Was Barbara Libener Inama a Native American?

Barbara and Emanuele Inama

I am always working on various genealogy projects. Most involve DNA analysis and helping others solve family mysteries, such as unknown cousins finding their birth families. Yes, if you have completed DNA testing, I’m sure you will find a surprise cousin or two (maybe even an unknown half-sibling!) popping up in your results. Of course, due to protecting the privacy of those I work with as a search angel, I can not write about these projects.

But recently I researched a fascinating case involving misattributed ethnicity that I can share with you. Over the years I have received strange queries from cousins asking about their ancestor Barbara Libener Inama (1875-1936). Barbara is a direct descendant of the Marchetti family from Nuremberg, Pennsylvania (originally from Castelfondo). She is also indirectly related to the Genetti family through marriage. I am personally related to Barbara Libener through my grandmother, Angeline Marchetti, who was her first cousin. (That makes me a first cousin, twice removed to Barbara.)

Barbara and her husband, Emanuele Inama, moved from Pennsylvania back to his ancestral town of Sanzeno in the Val di Non sometime around 1898. There they raised their large family and lived out the rest of their lives. However, all of Barbara’s family remained in Pennsylvania, along with several of her sons. At some point, probably after Barbara’s death, a story began circulating in Italy that Barbara Libener was a full blooded Native American of the Sioux tribe. This tall tale was published decades ago in a regional Trentini magazine and it became part of the Italian family’s lore, although there was no proof supporting the fabrication. However, as far as I am aware, no American descendant of the Marchetti/Libener families had ever heard the story.

Descendants of Barbara and Emanuele, all living in Italy, kept the fantastic story alive by passing the magazine article along to American cousins researching their family genealogy. Twice I received questioning messages from cousins asking about the article of “The Indian Wife.” I simply shrugged it off and explained genealogical record and DNA evidence proved this story could not be true.

But a few months ago the story once again resurfaced through a distant cousin living in France. I have worked with this cousin during the past two years on his complicated and mysterious genealogy. We have confirmed he (we will call him D.R.) is a direct descendant of Barbara and Emanuele, they being his great-grandparents. Upon visiting Trentino this past summer to trace his roots, D.R. too was given this incredulous magazine article. He and his wife, Patricia, also questioned the authenticity of the story, as D.R. has absolutely no Native American ethnicity in his DNA results. For those not familiar with DNA testing, you inherit 50% of your DNA from each parent; 25% of your DNA from each grandparent; and 12.5% of your DNA from each great-grandparent. If the story were true, our French cousin should show at least 10% of his ethnicity to be Native American. Instead his ethnicity from two different testing sites showed 0% Indigenous American.

After learning the story of the “Indian Wife” was still very much alive, I decided it was time to uncover the truth using genealogical research and scientific evidence. As a family genealogist and someone who works with genetic genealogy, I see it as my duty to document family truths, even if it debunks ancestral stories. (And very often it does!)

The result was a paper I recently published on our family website, entitled: “The Myths and Facts about Barbara Libener Inama (1875-1936).” The paper details all of my research into Barbara Libener, including DNA evidence from several of her descendants. Through Patricia, our French cousin’s wife, it has also been forwarded to family in Italy. So far – I have not heard a response to my research. I guess we will wait and see …

To read “The Myths and Facts about Barbara Libener Inama,” click here.

I would very much like to hear opinions from other cousins regarding this piece of family lore. After reading my paper, feel free to leave a comment to this post or ask questions about my research. I am happy to discuss or explain my findings.

Updates to Website

It’s time to do a little housekeeping at the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. During the past few weeks I’ve made changes and additions to our website for easier navigation. You will now find “Family Stories” and “Memorials” located in the main menu at the top of each page. Before, these two pages were listed under the Gallery section and were often overlooked by visitors to our site. Since “Family Stories” and “Memorials” contain some of the most interesting information on our website, I wanted to ensure quick access to all of their fascinating info.

You will find three new items listed on the “Family Stories” page, with several more tales currently in the works. Do you have an interesting story about your family you would like to share? Just pop me a message through our Contact page with the details.

