Another Amazing Genealogy Story

Joseph F. Genetti: 1874-1937Mary C. Genetti 1886-1972their son Frank 1911-2001

Joseph F. Genetti: 1874-1937
Mary C. Genetti 1886-1972
their son Frank 1911-2001

About two weeks ago I received an email from a woman searching for information about her family. Melissa explained that her maternal great-grandparents had emigrated from Tyrol and settled in the Hazleton/Nuremberg, Pennsylvania area. Her great-grandfather and grandfather had the surname of Genetti. As a child visiting her Tyrolean relatives, Melissa was told she came from a different family than the Genettis who owned businesses in Hazleton (my family). Not expecting to connect with her ancestors, Melissa wrote that she had stumbled upon the Genetti Family Genealogy Project website and emailed me that evening “on a total whim”.

As soon as I read the names of Melissa’s great-grandparents (Joseph F. and Mary C. Genetti) and the fact that they had settled in the same area as my direct ancestors, her emailed jumped off the page at me! I had a suspicion that Melissa and her ancestors would lead me to a missing branch of the extended Genetti family tree.

But first, an explanation of why I was excited about this inquiry. I am 50% Tyrolean (all of my fraternal relatives are from the same pastoral valley in Italy, the Val di Non). All of them emigrated to the same location in Pennsylvania. Therefore, they also are all buried within the Hazleton area in three local cemeteries. Quite extraordinarily, one small country cemetery in Weston, PA is the final resting place for one of my great-great grandmothers (Genetti-Genetti, yes this ancestor was a distant cousin to her husband), one of my great-great grandfathers (Battisti-Marchetti), two great-grandparents (Fellin-Marchetti) and numerous great and grand uncles, aunts and various distant cousins (Bott, Zambotti, Covi, etc). Since I’m related to many of the people buried in this cemetery, I have photographed most of the markers to help with my genealogy research. When Melissa wrote about her great-grandparents, I knew their graves were in the Weston cemetery and that I had a photograph of Joseph and Mary Genetti’s tombstone. But I had never put the pieces together to determine what their relationship was to my family. So I began searching  Ancestry.comFamilySearch.orgas well as my own personal files from Castelfondo for clues to Joseph and Mary’s origins.

The Genetti Family Tree

The Genetti Family Tree – Melissa’s 2nd great-grandparents, Giovanni Battista Genetti and Giula Segna, are located at the top, center one row down, right below the “TE” in Castelfondo.

This is what I found: Joseph F. (Melissa’s great-grandfather) was born in 1874 in Castelfondo, Austria (now Italy). He was baptized Francesco Giuseppe Genetti and had obviously Americanized his name when he emigrated to America in 1894. Joseph’s death certificate from 1937 listed his father’s name as Battista Genetti and his mother as Julia Segna.

That was the clue I needed! I whipped out my Genetti Family Tree and there they were – both of Joseph’s parents, Giovanni Battista Genetti (born in 1846)  and Giula Segna (born in 1853), married in Castelfondo in 1872. They were Melissa’s great-great grandparents. Their line on the tree had stopped with Battista and Giula, but now I knew it continued on in America with their son Joseph. Melissa had provided the missing link! It took only a few moments to trace both branches of the tree (hers and mine) to calculate that Melissa was my 5th cousin once removed! Our closest shared relative was Giovanni Battista Genetti, born in 1767 (my 4th great-grandfather and Melissa’s 5th great-grandfather). Yes we most certainly were related!

After this initial discovery, I settled in for a day of research to fill in the blanks (exact names and dates of Melissa’s male Genetti lineage along with their spouses). After a few hours of scanning the Castelfondo records, I found yet another surprise. Melissa’s 3rd great-grandmother, Cristina Battisti Genetti, and my 2nd great-grandmother, Rosalia Battisti Marchetti, were probably sisters! It appeared that they both had the same father, came from the same small village of Caverino, both had married men from Castelfondo and were only four years apart in age. All good signs that they were related. Although there are no records for Caverino before 1865, I thought it was a sound assumption that Cristina and Rosalia were either sisters or 1st cousins. If this were true, Melissa and I may also be 4th cousins once removed through the Battisti family! Unbelievably, I was related to Melissa through both my fraternal grandfather AND my fraternal grandmother!

