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.

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 17

Page 20 and Page 21 (click to enlarge)

Our next translation in Tillie’s notebook is a scientific description of a leech. Yes, you read that correctly – a leech! This entry was obviously copied from another text or from a teacher’s lesson. You might find it oddly curious (and a little disgusting) that the use of leeches was still considered an important part of medicine in 1902.

I did research into the use of “leech therapy” in modern medicine and found that it has made a resurgence as a simple and inexpensive treatment for a variety of health issues. Today leech therapy is being used to treat hypertension, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, skin problems, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and used to promote healing after cosmetic surgery. No kidding!

Page 22 and Page 23 (click to enlarge)

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t imagine going to the doctor and asking for “leech therapy”. But I do find it fascinating that a medical practice first used in ancient Egypt is still in practice today – and was obviously used by physicians and those practicing home remedies at the turn of the 20th century in Tyrol.

Translation: Page 21, right side and top of Page 22, left side

 

The Leech or Bloodsucker

They are born in sweet stagnant waters and in quiet streams. They are from 8 to 13 centimeters long with a curved form and a skin with a ring pattern. On the superior part they are from black to dark green with six yellow lines, on the lower part they are grey with black spots. The head is not separated from the body and around it there are ten small eyes hardly visible.

The leeches can stick to the skin. On the lower part they have a mouth with three little mandibles that have from 60 to 90 small teeth similar to those of a saw. If we put a leech on our skin it opens a three-ray wound and then it starts sucking blood.

The back part serves to adhere tenaciously to the bodies to which it attaches. They swim meandering and crawling and they hold still with their mouths, dragging their body behind them. They feed on the blood they suck from fish, frogs and other animals. The leeches are used to extract blood in case of an inflammatory disease, so they are seen at the chemist’s. If you put salt over a leech after it has sucked, it will vomit blood. A leech can be kept a lot of time if we put it in water changed every day, so the same leech can be used on animals many times.

Most of them are imported from Dalmatia, Hungary and Turkey. These small animals are once again a proof of the great goodness and patience of God who created all things to the advantage of man.

Castelfondo 21 April 1902

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Read more about the modern use of leeches here:

Healthline: What is Leech Therapy?

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 16

Page 20 and Page 21 (click to enlarge)

Here is another interesting moral tale involving three animals. We don’t know if this is an original story written by Tillie or her sister Dora. It may have also been just a school assignment in the practice of copying text provided by the teacher. I enjoyed the ending of this story very much and I think you will too!

Also – the “chamois” mentioned in this translation is a type of mountain goat, similar to an antelope, native to alpine regions.

Translation: Page 20, left side and top of Page 21, right side

Chamois

The Hare and the Chamois

The times were difficult and famine and illness were hitting the animals of the wood. There was a skinny and ill hare and a tired deer lying exhausted by famine and pains. You can imagine the miserable things happening inside the animals’ lairs.

A very sensitive hare was deeply moved seeing such evils and cried day and night and prayed Heaven to end this cruel calamity.

A chamois with a less tender heart than the hare did not lose time in shedding tears for the common misfortune. It gathered a council and spoke very well about the need to solve the problem. Some animals were sent to various villages to ask for help, food and medicines. Other animals took care of the ill. The chamois watched and worked to be of advantage to the miserable and at the end he could have the joy to stop their suffering.

Girls, you must understand that when our fellow beings are unfortunate we must help them through concrete action and advice not just restricting yourself to useless compassion.

Castelfondo 19 April 1902

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Once again, we extend our thanks to Loretta Cologna for her patience in translating Tillie’s Notebook.

 

New In Family Stories

I was recently sifting through news articles about the Genetti family and found a fairly substantial story of historical importance published right before our 2016 family reunion by The Citizens’ Voice. Although both Bill Genetti and myself had been interviewed by phone for this article, it had completely slipped my mind until I stumbled upon it in search results.

Since the extensive article relates a historical timeline of the Genetti family in Pennsylvania, I felt it should be a part of the Family Stories section on our website. Take a moment, grab a cup of coffee and click here to read – Business: A Family Affair for Genetti Clan.

