Happy New Year!

Wishing cousins near and far a Happy New Year – Felice Anno Nuovo!

Here is a little video from our ancestral home of Castelfondo. Watch closely and you will see the Genetti homestead!

Thank you to “I Love Val di Non” for providing this clip. You can see more photos and videos from the beautiful Val di Non at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ILoveValdiNon/

Buon Natale

StNicolo-11Last year I published a Christmas blog post about San Nicolò. It turned out to be one of my favorite posts of the year. Since we have many new subscribers to our site, I felt it was appropriate to republish the piece today in honor of our cousins throughout the world. Wishing you all a joyous Christmas!

Originally published December 2015:

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.

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, PA 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.

As we gather with our families this Christmas, remember to thank your ancestors. Without their bravery, determination and Tyrolean values, our lives would be so different. How wonderful it is to know our roots and inherit a rich culture that we share with many cousins around the world.

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti i miei cugini!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my cousins!

Chei da Chastelfon

castelfondovideo

A lovely video was posted recently on a Facebook group that I follow called “Chei da Chastelfon”. Created by Maurizio Mau Ruatti, it captures many of the beautiful memories shared by members of this group over the past year, most of whom are from Castelfondo or have roots in the village. Some of our Italian Genetti and Marchetti cousins have also posted photos and documents on this page – and a few of their faces show up in this little video clip.

I have found this group to be a genealogy treasure of images and information – and such an amazing way to keep in touch with our family in Trentino. Although our cousin connection may be distant, their photographs peel away years and generations, touching our hearts with Tyrolean heritage.

Mille grazie Maurizo Mau Ruatti! Your American cousins appreciate “Chei da Chastelfon, in video” and send our warm regards during this holiday season. My special thanks also to Giovanni Marchetti who leads this group. Giovanni has helped me with translating, identifying photos and has been very helpful with communications. Buon Natale a tutti!

To view this video, you must be a member of Facebook and logged in to your account. Click here to view.

Santuario di San Romedio

sanromedioThe Santuario di San Romedio is an evocative and spiritual sanctuary located in the Val di Non not far from from our ancestral village of Castelfondo. Consisting of several chapels and churches connected by steep stone stairways, the ancient structure rises up from a rocky cavern. The oldest part of the Santuario dates back to about 1000 AD.

I hope you enjoy a glimpse into one of the wonders of the Val di Non. We have shared this video from the Facebook page: I Love Val di Non.

 

 

New Books in Our Bookstore

We have just added two wonderful new books to our online Family Bookstore. If you’re looking for reading material this holiday season, here are a few selections that might peak your interest.

willowvale

Willow Vale – My Review: Let me say first off that I rarely include novels in our Bookstore. But this little tome tugged at my heart, begging to become a part of our Tyrolean heritage library. Using her grandmother (Nona) as inspiration for the lead character, Francesca Sittoni, the author paints the world of a beautiful young widow with a precocious toddler from the Val di Non in Trentino just after WW I. Her little village in the Tyrolean valley has changed hands from Austria to Italy. After Francesca’s beloved husband dies, she must find another spouse as soon as possible to support herself and her young daughter. She is soon sold off as a war bride, boards a ship to America and joins her new husband in the coal mining region of Wyoming. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story for you, but let’s say that the tenacious and stubborn Francesca refuses to give up in a new land even when her second husband is no longer in the picture and she fears being deported back to impoverished Northern Italy.

I fell in love with the story of fictional Francesca. Since many of the Genetti family set down roots in Wyoming, working the dangerous coal mines and eking out a living from the dry, dusty land – this was a story that echoed our own journey to America. I think any Tyrolean American will find “Willow Vale” captivating and heartwarming – a wonderful gift for a grandparent or elder. Younger generations will experience an eye-opening glimpse into the struggles of our first generation ancestors as they experienced a new life in America. Find Willow Vale on Amazon: buy now

 

familytreeguidetodna

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy – My Review: One of the latest books to enter the field of genetic genealogy, I found this to be a very helpful guide and a great addition to my growing DNA library. Information is current and as accurate as possible in this ever-evolving science. Most of the material presented can be easily understood by beginners. Advanced concepts are also presented later in the book, but this should not be a deterrent for newbies as they can always come back to these sections after gaining a bit of expertise in DNA testing. I particularly found the chapters relating to surprises in one’s ancestry, such as illegitimacy and adoption, to be extremely informative and sensitive to this topic. Most books about genetic genealogy only touch upon the subject of non-parental events. The author handled this area of DNA testing/genetic genealogy with tact and depth. There are many charts, diagrams and illustrations included in this book. I purchased the ebook version and had no problem viewing the graphic information. I highly recommend this guide as a comprehensive instruction manual for both beginners and advance students of DNA. Find The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy on Amazon: buy now

Our Family Bookstore is full of books about the Tyrolean culture, travel guides for Northern Italy and cookbooks featuring our native cuisine. We also have guides on how to write your own Family Legacy and even a few autobiographical books written by Tyrolean Americans. Our new section on DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy was just added a few months ago. Stop by and browse our Family Bookstore today!

