AJGS (Vic)

The Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (Victoria) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to collecting, preserving and disseminating genealogical information, teaching research techniques and offering databases to people interested in researching Jewish ancestry.

Become a Member

Get ready to find out more about who your ancestors are and their connections with the Jewish community in Victoria today.

Upcoming Events

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (Vic)

Three members of our committee, Dr Helen Gardner, Liz James & Bubbles Segall,  are involved in a ground-breaking project building the world’s most comprehensive catalogue

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

MITZVAH DAY PROJECT 2022

This year Mitzvah Day is on Sunday 20th Nov 2022. DO YOU HAVE A CAMERA OR AN IPHONE? AJGS (Vic) & AJHS are calling for

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

MITZVAH DAY PROJECT 2022

AJGS (Vic) & AJHS are calling for volunteers to visit synagogues and Jewish institutions to photograph memorial boards, plaques and any other tributes.

We plan to share these photographs with the Jewishgen Memorial Plaques Database.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (Vic)

Three members of our committee, Dr Helen Gardner, Liz James & Bubbles Segall,  are involved in a ground-breaking project building the world’s most comprehensive catalogue of historical documents of our Jewish ancestors.

This presentation will be face-to-face  & on Zoom (?)

For further information  email [email protected]

Who We Are

The Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (Vic) Inc (AJGS Vic) is a non-profit society passionate about encouraging and assisting people in researching their Jewish ancestry. We welcome everyone with an interest in this research area, regardless of ethnicity or background, whether you are researching your family history for connections to Jewish heritage or studying this fascinating and important area of history.

In addition to providing access to the AJGS Vic research library and the expertise of some of our most specialised researchers, we hold regular meetings, either on Zoom or face to face, providing workshops and events to support members and provide practical assistance for their research on such topics as DNA, using JRI Poland and more.

You are most welcome to join us for these interesting talks. Find more information events .

We aim to be a welcoming, open group to anyone interested in this rich, cultural heritage and the historical context of Jewish family trees, so if you think you may have a connection, we’re here to help you in any way we can.

Our Committee

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Helen Gardner

Committee Member

Helen Gardner, nee Feld, was born in Melbourne, but her parents came from Warsaw: her father in 1926 and her mother in 1927 with her brother Cyril who was then aged seven. She was introduced to genealogy in 1963 by her husband, Paul, whose father had brought his family tree from Germany when he immigrated. Helen has had a long and varied career. As one of the earliest computer programmers in Melbourne, Helen became an early user of family tree software, when she moved the family tree data to a computer system in 1996,and became the keeper of the family history. However, her personal interest in genealogy dates from 1997, when she discovered a branch of her family living in the USSR, and has continued more recently from 2014 with DNA analyses. Helen joined the AJGSVic Committee in 2020 and was the initiator of the Society’s involvement in the DoJR project.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Rodney Eisfelder

Committee Member

Rodney Eisfelder is a retired computer programmer, married to Suzie. He has been on the committee since late in the 20th century, apart from a short break around 2001. He has ancestors from all over the former German empire – from Kaliningrad (now in Russia) to Metz (now in France). He has researched in archives and cemeteries in the USA, England, France, Germany, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. He has looked after the Society’s marriage database since 2010. He specializes in German research, and the Shanghai refugee community but also has researched Australian, USA, UK, Dutch, French, Polish, Moldovan and New Zealand families.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

TERRY ASHTON

Committee Member

Born in London, Terry and her family emigrated to Australia in 1967 on the £10 Assisted Migration Scheme and left behind a large extended family. Her mother’s family, the Prashker, Goldman, Segal (Segalovich) and Shumofsky (Szumowski) family members, originally came from Poland and Lithuania. Her father’s family, the Abrahamovich, Yankovich, Glinert and Holtz family members, originally came from Romania and what is now Latvia.  By the late 1890s, most of her great grandparents had arrived in the UK, originally settling in the Whitechapel area of the East End. Terry’s interest in genealogy started as a young child, with her mother’s stories of growing up with cousins and the mischief they got up to. Her interest grew further as she listened to stories about how family members coped with the blitz on London; food shortages and her father’s role in the RAF, helping burnt airmen in the first burns unit in England at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. Genealogy for Terry, is about the many ways of keeping memories of past relatives, alive and appreciating the sacrifices they made so future generations could have a better life. Terry has been a member of AJGS (VIC) for many years and a committee member since 2019. Terry Ashton (Abraha

