The Traveling Genealogist: Part 2 – Salzburg, Austria

View of Salzburg from the Salzach river. Originally built in 1077, the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress can be seen on the hill towering above the city.

Leaving Berlin on October 6th, we hopped a plane to Salzburg, Austria, the next stop on our 2018 trip. Michael had reserved four days in this charming little city located on the banks of the Salzach river. Although I have no genealogical ties to Salzburg (that I know of), it felt like a step back in time to my original Tyrolean heritage. As you may remember from previous posts, Trentino was part of the Austrian Tyrol for many centuries and the culture of Austria certainly influenced our ancestors in many ways.

So quaint and picturesque, I fell in love with Salzburg the very minute we stepped onto its cobblestone streets. Shop windows displayed traditional Tyrolean woolen jackets, leather lederhosen and dirndl dresses. Rows of cuckoo clocks patiently ticked away in another store window. At a third shop intricate beer steins and green felt Tyrolean hats beckoned. Restaurants were decorated in knotty pine paneling with carved wooden chairs selling mugs of beer, plates of sausages, and scrumptious apple streusel. 

On our first afternoon we asked for a recommendation to a traditional beer garden. After a bit of walking, we found ourselves at a lovely garden located away from the usual tourist area. My husband ordered a frosty mug of beer and I imbibed in a local Riesling. A few tables away a small wedding party celebrated their afternoon nuptials. Dressed in stunning Tyrolean couture, they laughed and toasted each other. The men wore smartly tailored jackets with knee-length leather pants; the women were in beautiful pastel and white dirndle dresses carrying small nosegays with their hair coiffed in braids and pinned to frame their faces. A memorable afternoon indeed!

Stately Mirabell Gardens

If you are a fan of “The Sound of Music” you’ll remember the original story of Maria and the Von Trapp family took place in Salzburg. Although the movie is somewhat fictionalized, it does embody the spirit of the real-life Maria. Filmed in and around Salzburg, it was great fun searching out the original sites pictured in the movie. We climbed the steep stairs to reach the Abbey of Nonnberg (the oldest continuously existing nunnery in the world dating back to the year 715). The original Maria was a novice at Nonnberg and she was married in the abbey church. It is a rather simple, dark church, nothing like the grand cathedral pictured in the movie. We also walked through the beautiful Mirabell Gardens pictured in “Do Re Mi” and photographed the Pegasus Fountain from the same musical number where the children danced along the edge. Tourists who visit Salzburg often book a “Sound of Music Tour” that buses you around to each location in the film. But we found it much more fun exploring on foot and discovering the sites for ourselves.

The church at Nonnberg Abbey where the real-life Maria was married.

When we arrived home in November I had to watch the movie again. The film is now 52 years old, but Salzburg hasn’t changed much and I could easily point out many sites we had visited.

Michael and I spent many happy hours trekking over the hills surrounding the city (remember – The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music!), photographing sites of interest, strolling the river promenade and enjoying a city of heritage and culture, the birthplace of Mozart. What a wonderful way to spend four days in Austria!

Next stop: Bolzano, Italy!

(Note: click on photos to see a larger view.)

 

When was the last time you saw The Sound of Music? I recommend purchasing or renting the 50th Anniversary Edition. The entire extra hour at the end is an interview with Julie Andrews! She visits Salzburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary, sharing memories and photos from the original filming. I absolutely loved it!

Here’s the Amazon link: The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary Edition

 

If you missed the first part of The Traveling Genealogist series, read:
Part 1 – London, Berlin and a Cousin Coincidence!

 

The Feast Day of San Nicolò

Saint Nicholas - San Nicolò

Altar painting of San Nicolò

In Western Christian countries, today (December 6th) is the feast day of Saint Nicholas – or as he is known in Italian: San Nicolò. For your enjoyment and in celebration, I am republishing a post I wrote in December 2015 explaining the story of San Nicolò – the original Santa Claus.

