IGSNJ - February 2014 Meeting

The Italian Genealogy Society of New Jersey

Meeting Minutes – February 2014





The Italian Genealogy Society of New Jersey met on February 1, 2014 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Eighteen people attended.  

            Maria Carparelli opened the meeting by telling members that there was a possibility that our Society might join the Italian-American Club of Four Seasons at Great Notch in Woodland Park/Clifton and the Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club in order to make it more practical to hire a bus in order to visit the Italian American Museum in lower Manhattan and the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum in Staten Island, NY.    Also, those who are interested should sign up for another research trip to   The New Jersey State Archives in Trenton.  The Italian-American Club was organized in 2012 and has about 145 members.

            Maryanne Graham presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 30 active members. The annual dues were collected. 

            A Nominating Committee was formed, consisting of Loretta Tito, Janine Marchetti, and  Michele Marotta for the purpose of nominating officers to be voted by the members on the May meeting.

            Those nominated are: President: Maria Carparelli

                                    Vice President: Susan Berman

                                    Treasurer: Judi Bonzkowski

                                    Recording Secretary: Albert Marotta

                                    Corresponding Secretary: Lucille Kent 

            Al Marotta reminded the Society that its Bylaws should be revised to reflect the new name of our organization.  He also thought that it might be useful to update our local directory of members and of the names and places being researched by them. 

            This meeting format was a business meeting and member exchange of information.  

            Loretta and Michele Tito suggested that the Society have one social a year in addition to the quarterly meetings or perhaps to replace the August meeting. 

            Maria spoke about Reunion Software and she showed a printout of her family tree.  Her family tree depicted several generations of her father’s branch and she said that the officials from the Comune di Fasano (in the Province of Brindisi) in the Apulia region, were instrumental in this project by providing records, missing links and local history which helped her place everything in context.  She learned that a street in that town was named after her family, who were masons, who built a house and named the street after themselves.  The coat of arms for the Comune di Fasano depicts a Maltese Cross and an encircled dove topped by a crown with a brick foundation and seven prongs to represent the seven building trades of the town.  One of these prongs is dedicated to the Carparelli masons. 

             It was mentioned that a new web portal, We the Italians: two flags, one heart, provides  news and enables viewers to share, promote, remain informed about anything regarding Italy in the U.S. 
For more information see www.wetheitalians.com . 

            Loretta shared with members her enthusiasm about a course she and her husband, Michele were auditing about Italian culture and film.  They enjoyed the 1945 Roberto Rossellini film, “Rome, Open City”.  Its setting was Nazi-occupied Rome.  Although Rome was classified as an open city, citizens still found life under occupation difficult .Carolyn McNamara recommended www.mangolanguages.com which provides online learning courses for any language one would like to learn.  Maria said that she found Rosetta Stone to be helpful.  Janine told members that although she took Italian classes, she noticed that much of the language involved speaking with the hands. 

            Sal Lagattuta said that he felt fortunate to travel to Italy in 1998 and 2000 and to research in Sicily the civil records in the actual town where these events took place and to take photos of these records.  He warned members to be careful and thorough because it is easy to research the wrong line.  Although some church records may go back to the 1500s, if they can be found, they are often skimpy.  Both of his grandparents were orphans and this fact required him to learn in depth how to locate and understand the available records.  Prior to Sal’s visit to Italy, his brother had begun his research there by finding parish records.  An interesting citation in these records indicated that two mules were received as the “price for the bride”. 

            Marie Androski told the Society that she enjoyed viewing, “Inspector Montalbano   (“Il commissario Montalbano”) which remains a popular crime/mystery television series in Italy since it first was broadcast in 1999. 

            Sue Berman alerted members that FamilySearch.org, the LDS database, has many more Italian records available online, as well as other useful items. 

            Mention was made about the new George Clooney film, “The Monuments Men”.  While Allied Forces fought the Nazis for control of Europe, a unit of American and British art experts was formed in 1943 and 1944 to safeguard European art from war damage.  This unit originally consisted of two members at the start of operations in Italy and expanded to include 27 people.  As the operation grew outside of Italy, over 80 members filled its ranks.  More details about this unique war effort to save art can be found in the January 2014 issue of Smithsonian Magazine.           

            Future meetings will be held on: 

                                                            August 2, 2014

                                                            November 1, 2014

                                                            February 7, 2015

                                                            May 2, 2015