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Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History


Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History is a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton.

The mission of JG&H is to collect, preserve, and put forth knowledge and information regarding Miami Valley Jewish genealogy and history, to assist with and promote research of Miami Valley Jewish genealogy and history, and to provide opportunities for sharing Miami Valley Jewish genealogical and historical information with the community.

Share your memories and images of Jewish life in Dayton and across Ohio’s Miami Valley at our popular Facebook group.

Upcoming Events

Comparing Jewish Resources on the Genealogy Giants
Sunday, November 8 @ 10AM via Zoom
With Ellen Shindelman Kowitt & Sunny Jane Morton

Each of the giant genealogy websites — Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage, and JewishGen — offers unique tools and/or record collections relevant to researching Jewish ancestry. Ellen Shindelman Kowitt and Sunny Jane Morton will give us a comparative overview of the Jewish resources across all of these sites, and tips on when searching one of them over another might be advantageous, including an examination of JewishGen data found on Ancestry. Register online at JewishDayton.org/events.

Ellen Shindelman Kowitt is a veteran Jewish records researcher and leader in genealogy activities worldwide. As a volunteer in the genealogy world for 25 years, Ellen has held numerous leadership roles, organized records acquisition, indexed, and managed translation projects in the United States and abroad. She and her family live in Erie, Colorado.

Sunny Jane Morton is an award-winning genealogy writer, editor and speaker. She is a contributing editor at Family Tree Magazine, the editor of Ohio Genealogy News, and an official blogger at the world’s largest free genealogy website, FamilySearch. She and her family live in Euclid, Ohio.

Presented by Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History, Beth Abraham Synagogue Men’s Club Speaker Series, and Temple Israel’s Ryterband Lecture Series. Support for this event is provided in memory of Marcia Jaffe.

Click here to register

CABS: Libby Copeland, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are
Wednesday, December 2 @ 7PM

The Lost Family delves into the many lives that have been irrevocably changed by home DNA tests – a technology that represents the end of family secrets. There are the adoptees who’ve used the test to find their birth parents; donor-conceived adults who suddenly discover they have more than fifty siblings; hundreds of thousands of Americans who discover their fathers aren’t biologically related to them, a phenomenon so common it is known as a “non-paternity event”; and individuals who are left to grapple with their conceptions of race and ethnicity when their true ancestral histories are discovered. Throughout these accounts, Copeland explores the impulse toward genetic essentialism and raises the question of how much our genes should get to tell us about who we are. With more than thirty million people having undergone home DNA, the answer to that question is more important than ever. 

No charge

You can purchase The Lost Family through online retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

Or in person at Barnes and Noble on 725, across from the Dayton Mall.

Libby Copeland is an award-winning journalist who writes about culture, science and human behavior. Her book, The Lost Family, published March 3, 2020, looks at the impact of home DNA testing on the American family (sign up here for updates and events). A staff reporter and editor for The Washington Post for over a decade, she now writes from New York for publications including The Atlantic,Slate, New York Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, The New Republic,Esquire.com, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company,Glamour and more. 

Partners:  Miami Valley Jewish Genealogy & History

Support for this event is provided in memory of Marcia Jaffe 

Click here to register!

We preserve and celebrate the history of the Dayton area Jewish community

  • Your clearinghouse for queries about local Jewish genealogy and history
  • Resources & programs to help you in your search
  • Acquisition, preservation, dissemination, promotion and overall celebration of the Jewish history of Ohio’s Miami Valley region
  • Oversight of Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton Archives Collection at Wright State University
  • Referrals to genealogists for in-depth research
  • Jewish genealogy library at Jewish Federation office
  • Join our popular Facebook group, Growing Up Jewish In Miami Valley, Ohio

Advisory Committee
Samuel N. Dorf, Ph.D., Chair
Jan Maharam • Diana Nelson • Pamela Schwartz
Marshall Weiss, Project Director (mweiss@jfgd.net)

Upcoming Events

Dec 07

Intro to Judaism Virtual Class

December 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dec 08

JCRC Action Committee Meeting

December 8 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Dec 16

JFGD Board Meeting

December 16 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Dec 17

Jewish Observer

69 years later, DP camp friends reconnect

By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer “Ruth, I’m going to call you Regina,” Ira Segalewitz said from his home in Kettering when he saw his childhood sweetheart for the first time in 69 years, via Zoom on Nov. 8. “Call me whatever you want, just call me!” Ruth Brandspiegel The post 69 years later, DP camp friends reconnect appeared first on The Dayton Jewish Observer. [...]

Learning from our ‘precedential’ election

By Rabbi Benjamin G. Azriel, Temple Beth Or Electing a “precedent” is never an easy time for a community. Evaluating values, learning about the history of the concepts, incorporating morality into our lives are all parts of determining the precedent that we will elect. At Makor, Temple Beth Or’s Sunday The post Learning from our ‘precedential’ election appeared first on The Dayton Jewish Observer. [...]

Libby Copeland: DNA testing reveals family secrets, complicates identity

By Sophie Panzer , Jewish Exponent In 2012, a woman named Alice took a DNA test and expected it to reveal that her entire family hailed from Irish American and British ancestry. Instead, the test revealed that half her DNA was Ashkenazi Jewish. Her attempts to understand the results and The post Libby Copeland: DNA testing reveals family secrets, complicates identity appeared first on The Dayton Jewish Observer. [...]

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