My Jewish Roots Series: 'If they are forgotten, did they ever live?'


January 4, 2019

Join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando to hear a highly-experienced Jewish genealogist explain ethical wills and their role in your family history. Laurence Morrell, a native Floridian with decades of service to Central Florida’s Jewish organizations, speaks at The Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando in Maitland, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 at 7 p.m. in the Senior Lounge.

Morrell began doing genealogy research around 2001. His early research led him and his family to take a heritage tour to the lands of their ancestors in Central Europe in 2006. As he wrote so movingly in JGSGO’s Etz Chaim journal, Vol. 17, No.1, he “wanted to see the land, see the same rivers, the same hills, the same streets, buildings, the synagogues, the cemeteries, etc., and get a feel of what they saw, or where they walked.”

This trip included visits to Bialystok, Lodz and Budapest and nearby shtetlekh, where Morrell and his family, often with the assistance of local guides, explored the origins of his family.

Morrell’s longtime involvement in the Jewish community here includes years of membership in the JGSGO, where he served as president of the society from 2007-2009. With other volunteers, he led the JGSGO support of the IAJGS Cemetery Project by compiling a database of Jewish gravestones in the All Faiths Memorial Park, Casselberry, and the Glen Haven Memorial Park, Winter Park.

His interest in ethical wills is a natural extension of his commitment to Jewish Family History. The title of his talk, “If they are forgotten, did they ever live?” is a quote he got from a rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City. Ethical wills are an ancient Jewish custom that conveys to your descendants, not your material “wealth,” but rather your philosophy about topics of life—family, education, work ethic, honesty, family relationships, Judaism, Israel etc. Morrell will talk about the different forms such a can take—a written Ethical Will, an audio Ethical Will or even a video Ethical Will.

Time will be reserved for meeting new members, mentoring, and carrying out your own research. Bring your laptop to work on your own or with a mentor.

Registration is required for either in-person or online participation at

Admission is free for members, $5 for guests, which can be applied to membership.

The JGSGO is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990, dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy. For more information visit and “like” us at

Questions? Email, or call 407-494-4230.


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