Sunday, January 8, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Guest Speaker:  Michael Morganstern

Using the “Forverts”(Jewish Daily Forward-) for Family History

Description: Founded in 1897, the “Forverts” (Jewish Daily Forward) was a leading Yiddish language newspaper in the United States throughout the 20th century. Most of this newspaper is available to browse digitally for free through the online Historical Jewish Press database. This lecture will examine hidden genealogical gems within this newspaper, some of which can be found with minimal or no Yiddish skills. Among these gems are personal inquiries submitted by readers seeking information on their relatives, letters to the editor, and the “Gallery of Missing Husbands.” This lecture will also cover the historical and cultural context of the newspaper, which will help evaluate its relevance to a researcherʼs individual family history.

About Michael Morganstern
Michael Morgenstern is a native of Los Angeles, California. After completing an undergraduate degree in history at Loyola Marymount University, he worked as a researcher on TLCʼs “Who Do You Think You Are?” history and genealogy show. Since 2014, he has worked as an educator at Holocaust Museum Los Angeles. He has been an avid genealogy researcher since he was 16 in 2006. He has volunteered genealogy research to Holocaust survivors, focusing on those who do not have any prewar family documents or photographs. Lately, he has translated segments of the “Jewish Daily Forward” from Yiddish to English for JewishGen. Some of his work can be seen at “The Forward: A Gallery of Missing Husbands (1908-1914)”

Sunday, January 22, 2023, 10:30 am Pacific Time Zone

Guest Speaker:  Serafima Velkovich

Polish Jewish Refugees in the USSR During WWII

Description: The “Ribbentrop – Molotov pact” divided Poland between the Soviet Union and Germany in 1939. The Polish territories annexed to The Soviet Union had a Jewish population of about 2 million. About 400,000 residents of these territories, many of them Jews, were deported to “special settlements” mostly in Siberia. Additionally, about 250,000—300,000 Jewish refugees from German-occupied western Poland had fled to the Soviet Union after the war broke out. This lecture will present the route and the fate of Jewish refugees from Poland, who spent the war years in the USSR, and their post war search for a new home. The lecture will include information on where documentation exists to research these individuals, both in Yad Vashem and in other institutions.

About Serafima Velkovich
Serafima Velkovich is the Head of the Family Roots Research Section in Reference and Information Department of Yad Vashem Archives. She was closely involved in the work on names material in Yad Vashem`s databases. She lectures on the use of Yad Vashem resources for genealogical and other research to various groups, as well as to visiting genealogists and organizations who make use of genealogical tools for their research. She participates in international conferences and films on the Holocaust topic. Serafima is a PhD Candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sunday, February 12, 2023, 10:30 am Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Emily Garber, Genealogist

Be a Expert: Create a Resource Guide

Description: One of the greatest challenges when starting research in a new area is learning and understanding the resources that are available. Maps, gazetteers, archival finding aids, Yizkorbooks, and local histories are just a few of the resources needed to build a research toolbox. Learn to prepare a historical sketch and timeline, review a general record category list, topical guides and record types (i.e. archives, repositories, jurisdictions). This presentation will walk through the steps of building oneʼs own resource guide – (whether geographically or topically based) – a valuable tool that may serve as a foundation for oneʼs research for many years to come.

About Emily Garber
Genealogy researcher, writer and speaker, Emily H. Garber, is an anthropological archaeologist by training (B.A. and M.A) and has been researching her family history since 2007. She holds a certificate from Boston University Genealogical Research program and owns Extra Yad Genealogical Services. She has an abiding interest family history methodology and historical context. Emily has written two books and several articles on genealogical research that have appeared in Avotaynu. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of both the IAJGS and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.

Sunday, February 19, 2023, 10:30 am Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Lori Barnett

Introduction to Jewish Genealogy: Where do I begin?

Description: This BEGINNER’S interactive workshop will explore ways to research your Jewish family history using some of the major websites such as Ancestry, JewishGen, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage. Learn research strategies using Ancestry and JewishGen. Understand the importance of details when reviewing documents such as naturalization papers, passenger manifests, death certificates, and more.