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

RENE EISNER

Treasurer

Rene Eisner nee Degen is a grandmother of six who is married to John. Rene’s professional career has been as a bookkeeper and computer operator starting in 1966. A visit to an Aunt in the US in 1993 sparked a lifelong interest in genealogy, tracing and documenting her family’s history in Poland, Russia, Latvia and Germany. Rene has been a member of AJGS VIC since 2000 and joined the committee as Honorary Treasurer in 2012. When her grandchildren started their Root  Projects, she realised that the AJGS VIC Committee could help, and in Feb 2016 the first talk was given at Bialik College. AJGS VIC now assists many Jewish schools in Melbourne educating and encouraging students as they explore their own family history for their Roots Projects.

Committee elected September 2022
australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Allan Jankie

President

Allan’s genealogical journey started with his wife Helen’s grandparents. Helen was blessed to have all 4 of her grandparents alive at their wedding and it was during conversations with them about their lives in Poland that Allan’s passion to trace family was born. Writing down all the information (names, dates and places) was the beginning of his Family Tree. These scraps were kept in folders and often spread out across a table to try and explain who everybody was and how they fitted into the Family. His Mother was able to give him some details about her ancestors and with the help of older cousins he was able to create a fairly detailed plan of her paternal family. From his Father’s side there was very little information. This remained the case until the advent of JewishGen and JRI where Allan was able to discover information about both his Father’s paternal and maternal families. After being approached by the late Lionel Sharpe to join, Allan has been a member of the AJGS (Vic) committee since 2008 and became President in 2010 after the sad passing of then President Les Oberman. His passion is Polish genealogy and today his Family Tree (both his and his wife’s family) contains close to 40,000 names.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Max Wald OAM

Vic-President

Max Wald was born in Melbourne in 1940, his parents were born in Poland, both arrived separately to Melbourne during the 1930s. Most of his working life was as a retailer, retiring about 15 years ago. The spark for genealogy began with his visits to Poland with March of the Living, in 2004 & 2005, during which time he visited ancestral towns searching for records etc. Max has become involved as a volunteer with JRI Poland extracting Polish records for their online database. So far Max has extracted the records of almost 40 towns. He is also responsible, with the Society, as part of the Mitzvah Day Project, annuallyphotographing Jewish Headstones in both the Jewish and non-Jewish cemeteries for JewishGen’s JOWBR (Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Registry) database. Many of these photos are now online. In 2011 Max joined the AJGS VIC committee and in January 2019 was elected as Vice President. Max also volunteers at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Bubbles Segall

Secretary

Bubbles Segall was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Stellenbosch, a town about 50 kilometres from Cape Town.She migrated to Australia in 1974, spent one year in Sydney and 33 years in the Northern Territory. She moved to Melbourne in 2009 and joined the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (Vic) soon after moving there, enjoying their meetings, workshops and presentations, something that she couldn’t do up north which has a very small Jewish population. Her interest in genealogy started in 1967 when Bubbles was given a handwritten Segall family tree by a relative in Israel. She has always treasured that tree which is tattered, yellow and worn with age. After years of research, Bubbles eventually foundthe descendants of most of the people mentioned on the tree thanks to JewishGen and other online platforms. Bubbles has served on the committee since 2012, and has been Honorary Secretary since 2017.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

