Month: April 2015

Family Memories from Jean Branz Daly


Standing: Jean Branz Daly and Leona Zambotti (daughter of Tillie). Seated: Ann Genetti McNelis, Tillie Genetti Zambotti and Catherine Branz La Porte (Jean’s sister), 1977.

During the past year I’ve met many family members through email correspondence. A few weeks after our site was launched in July of 2014, I received an email  from Regina Branz Daly. Jean, as she is called, introduced herself as the granddaughter of Oliva and Damiano Genetti. She was excited about the website and wanted to contribute her own memories and photos. I’m always thrilled when a cousin contacts me with information for our family website. And so began our year-long correspondence.

Jean is 84 years old and of the same generation as my father. Matter-of-fact, Jean and my father were first cousins – they were born just two days apart! She remembers playing together as children. Over the past ten months we have written back and forth, shared family stories, and have become good friends. Since Jean was my father’s 1st cousin and the common relatives we share are Oliva and Damiano Genetti (Jean’s grandparents and my great-grandparents), but I am of the next younger generation – our official relationship is “1st cousin, once removed”.

This past month I compiled all of Jean’s stories and photos, with contributions from her sister Catherine, into a Family Memory Page. You can now find this lovely personal memoir under the Gallery section of the Genetti website – click on the Family Stories link to find the page. Jean, her sister Catherine, and I look forward to our continuing correspondence. We will be adding more stories and photos in the future to their ongoing memoir.

My sincerest thanks to both of the Branz sisters for sharing their little corner of our family history. In their memories, I have found many personal connections to my Pennsylvania Tyrolean family as I’m sure you will too! Click here for a direct link to Family Memories by Regina “Jean” Branz Daly.

On a final note, if you have a parent or grandparent, take a few moments and talk with them about family history. Ask them about their childhood, their parents and the town that they grew up in. Beyond dates and stats, it is the ancestral stories that matter most. Today the sages of the Genetti family are Jean’s generation. They link the memories of past and present. Don’t let this opportunity to connect with your ancestry slip away. Ask your father or grandmother a few questions, than document your conversation with a family journal, photographs and video. Your children will cherish the legacy you have created as will future generations when they look back at the words and images of their great great grandparents.


Special Note: If you are interested in preserving families memories, I have added three new books to our online Bookstore with advise on how to create a treasured family memoir. Click here to find out more and scroll to the bottom of the page.


New Book – The Tyroleans: A Journey of Hope

TheTyroleansJust added to our family Book Store – a lively account of a Tyrolean emigrant family. Read my review:

The Tyroleans: A Journey of Hope, A true story of a remarkable people and their emigration to America, (this is an Amazon affiliate link, click on title for information or to purchase), by David A. Prevedel, published in 2010. Available as a paperback through Amazon, price: $17.95. The minute you open this book, you know it’s a labor of love and a tribute to the author’s Tyrolean roots. David’s grandparents, (Giuseppe and Ester Rauzi, Floriano and Angelina Prevedel), all emigrated from the Val di Non in Austria (Italy). They, along with many other families from the villages of Brez, Castelfondo, Traversara, Fondo, Cloz and Tret, settled in Wyoming. At first they worked the coal mines in Superior and Rock Springs. After saving enough money, many families moved to Utah, becoming farmers and opening businesses. The author draws inspiration from in-person interviews conducted over the years with his Tyrolean relatives, friends and their descendants. Mr. Prevedel weaves family stories together with historical details, to create a lively and sometimes, humorous portrayal of Tyrolean immigrants building a new life in America. He touches upon the origin and history of Tyrol, as well as the affect World War I had on the people of the Val di Non. Continuing to Wyoming and Utah, the author provides a glimpse into life during the 1920’s and 30’s, Prohibition, the Great Depression, becoming an American citizen, the role World War II played in the lives of Tyrolean immigrants, and the post war years. Not only did I find Mr. Prevedel’s book warmly human and heartfelt, but this small volume truly captures the reality our Tyrolean ancestors experienced in a new land. Sprinkled throughout “The Tyroleans“, I recognized many surnames from my own research and from our Genetti family tree: Corazza, Menghini, Anselmi, Rauzi, Segna, Cologna and yes, even Genetti. Matter-of-fact, I believe David Prevedal’s book has provided a new clue to another branch of our family I have yet to research. I thoroughly enjoyed this touching memorial to a Tyrolean family and highly recommend it to anyone with ancestral roots in the Val di Non.

