POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - November 3, 2001

Chapter 15
Northern New Jersey

P.O. Box 636
Totowa, New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

 November 3, 2001

Albert Marotta (#1018)
The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building on November 3, 2001.  Twenty-one people attended.

Annita Zalenski (#39) opened the session by alerting us to the Italian Genealogical Group’s 6th annual seminar, which is scheduled for May 4, 2002 at Malloy College in Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY.  Trafford Cole will be a speaker there.  Annita’s presentation on beginning Italian genealogy, at the Wayne Public Library was a success with over thirty people in attendance.  She also reminded us about the Third Biennial POINT National Conference in Salt Lake City on October 10-15, 2002.

Francesca Caravella (#1247) requested that we watch the television documentary, “Visions of Italy -- southern style” scheduled to air in November on public television WLIW.  “Visions of Sicily” is in production for 2002.

John Konvalinka gave a very informative presentation, “Finding Living Relatives”.  Although his relatives hail from Bohemia and the UK, his research methods can help anyone.  He has been actively involved in genealogy for over twenty years and his presentation was built upon his belief that effective use of the Internet and other databases is an excellent support for traditional genealogical research.  Serious research uses both methods, since they complement each other.  Mr. Konvalinka has worked with the Internet since the 1980s and with computers since 1955, first as a US Navy pilot and then in two successful computer related careers in industry.

There are various reasons why people look for living relatives, while pursuing questions related to health, legal and financial research - and for fun.  Family relationships often become cloudy due to divorce, remarriage, adoption, relocation, disagreements, etc.  “Lost” family members can often be identified and located.  The Social Security Death Index can help you find living relatives, since it usually lists the date of death and location where the death benefit was last sent.  Then you can look for the obituary in the local newspapers or obtain a death certificate, which would list survivors.  You can follow up with an online phone search.  These sources might include other names, which could broaden the family considerably.  Online phone searches (www.teldir.com) are also useful.  If the phone number is not listed, search by address.  Perhaps the person died, moved, still lives there, or has a relative who now lives on the property.

 Some other useful Internet tools include: Passenger Lists Online (http://istg.rootsweb.com/)*, Public Records (www.BRBPub.com) and Pacific Information Resources (www.pac-info.com/).  Barbara Renick’s list of sites for locating living people (http://zroots.com/locating.htm) is another interesting source.  There are also military and alumni networks.  Surname searches (RootsWeb Surname List), Locality searches (US Gen Web Project) can also be helpful.

Finally, Mailing Lists (http://lists.rootsweb.com/)* and (http://groups.yahoo.com/), genealogy forums, Usenet newsgroups and data exchanges can yield surprising results.

Mr. Konvalinka then presented us with an interesting case study, taken from his own family research.  Starting with names from the family plot and then the census, death certificates, online phone directories, etc. and an old book from a fair that he happened upon (which mentioned the town in which his family owned property; this town couldn’t be found in any other source), he was able to find missing relatives.  He reminded us of the importance of source documents and that we must verify all information, especially if from the Internet.

The following books were recommended: Locating Lost Family Members and Friends by Kathleen W. Hinckley, Find Anyone Fast by Richard S. Johnson and Family Reunion Handbook by Tom Ninkovich.

*The URL is  not the same as the one given by Mr. Konvalinka in his presentation, but it is the current address for the site.  Web addresses change frequently!!!

Future meetings will be held on:
     February 2, 2002
     May 4, 2002 (tentative)
     August 3, 2002
     November 2, 2002

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


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