The Jewish Special Interest Group (J-SIG) of St. Louis Genealogical Society began in June 2005 as a revival of the Jewish Genealogical Society of St. Louis, formerly associated with United Hebrew Congregation. It took a hiatus for 2016 through 2018 but returned as an active SIG in 2019, assisted by the Center for Jewish Learning/Jewish Federation of St. Louis. The St. Louis Genealogical Society’s Jewish SIG continues to be a member of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

Meetings in 2022 for the Jewish SIG

Until it is safe for everyone to meet together in person, meetings for 2022 will be scheduled as online webinars. All meetings will be livestreamed and recorded. If you are on the Jewish SIG mailing list, you will get a reminder to preregister for a livestreamed meeting. If you are not on the list and would like to be included, please send an email to


Sunday, 6 February 2022, 1:00 p.m. (Central)

How Jews Helped Create Missouri

This presentation will examine the history of Jews in the state from before the Louisiana Purchase through World War I. Jews were in just about every township in the state and were influential on the state’s development

Featured speaker: Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, teacher at Missouri State University and president of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association, as well as an author of numerous articles and books

All Jewish Special Interest Group meetings are free and open to the public. However, you need a link and a passcode to join the meeting, so it is necessary to preregister.

To preregister for this meeting, click on the Registration Button below and follow the simple instructions that appear on your screen. Once you have filled in the registration form, an invitation with a link and a passcode to attend the meeting will be sent to the email you provided.

registration button

Meetings for the Rest of 2022

As of now, all meetings are scheduled via Zoom. Once it is safe to meet together again, we will announce locations and instructions for attending either virtually or in person. All Jewish SIG meetings for 2022 will be from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Central time.


Sunday, 15 May

St. Louis Jewry: A Dynamic Two-Century History

Our presenter, Bob Cohn, will focus on a portion of this fascinating history by discussing the decades from about 1880 to 1940. He will offer his insights to the deep cultural divide between the German Jewish population and the Russian Jewish population and how it impacted not only where Jews chose to live and worship but all aspects of their lives. Many Jewish St. Louis institutions which operate today developed their roots during this period.

Featured speaker: Bob Cohn, editor emeritus of the St. Louis Jewish Light


Sunday, 21 August

Spelling Doesn’t Count: Tips for Tracking Those Ever-Changing Names

Multiple alphabets and inconsistent pronunciations add to the hand-wringing we experience as we try to work out what the “real” spelling of our names and villages could be. Whether your ancestors spoke Yiddish, Russian, Polish, German, or some other first language, knowing how immigrants’ names were often misinterpreted and/or changed and how to search more effectively for them will help you find them in U.S. records.

Featured speaker: Ilene Murray, StLGS Publications Director and Jewish SIG co-leader


Sunday, 4 December

Placing Your Ancestors into Historical Context

Among the first things one does as a family history researcher is find out who your ancestors were, when they lived and died, as well as everything else about their lives you can find. But life is—and was—about so much more than dates. Putting your ancestors into their historical context allows you to flesh them out. By researching and then placing your ancestors into their historical context, you can learn more about the social, religious, economic, and political backgrounds in which they lived.

Featured speaker: Diane Everman, archivist and Jewish SIG co-leader

Recorded Meeting from Sunday, 5 December 2021

How to Navigate the Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire

Featured speaker: Dr. Hillel Kieval, Goldstein, Professor of Jewish History and Thought, Department of History and Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies at Washington University, St. Louis

Watch the recording here. Password for recording is X51TLf5?


Recorded Meeting from Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Techniques to Determine Ancestral Origins

Featured speaker: Ilene Murray, StLGS publications director and Jewish SIG co-leader

Watch the recording here. Password for recording is d=s&M0*9

The handout for this meeting is here.


Recorded Meeting from Sunday, 21 February 2021

Jewish Genealogy Questions and Answers

Led by Jewish SIG leaders: Diane Everman, Phyllis Faintich, Ilene Murray, and Carol Waggoner

Watch the recording here    Password for recording is 9j7odw0


Jewish Newsletter

During its existence, the JGS of St. Louis had a monthly newsletter called Generations. Its first editors were founders, Art and Sylvia Jaffe. Then, for a brief time, it was edited by Gene Schneider, followed by Jerry Goldberg. In late 2000, Ilene Murray began her tenure as editor and remained in that position until the last issue, July 2005.

A complete set of all of the issues is available at St. Louis County Library Headquarters in the History and Genealogy Department and at the Missouri History Museum’s Library and Research Center.

Electronic copies of issues from November 2000 until July 2005 can be found on this site. They are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format and can be downloaded, saved, and/or printed. To do so, click here for Jewish Genealogical Society Newsletters

Jewish Community

Click here for more information on the Jewish community in St. Louis.

Click here to go to the Jewish congregations page on this website, where you will find information about specific congregations and a growing set of marriage and death records.

Research Queries

Please address questions about Jewish research in St. Louis to J-SIG co-leader, Phyllis Faintich. You can reach her at .


Last modified: 17-Dec-2021 16:27