Our Past 2024 Events

Sunday, January 14, 2024 at 1:30 pm

(1 pm for Schmoozing and Mentoring)

Zoom Meeting


Speaker: Ava Cohn aka Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist

Known professionally as Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist, Ava has been the go-to expert on Jewish family photographs since 2009. She is internationally-known with an ever-growing list of clients from Europe, America, Israel, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK and other countries. A Brandeis University graduate, her background includes the study of decorative arts, art history, history of photography and costume/theatre history. In addition to being a popular speaker and writer on the pairing of photography and genealogy, Ava is a collector of 19th and 20th century photographs of all kinds. She is a member of JGSI and has explored her own roots in Canada, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.She can be reached at her email: sherlock.cohn@comcast.net or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SherlockCohn


Topic: Clued-In: More Cases from Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist

The best way to learn how to analyze family photographs is by example. This new presentation, a sequel to the popular “Case Studies from Sherlock Cohn”, will present more cases to illustrate the methodology of Photo Genealogy. The program is designed to help participants explain the mystery photographs found in their shoeboxes, jewelry boxes and photo albums. After a brief discussion of the types of questions needed to be asked of every photograph, Sherlock will present a variety of her most challenging cases among the thousands she has analyzed since 2009. Depending on time, cases may include “The Case of the Mystery Pin”, “The Case of the Lady in the Locket”, “The Case of the Trombonist’s Mum”, “The Case of the Bialystoker Photographer”, “The Case of the Onboard Mystery”, “The Case of the DP Monument”. Mysteries will be chosen that represent common problems genealogists face in deciphering the clues found in their family photographs including how to accurately date a photograph, how to identify individuals in photographs, how to determine the correct generation and how to interpret clues from the past. Whether the participant is new to exploring family photographs or a seasoned veteran of photo sleuthing, there will be more tips and tricks on how to get the most information from their photographs.

Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 1:30 pm

(1 pm for Schmoozing and Mentoring)

Zoom Meeting


Speaker: Adina Newman, Professional Genealogist and Educator

Dr. Adina Newman, EdD,  the creator of My Family Genie, is a professional genealogist and educator. Her specialties include Jewish genealogy, genetic genealogy, social media, and New England, and she presents on these topics in a variety of venues, from major genealogy conferences to local genealogy societies. Her findings have received international media attention, such as mentions in The Daily Mail, Washington Post, AP News, TODAY, People, and The Times of Israel, and she has made appearances on several news outlets such as NPR and I24NEWS. She co-founded the DNA Reunion Project, a program to raise awareness about the potential of DNA testing within the Holocaust survivor community and provide survivors and their children with commercial DNA tests. She volunteers as a moderator for a Jewish genetic genealogy Facebook group and on the program committee for her local Jewish genealogical society. She was also a 2020 recipient of the AncestryProGenealogists scholarship. Website: https://www.myfamilygenie.com/

Topic: #Genealogy: Incorporating Social Media into Your Genealogical Research

Social media has become an essential tool for genealogists in the 21st century. Through platforms like Facebook, X, Instagram, Linkedin, and TikTok, genealogists have limitless opportunities for expanding research, learning new skills, and collaborating with other researchers. Whether a social media novice or seasoned expert, everyone will walk away from this presentation with new ideas for incorporating social media into their genealogical research and practice.

Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 1:30 pm

(1 pm for Schmoozing and Mentoring)

Zoom Meeting


Speaker: Alex Calzareth, Board Member of Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island and the JewishGen Research Director for Germany


Alex Calzareth is a genealogist focusing on Southwest Germany, the Czech Republic and Southern Italy who began researching his family roots twenty-five years ago. He is a board member for Reclaim The Records and the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island. Alex is also the JewishGen Research Director for Germany. He’s a CPA and lives in New York City.

Topic: Mapping Your Family History: How to Create a Customized Google Map

Create maps with your own data on Google Maps. This presentation will teach you how to create a custom map, import location data associated with family history events or source records and then customize the appearance of that data on the map. Custom maps can be used in many ways, including visually conveying family migration patterns, showing the location of regional cemeteries, and which towns hold certain vital records. Resulting maps can also be imported into Google Earth for additional functionality.


Date:  Sunday, April 14, 2024.


