POINT Chapter 15 Meeting -May 5, 2007

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey


Pursuing Our Italian Names Together
May 5, 2007

The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on May 5, 2007 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty-four people attended.

Maria Carparelli (#2100) opened the meeting by welcoming all in attendance .

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 93 members;
68 of them have kept their dues current.

Susan Berman (#4405) reported to members the outcome of her discussion with the head of Coro d’Italia, an Italian-American inter-generational ensemble from northern NJ.  The chapter is planning to engage this group, which showcases traditional songs and dances of Italy in authentic costumes, to perform for us in November on the occasion of the chapter’s tenth anniversary.  A presentation with a limited performance might be possible.  The Executive Committee is to finalize all details, including the funding of such an event.  Also it will decide how to fund special speakers in the future, which might require a cost beyond our usual honorarium.  Many suggestions were given for methods to raise funds.  A motion was made for a voluntary “seed fund” to be the foundation for the Tenth Anniversary collection.

Maria Carparelli  gave the presentation, “Beginning Italian Genealogy: How to Find your Italian Roots”.  She began by reminding members that it is of primary importance to understand the geographical  and political/historical divisions within Italy, which includes Regions, Provinces and Communes (communities).  Sometimes entities have more than one name or new names.
For example, Maria informed the chapter that Trinacria is the ancient name for Sicily, and its national symbol (triskelion/trisceli) appears on its flag.

After mastering Italy’s political divisions, a researcher must begin the search with what is known and then carefully work backward one generation at a time.  This includes names, dates and places of birth, death and marriage.  This information is first gathered by interviewing relatives.  Never overlook this essential and unique source.  Then, utilize reference books (found in major public research libraries and college libraries, etc.)  Supplement this by next searching Internet websites (both free and subscription-based sites).  Among those websites proven very useful are www.cindislist.com, www.italgen.com, www.italianancestry.com, and www.point-pointers.net. Two major websites where databases of some primary documents (census, military, probate, immigration  records, etc.)  can be found are Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.  The National Archives also has an excellent site (www.archives.gov/index.html) .  Other quality websites include Ellis Island Online (www.ellisisland.org) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (www.FamilySearch.org) .  Another useful site is the Italian Land Finder (www.landfinder.it).

There are numerous sites dedicated to various regions.  Also, it is important to realize that the websites mentioned here are but a small sample of quality sites.

Whether a researcher uses online or print indexes leading to primary documents in digital or print format, one must aim to locate vital records, sacramental records, Federal and State Census Records, Naturalization Records, Military Records, Ship Passenger Lists and City Directories. Even the application the ancestor filled out before these records were created is very valuable.  Many of these original records can be located at the county or town clerk’s office, the parish office, or the local branch of the National Archives, with copies at the local LDS Family History Center.

 Maria ended her detailed and exhaustive presentation by connecting U.S. sources research with the research available from Italian Records (vital records, parish records, Italian Census, etc). The researcher must learn the appropriate Italian officials to write to: Stato Civile (for civil vital records of each municipality), the anagrafe for the stato di famiglia and stato di famiglia originario, the parish priest for sacramental records, the bishop’s office for background information on parish locations, and even the mayor, if necessary.  Finally, the treasures found within the national POINT network and the local POINTers In Person chapters were well described.

Future meetings will be held on:
     August 4, 2007
     November 3, 2007
     February 2, 2008
     May 3, 2008

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


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