The Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon
Invites you, your family and friends to its upcoming


    presented by Brooke Schreier Ganz

via Zoom, on Sunday, March 21 at 10:30 a.m.

Register for this presentation in advance at:

Click here for Zoom Meeting Registration

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

[If you have already registered, there is no need to re-register.]


We also want to let you know about the JGS of Pittsburgh's next virtual program.  On March 24 at 7:00 p.m. Crista Cowan will speak about the Jewish Record Collection on Ancestry. For more details scroll down.



Are you tired of being told by archives, libraries, and government agencies that the genealogical records you want are "unavailable" to the public, are  only available behind a paywall, or are only available to view if you can visit them on-site or during limited hours? We were too, so we figured out how to do something about it.

We're Reclaim the Records, a new not-for-profit activist group of genealogists, researchers, historians, and journalists. We use state Freedom of Information (FOI) laws to obtain copies of previously inaccessible archival record sets. We use these laws to force the government to hand over copies of genealogical records to the public, often for the first time ever. Then we then freely publish all the records we win online, as open data without any copyrights, paywalls, or usage restrictions.

Our work has enabled the first-ever public access to more than forty million archival records (and counting!), ranging from marriage records to voter lists to civil service lists to state licensing files.
This presentation will walk through the history and legal basics of FOI laws and will teach researchers how to file their own requests for any genealogical or archival records they may want to see returned to the public domain. 

Brooke Schreier Ganz is the founder and president of Reclaim the Records and the first genealogist to successfully sue a government archive for the return of records to the public. A computer programmer, she is also the creator of LeafSeek, a free open-source records-management platform and multilingual search engine that won second place in the 2012 RootsTech Developer Challenge.


Please visit our JGSO webpage:

Please visit our Portland KehilaLinks page in JewishGen:

For help with genealogy or DNA, contact our Help Desk team:

For membership questions, email: 

Thank you!
JGSO Board


Janice Sellers received a notice about this excellent program from Steve Jaron, President of JGS of Pittsburgh. Steve wrote:

On March 24 at 7:00 p.m. Crista Cowan will speak about the Jewish Record Collection on Ancestry. With more than 24 billion online records, twice as many as any other online genealogy company, Ancestry has a lot to offer Jewish family history researchers. Join Crista for a look at records in the U.S., Canada, and England specific to Jewish immigrants as well as tips for researching the millions of JewishGen records, Holocaust records, and other European records from the 18th and 19th century for those of Jewish descent. She'll add a few tips for successful searching as well.

Crista Cowan has been employed at Ancestry since 2004; her involvement in family history, however, reaches all the way back to childhood. She frequently speaks at local and national genealogy events around the country. Watch her live show, The Barefoot Genealogist, weekly on the Ancestry YouTube channel at

I will be advertising this program on Social Media beginning next week but if your members wish to attend they can register here “The Jewish Record Collection on Ancestry” with Crista Cowan (

Details can already be found on our Facebook Page and website.

Steven Jaron
JGS of Pittsburgh


Upcoming Programs

Sunday, April 18, 10:30 a.m.
Finding Jewish Records in the New MyHeritage Search Engine
Daniel Horowitz, MyHeritage

(waiting on description)


Daniel Horowitz is the Genealogy Expert at MyHeritage, providing key contributions by liaising with genealogical societies, bloggers, and media, as well as lecturing and attending conferences around the world.  Dedicated to genealogy since 1986, he was the teacher and the study guide editor of the family history project “Searching for My Roots” in Venezuela for 15 years.  Daniel is involved in several crowdsource digitization and transcription projects and holds a board-level position at the Israel Genealogy Research Association.



Sunday, May 2, 10:30 a.m.
Finding your Eastern European Jewish Family on
Robinn Magid,

JRI-Poland's vast collection of 6.2 million records from more than 600  towns includes information about towns and families in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Germany, and the former territories of Galicia and Prussia. Through understanding the contents of the database and how to improve your search results to exploring preserved Holocaust-related records, this lecture will focus on the good things that can come out of a genealogical search.

Robinn Magid is the Assistant Director of  She recently became the project manager of the JRI-Poland “NextGen Project” to redesign the JRI-Poland site, search engine, and database. As the Lublin Area Projects Coordinator, she is responsible for coordinating the indexing of Jewish vital records for approximately 100 towns. Robinn has spoken at many IAJGS conferences on behalf of JRI-Poland and served as the chair of IAJGS 2018 Warsaw, Poland conference and the IAJGS 2020 Virtual Conference on Jewish Genealogy. She is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area JGS.



Sunday, June 13, 10:30 a.m.

20th Century Immigration and Naturalization Records

Marisa Louie Lee, independent archival researcher

The National Archives maintains a wealth of records relating to immigration and naturalization in the 20th century.  This includes more than one million Alien Case Files ("A-Files") at its facilities in San Francisco, California, and Kansas City, Missouri.  Created beginning in 1944, these files relate to noncitizen alien residents of the United States and are a potential wealth of genealogical information.  We'll discuss what's in the A-Files, who is documented in them, how to find them at the National Archives, and how to access records that remain with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Marisa Louie Lee is an archival researcher specializing in federal records.  While an archivist at the National Archives at San Francisco, she coauthored the article "The A-Files: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors", published in the Spring 2013 issue of Prologue magazine.  A fifth-generation Chinese American, Marisa first worked with federal records as a college student researching her own family's history in the United States.  She has presented talks at the California Genealogical Society, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), the Japanese American National Museum (in conjunction with the Nikkei Genealogical Society), and the Chinese Historical Society of America.



Sunday, July 25, 10:30 a.m.
After You're Gone:  Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research
Thomas MacEntee,

Have you ever considered what will happen to your years of genealogy research once you’re gone?  Learn how to ensure that your hard work carries on.  Through a combination of planning, common sense, and new technologies, we’ll review how to create an action plan for preserving your genealogy research.


What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during the Great Recession of 2008?  You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, marketer, network builder, and more.




Sunday, August 15, 10:30 a.m.

Getting Ready for the 1950 Census: Searching with and without a Name Index

Steve Morse, One-Step Website

When the 1950 census is released in April 2022, it will not have a name index.  So finding people in the census will involve searching by location instead.  Even when a name index becomes available, there will still be many reasons for doing locational searches.  The census is organized by Enumeration Districts (EDs), so a location needs to be converted to an ED before the census can be accessed.  The One-Step website contains numerous tools for obtaining EDs.  This talk will present the various tools and show circumstances in which each can be used.


Steve Morse is the creator of the One-Step Website, for which he has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from IAJGS, the Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, the first ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists, and two awards that he cannot pronounce from Polish genealogical societies.  In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering.  He has held various research, development, and teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, and written four textbooks and holds four patents.



To help you with your research projects JGSO has provided links to the following handouts:


Surname Handout.pdf by Malia Laughton

Reading in Another Hand-Meir.pdf by Natan Meir

Jewish Fraternal Organizations - handout.pdf by Hal Bookbinder

US Immigration and Naturalization Handout - 2016.pdf by Hal Bookbinder


 Check out Pictorial Oregon Jewish History

It currently has three sections - Jewish Businesses in Oregon, Jewish Activities in Oregon and Oregon Jewish History: South Portland. More photos will be added at a later date.

You may discover some of your relatives here.  The webpage can be accessed by the above link or from any JGSO webpage by clicking on the link in the Stories sidebar.

Photos are courtesy of Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.
Feel free to comment on these photos at

(Click on each photo for a larger image)

Recent Events

Click here to see information on past JGSO programs.