Mentoring Program at IAJGS 2017

People attend IAJGS Conferences for a lot of reasons but they have one thing in common for sure; brick-walls that they need the help of an expert.  In the past, there was just never enough time or access to the experts to get your answers.

Introducing the IAJGS Mentoring Program!

Many of your favorite experts will be having office hours Monday through Friday where you can gather as a small group or even one to one to obtain personal consultation.  To be fair to everyone, we request you keep your time to a couple of minutes and perhaps write your questions down before you come to their "office."

The speakers will announce their office hours, typically 60 to 90 minutes, at the end of their talk and look for them to be posted during the Conference.  Most of the mentoring will be located in the Swan Foyer at tables reserved just for these consultations.  Get your questions ready ahead of time.


1.    Mentors are to provide guidance to assist attendees in overcoming roadblocks or brick walls by suggesting new paths for research; different ways to analyze data/results; or even answer their questions directly if possible.

2.    Mentors will not to do research for the attendee.

3.    Mentors will “coach” attendees who can then go to the Resource Room to implement what they just learned. And perhaps even come back to discuss what they just learned.

4.    Sessions may include small groups of people who have common questions or  one-on-one.  Participation will be first come first served. There are no signup sheets.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How many office hours will there be for a speaker/mentor?

We are not requiring a certain number; that is up to individual Mentors and depends upon their schedule.

Will the office hours be the same day as the speaker’s presentation?

Not necessarily. The mentor will announce the hours after their presentation; you should check the latest Conference Calendar each day for changes.  Mentoring sessions may occur anytime during the day or evening  any day(s) of the week.  It may span  than the 1 hour 15 minute length of a typical Conference session or even longer.

Where will they be located?

Sessions will be in a variety of places. Small groups will be at reserved tables in the Swan Foyer.  Larger groups may be located elsewhere in locations to be announced.

Will there be internet access?

Mentoring requiring Wifi access will be located in the Swan Foyer.

Bring your laptop or tablet fully charged and booted up; Mentors may not have their computers with them.

What if no one shows up or mentor finishes early?

Mentors will wait 15 minutes and may depart if  no students arrive.  So plan to arrive close to the mentor's scheduled starting time!

Should scheduled sessions occur during breakfast or lunch, may I bring my brown bag meal?

Absolutely, and bring a snack for the Mentor!

The IAJGS Conference App is Live

The IAJGS 2017 Conference App is now available on your favorite smartphone. If you don't have a smartphone, it can also be used on any computer. Go to to download the app to your phone or use it on your computer. (You will need to create an account on a computer, or to use the app on multiple devices.)

We have a multi-year app for IAJGS, so if you already have it on your phone from a previous year, you can simply open the app, find the menu option to Exit to Show List, and download the latest year.

There is so much to do in the app, this post could get a little long. (Please note that some things may change after this post is written, but it should be better or provide more options.)

The main options across the top of the app are: Home, Exhibitors, Maps, Events, Speakers, and Search. Additional main menu items shown on the Home screen include: My Schedule, Photo Gallery, Social Media, Attendees, Info Pages, What's On Now, and Exit to Events List.

By searching through the Events, you can see individual sessions at the conference. Tap on the star and it will be saved to My Schedule, where you can view all of your events. You can also add custom events, for example, if you have a meeting with a mentor, or you arrange for lunch or dinner with a friend, tap on the plus sign to add any event.

Please visit the list of Exhibitors to see who will be in our Exhibit Hall. And be sure to visit them in person sometime during the week.

The sessions are listed under Events. You can browse by Day, Track, and Type. You can also use the Search icon at the top right to search for anything and it will show you results in the Events, Speakers, and other areas of the app.

Bonus feature: From the Browse by Day view, if you tap on the calendar icon to the right of the word Events, you will see a colorful view of the schedule by tracks.

Speakers should be self-explanatory. You can see all the sessions presented by each speaker.

