Welcome to the AJGS Newsfeed!

The AJGS Newsfeed will promote the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society and highlight interesting stories, links and discoveries from the world of Jewish Genealogy.

This newsfeed will NOT replace our Kosher Koala Newsletter. We hope the newsfeed and the newsletter will work together to help us help you with your genealogical detective work by sharing the most interesting and useful stories from around the world in a timely manner.

To read the latest issue of Kosher Koala: CLICK HERE
To read back issues of Kosher Koala: CLICK HERE

If you have any news, a great success story or an exciting new link you would like to share please email us at ed@ajgs.org.au

Please enjoy your new AJGS Blog.



From the desk of the president

Welcome to our February Newsletter. Save the date 14th February and the 14th March for our next AJGS Events.  We are delighted to be able to invite you to events being organized by other Societies.

Members have an opportunity to win one of  three FREE DOUBLE PASSES to JIFF, the Jewish International Film Festival.  For information on how to enter see details below.

We also welcome suggestions for people or topics you would like to hear.  In this current Zoom world there are no limits to the people that we are able to reach out to anywhere in the world. Please send your suggestions to Barbara Simon.


Website Mystery Tour: Australian Jewish Historical Society’s (AJHS)

Speaker: Peter Philippsohn OAM – President AJHS
Sunday 14 February, 2021 - 3:00pm – 4:00pm
VIA ZOOM Meeting ID: 868 7408 7700  Passcode: 991681
Join Peter to explore the many areas of the AJHS website that could help you in your genealogical research.

Honouring Jeannette Tsoulos & Sunny Gold

Sunday 14 March 2021 - 10:00am – 1:00pm
North Shore Synagogue, Lindfield
Join us to honour Jeannette & Sunny who have dedicated many years of service to this Society.
RSVP Essential by Sunday 7th March to ensure we meet regulations.


ASPJ invites you to... People, Not Numbers: Preserving the memory of lost Jewish communities... Unveiling a memorial in Grybow, Poland.

Speaker: Dariusz Popiela
in conversation with Karen Pakula
Wednesday 17 February, 2021 at 8:00pm
Via Zoom or the ASPJ Website
In 2019, in the southern Polish town of Grybów, the Olympic athlete Dariusz Popiela unveiled a memorial inscribed with the names of the town’s 1,774 lost Jews.

AJGS (Vic) invites you to: The Fate of German Jews: One Family’s Perspective

Speaker: Brian Luber
Sunday 21 February, 2021 from 2:30pm
Via Zoom - Meeting ID: 883 0010 7168   Passcode: 009146
Brian’s presentation covers his family’s experiences in Germany and his visits to neighbouring countries. The relatives he discovered divulged stories which include the little-known but now infamous ‘Lost Transport’ where Jews were taken by train from Bergen-Belsen to Theresienstadt, never arriving at their destination.


DATE: 20–22 February, 2021
Registration is free.

Family History Down Under
DATE: 23–26 March, 2021
Register online

IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
DATE: 2-5 August, 2021
LOCATION: Philadelphia USA/ Zoom
Earlybird registration available 1st March, 2021


JIFF, the Jewish International Film Festival, is back with screenings in all major capital cities. JIFF is offering AJGS members the chance to win one of three FREE DOUBLE PASSES. Screenings in Sydney run from the 18th February to the 24th March.
Check out the JIFF website for details.

To go in the draw to win tickets CLICK THIS LINK and tell us in 25 words or less why you would like tickets to JIFF. Don't forget to include your name and postal address. Competition closes 12th February 2021

2020 AGM

2:00pm on Sunday 25th October, 2020
on Zoom

An email will be sent on the morning of 25th October, 2020 with details of how to access the meeting.

DOWNLOAD all AGM documents in a single file or see below to download individual documents.


