Category: Ancestors

Updates to the Genetti Family Tree

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Erminia Genetti and Emanuel Recla with family in Spokane, WA – 1914

I’m happy to announce a major update to our ancestral tree. We have added the family of Erminia Erica Genetti (1876-1972) and Emanuel Maria Recla (1866-1939). Our sincerest thanks to Linda Pettis Sullivan, the great-granddaughter of Erminia and Emanuel. Linda spent a lot of time and effort documenting the details of her family tree. She was also very patient with my many questions, as I sorted out all of the Genetti/Recla descendants. The result: 54 new descendants added to our on-line and off-line family trees, 47 photographs also added to the on-line tree, and 16 family portraits included on the Photograph Page of our website Gallery Section.

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Erminia Enrica Genetti Recla (1876 – 1972)

And now, a little background about the Genetti/Recla family. Erminia was the youngest daughter of Leone and Cattarina Genetti of Castelfondo, Tyrol. Baby sister to Damiano and Raffaele Genetti of Pennsylvania, Erminia arrived in America in 1890 at the young age of fourteen. She soon met and married Emanuel Maria Recla in 1893, a fellow Tyrolean ten years her senior. Emanuel was born in the neighboring village of Tres, located a few miles up the road from Castelfondo. He came to the United States in 1882. Emanuel’s older brother, Raffaele Recla, had married Erminia’s sister, Angela Maddalena Genetti, in 1887. Yes, you have that right – two Recla brothers married two Genetti sisters.

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Recla women with their children – 1930

Erminia and Emanuel’s first two children were born in Sheppton, Pennsylvania (the mining town where her sister Angeline Genetti Recla, brother-in-law Raffaele Recla and brother Raffaele Genetti, were living at the time). By 1897, the couple moved to Crystal Falls, Michigan where five more children were born. In 1907 we find the Recla family settled in Spokane, Washington where many of their descendants still live today. Three more children were born in Spokane. Between 1894 and 1915, the couple had eleven children – eight survived to adulthood.

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Robert Harry Pettis with brother George Hayes Pettis – 1926

I met Linda and her sister Mary through Ancestry.com. We are all family genealogists and quickly connected through our shared research, as well as cousin matching through DNA results. We are 3rd cousins, with common ancestors being our 2nd great-grandparents, Leone and Cattarina Genetti.

Linda and Mary’s father, Robert, along with his brother George, are still going strong in their 90’s! Their parents were Marie “Mary” Louise Recla and Harry Hayes Pettis. A hearty hello to the Pettis brothers! They are the grandsons of Erminia Genetti and Emanual Recla, and 2nd generation Americans. Linda sent us many wonderful photographs of her dad, Robert, and his brother George. Since I was unable to include all of them on our Photograph Page, I’ve shared many here in this blog post.

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Robert Harry Pettis with brother George Hayes Pettis – 1932

Make sure you say hello to Linda when you see her at our Genetti Family Reunion next month. She’ll be easy to spot with her gorgeous flaming red hair! Again, many thanks Linda for your contribution to our ancestral tree. Your research and photos have now become a part of our growing Genetti Archive. Grazie mille!

And just a note about the structure and maintenance of our family tree. We have two separate trees – one off-line and the second published on-line through our website.

The off-line tree is constructed using the genealogy software, Family Tree Maker. It contains all stats and details provided to me for ancestors/descendants both living and deceased, (birth date/place, marriage date/place, death date/place, etc). We currently have 1618 family members listed in this family tree beginning in 1461 (with many more still to be added). This file is the basis for our Genetti Family Archive and is kept as up-to-date as possible with the entry of new births and the passing of family loved ones.

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Robert Pettis – about five years old

A digital copy of the off-line family tree in the form of a GEDcom file is available to all descendants free-of-charge, (FYI – you must have appropriate genealogy software to open a GEDcom file). I can also generate a 5-generation descendant report for any family member, also free-of-charge. This can be emailed to you as an easily read PDF file. Simply provide me with the name of the descendant or ancestor that you would like to use as a starting point: Example – you want to generate a report beginning with you and going back five generations. The descendant report will contain all details and stats for your specified five generations.

Our on-line family tree is different in that it shows the complete stats (birth, marriage, death) only for descendants who are deceased. If photographs are available, they are also attached to each family member’s listing. However, all living descendants are noted as “Living” and only the year of their birth is given. This is done to protect the privacy of living family members and is a common practice for all genealogy websites. Our on-line family tree offers many unique search features and the ability to generate your own reports and printable charts.

If I can be of further help concerning the Genetti Family Tree or you would like to update your family information, please email me through our Contact Page.