About Lori Barnett
As a child, Lori was captivated by her grandparents’ Russian origins and journey to America. She loved listening to their stories and looking at the old family photos. This burning curiosity led her to Skvyra, Ukraine in 2017 to visit her maternal grandmother’s ancestral town. On that trip, Lori realized how little she knew and how much she needed to learn. Her serious genealogical journey began August 2020 which coincided with her retirement as an educator. Since then, Lori has discovered relatives all over the world through DNA accompanied by a thorough paper trail. She has traveled throughout the United States to meet her new found cousins. As part of her genealogical journey, Lori has embarked on writing her familyʼs history. This has led her on a new journey of understanding her ancestorsʼ migration through the study of history. Her ancestors originate from Ukraine and Moldova.

Sunday, March 12, 2023, 1 pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Janice Sellers, Genealogist

Finding the Maiden Names in Your Family Tree

Description: Female relatives can be difficult to trace, but they can be found. This presentation will familiarize you with the strategies of learning what documents contain a maiden name as you immerse yourself in the history and record-keeping of an area. Janice introduces resources and clues, many of which are available online, for tracing the women in your family, including family items, oral histories, federal and state census records, immigration records, vital records, religious records, journals, newspapers, legal and court records, library archives, and manuscript collections. When you dig deeper you will be pleasantly surprised with an answer that will take you back more than one generation.
About Janice Sellers

Janice M. Sellers is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Speakers Guild, and Genealogical Forum of Oregon. She has volunteered at Family History Centers since 2000 and has researched her own family history for more than 45 years. Janice has worked in publishing for many years as an editor, indexer, translator, and compositor. Janice specializes in Black, Jewish, dual citizenship, forensic, and newspaper research.

Sunday, April 2, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Dr. Barbara Krasner, PhD

Voices of the Past: Crafting the Stories of Your Family’s History

Description: Ancestors and others who came before us deserve to be remembered. No previous writing experience is required. This 2-hour workshop offers writers of all genres and all levels the opportunity to bring the family stories theyʼve heard and details from ancestral paper trails onto the page. Perhaps you’ve come across a photo or a family heirloom that intrigues you. Maybe you’ve found your immigrant grandparents’ citizenship papers. Maybe that story Uncle Irving told you about your great-grandparents still commands your attention. Join us as we journey to bring life to these voices and share them with our own and new generations.

About Barbara Krasner

Dr. Barbara Krasner, PhD is a former contributing editor to Family Chronicle Magazine and Heritage Quest Magazine and the author of Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors (Heritage Quest, 2001). Her articles have also appeared in Ancestry, Genealogical Computing, Family Tree Magazine, Avotaynu, The Galitzianer, Russian Life, German Life, and other trade publications. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Krasner holds a PhD in Holocaust & Genocide Studies from Gratz College, teaches in the Holocaust & Genocide Studies program at The College of New Jersey.

Sunday, April 30, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Vera Miller

Getting the Most Out of Online Resources for Ukrainian Genealogy

Description: Come dive into Ukrainian research and break down your brick walls. Explore unique online resources, databases and Ukrainian archival records? Where are the best forums for Ukrainian genealogy? Where are the online communist era repositories? Find old maps of Ukraine and the latest news from FamilySearch archival records. Our speaker will illustrate the best translation tools and techniques.

About Vera Miller

Vera Ivanova Miller has been writing about her journey into Ukrainian and Russian genealogy since 2011. Vera has researcher family tree from the 1600’s. As a former newspaper reporter, Vera utilizes her skills to research and locate lost relatives in Ukraine, Russia and Poland. Vera is the founder of Find Lost Russian & Ukrainian Family, a Facebook group and blog. Vera published Genealogy at a Glance: Ukrainian Genealogy Research and Genealogy at a Glance: Russian Genealogy Research in 2021.

Sunday, June 11, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Sydney Cruice, Genealogist

Making the Most of Indirect Evidence: Forming Sound Genealogical Conclusions

Description: Many researchers miss clues and pieces of information that could allow them to discover family members and their relationship to other family members. In this program we will look at case studies in order to examine the more sophisticated issues of genealogical source evaluation. We will look at the research methods necessary to extract all the information contained in genealogical sources. We will explore how to assemble and combine pieces of information from various sources to form sound genealogical conclusions and maximize indirect evidence.

