POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - February 2012

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together
February 4, 2012


The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on February 4, 2012 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty-two people attended.

Maria Carparelli (#2100) opened the meeting by informing the chapter about a telephone interview she had with Robert C. Ciofalo, Trustee Emeritus of the Italian American Museum in Manhattan.  She said that our members have been invited to visit the museum and that it could be opened for a private showing, if necessary, for us during the weekdays, when the museum is usually closed.  Maria was reminded about the importance of Giuseppe Garabaldi, a hero, leader and soldier of the Italian Risorgimento.  .  The museum’s main exhibit is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy and features a new portrait of Garibaldi, painted by Italian-American artist, Gregory Perillo.

Garibaldi escaped to the U.S. in 1850, settled in Staten Island, NY, and actually became a U.S. citizen.  Here he met Antonio Meucci, who sheltered political exiles like him.  Garabaldi returned to Italy, after visiting many countries, in 1854 to lead Italian military forces.  Meucci invented a “talking telegraph” in 1860, but could not afford the money needed for a definitive patent.  According to the Library of Congress, Meucci began developing the telephone in 1849 but A.G. Bell was the first to patent it.  The 107th U.S. Congress resolution (HRes 269) of  June  2002 declared, “The life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged.”  However, the resolution did not annul Bell’s patent.  Also, the 108th Congress resolution (SRes 223) was proposed in the U.S. Senate, but died, unenacted.  There is still much controversy.

 Today the house where Garabaldi lived has been re-located  and is called the Garabaldi-Meucci Museum in Staten Island and is administered by the Order of the Sons of Italy in America.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report. The chapter has 41 active members.  Annual dues were collected.  Maryanne told the chapter that she was withdrawing the chapter’s funds from the bank, due to high service charges imposed on small accounts.  Susan Berman (#4405) offered to help Maryanne find a bank with a free checking account.

The committee involved with planning research trips reported that it is trying to find arrangements for transportation to the NJ State Archives in Trenton at a reasonable cost.  It was suggested that those interested might carpool to Trenton and rent a van to visit the Garabaldi-Meucci Museum.  Another plan mentioned was the possibility of visiting the Italian-American Museum in Manhattan.

 This meeting, in the format of a member’s information exchange, featured the sharing of research experiences.

Sue Berman distributed to members copies of Dr. Sandra Lee’s request for photos and information for her proposed book, “Italian Americans of Northern New Jersey”.

Annita Zalenski alerted the chapter about a bill that was introduced in November of 2011, HR 3475, “Keeping IDs Safe Act of 2011”.  The act would amend Title II of the Social Security Act with respect to voluntary state transmittal to the Commissioner of Social Security of information from death certificates in order to correct OASDI program information.  It would only be allowed for this use.  The Social Security Death Index might be removed from the internet due to identity theft, which has occurred using this source.  Currently, this bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

It was suggested that members might want to explore Google Earth in order to take a “virtual tour” through their ancestral villages.  A two-volume CD set of Google Earth is available

Carolyn McNamara (4772) had been unable to find any information about her maternal grandfather and placed a request online.  A fan of P.I.E. (Pursuing Our Italian Names Together in E-Mail), she received an e-mail from a P.I.E. correspondent who found a 1890 shop’s manifest containing her maternal grandfather.  Also, a researcher for the L.D.S., whose focus is Italian records and who shares the same maiden name as Carolyn (Santoriello), researched her mother’s line as early as the 1700s, for a fee.

Maria told members that since the village of her father’s ancestors was not yet microfilmed by the LDS, she wrote to the Comune di Fasano (Prov. of Brindisi) in Apulia.  The town sent her a family tree, a book about Fasano, information about via Carparelli and the town’s crest.  The early Carparelli family was one of seven families who were masons.  Fasano’s town seal features a crown below seven prongs made of brick.  One of these prongs represented the Carparelli family.  She was able to locate, through Ancestry.com, two U.S. relatives who were also researching the family name.  Maria also found a photo of the building where her grandfather first settled, provided by the New York City Department of Records.  This department has tax photographs of every building in the five boroughs from 1939 to 1941 and from 1983 to 1988.  Her grandfather’s building is still standing.

Carol Miraglia spoke about her numerous visits to Italy, but focused on her first trip in 1947, when she was 17 years old.  She sailed on a troop ship, stayed for six weeks and was shocked by the destruction  left by World War II.  She used genealogy boards to discover that her great-grandfather’s brothers had a descendent in France and they met in Paris.

Since Al Marotta was attending a committee meeting for his town’s bicentennial celebrations, his wife, Michele, took the notes for this chapter’s meeting.

 Future meetings will be held on:
     May 5, 2012
     August 4, 2012
     November  3, 2012
     February 2, 2013


Next Meeting

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