The story behind the company name "Sole Searching" is personal. Ellen's paternal great grandfather manufactured shoes for the Russian army, and she's been following in the footprints of his life story for many years. Intentionally spelling "Sole" to reflect the sole of a leather shoe like the one Yosef Shindelman produced in the early 1900s, it also represents every individual pursuit of a family's unique journey.
Ellen is a veteran Jewish records researcher and leader in genealogy activities worldwide. She has the capacity to complete projects solo or to recruit the right team of experts to collaborate and deliver outstanding results. Her lectures and articles are informative, energetic, and constantly evolving to provide current and relevant content for all types of audiences.
As a volunteer in the genealogy world for 25 years, Ellen has held numerous leadership roles, organized records acquisition, indexed, and managed translation projects in the United States and abroad.
Ellen continues to add to her knowledge toolbox by attending professional conferences, webinars, and genealogy institutes, and she has completed the ProGen study program. Ellen keeps the APG code of ethics in the forefront of her research and reporting.
Ellen loves helping others to discover connections, break through brick walls, or learn something new to add to their family story. She is dedicated and provides high quality work informed by her volunteer experience, a valuable peer network, and her professional marketing and communications background with corporations and nonprofit organizations in New York, Washington DC, and Colorado.
-JewishGen: Director of USA Research Division
-Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR); National Vice Chair Jewish Task Force; Indian Peaks Chapter Registrar
-International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies; past elected Director
-Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado; past President
-Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, DC; past President
"Plans to Grow the JewishGen USA Research Division." Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, anticipated Spring 2021.
"Find Your Jewish Roots Online." Family Tree Magazine, May/June 2021.
"The Case of the Missing Ancestors: 8 Genealogy Tips from Nancy Drew." Family Tree Magazine, Jan/Feb 2021.
"Jewish DNA? 8 Strategies." Diahan Southard's Your DNA Guide Blog Guest Author, Dec. 10, 2020.
"Bridging Daughters of the American Revolution and Jewish Genealogists" Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Fall 2020.
"How to Build a Genealogy Sleuth Kit." Family Tree Magazine The Genealogy Insider Blog Guest Author, Aug. 27, 2020.
"First NSDAR Jewish Task Force Launches." DAR Registrar General Sunrays Blog Guest Author, July 24, 2020.
"Town Finding Aid Created for Novohrad-Volynskyi District Revision Lists on Krakovsky Website." Lara Diamond's Jewnealogy Blog Guest Author, Aug. 19, 2019.
"Jewish Resources on the Giants: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com." Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Aug. 2019, with Sunny Morton.
"Yahad-In Unum Documents Holocaust Mass Gravesites in Nine Countries." Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Feb. 2019.
"A Colorado Immigrant's Tale of Three Husbands." Avotaynu: International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Feb 2018 with Karen Franklin.
HONORS & AWARDS:
-UGA Jimmy B. Parker Scholarship Award for SLIG 2021
-Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado Appreciation Awards 2012, 2009
-Linda Fenner Young Women's Leadership Award, Denver, 2009
-Rose Community Foundation Limmud Grant for JGSCO, 2007
-IAJGS Stern Award to Index JCRS Patient Application Records at the University of Denver, 2003
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Publisher, Irongate Publishing
I highly recommend Ellen as a genealogical researcher, analyst and speaker. She is skilled in all types of research but has a much needed specialty in Jewish genealogical research. If you need to find an immigrant ancestor, or be able to trace an ancestor back to "the old country" in particular Eastern Europe, then Ellen is the professional researcher you want.
Independent Museums Professional
I've worked together with Ellen on genealogy projects for many years. She not only brings to her clients enthusiasm and interest, but also experience and extensive knowledge of sources. Ellen has the ability to integrate research into a larger history, local and international.
Author, From Generation to Generation
Ellen is a knowledgeable and skilled genealogical researcher who is highly admired among her peers. In addition, Ellen is a wonderful public speaker. I recommend her most enthusiastically both as a researcher and a teacher/speaker in the world of Jewish genealogy.
Client, Denver, Colorado
My 91-year old mother, whose father
had died when she was 14, knew
nothing about how he got to Colorado, how he started his clothing store, and who or where the rest of his family resided. Ellen interviewed my mother with sensitivity and respect. Ellen answered my mother's questions and so much more, and all the documents and pictures she found were so exciting to see. We can't thank her enough.
