Month: July 2015

What Can a Death Certificate Tell You?

Leone A. Genetti

Leon A. Genetti

I’ve been thinking about this post for some time. A few months ago I decided to research all death certificates related to my immediate family. Now this might not sound like a pleasant task, but from a genealogy perspective a death certificate can yield a wealth of information. Unfortunately, not all states have their records readily available through online data bases. However, the state of Pennsylvania has recently published their death certificates online for the years 1906 through 1963. Since most of my family settled, lived and died in Pennsylvania, it was easy to track down this information at

What can a Certificate of Death tell us? If the information is properly and correctly notated, you’ll find the following: name of parents, name of spouse, age and date of birth, birthplace, occupation, social security number, address, cause of death, and a number of other interesting facts about this person. The info provided can be extremely beneficial, filling in unknown gaps in your ancestor’s genealogical record. My reason for researching family death certificates was a bit more personal.

I wanted to check the Medical Certificate section of the death records along with the cause of death. Although I am reasonably still young and in good health, there have been a few health-related issues present on my most recent annual check-ups (high cholesterol and high glucose levels). I wanted to see if heredity was playing a role in elevating my health stats.

Leon Genetti

Pennsylvania Certificate of Death,
Leon Genetti – 1962
click to enlarge

It didn’t take long to track down the Certificates of Death for both of my fraternal grandparents (Leon Genetti and Angeline Marchetti) and three great-grandparents (Oliva Zambotti Genetti, Giovanni Battista Marchetti and Catterina Lucia Fellin Marchetti). As I suspected, heart-related issues and diabetes were listed as contributing factors of death on four out of five of their certificates. Our genetic make-up is a veritable vegetable soup of inherited DNA snippets! And my DNA was most likely hard-wired with an increased probability towards heart disease and Type II diabetes.

Although I wasn’t particularly happy to read this news, it confirmed that my genetic make-up needed to be taken into account when making personal health decisions such as altering my diet, exercise, etc.

Curious about health issues and the reason of death for your ancestors? Gaining this knowledge could be a great asset to your own health and well-being. If you’re a member of, take advantage of their huge card catalog of searchable data bases. So far they include Death indexes for Pennsylvania, Texas, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, with more records being added daily. If you don’t have access to, drop me an email with the name of the ancestor you are looking for, along with their date of death and place of death. If their Certificate of Death is available online, I’ll find it for you.

If the record is not posted online, an alternative method is to contact the county or state vital records office in the place where the death of your ancestor took place. They will provide you with a hard copy of their death certificate.

Need more info? Here’s a page by legal experts, NOLO, on “How to Get a Death Certificate“.

A Zambotti Cousin

Maria and Clemente Dallachiesa and family.

Maria Zambotti Dallachiesa (1854-1906) and Clemente Dallachiesa (1844-1905), married 1875. Family portrait, circa. 1887-1888, photographed in Tyrol. Children (left to right): Giuseppe?, Olivia, Maria, and Pietro? (The boys were only 2 years apart and are about the same height, not sure which is the older boy, but it is assumed the first born son would be placed next to his father). The older, seated woman is most likely Clemente’s mother, Barbara Marchetti.

A month ago, I received an email from a sharp-eyed visitor to our website named Arleen Dallachiesa. She had spotted an error on our Photograph page. The labeling of one name on the large group photo taken in front of the old hotel in Weston, PA was incorrect, since it happened to be her great-aunt. She also remembered the hotel from her childhood.

Arleen wrote to me: “It is my understanding that my grandfather Fortunato (Tuno) Dallachiesa and Gus Genetti were cousins.” Since I knew Dallachiesa was a common family surname in Castelfondo and that the family had emigrated to the same area of Pennsylvania as the Genettis, I was fairly sure Arleen was correct in her assumption. But neither Arleen nor I new the common link between our families.

When I arrived home from my travels, I went to work sifting through family trees. Arleen had provided me with the names of her great-grandparents, Clemente Dallachiesa and Maria Zambotti. It only took a moment to find the connection through the Zambotti family. Arleen’s great-grandmother, Maria, and my great-grandmother, Oliva, were sisters. That would make Maria and Oliva’s children first cousins. Arleen’s father, Fred, was Maria’s grandson. Therefore, yes, Fred Dallachiesa and Gus Genetti were first cousins, once removed because Gus’s mother and Fred’s grandmother were sisters.



