Genealogy doesn’t always follow a straight, clear path. Sometimes you start researching one branch of the family and before you know it, you’re lost in a maze of in-laws, family cross-overs and distant cousins leading to a completely different surname! Although often confusing, it’s worth the effort to travel down side streets, for they all contain a hidden surprise!
That’s exactly what happened to me during the past month. I was contacted by three different cousins, looking for info on their ancestors. Although indirectly related to the Genetti clan, I took on the task of researching their family connections and was amazed at what I discovered!
I knew most families who came from Castelfondo, Italy (Austria) were interrelated. It’s a small village and your choice of a marriage partner was usually limited. Marriages were often arranged between families and it was common for distant cousins to marry. By the time I finished putting together the puzzle pieces of this branch (which includes the surnames of Dallachiesa, Zambotti, Marchetti, Genetti, Ianes and Turri – all from Castelfondo) I had a clearer picture of just how complicated cousin connections can be when your family originates from a small town in the Italian Alps!
Since this is a long, complicated story … I’ll break it into several blog posts. You’ll soon see why!
First let’s start with Arleen Dallachiesa. Arleen contacted me back in June (see past blog post). She already had a good family genealogy mapped out and was wondering about the connection of her father Fred Dallachiesa to the Genetti family, since she believed Fred and Gus Genetti Sr. were cousins. It didn’t take long to find the connection – Fred’s grandmother was Maria Zambotti Dallachiesa (1854-1906), older sister to Gus’s mother Oliva Zambotti Genetti (1861-1938). Fred and Gus were first cousins, once removed. Plus Maria and Oliva’s grandmother, who married into the Zambotti family, was Maria Barbara Genetti (1796-1844), an ancestor of the Genetti branch who immigrated to Illinois. So Arleen was related to me twice, as a 3rd cousin through the Zambotti family and a 4th cousin through the Genetti family.
I decided to add Arleen’s great-grandparents, Maria Zambotti and Clemente Dallachiesa (1844-1905) to our online tree since they were related to the Genetti family through two different branches. Arleen and I kept in-touch for several months, solving a few mysteries and swapping research.
Then a month ago, I received a request through Ancestry.com from Melissa Stidom. She was looking for information on her 2nd great-grandfather, Clemente Dallachiesa. Wow, I thought, what were the chances of two cousins (who did not know each other) contacting me through the Dallachiesa family connection! I knew that Melissa was certainly related to Arleen! After counting the generations, I concluded Arleen and Melissa were 2nd cousins, once removed. Both were related through the Dallachiesa, Zambotti and Genetti families. This was just too much of a coincidence! I knew I had to dig deeper into our shared family connections – and that’s when my research took an unusual turn down a new road of discovery!
To be continued …