JGSI.org Website Features Guide - An Overview Tour -

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LINK back to Home Page

The website is constantly being updated. Screen images shown may differ from current site content.

NOTE: Most images are selectable.
They will display larger versions in a new browser window or tab.

Website Features Are Available For Every Visitor, with Additional Features for ‘Members Only’


1. Educate visitors on available features.

2. Encourage website exploration. You can use this guide in one browser tab while trying features in another - side by side. Or you can use 2 browsers side by side.



My name is Ron Miller, your JGSI.org Webmaster.

This presentation reviews the site major features.

While most features are only introduced, you are encouraged to explore in depth those that may improve your genealogical education and genealogy research successes.

Please contact me with any questions or feedback.


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois (JGSI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. We serve as a resource for the worldwide community to research their Chicago area Jewish roots. The Society was founded in 1981 and today has over 300 members.

checkAfter exploring the HOME PAGE features, including member log in, I'll review the public menu links and then the Members Only links.



The Home Page

checkMember Login is on the top left.  You can view your membership profile after you have logged in.


checkNext meeting information is top right.     

check Note the Links to JGSI social media:      Facebook . . . Twiter . . . . Pinterest . . . Google+

checkPlease take a moment to review the public menu links.




check Let's start our tour with the Member Profile - View Profile, which is visible when you, as a member, have logged in.


Member Profile Information

checkMy directory profile links to my profile information that I can selectively share with other members, or keep private.

Note: Members can EDIT their profile by selecting the EDIT PROFILE link.

checkThe ‘My Directory Profile’ link (Red box) displays your profile information that other members see. It also has a link so members can email you.

checkMembers control what profile items other members can view by selecting the PRIVACY option.

checkAnd members can modify email subscriptions, upload photos and review their membership invoices.

checkMembers can change their membership level and renew their membership from the PROFILE page.

check Now let’s see what’s in the ABOUT US menu item.


About Us . . .

These page contents are self explanatory.

checkHistory of our Society: Quoted at the beginning of this tour.

checkBoard Members and Volunteers: Names and contact info.

checkDirections to Temple Beth El: Address and Map.

Next, Let’s take a look at the CONTACT US page.


Contact Us

checkAs you can see, there are extensive listings for contacting our member volunteers.

checkIf you are not sure who to contact, just email or phone.

checkNote the General Inquiries email address and phone number located at the top of the page.

checkLet’s next explore the JGSI LIBRARY page.



checkOur research library has over 800 books. It’s located across from our meeting room; the library is open before meetings.

checkThe page contains links to an ONLINE SEARCHABLE CATALOG - called ‘LibraryThing’ which we’ll look at next.

checkNote that there is a QUICK GUIDE PDF that explains how to use Library Thing.

checkNow, let’s look at the ONLINE CATALOG called LIBRARY THING which is accessed using the link at the top of the page.


The LibraryThing website

checkHas detailed information about each book, and can be sorted.

checkThe QUICK GUIDE PDF provides the HOW TO for using the LibraryThing inventory.

checkLet’s take a look at the Quick Guide for using Library Thing.



Quick Guide for using Library Thing


checkThere are many search and display options for exploring details of our library holdings.
checkSpending time exploring these how-to pages should make searching and using the library more productive.
checkIf you get confused, just contact the JGSI Librarian using the CONTACT US menu link.














checkThe next menu item we’ll look at is JGSI PROGRAMS.




checkJGSI has monthly meetings where topics of interest to those interested in Jewish genealogy are presented. The meeting information and presention topics are posted on the JGSI Programs page, and the 'next month' program snippet is put on the home page.


checkYou can view complete event details by selecting the option to view more details. When viewing the details, there is an option for adding the event to your computer's calendar. The link is on the upper right of the event detail page.


checkYou can switch to a calendar view. An example is displayed below the List View (the top image) .

checkAt the bottom of either page view you can view a map showing the location of Temple Beth El, request email reminders for upcoming meetings and events, and how to add the event to your computer's calendar program.

checkPast events have links to meeting details, any available handouts, and links to VIDEOS which may be available.






















Next, a review of the JGSI Jewish Chicago Database (JJCD).









