Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland


Upcoming Programs

At the present time, all programs will be scheduled as virtual meetings.
We will post updates if there are any new developments.




July 8, 2020
7:00 pm

Web based

Problem with "Grave" Errors in our Cemeteries

Rabbi Akiva Feinstein

The use of words, names and phrases on Jewish headstones is an ancient way of remembering a soul when they can no longer speak for themselves. Jewish custom is rich with traditions, insights and guidance on how to write these expressions. This presentation will review the common expressions, naming conventions, calculation of dates and certain other aspects while focusing on the need for accuracy and completeness. Our speaker, who worked as a chaplain for many years, will share his concerns and offer possible solutions to preserve this beautiful tradition for those unfamiliar with Hebrew names and conventions. Many examples will be cited to highlight important laws and customs. One does not need to have a strong Hebrew background to benefit from this presentation and learn how to decipher Hebrew names and dates on headstones.

Rabbi Akiva Feinstein is the Director of Spiritual Care at Montefiore Home and Hospice in Beachwood, Ohio. He has worked as a chaplain for more than 15 years. Born in South Africa and raised in Los Angeles, he is very interested in Jewish genealogy—especially the customs of Jewish life as they relate to naming and burial. He has done research on his own family’s departure from Lithuania (Memel) and immigration to South Africa. Some years ago he presented to our group on the mystery and true identity of the Ansel Cemetery.

Rabbi Akiva Feinstein

August 5, 2020
7:00 pm

  The Ethical and Legal Implications of DNA Testing
Dr. Aaron Goldenberg

Date to be announced

  Topic to be announced
Professor Ravenel Richardson

September 9, 2020
7:00 pm

  To be Announced

October 7, 2020
7:00 pm

  Why you should examine original records, and how to find them
Russ Maurer

November 15, 2020
1:30 pm


Why Cleveland? Finding Answers in the Industrial Removal Office Records
Renée K. Carl
Co-sponsored by Siegel Lifelong Learning of CWRU

About The Lecture

Wondering why your immigrant ancestor chose to live in Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh? Little Rock, not Los Angeles? Memphis, not Miami? The answers might lie in the records of the Industrial Removal Office, a scary name for a good organization. The IRO, founded in 1901, assisted immigrants in finding employment and better living conditions, and helped assimilate them into American society. IRO agents, often working in partnership with B’nai B’rith or other Jewish fraternal groups, spread around the USA securing jobs, and then immigrants would be sent to those locations to establish a new life.

Records of the IRO, housed at the American Jewish Historical Society, include ledger books, case files and correspondence, as well as reports by local agents on the newly settled immigrants. Ohio, and specifically Cleveland, played outsized roles in the history of the IRO, and the talk will provide an Ohio-focused angle.

The presentation examines the history of the IRO and its records. The presentation will, using a case study, demonstrate how to use the online index, and how to navigate to find immigrant case files, correspondence, and reports.

About Renée K. Carl

Born in St. Louis, raised in Chicago, now living in Washington, DC, Renée left the public policy world for professional genealogy, finding that researching dead people is easier than working with Congress.

Renée’s business and blog can be found at She serves private clients, other researchers, journalists, and others. Renée worked as a researcher for Season 2 of PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow, and served as lead researcher for Season 3. She is a regular at the National Archives, Library of Congress and US Holocaust Memorial and Museum, and partners with researchers in Europe, Australia and Israel. Renée graduated Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, the Latvia Research Group at JewishGen, and the Ukraine Research Group’s town leader for Medzhybizh.

December 6, 2020
1:30 pm

  Annual Meeting
Board Election
"Brick Wall" session with a Panel of Experts