Take a spin over to our recently updated “Memorials, Tributes and Obituaries” page and you’ll find many new ancestral obituaries, dating from 1928 through 2021. Over the years, I have collected obits whenever I come across one in an old newspaper or on Ancestry.com. They always make for interesting reading! My collection has now been added to the “Memorials” page, plus I have updated all of our past obituaries and tributes to include new photos or additional info. Stop by and see if you recognize one of your ancestors. We currently have 69 memorials attributed to most branches of the Genetti family found in the United States.

If you have a memorial or obituary from your family that you would like included on our website, drop me a line at our Contact page. Since obits are a prime source of genealogical information, sharing your memorials may help another family historian solve an ancestral mystery or add important details to their own family tree.

Fast link to “Family Stories” – https://genettifamily.com/family-stories/

Fast link to “Memorials, Tributes and Obituaries” – https://genettifamily.com/tributes/

2021: A Look Back

Saint Nicolo, Castelfondo

As the holidays are upon us and another year draws to a close, this is a good time to reflect on the past. Although I have not posted on a regular basis this year, there is much to tell you concerning genealogy and family research.

First, I would like to acknowledge all of the Genetti elders who have passed on during the past two years. Many wise souls departed, taking with them family stories and knowledge of previous generations who came before them. There is a genealogy quote that says “When an elder dies, a library burns to the ground.” I thought of this proverb often as I published each obituary. If you would like to remember those who have left us during 2020-2021, please visit our Tributes page found in the Gallery section.

This year I had the opportunity and time to enrich my genealogy education. There is so much to learn in regards to new techniques and tools! Luckily many virtual classes, workshops and conferences are available online and I eagerly took advantage of every genealogy event. Two extensive classes in particular really advanced my skills in genetic genealogy: “Endogamy and DNA” and “Y-DNA for Genealogy”. I hope to use my new-found insight and knowledge to help more Genetti descendants untangle their DNA results. In a future blog post I’ll explain how you can be a valuable contributor to our genetic ancestry just by getting tested!

While we are on the topic of DNA, it was another exciting year for mystery matches! Since 2016, I have helped a number of cousin matches with questionable or unknown parentage by identifying their birth family ancestry, often with interesting and sometimes surprising results. Usually these mystery cousins find me because our DNA matches through one of the major testing companies. This year was no exception as I received a message in March from a match who lived in France. I was very excited to work with an unknown French cousin and enthusiastically dived into the research. Due to privacy, I will not discuss their identity or personal information. But I can tell you it was and still is an extensive project with many twists and turns, involving three people doing the research in three different countries and in three different languages! It is a complicated recent ancestry connected with two generations of non-paternal events – and the research is still ongoing. In case you are wondering, this person is not a direct Genetti descendant but they are connected to the Genetti line by marriage. And I have verified my relationship to this match as a 3rd cousin, once removed through descendants of my paternal grandmother’s Marchetti ancestry.

Also on my 2021 genealogy to-do list was researching and compiling a four-generation family history for the Illinois Genetti family. Normally I would not undertake such an extensive project as it truly involves months of research and a lot of patience to uncover little-known history. However, I have a personal research interest in two ancestors from this family line. And when three siblings who descended from this particular ancestry contacted me in March, I saw the project as an opportunity to record and possibly correct family history. Hopefully I will have the research and written history completed by the beginning of 2022. As a result of delving into 150 years of events and four generations of descendants from this branch, I am now in the process of adding hundreds of new people to our off-line and on-line family tree!

You can find more information about the Genetti Family Online Tree plus a link to our extensive tree currently containing 1,973 descendants at: Family Tree. During the next month we will pass the 2,000 mark as I have many, many more people to add. FYI – our online family tree contains many helpful tools in addition to the tree itself. Here are a few to sample: under “View” in the main menu click on “Kin” to learn the relationships of a particular ancestor; create multi-generational reports for descendants and ancestors; or view the fascinating Map tool to see where ancestors and their descendants lived. Plus many people in our tree also have photographs and documents attached to their file. Stop by for a visit and discover something new in your family line!

If you have information or photographs you would like added to our family tree, please message me through our Contact page.

I wish all my cousins near and far, a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!

