POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - August 5, 2006

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey


Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

August 5, 2006



The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on August 5, 2006 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty people attended.

 Maria Carparelli (#2100) shared correspondence she received from Annita Zalenski (#39) to alert members that the National Archives & Records Administration plans to reduce its hours for conducting research at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. and the National Archives at College Park in Maryland due to severe budget cuts.  There will no longer be evening or Saturday hours at these two locations.  The new hours will take effect October 2006.  Some branch location hours will also be affected.

At the May meeting, members in attendance decided to honor the late comedian, Lou Costello, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, by naming the chapter after him.  Lou Costello was born in Paterson, NJ in 1906.
Maria told members that she contacted Lou Costello’s daughter and sent her a copy of our newsletter, La Notizia Italiana,  which featured a nice tribute to the comedian and informed readers that the chapter was now named after her father.  She was well pleased that her father was being remembered in such a manner.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 89 members; 64 of them have kept their dues current.  Also, she informed members that the chapter had begun saving money by sending out only 13 notices by postal mail, the others being sent out by e-mail.

Margaret Frontera (#4839) spoke about The Medici Foundation.  The Medici Foundation, which was formed in 2005, is working with New York City and NY State officials as well as members of the community to negotiate a footprint to identify “Little Italy” as the city’s 43rd historic landmark district.  The mission of The Medici Foundation is to preserve and promote Italian-American and Italian heritage, culture and business in NY and throughout the U.S.  Recently, it lent support for a network television program entitled, “Little Italy: Past, Present and Future”.  See www.TheMediciFoundation.org for details.

Catherine Vecharello told members that, in July, she attended the Roots in the Boot Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  She visited the nearby Carnegie Library and also found the site where her great-grandfather was buried in 1919.  She also located the funeral home which took care of the arrangements and it provided more useful information.  Plans have been made for the family to place an appropriate headstone on their ancestor’s unmarked grave.

Loretta Tito (#4717) informed members about a documentary she saw, Sacco and Vanzetti: A Case in Human Rights.  Considered anarchists, they were found guilty of murder in 1921 after a six-week trial and executed in 1927 in Massachusetts.  People protested throughout the world concerning the prejudice and injustice used against these two men by the U.S. court system.

 Al Marotta (#1018) reminded the chapter that September 2006 marks the opening of the chapter’s 10th anniversary.

William Ware, the president of the Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club and former director of over four LDS Family History Centers, gave a presentation on the resources of the Family History Center in Salt Lake City and its website.

Bill emphasized to members that many researchers are not aware of the complete, vast resources that the LDS Family History Libraries and website have to offer.  Also, he advised members that the contents of its databases and collections are constantly expanding.

Bill first gave an overview of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, including its record collections and library services.  This five floor complex is the largest genealogical research facility of its type in the world.  It has a collection of over 2.4 million microfilmed rolls of genealogical records, 742,000 microfiche, 310,000 books and serials, 4,500 periodicals and 700 electronic resources, and provides orientation and research classes.  Records have been filmed in over 110 countries.  Patrons (2,000 visit daily) can use over 200 computers, 509 microfilm readers and numerous copiers and scanners.  Seating capacity is close to 400.  The library’s staff consists of 125 full time and part time professionals as well as 400 trained volunteers.  Staff members can answer reference questions by postal mail or e-mail (FHL@BYU.EDU).  Meanwhile, more than 4,000 Family History Center library branches in over 88 countries are all staffed by volunteers.  At these branches researchers can request the circulating records from the main library.  However, since every record is being digitalized and placed online, Family History Centers might eventually close.

 Bill then told the chapter about the Family History Library’s publications.  These include Forms (researchers can download the pdf file from their website), Letter Writing Guides in various languages to request records, plus the English translation (these, too, can be downloaded at no cost).  Maps and Reference Documents are available.  Research Outlines for each state and country are now also available on CD (Source Guide) for a modest cost.  Publications also provided are Resource Guides, Step-by-Step Guides and Word Lists.

 Bill continued by focusing on key library resources.  The Ancestral File (on internet or disc) is a clearinghouse for researchers to share their findings.  However, this source is provided without quality control or verification.  It includes lists of family names, individual records, Family Group Records and Pedigree Charts.  The researcher should verify each record independently.  The Ancestral File database has over 36 million names linked into families.  Another important resource is the Family History Library Catalog.  This is available on the LDS website, on disc or microfiche.  Here a researcher can request a Location, Surname, Keyword, Title, Film/Fiche, Author, Subject or Call Number Search.  The International Genealogical Index (IGI), a very useful resource, contains over 600 million names of deceased individuals.  Its addendum provides an additional 125 million names.  About a million names are added each month. The IGI is available on the Internet, disc or microfiche.  Other databases include the Pedigree File (on disc), limited Census Records (on Internet or disc), U.S. Social Security Death Index (on Internet or disc), Vital Records Index (on microfiche or disc), Family History Web Sites (Internet) and Search for Ancestors (all databases in one via Internet). The Periodical Source Index (PERSI), a subject index to 2,000 genealogical periodicals in English and French-Canadian (1847-1990) is also available.  Family Search can be accessed from a home or library computer.  The Family History Library also offers education, training, conferences and workshops. For details see: www.familysearch.org

     Future meetings will be held on:
     November 4, 2006
     February 3, 2007
     May 5, 2007
     August 4, 2007

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

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