JGSI Jewish Chicago Database

checkThe JGSI Jewish Chicago Database (JJCD) includes information compiled from Chicago area Jewish cemeteries, obituaries, memorial plaques, retirement homes, and other Jewish organizations. Many volunteer hours were spent compiling this information.  JGSI is proud to offer free access to both members and non-members. September 2017 there were 95,738 records in the database.

checkAdditional collections and updated information is continually being added by JGSI volunteers.

checkThe database collection includes:

  • Cemetery burial records;
  • Memorial Plaques;
  • Obituaries; and
  • Institutions and Organizations.
  • Chicago Area Cemetery (CAC) database. A searchable database for researching cemetery, landsmanshaften, European town and country connection.
  • Cemetery information pages that may include:
  • Cemetery grave location designations, and
  • Cemetery Maps

checkSearch form capabilities included many features:

  • Link to available cemetery information including location and contact information;
  • Many search selection options:
  • Link to a listing of cemetery plot information;
  • A unique feature is the ability to search surrounding grave plots which is often valuable for locating other family members;
  • Results display per page is 50 entries, butmay be changed to any number.

checkA FAQ feature answers many questions.


checkA sample search for the surname 'Miller' output is shown. Notice there are 634 records, with 50 displayed. Data includes burial, memorial plaques, obituaries, collection source, and grave images. SELECT the image for a larger size display.







checkNext we’ll review the MEMBERSHIP menu.



We’ll not look at each of the benefits listed on the page as they are self explanatory. However, you are encouraged to review them to ensure you are fully taking advantage of your membership benefits.

checkVolunteer Opportunities
checkMembership Application and Renewal links

checkMorasha, our JGSI Newsletter
checkJewishData cemetery database access
checkMeeting presentation Videos . . . when you can't be at a meeting in person or want do see the presentation again.
checkMembers Forum
checkMembers Directory

checkMembers Helping Members (in Members Directory)


checkNext menu selection is the Polish Translation Guide.


Polish Translation Guide

check“The Guide” A Translation Guide to 19th Century Polish Language Civil Registration Documents Including Birth, Marriage and Death Record, was written by our JGSI member Judy Frazin.

checkIf you are searching Polish records and documents this book is highly recommended. There are sample pages available

checkThe new and expanded 3rd edition is a user-friendly and practical publication which focuses on 19th-century Polish-language birth, marriage, and death records but also includes many other related topics as follows:

  • Locating an old Polish town on a modern map
  • Finding 19th-century documents and indexes from Polish towns
  • Sample vital records in script and block- letter versions
  • Extracting data from the documents
  • Given names which appear in 19th-century documents
  • Records at the Polish State Archives
  • How the Polish language works
  • Translations of column headings from old Polish census records
  • Model sentences in the Polish language for genealogical correspondence
  • 15 topical vocabulary lists, such as Age, Family and Occupations
  • Hundreds of new vocabulary words and phrases

checkNext we’ll explore RESOURCES




checkThese resources can help educate your genealogy and Jewish genealogy education. They may also help with your research. Each resource on the menu will be reviewed. However, you are encouraged to further explore the many resources each contains.


check Additional Help With Chicago Area Resources

Members are free to contact fellow members through the membership directory. They may also call our help line at 312-666-0100 or send an email to info@jgsi.org with specific questions. For members in the Chicago area, assistance is available on-site at monthly meetings, in our library, and at our computer help desk. 


JGSI E-News editions contain information on upcoming events, latest research updates, and other issues of interest to our members.

check Guide to Jewish Genealogy in Chicagoland

JGSI past-president and professional genealogist Mike Karsen has written an extensive guide to resources in Chicago. The data is organized by vital records, residence, life in Jewish Chicago, arrival records, and old country information. The Guide is available on the JewishGen.org website. jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Chicago/

checkHow to Do Genealogy

This menu item contains links to websites that have a wealth of information for genealogy beginners. It also notes that JGSI holds Beginner's Workshops every year.

checkJGSI DNA Project

Interested in DNA for genealogy? This menu item has information you can use.

checkJGSI Speakers Bureau

Need a speaker on Jewish Genealogy topics? Are a speaker with Jewish Genealogy topic expertise?
Details are on this menu item.

checkLinks to other websites

One of the most content loaded menu items. Here you will find a wealth of links that can help in your research, as well as educate you in many areas of genealogy.

checkOther Community Events

Located on this link are events and organizations not hosted by JGSI, but may be of interest to those interested in Jewish or general genealogy

checkMembers Only Content

We’ll explore this Resource that is one of the most important features: The MEMBERS ONLY resources. Theset are located in the Members Only section that will display in the menu after logging in.