Quick Links:

Family Photograph Page

On-line Genetti Family Tree

Purchase an Ancestral Genetti Family Tree Print

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Robert Pettis – Navy portrait – 1941

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Brothers Robert and George Pettis – 2002

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Linda Pettis Sullivan with her father,
Robert Pettis – 2016

 

 

New Family Memory Page

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Raffaele Genetti and Lucia (Zambotti) Genetti – photograph of Nono and Nona. Probably photographed in the mid-1940’s.

During the past month, I have been working with Helene Smith Prehatny to create a Family Memory page about her beloved Nono and Nona, Raffaele and Lucia Genetti. The result is a beautiful memoir from Helene’s childhood, recalling loving moments with her grandparents who lived in Weston, Pennsylvania.

Raffaele was Helene’s buddy and mentor, always encouraging his young granddaughter to respect herself and believe “there are no limits in what you can accomplish”. Digging into her collection of photographs, Helene included family portraits that walk us through the years from the late 1890’s to the mid-1940’s. Her well thought-out piece is a moving tribute to her family. And her memoir has now become a treasured part of the Genetti family archive.

Thank you Helene! Your contribution to our Family Story page is so very appreciated!

Click here to read “Family Memories by Helene Smith Prehatny”.

All of Helene’s photographs have also been added to the Photograph Page of our Gallery Section (a total of nine new photos!). Make sure to visit this popular page to browse cherished memories of our ancestors.

Do you have special memories that you would like to preserve for future generations? A Family Memory Page is the perfect venue to express your thoughts and thanks to our ancestors. Feel free to email me with your ideas and we’ll work on your Family Memory Page together. Click here to go to our website contact page.

 

We Made the News!

standardspeakerOur thanks to writer, Jill Whalen, at the Standard-Speaker newspaper for writing an extensive article about the Genetti family of Hazleton, PA. When I sent out press releases a few months back, I had expected just a few paragraphs about our October reunion to be published in the paper. I was completely blown away by the full-page article detailing our family’s history in the area and their involvement in local business. Jill obviously did her research – digging into old family documents, genealogy records and newspaper archives. Since my memories of our family businesses are as a child – my father taking me for a visit to the Tyrolean Room (where he worked) or buying groceries at our local Genetti market, I was surprised by many of the details Jill included in her article. Some of which I wasn’t aware of! What a great piece to include in our growing family archive!

imagegallery1The complete article can be found as a link on our Family News page. Or just click here and go directly to the article page on our website.

Want to read the article online at the Standard-Speaker? Click here for the original story.

I’d like to acknowledge one detail left out of Jill’s article. It was brought to my attention by a descendant of Damiano and Oliva that there was no mention of their daughters or the role they played in establishing the family businesses. This was an unfortunate oversight and I offer my apologies.

Yes, it is my understanding that all of the children (including their daughters) worked hard to help the family prosper in a new land. Until they married and left the family home, the five Genetti daughters all contributed in some way to the growing business. Two daughters, Esther and Anne, also had official job titles within the Genetti company. According to the Federal Census, Esther never married and worked for many years as a bookkeeper in the family business. Youngest daughter, Anne, was also a bookkeeper in the Genetti offices until her marriage to James McNelis in 1932.

Our family history centers around the four Genetti sons, but often ignores their sisters and the part they played in establishing D. Genetti & Sons. My sincerest apologies to the descendants of these dedicated women (Dora, Tillie, Esther, Erminia and Angela) who were regrettably overlooked in this recent article.

I also would like to acknowledge the many grandchildren (and great-grandchildren!) of Daminano and Oliva who worked in the family businesses throughout the years. You are part of the entrepreneurial spirit our ancestors brought with them on the long journey from Castelfondo to Hazleton. I applaud your contribution to our family history!

Photos from the Past, Part 2

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Raffael Recla (1864-1896) with wife Angeline Maddalena Genetti (1865-1937), children: Lawrence, Leonela, Frances. Photographed in 1891, Hazleton, PA

Back in June, I wrote about a cache of cabinet cards discovered on eBay by Giovanni Marchetti of Castelfondo. (Click here to read the original post of this amazing story!)

Since many of the picture postcards are not clearly labeled, I’m using whatever clues I have to identify these ancestral ghosts from the past. When I first received the digital images from Giovanni, I immediately recognized a postcard of my grandfather, Leon Genetti, with his cousin Peter Zambotti. It was also easy to translate the handwritten message on the back of their card, giving positive proof that this was indeed two of my relatives.

OK – one postcard identified, nineteen more to go!