Oliva 1920s-b

Oliva Zambotti Genetti

Then I had another surprise for Arleen – she was also distantly related to a different branch of the Genetti tree! Here is my email to Arleen explaining the results of my research:

Louise to Arleen, July 12, 2015 – I have a number of surprises for you. Yes we are related, but not how you think. Your great-grandmother Maria Zambotti Dallachiesa and my great-grandmother Oliva Zambotti Genetti were sisters. Oliva married Damiano Genetti who was the founder of the Genetti Markets. Maria and Oliva had another sister, Lucia, who married Damiano’s brother, Rafaele. “Ralph” and Lucia were the owners of the hotel located in Weston pictured on our Photo page! That means you and I are cousins through the Zambotti family. Our shared relatives are Alessandro Zambotti (1825-1906) and Maria Covi (1831-1900), our 2nd great-grandparents. That makes you and I – 3rd cousins! You are also 3rd cousins with the great-grandchildren of Ralph and Lucia Genetti (as am I).

Lucia Covi-Zambotti

Lucia Zambotti Genetti

Now here comes another surprise that is a little more confusing. Maria’s grandmother (Alessandro Zambotti’s mother and our 3rd great-grandmother) was Maria Barbara Genetti (1796-1844). She went by the name of Barbara and was the daughter of Giovanni Battista Genetti (1776-1811) and Domineca Corazza (1776-1854). The descendants of this branch of the Genetti family emigrated to Illinois, and many of them still live there today. So you (as well as I) are also distantly related to this branch of the Genetti family. I have been in contact with many of these descendants and my relationship to most of them is 5th cousin or 5th cousin once removed. Isn’t that a lot to wrap your head around! Therefore, you are related to both the Zambotti and Genetti family through two different lineages. (end of email text)

I then asked Arleen if she had a photo of her great-grandmother. Yes she did, and now we have the three Zambotti sisters together in one blog post! Arleen’s family portrait also brought up questions as to the exact date of the photo and who was the older woman seated in the middle. The answers took a few hours of digging through San Nicolo baptismal and death records, but I believe we came up with a plausible theory. Here’s what I wrote Arleen:

Louise to Arleen, July 13, 2015 – I believe the photo was taken between April 1887 and April 1888. Maria and Clemente’s daughter Angela died on 5 April 1887 at the age of 2 years old and is not in the photo. Also their son Valentino, who was born on 8 April 1888, was not in the photo. Therefore, the portrait was most likely photographed during 1887-1888 due to the absence of both children. Maria and Clemente probably wanted a portrait of their family since they had already lost two children by this time.

I believe the older woman is Clemente’s mother, Barbara Marchetti. Here’s why: both mothers of Clemente and Maria (Barbara and Maria) were alive at the time this portrait was photographed. There is no husband in the photo, so we can assume that he has passed away and probably the mother now lives with one of her children. Since Barbara’s husband, Pietro, died young in 1855, and Maria’s husband, Alessandro, was alive at the time this photo was taken, the logical conclusion would be that Barbara was a widow and living with her son Clemente and his family. And of course, a live-in Nona would be included in the family portrait. (end of email text)

Arleen agreed with my deductive reasoning. Although we didn’t have concrete evidence for our questions, I think we came close to the correct answers.

Another amazing cousin story! And here’s one more little twist to our tale: Arleen’s great-uncle Pietro (Peter) Dallachiesa (Maria and Clemente’s oldest son) is getting married in the group photo found on our Photograph page that originally caught Arleen’s attention. And my seventeen-year-old grandmother (Angeline Marchetti Genetti) is standing just two steps behind Peter in the photo! Such a small world – a hundred years later, descendants of the ancestors pictured in this photo have found each other and are now corresponding!

Thanks so much for writing to us Arleen. It’s always thrilling to discover a new cousin. Your small comment helped unlock more clues to in our ever-growing ancestral puzzle.

