Month: June 2016

Come to the Reunion! Represent your Branch of the Tree!


Genetti Reunion 1992 – Hazleton, PA

Gosh – I’m getting so excited about the Genetti Family Reunion 2016! I’ve heard from many cousins who are planning to attend. How about you?

We hope every branch of our family tree will be represented at this reunion. Are you a leaf from the Wyoming limb or a twig from the Illinois bough? Do you hail from Michigan, Texas, California or Utah? Maybe you are a descendant of the Pennsylvania Genetti family. And ciao to our Italian cousins – we would love to have you as an honored guest, representing our ancestral home of Castelfondo.

Time is slipping by! Start making plans for your hotel and travel arrangements today! If you are one of the lucky family members who live in or around the Hazleton area – you have no excuse! You are only a short drive away. Come meet, visit and hug your cousins – cousins that represent every branch of our amazing family tree!

Remember – the dates are October 7th – 9th, held at the Genetti Ballrooms, 1345 N. Church St., Hazle Township, Pennsylvania.

Check out new updates to our Reunion Page, click here!
(We’ve added a description for the DNA Workshop to be held on Saturday afternoon and a page listing door/raffle prizes and a special auction to be held!)

Download your Reunion Reservation form, click here!

Photos from the Past

Pietro Zambotti and Leon Genetti

Pietro Zambotti and Leon Genetti,
photographed in Hazleton, PA, 1908

Sometimes clues to our past find us in the most unexpected ways. I belong to a Facebook group administered by Giovanni Marchetti. “Chei da Chastelfon” posts photos, stories and history about our ancestral village of Castelfondo. I love seeing photographs of ancient family homes, San Nicolo church and Castello di Castelfondo (the 12th century castle perched on a rock outcropping just below the village). Members of the group share vintage pics from their own family albums. And once in a while, Giovanni (who follows our family blog) will post a link back to the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. 

A month ago, Giovanni posted a message for me to look in a specific file under the group’s photo albums. He thought I might find something of interest there. It took a little searching, since of course everything is in Italian. Upon finding the correct album and opening the file, I found myself staring at a collection of twenty vintage cabinet cards and postcards. (A cabinet card is a type of photographic portrait mounted on a stiff card measuring 4.5″ x 6.5″. It was popular from the 1870’s through the 1920’s.)

I immediately was drawn to one postcard – it was an early photograph of my grandfather, Leon Genetti! There was no hesitation on my part – for you see, I have my grandfather’s eyes. It’s like seeing yourself reflected in a mirror. Those eyes are obviously a genetic characteristic, since I have recognize their lilting, soft appearance in several living Genetti descendants as well as in a number of ancestor portraits. Plus – my grandfather looks just like my younger brother, James, at that same age! What a surprise – I was overwhelmed with joy!

Pietro ZambottiIn the postcard, my grandfather is standing next to a shorter gentleman with dark hair. From other photos, I recognized him too. It was Pietro (Peter) Zambotti – my grandfather’s cousin! The back of the postcard was stamped Dec. 7, 1908 and had obviously been sent to Castelfondo since it was written in Italian (with a bit of Nones). I could tell that the message was from Pietro, but I needed a little help with the translation. So I wrote Chiara Dalle Nogare, one of our Italian cousins who lives in Trento. Chiara and I are 4th cousins, we share 3rd great-grandparents, Antonio Genetti and Veronica Panizza.

Chiara got back to me right away with a translation. Here’s what Pietro Zambotti wrote to his relatives back home in Castelfondo many, many Christmases ago:

“Many greetings from your godson; together with my cousin I want to wish you merry Christmas and a happy new year. I am well and so I hope are you and all of your family. Your godson Pietro Zambotti” (someone else wrote next to this: the shorter) and then on the left: Leo Daminano (the taller)

According to Pietro’s baptismal record, his godparents were: Pietro Dallachiesa and Barbara Zambotti. So the postcard must have belonged to one of these people. My curiosity was aroused! Was I related to any of the other images staring back at me from this group of century-old cabinet cards? Where did they come from and who had cherished this collection of memories for so many years?