  1. Welcome
  2. Attendance & Apologies
  3. Adoption of the Minutes of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society 2019 Annual General Meeting held on Sunday, 13th October 2019 at 2:30pm at North Shore Synagogue, Lindfield.
  4. Business arising from 2019 AGM minutes
  5. Acting President’s Report
  6. Treasurers Report
  7. Election of Committee
    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary
    • Members
  8. Appointment of a Public Officer
  9. Other Business
  10. AGM Close

DOWNLOAD the Agenda


The 2019 AJGS AGM was held at the Upper Victor Smith Hall, North Shore Synagogue, Treatts Rd, Lindfield on 13th October, 2019, 2.30pm to 5.30pm

DOWNLOAD the Minutes of the 2019 AGM


Members of AJGS who feel they may have some expertise to offer are invited to nominate for one of the Committee positions.  If nominating another member, it is important that you discuss that nomination with the person in question and obtain their explicit consent to be nominated.

Nominations of the candidates for election of Office-Bearers of the Association or as Ordinary Members of the Committee must be made using the Nomination Form.

Nominations will close 5:00pm on 18th October 2020. 

DOWNLOAD the Nomination Form.


If not able to attend the meeting you may submit a proxy form.

DOWNLOAD the Proxy Form



My Heritage: A Closer Look

My Heritage, along with Ancestry, Geni and FamilySearch among others, is a site where you can build your family tree online and take advantage of digital technology to grow it.

But how does My Heritage support Jewish genealogical research in particular?

My Heritage has many benefits to offer the Jewish Genealogist. As an Israeli company, My Heritage have developed key relationships with organisations such as The Jewish Chronical, JewishGen and Yad Vashem to facilitate access to important record collections. They also have a critical mass of Jewish subscribers and DNA donors, which may increase the chances of you finding matching data. In this video presentation Dani Haski will take you on a tour of My Heritage to uncover the useful tools to help you advance your research.

If you have a question about My Heritage you would like covered in the presentation please write it in the comments section below. Comments will close on April 30. The presentation is planned for mid to late May. Members will be informed when the presentation is available.


First and foremost AJGS would like to wish all our members well and hope you are all looking after yourselves at this stressful time. We urge all our members to follow the advice of government health agencies in order to reduce the potential risk of exposure to the COVID19 virus.

Accordingly AJGS has regrettably made the decision to suspend all workshops, both at Lindfield and Waverley, until the danger passes. Also cancelled is the Launch event for ASPJ NSW, that we promoted last week, which was set to happen next Monday.

Most of our members are in the high risk age group and so it is imperative that we all do our part to protect you and other vulnerable groups.

We are working on strategies to keep people connected through technology and continue to encourage you to seek help with problems in your research. You can email Robyn Dryen, and she will find the appropriate person to help with your enquiry.

Another strategy we are considering is webcasts or videos of workshop seminars like the ones we do at Waverley. If there is a subject you would like us to explore please email your suggestions.

This is a great time to do some research or perhaps write up some of your ancestors’ wonderful stories. Other members of your family may also now have the time to hear those stories.

To all our members, If you do need anything and do not have family or friends in proximity, please reach out and we will do our best to help.

Thank you and take care
The AJGS committee.

Eastern Suburbs Workshop – 17 November 2019

I thought my family were Polish Jews??
Their records say Poland but also Russia, Austria and Galicia!

Come and learn about the changing borders in Eastern Europe and how to find useful records for researching your family’s Jewish roots.

We’ll explore databases including

  • Jewish Records Indexing Poland (JRI-Pol);
  • the JewishGen databases for Poland, Lithuania, and Austria/Hungary;
  • Gesher Galicia;
  • the Polish State Archives and
  • Familysearch.

We will also learn about useful tools for narrowing the search when you don’t know the town of origin.

Date: Sunday 17 November 2019
Time: Doors open 2pm, talk begins 2.30pm followed by Q&A and use of resources
Location: Theatrette, 1st Floor Waverley Library, 32-48 Denison St,
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
All welcome but please RSVP to society@ajgs.org.au by 14 November

Eastern Suburbs Workshop – August 18, 2019

Sephardi Genealogy

  • Have you ever wondered whether your family were Crypto Jews?
  • Are you trying to trace Spanish or Portuguese heritage?
  • Have you taken a DNA test and been surprised that your results show Sephardi ancestors when you thought they were all Ashkenazi?

Dani Haski introduces two video lectures by leading Sephardic genealogists.
The presentations were recorded at an International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference.