Time:  1:00 check in, chat, and schmooze

            1:30 pm EDT official start time on zoom and in person.
Hybrid Meeting – In Person Venue: Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel,
Elkins Park, PA


Speaker: Matt Weismantel, Professional Genealogist and Ellis Island Volunteer

Matt has been fascinated by history for as long as he can remember and has had a passion for genealogy for the past 35 years. As an adoptee himself, he fully appreciates the importance of uncovering one’s roots. Matt’s academic background in historical geography has been invaluable in supporting his genealogical interests, and he has graduated from ProGen 47 and multiple genealogical institutes.

Matt has served in various leadership positions, including as the secretary of the New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), is currently the organization delegate for the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society (Oregon) and is serving as the Vice-Chair of the

Delegates Council of the National Genealogical Society. He is also an active member of the New York Metro and Greater Philadelphia Chapters of the APG and several other local genealogical societies. Matt’s work has been published in numerous local and state genealogical journals.

Since retiring in 2019 from his role at Rutgers University, Matt has  dedicated his time to volunteering at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monument at the American Family Immigration History Center and the Ellis Island Research Library, where he enjoys helping people discover their family histories. Matt helps organize and improve access to materials on the library’s history of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.


Topic: Ellis Island: Its History and Its Documents


Ellis Island served as the main entry point for millions of immigrants to the United States, with its peak years between 1892 and 1924. This presentation places Ellis Island within the context of US immigration history, debunking some long-standing urban legends. It considers the documents generated as part of the immigration process, including how to find them and what information they include. Additionally, it looks at Ellis Island’s recent story, from its abandonment and partial restoration, and reflects on the conflicting yet critical immigration story in our nation’s long history.

Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 2:30 PM 

                     (2:00 PM for Schmoozing and Mentoring)

Hybrid Meeting – In Person Venue: Shir Ami, 101 Richboro Newtown Rd, Newtown (Bucks County), PA


Speakers: Linda Ewall, JGASGP Board Member and Jeffrey Freedman, Emeritus Associate Professor of Physiology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University

Jeffrey Freedman is Emeritus Associate Professor of Physiology in the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology at State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York. His Ph.D. in Biology is from Penn, and he is retired from a 45-year academic career that included biomedical research and graduate and medical school teaching. He hails from Philadelphia and has been working on Genealogy for over 30 years. His third cousin, Linda Ewall’s M.A. in Computer Science Education is from Beaver College, now Arcadia University. Her career in computer networks, technical training and documentation, hardware, and software installations and troubleshooting in the pharmaceutical and medical fields complement her 47-yearlong interest in genealogy. She has been the recording secretary of the JGASGP for the past six years.

Topic: Goldman family DNA research group and how we discovered hundreds of relatives and ancestors

This talk will describe how the G3 “Goldman Genealogy Group”, a group of newfound 3C to 4C DNA cousins found each other and together built a six-generation tree that was subsequently extended using DNA methods. We will explain how DNA matches can be tracked on a tree to gain evidence pertaining to hypothetical connections, how a chromosome map of shared DNA segments is constructed, and how triangulating shared DNA segments with those also shared by an individual with known lineage leads to the discovery of common ancestors. Examples from the extended Goldman tree will be presented. Looking at shared matches on ancestry.com and other sites is like looking through a low powered microscope; looking at shared DNA segments on the GEDmatch and DNA Painter sites is like looking through a high-powered microscope. Your DNA directs, controls, and regulates all the biochemical processes in your body but is also your ancestral memory; the use of DNA methods in genealogy can thus enhance understanding of your individual ancestry and your genetic connections with others.

Sunday, June 9, 2024 at 11:00 am for Bagel Brunch and program

In Person Only, Location: Main Line Reform 410 Montgomery Ave, Wynnewood, PA 19096

Guest Speaker: Rich Blumberg, JGASGP Member and Volunteer with Federation of Jewish Cemeteries

Topic: Honoring the Volunteers of the Har Jehuda Project and the Future of Philadelphia Area Cemetery Projects

Bagel Brunch honoring the volunteers of the Har Jehuda Project: It’s a Mitzvah. We will be discussing the Har Jehuda Project and the future of cemetery cleanup projects in the Philadelphia area. ALL are welcome to attend our in-person event.

We have completed our digitization project of the approximate 26,000 burial cards. I am so grateful to all our wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t have done this without you! Some of us are continuing to work on the “Burial Books”. A genealogist’s work is never done!