The Story of San Nicolò

Did you know that the patron saint of Castelfondo is San Nicolò? That’s right, the church of our ancestral village is named after San Nicolò in recognition of an early christian saint who is the inspiration for Father Christmas, aka: Santa Claus. In English he is known as Saint Nicholas.

San Nicolò di Bari lived during the 3rd to 4th centuries AD in a Roman colony that is now modern day Turkey. He died on December 6, 343 AD of old age.

There are several legends and miracles attributed to San Nicolò. One in particular may be the beginning of the gift-giving tradition associated with Father Christmas. Upon hearing of a poor man who could not afford dowries for his three daughters, Nicolò (then the Bishop of Myra) gifted part of his wealth to the daughters in the form of three bags of gold, saving them from a life with no husbands and most likely, forced prostitution. To read the entire story, (which includes one sack of gold being thrown down a chimney!) I recommend visiting the site: Life in Italy. This informative page includes the historical details of San Nicolò’s life and the explanation of how his legend morphed into today’s Santa Claus.

San Nicolò Church

Interior view of San Nicolò Church, Castelfondo

The photograph above pictures a prominent painting gracing the baroque altar of Castelfondo’s beautiful church. During my 2011 visit to the village, I was given a tour of San Nicolò by a lovely little woman who is the caretaker. She took me by the arm and escorted me around the altar, all the while describing paintings, frescoes and statues that adorn the church. Of course her explanation was in Italian! I nodded dutifully as I caught a word here and there. I was so appreciative that she had turned on the lights for us. Her obvious devotion to the church and the history it represented touched my heart. While she spoke, I could feel the spirit of my ancestors fill the pews. Generations of Genetti, Marchetti and Zambotti had worshiped in this church for hundreds of years! They had walked this very isle where I now stood. I’m sure they had a family pew where they knelt to pray, just as I had as a child in Hazleton, Pennsylvania attending church at St. Gabriel’s with my father. I was awed and overwhelmed by that moment … reaching through time to share a moment with the ancestors who had shaped my life.

San Nicolò Church

Front exterior view of San Nicolò Church, Castelfondo

As we gather with our families this holiday season, remember to thank your ancestors. Without their bravery, determination and Tyrolean values, our lives would be so different. How wonderful it is to understand where our roots came from and that we have inherited a rich culture shared with many cousins around the world.

Happy San Nicolò Day to my cousins near and far!

(Note: click on the photos to view them in a larger format.)

 

Update: After I published this post I received the following information from John Fellin. The Fellin family is from Revo, Val di Non.

John writes: “Your story about San Nicolo omitted the fact that, under Austria-Hungary and before the Fascist Italianization of the Welsch Tirol, this was the day that boys received a Holiday gift. The gifts might be nuts, some fruit or a couple of Kroner (if the family could afford it). Girls received their gifts on December 13th, the feast of Santa Lucia. The gifts were small and simple, nothing so extravagant as today’s Christmas gifts. Christmas was solely a religious Holiday with no gift exchanges. Italianization brought in La Befana and Santa Claus, ending the Austrian tradition of San Nicolo and Santa Lucia gift giving.” Thank you John for this  interesting addition to our blog post. Mille grazie!

 

Cyber Monday Sale in the Genetti Family Shop!

Yikes! What a sale! I just found out this morning that our fantastic printer, Redbubble, is having a super Cyber Monday Sale on everything in our shop! It’s 30% off on all fine art prints (including family tree prints!), mugs, stickers, t-shirts, totes and journals! Wow – this is the best sale I’ve seen all year from Redbubble – and just in time for Christmas shopping!

Don’t miss out on this spectacular sale of Genetti goodies. To receive your 30% off on your entire order, use the coupon code: 30CYBER at checkout. Hurry this is a one-day sale only (sale ends tonight, Nov. 26 at midnight PST).

And remember – when you are ordering the Genetti family tree make sure to order large prints only!!! Because there are over 200 ancestor names on the Family Tree, it is highly detailed. In order to read the names you must order sizes larger than 24″ x 18″.

