The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando (JGSGO) launched a family discovery journey with its recent completion of a year long workshop series with experts in all fields of genealogy. Continue this momentum by participating in our continuation of a lecture program presenting topics and experts on major genealogical topics. 

JGSGO Mavens will assist those getting started on their family discovery research. Experienced Jewish genealogists can serve as mavens. Beginning and intermediate genealogists will learn important techniques to advance their research and network with valuable experienced genealogists who can guide them through challenging issues. 

Every program will include a Maven Section, where our experienced members will help other members and guests deal with challenging and difficult research issues. The lectures will be recorded and the handouts made available on our web site – – and both will be accessible to jgsgo members. 



Welcome to the new year of JGSGO! We hope that our members and friends are well and managing in these difficult times.

The virtual IAJGS2020 conference in early August was a resounding success.  We learned that genealogists are passionate about their commitment to their pursuit of genealogy and family history and will find a way to keep on doing it, regardless of circumstances.  That success was a wake-up call.  We can’t wait for a vaccine or whatever metric tells us it’s safe to meet in person; who knows when that will be? We must find a way to continue learning and sharing our individual genealogical journeys. 

We are therefore planning to have our monthly JGSGO meetings via Zoom for the foreseeable future starting October 13 and continuing on the second Tuesday of each month.  We were planning to celebrate our 30th anniversary this year, but that has been delayed until we can actually meet in person.

We are also in the process of updating our web site.  Until that project is completed, program announcements will be posted on our Facebook page and invitations sent to those on our mailing lists with information on how to register. Anyone who is interested but not on our mailing list is invited to request notices by sending a request to

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Diane Jacobs, JGSGO President

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

7 pm – 9 pm



Family Tree Maker® is one of the most widely used software programs for creating and building family trees.  It is designed to be intuitive to use and is easy to navigate.  Over its thirty-year history, it has developed many useful features, enabling novices to continue to add new information and depth to their family histories. Two of our members, Diane Jacobs and Richard Signer,  will demonstrate how each has used this software to record and research their family’s history.  Members who have the software are encouraged to bring laptops with the software and their trees.  Time will be made available for Q and A as well as helping individuals or small groups. Please see the HOME page for more detailed information about the speakers. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

7 pm – 9 pm

JewishGen – A Valuable Asset for Jewish Genealogy

with Diane Jacobs

Diane is a retired professor who restarted her genealogical journey with her first-ever attendance at IAJGS2016 in Seattle.  She was Co-chair of IAJGS2017 in Orlando and continues to attend these international conferences to bring new information back to JGSGO.  She started her genealogical research forty years ago, when most research took place in archives or research sites with microfiche and microfilm readers.  As more resources have become available, so has her research into ancestors in Belarus, Germany and the Czech Republic. Diane recognizes that genealogy has moved from a solitary pastime to a team effort, with more volunteers finding and sharing resources and tips, and frequently doing the heavy lifting of translating old records. She has used JewishGen for many years, frequently finding it a source of information not easily found elsewhere.  She will demonstrate some of its special features and describe some of her own discoveries on that site


Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020

7 pm – 9 pm



Please join us to learn about the Orlando Cemetery project and how you can volunteer to help to complete it.    Larry Morrell and Dori Cohn have been quietly leading this project in preparation to contribute to a centralized database JOWBR (Jewish Gen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry) that has facilitated documentation of Jewish burials for archiving and genealogical research in communities throughout the world. They will bring us up to date on their efforts, share a “brick wall”, and seek volunteers for completion (data input, photography, translations etc.).  In addition, Dori will talk about the Cemetery Initiative in Europe. And how she has both learned from and contributed to that effort. 

Tombstones and cemetery records are one place to search for records of our ancestors.  Many of our members have visited cemeteries to look at records or have found useful records online in various portals (see handout for Ed Bromberg’s talk from November 2019.) But do you know how that information finds its way to online resources?  It’s through volunteers in many communities throughout the world who spend many hours working in cemeteries to document and input data on millions of burials to make that information available to the wider community searching for their families.    Just as we appreciate having that information for our ancestors who lived in lands now distant from us, so we should document our own communities for future generations who may live in communities far from here.  That is the purpose of the Orlando Cemetery project. 

Both Larry and Dori are longtime residents of Central Florida and members of JGSGO.  Each has explored cemeteries in Europe in search of the origins of their respective families.  Their combined experience is a guarantee of successful completion

REGISTRATION: Required for either in-person or online participation at

DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020

TIME: 7:00 P.M.

ADMISSION: Free for members, $5 for guests, which can be applied to membership. No charge for first time attendees.