Find all of our Family Stories under the Gallery section of the main menu.

Links:

See everything featured in our online Gallery.

Lots more stories and memories to read at: Family Stories.

Don’t forget a browse through our extensive Photo Gallery featuring photographs from many branches of the Genetti Family.

Photo Gallery: Michigan Genetti Family

click to enlarge

I have just added our first photograph to the Michigan Genetti Family Photo Gallery. Thanks to John and Nancy Faulkner, we have a beautiful period image from Bessemer, Michigan dated 1919.

Representing three families, the photograph appears to have been casually posed on a family porch. All of the parents pictured here came from the Val di Non and likely moved to Bessemer (near Ironwood, MI) because it was a mining region with available work. Many Tyroleans, including several Genetti cousins, settled in this area.

Those pictured according to the handwritten note attached to the photograph are:

Standing in back: Flora (Marchetti) Ferrari, Mrs. and Mr. Menghini, Primo Emil Joseph (child), Maria (Marchetti) Genetti and Pietro Genetti.

Seated front: Albert Joseph Genetti, Joseph Ferrari and Florian Ferrari

Here is a little background information about the families in this photo:

Angelo Pietro (Peter) Genetti (1882 -1964) and Maria (Mary) Marchetti (1892-1962), both of Castelfondo, Tyrol, married in Hurley, Wisconsin in 1915. Settling in Bessemer, Michigan near Ironwood, where Pietro was a miner, the couple had three sons: Primo Emil Joseph (1914-1977), Albert Joseph (1916-1981) and Florian Joseph (1923-1997).

Emil and Albert had long, distinguished military careers. Emil attended Michigan State University, became a doctor and joined the US Army, serving in WW II and Korea. Emil retired  as a Colonel and went on to practice medicine in California.

Like his older brother, Albert attended Michigan State University, graduating with a bachelor of science in forestry. He joined the US Army as a career military man rising to the rank of Colonel. Albert was a World War II veteran. Special note: Albert’s son, also named Albert Joseph Genetti, Jr., attended West Point, is in the Military Times Hall of Valor, and retired as a decorated Major General from the US Army. (Click here to see more about Albert Jr.)

The couple’s third son, Florian, owned a barber shop in Bessemer and became a local politician.

Peter and Mary divorced in 1930 after fifteen years of marriage, with Mary gaining custody of the three boys. She eventually remarried Joseph Regis.

Next we look at Emma Fiorentina (Flora) Marchetti (1884-1959), originally from Castelfondo, who marries Pietro (Peter) Giambattista Ferrari (1877-1959) from Revo (Peter is not shown). In 1905 the couple marry and live in Wisconsin. The two boys seated on the right in the photograph are, Joseph Christopher Ferrari (1911-1999) and Florian Lewis Ferrari (1909-1986). Joseph and Florian were the couple’s youngest children. They also had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Ferrarri (1906-1976) and another son, George David Ferrari (1908-1992). All four of the children were born in Wisconsin. The family later moved to Bessemer, Michigan where Peter supported his family as a miner.

Moving on to the older couple in the center of the photo, I’m not positive of their identification, but I believe they are Richardo Menghini (1860-?) and his wife Maria (Flor) Menghini (1864-?). Both of Brez, Tyrol, the couple came to Bessemer sometime in the 1880’s. They had a total of seven children. According to the obituary of one son, Louis Menghini (1889-1952), the family returned to Brez in 1894. By 1907 Louis and his family came back to Bessemer. From the date of this photo, we know that Richardo and Maria Menghini were neighbors of the Genetti and Ferrari families in 1919. But by this time the couple’s many children were adults and probably not living at home when this photo was taken.

We would like to thank John and Nancy Faulkner for contributing to our Family Photo Gallery. Nancy is the granddaughter of Pietro (Peter) Giambattista Ferrari and Emma Fiorentina (Flora) Marchetti who is pictured standing on the far left of our group photo. Mille grazie Nancy and John!