Use these handy direct links to shop for products in the Genetti Family Shop:

Family Tree Posters (for readability please order medium or large sizes)

Family Tree Fine Art Prints (for readability please order large or extra large sizes)

Family Tree Photographic Prints (for readability please order extra large size)

Genetti Coat-of-Arms (all products)

Antique Genetti Coat-of-Arms (all products)

Madonna with Child Fresco (all products)

Stickers

Mugs

Greeting Cards

Spiral Notebooks

Hardcover Journals

Acrylic Blocks

Canvas Totes

Happy shopping!

 

Affiliate Disclaimer: All products for sale on this website are provided and shipped by third party companies. I am an affiliate for some of these companies and use affiliate links from  RedBubble. My compensation is a small percentage of the sales made through these links which support the expense of maintaining this website and my genealogy research. 

 

100th Anniversary of Armistice and How It Changed Our Heritage

Related image

Map prior to 1803 of Tyrol with Bishopric of Trent and Bishopric of Brixen

One hundred years ago on November 11, 1918, the ethnicity and homeland of the Tyrolean people changed. For on that day the Armistice of World War I was signed, breaking apart the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Shortly afterwards, on September 10, 1919, the Treaty of Saint Germain was signed, formerly annexing German-speaking South Tyrol and Italian-speaking Trentino to Italy. For centuries this entire area was inclusively known as “Tyrol”. With signing of the 1919 treaty, the region of Tyrol located south of the Alps was transferred from Austria and now became the northern Italian provinces of Trentino-Alto Adige.

According to Lou Brunelli, publisher of “Filò: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans”, Tyrol had a long cultural history stretching back 915 years under Austrian sovereignty:

  • 800 years under the Bishopric of Trento
  • 115 years under the Austrian Empire

In comparison, Italy was a young country, having only become a unified Kingdom (a monarchy) in 1861. By 1922 it fell into a Fascist dictatorship under Mussolini. After World War II, Italy became a democratic republic on June 2, 1946.

View of the Dolomites from Bolzano/Bozen, Alto Adige (South Tyrol)

For most of the past millennia our ancestral lands were influenced and controlled by Austria. Although our ancestors spoke Italian and regional dialect, their nationality and passports prior to 1919 stated that they were citizens of Austria, as they had been for centuries. Now with the stroke of a pen (and much political maneuvering by Italy), the region became Italian. (The events that lead up to Tyrol becoming part of Italy and the subsequent suppression of Tyrolean culture is a complicated and involved story. If you would like to read more about the history of this region, I have provided informational links at the end of this blog post.)

View of Val di Non from Castelfondo, Trentino

Since most Tyroleans emigrated to the United States prior to the 1918/1919 annexation, they came to America as Austrian citizens, and were never really considered Italians. However our relatives who remained in Trentino, now officially became Italian citizens. Mr. Brunelli told me that 97% of USA-bound immigrants arrived before the annexation and were not subjected to the subsequent Nationalism fueled by Fascism that occurred particularly in the Province of Alto Adige/Sud Tirol. 

The confusion of ethnicity for Tyrolean immigrants is reflected in the United States Federal Census. My immediate family is identified in three different censuses as: Austrian, Swiss and Italian! I have seen other Tyroleans listed in census as Bavarians and Czechoslovakians. But when you research our shared genealogy, you realize that all of these families are from the same region of the Val di Non, often from the same village! For those unaware of historical events, the 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Censuses can seem bewildering when it refers to ethnicity. Are we Austrian, German or Italian? Is Tyrolean an ethnicity if it doesn’t exist as a country?

