Author: L.Roach

I'm a photographer and digital artist. My passions are reading, traveling, art, hiking and genealogy. Between excursions to explore other countries and cultures, I spend most of my time building my family genealogy blog and creating digital art.

Summer Reading

During these lazy, hot summer days adhering to quarantine regulations, it’s the perfect time for a good book and a tall glass of ice tea sitting in the shade of the patio. During the past four months of isolation I have devoured dozens of books, enjoying the solitude to partake of my favorite pastime of reading.

For your reading pleasure, I have just updated our Genetti Family Bookstore with many new titles about Tyrolean culture, genealogy sleuthing, DNA research and loads of great genealogy mystery fiction.

Our bookstore has been curated specifically for those interested in Trentini ancestry and genealogical exploration. At last count, we had 81 titles listed (of which, many I have personally read)!

Come on by and browse our online shelves. I guarantee you’ll find something to tickle your imagination, whether it be fiction, true-life stories or help with your ancestral research.

For the past year I have also been working on several NPE cases (non-parental events) or in other terms, adoptees in search of their birth families. So my reading selections have steered in this direction, self-educating myself in the best way to help those with unknown parentage. By the way, all of the NPE cases I am currently involved with are my DNA cousins from various ancestral lines. Many of these books about genetic genealogy have been included in our family bookstore.

I wish all of my cousins a safe and healthy summer!

To visit the Genetti Family Bookstore, click here!

The Pandemic of 1918

Influenza ward, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, public domain.

As we take precautions to stay well and protect ourselves against Covid-19, we can draw inspiration from our ancestors and their experience with the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919.

According to the CDC:

“While the 1918 H1N1 virus has been synthesized and evaluated, the properties that made it so devastating [in 1918-1919] are not well understood. With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.”

Sound familiar?

To give a personal perspective of how the Genetti family of Hazleton, Pennsylvania survived, I dug into Stanley Genetti’s memoir to find this:

Stanley Genetti: I drove around Hazleton delivering meat until 1917. When World War I broke out my brother Gus was drafted into the army. When Gus left, I and my sister had to manage the family’s main store.

It was during this time that the flu epidemic hit Hazleton. It was terrible! Entire families became sick at once. The hospitals were filled to capacity. Churches and auditoriums were pressed into service as emergency hospitals. People often died of the high fever within 24 hours after contracting the disease. So many people died that they could not be buried promptly. At one time Saint Gabriel’s Cemetery had to store between 200 and 250 unburied bodies in rough boxes until enough people recovered from the sickness to bury them.

The flue epidemic almost closed the town down. For a period of time there was no school or church services. Everyone stayed at home either tending the sick or trying to escape the epidemic. Some tried drinking whiskey and eating garlic as preventive measures. Others sniffed camphorated oil. But such home remedies offered little real protection.

The Genetti family was not immune from the flue. My oldest brother [Leon Genetti] and his entire family suffered from the illness. My mother [Oliva Genetti], my oldest sister [Dora Genetti Bott] and her entire family, with the exception of the baby, [probably Agnes Mary Bott Yorke] also contracted the disease.

It was very trying for our family. We not only had to take care of our own sick; we had to meet a great demand for deliveries. People could not leave their homes because of the flu and we filled their orders. Indeed, we were so busy that we had little opportunity to shop for ourselves. One afternoon I felt weak and complained to my mother that I thought I was coming down with the flue. She promptly made me go to bed. But after sleeping fifteen hours, I awoke feeling fine. I had suffered from exhaustion, not the flu.

I am so glad that Stanley Genetti penned his memories about the 1918 pandemic. It offers a glimpse into how our family survived that terrible time in our ancestral history. As mentioned in Stanley’s account, my grandparents, Leon Genetti and Angeline Marchetti Genetti, were two survivors of the pandemic. How thankful I am that they persevered as my father would not have been born in 1932 if Leon and Angeline had fallen victim to the virus. And I would not be here today to tell you this story!

Let’s keep in mind our responsibility to family and community by adhering to recommended social distancing, staying home as much as possible, etc. You never know what life you will save or how it will impact future generations.

The person you save may live a hundred years from now, someone who will carry on your legacy by telling your story.