LOCATION: Roth Jewish Community Center, 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751 (in the “Senior Lounge”)

Tuesday Nov. 3, 2019

7 pm – 9 pm



A Webinar given by Janice Sellers

In Person Registration  

Online Registration 

Janice Sellers’ handout may be found on the Program Presentation Page in the Member’s Only Area






Join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando (JGSGO) to hear ”Bubbie, Who Are You?  Finding the Maiden Names in Your Family Tree“, A webinar given by Janice Sellers.

Female relatives can be difficult to trace, but they can be found. This program introduces resources for tracing the women in your family, including family items, oral histories, federal and state census records, immigration records, vital records, religious records, journals, newspapers, legal and court records, library archives, and manuscript collections.

Janice Sellers is a professional genealogist specializing in Jewish, black, dual citizenship, and newspaper research. She serves on the board of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, edits the society’s journal, and is the programming and publicity director; and the board of Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, where she is also the programming director. She is a member of Association of Professional Genealogists, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Speakers Guild, and Genealogical Forum of Oregon. She has worked in publishing for many years as an editor, indexer, translator, and compositor. She has traced family to Kamianec Litovsk and Porozovo, Belarus; Kamianets Podolskyi and Orinin, Ukraine; and Kreuzburg, Latvia. Her Website is


DATE:               Tuesday Dec. 3, 2019

TIME:               7:00 P.M.

ADMISSION:     Free for members, $5 for guests, which can be applied to membership. No charge for first time attendees.

LOCATION:       Roth Jewish Community Center, 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751 (in the “Senior Lounge”)

Tuesday Nov. 3, 2019

7 pm – 9 pm


Gravestones and Cemeteries: 

Sources of Clues to Your Family’s History

Presented by Dr. Edward Bromberg 

Dr. Edward Bromberg is a long-time member of JGSGO. Ed first got interested in genealogy around 30 years ago when a 3rd cousin assembled a typed family tree for her daughter’s bat mitzvah. Being a strong computer user at that time, he searched around for genealogy software, and came across the first release of Family Tree Maker, which he purchased and entered the data from his cousin’s typed tree.  He has visited many of his family cemeteries over the years & has learned a great deal about the information and symbols found on gravestones (“matzevot”), which can be invaluable in expanding one’s family  tree. .

In addition to a detailed description of how to understand Jewish tombstones, he will discuss finding the gravestones and translating their inscriptions. In addition he will describe a few family genealogy pieces of information he discovered during his visits to family cemetery plots.  He will also be available to help attendees translate Hebrew from their own photos of gravestones.  Please bring copies of photos of gravestones you would like help with.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

(note different day of the week from usual meeting)

7 pm – 9 pm

Next Steps:

Making Progress on Growing Your Family Tree.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando

  • Are you curious about your family’s history?
  • Are you just starting or restarting your genealogical journey?
  • Are you faced with a set of questions / frustrations /roadblocks  /brick walls?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, JGSGO has a treat for you.  Our next meeting will be devoted to working with you, with our long-time members offering one-on-one advice.  Bring your laptops and whatever records you have that illustrate the current status of your research and we’ll do our best to help you take that next step. Translations from Hebrew will be available.

Long-time members with experience and expertise to be mavens to help the less experienced attendees are especially encouraged to show how collaboration works!

Tuesday September 10, 2019

7 pm – 9 pm

Report from IAJGS 2019: New

Resources and tips for Researching your Family History

Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando Program


In Person Registration

Webinar Registration

D Jacob’s Lecture Handout

Member’s Only Area has additional handout material  

Richard Signer’s presentation may be found in the Member’s
Only section, Program Presentations 

Video of Lecture




 Dr. Diane Jacobs and Dr. Richard Signer, who attended the 39th International Conference of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS 2019) held in Cleveland, Ohio, July 27-August 3, 2019, will share information and impressions gleaned from a very full conference that saw a number of important announcements on new available resources. 

Tuesday June 4, 2019

7 pm – 9 pm


with Tom Hirsch


Tom Hirsch, jgsgo secretary, reminds us that the approaching summertime is NOT the time to stop your genealogy work. Tom, who has spent the last 20 years researching his roots, in his inimitable & horough manner, will present tips to help new and veteran genealogists learn new skills, use DNA tests and computer technology, and other tools to find and share their family history. 

Wednesday May 8, 2019

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM 

 “COUSIN LYNNE” with Dave Rowitt

Dave Rowitt, a long-time member of JGSGO, who’s been researching his family roots for 15 years, discovered a long lost cousin, who had been surrendered by her birth parents at birth, and later adopted. Learn how Dave, who’s very adept using genealogical research tools, discovered his lost cousin, whom we will meet during the presentation.   