RENE EISNER

Treasurer

Rene Eisner nee Degen is a grandmother of six who is married to John. Rene’s professional career has been as a bookkeeper and computer operator starting in 1966. A visit to an Aunt in the US in 1993 sparked a lifelong interest in genealogy, tracing and documenting her family’s history in Poland, Russia, Latvia and Germany. Rene has been a member of AJGS VIC since 2000 and joined the committee as Honorary Treasurer in 2012. When her grandchildren started their Root  Projects, she realised that the AJGS VIC Committee could help, and in Feb 2016 the first talk was given at Bialik College. AJGS VIC now assists many Jewish schools in Melbourne educating and encouraging students as they explore their own family history for their Roots Projects.

Committee elected September 2022
australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Rodney Eisfelder

Co-President

Rodney Eisfelder is a retired computer programmer, married to Suzie. He has been on the committee since late in the 20th century, apart from a short break around 2001. He has ancestors from all over the former German empire – from Kaliningrad (now in Russia) to Metz (now in France). He has researched in archives and cemeteries in the USA, England, France, Germany, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. He has looked after the Society’s marriage database since 2010. He specializes in German research, and the Shanghai refugee community but also has researched Australian, USA, UK, Dutch, French, Polish, Moldovan and New Zealand families.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Bernie Kuran

Co-President

BERNIE KURAN As a first-generation Aussie, Bernie had a belief that he would have very little chance of discovering his family’s Polish roots beyond the names of his grandparents. The advent of JewishGen and JRI Poland has been invaluable in helping him trace his mother’s Polish ancestors back to the late 1700s.  His father’s line continues to be a work in progress, and this is where he concentrated his current research. Bernie’s wife’s family tree is huge.  His ‘journey’ has taken him from Jewish convicts in Sydney, early Jewish settlers in Melbourne in the 1840s to the Sephardic community of Amsterdam in the early 1600s and to Jewish London in the 1800s. Recently, he was able to find the connection from Amsterdam back to pre-Inquisition Spain, with branches possibly going back into the first millennium.  Bernie also has a keen interest in the origins of Jewish surnames, and assists Jewish high school students with their Roots Projects.  Bernie has been a member of the AJGS VIC committee since 2012

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Allan Jankie

Past President

Allan’s genealogical journey started with his wife Helen’s grandparents. Helen was blessed to have all 4 of her grandparents alive at their wedding and it was during conversations with them about their lives in Poland that Allan’s passion to trace family was born. Writing down all the information (names, dates and places) was the beginning of his Family Tree. These scraps were kept in folders and often spread out across a table to try and explain who everybody was and how they fitted into the Family. His Mother was able to give him some details about her ancestors and with the help of older cousins he was able to create a fairly detailed plan of her paternal family. From his Father’s side there was very little information. This remained the case until the advent of JewishGen and JRI where Allan was able to discover information about both his Father’s paternal and maternal families. After being approached by the late Lionel Sharpe to join, Allan has been a member of the AJGS (Vic) committee since 2008 and became President in 2010 after the sad passing of then President Les Oberman. His passion is Polish genealogy and today his Family Tree (both his and his wife’s family) contains close to 40,000 names.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Max Wald OAM

Vic-President

Max Wald was born in Melbourne in 1940, his parents were born in Poland, both arrived separately to Melbourne during the 1930s. Most of his working life was as a retailer, retiring about 15 years ago. The spark for genealogy began with his visits to Poland with March of the Living, in 2004 & 2005, during which time he visited ancestral towns searching for records etc. Max has become involved as a volunteer with JRI Poland extracting Polish records for their online database. So far Max has extracted the records of almost 40 towns. He is also responsible, with the Society, as part of the Mitzvah Day Project, annuallyphotographing Jewish Headstones in both the Jewish and non-Jewish cemeteries for JewishGen’s JOWBR (Jewish Online Worldwide Burial Registry) database. Many of these photos are now online. In 2011 Max joined the AJGS VIC committee and in January 2019 was elected as Vice President. Max also volunteers at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Bubbles Segall

