This guide will orient you to the many features of this conference. Riches await you as you avail yourself of the numerous programs being offered and engage with fellow genealogists in discovering your family history. The conference is the product of two years of preparation by scores of volunteers. We are pleased to welcome over 1,000 participants from around the world, including Australia, Israel, Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan, and 38 states of the United States.


The conference is taking place on two floors of Boston's historic Park Plaza Hotel. The Mezzanine on the 2nd floor is the central venue where you'll find the largest lecture halls, the Exhibitor Hall and the Hospitality Desk. The 4th Floor holds the Resource Center with databases, reference books, and translators, the Computer Workshops, the Film Festival, numerous meeting rooms, and the Registration Center.

The Hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Boston—close to parks, historic sites, outdoor cafes, shops, restaurants, and research facilities.


Ten simultaneous tracks of programming await you. It is likely that the most challenging part of your conference experience will be choosing which program to attend at any given time. Your decision-making will be helped by the program summaries, speaker bios, and handouts that you can access through the Registration Update page. You'll also be able to purchase audio and video recordings of many of the lectures you missed. The Program Schedule on the website and in the Daily Planner will tell you which sessions are being recorded, along with the time and place of each session. You will also find this same information in the new Conference App (short for Mobile Application).

Program Schedule and Changes

A complete schedule that includes all conference programs can be found in the Daily Planner, the Conference App, and the Conference Website here. Last minute schedule changes will be posted on white boards near the elevators on the Mezzanine and 4th floors and at the Hospitality Desk. They will also be announced in the Conference App and on the signs outside the affected meeting rooms.


Beginners may want to catch the two-and-a-half hour introductory "Research Essentials" lectures on Sunday morning and sign up for Computer Workshops to gain hands-on experience with the major websites and computer programs. There will also be abundant lectures to acquaint beginners with their areas of interest.

Intermediate & Advanced

Experienced researchers will find cutting edge information on the latest discoveries in archives and online resources. State archivists and experts from Eastern Europe and elsewhere will be speaking at lectures, on panels, at Special Interest Group (SIG) luncheons, and Breakfasts with the Experts every day. The "Search Options" at the top of the Program Schedule are one of several methods to help you find what you are looking for.

Computer Workshops

Computer Workshops are offered for both PC and Mac users. It will be possible to sign up for workshops that have openings at the Registration Center. Computers with a standard environment are provided. Only conference computers are permitted to be used in the computer workshops.

Film Festival

At the Film Festival 30 fascinating films will be screened from Sunday through Friday in the Franklin Room on the 4th Floor. Several screenings will be followed by discussions with the filmmaker or others involved in its production. On Monday afternoon, viewers of "Samuel Bak: Painter of Questions," will have the option of visiting the nearby Pucker Gallery for a gallery talk and opportunity to view his work following the screening. There will be evening screenings Monday through Thursday. Film titles and times appear in the Program Schedule, in the Daily Planner, and in the Conference App. Descriptions appear in the Syllabus, in the Conference App, and in the Program Schedule.


A marketplace of affinity groups known as SIGs (Special Interest Groups) and BOFs (Birds of a Feather), joined by New England area Jewish Genealogy Societies and Jewish Historical Societies, plus local repositories and special attractions, will take place on Sunday afternoon under the SHARE Fair banner. The fair will give conference participants the opportunity to talk with representatives of the organizations and to become acquainted with these organizations and what they offer to genealogists.


Two bus tours and four walking tours have been arranged for conference attendees and their guests. The four walking tours to historic Boston neighborhoods that once were home to Jewish immigrants are fully subscribed. Seats may be available for the bus tours to Newport, RI, and the Touro Synagogue on Sunday and to the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, on Friday. Tickets may be purchased at the Registration Center on the 4th floor. Tour descriptions can be found on the Conference App.

Evening Entertainment

Following a dinner break, there will be entertainment every evening with outstanding performers and captivating speakers. The evening programs will be free to all conference attendees. Attendees may request special passes at the Hospitality Desk to bring guests on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. Space limitations will not allow us to admit guests on Sunday night. The ticketed Gala Banquet will take place on Thursday night. There will also be film screenings every evening from Monday through Thursday. Descriptions of the evening programs will be found in the Daily Program, the Conference App, and here.



Conference attendees are asked to respect the following policies to make this conference comfortable and safe for everyone.

Security & Badges

Only persons wearing conference-issued badges or carrying special passes will be admitted to conference sessions and events. Please cooperate with our professional Security Guards and conference volunteers who will be checking for badges and passes. There is 24-hour security coverage on the two conference floors.

Pre-purchased Tickets

Persons wishing to attend Computer Workshops, SIG lunches, Breakfasts with the Experts, and the Gala Banquet must purchase tickets in advance. Tickets will be checked at the door and no one will be allowed to enter without a ticket.