About Sydney Cruice

Sydney F. Cruice is a professional genealogy researcher, educator and international lecturer with over 25 years of experience. She has served as a faculty member for the Salt Lake City Genealogy Institute of the Utah Genealogical Society, the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies Conference, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research of the Georgia Genealogy Society and the Researching Family in Pennsylvania Institute of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. For the past seven years, she developed the curriculum and taught the Foundations of Genealogy courses at Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She also served as the President of the Association of Professional Genealogists for the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter for the past 6 years.

Sunday, July 9, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Daniel Horowitz

Advance Your Israeli Genealogical Research

Description: Looking for ancestors who lived in, passed through, or died in Israel? The Internet contains many rich repositories where you can learn about them — and these resources, which can be searched in English and in Hebrew, are growing each day. In this session, youʼll learn how to access these resources and receive the tools you need to make the most of them. Daniel will also provide a quick introduction to the Hebrew keywords and translation tools that can help you overcome language barriers and unearth fascinating details about your ancestors located in Israel.

About Daniel Horowitz

Dedicated to Genealogy since 1986, Daniel was the teacher and the study guide editor of the family history project “Searching for My Roots” in Venezuela for 15 years. He was a board member of The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) for 10 years, now is involved in several crowdsource digitization and transcription projects, and holds a board-level position at The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Since 2006 Daniel has been working at MyHeritage liaising with genealogy societies, bloggers, and media, as well as lecturing, and attending conferences around the world.

Sunday, August 20, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz, Genealogist

Locating Vital Records in Poland Using Online Records

Description: If you are researching your Jewish ancestral roots in Poland and would like to go beyond Jewishgen and JRI-Poland to find vital records this presentation is for you. This program introduces major websites such as Metryki, GenBaza, Szukajwarchiwach (the Polish State Archives), Geneteka, and FamilySearch. Learn more about the Polish partitions to introduce the history and geography of Poland. Our speaker genealogist, Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz will illustrate the use of religious records, passenger manifests, naturalization records, and other documents from U.S. sources, to suggest resources and strategies to help you decipher misspelled place names, and discuss the next steps in your research: determining the parish and civil registry office using gazetteers, and obtaining birth, marriage and death records to determine one’s ancestral village accurately. Julie will rely heavily on online sources throughout her presentation, and show how you can trace your Polish ancestry without having to cross the ocean.

About Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz

Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz is a genealogist, writer and speaker, with over 20 years of experience in researching her familyʼs origins in Poland, Germany, the U.S. and Canada. She is the Secretary of the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts, contributes to a number of genealogy-related Facebook groups, and writes an informative genealogy blog, From Shepherds and Shoemakers.

Sunday, September 10, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Ellie Vance, Genealogist Eastern European Expert

Locating Vital Records in Poland Using Online Records

Description: This presentation is a MUST! Come learn techniques and strategie
on researching in the former Russian Empire. At its peak, it is estimated that over 5 million Jews lived in the Pale of Settlement in the former Russian Empire. Ellie will discuss the history of Jews in the Russian Empire and Pale of Settlement as well as common Russian Empire record types including metrical books (birth, death, marriage,divorce), revision lists, the 1897 Census, military records and much more. We’ll learn about locations where these records can be found online as well as how to navigate archives and archival finding aids.

About Ellie Vance

Ellie Vance is a Russian/Slavic Genealogy Research Specialist and Russian Language expert. Ellie assists Library and online FamilySearch Community patrons with research, translation, and methodology questions regarding research in areas including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and groups such as Germans from Russia, and Jewish research in the former Russian Empire. She graduated from Brigham Young University as a double major in Family History and Genealogy and Russian. Ellie currently works for FamilySearch at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah where she enjoys helping guests discover their Eastern European and Russian roots.

Sunday, October 15, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Ellie Vance, Genealogist Eastern European Expert

Navigating Russian Records for the Non-Russian Speaker

Description: If you are researching Russian records this workshop is for you. Learn how to navigate and research Russian genealogical records. Records were often recorded in Russian and can be tricky to navigate, especially for the non-Russian speakers, however, with the proper tools you can learn to identify ancestral surnames and common vocabulary. We will utilize translation tools to get a more complete translation. This workshop will break down the column headings and record format of metrical books and documents to learn where in the document you can expect to find keywords such as names, dates and places. Learn how to recognize common vocabulary and utilize resources to help you determine how your ancestral surname may have been spelled in Russian and what it looked like in handwritten Russian or Cyrillic. Ellie will present tools and resources for free translation help.

