Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and networking forums allow members with particular interests to share knowledge, ideas and information. Our SIGs help you connect with other members of JGST who have similar goals and challenges. At this time, five SIGs have been established: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, DNA and Central Europe.

If you’re a JGST member and you’d like to join a SIG, log in if you already have a website account else ask for one. Then you can subscribe to the Forum for the SIG you are interested in. Joining the SIG is easy—just email Mel and/or Deana: [email protected]

Members of Special Interest Groups are encouraged to communicate through the Forums but from time to time SIG members will meet face-to-face allowing for networking and presentations. Meetings are held on Thursdays at the Family History Centre, 24 Ferrand Drive, Don Mills (map; near Eglinton Ave. just east of Don Mills Rd.). Meeting dates are on our Event Calendar. Through the Forums, members of the SIGs are encouraged to dialogue: to ask and answer questions or share relevant news.

To join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto, complete the form on our Become a Member page.

Read more about each of these SIGs below.


Ukraine Special Interest Group

We share histories, resources, data, and research tips to help each other research Jewish Genealogy.

We cover the region of nine historical Russian Empire gubernias now mainly in Ukraine but also in Russia.

The Ukraine Special Interest Group (SIG) is for members of the JGST with interests in the lands that were included in the eight Russian Empire gubernii (provinces) that were in the Pale of Settlement, as well as Kharkov gubernia and the parts of Galicia and Bukovina that are now in Ukraine:

  • Volhynia (Volyn)
  • Kiev
  • Chernigov
  • Poltava
  • Podolia
  • Kharkov
  • Kherson (contains Odessa)
  • Yekaterinoslav
  • Taurida (Crimea)
  • Eastern Galicia
  • Northern Bukovina

These lands more or less overlap with the current territory of Ukraine. The purpose of the SIG is for members to explore areas of common interest, pursuing research and sharing information with each other, and enhancing our abilities to advance our personal genealogical agendas.



Lithuania Special Interest Group

LithuaniaWe share histories, resources, data, and research tips to help each other research Jewish Genealogy.

We are concentrating on Lithuanian-Jewish (“Litvak”) genealogy research. We are dedicated to discovering and preserving Litvak heritage. Our mission is to discover, collect, document, disseminate and preserve information about the once vibrant Jewish community of Lithuania for both ourselves and our history.



Poland Special Interest Group

This group is for members of JGST who wish to explore their Jewish roots from the European region known as modern day Poland.

Exchanging information and challenges, the members will grow together as they discover the riches of their past.



Central Europe Special Interest Group

JGST’s Central Europe Special Interest Group (SIG) focuses on the area of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire led by Henry Wellisch. Since people could travel and reside freely within its borders, today this would encompass the following areas: Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Parts of Serbia (Banat) and parts of Rumania (Transylvania) as encompassed by the map below.

Please send an e-mail to [email protected] if you are interested in attending our meetings and researching your heritage from Central Europe.

Map of Central Europe



DNA Special Interest Group

Our DNA group aims to help you understand the uses and benefits of DNA testing as it applies to your own family research and to support your research by sharing information and expertise about how to interpret your test results.

For our members and the general public, we also maintain a separate mini-website “Jewish Genetic Genealogy in Toronto” here: dna.jgstoronto.ca

All and any DNA and genetic genealogy questions are welcome in our DNA discussion forum, but you need to be a JGST member to access the forum and participate. You’ll find our upcoming SIG meetings scheduled on the JGST Event Calendar.

Here are some of the topics we may cover at our meetings:

  • Basics of DNA & genetic genealogy.
  • Understanding the tests & testing companies.
  • How DNA helps genealogy.
  • Understanding your test results.
  • How to become a project administrator.
  • Tips for maintaining a DNA project and recruiting new members.
  • DNA book recommendations and discussions.
  • Being pro-active genetic genealogists.
  • DNA and privacy concerns.
  • Y-chromosome DNA and Mitochondrial DNA.
  • Bio-geographical DNA.
  • Autosomal DNA, including the X-chromosome.
  • Chromosome mapping.
  • Third-party tools for genetic genealogists.
  • Share test results and answer the question: What do I do now?