Sunday, March 17, 2019

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM


Lara Diamond 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM 

Reuniting holocaust survivors … not mission impossible with Daniel Horowitz from My Heritage

For a more detailed description of this lecture, please visit the front page of 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Everything You Wanted to Know About Family Tree Maker

But Were Afraid to Ask: A Discussion with Mark Olsen

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM


Ethical wills: their role in sharing values, goals and aspirations.

with Larry Morrell

Please go to the home page of to see a more extensive bio for Mr. Morrell 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Orlando Florida South Family History Center

3000 Howick Street

Orlando, FL 32835

Family Service Center Evening 

FamilySearch is a nonprofit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations. 

Please go to the home page of to see a complete description of this organization and its very helpful genealogical services. 

Tuesday November 13, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Family History Stories Lead to Visits in Eastern Europe:  Research Successes Follow Brick Walls

with Dorie Cohn and Laura Kerben LaBoda.


Online Registration

In Person Registration



Tuesday June 5, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Join the JGSGO for “DNA: Panel Discussion and Q&A,” at the Jewish Community Center of Greater in Maitland, on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 7 P.M. Three presentations will summarize Y-DNA, mtDNA and autosomal DNA, their strengths and pitfalls. These will be followed by an open forum taking questions from attendees submitted in advance or from the floor. 

Please visit our home page at for further details about the presenters. 

Tues. Sept. 4, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM



with Diane Jacobs, Ph.D. and Richard Signer, MD 


Two of our members, Diane Jacobs and Dr. Richard Signer, have just returned from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies 2018 annual conference, which was held in Warsaw, Poland.  This event hosted several hundred of the top genealogists from around the world.  Diane and Richard learned from some of the best-known and most-accomplished genealogy speakers of our time.   We are eager to share this wealth of knowledge with our members and with Central Floridians interested in learning about their Jewish heritage.  On September 4, we continue our “My Jewish Roots” series with excellent quality programs to help members find and share their Jewish ancestry.

Diane recently retired from the University of Central Florida, completing 40 years as a tenured medical school faculty member.  She has been doing genealogy research for twenty years, and was a co-chair of IAJGS 2017.  Diane is the President of the JGSGO.

Richard was the second pediatric surgeon in the Central Florida, and was a founder of both Arnold Palmer and Florida Hospitals for Children. He was a pediatric surgeon here for 32 years and was the Chief Medical Officer of Florida Hospital for Children for 14 years, retiring in 2016.


FREE to members, $5 non-member fee, credited toward membership if you join.  

Tue May 1, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

A video lecture entitled ‘Preserving your Family Papers, Photographs and Books for Future Generations’ with Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer who spoke at IAJGS 2017, Orlando Florida will be presented. This will be followed by further discussion given by Tom Hirsch, who will demonstrate scanning techniques in real time and do scans for participants. 

In Person Registration

Two handouts are available. Click on the handout links. 

Oppenheim Lecture Handout

Hirsch Lecture Handout

Tuesday May 1, 2018

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

For those who cannot attend the May 1 meeting in person, this video lecture via webinar will be made available. Please register, by clicking on the Online Registration button in column 4.

Preserving your Family Papers, Photographs and Books for Future Generations with Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer. 


A handout is available for this video lecture. You will see it in the row just above this one. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Holocaust Memorial Research and Education Center of Florida, 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center 

Amazing Holocaust Survival Stories with Joanie Schirm, who recounts her father’s stories about fleeing Czechoslovakia and the Nazis. 

Tuesday March 6, 2018


“Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victim’s Names and other Yad Vashem Resources for Beginners” with Serafima Velkovich – originally recorded at the IAJGS 2017 Conference in Orlando

Tuesday March 6, 2018

Live research session to help members who are having difficulty tracing their family trees

Tues February 20, 2018

Online GotoWebinar Program Only

Understanding DNA Matching Technology – MyHeritage Webinars, with Ran Snir, Product Manager, MyHeritage DNA Products

Tues February 6, 2018

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM 

MyHeritage: 7 Unique Technologies with Daniel Horowitz 

Tues 2 January, 2018  

6:30 PM – 7:50 PM

Seminole County Library Central Branch
215 N. Oxford Road Casselberry, Florida 32707

How your library and your librarian can help your genealogy research, with Pat Russell, librarian and genealogy specialist. 

Wed Dec 20, 2017

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM


“Making sense of DNA – for the genealogist” with Barry Sieger


Tues Dec 5, 2017

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

“Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Using Newspapers for Genealogy Research to Find Your Ancestors” with Gregg Gronlund, Branch Manager, West Oaks Branch Library & Genealogy Center

Tue Nov 7, 2017

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

“Making sense of DNA – for the genealogist” with Barry Sieger


In-Person Participation

On-line Participation


Tue Oct 3, 2017

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

HIGHLIGHTS OF IAJGS2017: What We Learned and How It Can Help You, with Diane Jacobs, Ph.D. & Richard Signer, M.D.