You may add photos to the Photo Gallery. Please do so during the conference. Also note that if you provide us with really nice photos, we might use them for future publicity. Don't let that stop you though. (If we have a way to identify the photographer, we'll give you credit.)

Social Media will show you conference activity as seen on Twitter and Facebook. You can log in to both right inside the app and share with the rest of us.

Info Pages is where you will find maps and other documents, as we may add other information.

What's On Now will show what is happening now. There's nothing now, the week before the conference, so we'll all find out how that works next week.

Did you notice we skipped over Attendees? We get a lot of questions about this section. You will not find a list of all attendees here, only those who create a public profile from within the app. To do that, tap on the hamburger icon to the left of Dashboard and add your profile. Be sure to mark it as public. It takes at least 15 minutes to sync, so you won't find yourself in the attendee list immediately. You can mark other attendees as friends and contact them from within the app. When you view someone, you can mark them as a favorite with the star, send a friend request, or request a meeting using the handshake icon.

On the right of Dashboard, there is a gear icon for settings. From there, you can also access your profile. Additionally, there is an option for Multi Device Sync, if you want to use the app on multiple devices, such as a phone and a tablet, and have the app remember your data from each device on the other.

As the conference unfolds, there will be Alerts that you will receive through the app. For example, we try to inform you of any schedule changes, cancellations, and other reminders. Alerts will appear in orange near the top of the main screen.

There is even more that the app can do, including allow you to take notes during sessions (use the pencil icon) and then download those notes or email them to yourself.

And don't forget to rate the sessions after they have concluded by viewing each session and tapping on the star icon.

Don't be afraid to tap on anything if you don't know what it does. Just try it and see.

Last Minute Emails on Conference Badge and Registration Bar Codes Heading Your Way During the Next 12 Hours!

Its the final countdown for the Conference team and we are sending out two emails to you over the next 12 hours of some importance.  Keep your eye on your email inbox!

The first email will show a rendering of your conference badge with your name, title (if any), town and your ancestral surnames and shtetls if you entered them at registration.  If there is a need to change any part of your badge listing, please follow the instructions in the email that lead back to the registration site where changes can be made. If you are stymied at any point, contact us at

The second email pertains to the bar code for registration. This will be a duplicate of the email that you received when you first registered and you should print out the email and bring it with you, or save on your smart phone. Having the bar code with you will save you a visit to the registration desk and speed the conference check-in process for yourself and everyone else.  So please cooperate and bring it with you.  Again, if you have any difficulties please contact us at

Lastly,  transportation options from the airport to the Conference have improved dramatically with the initiation of airport car service on July 1 via Lyft and Uber.  This is a more direct and cheaper means of reaching the hotel from the Airport than the preexisting alternatives such as Mears, so if you use those services elsewhere, Orlando should be no exception.  As for those of you who do not have Uber or Lyft, we recommend that you keep an eye out for people who have the Jewish genealogy "look" and offer to share a ride to the Swan.

Adam Brown       Diane Jacobs     Dennis Rice

IAJGS 2017 Co-Chairs


Conference Volunteers Needed!

The IAJGS Orlando Conference has many open spots for volunteers which need to be filled.

If you share even a couple of hours at the conference, it would be very helpful.   

Please look over the program schedule and find a time slot or two which is open for you.  

If you are going to a paid event such as a plated luncheon, breakfast or computer workshop, perhaps you could "work" that event for us?

This conference only exists because of the willingness of some enormously dedicated volunteers who have spent their last year organizing the conference full-time. 

Its success depends on volunteers such as you playing a role.  Please help out.

Go to the following url to sign up with our "SIGNUP Genius" program.

If you have any questions, please email us at

Thank you!

Barbara S. Nowak,

Co-chair IAJGS Orlando Volunteers

Conference Family Finder

The conference family finder is here!

We have partnered with JewishGen this year to make use of their Family Finder (the JGFF) technology.

You can search the Conference Family Finder by visiting That will forward you to a JewishGen page where you'll need to log in to their site. You will then be taken to the IAJGS 2017 Conference Family Finder.

