Chapter 15 - Sept. 28, 1996

POINTers In Person
Chapter 15
Northern New Jersey

P.O. Box 636
Totowa, New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

September 28, 1996



Annita Zalenski (#1018)
POINTers In Person Chapter 15 met for the first time on Saturday morning, September 28, 1996. The meeting was held at The American Labor Museum - The Botto House National Landmark, Haledon, NJ. The historic Botto House is the 1908 home of an Italian immigrant silk worker, Pietro Botto. In 1913, Pietro Botto offered his home overlooking a green as a meeting place for striking Paterson, NJ silk workers. Elisabeth Gurley Flynn, Upton Sinclair, and other champions of the labor movement spoke from the second floor balcony of the Botto House. Eighty-three years later, through the generosity of Pietro's granddaughter, Bunny Kuiken, The Botto House was made available to our fledgling group. It was a fitting place for our organizational meeting. Bunny gave a brief talk about the powerful historical events that took place at the Botto House which qualify the site to be designated as a National Landmark.

Our first order business was to plan a format for future meetings. It was decided that we would meet quarterly. Three times a year we will have "coffee and" type meetings held on Saturday mornings, the fourth meeting of the year will be an annual luncheon. We agreed to have speakers at some meetings. All attendees were asked to bring suggestions for potential speakers to the next meeting. Bob Scussel (#2437) offered the Housing Authority Community Room, Garfield, NJ as a permanent meeting place.

During the refreshment break push pins were placed in a large map of Italy to identify our geographical areas of interest. When we reassembled members and guests gave a brief summary of their family history. 

Bob Scussel (#2437), Phil Oddo(#774) and Marty and Janice Unfried talked about research they conducted on past trips to Italy. Marty and Janice were guests of Florence Ventro (#2029). Florence was our "official" photographer for the day. Phil Oddo brought his father, Vincent Oddo, to the meeting. Vincent told about his traumatic trip to Italy as a small child when his young mother died unexpectely while they were abroad. Bob Scussel displayed a large framed census type of document he obtained from his father's home town. He also spoke of his success in communicating with relatives in Italy via the Internet. Lise Martina (#1052) posed some interesting questions concerning lineage. Maria Carparelli (#2100) advised us of an excellent local source for detailed maps and displayed a large chart she prepared using Reunion software. Albert Marotta (#1018) and his wife, Michele passed around books and magazines that they thought would be of interest. In addition, Albert mentioned that genealogical information could be obtained from Social Security applications. Annita Zalenski (#39) also brought books concerning Italian research and naturalization procedures. Annita's guest, Maryjane Proctor , is just beginning to research the Italian branch of her family. Lillian Pappas (#2717) spoke about her brief visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and shared information about the capabilities of her computer.

Throughout the meeting as attendees reported on their research some questions were raised. In the true spirit of POINT others assisted those who needed help by providing very useful suggestions. The meeting closed at 12 noon after a very lively and informative morning.

All interested in joining the Northern NJ Chapter of POINTers in Person are welcomed to attend the next meeting which will be held on February 15, 1997. 


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