No, You Don't Really Have 7,900 4th Cousins

Date & Time
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Location Virtual Program
Ticketing $5 for non-members, Free for JGS Pittsburgh members

Get further with Ashkenazi Jewish DNA Results.

DNA has the potential to be an essential and exciting genealogical tool. But many Eastern European Jewish testers find their DNA results completely overwhelming and unnavigable. In this talk, Jennifer Mendelsohn will help those with Ashkenazi heritage learn how to make sense of their DNA results. She’ll cover the basics of DNA testing, including why our match lists are so large (hello, endogamy!), why all our matches seem to match each other (endogamy, again!), and how to spot the meaningful matches and separate them from the faux ones. Using real-life examples of DNA success, you’ll learn techniques that will help you work effectively with DNA to expand your Ashkenazi family tree.

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


“No, You Don’t Really Have 7900 4th Cousins” 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 $5 for the general public. To become a member of the JGS-Pittsburgh and receive a free membership code for this program, please visit its website.

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

About the Speaker

Jennifer Mendelsohn is a sought-after genealogist who specializes in helping Eastern European Jewish families shattered by the Holocaust reclaim their history. Her journey began in 2013, when she reunited her husband’s grandmother—a Polish Holocaust survivor who had lost her entire immediate family and most of her extended family—with three living first cousins she had never known. Since then she has worked on scores of cases, solving complex family mysteries using a blend of traditional and genetic genealogy. Her sleuthing was featured in the 2019 bestseller “Inheritance” by Dani Shapiro. In 2022, she co-founded the DNA Reunion Project at the Center for Jewish History, which seeks to promote DNA testing as a tool for helping Holocaust survivors find family.

Mendelsohn is also known for the innovative use of genealogy as a tool for activism. She created the viral hashtag #resistancegenealogy, which uses genealogical and historical records to fight disinformation and honor America’s immigrant past. The project received international media attention, including being featured on, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Yahoo News.

A native Long Islander now based in Baltimore, Mendelsohn serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland and is the administrator of Facebook’s Jewish Genetic Genealogy group, with over 10,000 members worldwide.

Prior to her work as a genealogist, Jennifer spent many years as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in countless publications including People, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Time, and Tablet. In addition, she is the author of a children’s book and helped fashion guru Carson Kressley pen his New York Times best-selling mens’ style manual “Off the Cuff.”