POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - August 7, 2004

POINTers In Person
Chapter 15
Northern New Jersey

P.O. Box 636
Totowa, New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

August 7, 2004

Albert Marotta (#1018)

The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on August 7, 2004 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty-three people attended, including a reporter from the Herald News (Passaic County).  An article featuring research by a member of the chapter appeared in the Sunday, August 8th edition of the Herald News.

Annita Zalenski (#39) opened the meeting by alerting members that the 2004 POINT National Conference, which was to take place in October in Kansas City, MO, was cancelled due to poor response.  The 2006 POINT National Conference is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles.  At the request of POINT National, a survey was taken of our members in order to learn the chapter’s preferences concerning future POINT National Conferences.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 96 members;
64 of them have kept their dues current.

The chapter selected a slate of new officers:
        President – Maria Carparelli (#2100)
        Vice President – Phil Oddo (#774)
        Treasurer – Maryanne Graham (#3654)
        Recording Secretary – Al Marotta (#1018)
        Corresponding Secretary – Lucille Kent (#3038)

A “Survey of PIP Members” was handed out in order to help the chapter plan for future presentations, according to the interests of the membership.

Al Marotta mentioned that the Archdiocese of Newark (Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union Counties) will conduct research of their cemetery records for genealogists.  The archdiocese contains 8 archdiocesan and 15 parish cemeteries.  For a modest fee, the archdiocese will search only the 8 archdiocesan cemeteries.  The parish cemeteries would have to be contacted individually.  For more information and the online “Genealogy Request Form” see: www.njcatholiccemeteries.org.  The Archdiocese of Newark will complete its 150th anniversary in October 2004.

This meeting had a show-and-tell format.  Loretta Tito (#4717) discussed the festivities of carnevale (Feast of St. Antuono) held in her husband’s hometown of Castelmezzano (Basilicata).  It takes place over the course of four Thursdays and Sundays beginning a month before Ash Wednesday.  Her husband, Michele, demonstrated the instruments and noisemakers (verricola, troccola, dorundo donax) which help keep the festival lively.

Vivian Spae showed pictures of photos of her ancestors taken from the family mausoleum in Italy.

Phil Oddo spoke about his organizing techniques, using three-ring binders, acid free paper, etc. and making copies for his family.  Phil has traced his mother’s lineage to 1460 England and his father’s line to the mid 1700s.  He is equally interested in his ancestors and his descendants.  His objective is to pass along to his children and grandchildren the fruits of his research.

Margaret Cenci Frontera (#4839) told members that although she only started researching her family history two years ago, with the fortuitous help of just the right people, she traced her father’s lineage back to 1480.  Through genealogical research, Margaret found a great-aunt living in what was once the Italian Harlem of New York City.  They corresponded and much was learned about the family and placed in context.  The letters also yielded a photo of her great-aunt’s grandmother and revealed that this aunt’s uncle was drafted into World War I in 1917 and survived mustard gas with the 77th Infantry Division in the Argonne Forest in 1918.

Correspondence with the most helpful mayor of Montefranco (Terni) in Umbria, where Margaret’s great-grandmother was born, was very fruitful.  Among many other things, she learned that a local priest wrote a book in 1962 which included her family line back to 1480.  The Mayor of Montefranco publishes a town newsletter.  In one article the mayor informed town residents with relatives in the U.S. of Margaret’s desire to contact them.  The newsletter also contains a listing of current town births, deaths and marriages.  Margaret also showed members an enlargement of an Italian postcard depicting the village life of Terni in 1910.

Maria Carparelli showed members a book entitled, Story of Italian Immigration: Passage to Liberty and the Rebirth of America by A. Kenneth Ciongoli and Jay Parini.  An interesting feature of this work is that it contains samples of documents in envelopes.

Lucille Kent told members that there were three pages of potential relatives in the phone directory of Buenos Aries, Argentina.  She hopes to contact these people.

Maryanne Graham mentioned that she visited her family mausoleum with her brother and learned that, since her great-grandfather was very poor when he died, he wasn’t buried in the family mausoleum until her grandmother was able to buy a crypt.

Future meetings will be held on:
     November 6, 2004
     February 5, 2005
     May 7, 2005
     August 6, 2005

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

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