 

Read more:

Autobiography of Stanley Genetti

CDC 1918 Pandemic

National Geographic – How some cities “flattened the curve” during the 1918 flu pandemic

Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre) – Spanish Flu was a devastating pandemic

Celebrating Memorial Day

Rudy Genetti
(1929-2012)
Airforce
Korea: 1951-1953
Aerial Photographer

As a tribute to the Genetti descendants who have served in the United States military, I have created a permanent page in the Gallery section of our website.

Visit our new page here: Military.

Thank you to all who have given so much to defend and protect our country. We honor you on this Memorial Day 2020.

 

 

 

 

Special request: If you know of other Genetti descendants that should be added to this list, please send me a message through our Contact page. Photos of our military ancestors are also welcome!

Trentini Culture Links

Village well in Castelfondo

I have just updated our “Collezione” page with more “things to do when you are stuck inside”, adding two new sections: Trentini Culture and Regional Trentini Communities in the United States.

With social distancing still in place and most of us staying put and out of harms way, we have time to indulge in a little online exploration.

I’ve found many interesting links, programs and tours about Trentino Culture and a few specifically about Castelfondo. My husband and I have enjoyed tuning into YouTube and viewing places we have visited in the Val di Non. Or watching a cooking show of Trentini dishes (I even recognizing the sausage my grandfather use to make – “luganega”). Maybe you would like to listen to an archive of songs by native speakers or take a virtual tour of Castelfondo. Yes, I have all of these links and more in the Trentini Culture section of Collezione.

Plus I found four fun YouTube videos about Regional Trentini Communities: three from Hazleton, PA and one from Rock Springs, WY.

I’ll keep searching and adding more resources to this page, so visit often and see what’s new!

Go to Collezione!

New Reunion Photos

Reunion 1996 – click to view larger

Take a walk down memory lane with five new group photographs added to our Reunion photo gallery. Thank you to Conrad Reich, the grandson of Tillie Genetti and Peter Zambotti, for sharing these wonderful images from past family reunions. See all of our reunion memories under the “Gallery” section of the main menu. Just click on “Past Reunions” and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the newly added photos. Or click here!

FYI – Conrad sent along two group photos that contained no date (see last two images on page). If anyone can identify the year in which those reunions took place, please send me a note through our Contact page and I will make the update.

Do you have photos from previous family reunions? I would especially like to publish candid photos of our cousins as they mingle or table photos. I know there are several years missing such as the reunion when our Italian cousins visited Hazleton (not sure of this date). How about Reunions 2010 and 2012? Let me know if you have special memories from these years so we can share them with all family descendants.

Once again, many thanks to Conrad Reich for his contribution to our website! Grazie mille!

Creative Endeavors, Part 3

Giuseppe Genetti (Uncle Joe – Damiano’s brother). His portrait has been colorized using the amazing MyHeritage Colorization tool. Find this free tool on our new Collezione page.

During this time of social isolation, let us make the best of a difficult situation. Perhaps this can be a period of quiet reflection for you. Or maybe time at home offers freedom to learn a new skill or start an online business. With this in mind, I have added a new page to our Main Menu: Collezione (this means “collection” in Italian).

Collezione is a curated list of free resources ranging from Genealogy to Travel to Music – and much more. Enjoy a production of Hamlet presented by The Globe Theater. Tour haunted towns in the United States. Upload your digital black and white photos and magically colorize them! Or start a meditation program with Oprah. I have put together a wide range of free and interesting resources for your entertainment and educational enrichment.

As long as we are in this state of uncertainty, I will continue to add resources to this page. Stop by often to check-out new links in Collezione.

Be smart, stay safe!

Creative Endeavors, Part 2

Today I’m doing something a little different in our Creative Endeavors series. I decided to share with you a family memory through a video blog post. Since I have a rather introverted nature, this was a bit out of my comfort zone and something new for me. But in this time of social isolation, video sharing and Zoom online meet-ups – I thought “why not”! So I set up my smart phone and gave it a try.

Do you have a family photo you would like to share along with a story about the photograph? How about your own video of some special time in your family. Maybe even a digitized home movie would be fantastic to share here on our family blog. Let me know by leaving a comment on this blog post or email your photo/video with story to info.genetti.family@gmail.com and I will feature it in an upcoming post.

