London, UK, Chair
Tony has been involved with genealogical and historical research for over 18 years, on both Galician and Austrian/Czech towns. On Galicia, he led indexing projects on records from several towns, including Zbaraż, where his father was born, and Tarnopol. Tony has been on the Gesher Galicia Board for nine years, and before becoming Chair served as Vice President. He is also Gesher Galicia’s Research Coordinator and frequently visits Poland and Ukraine in this role – as well as contributing the regular “Research Corner” column in Gesher Galicia’s journal, the Galitzianer.
Tony has a special interest in Galician records from the Holocaust period and at the 2015 IAJGS conference presented a paper on “Jewish vital records from the period of the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia (1941-44).”
Tony worked previously as a writer and editor, at one time on Asian affairs and later with UN agencies on health issues. He also lectured in the field of social sciences at the University of London, UK.
MILTON KOCH, M.D.
Bethesda, MD, USA, Secretary
Milton Koch was born in Havana Cuba, where his parents emigrated from Lisbon, in 1942, after leaving Luxembourg following Eichmann’s invasion of that country. They were in Cuba, awaiting entry to the US, which came about in 1946. He has been working on his family genealogy for the past 15 years, that began with opening up some boxes in his basement and finding previously unknown vital records that started him in his searches. He has been acquiring records and related documents for his family research since then. He has been active in the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington and has contributed to their journal. He is a retired physician, having specialized in gastroenterology. He supports work in cystic fibrosis by actively fund-raising and through advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, inspired by a family member who has this disease. He is married, with three children and three grandchildren.
ANN GLEICH HARRIS
Los Angeles, CA, USA, CFO/Treasurer
Ann Harris has been involved in family history research for over 30 years. She has been the CFO of Gesher Galicia for the past 7 years and was also a Board member of JGSLA. In addition to her surname projects, she created an innovative House Numbers project that is now used as a research model; a copy is on the GG web site. With the goal of making information accessible to researchers, she has translated necrologies and memorial ad sections from a multitude of Yizkor books and matzevot (tombstones). Her other outreach activities include helping to train beginning genealogists, community lectures, articles on genealogy topics, and being generally available to support community research efforts.
Ann’s background includes 17 years as a Marketing Manager for Xerox Corporation, where she was a Program Manager for leading-edge technology products. Other senior management roles in business emphasized company re-structuring and managing key departments. Ann was a founding member of her synagogue and has remained active there, including serving as president. She also served on local community boards. Languages: Chinese, French, Italian, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
Ottawa, ON, Canada, Board Member
John Diener, the son of a Galician-born Holocaust survivor, has been researching his family roots for more than 20 years. As shtetl leader for his father’s birth town of Grzymałów (Hrymailiv, Ukraine), he has indexed records from that region.
John is vice-president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Ottawa, and with its president, has photographed and databased the 6000 gravestones in the two Ottawa Jewish cemeteries, as well as those in Kingston and Cornwall, Ontario and nearby Massena and Ogdensburg, New York. In 2005, he co-sponsored the photographing of gravestones in Zhvanets, Ukraine. For several years, he also wrote a monthly column on genealogy entitled “Connecting the Branches” for the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.
Through his genealogical research, he has reunited hundreds of his family members whose branches have had little or no contact for decades.
Outside genealogy, John is treasurer of two local community-owned Jewish cemeteries, and has volunteered for a number of social service agencies and business associations in the Canadian capital.
BROOKE SCHREIER GANZ
Mill Valley, CA, USA, Board Member
Brooke Schreier Ganz is a genealogist, computer programmer, and open data activist. She works on making archival records more accessible to the general public through technological solutions and legal remedies. Brooke designed and built the new Gesher Galicia website, including its innovative “All Galicia Database.” The underlying search engine codebase, named “LeafSeek,” was released by Brooke as a free open source project in January, 2012, for which Brooke won second place in the 2012 RootsTech Developer Challenge. She later refined the software when she developed the “All Israel Database” for the Israel Genealogy Research Association.
Brooke is the founder of Reclaim The Records, a not-for-profit activist group using state Freedom of Information laws to obtain and release previously inaccessible genealogical records held by state and local archives. In September 2015, Brooke became the first genealogist to instigate successful legal action over vital records held by a major city or state archive, winning the first public access to 450,000 20th century marriage records held in the New York City Municipal Archives.
Brooke is a former Vice President of Gesher Galicia. She was one of the original founders of the Máramaros Jewish Records Project through JewishGen’s Hungarian Special Interest Group, one of the largest county-level collections of Romanian-Jewish archival material to be photographed and transcribed. She is active in the Roots-Dev genealogical software developers group and volunteers with ArchiveTeam, the online materials preservationist group for the non-profit Internet Archive.
Prior to her current full-time job as Mommy, Brooke was the Senior Web Developer at the cable channel Bravo (part of NBC/Universal), the Lead Developer at a Warner Brothers/Telepictures entertainment start-up, and a web developer at Disney Consumer Products and IBM.
Boca Raton, FL, USA, Board Member
Mark Jacobson has been tracing his family for more than 30 years, starting with a paper and pencil tree created during a Passover holiday with his Galician immigrant grandparents. Mark has been active on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County for more than 10 years, including four years as Secretary and four years as President. He also serves as their Galicia SIG leader, writes for their publication, Scattered Seeds, and presents programs at meetings and annual mini-conferences. Mark is JRI-Poland town leader for the Galician towns of Borysław and Drohobycz, where his grandfather was born. Mark led an independent project to index early Drohobycz records filmed by the LDS at the Lviv Archive. Additionally Mark is Ukraine SIG town leader for Belaya Tserkov.
