Computer Workshops

Table of Contents


We have scheduled 12 workshops, three each Monday through Thursday. They run 90 minutes and are geared toward researchers with beginning to advanced computer skills to learn how to make the most efficient use of online resources and to provide some useful new tools.

The workshops will all be held in room Marina 1, which will have free WiFi for use by participants. Sessions cost just $35 each, and space is limited to 25 participants.

Participants must bring their own computers, with a web browser installed, and they will follow the instructor’s lead on a projection screen.

[Return to Top]

How to Sign Up

If you have already registered for the Conference, go to the Attendee Service Center under the REGISTRATION tab. Sign in with the email address you used for registration and the password from your confirmation message (or whatever you reset it to). On the welcome page, click “Update Your Info”, then click “Edit” and continue through the registration form to the payment at the end. If you do not complete the form, no information will be saved. (This would be a good time to update or add information and to review your family surnames and historical towns.)

On the “Conference Registration Fees” page, make your selections and continue through to payment and confirmation.

[Return to Top]

The Fine Print

You must be registered for the Conference to buy a workshop ticket and attend a workshop.

No refund will be issued for a cancellation, but the paid fee may be applied to another computer workshop session if space is available, or to any other fee (e.g., a meal) subject to availability.

[Return to Top]

Workshop Schedule and Details

Monday, August 10

8:45 am – 10:15 am
Unique Aspects of Jewish Genealogy
Debbie Kroopkin

Learn how to navigate genealogy research for Jewish families. Glean a basic understanding of variations of Jewish given names and the acquisition of surnames, reading Hebrew tombstones. Discover many websites where you can begin to search for family, including Israelis, and survivors and victims of the Holocaust.

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Data Visualization for Genealogy
Ron Arons

Ron will provide an introductory lecture on data visualization and discuss how DV can dramatically improve a researchers skills by laying out data in a more visual way, picking out patterns in that data, and turning the visualization into a more easily understood and presentable story. The last hour of the lab will involve hands-on training on at leasts two data visualization tools (another tool will be taught if time permits). Participants must bring their own PC or Mac laptop to the workshop. Participants will be instructed to download and install two or three FREE data visualization tools BEFORE the lab begins so that the time can be used most effectively. Participants must have a reasonable amount of technical skills under their belt. This workshop is not for technology newbies, and it will not be slowed down to teach the most basic tech skills.

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm
Making the Most of FamilySearch
W. Todd Knowles

This workshop will cover the benefits of using, a free genealogical website. FamilySearch has many components that are valuable for those researching their Jewish families. The participants will learn easier ways to access the billions of free records available, many from the comfort of their own homes.

Tuesday, August 11

8:45 am – 10:15 am
Introduction to
Avraham Groll

Specifically designed for beginners, this computer workshop will offer step-by-step guidance to effectively navigate the JewishGen experience. Participants will learn how to utilize JewishGen’s core features, resources, and databases, and will get set up with the JewishGen Family Finder, the Discussion Forums, and the Jewish Genealogy Portal. We will also learn to search Jewish communities, explore the JewishGen historical collections via the Unified Search Feature, and discover the value of the JewishGen Viewmate, Yizkor Book, and KehilaLinks projects. We will also go through the “MyProfile” section of the website and set up other valuable features, such as Yahrtzeit Reminders.

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Archaic Handwriting: German, Russian, Hebrew
Joshua Grayson

In the course of our genealogical journeys, one of the biggest stumbling blocks many of us face is historical scripts. Because of the geographic areas in which our ancestors lived, we are often faced with obtuse handwritten documents in old German, Russian, and Hebrew scripts. While ViewMate can be very helpful, the sheer volume of materials in our searches can make that approach inefficient. Moreover, the importance of being able to read and double-check for ourselves rather than relying on others is not to be underestimated. Proficient in five foreign languages, Dr. Grayson has trained himself to read handwritten 19th-century German, Russian, and Hebrew documents. This workshop will give background information on three historical scripts, summarize how Dr. Grayson learned to read them, and help audiences begin their journey to proficiency in one or more of them.