I hope you enjoy my video and I look forward to sharing your memories with our family of Genetti descendants.

Be smart and stay safe!

Creative Endeavors: Part One

Hello to all of my cousins! I hope you are sheltering-in-place and taking the advice of our senior health advisers. We are about nine days behind Italy in the progress of the pandemic and need to do all we can to limit exposure in order to save lives and not over-whelm our hospitals. I have many friends in Northern Italy and receive information from them on a daily basis. The situation is still very dire with no end in site. The United States will follow in Italy’s footsteps unless we heed the call to stay at home and practice social distancing.

I’ve stayed in my home for the past week and expect to be here for at least another month. Our state, like so many others, is now in lock-down. You are most likely in the same situation. So let’s make the best of this surreal, uncertain time and lift our spirits. I propose we start sharing family stories, offering creative ideas for passing the time, recommending a favorite book or posting a cherished family photograph. Are you with me?

Let’s call this blog series: “Creative Endeavors”. Every few days I will share an idea, photo, recommendation or story on our blog. Then you can share your own ideas, photographs, etc. in the comments section below the blog post. In that way, everyone joins in the conversation!

Since I am an avid reader, I’ll begin “Creative Endeavors” with a book recommendation. Actually it’s several books called “The Forensic Genealogist Series”. If your reading niche is mysteries and history, you’ll love this series of eight books by British author Nathan Dylan Goodwin. And being passionate about family research, I find the genealogy theme an extra bonus!

All of Nathan’s books are listed in our online Family Bookstore, along with many new titles that have just been added. Visit and browse our bookstore at: https://genettifamily.com/shop/ 

What is your favorite book recommendation? Why are you recommending it? Should we include it in our Family Bookstore? Leave a comment below and let’s begin the conversation!

If you have suggestions for the Creative Endeavors series, leave a comment below or send me a message through our Contact page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Our International Family

Click to enlarge map.

The current spread of the coronavirus has everyone on edge! Trips are being canceled, quarantines have been put in place and safe health recommendations are now the norm.

Our cousins and friends in Trentino-Alto Adige live in an area with many confirmed cases, but no confirmed deaths at this point. Although not in “The Red Zone”, (Veneto to the east and Lombardy to the west) they are facing many restrictions to daily life. As of yesterday, a quarter of Italy’s population has been put under mandatory quarantine in an effort to slow and contain the virus. Schools are closed, travel suspended and people are telecommuting from home.

To our extended family and many friends in Italy, we are thinking of you! Your American cousins hold you in our hearts and hope that all will come through this pandemic safe and in good health.

Invio di abbracci ai nostri cugini (sending hugs to our cousins).

For more current news from Italy, please click the following links:

Map: How the coronavirus has spread across regions of Italy

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

Italian hospitals short of beds as coronavirus death toll jumps (The Guardian)

Coronavirus: Italy death toll soars amid travel ban

Corona Virus emergency: tour operators in the Val di Non stop activities

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 18 – Final Translation

Cover of 1902 Notebook
Title: The Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti

After some discussion, Loretta and I have decided to conclude our notebook translation project. Upon reviewing the remaining pages of Tillie’s notebook, we came to several conclusions.

It became obvious to us that the first half of the notebook, dated 1902, was written in a neat, legible handwriting. Whereas, the second half of our journal was in a script difficult to analyze, most likely written at a later date of 1903.

Second, the remaining pages of the notebook depict a tragic play entitled “The Roman Martyrs”. Printed on the label of our notebook cover is “The Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti” and may very well refer to this long and laborious entry. Loretta believes the text of this play was copied from a different source. Since the entry is not an original journal post, the handwriting is difficult to read, and there doesn’t appear to be any benefit in translating this lengthy text, we both agreed this was a good stopping point for our translation project.

However the last page of the journal is a personal letter penned and dated by Tillie. This leads us to believe that the first half of our notebook was most likely written in 1902 by older sister Addolorata (Dora). The notebook was then passed on to her sister Tillie, who used it during the school year of 1903.

Loretta has translated the last page and I’m sure you will find it to be a sweet conclusion to our project. Viewing the letter in context of the date, much was happening in 1903 concerning the Genetti family of Castelfondo. This unsettling time is reflected in Tillie’s affectionate letter to her mother. After reading the following translation, I’ll detail a few historical facts to bring further understanding to our final page.

