Join us these upcoming JGSLA programs

Sunday, April 12, 2015 – 11:30AM – 6:00PM

Members Only Assisted Research Day

with Crista Cowan of

Ancestry Logo

Los Angeles FamilySearch Library
10742 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles 90049

Join us for a fun-filled day of making strides in your genealogical research and learning from the experts.  You’ll have access to the LDS microfilm collection, the full JGSLA library, online subscription databases (FindMyPast,, Fold3) mentoring and help from our volunteers, and free translators for your German, Russian, Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew documents. Our special guest, Crista Cowan, the “barefoot genealogist” from will give two lectures:

1:30PM – 2:45PM: “Getting the Most Out of Ancestry”

3:45PM – 5:00PM:  “Strategies for Breaking Through Your Brick Walls”


During the hour break between talks, Crista will be available to help answer your stickiest Ancestry research questions and there will be plenty of time after each talk for discussion. Make sure to bring your notes, trees, photos and brick wall documentation…and we’ll do our best to help you!

Translations will be scheduled from 11:30AM – 2:00PM only. Appointment requests can be made by email after April 1st to: Please put “JGSLA Translations” in the subject line and specify which language. Please do not write until after April 1st.

About Our Speaker: Crista Cowan has been doing genealogy since she was a child. She has been employed at since 2004 as the Community Alliance Manager. As she writes in her blog: ” I hate wearing shoes. But, invariably, as I travel around the country doing genealogy research I find that librarians and archivist are kind of sticklers about me running around their facilities in my bare feet. Also, it gets pretty painful trekking through a cemetery without good, sturdy shoes on my feet. That’s why it makes me so happy that every passing day brings more and more genealogy and family history resources online. I can do genealogy AND be barefoot as often as I want. And, that doesn’t just make me happy. It makes my feet happy, too!This great technology also allows me to share all my genealogy tips and tricks with you…also, in my bare feet. So, kick off your shoes and join me as we dive into our family history with our happy feet.” Read more at:

Click here for directions.

There are vending machines, a refrigerator and microwave in the Library kitchen. Bring your snacks or lunch, but remember that no food is allowed on the research floor!


You MUST be a current JGSLA member to attend this program. You can join at the door, or join online here:



Sunday, May 3 2015 – 1:30 PM

The Secret Jews: History and Culture of the Crypto JewsAmerican Jewish University

Speaker: Arthur Benveniste
15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90077

In the 14th and 15th Centuries, Jews of Spain and Portugal were forced to convert to Catholicism. Many families kept the knowledge of their Jewish past for 500 years, transmitting it in secret to their children and often continuing to practice Jewish rites covertly. Many of the descendants of these Crypto-Jews are now seeking their Jewish heritage. Mr. Benveniste’s presentation will follow the history of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, their forced conversion, the emergence of crypto-Judaism, how it came to the Americas, and the discovery of their Jewish background by many Hispanics in the Americas today



Sunday, June 14 2015 – 2:00 PM

From Shtetl to City: Jewish Heritage Travel in Eastern Europe
Speaker: Ruth Ellen Gruber – American Jewish University

The author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, and the coordinator of the web site, Ruth conducts an illustrated virtual tour of far-flung synagogues, shtetls, Jewish cemeteries, and other Jewish heritage sites in a variety of countries. She describes personal experiences and discusses the many changes she has witnessed in more than 20 years of exploration of Jewish heritage in the region known as Europe’s Jewish heartland. Ruth also maintains the Jewish Heritage Travel blog. JGSLA members free, guests $5.00.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles (JGSLA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sharing of genealogical information, techniques and research tools with those who are interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.

Founded in 1979, the Society has grown to over 500 members and is governed by an elected Board of Directors. We publish a quarterly journal, “Roots-Key,” and hold monthly meetings and twice-yearly research workshops which provide a varied mix of lectures and films to assist our members in their family history research.


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