You can search by surname, town, and country to find your fellow attendees who may share some ancestry in common with you.

If you can't find your own data in the Family Finder and you want to be listed, please contact and he'll make sure you get added.

Mentoring at IAJGS 2017 Orlando

People attend IAJGS Conferences for a lot of reasons but they have one thing in common for sure; brick-walls that they need the help of an expert.  

In the past there was just never enough time or access to the experts to get your answers.  

Introducing the IAJGS Mentoring Program!  In Orlando, many of your favorite experts will be having office hours M-F where you can gather as a small group or even one to one and get that personal consultation.  

To be fair to everyone we request you keep your time to a couple of minutes and perhaps write your questions down before you come to their "office.”  

The speakers will announce their office hours, typically 60 to 90 minutes, at the end of their talk and look for them to be posted during the Conference.  

Most of the mentoring will be located in the Swan Foyer area at tables reserved just for these consultation.  Get your questions ready now.  See you in Orlando!

Gil Bardige

Mentoring Chair, IAJGS 2017 Orlando

Breakfast and Lunch at IAJGS 2017

Last chance for signing up for one of our plated SIG breakfasts and luncheons with fascinating speakers from Sunday through Thursday! Log in to your account to squeak in under the deadline!

But if you cannot make one of these wonderful luncheons, having an informal nosh with fellow attendees has always been a central feature of our IAJGS conferences!  And this year we have made it more convenient than ever!

Avoid the walk and the line at the restaurants in the area and instead grab one of our breakfast or lunch offerings right in the conference area! Save the restaurants for dinner!

Join your friends and fellow genealogists at one of our dozens of lunch tables located throughout our conference venue.  Concession times are breakfast 7am-10am and lunch 11am-2pm.

For groups wanting to gather in their own venue for an informal “brown bag lunch", contact the conference at and we will see if we can find you a room in the conference area where you can eat and work with your colleagues with fewer distractions.

We strongly encourage you speed things along by purchasing pre-paid vouchers when you arrive at the Swan and register for the conference. If you miss that opportunity, not to worry., We will be selling meal vouchers all week at the conference Registration Desk!  Card, cash or room charges will also be accepted at the time of purchase.

Choose from our options below (all prices include tax and service charges):


Cereal with milk carton (with heksher) $5
Fresh whole fruit (with heksher) $5
Fruit and yogurt parfait $7
Assorted muffins $4
NY bagel with cream cheese $5
Individual yogurt $4


Fruit salad $6
Caesar salad $7
Chicken Caesar salad $10
Greek salad $8
Turkey Sandwich $9

Assorted cold sandwiches including vegetarian options (with heksher) $26

Munchies (all with heksher)

Fresh whole fruit $5
Kosher Granola bars (dairy and non-dairy) $3
Kosher candy bars (dairy and non-dairy) $4
Rold Gold pretzels $4
Ms Vicki’s plain chips $4
Chex mix bold $4

Beverages (with heksher)

Soft drinks $4
Bottled water $4
Bottled juice $5
Arizona iced tea $5
Powerade $5

Beverages (without heksher)

Starbucks Frapuccino  $6
Coffee, Decaff Coffee, Hot Tea $4

Join the Litvak SIG Luncheon, Wednesday July 26th!

Join LitvakSIG on Wednesday, July 26 for our luncheon with Professor Elisa New. She will be speaking on her book Jacob's Cane: A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore

Drawn to an image of her great-grandfather's ornately carved cane, scholar Elisa New embarked on a journey to discover the origins of her precious family heirloom. Treading back across the paths of her ancestors, she travels from Baltimore to the Baltic to London in order to find and understand an immigrant world profoundly affected by modern German culture, from the Enlightenment through the Holocaust. Deeply ambitious in its narrative sweep, Jacob's Cane captures the rich texture of life on several continents as New's family searches to establish itself in the tobacco trade. A fascinating history of one family's story of progress, innovation, and struggle, Jacob's Cane will change the way we think about the Jewish American experience.

