Category Archives: IAJGS 2017

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!

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

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.