POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - November 2, 2002

POINTers In Person
Chapter 15
Northern New Jersey

P.O. Box 636
Totowa, New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

 November 2, 2002

Albert Marotta (#1018)

The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on November 2, 2002, at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty-three people attended, including at least three new faces.

Maria Carparelli (#2100) opened the meeting by asking Maryanne Graham (#3654), who was the only member present who attended the POINT National Conference in Salt Lake City, to tell the chapter about the conference.  Maryanne enjoyed the conference immensely, especially the opening presentation given by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (#109).

Maryanne presented the treasurer's report.  The chapter has 74 members.

A survey was handed out to members in order to better provide for the chapter's genealogical needs.

Al Marotta (#1018) alerted members that the New York Public Library now has "The New York Times Backfile: Pro Quest Historical Newspapers".  This database offers full-image articles with searchable ASCII text for the New York Times covering 1851 through 1999.  Every word ever printed in this newspaper (not only from major articles) is indexed here.

John Rendfrey (#1070) gave members a very informative overview about his recent research at the Salerno and the Avellino Provincial Archives.  He generously offered to research for our members while he was in the archives last October.  John found records of his family dating back many centuries.  He reminded members of the importance of Italian wills and notary records.  Many of these records date to the 1550s.  They are very informative and can give one a sense of the family's life not found in most vital records.

Sue Laurita (#4405) spoke about a local group of young people of Italian descent named "Scuola e Coro d'Italia".  The group promotes Italian culture through authentic Italian dances and the teaching of the language to adults and children.  See www.ditalia.org for details.  Sue told members that she began researching her family history when she was very young.  Fortunately, her relatives kept everything, including old postcards sent between NJ and Italy by her grandparents while courting.  Sue's family was from the Province of Avellino.

Mary-Frances Dougherty told members that she began her research with oral histories and that she found a connection (through her mother's side) with Loretta Tito, a fellow member of the chapter.  While looking through a website featuring her grandparents' town, she found a story about her family.  Joe Infosino wrote letters to names he found in a web-based Italian phone directory for Sicily and received a letter from a nephew.  Joe recently visited Castel Termini, at the invitation of his son, and enjoyed his stay.  Maria Carparelli (#2100) showed members copies of census records, which especially interested new researchers.  It is always an excellent place to begin research.  Tony Desiderioscioli strongly recommended that members use a scanner to store photos and documents on CDs.  This back-up system will preserve these items digitally, while the originals slowly disintegrate.  It is also possible to restore photos digitally.  Two websites were mentioned (about.com and ancestry.com) as having helpful hints about preserving items.  Loretta Tito recommended a book entitled, Everything Online Genealogy, by Pat Richley.  She also suggested creating a Family Recipe and Genealogy Book for family reunions, and brought her own as an example.

Sal Lagattuta (#3352) spoke about his interesting research, which touched upon topics such as orphans and Spanish Jews.  His father had a rare name while his mother had a common one.  Sal closed the chapter's session with a poignant observation.  He reminded members that it was All Souls' Day.  What better time to honor and thank our relatives and ancestors than on this traditional day of remembrance and prayer!

We hope to have Albert Zani give a presentation to the chapter in February on the history of Italian immigration to the U.S.

  Future meetings will be held on:
                              February 1, 2003
                              May 3, 2003
                              August 2, 2003
                              November 1, 2003

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


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