Stop by our online family Book Store to see all of our selections, click here!

Shop for family mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, glassware and family tree prints at our online Genetti Shop, click here!

The Mystery of Giuseppe Genetti

My great-grandfather, Damiano Genetti (1857-1944), had three brothers and three sisters who survived to adulthood. All of his siblings emigrated to the United States with the exception of his oldest brother, Sisinio Alessandro (1854-1908), who stayed in the village of Castelfondo. He passed away at the age of 53 of tuberculosis. From the perspective of genealogy, we know quite a bit about Damiano and his siblings since they all left a trail of documentation: census, vital stats (birth, marriage, death records), land deeds, family photos, newspaper articles, etc. Every sibling except for one – Giuseppe Genetti (or Joseph in English).


Giuseppe Genetti’s baptismal record from Castelfondo, Austria (Italy)

When I began our family research a number of years ago, I was told stories about Giuseppe. He had emigrated to Pennsylvania at a young age, worked in the coal mines, and one day left for California. His family never heard from him again. No one knew if he had any descendants, when he died or where he was buried. And there seemed to be no existing portraits of Giuseppe. Since I love a good mystery, my great granduncle, Joseph, became an ongoing research project that I have returned to time and time again throughout the years.


Ship manifest from 1882 – Joseph Genetti is listed on the 2nd half of the document, 14th name from the bottom.

I had two documents for Giuseppe that I felt certain of: his baptismal record from St. Nicolo church in Castelfondo stating that he was born July 30, 1862 and a ship’s manifest showing his arrival in New York City on June 19, 1882. The ship’s list showed that Joseph came over with two other young men of his village, Fortunato and Peter Ianas (both of whom I have identified in Castelfondo baptismal records.) And that’s as far as I got!

He does not appear in any Federal Census, city directories, land deeds, marriage records or death notices under either Giuseppe or Joseph Genetti.

As much as I searched, the only clue to Joseph’s whereabouts was a mention in the obituaries of his sisters, Marie Genetti Zambotti and Angela Genetti Recla. Both obits state surviving family members and siblings, including “Joseph Genetti of California”.

Imagine my surprise when last month I received a photo from Don Lingousky identified as “Uncle Joe”. Don is the great-grandson of Angela Genetti Recla (sister of Joseph). After years of searching, here was an actual portrait of my mysterious great granduncle! What clues would it hold?

uncle joe

Studio portrait of Giuseppe “Uncle Joe” Genetti – photographed sometime in the early 1900’s.

After a little investigative work, Don and I determined that this must indeed be a portrait of the missing Giuseppe (Joseph), since we could find no evidence of a Joseph on the Recla side of Don’s family. Obviously a studio portrait, the image also contained the name of the photographer: L.C. Marchetti. This was another amazing clue! Searching online I found several formal portraits photographed in the early 1900’s by the same L.C. Marchetti who was from Nuremberg, Pennsylvania. At this time the Genetti siblings all lived in the same region of north central PA in the towns of Weston, Nuremberg, Hazleton and Sheppton, as did many Tyrolean families who immigrated from the Val di Non region of Austria (Italy).

Since my grandmother was from the Marchetti family of Nuremberg, PA, I took a look at her family tree. There was my answer – she had an older brother named Lawrence Camillo Marchetti. He must have been L.C. Marchetti since no other Marchetti ancestors matched those initials. Lawrence would have known the other Tyrolean families and was probably the only photographer at this time in the area. Giuseppe may have had a formal portrait taken in Nuremberg before leaving on his travels. Judging from the dates on other portraits by L.C. Marchetti that I found, the time frame was most likely between 1900-1910. Since Don was in possession of the photo, it had apparently been handed down through Angela Genetti Recla’s family (Joseph’s sister). So from this evidence, we now know that Giuseppe (Joseph) was living in Pennsylvania at least until the turn of the century, that he had contact with his family before seeking his fortune elsewhere, and that he most likely lived with or close to them since the portrait was done in Nuremberg.