Mark grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He has a BA in History from Brooklyn College and an MS in Science with Specialization in Counseling from Hofstra University. With his sister he runs a small business doing Feng Shui as well as genealogy research for private clients.
Warsaw, Poland, Board Member
Michał Majewski is a historian and archivist who graduated from the Institute of History at the University of Warsaw. His master’s dissertation—under the supervision of the distinguished researcher of Jewish topics, Professor Jerzy Tomaszewski—discussed Jewish organizations of the interwar period that were involved in the anti-Nazi protests in Poland during the period 1933–1935.
Since 2007, Michał has been involved in Warsaw with the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Initially, he held the position of researcher and then of curator of the interwar gallery of the core exhibition of the POLIN Museum.
Michał is a passionate family history researcher. He was the head of the Resource Center at the POLIN Museum, which helps visitors find information on their ancestral hometowns and families. Since 2016, he has runs his own genealogy company, Mishpaha.
Currently, Michał Majewski is Chief Executive of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, one of the oldest Jewish organizations in Poland, established in 1951. The Association originally came up with the idea of the POLIN Museum, and presently manages the assets of and seeks funds for the POLIN Museum and the Jewish Historical Institute, as well as for some smaller organizations.
SHELLEY KELLERMAN POLLERO
Severna Park, MD, USA, Board Member
Shelley Kellerman Pollero has been researching her family’s history for almost 50 years. She has been part of Gesher Galicia since before its official founding in 1993 and served as President from 1998 to 2005. Under her leadership, the GG website was developed and the GG Town and Regional Research Groups and Town Historians and the Galicia Discussion Group on JewishGen were started. Currently, she is Chair of Membership. She is also paypal administrator and operations manger behind the scenes of most key functions.
Outside of Gesher Galicia, Shelley is the Zamosc Archive Coordinator for JRI-Poland, having been the Zamosc Town Leader for many years. Shelley has transcribed Polish and Russian vital records and organized the Translation Services at the D.C. 1995, 2003, and 2011 conferences. She has also indexed records for JRI-Poland, FamilySearch, and the Italian Genealogical Group.
Shelley is currently President of the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society (Maryland) and presents Jewish family research and “Getting Started in Genealogy” workshops. She is a longtime member of the JGS of Greater Washington, New York, and Maryland.
In 1971, she moved to the Annapolis, Maryland, area where she raised two children and now three grandchildren. Shelley taught French and Spanish and was World Languages Department Head in Howard County Public School System (Maryland) before retiring in 2007.
RENÉE STERN STEINIG
Dix Hills, NY, USA, Board Member
Renée Steinig began to do genealogical research in the late 1970s, inspired by a cousin in Israel who made it look easy. Many family trees and some 18 years later, she went on to accept client work. Her specialties include New York research, location of lost friends and family, and due diligence for probate cases. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has testified as an expert witness in New York City courts.
Her personal research interests include both western and eastern Galicia and she has visited many of her family’s towns. In 2008, she also participated in the ground-breaking genealogical research trip to the International Tracing Service archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany. An original member of Gesher Galicia, Renée is proud to be GG researcher #22. Renée has been the Gesher Galicia discussion group moderator since 2006 and more recently she has worked as an editor of Gesher Galicia’s Family Finder. She is Mielec town leader for JRI-Poland and the Vice President of the Young Tluster Society, one of New York’s few surviving landsmanshaftn.
Renée is a past president and long-time board member of the JGS of Long Island. She also edited four editions of the IAJGS conference Family Finder and is a frequent contributor to the JewishGen Discussion Group. A resident of Dix Hills, N.Y., Renée is an officer of the Half Hollow Hills Community Library and the Dix Hills Jewish Center.
STEVEN S. TURNER, D.D.S.
Roslyn, NY, USA, Board Member
Steven Turner was already curious about Galicia as a small boy, when he spent the holidays davening at a Galitzianer shul with his grandparents in Brooklyn, NY. That was the start of his journey into genealogy, as he tried to prove that his family surname was never changed. He has written about this journey as a blogger for the Times of Israel and in various genealogical publications.
Steven is the founder of the Nadwórna Shtetl Research Group and is an active member of the Rohatyn and Sędziszów Małopolski Research Groups. He is also a member of the Jewish Genealogical Societies of Long Island and New York. Steven does research on Ashkenazi DNA and is the project administrator of several Jewish DNA projects on FamilyTreeDNA.
The product of the New York City public schools, Steven has a BA in Sociology from Queens College and a D.D.S. from the NYU College of Dentistry. He has a private practice in General Dentistry and Facial Cosmetics.
ANDREW ZALEWSKI, M.D.
Philadelphia, PA, USA, Board Member
Andrew Zalewski was born in Poland before immigrating to the United States. He has been involved in family history research for many years. Andrew’s parents and grandparents traced their multigenerational roots to Galicia (1772–1918). He is passionate about bringing to light largely forgotten history of Galicia and details of daily life there. Andrew wrote two books about the land of his ancestors (Galician Trails: The Story of One Family and Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots) that focused on family history in a context of social and historical events in Galicia reconstructed from the archival material, old newspapers, and vital records. He is a frequent speaker at regional and national meetings of Jewish genealogical societies. Andrew has been a member of the Board of Directors of Gesher Galicia since 2013.
Andrew is the former Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, where he practiced cardiology and conducted medical research for about 20 years. After leaving clinical practice, he has held senior executive positions in pharmaceutical industry. In the past 13 years, his focus has been on international collaborations, involving non-profit and for profit organizations to advance healthcare solutions. Languages: Latin, Polish, and German.