The front row at every conference session will be reserved for persons with disabilities, including persons using wheelchairs and motorized carts. Others should not sit in the front row unless the room is fully occupied and the program has begun.

Room Safety

Meeting room doors will be closed when rooms fill to capacity. Please follow the instructions of the room monitor to prevent congestion and unsafe conditions. Do not block the aisles or the exits. Electrical cords that cross aisles are not permitted as they are a safety hazard—even if needed to charge your laptop. No Private Recording or Videotaping Private recording of conference sessions with audio or video equipment is not permitted without the explicit permission of the conference Co-Chairs. Many sessions will be recorded or filmed by professionals under contract with the conference and will be available for purchase.

No Private Photography

The photographing of speakers and their presentations is not permitted without the speaker's explicit consent. All presentation materials are protected by copyright laws and should not be photographed unless explicit permission has been obtained from the speaker. A professional photographer will be taking pictures on Sunday at the invitation of the Conference organizers.

Respect Speakers' Materials

Copyright laws apply to materials created by our speakers that appear in the Syllabus or are distributed at sessions. The same is true of the verbatim content and visual images (e.g., slides) presented in a speaker's lecture. They should not be copied or disseminated without the speaker's consent. Quotations should be limited, and appropriate credit should be given to the author. Our presenters have invested many hours in the development of their materials and lectures and have intellectual property rights in the material they create.

Silence Noise-making Devices

Please save yourself embarrassment and turn off all mobile phones and noise-making electronic devices when attending programs.



The conference has issued three publications: a Syllabus (see the table of contents here) on a USB flash drive and in book form (pre-orders only), a Daily Planner booklet, and a Family Finder booklet. Copies of the Syllabus, Daily Planner, and Family Finder may be inspected in the Winthrop Room at the Resource Center and at the Hospitality Desk. Conference attendeesmay purchase extra copies of the Syllabus in the Registration Center as long as the supply lasts.

The SYLLABUS contains program descriptions, speaker biographies and handouts, and more.

The DAILY PLANNER contains the program schedule, floor plans of the Mezzanine and 4th floors, and more. The FAMILY FINDER contains a directory of conference registrants and Family Finders by surname, by ancestral location (city and town), by DNA haplogroup or subgroup, and by current place of residence. The Family Finder is to be used ONLY for contacting those listed for genealogy purposes. It is NOT to be used for any commercial purpose.



Bulletin Board

A bulletin board is available in the Mezzanine area. The board is intended to facilitate the exchange of information amongst attendees to arrange meet-ups, exchange event tickets, and more. The conference reserves the right to remove postings that it considers inappropriate.


Conference-issued badges also contain individuals' family surnames and places of family origins. Keep your eyes open and you may bump into a landsman or kinsman!

NEW: A Conference App

For the first time at an IAJGS conference, information is also available through a free Conference App.

The app is available for iPhone/iPad/iPod, Android, BlackBerry, or any PC or Mac browser. The app is developed by Core-Apps, LLC and has become an industry standard. With the app you can:

  • Search for session by speaker, experience level, track, or by time.
  • Set up a personal calendar of sessions. Think about choosing a primary and a backup in case the room is full.
  • Take session notes right within the app.
  • Download syllabus handouts from many speakers.
  • Learn about the speakers—their bios, other sessions.
  • Leave feedback about each session.
  • Plan your attack on the Exhibitor Hall.
  • Keep in touch with your friends. Send messages and share their schedules.
  • Download exhibitor brochures and other documents and watch exhibitor and sponsor videos.
  • Receive updates about both scheduled and informal activities.
  • Follow or join in on the Twitter feed (#IAJGS2013).
  • Share your photos and see photos taken by others.
  • Refer to venue maps to locate rooms and hotel services.
  • And more!

The app will be available for download the app from the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store for Android apps, or on the Internet at here.

Social Media

When the social media services are up and running, we encourage the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogging and others, and hope you will:

  • Follow us on Twitter (@iajgsconf).
  • Like us on Facebook.
  • Subscribe to the IAJGS conference discussion list.
  • Send us a tweet @iajgsconf for general information or use the hashtag #iajgs2013 for conferencerelated tweets. It's a great tool for communicating short messages to other conference attendees. You can access Twitter directly from the conference app.
  • Blog, post, and tweet about what you are hearing and seeing at the conference.
  • Suggest sessions to attend and chat about products and services in the Exhibitor Hall.



Internet Access

Free internet access will be available throughout the conference—on the Mezzanine and 4th floor and in the guest rooms booked by conference registrants. For those who haven't brought their computers along, complimentary computers are available for hotel guests in hotel's business center in the lobby.

Exhibitor Hall

Visit the Exhibitor Hall to see the latest offerings for genealogists. The Exhibitor Hall is open 9:30 am to 6 pm on Sunday, 9 am to 6 pm on Monday and Tuesday, 9 am to 6 pm and 7 to 9 pm on Wednesday, 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday, and is closed on Friday.

