Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland


Genealogy Announcements of Interest

Webinars conducted by the JGS of Cleveland

Under normal circumstances, The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland (JGSC) meets monthly and features speakers who focus on different areas of interest to Jewish genealogy. Our monthly Meetings are normally held at either Menorah Park or Park Synagogue East, unless otherwise noted. The schedule is subject to change due to constraints such as national or religious holidays, availability of meeting spaces, or speakers' availability. Thirty minutes before each meeting, designated members are available to assist with research issues. Meetings are typically free and open to members, their guests and other interested persons. Unless specifically noted, reservations are not necessary.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we suspended our regular "in person" meetings after the meeting held on March 4, 2020, and replaced the "in person" meetings and programs with "Virtual" meetings and programs conducted as "webinars" each month. Our monthly Virtual meetings / webinars are still typically free and open to the public, subject to the constraints of the virtual meeting system we utilize (ZOOM).  We usually hold the meetings on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:00 pm local time in Cleveland, Ohio (Eastern time zone). In order to conduct the meetings securely, we now require advance reservations by all who wish to attend. To request a reservation, send an email to, with your name,  your full mailing address, and your email address., and specify which session you wish to attend.

Click Here to see our upcoming program schedule.


May 2021 Contact: Sandra Golden, Publicity Chair, IAJGS
For release: Upon receipt

IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
Set for All-Virtual Conference Aug. 1-5, 2021

The 41st Annual IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be an All-Virtual Conference from August 1–5, 2021.

“Based on the successful full virtual format last year, as well as uncertainty with Covid, we are again moving to an All-Virtual Conference with many exciting interactive components,” said Judi Missel, lead co-chair.

The conference will feature live-stream presentations as well as more than 100 pre-recorded, on-demand video presentations, both available for 60 days after the conference ends. Sessions will cover virtually every aspect of Jewish genealogy.

The special Conference tracks this year are: Early Jewish Settlers of the Americas, Innovative Methodology, Keepers of the Shoah Memory, Beginners Research, DNA Insights for Genealogy, and Heritage and Cultural Materials.

Conference programs will range from those geared to first-timers through conference veterans. Zoom-type networking will be available through Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Birds of a Feather (BOFs).

Registration and Conference program details will be posted on the conference website: Ongoing information and questions will also be posted on the IAJGS Conference Discussion Facebook page at

Keynote speaker will be Michael Hoberman, professor of American Literature at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts and author of the books New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America and A Hundred Acres of America: The Geography of Jewish American Literature.

The IAJGS is an umbrella organization of more than 93 Jewish genealogical societies worldwide. It coordinates and organizes activities such as its annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and provides a unified voice as the spokesperson on behalf of its members. The IAJGS’s vision is of a worldwide network of Jewish genealogical research organizations and partners working together as one coherent, effective and respected community, enabling people to succeed in researching Jewish ancestry and heritage. Find the IAJGS at: and like us on Facebook at


Webinars conducted by other organizations

Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois

Sunday, July 25, 2021 - 2:00 pm (CDT)
"A History of Jewish Name Changing in America"
presented by Kirsten Fermaglich

Kirsten Fermaglich, who has been teaching history and Jewish studies at Michigan State University since 2001, will give a talk on “A History of Jewish Name Changing in America” for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois online meeting on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Her live streaming presentation will begin at 2 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

To register for this free event, go to After you register, you will be sent a link to join the meeting. For more information, see or phone 312-666-0100.

In her presentation, Kirsten Fermaglich will offer an overview of her most recent book, “A Rosenberg by Any Other Name” (NYU Press, 2018). “Our thinking about Jewish name changing tends to focus on clichés: ambitious movie stars who adopted glamorous new names or insensitive officials who changed immigrants’ names for them,” she said. But as the speaker will describe, the real story is much more profound. Scratching below the surface, Fermaglich examines previously unexplored name change petitions to upend the clichés, revealing that in 20th-century New York City, Jewish name changing was actually a broad-based and voluntary behavior: thousands of ordinary Jewish men, women, and children legally changed their names in order to respond to an upsurge of antisemitism.