checkLet’s briefly review each benefit's content. Then each will be more fully explored.


checkJewishData.com which contains cemetery tombstone images; many from Chicago Jewish Cemeteries.
checkMember Directory: Contact and genealogy related information members may share with other members.

checkMember Forum: Members may post topics, and be notified of posts made by others in any topics of interest.
checkMeeting Handouts: Self Explanatory
checkMorasha, our JGSI newsletter: Published electronically, it contains article of genealogical interest. Online archives date to 2003, and our Research Library has issues back to our 1981 founding.
checkJGSI Meeting Videos: Miss a meeting? Most presentations are now video recorded and availble for viewing.

check JGSI Conference 2015: Genealogy information Syllabus (72 pages), and videos.

checkJGSI Conference 2013: Valuable genealogy information Syllabus (59 pages).




checkLet’s start exploring JewishData in greater depth.




checkThere are about 135,000 headstone images from Chicago area Jewish cemeteries.

checkA subscription based service website that JGS has made available free to members.

checkAs a JGSI member, you search JewishData at no additional charge-- a savings to you of $18 every three months!

checkThis feature could be especially valuable for those seeking tombstone images.

checkYou will be automatically logged in . . . But if not, the Username & Password are located at the top of the page for you to enter.

checkWhen you select SEARCH you might get a screen with a warning that you can ignore.


checkSearch JewishData by entering a first and/or last name. You may enter an optional year range and cemetery to search, plus Cohen/Levi search options.

I entered my mothers name with no other option. The results are displayed as shown. To view the image click on the View or Comment link, shown in red box.

checkLet’s look at the gravestone page, shown below. It also contains a form for at the bottom for adding comments.



checkSelect the stone image and a larger version will display. You can crop this image if desired.

checkI have an Apple Mac computer and when I ‘Right Click’ on the image I get many options including:

SAVE AS . . .

Window PC computers have similar options.



checkNext we’ll look at the MEMBER DIRECTORY.

































checkNOTE: Your displayed member directory page information is controlled by you when you edit your My Member Profile, as previously reviewed.

checkThe Member Directory search feature has many options for searching member's directory profiles. This offers the ability to connect with members with common interests.

The default view shown is the ADVANCED SEARCH. You may search for:

  • Members who live in your area by name, city, zip.
  • Members Helping Members - just enter "Not Emply";
  • Computer system used;
  • Research Interests;
  • Genealogy Software used;
  • Genealogy Expertise; and
  • Regions Researching.

checkNotice the ‘Go To SIMPLE SEARCH’ option located next to the SEARCH button that generates member names and information.

checkHave a question about your Genealogy Software program, or what programs to consider using? Contact members to get their feedback using the Member Directory.

checkNotice the box around ‘Genealogy Software Used’ This will allow me to display members and the software they use so I can contact them and get feedback on their software program.

checkFor this ADVANCED SEARCH example I selected the option GENEALOGY SOFTWARE USED - NOT EMPTY – to display members and their genealogy software. . Select it by entering an option from the drop down menu that will appear when selected.



checkAs you can see, at the time this search was made, 99 Members have entered the software programs they use . . . . or more accurately, they have filled the ‘Genealogy Sofware Used’ field in their Member Profile.

This is a partial look at the first page of the entries. This is a nice feature! I encourage you to explore the Member Directory.


checkAnd remember, you control what data in your profile is visible to other members.

checkYou can view the member’s profile Information they desire to share, which includes their contact information. CLICK on the members NAME, which I have blanked for privacy.








checkNext, let's see a SIMPLE SEARCH example.


checkThe Member Directory page shown left allows ‘Simple Search’ to list all members. The below is generated. Notice the 307 members found. And shown is the option for displaying names 1 through 50, with the additional options for displaying more.


check NOTE that you can search the REGIONS RESEARCHING just above the Advance Search link.
checkNOTE that You can Select ADVANCE SEARCH.

checkTo view a member’s Contact and shared profile entries – CLICK on their NAME.

checkNow let's move on to the Members Forum



Members Forum

checkThe Members Forum is a place where you can discuss topics and ask questions on topics, or create a new topic that interests you. You can also just read what other members are discussing and add your comments. Our Forum Coordinator will post any new topic for you.  She will review the topics and posted comments . . . and answer any questions you might have. 