Photo Gallery Links:

Michigan Genetti Family

Pennsylvania Genetti Family

Wyoming Genetti Family

Illinois Genetti Family

Washington Genetti/Recla Family

Castelfondo Genetti Family

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 15

Page 18 and Page 19 (click to enlarge)

As we welcome in a new year and a new decade, I hope everyone had a joyous and safe holiday shared with family and friends.

We return to our translation of Tillie’s 1902 Notebook with another strange passage. Both Loretta (our translator) and I are baffled by this short entry.

Again, we have a page penned by Tillie’s older sister Addolorata (Dora). Although brief, it offers a personal glimpse into Dora’s young life and perhaps hints at a hereditary learning disability. Here is the translation followed by my commentary.

Addorlorata (Dora) Erminia Genetti
1889-1971

Translation: Page 19, right side

My name is Addolorata Genetti, born on the 13th of August 1889, baptized on the 14th of August 1889. My godfather and godmother at the sacred font were Sisinio Genetti and Erminia Recla.

I am Damiano and Oliva Genetti’s daughter.

I don’t remember anything about my childhood, just that at six years of age I started attending school. I repeated the first class for three years and the second for three years.

At eight I received Confirmation in April 1900, my godmother was Caterina Zambotti.

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In this short entry, there are a number of strange and confusing statements made by Dora.

As Loretta points out – Dora says that she receives the sacrament of Confirmation at the age of eight years old in 1900, but her actual age in that year was eleven!

She also says that she repeated the first grade three times as well as the second grade three times! To me this seems excessive. Since both Loretta Cologna and her mother were school teachers, I asked her if this was a normal occurrence. Although schools at that time were strict, requiring children to reach a certain level of accomplishment before advancing to the next grade, Loretta also agreed that repeating a grade three times seemed odd. And repeating two successive grades three times was certainly unusual!

We don’t know whether or not this entry is accurate in describing Dora’s schooling. But if it is, the thought occurred to me that Dora may have had a learning disability making it difficult to complete school assignments. Since I know several people with dyslexia, this was my first thought to explain Dora’s difficulty in school. My own husband is on the dyslexia spectrum. Michael graduated from college with an Engineering degree and has a sharp, analytical mind; however he has struggled with reading and the reversal of numbers throughout his entire life.

Dyslexia (originally known as “word blindness”) was virtually unheard of and certainly not recognized by teachers in 1902. It also has a genetic component, meaning it may be passed down through one or both parents. Here is a definition from the Family Education Network:

Dyslexia is regarded as a neurobiological condition that is genetic in origin. This means that individuals can inherit this condition from a parent and it affects the performance of the neurological system (specifically, the parts of the brain responsible for learning to read).

It’s not uncommon for a child with dyslexia to have an immediate family member who also has this condition. Also, it’s not unusual for two or more children in a family to have this type of learning disability.

Dora may have struggled her entire life with issues tied to dyslexia, now considered a well-recognized genetic disability that affects between 5 – 15% of the population. Although I’m sure she was an intelligent woman who adapted well to her new home in Pennsylvania, Dora probably had a difficult time with the skills of reading, writing and spelling.

What do you think? Does dyslexia run in your family line?

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About others mentioned in this Notebook Entry:

Dora’s godparents:

Sisinio Alessandro Genetti (1854-1908). This was Dora’s uncle and her father’s oldest brother. Sisinio was the only sibling of Damiano Genetti who did not emigrate to America. Tragically he died in Castelfondo at a rather young age of 44 due to tuberculosis.

Erminia Enrica Genetti Recla (1876-1972). This is Dora’s aunt and her father’s youngest sibling. Erminia emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1890, a year after becoming Dora’s godmother. She eventually settled in Spokane, Washington with her husband, had eleven children (eight survived to adulthood), and died at the advanced age of 95. Erminia outlived her goddaughter by six months.

Caterina Dallachiesa Zambotti (1853-1939). Most likely this is the person Dora references as her Confirmation godmother. Caterina was her aunt by marriage, married to her mother’s brother, Simone Zambotti.

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Learn more about Dyslexia:

Dyslexia: What Brain Research Reveals About Reading

Dyslexia Help: Frequently Asked Questions