Browsing through the ancient sepia photos, I looked for more obvious clues – something that easily jumped out at me. There it was – a portrait of a young family, with the name of the photography studio and its location stamped on front. It said Hazleton! The back of the card offered no identification. But as I examined the photograph, something in the back of my memory clicked in place. The mother, dressed in Victorian black, staring stoically into the camera, looked very familiar. I had seen her before, but where?

Then I remembered – she resembled a charcoal drawing sent to me by Don Lingousky of his great-grandmother, Angela Maddalena Genetti Recla. The beautiful portrait had been created by Angela’s adopted son, Henry Parisi Recla. Immediately I went to the Photograph section on our family website and scanned down the page. Eureka! It was a match! Henry had used the original postcard as a model for his drawing.

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Angeline Maddalena Genetti Recla (1865 – 1937), charcoal portrait by her adopted son, Henry Parisi Recla.

I couldn’t believe my good luck! I immediately emailed Don Lingousky with my surprise. His response: “Wow, we’re stunned! We have never seen the photo before, but it is clearly the same one that our portrait of Angeline Maddalena was taken from. What a great find, just can’t believe all these photos ended up on eBay of all places. I also do not have any photos of my grandmother as a child [Leonela], so that is really interesting too. Thank you!”

And so, another photo in this mystery group has been identified. After receiving Don’s confirmation, I returned to Giovanni’s Facebook page, Chei da Chastelfon, and properly labeled the portrait as follows:

“Raffael Recla (1864-1896) con la moglie Angeline Maddalena Genetti (1865-1937), bambini: Lawrence, Leonela, Frances. Fotografato su 1891, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA.”

Again our sincere thanks to Giovanni Marchetti for rescuing our priceless family memories! Molta grazie!

Want to know more about Angeline Maddalena Genetti Recla? A courageous woman and an inspirational ancestor, Angeline’s life will be cameoed in our reunion evening program: The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America (click here to read about the presentation).

And by-the-way, you can meet Angeline’s great-grandson Don in person – he will be co-presenting our DNA workshop during Reunion weekend!

See you at the Reunion in October!

Photos from the Past

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Pietro Zambotti and Leon Genetti,
photographed in Hazleton, PA, 1908

Sometimes clues to our past find us in the most unexpected ways. I belong to a Facebook group administered by Giovanni Marchetti. “Chei da Chastelfon” posts photos, stories and history about our ancestral village of Castelfondo. I love seeing photographs of ancient family homes, San Nicolo church and Castello di Castelfondo (the 12th century castle perched on a rock outcropping just below the village). Members of the group share vintage pics from their own family albums. And once in a while, Giovanni (who follows our family blog) will post a link back to the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. 

A month ago, Giovanni posted a message for me to look in a specific file under the group’s photo albums. He thought I might find something of interest there. It took a little searching, since of course everything is in Italian. Upon finding the correct album and opening the file, I found myself staring at a collection of twenty vintage cabinet cards and postcards. (A cabinet card is a type of photographic portrait mounted on a stiff card measuring 4.5″ x 6.5″. It was popular from the 1870’s through the 1920’s.)

I immediately was drawn to one postcard – it was an early photograph of my grandfather, Leon Genetti! There was no hesitation on my part – for you see, I have my grandfather’s eyes. It’s like seeing yourself reflected in a mirror. Those eyes are obviously a genetic characteristic, since I have recognize their lilting, soft appearance in several living Genetti descendants as well as in a number of ancestor portraits. Plus – my grandfather looks just like my younger brother, James, at that same age! What a surprise – I was overwhelmed with joy!

Pietro ZambottiIn the postcard, my grandfather is standing next to a shorter gentleman with dark hair. From other photos, I recognized him too. It was Pietro (Peter) Zambotti – my grandfather’s cousin! The back of the postcard was stamped Dec. 7, 1908 and had obviously been sent to Castelfondo since it was written in Italian (with a bit of Nones). I could tell that the message was from Pietro, but I needed a little help with the translation. So I wrote Chiara Dalle Nogare, one of our Italian cousins who lives in Trento. Chiara and I are 4th cousins, we share 3rd great-grandparents, Antonio Genetti and Veronica Panizza.

Chiara got back to me right away with a translation. Here’s what Pietro Zambotti wrote to his relatives back home in Castelfondo many, many Christmases ago:

“Many greetings from your godson; together with my cousin I want to wish you merry Christmas and a happy new year. I am well and so I hope are you and all of your family. Your godson Pietro Zambotti” (someone else wrote next to this: the shorter) and then on the left: Leo Daminano (the taller)

According to Pietro’s baptismal record, his godparents were: Pietro Dallachiesa and Barbara Zambotti. So the postcard must have belonged to one of these people. My curiosity was aroused! Was I related to any of the other images staring back at me from this group of century-old cabinet cards? Where did they come from and who had cherished this collection of memories for so many years?