San Genesio/Jenesien with view of Dolomites, Alto Adige (South Tyrol)

In the latest issue of Filò (Volume 19), publisher Lou Brunnelli (a 1st generation Tyrolean American) offers an insightful answer to the cultural and ethnic questions that plague American descendants of Tyrolean ancestors. He has given me permission to reprint this issue’s Introduction here:

Dear Tyrolean American …

Father Bolognani, the historian, sociologist, and apostle of our Tyrolean American community asserted the following … “A strange situation hindered the immigrants from the Trentino, making life more difficult for them then for other ethnic groups that arrived as the same time. Though they spoke no German and were Italian by language, they belonged to the Austrian empire and held Austrian passports. Considering themselves Austrian, or Tyrolean, they did not settle in cities as did most Italians. A search for their identity was difficult.” In other words, our people sought their definition, their differentiation from other groups. As their homeland, the ancient Tyrol was annexed by President Wilson and the Allies without a plebiscite [direct vote by eligible voters to decide an important public question] to Italy, they literally became ethnic orphans as Italy adopted a process of Italianization, becoming Fascist and then our [America’s] political adversary as they declared war on us in their affiliation with the Axis Powers. Defeated in the war and recovered with our American help, Italy became culturally adverse by no longer differentiating our history [Tyrolean] and our identity and imposing on us an identity that they had evolved while forgetting ours. What happened after the annexation, happened there and not here [America] … to them and not to us.

The Filò does not engage in a political polemic but legitimately and justifiably seeks to differentiate, to enhance the literacy and legitimacy of our historic existence and experience. Article by article it asserts with pride and joy: that who we are is who we were! ~ Lou Brunnelli

Image result for italian map trentino alto adige

Modern map of the northern Italian provinces of Trentino (dark pink) and Alto Adige (light pink)

I find it fascinating that our immigrant ancestors brought to America a culture that they kept alive in small communities, but that 100 years later many might say no longer exists in their ancestral homeland. Even today there is a conflict brewing between Austria and Italy concerning the proposed dual-citizenship for German-speaking South Tyroleans (see articles noted below).

Many of us were told as children that we were Tyrolean, not Italian. This concept might seem confusing to our cousins in Italy. But our grandparents and great-grandparents arrived in America as Austrians, became United States citizens and never accepted the label of “Italian”. From the scribbling and crossing out of country origins I have viewed in the US Census, our ancestors were just as confused about their ethnicity after the annexation as we are today attempting to describe our own background as Tyrolean Americans.

In conclusion, I take no sides and make no opinions concerning the ethnicity of Trentino-Alto Adige. I present this information only as a means to bring understanding to our shared Tyrolean American experience, place our ancestry in context to the 1918 Armistice and grasp how the events of the past century have changed Tyrol and its people.

My thanks to Lou Brunelli for sharing his knowledge and insights of Tyrolean culture. I highly recommend subscribing to Lou’s publication Filò: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans. It is a quarterly magazine provided free of charge to the descendants of Tyrolean immigrants.

Click here to register for a subscription to Filò

 

For more information see:

Filò: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans (where you can scroll through current and past issues of Filò)

World War I Armistice Signed: November 11, 1918 – 100th Anniversary

History of South Tyrol

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919)

South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (Studies in Austrian and Central European History and Culture)

Italy and Austria at odds over South Tyrol dual-citizenship

Italy’s South Tyrol: where an identity crisis lingers

The Traveling Genealogist: Part 1 – London, Berlin and a Cousin Coincidence!

Louise and Michael at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Where in the world is Louise? Have you been wondering why I haven’t posted in a while? Well my summer was filled with art projects and redesigning my personal website: LaRoach.Art. In case you didn’t know, I am a digital artist/designer. Genealogy is my hobby. So if my spare time is in short supply, my family research sometimes ends up on the shelf until I have an extended period of quiet time necessary to concentrate on old records.

But when September rolled around this year, Europe beckoned!

My husband and I share a love of travel and exploration. Every year we get out-of-town and experience a new city, country or culture. This year we chose Berlin, Salzburg and Florence to visit, also sandwiching two weeks in the middle of our trip to see cousins and friends in Bolzano, Fondo, Castelfondo and Trent (Northern Italy). Along the way I documented art, visited churches and enjoyed the rich culture of Germany, Austria and Italy.

I am 50% Tyrolean (Trentini) and 50% German/Prussian. Although this was my 3rd trip to Italy and I am very familiar with my Genetti origins, culture and ancestral home, I know little about my German ancestry. Not having visited Germany or Austria on past trips, this was an opportunity to experience the blending of cultures that make up my DNA.