Help Spread the Word! “Come Back to Poland!” Regional Tables at JRI-Poland Luncheon, IAJGS Orlando Sunday 7/23

Is your ancestral region represented in the database?

Is your family from areas around... Warsaw? Galicia? Poznan? Suwalki? Kielce-Radom? Lublin-Zamosc? Krakow?

Do you feel close ties to a Birds-of-a-Feather Group, a Facebook, Yahoo Group or other Polish-related Special Interest Group?

Bring your friends, sign up for a table together, and share your enthusiasm at the annual JRI-Poland Luncheon on July 23, 2017 from 12 pm to 1:30 pm at this years 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort in Orlando, Florida!

The JRI-Poland luncheon is on the first day of the conference, so it's an early opportunity to make new connections, see old friends, and plan or promote your regional activities for the week.

This may be an excellent opportunity to begin to discuss a group visit to your ancestral shtetlach in conjunction with the 2018 IAJGS conference in Warsaw!

Join the JRI-Poland Family at lunch and make meaningful connections with other researchers interested in your ancestral geographical area(s). Please spread the word that the JRI-Poland luncheon will highlight the various regions represented in our database to promote conversation.

Join us for lunch on that first Sunday.

Sign up now for a seat at the luncheon and then contact Robinn Magid at to to enable us to anticipate regional interest and seat you together with other researchers, including JRI-Poland board members, archive coordinators, and Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) leaders, who share your localized interests.

Robinn Magid's (Lublin-Zamosc BOF co-coordinator) colorful presentation will describe a special gathering of Jews from the City of Lublin and the nearby towns to be held this summer, just prior to the Orlando conference. This "reunion" is being organized by a Lublin cultural center in cooperation with the City of Lublin to commemorate and honor 700 years of Jewish presence in Lublin. Jews from all over the world plan to return to Lublin to "meet anew" - which is the theme of the event.

Contact Robinn at for questions or to sign up for a table representing a region. You may list a few regional preferences so we can try to place certain topical tables near each other, enabling you to "visit" the various regions represented in the JRI-Poland database. We will pair people with mutual interests where possible.

We hope to spread some of this "Meeting Anew" enthusiasm to other places that are current or former territories of Poland.

Come join us for a special afternoon!

Stanley Diamond
JRI-Poland Executive Director

Robinn Magid
Berkeley, California
Lublin Archives Project Coordinator, JRI-Poland

Rooms Selling Out – Special Procedure for Changing Reservations

There is still "room in the inn", but response to this year’s conference has been so incredibly positive that our IAJGS room block in the Swan Resort is maintaining a waiting list for Thursday 7/27 and Friday 7/28!  If you are planning to attend, please book a room through Wednesday and put yourself on the waiting list for Thursday and Friday if you wish a room on those two nights.  We fully expect that the wait list will clear between now and the conference.

Current participants can help!   If you are holding a reservation at the Swan for any evenings during the conference, and know that you will NOT be using them because you have found the perfect room mate or are bringing your RV, please notify ADAM@IAJGS2017.ORG so that we may reassign your reservation for any of those nights to another IAJGS attendee ourselves (your hotel deposit to be promptly returned to you)


If you do not follow this procedure, but instead cancel via the hotel, we will lose the room from our IAJGS conference block and it may not be available to one of your fellow Jewish genealogists. Without your knowing it, the person you are helping could be your good friend!

Notwithstanding the special procedure, it is not too late to register for the conference and book rooms.  If the hotel tells you that a room is "full", NOT TO WORRY!  Book your rooms  and get on any waiting lists offered. With the cooperation of your fellow IAJGS attendees, we are sure we will find a room for everyone who wishes to attend!

Visit to sign up for our Facebook page and/or subscribe to our blog.

Adam Brown - Diane Jacobs - Dennis Rice

Co-Chairs IAJGS 2017 Orlando