POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - May 1, 2010

POINTers In Person
Lou Costello Chapter 15

Northern New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together
May 1, 2010

The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on May 1, 2010 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty-three people attended.

Maria Carparelli (#2100) opened the meeting by having Lenore Madrachimov read the minutes she took of our March 20th meeting, which had replaced our usual February meeting, rescheduled due to an impending storm.  A small correction was made to that report.  It will now read, “Maryanne traveled back to Italy in 2009”.  Maria announced that Lillian Pappas (#2717)  had surgery and that a “get well” card will be sent in behalf of our PIP chapter.

Annita Zalenski (#39) presented the Nominating Committee Report with a new slate of officers for next year.  The following members have agreed to serve as officers of the chapter:
Maria Carparelli (#2100) – President
Sue Berman (#4405) – Vice President
Maryanne Graham (#3654) – Treasurer
Lucille Kent (#3038) – Corresponding Secretary
Al Marotta (#1018) – Recording Secretary
This new slate was approved by the members present.

A short discussion followed concerning a possible change of venue in order to allow future speakers more possibilities to enhance their presentations.  Also, after the August meeting, those interested might go out together for lunch.

Al Marotta (#1018) alerted the chapter about how the impending NJ State Budget will affect public libraries.  The State’s proposed 74% cut in library funding could curtail interlibrary loans and database subscriptions, including genealogical ones, and result in a 50% reduction in direct aid to public libraries.  Hours will be reduced.  State cuts would also jeopardize access to $4.5 million in federal matching funds for Internet access.  Due to the current fiscal crisis, every state-funded program will be affected, but libraries seem to face the largest cuts.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  Annual dues were collected at the March meeting.  The chapter has 45 active members.

Annita Zalenski (#39) gave a concise overview in her presentation, “How to Do Genealogical Research Even if You Don’t Speak Italian”, to remind members about available  resources, especially in the U.S., and to give insights from her vast experience researching family history.  She reminded the chapter about the advantages of doing Italian Genealogical Research: Often families lived in the same village for centuries; Catholic parishes recorded births, marriages and deaths back to 1545 and that official Civil Records date back to at least 1869-1870, and many date from 1809.  Many of these records were microfilmed by the LDS Church (Mormons) and can be easily found and borrowed to view at a local LDS Family History Center.

One needs to know three basic facts before beginning research.  A researcher must know the full original name, birthplace (town and province) and date of birth of the ancestor.  If this date is approximate, then you must learn the date of another related person.

Remember the usefulness in research of the Italian traditional naming pattern, especially practiced in southern Italy.  However, since a child might have the same name as a previously deceased sibling, make sure not to research the line of the deceased child, wrongly believing that the two distinct children are one and the same.

Annita  said that it was wise to keep two sets of notebooks.  One shows all the documented facts and the other set includes undocumented stories, other sources, etc.  She then spoke of the importance of a Pedigree Chart in order to keep all the names in proper order.  This is the easiest way to view recorded information.  Male names are always listed beside even numbers, while female ones are found beside odd numbers.  One can use paper Pedigree Chart forms or the electronic versions at Family Tree Maker, etc.  Using a Family Group Sheet is also essential.  This chart includes children and location of vital events.  Each child, if later married, will eventually get its own Family Group Sheet.  These forms can be filled out on paper or by using software, such as Reunion Software.  Maria said that she has all her family history research in her pocket, courtesy of iPod Touch.

 Leave no stone unturned.  There are family and home resources, church records, religious archives, cemetery records, State and Federal records, libraries, LDS Family History Centers (which is like “walking into a card catalog”), historical societies, newspaper archives, professional genealogists, etc.  All of this research can  be done in the U.S.  Documents are necessary to confirm what you think you know.  Make sure to look for the availability of all levels of documents.  For example, always ask for the marriage license extract and also the application for marriage.  Naturalization Records include the Declaration of Intention (which is more valuable than the Naturalization Certificate) and the Petition for Naturalization.  However, you must request each level of the document.

Annita completed her presentation by focusing on Italian records.  Italy is divided into twenty regions, 103 provinces and numerous comuni and frazioni.  Records might be found in any of these areas.  There are three basic types of Civil Records: State and vital records from 1869 to present; parish Civil Records from 1816-1917 for areas ceded to Austria after the fall of Napoleon and in the region of Trentino-Alto-Adige; and Napoleonic Records from 1806 to 1815.  Napoleonic Records can be a treasure trove since before a marriage could be performed in a religious ceremony, the couple was required to supply extracts of the birth  and death records of their parents, etc.  Thus, all these records might be in one place!  She alerted members about the three types of Italian Documents.  The original document can be viewed and microfilmed, but cannot legally be photocopied in Italy.  The certificate is an abbreviated form and provides little information.  The extract of a record (estratto dell’atto) has the most useful details and the researcher should always ask for it.  Finally, know that there are many variations in the spelling of names.  Don’t overlook similarly spelled names.  Annita showed the chapter copies of her family records throughout her presentation.

   Future meetings will be held on:
     August 7, 2010
     November 6, 2010
     February 5, 2011
     May 7, 2011

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


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