Chapter 15 - Aug. 2, 1997

POINTers In Person
Chapter 15
Northern New Jersey

P.O. Box 636
Totowa, New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

August 2, 1997

Albert Marotta (#1018)
Bright sunshine welcomed us as we met for our fourth POINTers In Person meeting August 2, one month shy of our one year anniversary. It is very fortunate that we are able to meet at the Housing Authority Community Room in Garfield, NJ.

Bob Scussel(#2437) has been very generous by offering us this ample space free of charge. It is complete with a large table for refreshments, a photocopy machine and an area for presentations with seats, tables and a projector screen. Also, Garfield is an appropriate setting, since the city itself has a long history of Italian settlement.

Twenty-three people attended, including a few new faces. Annita Zalenski (#39) opened the meeting by reviewing the purpose of POINT, PIP, and PIE and spoke about the POINT homepage on the Web. an excursion to Ellis Island was planned for September 27, since the immigration museum there has a special exhibition on Italians in America which runs through mid-October.

Our guest speaker was John Cellardo, Assistant Director of the Northeast Regional Branch of the National Archives, located in New York City. Mr. Celardo told us that the National Archives recently decided to reorganize by consolidating their regional branches. Therefore, the Northeast Regional Branch has records for NY, NJ, Puerto Rico,the Virgin Islands, and now the Pittsfield, MA and the New England regions. All these records can be found at the National Archives Regional Office in New York City.

Mr. Celardo divided his presentation into three parts: the Federal Census, Ship Passenger Lists and Naturalization records. We also learned about two interesting developments. There is now an easier way to figure out the Soundex Code, a necessary key for those who need an index to see the census and ship passenger lists. Now the regional archives has Soundex conversion on the computer, making it as easy as typing in your name. Also, the NY branch of the Federal Archives received a gift, the NY State Vital Records Index. Previously, one had to visit Albany, NY for this information. Since some of the newer members have yet to use any of these three types of records and the rest of us needed to be reminded about the wealth these records contain, we all came away richer.

Anthony Barrale recommended La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience as an excellent source material. Lillian Pappas (#2717) spoke about the Social Security records and how to obtain them. Maryjane Proctor told our members about an upcoming (Oct. 18) Everton Genealogy Workshop sponsored by the Passaic County Historical Society.

Our next meeting is scheduled for November 1, 1997. We hope to have Stephen Conte, a local genealogist, as our guest speaker. His talk will focus on the Waldensians, Italian Protestants who escaped from religious persecution and settled in Italy. All are welcomed to attend.


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