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

Panning for genealogical gold? Grab a spot in our Resource Room at IAJGS 2017 Orlando!

If you are serious about online genealogical research, the free resources to be found in our  IAJGS Resource Room are the bargain of the century!  

Hundreds of genealogical databases will be at your fingertips for free during the  conference, including some resources that cannot be found outside of a limited number of institutions in hard to get places, or others that require  expensive subscriptions!

In addition, database specialists from Yad Vashem, ProQuest, MyHeritage, Geni, Family Search, and mentors from  database  hosts such as JewishGen, JRI-Poland, Gesher Galicia, LitvakSIG, LatviaSIG and others will be here to help you zero in on the records you need!



ProQuest Day (Wednesday July 26)

ProQuest, the gold standard in digital historical research limits access to its products to established academic and other established libraries.  But at  IAJGS 2017, ProQuest comes to you!

Bill Forsyth, senior product manager for ProQuest, will be on hand to give three workshops in the Resource Room on our “ProQuest Day”. Wednesday July 26th  and will be available for an extended that day to assist IAJGS conference attendees with their research questions using the ProQuest resources.  Further instructions on signing up for Bill’s ProQuest demonstrations or to obtain his assistance will be available when you arrive in Orlando for the conference.

To review the the immensely valuable and irreplacable ProQuest databases available in the Resource Room go to our  IAJGS ProQuest Day Resources Page.

Yad Vashem and the ITS Arolsen Archives

Digital access to the prized ITS archives is available only at Yad Vashem, the US Holocaust Museum and a few select institutions around the world.  At IAJGS 2017, the ITS archives come to you!  Yad Vashem specialist Sima Velkovich is flying in from Israel to give four lectures on holocaust related research and to give participants access to the ITS archives and other Yad Vashem resources throughout the week. Sign-up information for consultations with Sima will be available when you arrive in Orlando.

Sunday EXPO! and Subscription Based Archives

On Opening Day, Sunday July 23rd, database providers such as MyHeritage, Family Search, Ancestry and Geni will bring their products to you!  They will give presentations on using their databases in our special exhibitor EXPO! from 9am through 4:15pm (check schedule for details).

Follow up with a visit to our Resource Room, where databases will be available all week in addition to free access from other database providers such as:

Jewish Genealogical Society Databases

A number of Jewish Genealogical Societies and JewishGen Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) maintain proprietary databases that are accessible only to their dues-paying members.  The following organizations have generously agreed to make their databases available to all conference attendees in the resource room at no cost. Garri Regev representative of the Israel Genealogy Research Association will lead a workship to bring their database to you!

JewishGen andJRI-Poland Database Workshops and Resource Room Access

Representatives of JewishGen and JRI-Poland will lead Workshops (fee required) and offer free access to their immense crowd-sourced Jewish genealogy databases. Other SIGs including Gesher Galicia, Austria-Czech, Litvak SIG and others  will make their databases available in the resource room as well all week! Rabbi Avraham Laber will lead a presentation on his web resource

Hundreds of additional links to free databases grouped on our resource room computers by category:

Canada, Europe, General Interest, Government Archives, Holocaust, Immigration and Naturalization, Israel, Latin America, Maps, Military Records, Miscellaneous, Newspapers, Sephardic, South Africa and United States

Preliminary Resource Room daily hours (may vary prior to dates of the conference)

Sun     July 23    9:00 a -6:00 p
Mon   July 24    9:00 a -6:00 p
Tue     July 25     9:00 a -6:00 p
Wed  July 26     9:00 a -10 PM  ProQuest Day!
Thu    July 28     9:00 a- 5:00 p
Fri      July 29      9:00 a -12 noon*

  • Please check final conference schedule to ascertain which databases will be available on Friday.

Details for making arrangements to meet with database consultants and other conference mentors will be published on our Web site and emailed to participants before the conference.

Bring a USB Drive!

It is best to bring with you an USB drive to make copies of any records/newspaper articles etc. that you may find of value. The links to the databases will only be on the resource room computers and their links/password/ user names will not be shared for your personal computers. No exceptions! You are requested NOT to use your own subscriptions on any of the computers  accessing the subscription databases as many people will be accessing the same computers.

Our Youngest Ask: “What Makes This IAJGS Conference Different From All Others?”

