About the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando (JGSGO) is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history. Anyone may join JGSGO. Annual dues are $35 for an individual and $40 for a family. For more information visit our website, , “like” us at or call us at 407-494-4230.

Contact Information:     Tom Hirsch
JGSGO VP Programs & Publicity

JGSGO Voicemail 407-494-4230

Presenters and topics at prior meetings of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando (JGSGO)


Jan 19   Robin Seidenberg – How to handle the skeletons in your ancestry’s closet.

Feb 2, 2016 – The meeting will be held at the Family History Center (FHC) in North Orlando, 45 East Par Street, where we’ll have the chance to review their excellent resources.

March 1, 2016 – Barry Sieger, webmaster for the JGSGO, will review our new web site in development – – and solicit suggestions for improvement.

April 5, 2016  Educator and author Holly Mandelkern, Beneath White Stars: Holocaust Profiles in Poetry

May 3, 2016 Heritage Media Group founder Walter Schlomann A family video biography is a priceless family heirloom.

JUNE 7, 2016 Your summer genealogy homework! Tom Hirsch Interesting Genealogical Reading for the summer.
Tom’s Handout may be found on the members only page. 


January 12   David Laskin, author; what happened to the three branches of his family in different parts of the world

February 3 “Member Shared Success Stories”.   Five JGSGO members showed some of their most interesting finds and biggest challenges.

March   3 Marlis Humphrey “What They Didn’t Tell You about Family History Publishing”

April 7   Mitch Bloomer, Holocaust educator for the Holocaust Education and Resource Center in Maitland, spoke on The Holocaust.

May 3   Visit Orange County Library and Genealogy Center, West Oaks branch. That library’s Genealogy Specialist Allison Ryall presented research findings she did for 3 JGSGO members who were drawn in a raffle at our April meeting.   She also gave us a tour of this recently-opened facility.

June 1  Mark Schulman, “How to Stay Safe Online”

September  1  Four JGSGO members share their experiences and what they learned at the IAJGS in Jerusalem in July.

October  6   Noted Jewish genealogist Hal Bookbinder speaks on Immigration.

November  3   JGSGO member Rachel Luce Hitt speaks on using social media in genealogy

December  1 Brick wall research session, 25th anniversary celebration.  Our more experienced genealogists research help members overcome hurdles in their own searches.



Sept 2     Rick Lippert & Diana Uricchio, Scanapalooza     How to scan and save photos and documents.   Representatives of document/photo scanning firm gave presentation, and scanned photos and documents for JGSGO members.

October 7,   Joel Spector, ìThe Growth of the Jewish Population in Russia through the 1897 All-Russia Census”

November 4,   Marlis Humphrey, ìSIGs – The Secret Weapon to Discovering Your Family History”

Dec 2, Banai Feldstein, “Insider’s Guide to the Family History Library”. A photo tour of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and tips for planning a trip there and doing research.


January 29.   Lisa Alzo recorded webinar, “Beyond the Arrival Date: Extracting More from Passenger Lists”.   How to research ship manifests and related records.

February 17.   Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s pre-recorded webinar, ìReverse Genealogy: Finding the Livingî.

March 17, My Chief Genealogist, Daniel Horowitz, ìIntroduction to MyHeritageî.   How to use this genealogy database

May 19,   Hal Bookbinder, “The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe”.   How wars and turmoil affected Jews in Eastern Europe, and influenced emigration.

June 23,   Crista Cowan, “Smarter Searching on”   She is employed by that firm and gave tips on how to use the database.

September 24.   Steven Gataletto, “Remembering Orlando and its Jewish Citizens”.   Steven is research librarian at the Orange County Regional History Center. He prsented a very interesting talk on Jewish pioneers in Central Florida.

October 8,     Tom Hirsch     Websites and computer tips for genealogy.

Nov. 5,   Todd Knowles, Using Family Search Online & the Jewish Collection

Dec. 3, Phyllis Kramer, Using JewishGen


January 17.   Nolan Altman, using the Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Registry on Nolan was VP of Data Acquisition.

February 21.   Kahlile Mehr, a “Russian Empire Genealogical Primer”.   Kahlile Mehr, MA, MLS, AG, has over thirty years experience working LDS Family History. Currently he is the manager of the Slavic Collection

March 18.   Michael Goldstein, “Find Your Israeli Family”. How to obtain family history from Israel.   Michael Goldstein, born in Toronto is a Jerusalem-based genealogist .who researches, mentors, and lectures.

June 10.   Marlis Humphrey, “Getting the Most Out of JewishGen”.   Marlis was JGSGO VP Programs and Publicity; and on the Board of the IAJGS.

September 9.   Laurence Morrell, “New Jewish Genealogy Sites”.     Laurence is Past President of the JGSGO, and an experienced genealogist.

December 23.   “Jewish Genealogical Successes & Challenges”, a roundtable discussion of problems and solutions by JGSGO members.


September 20.   Anne Mohr Osisek.   “The Five Ws of Genealogy”, tips on doing research.   Longtime member and frequent lecturer of The Central Florida Genealogical Society.

October 26.   Paul Enchelmayer, “How to be a better ancestor”.   How to make it easier for future generations to document your family.   Paul held leadership positions in The Central Florida Genealogical Society and The Central Florida Computer Society.

November 29. Tom Hirsch. Using various web tools in family research; flatbed scanning; photographing microfilm records; photo stitching; computer tips.

December 18.   Elise Friedman, “Genealogy on the Internet: How to Turn a Name into a Treasure Trove of Family History”.   Professional genealogist who specializes in Jewish genealogy.


January 26   Diane Hirsch, former producer at The Golf Channel in Orlando, “My Video Life Story”. Explains how to do video interviews of relatives to preserve the recordings for future generations. She does this as a business.

February 23.   Joanie Schirm, JGSGO member, gave details on her book, “My Dear Boy”, about her ancestry in Czechoslovakia who fled The Holocaust.   Good presentation, compelling story.

March 16.   Steven Luxenberg, an executive editor at The Washington Post newspaper. Explained how he investigated and found information on a relative that family members tried to keep secret.   Details in his book, “Annie’s Ghost’.

April 27   Online research by experienced members to help other members needing help.

May 25   Members shared success stories and research findings

September 28     Tom Hirsch, JGSGO member. How to find your family on the web. Using various websites to find relatives; and other computer tips.