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Society

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington (JGSGW), an independent non-profit educational organization of more than 250 members, is based in Rockville, Maryland. The society was founded in 1980. It is one of the oldest societies of its kind in the United States.

The goal of this organization shall be to educate its members and the general public. More specifically, this organization shall:

  • Collect, preserve, and disseminate Jewish genealogical knowledge and information;
  • Promote interest in genealogical research;
  • Stimulate and provide instruction in the use of research methodology and in the adherence to standards of accuracy and  thoroughness in research;
  • Foster careful documentation and to promote scholarly genealogical writing and publication;
  • Promote the preservation of Jewish genealogical records and resources;
  • Hold meetings of its members and the general public;
  • And such other purposes as the organization shall from time to time elect to pursue.
The society provides a common meeting place for those persons interested in tracing their Jewish ancestral roots and promotes genealogical education in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Its facilities include a non-circulating reference library that currently has more than 2,000 items in its catalog; including books, maps and an extensive collection of recordings of lectures on a myriad of subjects related to Jewish genealogy. Its journal, Mishpacha, has been continuously published almost since the founding of JGSGW. In addition, the society has three publications: Capital Collections: A Guide for Jewish Genealogical Research in the Washington, DC Area; Jump-Start Your Jewish Genealogy Research: Beginners Topics and Jump-Start Your Jewish Genealogy Research: Intermediate Topics.

Among the outstanding programmatic and research accomplishments of JGSGW are:

  •  The successful hosting of six past International Conferences on Jewish Genealogy
  •  The indexing of the two oldest Jewish cemeteries in Washington, DC: Macpela (Adas Israel) and Washington Hebrew Congregation.
  •  In 2008, the society undertook the indexing and photographic documentation of the Jewish burials at
    Arlington National Cemetery
    . This project was begun by the late Kenneth Poch, and after his death it was
    turned over to JGSGW. The project currently has more than 5,500 graves included in the index and a
    photograph of each grave.
In 2000, the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS), the nonprofit umbrella organization that coordinates the activities of more than 75 national and local Jewish genealogy societies worldwide, presented JGSGW with its prestigious Outstanding Programming Award. The award was for “demonstrating how a Jewish genealogy society can offer members at all levels of research, value added content through a diverse range of stimulating and thoughtful programming.”

At least twice each year, JGSGW offers a Beginners Workshop to help those members who are beginning their research with a foundation of good research resources and techniques. The society also holds 9 - 10 meetings a year, with presentations that focus on various area of interest to the Jewish genealogist. In 2013, the society added an Intermediate Workshop to the annual offerings.

The highlight of the year is a members-only potluck luncheon, where we feature an outstanding speaker and lots of opportunity for members to socialize and share interests.

JGSGW is committed to its objective of educating not only their members, but the public, as well, so it is with great pleasure that we provide speakers to other organizations for meetings and special events. JGSGW includes many members with widely recognized expertise as authors, researchers and leaders of special Interest Groups and other significant projects. Several of these members have received Lifetime Achievement Awards from IAJGS for their contributions to the field. They frequently present programs at
society meetings and serve as a resource for other members.

JGSGW is a member of IAJGS, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

The Society is open to all those interested in Jewish genealogy.

For more information, see the FAQs page.

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© 2013, Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, Inc.