Arts + Culture,

“Jewish Genealogy 101: The Ganze Mishpokhah (The Whole Family)” with Emily Garber

Nov 13, 2022 - Nov 13, 2022 | 10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

In this all-day seminar led by Emily Garber, participants will learn where to start and how to explore their relatives’ lives.

Discover clues from family records. Train in the best research practices. Track findings. This course will set up participants for future success in Jewish family history journey. Seminar includes an introductory session showing how to find Western Pennsylvania ancestors in the archives.

10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Registration and Introductions

11 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. Session 1 (Emily Garber)
Preparation is key to successful Jewish family history research. Garber will work with participants on the following:

  • a real research case and show step-by-step how genealogists work through research problems,
  • working backwards through time and linking information found in records,
  • learning how to search for information and records and how to record one’s findings.

12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Kosher lunch provided by Dina’s Dishes or bring participants can bring their own.

1 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. – Session 2 (Emily Garber)
Garber will lead participants in learning how to track relatives in commonly used United States records and learn the value of broadening our research to include FANs: family, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors. She will explore commonly used United States records to inform participants on their families and their lives in their new country, including census enumerations, birth, death and marriage records, and landsmanshaftn records.

2:10-2:20 – break

2:20-3:30 – Session 3 (Emily Garber)
Garber will lead participants in the following questions: What can we learn about our ancestors’ immigration histories? Where did they come from? How did they travel from Europe to the United States? She and participants will explore:
• immigration and naturalization records,
• accessible old world records,
• finding research help.
She will end with some advice for continuing education.

3:30-3:45 pm – break 

3:45 – 4:45 pm – Session 4 (Eric Lidji)
Now that participants have gotten the basic skills for researching Jewish genealogy, learned how to use the many archival resources available for finding Jewish ancestors in Western Pennsylvania. Lidji will conduct case studies with participants, using the Rauh Jewish Archives, the University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections, the Rodef Shalom Archives, the Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project, and other repositories in Pittsburgh and around the world.

The program is free for JGS-Pittsburgh members, $10 for the general public viewing online, and $15 for the general public attending in person. Boxed lunch is an additional $20.

This program is possible through the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation.


“Jewish Genealogy 101: The Ganze Mishpokhah (The Whole Family)” is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Please register online. The program is free for JGS-Pittsburgh members, and $10 for the general public viewing online and $15 for the general public attending in person. Boxed lunch is an additional $20. To become a member of the JGS-Pittsburgh and receive a free membership code, please visit its website at https://www.pghjgs.org/membership.

This program will be recorded and made available to current JGS-Pittsburgh members.

For more information, please contact the Rauh Jewish Archives at rjarchives@heinzhistorycenter.org.


An archaeologist by training (B.A., Vassar College; M.A., University of New Mexico), Emily Garber is a professional genealogy researcher, writer and speaker who specializes in Jewish genealogical research. She has researched both Eastern European and German Jewish communities and immigrants to the United States and Great Britain. She has toured family shtetlach (communities) and explored archives in Ukraine.

After retiring from her 30-plus year career in natural resources management, Emily earned a certificate from Boston University’s Genealogical Research program. She has spoken at nine International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies conferences, as well as National Genealogical Society’s conferences, the New York State Family History Conference and the Utah Genealogical Society’s Summit of Excellence. She has presented talks and seminars throughout the United States, and in Israel and Poland. She coordinated two different weeklong seminars on Jewish genealogy at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She has authored four articles published in Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy and, for a client, completed two privately published volumes chronicling the 300-year history of a German Jewish family. She writes a family history blog, The Extra Yad (https://extrayad.blogspot.com/).

Emily serves on the board of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. She also chairs the Phoenix Jewish Genealogy Group and is on the board of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society. She served for about 10 years as one of the moderators of the JewishGen Discussion Group.

Eric Lidji is the director of the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. He curates its website “The Jewish Encyclopedia of Western Pennsylvania” and hosts its local history podcast “The Cornerstone.” He writes extensively about the Jewish history of Western Pennsylvania for various publications.

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