We needed a fresh set of eyes to
review our family tree, as well as an experienced professional to suggest resources. Ellen did not disappoint
and gave our genealogical research project a great boost! She analyzed
our work, found records, added to our story, and was so helpful with
replies to our questions.
Client, Manchester, New Jersey
I needed help with researching my American family with UK and Italian roots, and Ellen was a terrific resource for troubleshooting. She knows how to access most online records, and when she doesn’t, she knows the right people who do. Ellen is thorough and conscientious. You can tell she really loves researching and connecting people to their roots.
Client, Boston, Massachusetts
Client, Thornton, Colorado
Ellen thoughtfully navigated and enhanced my family tree using online resources and then downloaded a GEDCOM file to my desktop. She skillfully identified and integrated marriage and other vital records for my German Jewish family. My tree has grown exponentially and many questions have been answered. I look forward to learning more!
Client, Denver, Colorado
Ellen does amazing work. When I worked as a rabbi in Colorado, she was the person that people turned to for information about Jewish genealogy. Knowledgeable and approachable, she was excellent at sharing with people the excitement of understanding their own past. She's a wonderful speaker and teacher.
Client, Broomfield, Colorado
Ellen analyzed information we received about my father's adoption and was able to create a large family tree on his mother's side using traditional genealogical research techniques. But the really cool part was her use of DNA testing to narrow down who my grandfather was.
RABBI JOSH ROSE
Cong. Shaarie Torah, Portland, OR
20-90 minute presentations that are informative and educational. Optional Q&A period and handout available.
Content is flexible and can be delivered as stand-alone lecture, ongoing course, workshop, mentoring, or other formats.
Ellen will travel out of state, conduct live webinars, or provide mp4 recordings.
Speaking fee is $200-$300 per lecture. Please inquire about travel expenses.
Click here for descriptions of lecture topics 3/22/2021.
2021-2022 SCHEDULED LECTURES and INTERACTIVE CLASSES - updated 5/6/2021
Coming! May 2021 - Family Tree Magazine Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke, Best Websites for Jewish Genealogy. Listen to podcasts here.
May 25, 2021 - JewishGen Talks Webinar Series, Researching Jewish Families in America: Focus on Southern Jewish Resources. Register here!
June 11, 2021 - Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2021 Conference Recording, Documenting Jewish Families and Communities Lost in the Holocaust By Bullets. Jamboree Conference registration here!
tent. June xx, 2021 - California tbd Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites
July 14, 2021 - Legacy Family Tree Webinars Live and Library Recording, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites with Sunny Morton. Annual Legacy Family Tree membership of $49.95 for access to unlimited library of webinars.
July 25, 2021 - JGS of Colorado Webinar, Alex Krakovsky LIVE From Kyiv! Discussing his Ukrainian Archives Digitization Project with Ellen Kowitt
August 4, 2021 - IAJGS Virtual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Recording, Locating Jewish Records in the Golden Medina/USA 1654-2021
September 19, 2021 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Southern Nevada Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites
tbd. Fall 2021 - JewishGen Talks Webinar Series, Researching Jewish Families in America: Focus on New England Jewish Resources
December 8, 2021 - Legacy Family Tree Webinars Live and Library Recording, Documenting Families or Communities Lost in the Holocaust by Bullets. Annual Legacy Family Tree membership of $49.95 for access to unlimited library of webinars.
tent. January 12, 2022 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County, FL Webinar or in-person tbd, Strategies for Navigating Ukraine Resources
February 27, 2022 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston Webinar, Strategies for Navigating Ukraine Resources
February 27, 2022 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites
tent. March 11-13, 2022 - Jewish National Fund Private Event
ADDITIONAL TOPICS AVAILABLE
Others can be developed upon request.
- Patriot, Loyalist, or Hessian: Documenting Jewish Families During the American Revolution
- Tips & Tricks to Maximizing JewishGen
PAST SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Recordings and handout files where indicated below.