Presentation DVD Now Available!

dvdfrontbacksmall

 

Our evening presentation, “The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America”, is now available as a professionally edited DVD. If you missed Reunion 2016 or would like a unique Christmas gift, this DVD is the perfect solution! Place your order with Bill Genetti – but hurry because quantities are limited.

The price for this beautifully packaged presentation is $15 (includes shipping) if purchased before Dec. 15th, 2016. After Dec. 15th the price will increase to $20 (includes shipping) until all DVDs of this limited edition have been purchased.

Our presentation DVD is also listed for sale in the Genetti Family Shop and on our Reunion Page. Initial sales of DVDs will cover production costs. Any additional sales will go directly into the Genetti Reunion Fund to be used for our next reunion.

Please send your check addressed to:
William Genetti
1345 N. Church St.
Hazle Township, PA 18202

Have questions, contact Bill at: wegenetti@gmail.com.

Letters from the Past

DamianoDoorAs a genealogist, I get excited about dates and stats. But nothing thrills me more than finding a memoir or letter written by an ancestor. These bits of history allow a personal glimpse into the life and times of a family member.

On my last visit back to Pennsylvania, I was fortunate to be gifted a box of memories by my Uncle Leon Genetti. It proved to be a cache of information, transporting me back decades into my personal family line.

I am now in the process of sorting and scanning documents before returning this “time capsule” back to my uncle. The amount of historical information I have found is incredible, yielding several stories I will tell you in future blog posts.

letters1The first bit of Genetti memorabilia I’d like to share with you are two letters penned by my great-grandfather Damiano Genetti, sent to his son Stanley (Costante) Genetti. The letters were written in December of 1938 and August of 1939, sent from Castelfondo, Italy.

A little back history about Damiano – he returns to his native village in the Val di Non (Trentino, Italy) around 1922, without his family. He lives in Castelfondo for the next twenty-two years, until his death in December of 1944. During this time World War II breaks out (Sept. 1939 – Sept. 1945). The northern province of Trentino/Alto Adige is caught in the middle between German and Italian forces.

It is significant to note that Damiano’s wife, Oliva Zambotti Genetti, passes away in August of 1938. The second letter discusses Damiano paying for masses to be said in the memory of Oliva.

Another known fact to consider is that by 1939, Damiano is making plans to return to America, but is unable to leave due to the declaration of war in Europe.

Now back to our letters! After inspecting the documents, it’s obvious that the original letters were penned in dialect or Italian and later translated into English by someone familiar with the Tyrolean tongue. We can tell this from the unusual sentence syntax. Also, the signature at the bottom of both letters, does not match other documents personally signed by Damiano. From these observations we can conclude that the letters were received by one member of the family (in this case Damiano’s son Stanley) then translated, copied and distributed to other family members. We can also conclude from the mention of past letters, that Damiano wrote to his children on a fairly frequent basis and was concerned with their welfare.

letters2-aBefore composing this blog post, I shared the letters with Bill Genetti, Damiano’s grandson, to get his impressions. Bill made a very important observation: “The 2nd letter is dated 3 days before WWII broke out. September 1st was the date Hitler attacked Poland and war was declared. That 2nd letter may be the last letter to get through and he died before the Allies reached his area.”

Wow! Damiano was writing to his family on the very brink of war! I felt many emotions reading his letters – sadness, loneliness, affection for his children, a resignation of his position in life. Damiano’s words resonated through the decades, speaking volumes.

Since I was born thirteen years after his death, I can only go by the description others have told me of my great-grandfather: stubborn and determined, intelligent and scrupulous, caring and generous, a humanitarian yet distant and detached from his family. Perhaps Damiano’s words will give you a new perspective of an ancestor who lived many different lives (husband, father, mining superintendent, Calvary officer, businessman, traveler, mayor, herbalist).For these are personal letters from a man who lived a complicated life. It is an honor to share them with you now.

I’ll leave Damiano’s words speak for themselves. (To read each letter, click on the image for an enlarged view.)

letters2-bDo you have ancestor letters tucked away in your basement or attic? Why not share them with the Genetti Genealogy Project. Write me at info.genetti.family@gmail.com. Each letter will be added to your ancestor’s digital file in the Genetti Archive we are in the process of compiling.

See more photos of Damiano Genetti on our website Photograph Page.

Read Damiano’s obituary on our Tributes Page.

