Risa Heywood - President
began researching her family over 25 years ago when she inherited a 6-generation family tree, meticulously drawn by her grandfather on the back of a large piece of wrapping paper. It contained Americanized names, but no dates or places. Since then, she has been able to trace all eight great-grandparents back to Belarus, Poland and Ukraine - many of the families back to 1800. Risa was a founding member of the Colorado Jewish Genealogy Society and served as co-chair of JewishGen’s Belarus SIG. She recently earned a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University.
Ellen Beller - VP Programming
Marcia Levy - VP Membership
has been a member of JGSCO since 2011. In that time, she has learned so much about her and her husband's families. She has also encouraged some family members to participate in our organization. As VP of Membership, Marcia realizes that she is usually the first person members see when they attend our programs and takes this responsibility very seriously. Marcia's genealogical goal is to find her grandfather's relatives who he sponsored from Ukraine. The family story is that they survived the Holocaust by hiding out in the forest.
Anne Gross - Secretary
became interested in genealogy while writing a book about her mother, who was paralyzed by polio at the age of two. One day, while conducting research at the Denver Public Library, she met Joe Cahn, who introduced her to the vast world of genealogical resources. Since her book, The Polio Journals: Lessons from My Mother was published in 2011, she has intermittently spent time tracing her ancestors back to Lithuania and Poland. She hopes serving on the board will provide her the impetus she needs to continue with her discoveries.
Debbie Harris Johnson - Treasurer
is a novice genealogist originally inspired by the life stories of her maternal grandparents who settled in Philadelphia in the mid 1950's after first emigrating from Poland to Panama in 1936. Her research got a boost a couple years ago when she was unexpectedly contacted by a distant relative in Warsaw, but she still has a lot of genealogical work to do on both the Polish and Russian sides of her family.
Randy Getz - Director at Large
has been researching his family on and off for 20 years, kickstarted by a relative who was able to collate over 1000 members without aid of the Internet into a 2-inch binder of printed pages. Randy is working hard to understand his family's "vertical genealogy" (ancestors) as well as "horizontal genealogy" (living relatives). The latter has led to many new relationships around the world in both his and his wife's families.
Debbie Schwartz - Immediate Past President
grew up in the midwest US with a single mom and three siblings, but no extended relatives. From an early age, she was determined to find out who were those relatives that called occasionally but rarely visited; why one grandmother had six babies, but only one lived; and why certain topics were forbidden. Debbie knew relatively little about her ancestry until 2010. Since then, she's been able to acquire abundant evidence to about 1800 for most of her eight great grandparents, all of whom were born in Lithuania, Poland, or Belarus. She moved from Boston to Boulder in 2011, taking her educational-publishing career with her.