Ecstatic, I wrote back to Giovanni, asking for his help in identifing more of the cards. His answer surprised me. Giovanni, also a lover of history and genealogy, had found the grouping on eBay! He recognized the names on several of the cards (many are not identified) and bid on the lot. Unfortunately, Giovanni could not identify any of the photos other than those that were obviously labeled. He had placed them online in the group photo album, with the hope that others might recognize their relatives and a name could be added to a face.

So it seems the history of the postcard goes like this: My grandfather at age 21 and his cousin (age 27) had a picture postcard photographed at a studio in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The card was sent to Castelfondo, Austria in 1908 to one of Pietro’s godparents. At some point this godparent died and the photo was passed down to someone else. Ultimately the grouping was offered for sale on eBay, probably by someone who had no family connection to the photos (because who would sell such cherished family memories!). A caring soul, Giovanni Marchetti, rescued them from oblivion, bringing them back home to Castelfondo. What a story!

And there’s more! So far I’ve identified three additional cards and will tell their story in a future blog post.

Our thanks and appreciation to Giovanni Marchetti and the group at Chei da Chastelfon! Your American cousins are eternally grateful! Mille grazie!

 

 

Wyoming Genetti Family: More Descendants

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Angelo Genetti
(1859-1946)

Here’s a quick update about our online family tree: Today I added ninety-four descendants to the Wyoming Genetti Family branch. This update contains all current information I have for the descendants of Angelo Genetti (1859-1946) and Teresa Annunziatta Marchetti (1858-1902).

If your immediate family is not represented in this latest update, it’s because I don’t have your personal information. To be included, please send a message on our Contact Page with your appropriate info (family names; dates of birth, marriage and death; names of spouses and children).

 

 

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Teresa Annunziatta Marchetti
(1858-1902)

All total, there are now 1501 names in our ancestry index! Just a reminder – information for living family members is kept confidential on our online tree. That is why you see the word “Living” used as a first name for living descendants.

However, I also maintain an offline tree listing names and stats for all family members. Our offline tree is a growing archive for the Genetti family. This data base is always in the process of being updated with new births, marriages and the passing of elders.

Our archive is available to Genetti descendants with the verification that you are a family member. We ask that you use this information ONLY for purposes of genealogy research. Personal contact information is not included in this archive.

I am happy to generate a “Descendant Report” providing you with a 5-generation synopsis of your immediate family branch. If interested, please send me a message through our Contact Page with the ancestor’s name you would like to use as a beginning point for the report. After verifying that you are a family member, I will email you in a few days with a Descendant Report as a PDF file.

Our thanks once again to Alexandra Genetti for providing most of the statistics for the current generations of the Wyoming Genetti family. Your research and help has been invaluable!

The Wyoming Genetti Family

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Angelo Genetti
1859-1946

I’ve spent the past month in the “zone”. That’s what happens when you’re deep in research, attempting to find pieces of your genealogy puzzle.

The Genetti Family tree is huge with many branches and multitudes of records to dig through. I love diving into century-old ledgers to tease out the truth! But to focus my concentration and patience on the task of research, I must block out everything else.

It takes weeks to complete an entire line, and so it was with the Wyoming Genetti Family. This branch has many descendants now living in California, Utah, Texas, Mississippi, Idaho, Wyoming and possibly still in Castelfondo, Italy. For over a year, I have attempted to tackle the extensive research required for this family, but always got sidelined with one thing or another. Last month I put my nose to the grindstone (or “mola” as it is known in Italian) and went at it nonstop.

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Frank Genetti
1884-1974

The results: 102 new ancestor names with birth, marriage and death dates, 23 photos and 8 new generations added to the Genetti Family Online Tree! And I still have the current generations to document, plus two side branches to research before the Wyoming line is complete. Want to find the beginning of this family branch on our online tree? Search for Andrea Genetti 1597 – 1660 and follow his male descendants forward in time.

Angelo Genetti (1859-1946) was the patriarch of the modern Wyoming family. He was the first to travel to America in 1887, finding work in the coal mines of Rock Springs, Wyoming. Angelo stayed for five years, earning much needed money for his family back home. In 1892, he returned to Castelfondo, Tyrol. Between 1880 and 1899, Angelo and his wife,Teresa Annunziata Marchetti, had four sons and four daughters.

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Enrico Genetti
1886-1941

As they grew into adults, Angelo encouraged his sons: Francesco (Frank), Enrico, Ermenegildo (Herman or Joe) and Dominico (Dominic), to seek their fortunes in America. The brothers began life as immigrants in hard-scrabble Rock Springs, living in a close-knit community of Tyroleans from the Val di Non. Soon all the brothers became United States citizens, married and began raising families on the dusty prairies of the American west.