We are glad you asked that question! The IAJGS 2017 Orlando Program Committee has spent months assembling a wonderful  conference program with over 300 programs by 150 speakers. Yesterday we wrote about the conference programs on Galitizianer genealogy, so today we thought might describe the dozens of programs of specific interest to Jewish genealogists with family from all over Poland!

Don’t miss out on this great conference!  And don’t miss out on the Early Bird Registration Discount which expires at 11:59PM on Thursday, April 20th!

Take a look below to view just some  the more than two dozen full-length programs of special interest to Jewish genealogists interested in Poland, commencing with the festive annual JRI-Poland luncheon and computer workshops on Sunday, July 23rd and running right through to the end of the conference on Friday, July 28th.

In addition to the specific programs pertaining to Jewish genealogy in Poland are dozens of other related lectures pertaining to the nuts and bolts of 21st century Jewish genealogy,  including a DNA tracks, as well as a Q&A on Jewish surnames with Dr. Alexandre Beider, author of “A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Poland”.

Mentoring sessions with experienced Jewish genealogists with expertise in just about every aspect of Jewish genealogy will be available to attendees throughout the week!

A series of wonderful evening programs will begin with our keynote from Robert Watson on “Alexander Hamilton, the Jews and the American Revolution” and conclude with Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS Finding Your Roots, who will speak on “Genetics and Genealogy in America” at our annual banquet on Thursday evening.

Databases and experts from JRI-Poland, JewishGen, Ancestry, MyHeritage, ProQuest, the International Tracing Service archives and many others will be among the hundreds of resources that will be hosted for free all week in the Conference resource room, a mainstay of past conferences and a major attraction to conference attendees of all level of experience.

The Conference Early Bird Discount expires at 11:59pm next Thursday 4/20 and the heavily discounted IAJGS  reservation block at the hotel is nearly full, so if you want to take this last opportunity to attend an IAJGS in North America until the summer of 2019, you had better get going!!

To register, visit today and register for the conference and your room!

Here is a partial schedule of IAJGS 2017 events pertaining to Poland.  For further information, please see our conference website for further details at or email the conference co-chairs at

Sunday, July 23

* Ostrow Mazowiecka BOF

* JRI-Poland 101: Discovering Hidden Treasure in the JRI-Poland Database, Robinn Magid

* Jewish Records Indexing – Poland; Where do we go from here?, Stanley Diamond

* $ JRI-Poland Luncheon: When a Community Comes Back to Poland: The Dubliners, Robinn Magid

* The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe, Hal Bookbinder

* You’ve Found the Town, Now What?, Phyllis Kramer

* $ JRI-Poland Beginner’s Computer Workshop Hadassah Lipsius

Monday, July 24

* Jewish Life in Poland – Part 1 (10th-15th centuries), Avraham Groll

* Jewish Life in Poland – Part 2 (16th-18th centuries), Avraham Groll

* Belarus SIG Meeting

* $ Belarus SIG Luncheon: A 25-year Grass Roots Effort to Access and Index Records for Lyakhovichi, Belarus Gary Palgon

* $ Jewish Records Indexing-Poland Intermediate Workshop Hadassah Lipsius

Tuesday, July 25

* Tabula Registers: A Untapped Genealogical Resource in the Lviv Archives (Ukraine), Alexander Dunai and Natalie Dunai

* Using Vital Records to Illuminate the Lives of Your 19th Century Polish  Ancestors, Judith Frazin

*Why Did Our Ancestors Leave a Nice Place Like The Pale? Hal Bookbinder

* Suwalk Gubernia BOF

* Archival resources in Poland – where to begin?