If you would like to read my earlier post about Barbara Genetti and the startling discovery of my 3rd great-grandparents, click here.

Have a comment, story or question about the Genetti family? Email me at and I will do my best to reply. Who knows what secrets we will unlock together!

Until next time … ciao, ciao!


A Recent Comment

Leone and Angeline (Marchetti) Genetti. Probably photographed early 1950's.

Leone and Angeline (Marchetti) Genetti. Probably photographed early 1950’s.

Last week I received a charming comment from William Santini on the Photograph Page of our Gallery Section. I was delighted that William was writing about my grandparents, Leone and Angeline Genetti! Since comments are often overlooked, I have re-posted his message below along with my response. It’s wonderful that other American Tyrolean families are stopping by The Genetti Family Genealogy Project to enjoy our shared heritage. Thank you William – your memories are much appreciated!

William Santini – July 5, 2015: “Our grandfather, Martin Santini, was close friends of Leon and Angeline Genetti. My brother Richard and I remember from the late 50’s and 60’s being with our grandparents in Hazleton, at their home for a polenta party, visiting the Genetti market, going to a coal mining area where there was a smoldering underground fire from a collapsed mine and even a trip o the Saint Lawrence with them and our grandparents. We have some photos somewhere. My grandmother was from the Fellin family, also from Hazleton. Several of the Fellin sisters married some of the Santini brothers. There was a Fellin family reunion held in the 70’s at your motel and catered by your family. Any one have some knowledge of those old days? We remember how close friends our grandparents were with Leon and his wife Angeline. Your polenta was different from what my grandparents made – you used chestnut flour as part of your mixture. I talk too much. We would love to hear from your family.”

Louise Genetti Roach – July 5, 2015: “Hi William, thank you for writing such a wonderful comment! I am the granddaughter of Leon and Angeline Genetti and also have fond memories of my Nona and Nono. Unfortunately I was just a young child when they passed away in the early 60’s. But my parents started their marriage living in the apartment above my grandparents’ home and I often spent afternoons with them until the age of five. I remember my Nona showing me how she made polenta pie in a big, black cast iron skillet and my Nono making Tyrolean sausage in the basement then hanging it on hooks in his walk-in refrigerator. We are most likely related since Angeline’s mother (my great-grandmother) was also a Fellin. I would guess that your grandmother and my grandmother were probably first or second cousins. The Genetti Hotel in Hazleton was first owned by Gus Genetti Sr., brother to Leon. His son Bill Genetti then took it over in the 70’s. Bill and I are first cousins, once removed since he is from my father’s generation. The hotel was recently sold and Bill has now retired. There are not many of the older family left – only one of Leon and Angeline’s children is still alive, my Uncle Leon who still lives in Hazleton. My grandfather had eight siblings, the last passed away in 2005 at the age of 102 (Angela Maria Genetti McNelis). There are only about ten surviving children from my father’s generation (their children). Please fell free to email me directly at It would be interesting to find out if we have a common Fellin ancestor. If you send me info on your Fellin lineage (names and birth dates) I might be able to find the link. I can trace the Fellin family back four generations beginning with my great-grandmother Catterina Lucia Fellin. I look forward to hearing from you.”

The Genetti Family sends their best wishes to the Santini and Fellin families! If anyone would like to contact William Santini directly, please write me and I will provide you with his email address.

Did you know that you can leave a comment at the end of every page found on The Genetti Family Genealogy Project and on individual blog posts? Just scroll to the bottom of a page and type in the box labeled “Leave a Reply”. As webmaster, your message will first be emailed to me. I check each comment to make sure it’s not “spam” and then approve it to be posted on the site. So far, our most popular page for comments is the Photograph Page.You can also share any page on a social network by using the share buttons found at the bottom of each page. Sharing can be done through WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Stop by and leave a comment on your favorite family page. Others will appreciate your insights, memories and opinions!


Something to Think About


Damiano and Oliva Genetti on their wedding day (the webmaster’s great-grandparents).

I just had one of those “a-hah” moments that lit up my brain while doing research:

I am here today because of the choices and decisions made by my 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 – 2nd great-grandparents and 32 – 3rd great grandparents. Amazing when you think of it … the decisions you make today with your children will affect your great-great-great grandchildren in the future! That’s awe-inspiring!


