Current Talks by Ron

Interested in having Ron speak your event or location? Please contact Ron for more information.

Mapping Madness
In this talk, Ron will first discuss a variety of websites for finding historical maps. He will then discuss the basics of Microsoft Maps ( and Google Maps ( After then discussing intermediate and advanced features of these two systems, Ron will give side-by-side comparisons to show which is better, if either. The presenter will then talk about other exciting online mapping tools, including Microsoft's MapCruncher facility, IBM’s Many Eyes,, and more. For all levels.

The Jews of Sing Sing
In this talk Ron discusses the topic of New York Jewish criminality based on the research he conducted for his book of the same name. The presentation consists of four parts: 1) how and why Ron chose this topic, 2) a history and overview of the famous prison “up the river” from Manhattan, including a virtual tour of the still functioning maximum security facility, 3) stories about famous Jewish gangsters and lesser-known criminals, and 4) the New York Jewish community’s response to the problem.

The Kosher Nostra
This talk combines elements from three other talks: - Putting the Flesh on the Bones - The Jews of Sing Sing - Bugsy Siegel & Meyer Lansky: the Men Behind the Flamingo Hotel Call it a "greatest hits" presentation, because that's what it is.

Research Your English Ancestors from Afar via the Internet
Ron discusses the various types of records to research your ancestors from England without having to take a trip there! There are many online resources for finding your relatives who lived on the other side of the Atlantic.

Putting the Flesh on the Bones
Why limit yourself to simply expanding your family tree by looking for names, dates and places. Beyond Who?, When?, and Where?, it is possible to explore the far more interesting question, WHY? Why did our ancestors behave the way they did? In this presentation Ron provides two related examples from his own research experience on how this process works. The unexpected benefit of this approach is that it allowed Ron to push back his family tree four more generations and find many living relatives he never knew before.

Best Bet Internet Websites (for genealogical research)
In this talk, Ron talks about a number of different websites that fall into the following categories: newspapers, maps &photos, living people directories, and translation aids. Through numerous examples, Ron will demonstrate how these websites can not only add color/texture to ancestors’ lives, but also help to solve the most difficult of problems. Finally, Ron will discuss pitfalls in Internet research and provide guidance on how NOT to conduct Internet searches.

The Musical ‘Chicago’ and All That Genealogical Jazz
In this talk Ron pieces together the life of the real-life Chicago murderess Belva Gaertner, who was the role model for the character in the Broadway musical and Hollywood film ‘Chicago’. And, oh, what a life she led! Learn what happened in her life before and after 1924, the year she was jailed for murdering her lover outside her marriage.

Bugsy Siegel & Meyer Lansky
They were two of a kind – lifelong friends and two of the most notorious criminals in American history. In this talk, Ron pieces the lives of these to mobsters using standard and non-standard genealogical documents found across the country. Then Ron compares the story told in the Hollywood film Bugsy and educates the audience as to what the true stories were.

Researching Criminal Ancestors
In this presentation, Ron how to research black sheep ancestors, those relatives who might be difficult to research for any one of a number of different reasons. Ron talks about using ‘standard’ genealogical records (census, vital records, city directories, etc., but also talks about other specific records available only for those who broke the law or came close to doing so. Specific recommendations will be given regarding the methodology of researching such characters.