Payroll list from the Southern Pacific Company – Salt Lake Division, dated Aug. 1916. Joe Genetti is the 16th name on the list.

I was so grateful to Don for providing this unexpected find! The information we had gleaned from the portrait now gave me some idea of a timeline for Joseph. Again I went back to searching hundreds of online records for any inkling of his whereabouts. Taking a different tactic, I researched categories and scanned through individual data bases, rather than doing a general search under records. After two weeks of research, I found one document with promise – although there is no hard evidence that this is our Joseph Genetti. What I came upon was a California payroll sheet from the Southern Pacific Company – Salt Lake Division dated August of 1916. It shows a Joe Genetti who worked as a laborer for eleven and a half days during this month, earning $2.00 a day, for a total paycheck of $23.50. Not much info to go on!

I was aware of a Genetti family who had eventually settled in Utah, but they don’t show up in the Federal Census until much later in 1940. There was also a Genetti family living in California as early as the 1900 Census, but none that matched Joseph’s name, birth year or immigration year. Since the Southern Pacific was a railroad company, this could mean that he worked the rails and had no permanent address – if indeed, it is the same Giuseppe (Joseph) Genetti that we are looking for. With no other collaborating evidence, this may be hard to prove.

For now, it is the end of the line for Giuseppe. As more data bases are digitized, we may come upon new clues in the future. Or, like Don’s portrait of “Uncle Joe”, information may unexpectedly surface from a family member’s closet or attic. If you are reading this blog post and have information, stories, letters or documents about Giuseppe (Joseph) Genetti born in 1862 in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy), we would love to hear from you!

Our special thanks to Don Lingouski for your help and contribution to our family story.

You can read the full obituaries of Angela Genetti Recla and Maria Genetti Zambotti (click on their names).

And visit our Photograph Page to see our large collection of family portraits (including Giuseppe Genetti). Click here!

Finding Family News and Interesting Cousins with Google Alerts

You’re probably wondering how I find family news to post on our genealogy website. With thousands of Genetti descendants living throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Australia – it’s not easy. Sometimes family members send me email updates, other times I see newsy posts on FaceBook from relatives I have “friended”. Another technique I like to use for “staying in the know” and discovering new Genetti cousins is Google Alerts. Through my Google account, I’ve set up an “Alert” for the word “Genetti”. When Google searches the web and finds current news or relevant publications containing the word “Genetti” in the text, I receive an email with a link to the online story. If I think the information is newsworthy and it also pertains to a Genetti descendant, I’ll pass it on to you in the form of a blog post.


Photo from

That’s how I found this interesting article, “Tiny Houses, Big Plans” about LightWorks, a community-based company created by Frank Genetti. The Google Alert for this article showed up a few days ago in my email inbox. I won’t go into details, since you can read the article for yourself, but here’s the gist of it: Frank Genetti has a plan to help the homeless and change the world – one tiny house at a time. I love this concept and the mission he has created for addressing positive, self-sustaining and lasting social change. That’s why I’m sharing it with you today as a blog post. Without going into my own personal philosophy, I believe it’s important to give back to the community and Frank is doing just that.

But before I could post this article, I needed to find out – who is Frank Genetti and is he related to our family? I had not heard of this gentleman, so it was necessary to find a few clues before beginning the investigative process.

The article states: “A former golden boy running back at Cal-Berkeley who then went into business and lived the high life in California, Genetti eventually came back to earth. With a thud. Personal and family issues nearly consumed him. Cancer coursing through his body almost killed him. But through it all, he’s emerged a deeply spiritual man whose focus is squarely on others.” Wow – that was an amazing, short description that told me a lot about Frank. But was he actually related to the Genetti clan from Castelfondo, Italy?

The Genetti Family Tree

The Genetti Family Tree

I knew exactly who to contact. Five years ago I met a fellow genealogist through named Alexandra Genetti. Her husband, Michael, is a descendant of the Genetti family who originally emigrated  from Castelfondo to Wyoming. His family then moved on to California. If you look at the original family tree pictured here, you’ll find the branch of the Wyoming Genettis in the lower right corner. I knew Alexandra was an amazing genealogist who had thoroughly researched her husband’s family and had shared information with me in the past. If Frank was related to the California Genettis, Alexandra would know. I sent her an email request for info and within a day I had my answer.

