History of the JGSB

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Buffalo was founded in May, 1986 by Ferne Mittleman and Muriel Selling with the purpose of encouraging and facilitating Jewish genealogical reseach. Within a couple of years, the society became a member of the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies which evolved into the International Association of Genealogical Societies. The IAGS convened annual conferences both in the States and also Europe which a few of our members have attended.

Our society established our own genealogical library in Ferne Mittleman's home. Meetings were first held in a temple then transferred between members' homes and the Jewish Community Center. Many field trips have been taken to the genealogy collection at University at Buffalo, State University of New York and genealogy collections at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and the Buffalo Historical Society. The Family History Library at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints provided workshops.

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Buffalo presented a photographic display of Buffalo Jewish History through its Synagogues at the Jewish Community Center, showed a DVD of the Genographic Project of the Human Family Tree; showed videos of the Abba Eben Heritage series.


The JGSB has had a wide range of speakers. These have included:

Ernest Woodson, map librarian at University of Buffalo, State University of New York

Gregory Kinal, social studies teacher speaking on Coming to America and Ways to Spice up your Family History

Stanley Diamond, President and Founder of the JGS-Montreal on Succesful Genealogical Research in Poland

Jim Shanahan, photographer, speaking on Preserving and Dating Photographs

Channel 2 Anchor Rich Kellman's presentation of the video, Voices from the Attic

Maurice Sands, Commander of the Jewish War Veterans Buffalo Frontier Post 25, speaking on the Historical Records of Jewish War Veterans

Rabbi Shay Mintz, speaking on his family lineage in Italy and Poland

Dr. Michael Frisch, U.B. Professor, speaking on Oral History

Dr. Bruce Kahn, President and founder of the JGS-Rochester, speaking on Jewish Genealogy on the Information Super Highway

Ralph Halpern, presenting a video of his trip to Ukraine in Search of his Family Heritage

Dr. Edwin Lawson, Professor at Fredonia University, speaking on Onomastica, the Study of Names

Dr. Zale Bernstein on Jewish Genetic Diseases: Honey Rickler on the Jewish History for Jewish Genealogists and Jewish Businesses in Buffalo

Dr. Joel Rose on using the Internet; Debbie Delgato on Genealogical Research Organization

Dr. Chana Kotzin, archivist, on the establishment of the Buffalo Jewish Archives

Dr. Neil Rudin, on his memoir

Harvey Glasner, the co-editor of the Toronto Genealogy Society's newsletter, speaking on the Toronto genealogy society's JOWBR Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Register) project of photographing and identifying gravestones

Crista Cowan speaking on Ancestry.com for a workshop we sponsored open to all genealogists in the community

Ferne Mittleman, speaking on "Lessons Learned While Researching an Amazing Family History"

Daniel Kester's presentation of his family tree from Germany

Norman Weinberg's presentation on The Jews of Poland and their Heritage During and After World War II.