In the News

Posted from HazletonNewsOne.com

Church Hill Mall complex, Hazle Township, Pennsylvania

Elestan Realty Company sells Church Hill Mall complex to 1065 Church Street Properties LLC

(Hazle Township, PA – November 5, 2021) – Elestan Realty Company recently announced the sale of the Church Hill Mall complex along Route 309 in Hazle Township to the 1065 Church Street Properties LLC investment group.

Dr. Krish Patel, who is head of investment for 1065 Church Street Properties, said the company plans to rename the space Church Hill Commons and invest approximately $2 million into property renovations. The investment group is also looking into further developing the property, which covers more than 14 acres and contains 168,000 square feet of retail space.

Edward Genetti built Church Hill Mall in just nine months in 1967 and co-owned the property for decades with his brother, Richard. Edward’s son, Tim Genetti, president of Elestan Realty, has managed the property for the past several years.

“Church Hill Mall has always been a family-owned business. It’s been an honor to manage the property all these years. I’m thrilled to have a local business owner taking it over who will continue to make it the first-class business center it has always been,” Tim Genetti said.

1065 Church Street Properties has investments in several properties throughout Greater Hazleton, including Sunset Plaza on the Airport Beltway and two residential apartment buildings along Route 93 near Penn State University’s Hazleton campus. The group also owns the Taylor Commons in Taylor.

“We are honored to continue the Genetti’s legacy in Greater Hazleton and plan to maintain this property as the shopping and service destination that is has been for decades,” Dr. Patel said.

At the time Church Hill Mall was constructed, it was the only significant shopping center in Greater Hazleton. For more than 50 years, the mall has continued to thrive as a full-service shopping center due to its prime location along Route 309 near Hazleton and near other main highways including Route 93 and the Airport Beltway.

In addition to the mall itself, the complex includes the buildings where Firestone Complete Auto Care and Jumbo China Buffet operate. The main building was designed to have two anchor tenants, a supermarket and a discount merchandise store. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Key Foods are the mall’s current anchor tenants. Past tenants include Genetti’s grocery store, Gaylords and Value City.

Long-term tenants include Firestone, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Fine Wine & Spirits store and Angelique Boutique. Church Hill Mall also has a strong medical presence that includes Physical Therapy at St. Luke’s and FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers.

The Passing of an Elder

Sadly, another Genetti elder has passed on. Bernard Kenneth Genetti, born September 5, 1926 in Gillespie, Illinois recently passed away on September 16th. He was the grandson of Vigilio Genetti (1852-1932) and Domenica Maria Dolzadelli (1852-1907). Vigilio was one of the original Genetti brothers who settled in the Collinsville, Illinois area.

Bernard was the youngest of six children and the last remaining survivor of his immediate family. His parents were Charles Genetti (1889-1976) and Rosa Redolfi (1890-1976), with Charles being the oldest child of Vigilio and Domenica Maria.

Bernard lived a long and impressive life that included: raising a large family, serving as a Navy pilot, an extensive career in aerospace engineering and working with NASA during the years of the Apollo space program. To read Bernard’s complete obituary, please visit our Tributes and Obituaries page, click here.

The Genetti family extends our condolences to the many descendants of Bernard Kenneth Genetti. May he rest in peace.

If you would like to send flowers, make a charitable donation or leave a personal message to Bernard’s family, please go to: Legacy.com (click here).

The Passing of William “Bill” Joseph Genetti

I was recently made aware that another Genetti cousin passed away in 2020. William “Bill” J. Genetti (1956-2020) had his roots in the Wyoming branch of our family. He was the son of Joseph Henry Genetti (1925-2006) and Marie Fernandez (1925-2008), the grandson of Ermenegildo Genetti (1893-1967) and Dola Belle Whitman (1900-1985), and the great-grandson of Angelo Genetti (1959-1946) and Terresa A. Marchetti (1858-1902) – both of Castelfondo, Trentino, Austria (Italy).

Although I never met William Genetti, his brother Robert Genetti attended two Genetti Family Reunions in Pennsylvania, where I had the pleasure to speak with him. The Wyoming Genetti family was related to all branches of our family who settled in the United States: Pennsylvania branch, Illinois branch and Michigan branch, as well as to several ancestors who immigrated to Argentina.

We extend our thoughts and sympathies to William Genetti’s family.