* The case of the Wislicki family, Michal Majewski

* The Volynian quiz, Alex Denysenko

* Lodz Area Research Group (LARG) Meeting, Debra Kay-Blatt

* Using the Gesher Galicia Website and All Galicia Database to Research Towns and Families Brooke Ganz

* JRI-Poland Volunteers Meeting

Wednesday, July 26

* The Polish Inter-wars Parliament voters’ lists a source for genealogy, Alex Denysenko

* City Council elections as a source for genealogical research – a case of interwar Czestochowa, Magdalena Mizgalska-Osowiecka

* BialyGen SIG Meeting

* Polish Jewish refugees in the USSR during WWI, Serafima Velkovich

* Using Pre-1826 Polish Parish Records in Jewish Research, Debra Kay-Blatt & Warren Blatt

Thursday, July 27

* Researching Your Galitizianer Family: Working With Vital Records, Mark Halpern

* Researching your Warszawa Family Roots, Hadassah Lipsius

* Danzig-Gdansk SIG Meeting

* Warsaw Jewish Genealogical Conference Preview, Michal Majewski, Mark Halpern & Aleksandra Sajdak

* In Search of Multiple Truths: Genealogy as a Significant Part of Heritage Tours to Poland, Aleksandra Sajdak

Friday, July 28

* Oral History in Genealogy Research at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Joanna Krol

For further information, visit or email the conference co-chairs at

See you in Orlando!

Attention fellow Galitizianers! Stop with the horseradish for ten minutes and register for IAJGS Orlando before they run out of hotel rooms!

Before setting aside their computers to share in the week’s Pesah festival, the IAJGS 2017 Program Committee put together a wonderful IAJGS 2017 conference program for Galitizianers!!

Don’t miss out on a great conference!

Take a look below to view the 20+ full-length programs of special interest to researchers interested in Galicia, including a Special Galicia Day (Monday July 25) when Gesher Galicia will hold talks, a luncheon and SIG meeting that will be of interests to Galitizianers of all levels and interests.

In addition are dozens of other related lectures pertaining to the nuts and bolts of 21st century Jewish genealogy,  including a DNA track assembled by Adam Brown, administrator of the Gesher Galicia DNA project hosted by Family Tree DNA, as well as a Q&A on Jewish surnames with Dr. Alexandre Beider, author of “A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia”.

Gesher Galicia databases will be among the hundreds of resources that will be hosted for free all week in the Conference resource room, a mainstay of past conferences and a major attraction to conference attendees of all level of experience.

The IAJGS  reservation block at the hotel is nearly full, so if you want to take this last opportunity to attend an IAJGS in North America until the summer of 2019, you had better get going!

To register, visit today and register for the conference and your room!

Partial Schedule IAJGS 2017.  See our conference website for further details.

 Monday, July 24

  • Jewish Life in Poland – Part 1 (10th-15th centuries) Avraham Groll
  • Beyond a Doubt: What We Know vs. What We Can Prove Israel Pickholtz
  • Galicia Basics: What Every Galitzianer Needs to Know Shelley K. Pollero Renee Steinig
  • Jewish Life in Poland – Part 2 (16th-18th centuries) Avraham Groll, JewishGen
  • Gesher Galicia SIG  Meeting
  • $$$ Gesher Galicia Luncheon: Learning the ABC in Galicia, Andrew Zalewski
  • The Story of Galicia: Vital Records, Maps, Censuses and Much More, Andrew Zalewski
  • Setting the Record Straight: the DNA and Yiddish Origins of Ashkenazi Jewry, Dr. Harry Ostrer and Dr. Alexandre Beider.

Tuesday, July 25

  • Jewish Surname Q&A, hosted by Dr. Alexandre Beider, author of “A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia”
  • Tabula Registers: A Untapped Genealogical Resource in the Lviv Archives , Alexander Dunai Natalie Dunai
  • Using the Gesher Galicia Website and All Galicia Database to Research Towns and Families, Brooke Ganz Reclaim the Records
  • New Sources, New Ways to Search Logan Kleinwaks Swan 1 Presentation
  • The Pamela Weisberger Memorial Lecture: “1917: A Turning Point in American Jewish History”, Hasia Diner, Speaker, Keynote Address Sponsored by JGSLA

Wednesday, July 26 

  • The Polish Inter-wars Parliament voters’ lists a source for genealogy Alex Denysenko
  • Multimedia Presentation: Ukrainian Shtetlah of Ivano -Frankivsk Region Then and Now, Anna Royzner
  • Polish Magnate Landowner Records: Bringing “The Lords’ Jews” to Life,  Alexander Dunai Natalie Dunai
  • Kolbuszowa Region BOF (KRRG), Coordinator: Susana Leistner Bloch

Thursday, July 27

  • Researching Your Galitizianer Family: Working With Vital Records Mark Halpern
  • Visiting Poland: Everything You Should Know Before Coming to Your Ancestral Town Witold Wrzosinski

Friday, July 28

  • Oral History in Genealogy Research at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Joanna Krol Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Click the “Registration” tab above to register for the conference, then “Hotel Reservations” to reserve yourself a room!  Feel free to contact the conference co-chairs at if you have any questions!

