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JGS Toronto is presenting MyHeritage Genealogy Expert, Daniel Horowitz, in a series of webinars every Thursday at 10 am EST

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The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto (JGS Toronto) was originally known as The Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto) and had its beginnings in 1985 | Photo: JGS Toronto

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As we take time to reflect on our past and look toward the future celebration of our 36th anniversary, our “Double Chai Year,” we would like to introduce you to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto. Volunteer-run as a non-profit charitable organization, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto provides a forum for the exchange of genealogical knowledge and information with our members and the community at large.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto (JGS Toronto) was originally known as The Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto) and had its beginnings in 1985. A small group of avid genealogists and family historians interested in continuing the exploration of their family roots and history. With no internet and few available research tools, the Society, led by its first president, Dr. Rolf Lederer, met monthly to trade information, share sources, and combine the research of their families’ beginnings overseas and subsequent travel to Canada.

The Society’s beginning years saw an initial group of 25 grow continuously as members concentrated on the fundamental research methods of the time by interviewing family members and reviewing family documents and photos. We visited libraries searching through volumes for hidden gems of information. We visited the local Family History Center (operated by the Mormon church) with its access to birth, marriage and death records along with local civil records from Europe and the various homelands of the Jewish population of Canada. (The Mormons actually started collecting and microfilming genealogical data in the 1920s.) 

Since that time we have been able to utilize JewishGen (1987), JRI-Poland (1988), and the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies), which have all become valuable resources for the common goal of researching our Jewish heritage. Today the IAJGS has 88 member Jewish genealogy societies worldwide.

Communicating originally by mail and slow modem blogs, we soon learned to navigate the web as technology progressed. From snail mail and basic dial-up bulletin boards, we entered the technological world of the new internet. Now we were able to discover digital records and communicate ancestral history immediately by email and the internet, instead of waiting months to receive the results of research inquiries.

With monthly meetings featuring speakers, workshops, and experts from around the globe, our membership continues to grow. Our members have the opportunity to share information with one another, along with the international community of genealogical researchers and family historians.

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Our Society’s library collection of research and historical information is second to none for a local genealogical society and is now housed at the Reference Library of the Toronto Public Library system. Our Speakers Bureau and community outreach present workshops and how-to classes throughout the GTA (and beyond) at synagogues, seniors’ residences, schools, community groups, and associations.

As our Society has continued to grow year over year, new researchers and family historians continue to join us to learn and share information as they search for and discover their family ancestry. The Society also works at identifying and chronicling local events to ensure that our own history will be documented and preserved for future generations.

During the recent challenges and home isolation, we have instituted a series of virtual meetings and webinars to keep our members up to date and informed about the resources available for research and exploration. In addition to our own presentations, we have arranged with MyHeritage, a leader in family tree and DNA research with millions of records and members, to present an exclusive series of eight weekly instructional webinars for our society and anyone interested in genealogical research.

We also prepared a compilation of additional genealogical webinars available for the community so our members can continue to explore their heritage and expand their ancestral knowledge while at home.  As we continue to grow individually by exploring and discovering our heritage and ancestors each year, we look forward to the future as we welcome new family history explorers to our Society with open arms to share knowledge, history, and memories for our children and theirs.

You can reach us through our website www.jgstoronto.ca or by email to [email protected]. We look forward to welcoming you to our meetings and seeing you soon. 

JGS Toronto is presenting MyHeritage Genealogy Expert, Daniel Horowitz, in a series of 8 genealogical webinars every Thursday at 10 am EST.

Daniel will speak about MyHeritage’s new features and other genealogy topics as he guides beginners and experts alike to the joys of family genealogical research, helping them discover their own heritage and history. There is no cost for these webinars. The link to join us is at

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mwbm9xRrCHcfLU_B_9_cgf3_wp6e4wCC/view?usp=sharing

Mel Fishman is the President of The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto (JGS Toronto).

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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