A memorial page for Bill has been created in the Tributes section of the Genetti website. Click here to read Bill’s memorial. If you would like to leave a memory of Bill Genetti, please do so in the comments section at the end of his memorial page.

Sale In Our Genetti Family Shop!

Wow! Our printer, Redbubble, is holding a HUGE weekend sale! Everything in our online Genetti Shop is 20%-60% off from May 28th through June 1st. Now is the time to buy a family tree print. Or maybe sample a few of our fun new products such as puzzles, aprons and drink coasters. And how about a T-shirt proclaiming “It’s a Tyrolean Thing … you wouldn’t understand”. This is the weekend to save big at this super sale! Just use the coupon code FINDYOURTHING at checkout to receive your sale discount!

Our website shop has been recently updated too! Spend a few moments browsing and see the fantastic goodies we now offer – all for a special low price this weekend!

Visit the Genetti Family Shop on our website and see what’s new: Click here!

Or go directly to the Genetti Family Shop at Redbubble: Click here!

And remember – every purchase made through our shop helps support family research and the Genetti Family Genealogy Project website!

New puzzles!
New aprons!
Coasters!
Kiss me, I’m Tyrolean T-shirts!

The Passing of Gary Wayne Genetti

Sadly we report the news that another member of the Genetti family has passed away. Gary Wayne Genetti of Marshfield, Missouri left this world on May 10th, 2021 at the age of 76.

A memorial page has been created for Gary Wayne Genetti in the Tributes section of our website. You can read Gary’s memorial here: https://genettifamily.com/gary-wayne-genetti/

Gary was the great-grandson of Costantino (also known as August) and Rosa Genetti. Costantino was born in Castelfondo, Tyrol in 1841 and immigrated to the United States with Rosa in 1868. They were the first members of the extensive Castelfondo Genetti family to leave their village and come to America. The couple, along with Costantino’s brothers and sisters, are considered the founding ancestors of the Illinois branch of the Genetti family.

In Memory of Bill Genetti

William E. “Bill” Genetti

Being a family genealogist is not always easy. And this is one of those times. I invariably knew the day would arrive when I had to create a memorial page for William “Bill” Genetti. It was a task I hoped would never come.

You see Bill was my family history mentor. When I first began my journey into genealogy back in 2010, Bill was happy to help by sharing his extensive family research files. Over the years, he had gathered information on all of the descendants of the Pennsylvania Genetti family. His files gave me a great jump-start into compiling our extended family tree.

Bill also introduced me to the original Genetti Family Tree – an amazing collection of ancestors presented as a beautiful fine art print. It was another incredible family history gift for a budding genealogist!

In 2014 he cheered me on when I accepted the responsibility of renovating and maintaining our family website. And in the Spring of 2016, Bill asked if I would help him organize a family reunion for that October. I was honored to assist Bill in bringing together cousins from all branches of our family. It was a wonderful reunion that I will always remember.

Louise Genetti Roach and Bill Genetti, 2012 family reunion

Throughout the years, Bill and I shared information via email correspondence and the occasional phone call, sometimes surprising each other with an unexpected family secret that we had uncovered through genetic genealogy or research. Yes, Bill was my genealogy buddy! I will very much miss his insight and generosity, as well as his passion for family history and the honor he brought to our ancestors. Bill will be greatly missed by our family and his Hazleton community. But I know his memory will live on through his many descendants and a lifetime of charitable works.

To my genealogy buddy, I bid you a fond farewell and God speed!

A memorial page has been created for Bill Genetti in the Tributes and Obituaries section of our family website. Please feel free to share your memories in the comments section of that page.

Memorial to William E. “Bill” Genetti: https://genettifamily.com/william-edward-bill-genetti/

Sad News

With much sadness I bring you the news that William (Bill) Edward Fox Genetti of Hazleton passed away this morning, May 8th, 2021. A great presence in the Pennsylvania family, Bill was a family man, business owner, genealogist and friend to many. Carrying on the family business from his father, Gus Genetti Sr., Bill was a prominent member of the Hazleton community. Over the years, he brought together many cousins and extended family by hosting reunions at his Genetti establishment.

We offer our thoughts and love to Bill’s wife Pat, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as his brother Gus and his family during this difficult time.

A memorial for Bill will be posted on our Tributes and Obituaries Page at a later date.