Secretary

Bubbles Segall was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Stellenbosch, a town about 50 kilometres from Cape Town.She migrated to Australia in 1974, spent one year in Sydney and 33 years in the Northern Territory. She moved to Melbourne in 2009 and joined the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society (Vic) soon after moving there, enjoying their meetings, workshops and presentations, something that she couldn’t do up north which has a very small Jewish population. Her interest in genealogy started in 1967 when Bubbles was given a handwritten Segall family tree by a relative in Israel. She has always treasured that tree which is tattered, yellow and worn with age. After years of research, Bubbles eventually foundthe descendants of most of the people mentioned on the tree thanks to JewishGen and other online platforms. Bubbles has served on the committee since 2012, and has been Honorary Secretary since 2017.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

RENE EISNER

Treasurer

Rene Eisner nee Degen is a grandmother of six who is married to John. Rene’s professional career has been as a bookkeeper and computer operator starting in 1966. A visit to an Aunt in the US in 1993 sparked a lifelong interest in genealogy, tracing and documenting her family’s history in Poland, Russia, Latvia and Germany. Rene has been a member of AJGS VIC since 2000 and joined the committee as Honorary Treasurer in 2012. When her grandchildren started their Root  Projects, she realised that the AJGS VIC Committee could help, and in Feb 2016 the first talk was given at Bialik College. AJGS VIC now assists many Jewish schools in Melbourne educating and encouraging students as they explore their own family history for their Roots Projects.

General Committee

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Heshy Adelist

Committee Member

Heshy was born in Melbourne. a proud husband and father of two children.
His family comes from all over, Singapore, Iraq and India, England, Ireland, Poland,and Canada,
Growing up Heshy would ask hisparents, where are all the cousins? The answer was always - overseas in Canada and the USA etc, so that sparked a flame to find everyone.Heshy has done quite a bit of research; his tree goes back to the late 1700s with about 1000 people (blood-related). Heshy usesFacebook and email and various genealogical websites.Heshy is in the process of making a book on each grandparent and their families, taking a lot longer than he thought but hopes to finish it in the near future. Heshy has been a committee member since 2017, and manages the Social Media content.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

TERRY ASHTON

Committee Member

Born in London, Terry and her family emigrated to Australia in 1967 on the £10 Assisted Migration Scheme and left behind a large extended family. Her mother’s familyoriginally came from Poland and Lithuania. Her father’s family, originally came from Romania and what is now Latvia. By the late 1890s, most of her great grandparents had arrived in the UK, originally settling in the Whitechapel area of the East End. Terry’s interest in genealogy started as a young child, with her mother’s stories of growing up with cousinsand the mischief they got up to. Her interest grew further as she listened to stories about how family members coped with the blitz on London. Genealogy for Terry, is about the many ways of keeping memories of past relatives alive and appreciating the sacrifices they made so future generations could have a better life. Terry has been a member of AJGS (VIC) for many years and a committee member since 2019.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Helen Gardner

Committee Member

Helen Gardner, nee Feld, was born in Melbourne, but her parents came from Warsaw: her father in 1926 and her mother in 1927 with her brother Cyril who was then aged seven. She was introduced to genealogy in 1963 by her husband, Paul, whose father had brought his family tree from Germany when he immigrated. Helen has had a long and varied career. As one of the earliest computer programmers in Melbourne, Helen became an early user of family tree software, when she moved the family tree data to a computer system in 1996,and became the keeper of the family history. However, her personal interest in genealogy dates from 1997, when she discovered a branch of her family living in the USSR, and has continued more recently from 2014 with DNA analyses. Helen joined the AJGSVic Committee in 2020 and was the initiator of the Society’s involvement in the DoJR project.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Liz James OAM