Time to Shop for Christmas

The Genetti Family Tree

The Genetti Family Tree

Hey Genetti cousins – if you’re looking for special Christmas gifts for the family this year, we have a number of great suggestions.

First, let me tell you that our fine art publisher, RedBubble, is having another private sale just for the Genetti Family. Want to give an original Genetti family tree to your children or how about a beautiful heritage print of our Coat-of-Arms? Now is the time to make this purchase! Starting today and running until midnight, Tuesday – November 1st, RedBubble will take 20% off of your entire order! That’s a whole lot of savings! If you purchase a large poster print (44″x33″) of the Genetti Family Tree, the regular price is $34.98. With your family discount, it costs only $27.98 if purchased by this Tuesday! To receive your discount, at check-out use your private coupon code: draw-GenettiFamily.

Click here to shop for Genetti Family Tree Prints!

Prints

Framed prints of homestead Fresco and carved Genetti coat-of-arms.

Special Note to buyers: As specified on our Shop page and in the artist notes for this product: we highly recommend that you purchase family tree prints only in extra-large print sizes or large poster sizes. There are over 200 ancestor names on this tree and you may not be able to read the text if printed smaller than 24″ x 18″. Please scroll down the shop page (click here) to find all print products offered for the Genetti Family Tree. Use the drop-down arrow on each item to select size (all prints are available in small sizes – unfortunately I cannot disable these sizes – so it is up to you to select a larger size appropriate for this detailed print).

This sale also extends to our other fine art prints of the Genetti Coat-of-Arms and the beautiful fresco pictured on the Genetti homestead located in Castelfondo, Italy.

Click here to shop Genetti Fine Art Prints – and make sure you use your private coupon code (draw-GenettiFamily) at check-out to receive 20% off – offer expires: Tuesday, Nov. 1, at midnight!

garygenettibowl

Junkyard Glass bowl by Gary Genetti

Next on our Christmas wish list is a beautiful bowl, created by master glass artist Gary Genetti. Gary’s exquisite hand-blown art glass creations may be out of reach for many, but did you know that he has a very affordable option to his gallery pieces? “Junkyard Glass” is a unique line that turns trash into treasure!

Here is the product description for Junkyard Glass: “This upcycled glass bowl represents a story both personal and of broad cultural/environmental impact. Born in the junkyard, the original idea was a healing activity for my family and I. It has found an appeal not only as a friendly product but as a metaphor for resilience and healing trauma through creativity. It is a combination of beauty, practicality and environmental sensitivity that reminds us of a new attitude toward consumption, making and sustainability.” Beginning November 1st and running until November 8th, Junkyard Glass will be part of Amazon Launchpad Startup Week (click here to read more). If you are an Amazon Prime Member, receive a 20% discount and free shipping on all Junkyard Glass purchases during Nov. 1st-8th. To purchase a Junkyard Glass bowl at Amazon.com, click here!

Also – checkout Gary’s website at: http://genettiglass.com/. FYI – I purchased a Junkyard Glass bowl during Gary’s Kickstarter campaign several years ago. Absolutely love my bowl for its usefulness, durability and beauty. Thanks Gary!

See a video of how Junkyard Glass bowls are made: click here to watch. (You may remember that Gary’s spectacular art glass piece, donated by Jeanne Genetti Murphy, was one of the highlights of our recent family reunion.) 

allancestors

Genetti Ancestors

And finally, would you like to give a piece of Genetti history to your children or grandchildren? Now you can! Our evening presentation, “The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America”, will soon be available as a professionally edited DVD. If you missed the reunion or would like a unique Christmas gift, this DVD is the perfect solution! Bill Genetti is currently taking orders, but hurry because quantities are limited.

Please send a check for $15 (includes shipping) addressed to: William Genetti, 1345 N. Church St., Hazle Township, PA 18202. Have questions, contact Bill at: wegenetti@gmail.com.

I hope this blog post has your creative juices flowing! Why give socks or a tie, when you can give a token of your family heritage! Plus remember to visit our online Genetti Family Shop for unique glassware, T-shirts, books on the Tyrolean culture and other cool stuff! Ho, ho, ho – Christmas is just around the corner!

Click here to visit the Genetti Family Shop.

Updates to our Tree

MaryHarryPettis

Mary Louise Recla (daughter of Erminia Genetti and Emanuel Recla) with husband Harry Pettis – early 1920’s.

Thank you to all of the cousins who have provided new information for our family tree. Your help has been invaluable in growing our Genetti Archive.

As a family genealogist, I research our deceased ancestors who usually leave a pretty good paper trail for us to follow. But it’s much more difficult gathering info on living family members and keeping our tree up-to-date. I rely on all of you to send me names, birth dates, marriages, spouses and children of current generations.