Resource Center

The Resource Center on the 4th floor offers access to normally paid-subscriber-only databases and websites, including the ProQuest newspaper collection, which will be available only on Tuesday, when the computer room will remain open until 9 pm. The Center also offers a carefully selected collection of reference books from the JGSGB library and free translations by volunteers of documents and letters in Polish, Yiddish, Russian, German, and other languages. One-on-one consultations are available with representatives of JewishGen, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,, the Boston branch of the American Jewish Historical Society, and other organizations to help you with your research. There is also a special collection of books about Jewish life in the New England states. Personal identification is needed to borrow a book, and a copier is available for use at a small fee. At busy times, translations will be limited to 20 minutes and computer time to 30 minutes.


See Resource Center.

Hospitality Desk

The Hospitality Desk is centrally located on the Mezzanine floor and prepared to answer all your questions (almost)! Our Hospitality volunteers can direct you to restaurants, local points of interest, archives, synagogues, cemeteries, and more. They are selling tickets for the Daily Raffle, with all proceeds to be donated to JewishGen. They are taking seating reservations for the Gala Banquet and organizing "Dinners with New Friends" at local restaurants. The Lost & Found, a suggestion box, and the message boards are located there as well.

Banquet Table Sign-Ups

See Hospitality Desk.

Conference Resource LLC

You may also purchase audio and/or DVD video recordings of sessions made by Conference Resource LLC. Recordings of single sessions and of the entire conference (except where speakers do not consent to being recorded) will be available. Conference Resource will be taking orders on the Mezzanine. Orders can also be placed online here.

Conference participants may not record sessions without the consent of the conference co-chairs.

Book Signings

We have many wonderful writers in attendance and many will be doing book signings and sales after their lectures at the "Authors' Corner" on the Mezzanine. Details are in your Daily Planner.


The Hospitality Desk is hosting a raffle whose prizes include major subscriptions donated by and MyHeritage, DNA testing from FamilyTreeDNA, and a guest weekend donated by the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. There will be a daily drawing at the evening programs. All proceeds from the ticket sales will go to JewishGen. There will also be a special raffle for all the conference volunteers at the end of the week in appreciation for their support.

Health Club

Complimentary Health Club use is available in the hotel for all conference attendees.



Kosher Food

The hotel has a kosher kitchen, and all the food served at the conference is kosher. A benefactor is underwriting the additional expense of kosher food so that this cost is not being passed on to conference attendees. Please do not bring any non-kosher food into the conference meeting area.

Food Kiosk

A kosher kiosk selling an assortment of sandwiches, salads, fruit, and other items is open mid-day every day on the Mezzanine for everyone's convenience.

Conference Meals

Although the deadline may have passed for ordering tickets to the SIG lunches, the Breakfasts with the Experts, and the Gala Dinner, you may be able to buy a ticket from someone who wishes to sell one. This can be arranged through postings on a Board near the Hospitality Desk.

Hotel Restaurants

The hotel operates a kiosk (non-kosher) in the lobby every morning with coffee and breakfast pastries. The Statler Lounge in the lobby is a moderately priced restaurant serving meals and snacks all day. All conference attendees are eligible for a 10% discount at the Statler. There are two other restaurants in the hotel serving seafood and fondue.

Nearby Restaurants

There's a wide variety of great restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. Visit the Hospitality Desk for maps and suggestions. Be sure to check out the cafes and restaurants on Newbury Street and Boylston Street, only a few short blocks away.



Please be kind to our volunteers—they are indispensible to the smooth running of the conference and need your cooperation. Kvetching is not allowed—but your constructive criticism is always welcome at the suggestion box at the Hospitality Desk. We can always use more volunteers so please see the Volunteer Chairs at their station near the Hospitality Desk.


If you are in need of some fresh air, step outside the hotel and you'll find yourself in the nicest part of Boston. The Boston Public Garden is only a block away, with beautifully maintained flowers, paths, and the iconic Swan Boats, as one might expect in the first public botanic garden in America. Beyond the Public Garden is the Boston Commons, established in 1634 as America's first public park and a great place for a stroll.

Another nearby destination is Newbury Street with its outdoor cafes, art galleries, and exclusive shops. There's the Prudential Center and Copley Place for serious shopping and a great farmer's market on Tuesdays and Fridays in Copley Square. The market sits between historic Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, America's first municipal public library. For a real escape, catch a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. The Hospitality Desk has the schedule!


In addition to the Hospitality Desk, the co-chairs—Marlis, Heidi and Jay—will be available throughout the conference to assist you or for feedback. Our event planning team—Zabrina and Michelle—can also be called upon if you need assistance with anything. You'll find us in the Exeter Room near the Hospitality Desk.

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