Risa Daitzman Heywood

ProGen Member Overview

Risa Daitzman Heywood is the owner and principal genealogist of Research by Risa, a genealogy research company specializing in Ashkenazi Jewish research. We partner with our clients to discover the story of their immigrant ancestors. We possess the unique set of skills required for Ashkenazi Jewish genealogy research, including:

  • European historical boundary changes
  • Ashkenazi Jewish naming patterns
  • Anti-Jewish laws and their consequences
  • Records and gravestones in a variety of languages including, Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, Polish, German and Hungarian
  • Holocaust research
  • 19th and 20th century United States, Australian, South African and Canadian emigration and naturalization laws
  • The effect of endogamy on Ashkenazi Jewish DNA matches
  • And more!


  • ProGen 45 Certificate
  • GRIP - Elements of Genealogical Writing, Editing, and Publishing 2019
  • Certificate in Genealogical Research (Boston University) OL36
  • Progress-U Business Coach Certification
  • B.A. Economics and Business, Lafayette College, Easton, PA


Over 25 years ago, I inherited a 6-generation family tree from my grandfather that he had painstakingly drawn on the back of a large piece of wrapping paper. It had only Americanized names and no dates or places, so I decided that I would find where my family was from. I jumped right in as a learner and volunteer in the Jewish genealogy world. Now after corporate jobs in several different industries, I have decided to use my research, writing and training skills to help other Jewish genealogists discover their family's history.

I am a past-president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado and served as co-chair of JewishGen's original Belarus Special Interest Group. I was fortunate to travel to Belarus in 1999 as a liaison for a JewishGen ShtetlSchleppers trip. In addition to onsite research in the U.S., I have researched in England, Holland and South Africa. And, traveled with clients to research and visit their family's towns in Hungary and Slovakia. Let me help you discover the story of your immigrant ancestors.