repositories. Learn about the JDC Archives website www.archives.jdc.org and the treasures that await researchers.


Sunday, March 17, 2019
Research Help and Registration: 1:00-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30PM
Location: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096
Speaker: Ira Poliakoff, author of Synagogues of Philadelphia

Ira Poliakoff was born in Manhattan in 1945 just as his father returned from 4 years of service as a Ship’s Doctor during WW2. He grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Rockville Centre, Long Island. He is a retired business owner and has lived with his wife, Judy, in Wynnewood for almost 40 years. They have 2 children and two grandchildren. Ira’s first book, published in 2017, “Synagogues of Long Island”, was awarded first place in the category “Religion, General,” at the 2018 Best Book Awards at Book Fest.
Topic: Looking at the History of Philadelphia’s Jewish Community through the eyes of more than 500 Synagogues

Ira will discuss interesting stories and facts about some of the more than 500 Synagogues that exist or have existed in Philadelphia and it’s PA suburbs. Ira has conducted many interviews and done extensive research for this book.

Autographed copies of this book will be for sale after Ira’s talk.


Sunday, April 14, 2019
Research Help and Registration: 1:30PM – 2:00PM (Please note later time)
Lecture: 2:00 PM
Location: Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad Street, Phila., PA 19123
Speaker: Dan Oren, author of The Wedding Photo

 

Dan A. Oren, M.D. has worked for thirty years as a psychiatrist and faculty member at Yale University, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the University of Rzeszów, Poland. Prior to publishing The Wedding Photo <RimmonPress.com>, Oren wrote Joining The Club: A History of Jews and Yale, and co-authored How to Beat Jet Lag: A Practical Guide for Air Travelers, as well as numerous scientific articles.
Topic: The Wedding Photo: When a genealogical tree bears fruit!

A visit to an abandoned Polish Jewish cemetery in 1993 launches a 20-year search to solve the mystery of “Who is Buried in Sarah’s Tomb?” A visit with a cousin unearths a breathtaking photo of a Berlin family wedding from 1926 and leads to discovering their unimaginable post-wedding history. An archivist in Prague discovers an unknown uncle whose life takes the reader from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Vatican. A memoir by Philip Roth shocks a daughter into unlocking a father’s concealed past. In The Wedding Photo Dan Oren shares inspiring stories and techniques of how the pursuit of genealogy opens new worlds.
Autographed copies of this book will be for sale after Dan’s talk.


Sunday, May 19, 2019
Research Help and Registration:
1:00PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30PM
Location: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
(Corner of Old York Road and Township Line Road)
Speaker: Garri Regev, Immediate Past President, Israel Genealogy Research Association, IGRAPrevious Meetings 2018

Garri Regev lives in Israel and was an elementary teacher there for over 20 years. Garri has been doing genealogical research since 1995. She volunteers and lectures on Genealogy to adult groups including AACI, Hadassah, Touro College, the Central Zionist Archives, Yad VaShem, the National Library of Israel (NLI), EVA/MINERVA and IAJGS Conferences. She was President of the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) has served on the IAJGS Board of Directors and is currently Vice-President of LitvakSIG. She was the Vice-Chair of the 2015 IAJGS Conference in Jerusalem and co-chair of program for that Conference.

Topic: Searching for records in Israel – What can be found and where
Trying to find records for relatives in Israel? Here is an opportunity to understand what records are available and where to begin your research. Some records have now been digitized, others still not. Different Archives have different collections, we’ll go through the various options. What’s in English and what’s in Hebrew – we’ll cover that as well. Be sure to prepare questions and bring along names you may want to research!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bus Trip to Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York City. Reservation deadline:
May 25, 2019.

Highlights: 90 minute docent led tour of exhibit: “Auschwitz, “Not Long Ago, Not Far Away”; Kosher bag lunch with Avraham Groll, Director of JewishGen. One hour on your own to tour museum, etc.

For more details, click here!


Sunday, September 22, 2019
Research Help and Registration: 1:00 PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30 PM
Location: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
Speaker: Sarina Roffe

Sarina Roffé is a career journalist and holds a masters in Jewish Studies. She is the editor of Dorot for JGS of NY, the author of Branching Out from Sepharad, and has researched numerous genealogies including the Kassin and Labaton rabbinic dynasties and is considered an expert in Syrian Jewry. She is a member of the IAJGS board, co-chair of the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative and founder of the Sephardic Heritage Project. She is a member of Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community.
Topic: “Solving a Converso Mystery” — Traces Jews from Spain to Syria to the Americas; with information on Chief Rabbi Jacob Kassin and his lineage from Spain. Solves the issue of missing years from 1492 – 1540.


Sunday, October 27
Research Help and Registration: 1:00 PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30 PM
Location: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027
(Corner of Old York Road and Township Line Road)
Speaker: Jordan Auslander, Forensic Genealogist

Jordan Auslander is a New York based forensic genealogist, title and real estate historian. He has pursued cases across the United States, Europe and Israel.  Jordan published, an index to Jewish records in Slovakia, a genealogical gazetteer of Greater Hungary and served as  board member of the Jewish Genealogical Society, NY. He is known as  “Heir Jordan, Extreme Genealogist”.  In addition, Jordan is a Telly award winner for RootsTelevision.com and the ‘reliably inappropriate’ host of IAJGS conference Gameshow Night.
Topic: Researching New York City Resources Remotely

Between 1820 and 1920 over 82 percent of immigrants to the United States came through the port of New York. Learn how to trace your New York ancestors, whether they were passing through or called it home as well as resources to help you reconnect with family that remained elsewhere. While on-site research is the optimal approach to research, this is not always convenient or feasible. Nevertheless, much can be accomplished in advance or in lieu of physical travel. Components of New York City family history can be identified without setting foot on Broadway using a broad array of free and subscription internet sites as well as some conventional sources. These resources will be evaluated in the context of the questions and needs of lecture participants.


Sunday, November 17, 2019
Research Help and Registration: 1:00PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30PM
Location: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood, PA 19096
Speaker: Deborah Long, Author and Educator

Deborah Long has been researching her family’s Holocaust history and looking for surviving family members for more than 50 years. Her research in 2009 led to the discovery of surviving cousins in Sweden, Hungary, Canada, and most recently in Israel. Deborah is a professional educator, though typically her audiences are licensed professionals. She has written more than 20 books, including a memoir about growing up as a child of survivors titled “First Hitler, Then Your Father, and Now You.” She is the founder of the Triangle JGS in Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Topic: Out of the Whirlwind: Finding Your Family Lost in the Holocaust
The daughter of two Holocaust survivors, Deborah Long reviews the best (as well as some of the obscure) resources and methods for determining the fate of those involved in the Holocaust, including survivors and victims. Deborah will use examples from her own research to demonstrate the documents and artifacts she discovered.


Sunday, December 15, 2019
Annual Steve Schecter Memorial Lecture
Research Help and Registration: 1:00PM-1:30PM
Lecture: 1:30PM
Location: Main Line Reform Temple, 410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood, PA 19096
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 in preparation for arranging genealogy tours to Poland. That visit led to a 30-year career working in the archives of Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Lithuania.

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”.

Topic: Research and Revelations in Ukraine
The lecture will focus on Ukraine (current borders) and includes anecdotes about the changes, discoveries and delights of navigating the complexities of the former Soviet Union. Miriam was the first Jewish genealogist to collaborate officially, by contract, with the archives in the foregoing countries to produce her two award-winning books and website, https://rtrfoundation.org.
Miriam is well known for her handouts and attendees at this lecture will not be disappointed.