TreeCloseupYes, Frank Genetti was related to the Wyoming/California branch of the Genettis. His grandfather was Francesco Giacinto Genetti, brother to Michael’s grandfather, Enrico Genetti. Their family patriarch was Angelo Genetti (1859 – 1946 ) born in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy). Frank and Michael share great-grandparents, Angelo and Teresa Marchetti, making them 2nd cousins.

Unfortunately, I have yet to research this branch of the Genettis and their information still needs to be added to our online family tree. They trace their roots back to the very first main branches, where our tree splits between two brothers: Pietro (born 1594) and Andrea (born 1597). My ancestors originate through Pietro’s branch and the Wyoming Genetti clan are descendants of Andrea Genetti. I certainly have it on my to-do list to tackle this large section of our tree! Particularly since I have also found at least two intermarriages between this branch of the family and mine. (Many thanks to Alexandra for her meticulous research.)

And so we would like to welcome cousin Frank Genetti and applaud your vision for creating a better world! I hope we hear from you soon, along with more information about your uplifting endeavors.

To read the article “Tiny House, Big Plans” – click here!

Remember to “like” our family page on FaceBook – click here!

Learn more about Alexandra Genetti: artist, author and expert on the Tarot – click here!

And if you are a Genetti descendant and would like to friend me, I can be found on FaceBook under the name “Louise Genetti Roach”.

You can order your own copy of the original Genetti Family Tree at our online shop – click here!

A Surprising Discovery!

The Genetti Family Tree

The Genetti Family Tree

About a week ago, I broke through a genealogy brick wall that had blocked my research for some time on a particular branch of my direct line. The results were a surprising discovery that shocked even me! Here’s the story.

For the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time researching the Genetti family that settled in Illinois. This branch of the tree has many unusual stories with plot twists that have captured my interest. The descendants I’ve worked with are distant cousins that I’m related to twice since one set of their Genetti great-grandparents were fourth cousins. Usually I’ve found our kindred relationship to be eighth cousins through Cipriano Genetti (1811-1890) and fifth cousins, once or twice removed through his wife Catterina Genetti (1812-1875). When you look at our family tree pictured above, their family is located on the far left bottom corner and my family occupies the far right branches located half way up from the bottom right corner.

As I sat at my desk last week, researching ancestors and checking against the tree hanging on the wall before me, something caught my eye and clicked in my brain.

Oliva 1920s-b

Oliva Zambotti Genetti

To understand my discovery, we need to switch gears and talk about my great-grandmother, Oliva Zambotti. She married Damiano Genetti in 1886. I had worked on the Zambotti genealogy stretching back to the early 1700’s, but always hit a wall when it came to Oliva’s grandmother, Barbara Genetti (my 3rd great-grandmother) who married Alessandro Zambotti. Yes her maiden name was also Genetti! Up until this point, I had found no information on Barbara’s parents, Giovanni Battista Genetti (1767-1811) and Maria Domenica Corazza (1776-1854). Nor was I able to go back any further in this ancestral line. I assumed they were from the Genetti family with roots in the villages of Fondo or Dambel – a distant relation to the Castelfondo Genettis, with our common ancestor existing sometime before the mid-1500s.

As I studied the family tree that afternoon, I realized I had been looking for Barbara’s parents in the wrong place. There before me I saw their names. Giovanni Battista Genetti and Maria Dominica Corazza (my 4th great-grandparents) were ancestors of the Illinois Genetti family and on their branch of the tree! I had been researching Giovanni and Maria all along for their descendants and never made the connection. That means my 4th great-grandparents through my Zambotti great-grandmother were also the 4th great-grandparents for many of the Illinois Genetti descendants – they were the same people! My great-grandmother, Oliva, was first cousins, once removed with their Illinois patriarch in America, Vigilio Genetti. Oliva’s grandmother, Barbara Genetti Zambotti, was Vigilio’s aunt!