April 25, 2021 - Orange County, CA Jewish Genealogical Society Webinar, Ukraine 2021 Update Your Research Plan
April 22, 2021 - Erie, Colorado Public Library Webinar, The Case of the Missing Ancestors: Genealogy Tips from Nancy Drew
April 11, 2021 - Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites
Tuesdays Mar. 30, Apr. 6, 13, 20, 27, and May 4, 2021 - University of Denver OLLI Spring Session Virtual Classroom, Introduction to Jewish Genealogy 12-hour class
March 21, 2021 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento Webinar, Why Would a Jewish Genealogist Return to Ukraine for the Third Time?
March 17, 2021 - Southern California Genealogical Society Webinar, Find African American, French, Jewish, & Spanish Revolutionary War Patriots
March 11, 2021 - The Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society Webinar, Locating Jewish Records in the Golden Medina/USA 1654-2021
February 25-27, 2021 - RootsTech Connect 2021 Virtual Conference Recording, Secrets to Researching Jewish Genealogy Revealed in three 20-minute segments; Overview, Names, & Places Register for this free online conference here! These lectures will remain available through January 2022!
Mondays Jan. 25, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, and March 1, 2021 - University of Denver OLLI Winter Session Virtual Classroom, Introduction to Jewish Genealogy 12-hour class
November 11, 2020 - Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County, FL Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen
November 8, 2020 - Miami Valley Jewish Genealogical and Historical Society, Dayton, OH Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen with Sunny Morton
October 15, 22, 29 and November 5, 2020 - University of Denver OLLI Virtual Classroom, Introduction to Jewish Genealogy 8-hour class
October 11, 2020 - The Jewish Federation of Orange County, NY Webinar, Get Started Tracing Your Jewish Roots
September 15, 2020 - University of Denver OLLI Tuesday Speaker Series Webinar, Documenting Jewish Families and Communities Lost in the Holocaust By Bullets
August 29, 2020 - CO State Genealogy Society Webinar, Documenting Families and Communities Lost in the Holocaust By Bullets
August 23, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington DC Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen
August 14, 2020 - Congregation Beth Evergreen Legacy Society Webinar, Private Talk Back Event
August 10, 2020 - IAJGS Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Virtual Recording, Ukraine 2020: Update Your Research Plan
August 10, 2020 - IAJGS Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy Webinar, Introducing the New JewishGen US Research Division - SLIDES
July 26, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Illinois Webinar, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen
July 26, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Illinois Webinar, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources
July 20, 2020 - Broomfield Genealogy Society Webinar, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources
July 16, 2020 - MyHeritage Ask the Experts Webinar, Jewish Resources on MyHeritage - RECORDING
June 21, 2020 - Israel Genealogy Research Assoc. (IGRA) Webinar, Ukraine 2020: Update Your Research Plan
June 11, 2020 - Estes Park Genealogy Society Webinar, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources
May 17, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado Webinar, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Modern-Day Quest for Missing Family: Exploring Digital Resources
May 5, 2020 - Boulder Jewish Community Center Webinar, Connecting Generations and Sharing Family Stories - RECORDING
March 11, 2020 - Pikes Peak Genealogy Society, Colorado Springs, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
March 3, 2020 - Highlands Ranch Genealogy Society, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
March 1, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Conejo Valley, CA, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen
February 4, 2020 - Boulder Jewish Community Center, Lunch n' Learn, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy
January 29, 2020 - Aurora Rotary Club, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
January 26, 2020 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Mile High Resources: Researching Jewish Families in Colorado Records - HANDOUT AVAILABLE
January 21, 2020 - Columbine Genealogy Society, Centennial, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
January 13, 2020 - Anthem Ranch Genealogy Club, Broomfield, Secrets to Researching Jewish Genealogy Revealed
November 21, 2019 - Boulder Jewish Community Center, Facilitating Ellis Island Stories - HANDOUT AVAILABLE
November 7, 2019 - Weld County Genealogy Society, Greeley, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
October 26, 2019 - Castle Rock Genealogy Society, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
August 2, 2019 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Cleveland, OH, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Mishpacha
July 28, 2019 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Cleveland, OH, Comparing Jewish Resources on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage and JewishGen with Sunny Morton
June 20, 2019 - Protecting Memory Project Memorial Opening Ceremonies, Lyubar, Ukraine, A Jewish Family Story Over 200 Years in Lyubar: Remembering My Grandfather's Roots
November-December, 2018 - Yahad-In Unum at Boulder Jewish Community Center, Docent for 14 Holocaust By Bullets Exhibit Tours
October 7, 2018 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Warsaw 2018 Conference Roundup Facilitator
August 8, 2018 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Warsaw, Poland, Everyone Didn't Die in the Holocaust: A 2018 Warsaw Jewish Family Reunion
May 9, 2018 - Longmont Genealogy Society, What Would Nancy Drew Do in The Quest for Missing Family
February 14, 2018 - Pikes Peak Genealogy Society, Planting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity
December 5, 2017 - Boulder Genealogy Society, Jewish Genealogy for the Non-Jewish Researcher
July 23, 2017 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, Outreach for Societies and Organization Leaders
April 15, 2017 - Adventure Judaism Passover Retreat, Moab, Utah, Curious about how to research your family history?
