Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Ellman

Posted by Joanna Leefer

Some people are born to be genealogists. Barbara Ellman, JewishGen’s Technical Coordinator for ShtetLinks, is one of those people. She inherits her passion for genealogy from her mother, and between the two of them, has researched her maternal family line as far back as the mid-1700 to Drohobych, Ukraine.

Now Barbara is applying her genealogy expertise to JewishGen’s database. She assists ShtetLinks site managers set up FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access, or in less technical terms, she helps managers upload sites, answers technical questions, and recovers/reconstructs sites that disappear.

These are not simple tasks. As one site manager described her, “Barbara is my right and left hands.”

Barbara began working at JewishGen approximately five years ago.“JewishGen has been such a wonderful resource to me in my research, that I wanted to give back to the community through volunteering.” She initially volunteered to become a ShetLinks site manager, but ended up with this much larger and rewarding role. When the JewishGen servers were moved last year, she worked to insure that all sites where in working order, while at the same time holding down a more-than-full time paying job.

Barbara is a computer systems analyst by occupation, and an avid photographer and traveler by avocation. She has already traveled to six of the seven continents and has her heart set on visiting Antarctica. She has a master’s degree in travel management and would love to work in ecological tourism. She is also a member of the Board of Directors at the local genealogy society in Bergen County, NJ.

Thank you, Barbara for offering JewishGen your time, your talents, and your passion for Jewish Genealogy. Your help has been invaluable in keeping JewishGen’s ShetLinks current and functioning!

If you would like to nominate a JewishGen volunteer to be spotlighted, please email us by clicking here. If you would like to join JewishGen as a volunteer, please click here.


  1. Congratulations for a job well-done! And, by the way, who is your maternal family from Drohobycz?

  2. Congratulations Barbara!
    Your behind-the-scenes work, dedication and administration are a huge asset to the Jewish genealogical world.
    Thank you and a big Bravo!
    Merle Kastner

  3. To Barbara Ellman -

    Thank you so much for your invaluable work and help to the research I've been doing on my Latvian ancestors.

  4. Congrats Barbara! You were so helpful setting up my ShtetLinks page - I could not have done it without you.

  5. To Barbara -
    It's wonderful to hear about your ongoing work with JewishGen. What a great match -- your talents with so many who need assistance.
    Our small Mogilev Podolsky group who met at the IAJGS conference last month decided to start a Shtetl Links page, so we'll be in touch.
    Thank you for all your service
    Phyllis Gold Berenson

  6. Without Barbara’s assistance and encouragement three years ago, my BECKUM Shtetl project would never have materialized.
    My thanks to Barbara, and very warm wishes.
    Zeev Raphael, Haifa

  7. Marjorie RosenfeldAugust 19, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    What I want to know is where Barbara finds the time. After reading her bio, boy oh boy am I glad we have her!

  8. Marjorie RosenfeldAugust 19, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    What I want to know now is where Barbara finds the time. After reading her bio, boy oh boy am I glad we have her!

  9. Bravo and thank you!

    Stuart Ungar


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