Photos from the Past, Part 2

AngelineGenettiRecla

Raffael Recla (1864-1896) with wife Angeline Maddalena Genetti (1865-1937), children: Lawrence, Leonela, Frances. Photographed in 1891, Hazleton, PA

Back in June, I wrote about a cache of cabinet cards discovered on eBay by Giovanni Marchetti of Castelfondo. (Click here to read the original post of this amazing story!)

Since many of the picture postcards are not clearly labeled, I’m using whatever clues I have to identify these ancestral ghosts from the past. When I first received the digital images from Giovanni, I immediately recognized a postcard of my grandfather, Leon Genetti, with his cousin Peter Zambotti. It was also easy to translate the handwritten message on the back of their card, giving positive proof that this was indeed two of my relatives.

OK – one postcard identified, nineteen more to go!

Browsing through the ancient sepia photos, I looked for more obvious clues – something that easily jumped out at me. There it was – a portrait of a young family, with the name of the photography studio and its location stamped on front. It said Hazleton! The back of the card offered no identification. But as I examined the photograph, something in the back of my memory clicked in place. The mother, dressed in Victorian black, staring stoically into the camera, looked very familiar. I had seen her before, but where?

Then I remembered – she resembled a charcoal drawing sent to me by Don Lingousky of his great-grandmother, Angela Maddalena Genetti Recla. The beautiful portrait had been created by Angela’s adopted son, Henry Parisi Recla. Immediately I went to the Photograph section on our family website and scanned down the page. Eureka! It was a match! Henry had used the original postcard as a model for his drawing.

angela genetti portrait

Angeline Maddalena Genetti Recla (1865 – 1937), charcoal portrait by her adopted son, Henry Parisi Recla.

I couldn’t believe my good luck! I immediately emailed Don Lingousky with my surprise. His response: “Wow, we’re stunned! We have never seen the photo before, but it is clearly the same one that our portrait of Angeline Maddalena was taken from. What a great find, just can’t believe all these photos ended up on eBay of all places. I also do not have any photos of my grandmother as a child [Leonela], so that is really interesting too. Thank you!”

And so, another photo in this mystery group has been identified. After receiving Don’s confirmation, I returned to Giovanni’s Facebook page, Chei da Chastelfon, and properly labeled the portrait as follows:

“Raffael Recla (1864-1896) con la moglie Angeline Maddalena Genetti (1865-1937), bambini: Lawrence, Leonela, Frances. Fotografato su 1891, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA.”

Again our sincere thanks to Giovanni Marchetti for rescuing our priceless family memories! Molta grazie!

Want to know more about Angeline Maddalena Genetti Recla? A courageous woman and an inspirational ancestor, Angeline’s life will be cameoed in our reunion evening program: The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America (click here to read about the presentation).

And by-the-way, you can meet Angeline’s great-grandson Don in person – he will be co-presenting our DNA workshop during Reunion weekend!

See you at the Reunion in October!

  2 comments for “Photos from the Past, Part 2

  1. Linda Sullivan
    July 20, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    What a great story! I am looking forward to meeting you all at the reunion. I wonder if Erminia, Emanuel, Rafael and Angeline ever had a chance to see each after Minnie and Emanuel moved to Spokane?

    Cousin Linda Sullivan
    Erminia’s great grand daughter

    • L.Roach
      July 20, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for the comment Linda. We know that Minnie and Angeline corresponded throughout the years. There is a postcard on our Photograph page from Minnie to her niece (Angeline’s daughter) Leonela. But we don’t know if they ever saw each other again after the family moved across the country. Minnie was mentioned in Angeline’s 1937 obituary as living in Spokane, Washington.

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