checkYou can receive a summary of all topics and comments and join in the conversation. In addition, you can subscribe to topics that are of interest to you. Some time you may want to join in and become a part of the discussion. Whenever you view a topic you will have an opportunity to subscribe or unsubscribe. 

checkNEXT Let’s look a the MEETING HANDOUTS.



checkThe Meeting Handouts page provides a brief recap of the program or event with links to handouts provided by presenters. Some presentaCons have been video recorded; check the Video Pages for complete lisCngs.

checkSo if you cannot attend a meeting or event, you still have information available on the topic if presenters provided handouts. And many presentations are also video taped.







checkNext let’s look at the Morasha Newsletters.


Morasha, the JGSI Newsletter

checkOur Morasha Newsletter is a great member benefit. We have online issues from the most current to 2003 issues. Older issues are in our Research Library. Even issues dating from 2003 contain relevant genealogical topics. We encourage you to explore this resource.

checkTo view an issue: Select the cover image or the PDF link above it.

checkNotice the size of the Table of Contents image. On older issues you may have to select the smaller image to see a larger Table of Contents image.

checkWe hope you enjoy Morasha newsletter issues.











checkNext . . . Let’s look at the JGSI Meeting Presentations Video page.


JGSI Meeting Presentation Videos

checkWe have a Video FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions - page. If you don’t see your question answered, please call or email me and I’ll not only answer your question, but I’ll probably add it to the FAQ page. My contact information is in the Membership

checkOur JGSI Meeting Video Presentaions offer a great opportunity for viewing missed presentations as well as seeing them again.

Video titles are listed in 3 listing groups:

TOPICS: DNA - Family Histories - Research - Resources


INDIVIDUAL Title with recap and handout links.



checkEach video has a topic recap, some of video, and link to handouts, if available.




checkWhen you select the video’s link we’ll be taken to the video display page where you view the presentation and have links to any handouts.


checkThe video player page also includes a recap of the presentation as well as a link to download the handout if desired.

checkThe handout will open in a new browser tab or window or will be downloaded to your computer depending on the browser you use and the setng you chose.

checkYou can switch back and forth between the handout and video if desired.

checkAll you need to do is PRESS PLAY and enjoy the video.

checkNext we’ll look at the JGSI Conference 2015 video page.


The JGSI Conference 2015

. . . . was a 1 day conference. Many interesting and informative topics were presented and seven were video recorded.

checkNote there is a link to the full 72 page conference SYLLABUS which includes handouts and reference materials.

checkThe list of available video presentation session Highlighted by the red rectangle. Each session topic is linked to the session information and video link below. Select the desired session video link, for example the HIDDEN GEMS OF JEWISH GENEALOGY . . . and you will be taken to the video page shown on the right. Press PLAY and enjoy the show.







checkNow Let’s look at the display if we selected the 2015 SYLLABUS LINK.



checkThe Syllabus' Table of Contents shows the variety of genealogy relevant topics presented. Then details of each session are a wealth of genealogy information you can use. Session materials include content, resources and websites.



checkNow Let’s look at the 2013 JGSI CONFERENCE



checkThe Syllabus' Table of Contents shows the variety of genealogy relevant topics presented. Session materials include content, resources and websites.


check We'll end with the Volunteer menu link


check We'll end with the Volunteer menu link


checkVolunteers are always welcome. Our success as an organization is due totally to our volunteers. We have many projects that are in progress, and others than can't go forward until volunteers help.

checkThe primary roles our volunteers serve include the following. So please consider volunteering. Many project tasks can be done from home!

JGSI Library

Morasha articles

Ride sharing members to meetings and events

Membership and Hospitality

Indexing, photography, and special projects

checkThe Volunteer page has the contact information for each role.

checkThis ends the tour!

JGSI.org Website Features Guide - An Overview Tour -

This ends the tour

Thank you for taking the time becoming acquainted with the many features available on our website.

We hope you will visit the website often. Explore and use the many features available.

Some of the features that have been introduced have options that may be challenging to use.
Don’t despair, if you experience any issues using any of the features, have questions, or suggestions, please contact me.

Highlighting Features Available For Every Visitor and Additional Features for ‘Members Only’

1. Educate visitors on available features.

2. Encourage website exploration of features.

Please let me know if you have any comments or feedback on this guide.

Ron Miller webmaster@jgsi.org