Rather than trying to escape their heritage or “pass” as non-Jewish, most name-changers remained active members of the Jewish community, she said. While name changing allowed Jewish families to avoid antisemitism and achieve white middle-class status, the practice also created pain within families and became a stigmatized, forgotten aspect of American Jewish culture.

Using court documents, oral histories, archival records, and contemporary literature, Fermaglich argues that name changing had a lasting impact on American Jewish culture. Ordinary Jews were forced to consider changing their names as they saw their friends, family, classmates, co-workers, and neighbors do so. Jewish communal leaders and civil rights activists needed to consider name changers as part of the Jewish community, making name changing a pivotal part of early civil rights legislation. And Jewish artists created critical portraits of name changers that lasted for decades in American Jewish culture.

The talk ends with the disturbing realization that the prosperity Jews found by changing their names is not as accessible for the Chinese, Latino, and Muslim immigrants who wish to exercise that right today.

As a professor in the Department of History at Michigan State University, Kirsten Fermaglich’s interests center around the historical meanings and problematic nature of ethnic identity in the United States: “I am particularly interested in secular Jews as both members of and outsiders to the Jewish community,” she said. “I am also interested in the ways that gender, race, class, and family intersect with ethnic identity.”

“A Rosenberg by any Other Name” won the Saul Viener Book Prize from the American Jewish Historical Society for the best book published in American Jewish History over the past two years. Her first book, “American Dreams and Nazi Nightmares” (Brandeis University Press, 2006), looked at secular Jewish intellectuals’ uses of the Holocaust in the early 1960s. Fermaglich also co-edited, with Lisa Fine, the Norton Critical Edition of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” (2013).

She teaches undergraduate classes in American Jewish history and culture, as well as undergraduate and graduate classes in United States history after 1865. logo

The JewishGen Learning Center,
A series of educational webinars with Jewish genealogical experts conducted in May-July, 2020.
The webinars were recorded and are available for viewing on YouTube.

Tracing your Jewish Roots through Catholic and Inquisition records* Genie Milgrom
Speaker: Genie Milgrom Recorded on June 3, 2020
*In Partnership with the American Sephardi Federation
Award winning author of "My 15 Grandmothers"; Past President of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies at Colorado Springs; President of Tarbut Sefarad Fermoselle; Board Member of Kulanu.  
Click here to View on YouTube
Researching NYC Resources Remotely* Jordan Auslander
Speaker: Jordan Auslander Recorded on June 17, 2020
*In Partnership with the JGS of NY
Forensic genealogist, title and real estate historian; Author of "Index to Jewish records in Slovakia," and "A genealogical gazetteer of Greater Hungary."  
Click here to View on YouTube
Privacy and Genealogy: What Are The Rules? E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg
Speaker: E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg Recorded on June 24, 2020
Director of the JewishGen Austria-Czech Research Division; Attorney specializing in cases related to looted art and the recovery of property stolen by the Nazis as featured in the 2015 film Woman in Gold; Past President of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
Click here to View on YouTube
Rescue and Resettlement: Researching Refugees from Nazi Europe* Karen Franklin
Speaker: Karen Franklin Recorded on July 1, 2020
*In Partnership with the Leo Baeck Institute and the JGS of NY
Director of family research at the Leo Baeck Institute; co-founder and president of the jury of the Obermayer German Jewish History Awards; Past co-chair of JewishGen's Board of Governors; Past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award; Past President of the Council of American Jewish Museums.
Click here to View on YouTube
Manifest Destiny: Names at Ellis Island  Dr. Joel Weintraub
Speaker: Dr. Joel Weintraub Recorded on July 8, 2020
Award winning Professor emeritus at California State University Fullerton; Creator search tools for the U.S. and New York City censuses via; Currently developing locational tools for the 2022 release of the 1950 federal census.
Click here to View on YouTube
From DNA to Genetic Genealogy: Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Dr. Stephen Morse
Speaker: Dr. Stephen Morse Recorded on July 15, 2020
Click here to View on YouTube
What the Jewish Genealogist Needs to Know About Jewish Names Dr. Sallyann Sack
Speaker: Dr. Sallyann Sack Recorded on July 22, 2020
Click here to View on YouTube