The Center for Jewish History Helps Seniors Connect to their Families During Pandemic through Genealogy Workshops

New York, NY (May 19, 2020)

The Ackman and Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History is working to ensure that no senior citizen is left behind by bringing free Genealogy workshops to senior groups and people residing in senior living facilities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit senior citizens the hardest. Social distancing measures have limited their activities, restricted visits with their family members and friends, and have left many feeling isolated and alone. 

“We are reaching out to the city’s most vulnerable population and we are providing them a way to connect with their family history and cultural heritage during this difficult time, as well as a way to engage in a shared learning experience with other seniors,” said Lauren Gilbert, Senior Manager for Public Services.   

The experts at the Center for Jewish History have worked with the Penn South Program for Seniors, Riverdale Senior Services, and Morningside Retirement and Health Services, to name a few groups. Participants in the workshops learn basic online genealogy research strategies, recommended databases for finding ancestors, and how to explore towns of origin. 

Without the guidance of experts like the Center’s genealogy librarians, it can be daunting and overwhelming to start a family history research project. Our librarians are available to assist via: 

  • Email reference (
  • Scheduled workshops via Zoom to senior organizations (you don't need to be Jewish) 
  • Weekly Facebook Live sessions on various genealogy topics 

As not-for-profit organizations struggle to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Jewish History is no exception and is facing unprecedented financial losses.   

Said Bernard J. Michael, Center for Jewish History President and CEO: “The Center is adapting to new methods of carrying out its mission. We need financial help if we are going to continue providing these free services to those who need it most. History shows, only by coming together will we successfully overcome these challenges.”