Genie Milgrom– The Inquisition: The Jews Who Stayed

We know a lot about the Jews that left Spain in 1492 for the Ottoman Empire but what happened to the Jews that stayed behind? This presentation focuses on the historical development of the Crypto Jews in Spain and Portugal and their colonies.

Genie is author of How I found My 15 Grandmothers.She was born in Cuba into a Catholic Family of Spanish Ancestry. In an unparalleled work of genealogy, she was able to fully document her unbroken Jewish lineage as far back as 1405 to Pre Inquisition Spain and Portugal. As Past President of the JGS of Greater Miami and the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies she has travelled extensively doing Crypto Jewish Research.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti– The Inquisition: The Jews Who Left

During the Inquisition, many Jews left following the events of 1391 and 1492. This lecture focuses on where they went, the organizations they created in new places, how they maintained connections with their brethren around the world, and the significance of those newly formed Sephardic communities.

Schelly is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com and Founder of Tracing the Tribe – Jewish Genealogy on Facebook. She has traced her family across Eastern Europe, Spain and Iran for 30+ years. She is co-administrator of several DNA projects including the IberianAshkenaz DNA Project and the Jewish Persian DNA Project.

When:  Sunday 18 August
Time:    2pm - 4.45pm - The video presentation will commence at 2.15 and will be followed by a Q&A/discussion.
Where: Theatrette, Waverley Library,
32-48 Denison St, Bondi Junction

All welcome but please RSVP to: society@ajgs.org.auby 15 August .


In this issue: New member Felipe Rocha de Souza describes the complicated process of applying for Spanish citizenship through the Sephardic ancestry route, The State Library of NSW discovers what lies beneath Central Station with the exhibition Dead Central and SBS tries to solve family history mysteries in Ever family has a Secret.

CLICK on the cover to read Kosher Koala or click HERE download a zip file.

Click HERE to access back issues of Kosher Koala to 2009.
Back issues prior to 2009 are available to members on CD.

Eastern Suburbs Workshop May 19, 2019

TOPIC: Making sense of DNA data:
How can my DNA test tell me I have Ashkenazi, Sephardi or Mizrahi heritage?

Genealogical DNA testing has exploded in popularity over the last few years but you might be asking yourself how useful is it really and what does it all mean?

  • What’s the difference between autosomal and mitochondrial testing?
  • Should I upload my results to other services like GedMatch?
  • How do I do this and what are the privacy implications?
  • How do I work out how I’m related to the people who come up as my matches?
  • Why are the percentages so small and what on earth is a centimorgan?

Dani Haski will work through the various aspects of genealogical DNA – what it is, the different testing regimes available, how to interpret your results and how to use some of the new tools available from the big players to climb new branches of your family tree. She will also discuss some of the big research projects on specific aspects of Jewish DNA.

Eastern Suburbs Workshop

DATE: Sunday May 19, 2019
TIME: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Waverley Library,
48 Denison Street

Eastern Suburbs Workshop – Feb 17, 2019

Cemeteries and Symbols – Understanding Jewish cemeteries and burial records

  • Ever wondered about the symbolism or Hebrew writing on your ancestor’s headstone?
  • In small cemeteries, why do some graves appear to be located apart from the rest?
  • Do you know where to look for your great-grandparents’ burials?

This talk by Robyn Dryen will help you navigate the customs and practice of Jewish burials, and identify likely sources of burial records for your ancestors.

When: Sunday, 17 February 2019
Time: 2pm – 4.45pm
Where: Theatrette, Waverley Library,
32-48 Denison Street, Bondi Junction

The talk will begin at 2.30 and will last approximately 1 hour.
It will be followed by time for questions , queries and research help between 3.30pm and 4.30pm

This is a free event. All are welcome but please RSVP to society@ajgs.org.au by 14 February


Kosher Koala – Winter 2018


In this issue: Daniela Torsh introduces us to Doris, an unlikely shepherdess, and recounts a unique love story that spanned continents and cultures, between her father’s cousin, who fled from Vienna to rural England, and an Austrian banker shipped to Australia on the Dunera. We meet Bram Presser, winner of three awards at this years NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for his novel The Book of Dirt, a semi-fictional exploration of his grandparent’s story. And we get a quick look at the IAJGS conference, which has just wrapped up in Warsaw.