Free Events for Genealogists of All Levels

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The Center for Jewish History invites people of all backgrounds to explore their roots at the landmark Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute.

Participants will explore the world of family history
research with the guidance of expert genealogists, become familiar with local
and online resources, and learn how to present and share their family history. The series will provide an entry point for individuals interested in becoming a member of the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute (see membership.cjh.org for more information) or those who wish to utilize additional resources on its new website, genealogy.cjh.org.
* To reserve your tickets, please go to genealogy.cjh.org/events

December 1, 5:30 PM

No Shushing Allowed: A Library Social Hour

Please join us for our first genealogy-oriented library social hour. You will have the opportunity to speak with the librarians and archivists who make the Center for Jewish History’s genealogy materials accessible. We would like to get to know all of you a little better, learn about how you are using our collections and services, and find out what we can do to better support your research. Light refreshments will be served. Free; No reservation required

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Courtesy of the New York Public Library

December 1, 6:30 PM

Genealogy Research at New York Public Libary’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Co-sponsored by the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library’s extraordinary Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is home to one of the largest research collections in the United States, making it an essential resource for genealogists everywhere. The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History, and Genealogy is the Library’s center for genealogy research, home to wealth of family history source materials and knowledgeable librarians. From here, librarians can direct you to other divisions in the building—including the Map Division, the Jewish Division, and the Manuscripts and Archives Division—where you can find further materials useful to your research. Free; Reservation Required*

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Courtesy of the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History

December 8, 6:30 PM

Workshop: Mapping your Family History

The Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute recently launched a searchable online map of New York’s historical synagogues (synagoguemap.cjh.org). Moriah Amit will provide a tutorial on how to use this map to identify the synagogue(s) your immigrant ancestors most likely attended. She will then demonstrate how you can create your own map of locations relevant to your family history using Google Maps. Please bring a list of towns, such as your ancestors’ birthplaces, or specific addresses, such as your ancestors’ places of residence, to use during the guided practice portion of this workshop. If you do not already have a Google account, please create one in advance at accounts.google.com and bring your username and password. Free; Reservation Required*

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Courtesy of Logan Kleinwaks

December 11, 12:00 PM

GenealogyIndexer.org: Searching Historical European Directories and Other Sources

GenealogyIndexer.org is a free website where you can search more than 800,000 pages of historical European directories (business, address, telephone), Yizkor books, Polish and Russian military documents, community and personal histories, Galician secondary school reports, and more. Containing millions of personal names – often with towns, street addresses, and occupations, and sometimes with vital dates or patronymics – this huge collection is mostly comprised of data not searchable elsewhere. This talk will provide an overview of the more than 2,000 sources, primarily from 1844 to 1942, with a focus on newly added sources and new search functionality.
Free; Reservation Required*

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Courtesy of

Elayne and Steve Denker

December 11, 3:00 PM
How to Design and Construct a Family History Book Entirely by Yourself

There is probably no gift that can have greater impact on future generations than the book of your family history and stories. We all have spent considerable amounts of time gathering genealogical and historical materials and information. How do we take this mass of stuff and share it with our family? While there are many professional editing and book design firms available to help you create your family history book, their fees can be expensive and they often have a limited set of templates they prefer to use. With today’s self-publishing software and digital printing vendors, taking a do-it-yourself approach to the entire process is an alternative worth considering. Elayne and Steve Denker will discuss the practicalities of how to design and construct your family history book, including organization, page layout, aesthetics, and document reproduction. Free; Reservation Required*

December 15, 6:30 PM

Reclaim the Records: Using Freedom of Information Laws for Genealogical and Archival Research

Our speaker, Brooke Schreier Ganz of Reclaim the Records, says, “Tired of being told by archives, libraries, and government agencies that the records they hold are “unavailable” to the public, only available behind a paywall, or only available to view if you can visit them onsite? 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. We use state Freedom of Information (FOI) laws to obtain copies of previously-inaccessible archival record sets, which we then freely post online, without any copyrights or usage restrictions. Our work has enabled the first-ever public access to millions of archival records from New York and New Jersey, from marriage records to registered voter lists to tax rolls. We started with a first-of-its-kind lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York in 2015 – and won! – and are now spreading our legal work to other cities and states.” This presentation will walk through the history and legal basics of FOI laws, and will teach researchers how to file their own state FOI requests for any genealogical or archival records they may want to see returned to the public domain. Free; Reservation Required*

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