Answer your DNA questions at IAJGS 2017 Orlando!

Don’t miss out on a golden opportunity to make sense of your DNA results at IAJGS 2017 Orlando with over two dozen lectures, workshops and mentoring sessions on all aspects of DNA research!

Experienced practitioners of autosomal DNA analysis such as Israel Pickholz,  Lara Diamond, and Schelly Dardashti will discuss the particular challenges of endogamy faced by Jewish genealogists.

Representatives of DNA test providers such as FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, and Ancestry will describe how to understand their results in our Sunday EXPO! and again throughout the week at their booths in the conference Exhibit Hall.

In addition, seasoned DNA project managers will lead participants in a four-part series that lasts all week. In DNA 101: Solving Research Problems with DNA Testing, Rachel Unkefer will discuss why genealogists are disappointed in the outcome when they begin testing without a concrete goal in mind. She will describe how successful testing begins with posing questions, and then selecting the correct DNA tests and family members to answer those questions. Attendees will learn how to set testing goals and how to navigate the testing and analysis processes.

In the next session in the sequence, DNA 201: The Next Steps, Family Tree DNA project managers  Rachel Unkefer, Janet Akaha, Gil Bardige, Adam Brown, Itzhak Epstein, Zach Gordon, Michael Waas, Sidney Sachs, Max Heffler,  and others will work collaboratively with participants to assess the current status of their own research and discuss strategies for moving forward.  This session will be followed all week long with group and one-on-one mentoring sessions to help attendees make the best use of their autosomal, Y-DNA and mitochondrial results.

On the Y chromosome front, DNA 301: What Y-DNA Lineages Can Tell Us About Jewish History and Migration will focus on  “Next Generation Sequencing” (NGS) products like FTDNA’s Big Y and others. The panel of “citizen scientists” will describe how they have begun mapping out genetic trees that are far more accurate than ever before possible.

Lastly, DNA 401: The Key to Successful DNA Projects will feature a panel of DNA project administrators who will describe how to organize geographic, surname, and haplogroup subclade projects; whether to include Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA and/or autosomal DNA testing in proposed projects; techniques for keeping participants engaged; and best practices.

Computer workshops will focus on tools such as GEDMatch, Lazarus, and McKee that are used by genealogists to parse autosomal and Y chromosome results. Family genealogists such as Mark Strauss (both Ashkenazi and Sephardi) who have undertaken DNA projects to complete their family trees will also describe their strategies and successes.  Jeff Paull and his team will describe their rabbinic DNA research, in particular their current work on the well-known Twersky dynasty.

On Monday evening of the conference, Jewish DNA pioneer Dr. Harry Ostrer and linguist Alexandre Beider will deliver a lecture entitled “Setting the Record Straight: DNA and Yiddish as Evidence for the Origins of Ashkenazi Jews”, and at Thursday evening’s banquet, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” will speak on “Genetics and Genealogy in America”.

On Thursday afternoon, Karen Grinzaid from Emory University will address Jewish genetic diseases and options for affordable and accessible genetic screening for Jewish families.

Adam Brown, co-chair of this year’s IAJGS conference is also the Managing Editor of and the Administrator of the 5,000 participant AvotaynuDNA Project.  Adam will provide an update on the Project’s Sephardi DNA initiative that is entering its second year of testing Sephardi men all over the world in collaboration with genetic genealogy pioneer Dr. Karl Skorecki of the Technion.

So if making use of your DNA results to illuminate your family history is on your agenda, or you simply want to make sense of the DNA test results you have already obtained,  then Orlando 2017 is the place to be!  Register today at while there are still hotel rooms available!

Join the Action in Our Exhibitor Hall!

IAJGS 2017 boasts a large exhibit hall that is co-located with our food concession and seating area.  This means there will be plenty of action in the exhibit hall every day!

