Announcement: JGS of Illinois

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JGSI) is pleased to present “From the Shtetl to the 21st Century,” a day dedicated to Jewish genealogy.

Date: Sunday, June 6, 2010.
Location: Temple Beth Israel, 3601 W. Dempster, in Skokie.
Time: 8:00 a.m - 5:15 p.m.

About the conference
The conference will feature key note speaker Ron Arons, nationally known expert on Jewish criminals, Jewish genealogy, and research techniques. Ron will explore new ways to use the Internet to find family information in his entertaining presentation “Online Jewish Genealogy Beyond JewishGen and Steve Morse.” During lunch, Ron will share how his interest in Jewish criminals led him to write the book “The Jews of Sing Sing” and will later lead a session on mapping techniques.

Participants will have the opportunity to choose from three sessions in five time slots, for a total of fifteen different topics focused on Jewish genealogy. Topics include a beginner's workshop, using online resources, Holocaust research, interpreting cemetery monuments, DNA testing, Cook County records, research reasoning, Polish language vital records, how to write your family history, and "Ask the Experts."

“Jewish genealogy is quite popular,” explained JGSI President Mike Karsen. “On the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, celebrities have traced their roots back to French Royalty and Salem witches. Most genealogists do not expect those results - they are driven by the desire to learn more about their family history, honor their ancestors, and reunite families."

The JGSI library, containing hundreds of genealogy books, will be available for browsing. Volunteers will provide assistance. Kosher food will be provided to all attendees, beginning with bagels and coffee at registration and including a kosher box lunch. Temple Beth Israel is wheelchair accessible. An elevator is available for all participants.

It’s been years since the last local Jewish genealogy conference, so June 6 is a great opportunity to hear many expert speakers in a single day. Attendees will uncover new techniques and insights for researching their roots and revealing their family history.

About the JGS of Illinois
JGSI is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping its members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. We conduct monthly meetings with speakers, provide access to research materials, publish a newsletter, serve as a Chicago area genealogy resource, and maintain an online searchable death index.

About Ron Arons. Ron Arons won a Hackman Research Residency Award from the New York State Archives to continue his research of New York Jewish criminals, and appeared on the PBS television series, “The Jewish Americans,” as the acknowledged expert on Jewish criminals of New York’s Lower East Side. Ron worked for many years as a marketer at several high-tech companies, earned a B.S. in Engineering from Princeton University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

For additional information, please contact Sandy Imyak at (312) 666-0100 or email To download the conference brochure and register, visit

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