I Have Returned!

Louise and Michael visiting Ireland, standing in front of the ancient tomb at New Grange.

Louise and Michael visiting Ireland, standing in front of the ancient tomb at New Grange.

It’s been awhile since I wrote a new post, but I’m back and ready to dig into our Genetti genealogy! For the past six weeks I’ve been adventuring in Ireland with my husband, Michael. We had a grand time hiking through the Irish countryside, chatting it up with new-found friends, exploring ancient ruins, and generally “having craic” (pronounced ‘crack’) – the Irish expression for having a good time.

Since part of my husband’s lineage is Irish, we also conducted a bit of informal genealogy research on the Roach surname (originally spelled Roche) wherever we wandered. During conversations with local people we met, tour guides or museum historians, I always mentioned the Roach name. Everyone recognized it as a prominent Irish surname originating in County Cork, but I learned very little beyond this.

Deciding to take matters into my own hands, one evening I searched Google for ancestral leads. Prior to our trip, my husband had conducted his own family research on Michael was confident of his American lineage stretching back to the late 1790’s. But he found no ancestor that linked his 3rd great-grandfather, John Jacob Roach born in 1802 in New Jersey, back to Ireland. In genealogy research, this is called “a brick wall”. Unfortunately for Irish descendants, it is a common problem since many records were destroyed during numerous uprisings throughout Irish history. And later, records of Irish immigrants were burned during the American War of 1812.

Luckily my research skills quickly paid off! I came across a goldmine of genealogy information about the Roche/Roach/Roache clan in a blog published by Jim Roache called Roche Lineages. Michael’s ancestral roots were indeed planted in County Cork, with the arrival of two brothers to the island in the year 1167. The brothers had been knighted and granted land in Cork. I soon found another surprise – the Roche family was actually Flemish. (According to Wikipedia, the Flemish were a Germanic ethnic group who spoke Dutch and lived in the northern region of modern-day Belgium.) The family first settled in Wales over a thousand years ago before moving on to Ireland. According to Jim’s findings, they were not Irish in origin but transplants that came with the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172 – a true surprise! To learn if Michael is connected to the original Roche family from County Cork, he’ll need to take a Y-chromosome DNA test and enter it into theRoach, Roche, Roch Surname Group. This surname project was established by Peter Roche through Family Tree DNA to collect Y-chromosome results from males having the last name of Roach or any of its similar spellings. Positive DNA matches with existing members in the group will link Michael to a specific branch of the family and perhaps connect him with distant cousins throughout the world. Very exciting indeed!

Jim Roache’s blog contained a good deal more information in the form of an ancestral timeline. He had compiled info on every person, event and date he could find belonging to the Roach family of Country Cork and published it all in one large PDF document. Impressive! I was intrigued by this genealogical presentation. The thought occurred to me that a similar timeline might work for the Genetti family.

Over the years I have accumulated a vast amount of ancestral information on our family, including births, marriages, deaths, news articles and other interesting tidbits. How to organize and assemble all of these facts into one easy-to-read, searchable document had been a problem. Perhaps a timeline was the right solution! By compiling statistics from the original records of Castelfondo, Trentino (our ancestral village) along with our modern family stats, a document could be created that consolidated all information from every branch of the family in one place. Plus by using a digital format for the Timeline, new information would be easy to add and publish as future revised issues.

So you guessed it – this will be my next family project! My vision is to establish a Genetti Family Timeline as a concise archive to be enjoyed by today’s family members and for use by future generations in their own genealogy research. It will be a document that can be passed down from one generation to the next. A tall order to tackle, but my genealogist heart is doing back- flips! Yes, this is a project that I can really dig into and continue to develop!

I’ll keep you posted as to the progress of our Genetti Family Timeline.

Before I close … a big thank you to all the great folks who emailed me while I was traveling. I’ll be getting back to you as soon as I can to compare notes, share DNA test results and chat about our family connections. I may even share your messages here at our blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and participate in The Genetti Family Genealogy Project!