Louise with one of the Tower’s Beefeaters

Michael and I flew into Heathrow Airport and decided to begin out trip with a few days in London Town. The Tower of London was a short walk from our hotel and since we had missed this site on a previous visit to England, we decided to spend the day walking through the murky legacy of England’s infamous prison. I snapped closeups of interesting architectural details, had my photo taken with a Yeoman Warder (also known as a Beefeater), and marveled at the tales of historical figures imprisoned throughout the tower’s lengthy history.

Tower of London

Our next destination was Berlin, Germany. My husband had chosen this city and I was also curious to see modern Berlin. Our AirBnB was a short walk from Checkpoint Charlie and one section of the Berlin Wall, important locations when the country and city were politically and physically divided by Cold War Russia. Since the Berlin Wall was both erected and eventually torn down within my lifetime, (yes I am old enough to remember the beginning of the wall), this was a point in history that I could identify with, as well as compare to our current political turmoil. Although this is an ugly part of Berlin history, particularly because it took place only 16 short years after the devastation of WW 2, I applaud the German people and their effort to remember and document what happened, in an effort to never allow the separation of people and state to take place again.

While in Berlin I had a most unusual cousin experience. I am friends on Facebook with various cousins in the United States, Austria, England and Italy. We had just arrived in Berlin and I happened to see a Facebook post by one of my 2nd cousins Maria Genetti, daughter of Gus and Val Genetti of Pennsylvania. (FYI – Maria’s grandfather and my grandfather were brothers. To be a 2nd cousin you share a set of great-grandparents. Maria, her siblings and I have the common ancestors of Damiano Genetti and Oliva Zambotti.)

In the Facebook post Maria was celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich with a large mug of frothy beer. How funny, I thought, Maria is also in Germany! I sent her a message that I was in Germany too, but a few hours away in Berlin. Maria responded that she had already flown home and was posting from the US, but that her sister, Patricia, had been vacationing in Malta and was flying home through Berlin. She thought it might be possible for the two of us to meet up. Maria sent a message to her sister and soon I received a text from Patricia. Yes, she was in Berlin for just two days and could we rendezvous the following day. Although we were in different parts of the city, Patricia managed to maneuver the underground system and we met for a pleasant chatty cousin dinner at an Italian Trattoria around the corner from our apartment.

Michael Roach, Patricia Genetti, Louise Genetti Roach in Berlin

The next day Patricia flew home and by the end of the week, we were on our way to picturesque Salzburg, Austria.

What are the odds of two American cousins showing up in the same German city at the same time without the knowledge that either were even traveling?! What a very strange cousin coincidence this was indeed! It never ceases to amaze me just how small the world really is and how we are all connected!

A shout-out to Patricia Genetti! Thank you for a memorable evening in Berlin. Perhaps we will stumble upon each other again in our future travels.

Since this series of blog posts is centered around family connections and genealogy, I am writing about my art adventures in Europe over at my other blog. You can read the first post in my “Artful Traveler” series at: LaRoach.Art

Look for more stories from my 2018 trip in future blog posts. Until then – ciao e una abbrattio.

 

 

New Sales Page Added

Everyone loves a good bargain and so do I. That’s why I decided to add a Sales page to our website. This page will keep you up-to-date on current sales happening in our Genetti Family Redbubble shop.

FYI – I have no control over sales nor do I know ahead of time when they will take place. All sales are set by our printer, Redbubble, and I am notified on the day of the sale. Most savings events only last 24 hours, so it can be difficult to send out a blog post for every sale.

Now you can check the Sales page for this information. Know exactly when to shop and save, save, save on purchases of fine art prints, family tree prints and posters, mugs and journals!

Click here to check today’s sales alerts!

New Family Business Directory!

1950’s vintage advertisement for Gus Genetti’s Hotel and Restaurant, Hazleton, PA

A new page has been added to our family website: Genetti Family Directory of Services, Businesses and Creators. Since our family is filled with entrepreneurial spirit, I thought it was about time that we created a directory in support of Genetti family businesses.