This changed everything! I was shocked at first, as I never considered that my Zambotti line had a Genetti ancestor from the 1700’s (although there have been four Genetti-Zambotti marriages in my family since 1886, including my great-grandparents).

Since Barbara Genetti’s parents (with their very long genealogy) were already part of my online family tree, I simple plugged in my great-grandmother Oliva’s connection and she instantly had Genetti ancestors going back to the 1400’s – sharing five ancestors from 1650 to 1491 with her husband Damiano. This means that my great-grandparents are 5th cousins, once removed – and Oliva is actually 6th cousins with her own children!

Getting back to the Illinois clan, I am related to Vigilio’s descendants through both of my great-grandparents – and through four common ancestors – Pietro Genetti 1650-1706, Giovanni Battista Genetti 1746-1807, Giovanni Battista Genetti 1767-1854 and Domenica Corazza 1776-1854. For many of Vigilio’s descendants, I am their 5th cousin (3 times!) as well as their 8th cousin. I wonder what our DNA results would look like? What kind of match could be determined by having so many common relatives? If anyone from the Illinois Genetti family would like to have their DNA tested through (where my DNA results are based), let me know. I’m sure it would be absolutely fascinated to see the results!

If you are interested in purchasing a fine art print of the Genetti Family Tree, stop by our Shop for details on how to order your own piece of our ancestry. Click here!



New Photos Added


Erminia and Emmanuel Recla with their family. Children are Ralph, Elaine (in lap), Catherine (standing), Esther, Marie and Emma.
Spokane, WA – 1914.

Thank you to Mary Russell for sending me two family photos. Mary is the great-granddaughter of Erminia Enrica Genetti Recla.

The youngest child of Leone and Cattarina Genetti, Erminia was born in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy) in the year 1876. She arrived in America in 1890 at the age of 13. The ship’s passenger list shows that she traveled with her big brother Damiano, who escorted her across the ocean and then returned to his family in Castelfondo.


Marie Recla and her husband Harry Pettis – early 1920’s.

Since most of Erminia’s large family was already living in Pennsylvania, she was not alone. Her older sister Angela, had married a young man by the name of Raphael Recla in 1887. Angela must have introduced her little sister to Raphael’s brother, because a few years later in 1893 Erminia married Emmanuel Recla. The couple set-up housekeeping in Shepton, PA near Angela and Raphael, where their first two children were born. By 1897 they were living in Michigan and five more children followed. The family moved again around 1907 to Spokane, Washington and four more children were added to the large family. Of Erminia and Emmanuel’s eleven children, eight survived to adulthood.

Erminia passed away in 1972 at the ripe old age of 95. She was laid to rest next to Emmanuel (who passed away in 1939) in Holy Cross Cemetery – Spokane, WA. Erminia was the last surviving sibling of her family.

The interesting part of this story is that I met Mary Russell, Erminia’s great-granddaughter, through when our DNA results came up as a match. Mary’s test results matched mine as “extremely high probability for 3rd or 4th cousins”. And sure enough, our “shared ancestor hint” correctly predicted that we shared common 2nd great-grandparents, Leone and Cattarina Genetti. Our great-grandparents, Erminia and Damiano, were siblings. This made Mary and I third cousins. I’m so glad that science brought us together and I have yet another lovely person to call cousin!

And one more twist to the story – I recently worked on an ancestral genealogy for Don Lingousky, the great-grandson of Angela Genetti Recla (see blog post from March 26, 2015). Don had emailed me directly, providing information and photos for our family tree. Since Don and Mary shared both a Genetti and a Recla ancestor (two Genetti sisters marrying two Recla brothers) and they were both interested in their family’s genealogy, it was only natural that they should meet. After several emails between the three of us, Don and Mary are now working on their Recla ancestry together. As it turns out – Don, Mary and I are all third cousins through the Genetti family. Don and Mary are also third cousins through the Recla family – therefore they are twice related. I bet they share a very interesting DNA match!

Make sure to visit our ever-growing Photograph page in the Gallery section of The Genetti Family Genealogy Project. You might also enjoy reading about the Genetti clan on our Family Stories page.