POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - May 3, 2008

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together
May 3, 2008


The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on May 3, 2008 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Eighteen people attended.

Annita Zalenski (#39) opened the meeting.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 42 members.

Susan Berman (#4405) told the chapter that the book, “Italian Americans of Nutley, Belleville and Newark” (Essex County, NJ) by Dr. Sandra Lee of Seton Hall University is scheduled to be available for purchase by June 23rd.  Also, Dr. Lee is writing a second book on the same topic.  Susan mentioned the Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies Institute mailing list.

Al Marotta (#1018) alerted members that the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly has passed an act revising the law concerning the establishment of guidelines for the dissemination of vital records; it was amended by the General Assembly on March 13, 2008.  This law has tightened the availability of the current vital records it deems confidential or restricted.  Some provisions of this act include: Vital records shall not be deemed public or government records.  Current vital records include birth records of people less than 100 years old; birth records of those still living who are 100 or more years old (previously, it required 80 years to elapse; now 100 years); marriage, civil union and domestic partnership records of persons when less than 50 years have elapsed; and death or fetal death records when less than 40 years have elapsed.   Older records shall be transferred by the State Register to the State Archives or by local vital records registrars to local government archives designated as depositories by the State Records Committee.  There is also a prohibition on unauthorized sharing of data from these vital records, but an exception is made for genealogists.  For details on Bill A326 see: www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=A326

Also mentioned was the current schedule of free programs/classes at the New York Public Library.  These classes included: “New Tools in Map Research”, “Preservation 101: Caring for your Collection”, “Caring for Your Family Photographs” and “Uncovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy Research”.

Mr. James Lewis, librarian from the Newark Public Library, gave an informative presentation highlighting the genealogical resources available in the New Jersey Room of that library.  Italians first appeared in Newark in 1864.  Since Newark had the fifth largest Italian-American population in the U.S. by 1900 (over half of Newark’s population was of Italian ancestry by 1910 and Newark had many
“Little Italy” neighborhoods within its boundaries), the collection contains a rich selection of local
Italian-American historical information.  In addition to the usual Federal and State (1855-1915) census data, local city directories (including Newark 1834-1965), NJ atlases, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and access to computer databases, the NJ Room has a large collection of local daily newspapers, including the Newark Star-Ledger (1909- Present), Newark Evening News (1883-1972), and the Italian Tribune (1934-present) and various Essex County records (1785-1979) on microfilm.  Its collection includes The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey (1925-Present) published by the Genealogical Society of NJ.

The NJ Room of the Newark Public Library has indices to its major local newspapers.
The Newark Evening News index is particularly interesting, featuring two handwritten indices, one biographical, the other by town, from 1914-1972.  This is an excellent source for the elusive obituary.
The Newark-published newspapers covered much of New Jersey, not just Essex County.  Among the library’s numerous local newspapers, at least five date to the late 1700s and one as early as 1773.
The library also has an excellent Image Collection, complete with an index.  These include photos, postcards and drawings from books.  Under the listing, “Newark Nationality Groups”, Italian-Americans seem to be the only ethnic group to have its own file.

The library also has some local ethnic newspapers and is the depository for NJ telephone directories (1908-present).  These phone directories are excellent sources to trace an ancestor’s location, after the city directories ceased being published.

The New Jersey Information Center of the Newark Public Library can be reached at 973-733-7775 or njreference@npl.org.  Their website can be visited at www.npl.org/pages/Collections/njic.html

Future meetings will be held on:

     August 2, 2008
     November 1, 2008
     February 7, 2009
     May 3, 2009

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


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