JGSWS meets on the second Monday of each month, from September through June. Doors open at 6:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Our meeting location is the LDS Factoria Building, 4200 124th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 (in Factoria, just off I-90 and I-405). Admission is free.

NEXT MEETING (via Zoom):  

"The Changing Borders of Eastern Europe," presented by Hal Bookbinder
(download handout)

Monday, April 12, 2021, at 7 PM Pacific Time via Zoom

The JGSWS invites you to attend this meeting via Zoom. Zoom doors open at 6:30 PM for chatting. Presentation begins at 7 PM. Registration is required.

To register for this meeting, click this link or copy it into your web browser:

You will be prompted to enter your name and email address. When you hit ENTER, you will
automatically be sent an email with the Zoom meeting link.


Our speaker, Hal Bookbinder, will trace a millennium of border changes in Eastern Europe and the impacts of these changes on our Jewish ancestors who lived in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Bessarabia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. An ancestral town may have been under the rule of several countries over time. Recognizing which governments were in control at various times can help in understanding the environment in which ancestors lived, events that stimulated migration, languages in which records were kept, and likely the locations where these records might be found. As the Russian Empire expanded west in the 17th and 18th centuries, millions of Jews found themselves within the Empire, and Russia found that it needed to deal with a people it had tried to exclude for hundreds of years. As Russia expanded west, it absorbed millions of Jews. With the changing borders, town names, record-keeping, and archive locations might change. This overview will help researchers in determining where records might be located, their format, and their languages. Hal Bookbinder is a pro at making Eastern European history and our Jewish roots come alive!


Hal Bookbinder writes and lectures extensively on diverse genealogical topics, including border changes, migration, citizenship, safe computing, Jewish culture, and Jewish history. He has identified over 4,000 relatives reaching back to the mid-1700s in modern Ukraine. Other roots reach into adjacent areas of Moldova, Poland, Belarus, and Russia. He has served as president of the Jewish Genealogy Society, Los Angeles (JGSLA) and president of the IAJGS and has been honored with the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. Professionally, he is a retired healthcare IT director and currently a university instructor. He also directs an addiction recovery-to-work training program. Hal and his family reside in the Los Angeles area. Check out his articles on safe genealogical computing at


What else can you do while you're staying home? Work on your own research! Here are some suggestions:

Use Ancestry Library Edition from home. Seattle Public Library (, King County Library System (, and Sno-Isle Libraries ( currently allow home use of Ancestry. Follow instructions on the Online Resources, Databases, or Genealogy page of the library website and sign in with your library card number.

Watch free webinars:

  • Family Tree Webinars offers their live webinars for free on the day of delivery and for seven days following. For a list of upcoming live webinars, go to Below the list of upcoming webinars are those in the webinar library (over 1150) and some of those are still in their 7-day free window. Some recorded webinars are permanently free, including several by MyHeritage:
  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has made their online classes available for free. Included are current classes, and hundreds of past programs. See


April 19: Happy Hour/Social Meeting (members only)– Topic: Brick Walls/Q&A
May 10: "How to Utilize the JewishGen email Discussion Group," presented by Phil Goldfarb
June 14: TBA