Committee Member

Liz James is a retired teacher-librarian whose interest in Jewish genealogy and history began when she discovered her ancestors came from a connecting network of multiple rabbinical family trees which included and counted amongst the oldest Jewish settlers who lived in Lucca, Italy and then settled in the Rhineland towns of  Mainz,  Speyer and Worms in Germany and were regarded as the 'fathers of Jewish learning'. Liz is a committee member of both the Australian Jewish Genealogical Vic and Australian Jewish Historical Societies Vic. and maintains the library collection for both societies. Liz is also part of a pilot team adding a list of Australian Jewish genealogical resources to a worldwide digital database (DoJR). Since 2003, Liz has helped hundreds of people solve their family history mysteries and introduced countless children to the joys of genealogical research as part of the School Roots Program making sure they have access to important records kept within the resource collections of both societies. Liz joined the committee of the AJGS VIC in 2005.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Aaron Blicblau

Committee Member

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Jenny Worth

Committee Member

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Ian Samuel OAM

Committee Member

Ian Samuel was born in Melbourne, with part of his family arriving in Australia in 1823.  Coming from a diverse background he took an interest in his family’s background and heritage.  He has taken a keen interest in his maternal Lubavitch family both in Australia and in Israel.Ian helps his very large family with their genealogical questions. Now with the full cooperation of the synagogues in Australia and New Zealand, he has, with the assistance of Max Wald and Rodney Eisfelder, gathered, digitised and indexed, more than 30,000 marriage records, saving many of them from destruction.  Ian has been on the AJGS VIC committee since 2010. 

General Committee

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Heshy Adelist

Committee Member

Heshy was born in Melbourne. a proud husband and father of two children.
His family comes from all over, Singapore, Iraq and India, England, Ireland, Poland,and Canada,
Growing up Heshy would ask hisparents, where are all the cousins? The answer was always - overseas in Canada and the USA etc, so that sparked a flame to find everyone.Heshy has done quite a bit of research; his tree goes back to the late 1700s with about 1000 people (blood-related). Heshy usesFacebook and email and various genealogical websites.Heshy is in the process of making a book on each grandparent and their families, taking a lot longer than he thought but hopes to finish it in the near future. Heshy has been a committee member since 2017, and manages the Social Media content.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

TERRY ASHTON

Committee Member

Born in London, Terry and her family emigrated to Australia in 1967 on the £10 Assisted Migration Scheme and left behind a large extended family. Her mother’s familyoriginally came from Poland and Lithuania. Her father’s family, originally came from Romania and what is now Latvia. By the late 1890s, most of her great grandparents had arrived in the UK, originally settling in the Whitechapel area of the East End. Terry’s interest in genealogy started as a young child, with her mother’s stories of growing up with cousinsand the mischief they got up to. Her interest grew further as she listened to stories about how family members coped with the blitz on London. Genealogy for Terry, is about the many ways of keeping memories of past relatives alive and appreciating the sacrifices they made so future generations could have a better life. Terry has been a member of AJGS (VIC) for many years and a committee member since 2019.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Rodney Eisfelder

Committee Member

Rodney Eisfelder is a retired computer programmer, married to Suzie. He has been on the committee since late in the 20th century, apart from a short break around 2001. He has ancestors from all over the former German empire – from Kaliningrad (now in Russia) to Metz (now in France). He has researched in archives and cemeteries in the USA, England, France, Germany, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. He has looked after the Society’s marriage database since 2010. He specializes in German research, and the Shanghai refugee community but also has researched Australian, USA, UK, Dutch, French, Polish, Moldovan and New Zealand families.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Helen Gardner

Committee Member

Helen Gardner, nee Feld, was born in Melbourne, but her parents came from Warsaw: her father in 1926 and her mother in 1927 with her brother Cyril who was then aged seven. She was introduced to genealogy in 1963 by her husband, Paul, whose father had brought his family tree from Germany when he immigrated. Helen has had a long and varied career. As one of the earliest computer programmers in Melbourne, Helen became an early user of family tree software, when she moved the family tree data to a computer system in 1996,and became the keeper of the family history. However, her personal interest in genealogy dates from 1997, when she discovered a branch of her family living in the USSR, and has continued more recently from 2014 with DNA analyses. Helen joined the AJGSVic Committee in 2020 and was the initiator of the Society’s involvement in the DoJR project.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Liz James OAM