Ecstatic, I wrote back to Giovanni, asking for his help in identifing more of the cards. His answer surprised me. Giovanni, also a lover of history and genealogy, had found the grouping on eBay! He recognized the names on several of the cards (many are not identified) and bid on the lot. Unfortunately, Giovanni could not identify any of the photos other than those that were obviously labeled. He had placed them online in the group photo album, with the hope that others might recognize their relatives and a name could be added to a face.

So it seems the history of the postcard goes like this: My grandfather at age 21 and his cousin (age 27) had a picture postcard photographed at a studio in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The card was sent to Castelfondo, Austria in 1908 to one of Pietro’s godparents. At some point this godparent died and the photo was passed down to someone else. Ultimately the grouping was offered for sale on eBay, probably by someone who had no family connection to the photos (because who would sell such cherished family memories!). A caring soul, Giovanni Marchetti, rescued them from oblivion, bringing them back home to Castelfondo. What a story!

And there’s more! So far I’ve identified three additional cards and will tell their story in a future blog post.

Our thanks and appreciation to Giovanni Marchetti and the group at Chei da Chastelfon! Your American cousins are eternally grateful! Mille grazie!



Our Journey to America

1994ReunionBill Genetti has graciously invited me to give the Saturday evening presentation at our Reunion banquet dinner on October 8th. As most of you know who read this blog, I am passionately absorbed in the research and presentation of our family genealogy. Usually my only means of sharing historical tidbits and ancestral tales is through this website and ongoing email conversations with those who are just as driven as I in the pursuit of family names, dates and connections. Yes, there are a number of family genealogists among us with whom I share the same ardent intensity for digging into Genetti history. In our quest to reconstruct the past, we swap photos and stories, check each others dates and refer new genealogy resources through our information pipeline. Linked together by email, we are an electronic tribe of genealogists! (You know who you are and I thank you for your ever-present help and support!)

Now back to the reunion – for our Saturday evening presentation, I’ve chosen the theme: The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America.

Curious? Here’s a description of my presentation …

Beginning in the 1870’s, our Genetti ancestors made the long, arduous journey from the Alpine mountains of Tyrol to the shores of America. Why did they leave their village of Castelfondo? Where did they establish roots in the United States? How did they seek their fortunes in a strange land? Find the answers to these questions, and much more as we explore the individual branches of the Genetti family in America.

Our presentation will focus on the first family ancestors to arrive in the United States. Learn when they immigrated and where they settled (Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Illinois, Michigan, etc.). Plus we’ll share: stories newly discovered through joint family research; how different branches of the Genetti family are related; and where their descendants are today.

We’ll take a closer look at three siblings: Damiano Genetti, Rafaele Genetti and Angeline Maddalena Genetti Recla.  Recent investigation of public documents, along with personal research by several family members, has revealed much about their intertwined lives. The siblings were a great support to each other, working to establish thriving family businesses in Pennsylvania.

Come listen to the fascinating stories of the Genetti family from Castelfondo. Your participation and input is welcomed!

See you in October!

For updated Reunion Info, check out our page –
Reunion 2016: A Gathering of Genetti Descendants

To print a Reunion reservation form, just click here!


Calling all Cousins!

Genetti Sisters

The five daughters of Damiano and Oliva Genetti: Ottilia (Tillie), Esther, Angela (Ann), Addolorata (Dora), Erminia (Erma). Photographed abut 1909 in Pennsylvania.

It’s only four months away! The Genetti Family Reunion 2016 is scheduled for the weekend of October 7 – 9 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Have you mailed your reservations yet? Here’s the link to download your reservation form: 2016 Genetti Reunion Reservation Form Update. There has been one small change to the original Reservation Form that we posted earlier. So make sure you download the updated version, posted on June 8th. Remember, reservation deadline is September 1, 2016!