March 13, 2017 - Anthem Ranch Genealogy Society, Polish and Ukrainian Research
July 14, 2016 - Estes Park Genealogy Society, Planting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity
June 3, 2016 - Bonai Shalom Synagogue, Boulder, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy
May 19, 2016 - Larimer Genealogy Society, Planting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity
April 16, 2016 - Boulder Chapter Hadassah Parlor Event, Genealogy and Small Plates
November 15, 2015 - Denver Jewish Community Center, What are you Waiting For? Getting Started Tracing Your Jewish Family History Now
November 11, 2015 - Longmont Genealogy Society, Planting Your Family Tree for the Next Generation Utilizing Technology and Creativity
July 30, 2014 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Tracing Jews Who Coughed Their Way West
February 9, 2014 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Strategies for Success: Researching Outside of the U.S.
December 2, 2012 - Back to the Basics in Jewish Genealogy
Fall, 2011 - Hebrew Education Alliance, Denver, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education
June 24, 2011 - Family History Expo, Loveland, CO, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy
January 13, 2011 - Boulder Jewish Community Center, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy
January 6, 2011 - Weld County Genealogy Society, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy
December 5, 2010 - Jewish Community Center, Denver, Colorado Resources Panel
Fall, 2010 - Congregation Emanuel, Denver, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education
January 2010 - Highlands Ranch Havurah, What's Jewish About Jewish Genealogy
January 17, 2010 - Denver Chapter Hadassah, Secrets to Researching Jewish Genealogy Revealed
November 24, 2009 - LEA Chapter Hadassah, Denver, Researching Your Family History: What Can You Expect to Find
October 18, 2009 - Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, CO History Museum, Kid's Program
Fall, 2009 - Temple Sinai, Denver, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education
May 24, 2009 - Limmud Colorado, Colorado Springs, Getting Started Tracing Your Jewish Roots
April 26, 2009 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Beginner's Workshop
September 13,2008 - Parker Genealogy Society, How To Maximize Time While Visiting Ancestral Homes Abroad
Fall, 2008 - Congregation Har HaShem, Boulder, Jewish Family Tree Initiative (JFTI) - a series of 6-8 beginner lectures presented as adult education
May 16, 2008 - Limmud Colorado, Keystone Ski Resort, Getting Started Tracing Your Jewish Roots
September 4, 2007 - Boulder Genealogy Society, Creative Applications for Genealogical Research
May 20, 2007- Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Beginner's Workshop
February 11, 2007 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Threading a Genealogical Tapestry on JewishGen
August 17, 2006 - IAJGS Annual Conference, New York City, Resources for Tracing Jews with Tuberculosis
August 13, 2006- IAJGS Annual Conference, New York City, IAJGS Management Sub Seminar
April 17, 2005 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Denver, Beginner's Workshop
March 15, 2005 - Jewish Genealogy Society of Colorado, Online Access to Washington, DC Area Records
Winter, 2005 - Jewish Genealogy Society Southern Nevada, Online Access to Washington, DC Area Records
April 18, 2004 - Congregation Emanuel, Denver, Beginner's Workshop
July, 2003 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Washington, DC, Family Newsletters as a Genealogy Tool with Judith Caplan, Diane Freilich & Gladys Paulin
July 9, 2000 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Managing the Large & Small JGS: A Workshop on Challenges
July 9, 2000 - IAJGS Annual Conference, Ukraine SIG Lunch, Shtetl Research 2000: Make Your Research Come Alive
1999 - Tracing Your Family Roots Cable Access TV, Northern Virginia, Research and Travel in Ukraine
SERVICES & PRICING
New Clients: Rate is $75 per hour with a 20-hour minimum ($1500).
