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Welcome to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain

Northern Annual Conference 2014

The 12th Northern Annual Conference, sponsored by the Federation of Family History Societies, will take place on Sunday May 11th 2014

Please click here for detailed information and registration form

An exciting and varied programme of speakers, including Stuart Rosenblatt on Irish Jewish Records and Michael Tobias on Polish Records

Tickets include the price of tea & coffee and an excellent lunch.


Stuart RosenblattMichael Tobias

Stuart Rosenblatt expert on Irish Jewish Records and JewishGen's Michael Tobias 

Learn, Schmooze and Eat!

The Jews of Sicily - Susan Kikoler


7th Century Mikva in Syracuse7th Century Mikva in Syracuse (oldest in Europe)Aron Kodesh in Sicily 1454 (oldest in Europe)

Images (l to r) - C7th Mikva in Syracuse, the oldest in Europe and the oldest Aron Kodesh in Europe from 1454

A meeting with a difference because it started with a presentation about ‘The Jews of Sicily’ by Susan Kikoler. She is an expert on Italian Jewry, and had lived on Sicily for several years.

The speaker dipped into history back to the first written record about the presence of Jews on the island, in 589 BCE. However, it is likely that Jews had been living there for some considerable time.

Some archaeological evidence as well as archival evidence was discussed. A photograph was shown of a large mikveh which had been discovered not so many years ago in Siracuse, and of a Torah ark hewn out of stone indicating that the Jews had no intention of leaving (See the photographs above).

Surprisingly, the Cairo Genizah presented evidence that Sicilian Jewry had been well connected with other Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Sea. The number of Jews that had lived on Sicily at one time, would not have exceeded 30,000 – about equal to the number of Jews living in Italy at present. They were not only land owners and doctors, but also kosher wine makers, port workers and ship builders.

Sometimes Jews had to pay special taxes, and persecution had also taken place. However, all that came to an end with their expulsion in 1492, by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain who were also the sovereigns of this island.

Susan also spoke about the Purim of Saragossa and the fact that for many years this was thought to have originated in Spain but now appears to have come from Siracuse (modern Syracuse).

Susan then answered questions from the audience and these included as where the Jews from Sicily went - Rome and also to the East. It is also thought that many converted and carried on with their trades and occupations as before.

Henri Obstfeld


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain

Registered Charity Number 1022378
(page updated 9th November 2013)

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain
- JGSGB - was founded in 1992 for beginners and experienced researchers to:

  • Help one another to learn and discover more about genealogy 
  • Encourage genealogical research
  • Promote the preservation of Jewish genealogical records and resources
  • Share information amongst members

To find out more details of what we offer click here

Full details of JGSGB's programme of events can be found here

To join JGSGB click here


Specialist and Local/Regional Groups

If you are already a member you will most likely have attended meetings of our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Regional Groups (RGs) where you know they are always happy to see new faces.  These meetings are free to members with a nominal charge to visitors offset against membership if you join at the meeting.

If you are not already a member and have accessed this website then you are already displaying an interest in family history, so what are you waiting for?

At the meetings we generally have a speaker or hold one of our very popular workshops where bricks walls are often broken down.  It has been known for attendees to find others researching the same family name or ancestral town, or even for long lost cousins to be reunited.

For further information please click on a group below or contact the SIG & Regional Group Co-ordinator.



Anglo Jewish

Dutch & Sephardi

Eastern European



Chilterns & Home Counties

East of London




North Herts

South East Essex     

South West London