During the past two weeks, I have completed three branches of the Genetti family tree. First is the family of Mary Pettis Russell. Mary is the great-granddaughter of Erminia Genetti and Emanuel Recla, who settled in Spokane, Washington, and the granddaughter of Mary Recla and Harry Pettis. We met Mary’s sister, Linda and her daughter at our recent family reunion. With Mary’s info, ten new family members have been added to the Genetti/Recla/Pettis branch.

 

vigilio

William Vigilio Genetti (1852-1932)

Our second family are descendants of Virgil Genetti and his second wife, Margaret Mueller, from the Illinois clan. Tom Genetti and his sisters, Genelle and Sharon, are the children of Virgil’s youngest child Vernon. With their help, we have added twenty-one new descendants to the Illinois Genetti branch.

Our third family line is that of Jeanne Genetti Murphy. Jeanne’s parents Faustino Genetti and Matilda Turri immigrated to Pennsylvania. Jeanne is ninety-two years old and a first generation American. I was able to research and add many new ancestors from Jeanne’s father’s generation in Castelfondo, as well as American cousins and the family’s current generation. This update gave us twenty-nine additional family members on our tree.

 

 

jeannemurphy

Jeanne Genetti Murphy – 1940’s.

All total, sixty new Genetti descendants are now a part of our offline and online family trees!

You can access the online Genetti Family tree at: http://genettifamily.tribalpages.com/. (For privacy reasons, personal information for living family members is hidden on this tree.) This page is a great place to start your own genealogy research on our extensive family.

Our offline tree contains all information (such as birth dates and places, spouses, children, etc) on living and diseased descendants. This data base forms the basis of our Genetti Archive. I am happy to provide a 5-generation Descendant Report free of charge to any family member for a specific branch of their family. Simply send me a request through our Contact page and I will email you the report. (Note: Descendant Reports are NOT available to anyone outside of the family. If I have a question about the authenticity of a request, I will not issue the report.)

We still have many branches of our tree to update – both from the United States and Italy. So if your immediate family is missing from our tree, take a few minutes and email me. If you can provide me with information on your living family, I will do my best to research your ancestral line. Together we can grow the Genetti Family tree one twig at a time!

 

Reunion Photos and more!

Reunion 2016

Reunion 2016 – please click for a larger view

Thank you to all who made the journey last week to Hazleton! We had a packed house with a total of 152 attendees at the Saturday evening banquet. I hope you had as much fun as I did – meeting new cousins and sharing stories with lots of hugs to go around. I will certainly remember this reunion with fond memories.

Make sure you visit the Reunion page on our website: https://genettifamily.com/reunion-news/. It has been updated with photos from our family weekend. Want to share your own reunion pics? Please email photos with captions to: info.genetti.family@gmail.com. Let’s share our reunion with cousins throughout the world by adding lots of fun candid photographs to this page. Our special thanks to Patricia Genetti (who did all of our table photos), Diane Genetti (who organized our group photo) and Valeria Genetti Bozek (who photographed candid pics of the Saturday presentations). Your contributions allowed us to have photographs online by Saturday evening!

Thanks to Patricia Genetti, we now have a Facebook public group page where our reunion photos were quickly posted. If you are a member of Facebook, click here to go to the “Genetti Family” public group page – and join! As of today, the page has 92 members.

If you missed our Saturday evening program, “The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America” we have good news! Bill Genetti had the presentation professionally videotaped and it will soon be produced for sale as a DVD. This presentation will make a fantastic Christmas gift for family members or a historic memento to pass down to future generations.

To order, please send a check for $15 (includes shipping) to:

Bill Genetti (address your check to Bill Genetti)
1345 N. Church St.
Hazle Township, PA 18202

Due to the cost, only a limited number of DVDs are being produced. So don’t delay, order your reunion presentation DVD today!

Genetti Family Tree

Family Tree

And one final note, if you are interested in purchasing a Genetti Family Tree Print, a print of our Coat-of-Arms or a beautiful printed chiffon scarf (one of our many reunion door prizes) you’re in luck. The company that provides our fine art prints (Redbubble) is offering us a one day sale of 20% off on all items through the Redbubble store. This offer is for the Genetti family only (not for the general public)! Hurry – the offer is only valid on Monday, October 17th!!!

Please use the unique coupon code of:
twentyoff-GenettiFamily when checking out. You must place your order by midnight, October 17th to receive the 20% discount.

Here is the Redbubble link to our family page where you will find all of our fine art print products: http://www.redbubble.com/people/genettifamily

You can also find Redbubble Fine Art prints at:
Genetti Family Shop page: https://genettifamily.com/shop-2/

Once again, many thanks to everyone who attended and participated in Reunion weekend!