To put it in other terms, my 2nd great-grandmother, Rosalia Battisti Marchetti, was Melissa’s great-grandfather’s grand-aunt. If we return to the same country cemetery in Weston, Pennsylvania where Joseph and Mary* are buried, we find a few rows away a headstone for Lorenzo Marchetti (my 2nd great-grandfather). On the headstone is a memorial to Lorenzo’s wife, Rosalia. She had died in Castelfondo at the young age of 42, just one year after delivering their eleventh child (who died in infancy). Several years after Rosalia’s death, Lorenzo emigrated to Pennsylvania with their six surviving children. Melissa’s great-grandfather, Joseph, never knew his grand-aunt Rosalia, since she died fours years before he was born. But now the memories of Rosalia and Joseph were tied together by the odd coincidence of their stone memorials being in the same unassuming cemetery in a new country. And, of course, by the inquisitive nature of their great-granddaughters!

My research of Melissa’s relatives has been added to the online Genetti family tree, resulting in twelve new ancestors and an extension of her branch into modern times. Many thanks to Melissa H. for acting “on a total whim” and contacting me. I feel it is always an honor when I add ancestors to our family genealogy. And a wonderful surprise when I connect with a new cousin!

To purchase a print of the original Genetti Family Tree, click here!

 

* Mary’s baptismal name was Maria Concetta Bertoldi.

 

  4 comments for “Another Amazing Genealogy Story

  1. brianlockman@comcast.net
    November 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Louise. Fascinating. Please let me know if you determine that great-great grandmother Rosalia Battista Marchetti had a sister. Thanks for your continuing hard work. Brian.

    • November 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Hi Brian,
      Thanks for the comment! I hope all is well with you. It may be hard to prove that Rosalia and Cristina are sisters, but I will keep trying. I have not been able to find any records online or as microfilm dating before 1865 for their village. Since both women were born and married before this date, there is no written documentation other than the Castelfondo baptismal records for their children. In all of these records, both Rosalia and Cristina are listed as being the daughter of “Giovanni Battisti” (not Battista) from Cavareno. Since I have found 7 baptismal records for Cristina’s children and 11 baptismal records for Rosalia’s children and they all contain the same paternal provenance of “Giovanni Battisti from Cavareno”, I’m fairly confident that this is the correct spelling of their last name and their birth place. Another similarity is that neither Rosalia or Cristina’s marriages are recorded in the Castelfondo records, although they both married men from this village. I believe both marriages took place in Cavareno (the village of the bride) and therefore would not be in the Castelfondo records. The couples then lived in their husband’s village of Castelfondo and raised their families there. And one more similarity that I find confusing, none of the baptismal records for any of the children mention Giovanni Battisti’s wife. By this time in almost all of the baptismal records the mother’s parents should have been listed in order to determine the full maternal provenance. We have no idea who Rosalia’s or Cristina’s mother was. If we knew this fact, we could determine for sure if they were sisters. And one last point – I have written to the parish in Cavareno (Santa Maria Maddalena) trying to learn if there are any earlier records, but never received a reply. However, from the records I have found, I am certain there were Battisti family living in Cavareno through 1911. The Cavareno records also show that there were no families by the surname of “Battista”. Therefore we can also conclude that Battisti was the correct surname of Rosalia and Cristina.

  2. November 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

    What a great find. I love it when information seems to fall in our laps. However it was your hard work that laid the ground that made this possible. Genealogy can be so much fun. Best of luck on your search.

    • November 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Thank you for writing. I’m thrilled whenever I can uncover new information about my family’s genealogy. It’s like being a history detective!

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