Committee Member

Liz James is a retired teacher-librarian whose interest in Jewish genealogy and history began when she discovered her ancestors came from a connecting network of multiple rabbinical family trees which included and counted amongst the oldest Jewish settlers who lived in Lucca, Italy and then settled in the Rhineland towns of  Mainz,  Speyer and Worms in Germany and were regarded as the 'fathers of Jewish learning'. Liz is a committee member of both the Australian Jewish Genealogical Vic and Australian Jewish Historical Societies Vic. and maintains the library collection for both societies. Liz is also part of a pilot team adding a list of Australian Jewish genealogical resources to a worldwide digital database (DoJR). Since 2003, Liz has helped hundreds of people solve their family history mysteries and introduced countless children to the joys of genealogical research as part of the School Roots Program making sure they have access to important records kept within the resource collections of both societies. Liz joined the committee of the AJGS VIC in 2005.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Clive Kaicer

Committee Member

Clive has always been interested in his family's history and their story. His grandparents on his mother's side would always talk about their parents, where they came from, what they used to do back in the old country, and why they left.  His grandparents on his father's side were a little less open about their past. So, naturally, he became even more curious about their past. He felt there was something to uncover, to discover and understand.  Signing up to JewishGen and joining AJGS (Vic), as well as online communities has helped build a family tree with over 800 people and counting. So many stories and histories have been revealed and uncovered, with so many more to come.He has met wonderful people along the way and looks forward to connecting with more family and discovering so much more.  Clive joined the committee in 2019.

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Bernie Kuran

Committee Member

BERNIE KURAN As a first-generation Aussie, Bernie had a belief that he would have very little chance of discovering his family’s Polish roots beyond the names of his grandparents. The advent of JewishGen and JRI Poland has been invaluable in helping him trace his mother’s Polish ancestors back to the late 1700s.  His father’s line continues to be a work in progress, and this is where he concentrated his current research. Bernie’s wife’s family tree is huge.  His ‘journey’ has taken him from Jewish convicts in Sydney, early Jewish settlers in Melbourne in the 1840s to the Sephardic community of Amsterdam in the early 1600s and to Jewish London in the 1800s. Recently, he was able to find the connection from Amsterdam back to pre-Inquisition Spain, with branches possibly going back into the first millennium.  Bernie also has a keen interest in the origins of Jewish surnames, and assists Jewish high school students with their Roots Projects.  Bernie has been a member of the AJGS VIC committee since 2012

australian jewish genealogical society victoria, About

Ian Samuel OAM

Committee Member

Ian Samuel was born in Melbourne, with part of his family arriving in Australia in 1823.  Coming from a diverse background he took an interest in his family’s background and heritage.  He has taken a keen interest in his maternal Lubavitch family both in Australia and in Israel.Ian helps his very large family with their genealogical questions. Now with the full cooperation of the synagogues in Australia and New Zealand, he has, with the assistance of Max Wald and Rodney Eisfelder, gathered, digitised and indexed, more than 30,000 marriage records, saving many of them from destruction.  Ian has been on the AJGS VIC committee since 2010. 

AJGS Societies

We are one of the main Jewish Genealogy Societies in Australia, helping Australians across the country discover their family stories through the generations and uncover links to their Jewish roots.

Australian Jewish Genealogogical Society Inc

Contact: www.ajgs.org.au

Jewish Historical and Genealogical Society of Western Australia Inc.

Contact: www.jhgswa.org.au/

Jewish Genealogy and History Society of South Australia.

Contact: [email protected]

AJGS VIC welcomes donations to help support our research.

Donations enable us to continue our indexing activities, allowing us to make genealogical resources available across Australia.