We have received press from TrentinoHeritage – an informative blog about families from the province of Trentino in Northern Italy (used to be Tyrol). They cover culture, genealogy and history in Trentino. Click here to read the blog post about our reunion. And while you’re at it, why not subscribe to TrentinoHeritage – just scroll down the right side of their blog until you see the subscription box.

Notices have been posted on several genealogy sites (, Italian Genealogy) announcing the reunion. Plus a link was posted to “Chei da Chastelfon”, a Facebook group managed by Giovanni Marchetti of Castelfondo. Giovanni, along with other members of the group, upload vintage photos and family stories, picturing the by-gone days of their beloved village. Through Giovanni, our Italian cousins and most of Castelfondo now know about our Genetti Family Reunion!

Here’s an idea on how to include cousins from both sides of the pond – how about setting up a webcam during our reunion? This would offer cousins in Castelfondo and those unable to attend, a live online view of the weekend’s festivities and programs. What a wonderful way to make the world just a little bit smaller and include all Genetti cousins! Do we have any computer geeks out there willing to take on the challenge?

Another option might be to film several videos of the weekend. We could include video interviews with attendees, casual shots of cousins chatting, plus capture both Saturday afternoon and evening programs. The clips could then be uploaded to our Genetti YouTube channel and posted on our website for future viewing by all cousins in the USA and Italy. I’m sure these videos would become a treasured part of our family archive, especially for future generations. Do we have any volunteers who are video aficionados? Please email me through our Contact Page if you can help us with this exceptionally important task!

Important Mailing List Info! Please Read!

email iconIf you are a Genetti descendant and want to be included on the Genetti Email List, please make sure you contact me at: Send me your name, ancestry connection and email address.

The Genetti Email List helps us keep in touch with family members on a personal basis. We send email notifications for upcoming reunions and important announcements such as a death in the family.

If you are already on our email list, please make sure you add our address to your email server’s Contact List. Our last email was bounced back by many of your servers. By adding us as a “safe” contact, it will guarantee that you receive group messages and they won’t end up in your spam or trash file!

Please add the following to your Contact List: Genetti Family –

Thank you for your cooperation!

New Archive Webpage

Three Genetti Sisters

Erma Genetti Branz (1896-1971), Tillie Genetti Zambotti (1890-1971) and Dora Genetti Bott
(1889-1971). Black Creek, Pennsylvania, 1920’s.

In case you haven’t visited our family website lately, we have introduced a new webpage entitled: The Genetti Family Archive: Tell Us Your Story. You can find the link for this page in the top menu, labeled: Genetti Archive.

This is an interactive page created just for YOU! We want to know about your family, your stories, your ancestors. The Genetti family stretches back to the mid-1400’s, documenting 18 generations! That means we have a whole lot of descendants – and a bunch of living cousins! It’s hard to keep up with every person on our extensive tree. But with your help, we can create a family archive that will live on for future generations.

At the Genetti Archive page you’ll find two fun and easy questionnaires.

The Personal History of a Genetti Descendant can be completed for any descendant alive or deceased. It offers a personal glimpse of an individual’s history. Tell us about yourself, one of your adult children or use the form as a memorial to a family member who has passed on. Submit as many Personal History forms as you like – one form per person.

The Genetti Descendant Survey is for living Genetti descendants only. This questionnaire provides current information about your family lineage and will help us update our family tree.

Stop by the Genetti Archive page and take a few moments to complete our surveys. Your participation will be a great help to those of us keeping our family records – and your info will provide an invaluable resource for future generations.

Click here to go to The Genetti Family Archive: Tell Us Your Story

Also – remember the Genetti Family Reunion 2016 is just four months away! Need info about the reunion? Click here for Reunion News and to download a Reunion Reservation Form.