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm
Using the JDC Archives Website and Online Databases for Family Research
Jeffrey Edelstein

Since its inception in 1914, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC; “The Joint”) has borne witness to pivotal events of 20th-century Jewish history. JDC provided life-saving assistance to Jews at these critical points, including the disruptions wrought by World War I, emergency assistance during the Holocaust and care for survivors, and the Aliyah to Israel of Jews throughout the Middle East. The JDC Archives has established a prominent online presence, including text collections, photographs, and a names index digitally available via a searchable database. This material is of great interest to Jewish genealogists and is not available elsewhere. This beginners’ workshop will focus on basic names search via the Names API and additional database search options, including fuzzy search and full-text search within the text collections. It will also briefly review relevant pages of the JDC Archives website, including Lists in the Names Index, Galleries, and “My Story” blogs.

Wednesday, August 12

8:45 am – 10:15 am
Jewish Records Indexing Poland for Beginners
Hadassah Lipsius

This hands-on beginner workshop will explore the JRI-Poland website and allow the participant to practice initiating basic searches in the database. The goal of the session will be to familiarize the researcher with the JRI-Poland search screens and help them understand the search results. The workshop will explore narrowing techniques for managing large results and provide hints for effectively utilizing various features of the search parameters. Experience using the Internet is recommended, but no previous experience with the JRI-Poland database is necessary.

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Conducting a Family-Based yDNA Research Project to Explore Your Deeper Ancestry and Contribute to Science
Adam Cherson

The workshop will provide instruction on how to gather, develop, and use yDNA data, and in particular yDNA haplogroups, to produce valuable genealogical knowledge. The workshop will begin with a summary of the goals and expected results from this approach, using my own project as a model and illustrator. Then the following topics will be covered: 1) setting up the project, 2) recruiting members, 3) organizing the data, 4) creating a research plan, 5) interpreting the data, and 6) publishing the results. For each topic, participants will be shown exactly how to complete each task using multi-media, and will be given the resources needed to begin their own research project following the session. I am able to co-administer all projects initiated as a result of the workshop.

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm - Leave No Stone Unturned
Debbie Kroopkin

Debbie Kroopkin will guide us through the complexities of, explaining the structure and purpose of the many components of the website. She will address how to connect with other researchers, how to identify and learn about your town oversees, and how to search for ancestors. Her presentations will provide details that will help researchers glean as much information as possible on their families and towns.

Thursday, August 13

8:45 am – 10:15 am
Jewish Records Indexing-Poland Intermediate Search and Image Links
Hadassah Lipsius

This hands-on computer workshop will focus on how to make the most of your JRI-Poland database search. It is geared toward intermediate researchers and will provide hints, tips, and a strategy to help find that elusive family member hidden on the JRI-Poland database. Since actual images of millions of Polish Jewish records are now available online from multiple sources and linked from the JRI-Poland search results, the workshop will also focus on how a search of the JRI-Poland online database can connect a researcher with digital images of the record.

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Location, Location, Location: How Genealogical Research Can Benefit From Historical Maps
Ed Mitukiewicz

Identifying the places where our ancestors used to live is often a critical step in finding sources of genealogical information. However, locating those places can be quite a challenging task, particularly in Eastern Europe, where use of multiple languages, spelling or transliteration errors, appearance of similar names in different locations and countries, possible name changes and shifting national borders often introduce additional complications. Readily available web-based resources—including digital repositories of historical maps and geographic information databases—can help to overcome those challenges.

This workshop demonstrates the use of such resources in order to enable correlating information from multiple sources and facilitate locating our ancestral towns in Europe. Workshop participants will be expected to follow and, when appropriate, replicate in real-time on their own web-enabled devices some illustrative online resource usage scenarios.

Requirements: Attendees must bring their own laptop or tablet, as no computers will be provided. Class size is limited to 25 people

3:45 pm – 5:15 pm
Read All about It: Using Online Newspapers for Genealogical Research
Janice M. Sellers

Newspapers are valuable in genealogical research because you can find information about births, marriages, deaths, moves, business, naturalizations, court cases, and more. Millions of pages of the world’s newspapers are now accessible online, but there is no one place to find them all. This class provides an overview of what is available online and techniques to help improve your chances of finding information about your relatives. Discussion will include how to handle newspapers in foreign languages and other alphabets.

[Return to Top]


[ If you have comments or technical questions about this web page, write to webmaster ]

Back to Top