POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - March 20, 2010

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together
March 20, 2010

Al Marotta, Recording Secretary, was not able to attend today's meeting held in Elmwood Park.  Therefore, the minutes from the last meeting were not read aloud but are available on our web site https://sites.rootsweb.com/-njpoint/.   Lenore Madrachimov volunteered to take the minutes.

Maria Carparelli opened the meeting, with the above, following with the Treasurer's Report, by Maryanne Graham.  It was also noted that dues were due.  If you have not paid your dues, kindly forward your check for $10.00 to Maryanne or bring it to the next meeting in May.

A get well card was sent to Michelle Marotta who was recently in the hospital.  Various E-mails were received.  One of great interest to our members was from footnote.com.   Free access to footnote.com is  available for a limited time where the 1930 Census information is available.  This may be a good opportunity to research your ancestors.

In addition, a program, 'Who Do You Think You Are?,' sponsored by Ancestry.com, airs on Friday evenings on NBC, (Channel 4) at 8:00 PM. Their third show was on March 19, 2010.  If you missed the show, log onto your computer at NBC.com where you can view past episodes.  Future shows include Emmitt Smith, who has slavery in his background,  Brooke Shields who has Italian nobility in her background, and Susan Sarandon, also of Italian heritage.

Maria also stated it was time to set up a nominating committee to choose a President, Vice President, Treasurer, a Correspondence Secretary and Recording Secretary.  Lenore and Annita volunteered for the nominating committee.  The slate of officers will be presented to the members for voting at the next meeting.


1. Maria found on the Internet an interesting story about St. Patrick and how, even though he is celebrated as a day with the Irish, he was actually Italian.  Contact Maria for her article if you would like to read it in its entirety.

2. MaryAnne Graham began the exchange with the story of her search for her grandfather.  She was aware he was illegitimate, but his last name was Spada.  She traveled to Italy in 1996 and met her cousins, but was unable to locate the records on her grandfather.  She returned home and attended the POINT conference in Salt Lake City, where she was able to obtain her grandfather's military information and the ship manifest.  The reason she couldn't locate the town of her grandfather was because the name of the town had changed.  She was unable to find any records under the name of Spada.  There were suggestions to try searching the name of a town, ship or anything else in that region at that time period that may have the name Spada as sometimes “orphans” were named after the town they were born.  She found the new name of the town from fellow POINT member Al Marotta.  Maryanne traveled back to Italy in 1998.  Although it was a Saturday, the town very kindly let her in to search the records and she found her grandfather's information.  MaryAnne also told the members that there is  a contest sponsored by Francesco Rinaldi for a free trip for four to Tuscany for five days. Information for this contest can be found at FrancescoRinaldi.com   Another contest is with the Olive Garden.  Information can be found on their web site."

3. Susan Berman, who is Italian, did not speak of her Italian heritage, but paid homage to her late father-in-law, Isaac, who was Jewish and born in Poland.  He passed away in January.  Isaac was three when his mother died.  His father remarried soon after.  After having children of their own, the new wife did not want the children from his former wife and insisted they be placed into an orphanage.  The family was heartbroken.  After coming to America; it took them 10 years to save enough money to bring them to America.  They tried to bring the other stepbrother over, but because there was no blood relation, they were unable to do so.  The Germans killed him.  During a recent family wedding event in 1991, the complete story was told about the grandfather, his two Purple Hearts awarded to him.  Since he was in Europe during the war, he wanted to go back to visit his home town.  Unfortunately, this was not possible,since his town was completely destroyed.

4. Annita Zalenski said that HBO is running a series called “The Pacific” regarding events during the war.  One of the characters is based on Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone who was an Italian-American from New Jersey. He was a marine who was awarded the Navy Cross and a Purple Heart for his bravery.  John Basilone is her grandchildren's great uncle.

5. Annita also suggested using the Mormon Church for your research.  There is a Family History Library and Research Center on Old Soldier Hill Road in Oradell. Another center is on Mountain Avenue in North Caldwell.  Annita also informed the members that FamilySearch.org, is the web site for the Mormon Church,  where you may find what records have been filmed and are available for your research.

6. A question was raised as to whether the Pope's ban of microfilming church records was still in place and the answer was yes.  This ban would restrict the  Mormons from filming records in Italy.

7. Annita suggested you try www.stephenmorse.org.   where links to Ellis Island documents can be accessed, as well as many other useful links for research.  Many times, Italians, when asked their name, put their surname first and that how it was recorded.  Try searching the last name of your relative as your first name and vice versa if you are having trouble finding your ancestor.

8. Daniel Donatacci will be speaking at the Passaic County Historical Society in September about Genealogy and Astrology at Lambert Castle.  These meetings are held the second Saturday of each month.

  Future meetings will be held on:
     August 7, 2010
     November 6, 2010

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


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