This workshop includes an extensive handout complete with column heading translations, examples of handwritten key vocabulary, common given names, and resources to help you determine the handwritten forms of your surname.

About Ellie Vance

Ellie Vance is a Russian/Slavic Genealogy Research Specialist and Russian Language expert. Ellie assists Library and online FamilySearch Community patrons with research, translation, and methodology questions regarding research in areas including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and groups such as Germans from Russia, and Jewish research in the former Russian Empire. She graduated from Brigham Young University as a double major in Family History and Genealogy and Russian. Ellie currently works for FamilySearch at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah where she enjoys helping guests discover their Eastern European and Russian roots.

Sunday, November 12, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Gary Pokrassa & Joel Spector and SPECIAL GUEST ALEX KRAKOVSKY

The Alex Krakovsky Project:Navigating the Wiki

Description: 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 discuss the origin and method of Alex’s data acquisition, and then give an overview of the contents of his site.

About Gary Pokrassa, Joel Spector and Alex Krakovsky

Gary is the Data Acquisition Director for the Ukraine Research Division-JewishGen and town leader of 5 shtetls, treasurer and director of JRI – Poland, and VP Programming of JGS of Long Island. He published the Alex Krakovsky Project in Avotaynu, Summer 2020.

Joel has over 30-years experience in genealogy research. He is the director of Metric Record Projects, past president of the JGAGP and former secretary of IAJGS. He offers events and workshops in Russian language, contemporary and pre-revolutionary periods, as well as document translation assistance.

Alex was born in 1982 in Kyiv. He graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in 2005 with a degree in Flexible Computer Systems. He has been actively doing genealogy since 2011.

Sunday, November 19, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Logan Kleinwaks, Creator of GenealogyIndexer

GenealogyIndexer: Searching Historical Directories, Yizkor Books, and More

Description: is a free website for searching 2 million+ pages of historical European directories (business, address, telephone), yizkor books, Galician secondary school reports, Polish and Russian military documents, community histories, and more. Containing tens of millions of personal names – often with towns, street addresses, and occupations, and sometimes with genealogical details such as patronymics, maiden names, or vital dates – most of the 4,000+ sources are not searchable elsewhere. This talk will provide an overview of all sources, with a focus on recently added sources and search techniques. The use of directories in the Warsaw property restitution process will also be discussed briefly.


Logan Kleinwaks is JewishGen’s Research Director for Danzig/Gdańsk, a former Board Member of Gesher Galicia, and creator of online genealogy research tools. His website received the IAJGS 2012 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jewish Genealogy via the Internet, Print or Electronic Product, and was one of Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Websites for 2015-2023. He received JewishGen’s Susan E. King Volunteer of the Year Award in 2022. During the war in Ukraine, Logan has worked to support Ukrainian archives’ needs and facilitate preservation of Jewish genealogical documents in Lviv.

Sunday, December 17, 2023, 1pm Pacific Time Zone

Speaker: Lisa Alzo, Genealogist Specializing in Eastern Europe

Finding Immigration and Naturalization Records: Advanced Strategies and Techniques

Description: Every immigrant has a story. This webinar will discuss how to leverage the data in passenger lists, naturalization records, and other documents of ethnic-based communities and neighborhoods (such as historic newspapers and oral histories,) to uncover key clues about your immigrant ancestors.

Learn strategies and techniques to find your elusive ancestor among others with the same name and how to deal with name changes, as well as how to locate missing manifests due to transcription or other database errors. A brief overview of how social history and migration patterns can help you track your ancestors on both sides of the ocean will also be provided.

About Lisa Alzo

Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A., is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer, specializing in Eastern European genealogical research and creative nonfiction writing. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997. Lisa is the author of eleven books, including The Family Tree Polish, Czech and Slovak Genealogy Guide, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women, and hundreds of magazine articles. Lisa is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine and frequent contributor for Internet Genealogy. She also developed the Eastern European Research Certificate Program for the International Institute of Genealogical Studies and works as an online educator and writing coach. Lisa is a frequently invited speaker for national conferences, genealogical and historical societies, and webinars. An avid genealogist for more than 30 years, Lisa also chronicles her family history adventures on her blog, The Accidental Genealogist.

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