On Sunday, we will open our doors to the general Central Florida genealogical community in our new  Genealogy EXPO! program running from 9AM to 4PM.  Genealogy EXPO! will feature lectures by our exhibitors all day in addition to giving attendees access to the Exhibit Hall.

From 12:30PM to 4PM on Sunday, we will open the Exhibit Hall to our annual opening-day SHARE Fair, in which representatives of over two dozen IAJGS-related non-profit groups associated with the conference will manage tables at which they greet attendees and describe their programs.

From Monday to Wednesday, the Exhibit Hall will be open from 9AM to 5PM, and on Thursday from 9AM to Noon.

We still have room for exhibitors wishing to share their products and programs with our attendees!  Contact conference co-chair Diane Jacobs at for further information.

Exhibitor Information for Download

Orlando 2017 IAJGS Exhibitor Fact Sheet

Orlando IAJGS2017 exhibitor contract

Swan and Dolphin Electrical Order Forms

Swan and Dolphin Internet Order Form 2017

Swan and Dolphin PSAV Event Technology Exhibit Order Form 2017

Swan and Dolphin Shipping & Receiving Information


The IAJGS 2017 Conference Schedule is Now Online!

The IAJGS 2017 Conference Schedule is Now Online!

This year’s exciting and jam-packed IAJGS conference schedule –  containing  310 events presented by over 150 experts in just about every field relevant to Jewish genealogy – is now available online!

Visit for the full details!

The full schedule of lectures, panels, breakfasts, computer workshops, films,  evening keynote lectures, and numerous mentoring opportunities will run from 9am on Sunday, July 23 through noon on Friday, July 28.

Don’t miss any of our delicious offerings – book now for the week and bring your family to enjoy Orlando’s many shopping, theme park, and museum attractions!

If you have been waiting to see the schedule before registering for the conference, it’s time to review the conference offerings and register!

Early registration (and the discounts that come with that) ends on April 16, 2017 as does 100% assurance of an available room (we sold out last year!).   We do not recommend delaying registration.

To register for the conference, click the REGISTRATION tab above.

Last year’s conference room ran out of hotel rooms.  So that you don’t miss out, book a room by visiting the HOTEL RESERVATIONS tab above.

The published schedule is an interactive listing that you can  scroll through from beginning to end for a full view of the conference programs, or you can search by title, keyword, speaker’s name and session date!

In addition to the presentations and evening events offered as part of your conference registration, there are optional offerings that may require additional fees. These include catered Special Interest Group luncheons, computer workshops and the Thursday evening banquet. See the conference website for additional options.

Keep an eye out for the launch of our mobile Conference application. The app will let you browse and search the list, build and update your personal daily schedule, get in touch with other conference-goers and receive updates about new developments and schedule changes.

The schedule is preliminary, and changes and exciting additions are very likely over the next few months – even up to the day of the event – so be sure to sign up for our blog, Facebook page and Twitter accounts at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to  contact the conference co-chairs at



View the IAJGS 2017 Conference Program Tracks!

OK, IAJGS conference fans! We have been deluged with requests for our conference schedule and while we are adjusting times and rooms to accommodate the over 300 presentations, meetings, workshops, mentoring sessions, breakfasts, luncheons, banquets, keynote lectures and other assorted offerings, we thought we would release to the world the Tracking Plan that is our guide in planning the event!

Click here to see the incredibly diverse offerings of this years conference, which we have grouped into three program tracks for each morning and afternoon of the conference.

The programs this year are spectacular, covering all the subjects near and dear to our hearts from past conferences, but in addition we are adding full week-long tracks on DNA (both YDNA and autosomal) and on Converso genealogy with special attention on records and history from the Inquisition and the Western Hemisphere. And on opening Sunday, our technology exhibitors will lecture all day on the ins and outs of their products. If you are a new participant, we will turn you into a knowledgeable practitioner; if you are a veteran who attends only occasionally, this is the IAJGS conference not to be missed! Stand by for the detailed schedule, which is only a day from publication. Last year the IAJGS conference ran out of hotel rooms, so don’t delay in signing up for the conference and getting yourself a room and flight. For further information, please feel free to contact the conference chairs at

To register for our conference, click the REGISTRATION tab above.

To book a room at our hotel, click the HOTEL RESERVATIONS tab above.