Our 20 July 2005 meeting of PIP1 was held as usual at Suparossa Ristorante Italiano, with 18 attendees, including a teenager accompanying family members.
First-time guests introduced were Mary (Sicily) and Wayne Piccin (Vittorio Veneto) of nearby Naperville. Last year, Wayne started an Italian-American affinity group in Naperville that get together periodically and also takes bus trips to nearby destinations (such as Milwaukee fest).
Lisa Perkins (#4779) updated us on the regional Italian Genealogy Conference to be held in the Chicago suburb of Stone Park on 17 September at the Italian Cultural Center. The workshop is spearheaded by Dan Niemiec (#2304), and co-sponsored by PIP-North and PIP1 chapters of Chicago area, with speakers drawn from both groups. Presentations will be suitable for advanced, intermediate, and beginner genealogists. We expect a busload from Milwaukee.
Alex DeVolpi reported on some news-reports about Google USENET, an informal network of e-mail messages exchanged by people who share a common interest. It is possible to subscribe and post questions to experts. Google has recently made it easier to find specific groups and pose questions to group members. And Google has started letting its gmail-registered users do keyword searches of the USENET storehouse of information and send replies and questions to experts. Google gmail account owners are allowed to invite 50 friends to get an account. Right now, it is not possible to search the universe of e-mail without such a tool, yet there must be much information in e-mails that is now lost to anybody but the sender and recipient.
Our planning committee welcomed ideas on speakers and topics for future meetings. The focus of this particular meeting was simply talking about our favorite parts of Italian culture, e.g., a Show-and-Tell about Food, Movies, Fashion, People, Literature, History, even Opera. The invitation was to share your idea of La Dolce Vita with all of us.
Sharon Rief (#4795) shared some of her Italian-cookbook collection, of which she had over a half-dozen examples on display. These included books about traditional Tuscan cuisine, Sicilian cooking, and Italian BBQ. Attendees found themselves captivated by the presentation and the cooking anecdotes, and many took the time after the meeting to browse the part of her collection that she brought along.
Sharon offered to host a BYO (food and drink) gathering this fall at her home for PIP1 and PIP North members, a generous offer that received an enthusiastic response.
Linda Messina Holda (#2055) described some of her favorites related to Italian life and customs:
Books: "The Leopard" by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa and "Customs and Habits of the Sicilian Peasants" by Salvatore Salomone-Marino 1897 translated by Rosalie N. Norris.
Movies: "The Leopard" and "The Tree of Wooden Clogs." These stories contrast the life of the peasant and the wealthy land owners 100 years ago.
Also works in progress that she helped research: "Il Cuore Nella Valigia" — a book about Nicosia Immigrants; and "Red Gold," a film (in pre production) about World War II and Italian POWs.
One of Linda’s favorite drinks is LEMONCELLO: “It reminds me of Sicily and my favorite parts of Italy, Roma, Capri and Sicilia.”
Linda closed by saying that “The best of Italian culture is all the friendships I have made through Italian genealogy, POINT, and PIP.
(Linda is leaving for Florida: This is her last PIP 1 meeting for awhile; they plan returns to visit family and friends, and maybe a PIP meeting. We will truly miss her and her contributions at our meetings.)
Lisa Perkins informed us about the valuable Catasti Onciari for Southern Italy. The following description is taken directly from the www.italyworldclub.com site:
“The catasti are among the most important sources for the study of the social and economic history of Southern Italy.... Only a minority of municipalities, until 1740, chose to pay taxes ... and for many places there are no ancient catasti. However all this changed with a Law by Charles II Bourbon of 4 October 1740, ordering the catasto system for the whole kingdom.
“The result was a kind of census of all the population of Southern Italy with all their ages, profession and property, including houses and lands with extension and boundaries, big animals (horses, cows, oxen, donkeys, sheep, goats), debits, rents, credits.... The copies that were sent to Naples are now kept in a special section containing thousands and thousands of books, most of them still not studied. The books can be requested for study in the Archive of Naples, and the archive has a photographic section that can release microfilms or prints from microfilms of whole books. For a thorough family and demographic study, a very good knowledge of handwritten Italian, and acquaintance with land-use regulations, measures, names of places of the mid 18th century is advisable.”
Although not brought up at the meeting, the following requests have been received for genealogical information:
Researching LaVacari/LiVacari family (www.Livacari.com): Gary LiVacari of Park Ridge.
Has anyone seen an Italian military record abt 1860 from Termini Imerese, PA?: Gloria Otto.
Request about information for Terzo family: email@example.com.
The next regular quarterly meeting of PIP1 is scheduled for 7pm, Wednesday, 19 October 2005, at Suparossa in Woodridge/Lisle.
Submitted by: Alex DeVolpi (#4160)
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