POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - February 7, 2009

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together
February 7, 2009


The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on February 7, 2009 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty-two  people attended.

Maria Carparelli (#2100) opened the meeting by sharing some correspondence she received from Margaret Frontera (#4839).  Margaret attended an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, “Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples”.  She found it very enjoyable and informative.

Maria alerted members to a Bergen County Genealogical Society Seminar scheduled for May 2009, which will have John Philip Colletta, Ph.D. (#1172) as one of its three featured speakers.

Ancestry.com contacted Maria requesting that she interest our chapter in their new program, “Ancestry World Archives Indexing Project”.  This company finally wants to expand their databases to include Italian records.  POINT members who volunteer with this project will have free access to the databases of Ancestry.com and Ancestry.it.

Dr. Tom Militello (#1) has already given his full support and approval in this endeavor.  Any member of our chapter, who is also a member of POINT, is encouraged to participate in this project, which will preserve Italian records and make their indexes available free to those interested in tracing their Italian ancestors.

The volunteer will read the text from a historical document and then transcribe and index what is read.  The Ancestry World Archives Project will provide free software for this purpose.  Basically, a volunteer would view the details of the provided historic documents and type the handwritten content.  Ancestry will convert the details into a searchable format and make it available.  The Ancestry World Archives Indexing Project will make available Italian civil registration records, especially marriage and death records from many Italian provinces.  The first province to be indexed will be the Province of Verbano Cusio Ossola in the Piemonte region.  Then records from the Provinces of Pavia, Varese, Casale Monferrato, Siena and the regions of Sicily and Calabria.  After Ancestry digitizes these records, it will provide the indexes free of charge on their website and images of the original records will be available to those who have a paid subscription or to organizations whose members volunteer to help with this project.  For details about the Ancestry World Archives Indexing Project, watch the webinar at http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx or see their website, www.ancestry.com/worldarchivesproject .

Maria reminded members about future research trips to the Newark Public Library NJ Room, The New York Public Library and the Morristown Public Library Local History/Genealogy Room scheduled for sometime in the spring or summer.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 42 members.  Annual membership dues were collected.

Al Marotta (#1018) alerted the chapter to news he found in one of the PIP chapter’s minutes concerning the LDS microfilming of Catholic records.  The Vatican Congregation for Clergy issued a letter dated April 2008 directing all Catholic bishops to stop LDS members from microfilming and digitizing data from parish and sacramental registers.  This is due to a serious theological dispute concerning the LDS practice of baptizing the deceased found in these records.  Catholic ancestors are being posthumously re-baptized by proxy.  A core tenet of the Mormon faith is that the dead can and ought to be baptized into the Church to offer them the opportunity to accept the faith in an afterlife and achieve salvation.  Many devout Jews and Christians find this practice to be against their beliefs.

After tasting Maria’s delicious Italian cookie, coccadati, Loretta Tito (#4717) suggested the chapter might compile a PIP Cookbook.

A member exchange followed.

Rose Foti and her friend, Lenore Madrachima told the chapter how they first met Maria and learned about PIP at a rehabilitation center where their parents were obtaining care.  Rose mentioned that her 91 year old father (who was born in Sicily and came to the U.S. at age 3) wanted to visit his homeland.  She hired a genealogist and he found relatives of her father still living in the same house in Palermo where he had been born.  Rose, her parents (both of whom were hearing-impaired) and Lenore all made the trip, visiting a cousin they had discovered living in Palermo.  Most moving was the visit to the local cemetery, where Rose’s grandfather was buried in a mass grave after dying from the Spanish influenza in 1918.  A ledger provided the details of those buried there.  Rose’s family’s adventures, mishaps and the necessity of re-translating into sign language for her parents made for a heartwarming story.  Two beautifully prepared photo albums of their visit complemented their story.

Loretta told members that she hired a genealogist to do research for her in Salerno, and a birth certificate from Cava dei Tirreni was found.  She showed the chapter the 1896 record containing exacting details.

Carolyn McNamara (#4772) said that after years of writing to her father’s Italian town, she finally received a reply.  A birth certificate and military record arrived the same day.  This reminds us to be persistent and patient in our quest.

Future meetings will be held on:

     May 2, 2009
     August 1, 2009
     November 7, 2009
     February 6, 2010

 For details, see our website: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~njpoint/


Previous Meeting Report

E-mail POINTers Chapter 15