Date & Time
Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Location Heinz History Center and Online 1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Ticketing 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.

Get on board for a guided tour through your family’s complex history! In this all-day seminar led by Emily Garber, you’ll learn where to start and how to explore your relatives’ lives.

Discover clues about your family in the records they left behind. Train in the best research practices. Track your findings as you go. This course will set you up for future success in your Jewish family history journey. Seminar includes an introductory session showing you how to find your 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. We will:

  • start with a real research case and show step-by-step how genealogists work through research problems,
  • examine working backwards through time and linking information found in records,
  • learn 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 your own.

1 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. – Session 2 (Emily Garber)
We need to know as much as possible about our immigrant ancestors before we try to locate them in their places of origin overseas. We will learn to track our relatives in commonly used United States records and learn the value of broadening our research to include FANs: family, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors. We will explore commonly used United States records to inform us about our 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)
We are ready to jump the pond. What can we learn about our ancestors’ immigration histories? Where did they come from? How did they travel from Europe to the United States? To find our way, we will explore:
• immigration and naturalization records,
• accessible old world records,
• finding research help.
We 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 you’ve gotten the basic skills for researching Jewish genealogy, learn how to use the many archival resources available for finding your Jewish ancestors in Western Pennsylvania. We’ll conduct case studies 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.

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

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

For more information, please contact the Rauh Jewish Archives at


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 (

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.