Last page, click to enlarge

Translation, last page

My dear mother,

Christmas is knocking at our door. The love that I feel for you and the gratitude that I owe you, push me to wish you happy holidays.

Dear mother, I have always prayed for you and especially during these holy days I will double my prayers. I will pray to the holy baby so that he will spread abundant blessings upon you and will keep you healthy and happy for a lot of years, being the consolation of the whole family.

I will pray to the Baby Jesus to grow up good, studious and obedient, and to be your consolation.

On Holy Christmas Day I will receive Jesus in my heart, I will tell him a word for you that you may stay healthy, together with the whole family.

I am yours affectionately,

Ottilia

Castelfondo 16 December 1903

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Portrait of Damiano and Oliva Genetti with family, photographed in Castelfondo, Austria (now Italy), about 1898 or 1899. Damiao is seated on the left, Oliva is in the center, Leone (Leo) is the tallest son in the back touching his father’s shoulder, between his parents stands Augusto (Gus), seated between Damiano and Oliva is Esther, to the right of Oliva the taller girl is Addolorata (Dora), next to her is Ottilia (Tilly), Albino (Albert) is standing behind his sisters and Erminia (Erma) is the little girl holding Oliva’s hand. Their youngest children, Costante (Stanley) and Angela (Ann), are not in the portrait as they have yet to be born.

Looking back at 1903, we find the Genetti family in transition. Father Damiano has departed for far-off Pennsylvania. He will join his other siblings with the hope of establishing a business to support his large family. Damiano has brought with him two daughters: Addolorata (about 13 years old) and Esther (about 8 years old). We have no record of the exact date or place of arrival, but  most likely it was sometime towards the end of 1902 or early 1903.

When Damiano left, mother Oliva was pregnant with her thirteenth and final child. (Note: Four siblings died soon after birth or in early childhood, leaving nine surviving children who grew to adulthood).

Oliva gave birth to Tillie’s little sister, Angela Maria “Ann”, on April 21st, 1903. By Christmas of 1903, the date of Tillie’s letter, Oliva is managing the family household on her own and caring for seven children: Leone (age 16), Tillie (age 13), Augusto “Gus” (age 11), Albino “Al” (age 10), Erminia “Erma” (age 6), Costante “Stanley” (age 4) and little Angela (age 8 months). Obviously from Tillie’s letter, she is concerned for her mother and the great responsibility of taking care of a large family while Damiano is establishing a new home for them in Pennsylvania.

Tillie also misses her two sisters and is anxious about the family’s future move to America. Her childhood home of Castelfondo will be left behind, as well as her friends and classmates.

In 1904, oldest son Leone departs for America to join his father and two sisters in the new family business. By 1906, Damiano has secured a home in Hazleton and has sent for the rest of his family. On December 3rd, 1906, Oliva along with her six remaining children arrive at Ellis Island in New York.

How stressful the year 1903 must have been for thirteen year old Tillie. Her family is divided by an ocean and she faces an uncertain future in a strange land. According to Anne Marie Shelby (Tillie’s granddaughter), her grandmother refused to accompany her father Damiano to Pennsylvania, wanting to stay close to her mother Oliva in Castelfondo. We can certainly sympathize with the upheaval and emotional trauma facing this young woman as she shares a Christmas wish of a healthy and happy future for her family.

This concludes our translation of Tillie’s Notebook. Our sincerest thanks to Anne Marie Shelby  for sharing her grandmother’s precious journal with us. Thank you for being the guardian of this fragile century-old document! And for trusting in the United States Postal service to deliver and return your family heirloom in one piece, allowing me the opportunity to scan the entire notebook. We are so very grateful!

And once again our great thanks to Loretta Cologna for her generous contribution of time and translation skills. Your patience, generosity and insight has given our family a glimpse into our ancestral past. Non ho parole per ringraziarla! Grazie mille!

View Tillie’s original notebook in entirety here:
https://genettifamily.com/books-by-members-of-the-genetti-family/

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If any cousins have letters, documents or journals they would like to share on our family website, feel free to write me at our Contact Page.