Please help me grow our directory by adding as many family businesses, services and creators as possible.

The criteria:

  1. The person or owner of business must be a Genetti descendant or spouse of a Genetti descendant.
  2. The listing must fit into one of these categories: business, service, creator (artist, musician, author, designer).
  3. The listing must have a website address that we can link to.

All listings are free of charge. If you would like your business or service listed or know of someone who should be included in our directory, please use the Contact form on our website. Send the business or person’s name; description of business, service or creator’s specialty; and their web address. I’ll take care of the rest.

I hope you enjoy visiting the websites listed in our Family Business Directory as well as patronizing their services and creations.

Sale on Wall Art in the Genetti Family Shop

Hey Genetti cousins – I just found out a FLASH SALE is happening today only (June 21) until midnight, (Pacific Standard Time) in our Genetti Family Shop on all Wall Art. Redbubble is giving a whopping 30% off on framed prints, photographic prints, posters, art prints, canvas prints, acrylic blocks and wall tapestries! Yikes – what a sale! This is such a huge discount, I had to post it ASAP.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Genetti family tree**, Coat-of-Arms or a print of the beautiful fresco that adorns the Genetti homestead in Castelfondo, this is a great opportunity! But hurry – this sales ends at midnight!

To receive your discount, enter the coupon code DREAM30US at checkout.

** PLEASE NOTE: Due to the detail of the Family Tree (there are over 200 ancestor names listed), we recommend ordering extra-large size prints or large size posters (26″x20″,31″x23″,44″x33″, 24″x18″, 32″x24″). Names on the tree will not be readable in sizes 16×20 or smaller. 

 

Click here to shop the Genetti Family Shop at Redbubble!!!

 

Disclaimer: All products for sale on this website are provided and shipped by third party companies. I am an affiliate for some of these companies and use affiliate links from Amazon and RedBubble. My compensation is a small percentage of the sales made through these links which support the expense of maintaining this website and my genealogy research. Thank you for your support!

Honoring Those Who Have Passed

In honor of Memorial Day I thought it would be nice to remember our relatives who have passed during 2017-2018, several of whom served our country during their lifetime.

Please click on each name to view their Tribute page.

2017

Robert Harry Pettis

Edward F. Genetti

Regina (Jean) Branz Daly

Olivia Ann Reich Hearn

Leon A. Genetti Jr.

2018

Lori Zamko Liptok

Wilma Jean (Ortigo) Reich

Joseph A. LaPorte

 

The Tribute page on the Genetti Family website is located at: https://genettifamily.com/tributes/. Here you will find memorials dating back to 1937. If anyone has an obituary you would like to contribute of a Genetti family descendant or spouse for any year, I would be happy to create a Tribute page for that relative. Please email me through our Contact page to discuss your memorial.

Memorial Day Sale in the Genetti Family Shop!

Would you like a beautiful Genetti Family Tree poster for your home? Or maybe a framed art print of our family Coat-of-Arms? How about a nifty coffee mug, sticker or hardcover journal imprinted with the Genetti crest?

I rarely post sales, but this is a good one! Starting today and continuing until Monday evening, May 28th everything in our Genetti Family Shop at Redbubble is 20% off! That means all prints, posters, mugs, etc. are on sale throughout the Memorial Weekend. To take advantage of this significant discount, click on the link below, select your Genetti goodies, then use the sales code: LETSSAVE20 to receive 20% off of your order. It’s that easy!

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the detail of the Family Tree (there are over 200 ancestor names listed), we recommend ordering extra-large size prints or large size posters. Smaller sizes such as 16×20 or smaller will not be readable.

Click here to shop the Genetti Family Shop

 

Disclaimer: All products for sale on this website are provided and shipped by third party companies. I am an affiliate for some of these companies and use affiliate links from Amazon and RedBubble. My compensation is a small percentage of the sales made through these links which support the expense of maintaining this website and my genealogy research. Thank you for your support!