*New clients are not being accepted in 2021 due to existing client commitments.
Professional Genealogists: A discounted rate of $50 per hour, without a minimum, is available to colleagues.
Analysis of materials already collected such as family trees, documents, photos, etc.
Creation/revision/maintenance of an online family tree (such as Ancestry.com) and/or GEDCOM formatted file.
Identify genealogical records, and document relationships or confirm ancestral origins.
Research about U.S. or ancestral communities to provide family history context and background.
Written narrative or presentation materials for a family reunion.
One-on-one coaching to guide your research.
Interviews of relatives or landsman.
***Read 5/12/2020 blog post Cost Analysis of Hiring a Genealogist - with Quotes by Kimberly C. Starr of the Genealogypals.
Develop a focused research objective. You may have several objectives but only one question will be researched at a time.
Provide all information and previous research you have on this subject.
You will receive a basic contract that specifies the research objective and the number of hours of work you authorize.
A signed research agreement and $1500 payable by check or Zelle transfer are required to begin work.
Additional expenses are billed at cost and include subcontractors, translators, document retrieval fees, copies, postage, repository research fees, parking, and tolls.
Unless otherwise specified, you will receive a report with copies or links to all documentation as well as recommendations for further research.
As a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, I adhere to the APG Code of Ethics.
When Is It Time to Get Help From a
Excerpted from Family History Daily
1. You’re Frustrated and Have Been for Some Time
Professional genealogists, who specialize in a specific subject or area, are well acquainted with a wide variety of sources that a less experienced genealogist may overlook.
2. You’re Tired of Spending Money and Getting Little Reward
Hiring a genealogist can save you money in the long run. If you’ve been at it for a while you’ve probably spent countless dollars on database subscription fees, courses, books, software, supplies and maybe even travel. While all of these things provide a great deal of value, they can add up and, if you’re not finding the answers you need, it may make sense to spend the money where it really counts – on someone who knows just where to look.
3. You’ve Hit a Major Brick Wall
Sometimes it takes a trained eye to get a family tree back on track. A professional genealogist has the knowledge and experience necessary to solve confusing puzzles. And allowing fresh eyes to methodically examine your brick wall allows new information to surface. Professional genealogists are an excellent resource to validate research passed down by other family members or to verify work you have completed yourself. Not only can they make new discoveries, but they have also been trained, utilizing the Genealogical Proof Standard, to analyze and interpret existing evidence, which may lead to new conclusions. They are experienced in working with specific information on a variety of record types over various time periods.
4. You Need Someone With Specialized Knowledge
Understanding the culture and social customs during a specific time period is key when completing any genealogical research project. In many cases, there is no one vital record to answer our genealogical questions and the experience of a professional in consulting multiple record types can be invaluable. Without an understanding of the history and context of the records created during a given time period, one could draw false conclusions or miss information altogether. A professional resource to guide you through historical changes in boundaries, governments, languages and laws for your specific project is crucial.
5. You Don’t Have the Time or Money to Travel in Search of Obscure Documents
With advances in technology and online genealogical databases over the past 20 years, census and other vital records are now widely available to the public, leading some to wrongly assume that if it can’t be found online, it does not exist. This is a mistake. Digital resources can only get you so far.
Only a small percentage of records are available online compared to the number that are still held in local or state repositories. In many cases the only way to find information is to access original records on-site and it could be those hidden gems that finally reveal the details you’ve been hoping for. Unfortunately, this requires time and travel and can become very expensive.
It is very often more cost effective to hire a local professional researcher on the ground. A local researcher is well versed in which records and which repository will likely hold the answers to the research question at hand. They understand the language, but can also navigate the local customs, laws and boundary changes.
6. You’re Not Taking Advantage of Everything DNA Has to Offer
Genetic genealogy is an ever-growing field, and most of us are baffled by what to do with our results beyond scrolling through our matches and trying to figure out why we show up as 3% Ashkenazi Jewish. Understanding how to combine scientific and historical documentation can be a stumbling block for those of us who are passionate about genealogy.
Genetic genealogists are trained in how to utilize your DNA data to aid you in solving your genealogical puzzles. Because genetic genealogy requires a distinct skill set from traditional genealogical research, it may be of value to seek the help of an expert to determine kinship.