Angelo, his wife, Teresa, and their four daughters: Maria Domenica, Anna Maria, Maria Virginia and Annunziata – all remained in Castelfondo. The girls married and had families of their own. And so Angelo’s family was split between America and Tyrol.

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Herman Genetti
1893-1967

Eventually the children and grandchildren of the four brothers moved to other destinations in the United States. Today you’ll find their descendants living in such cities as Salt Lake City, Sonoma and Boise.

A big THANK YOU to Alexandra Genetti! An avid genealogist, Alexandra is married to Ken Genetti, the grandson of Enrico Genetti. I met Alexandra a number of years ago through Ancestry.com when I stumbled upon her Genetti family tree. We were soon corresponding and collaborating as “genealogy geeks” – a befitting term coined by Alexandra. Her family research and photos have proven to be an invaluable resource. Most of the information for the last three generations of this branch came from Alexandra and Ken. Many thanks to you both!

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Dominic Genetti
1895-1966

FYI – Ken and I are related twice through the Genetti family: as 4th cousins, once removed and as 9th cousins, twice removed (I also think we are distantly related through the Marchetti family!). But wait – this is a story for another blog post!

As I continue to add living descendants to the Wyoming Genetti branch, I hope more cousins from this large family will email me with their own family stats. Are you a descendant of Frank, Enrico, Herman or Dominic and would like your family’s info to be included in the Genetti archive? Click on our Contact Page and send me a message. I’d love to hear from you!

Take a look at our Photograph Page – I’ve added portraits of Angelo, Teresa and their four sons to the photo archive. For more descendant portraits, check out this family in the online Genetti tree (search for Angelo Genetti). There you’ll find many portraits attached to individual descendant listings.

Watch for future posts about the Wyoming Genetti family – I have a number of interesting stories yet to share!

 

Words of Wisdom

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Three Genetti Sisters: Erma, Tillie and Dora

“I am bound to them, though I cannot look into their eyes or hear their voices. I honor their history. I cherish their lives. I will tell their story. I will remember them.” ~ Author Unknown

A Tyrolean Proverb

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Camillo Branz (1870-1948), Ray’s great-grandfather.

My favorite reason for doing genealogy are the people you meet along the way. Our little family website has drawn the attention of Tyrolean descendants from all over the world. Sometimes they turn out to be cousins; often they are family genealogists searching for clues to their own ancestry.

Last week I received a wonderful email from Ray Branz who shares our Tyrolean heritage. Ray explained, “Years ago I was traveling through Diamondville, WY and came across the attached story. I do not know the Bazzanella family … but … they left behind a proverb that may bring a smile.”

The name “Branz” immediately rang a bell! Jean Branz Daly is a prolific contributor to the Genetti website (and my first cousin, once removed). Jean’s mother, Erminia Genetti, married Henry Branz and they lived in Freeland, PA. I wondered if Ray was related to Jean’s father’s family.

Since Ray is also a genealogist and has detailed research about his own family tree, he wrote back immediately with the answer. Yes, we had many overlaps in our shared family histories. The Branz family was from the village of Sanzeno in the Val di Non, not far from the Genetti’s ancestral village of Castelfondo. Ray’s great-grandparents, Camillo and Maria Rosa, immigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1890’s, settling in Nuremberg, PA for a short time. They soon moved on to the coal mines of Wyoming. In 1904, the family finally putting down roots in southern Illinois. From Ray’s calculations, he and Jean were indeed distantly related as 6th cousins, once removed through the Branz family.

Since I have Genetti and Marchetti family who lived at the same time and in the same place in Pennsylvania as Ray’s great-grandparents, we are sure our ancestors knew each other. Plus different branches of the Genetti family also worked the mines in Wyoming and Illinois. Since Tyrolean immigrants who shared a common dialect (such as Nones from the Val di Non) often socialized and lived in the same communities, it’s likely that Camillo and Maria Rosa also knew the Genetti families who lived in these states. I always marvel at how truly small the world is!

Below is the original typed copy of the Tyrolean Proverb shared by Ray Branz. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Many thanks Ray. I look forward to future conversations about our shared heritage.

In closing, here’s a quote for everyone who has taken the time to write me during the past two years:

“The best part about genealogy is searching for ancestors and finding friends.” ~ Lawrence Dillard

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More About Ötzi, The Iceman

Otzi The Iceman

This life size model of Otzi, created by Dutch artists Adrie and Alfons Kennis, is on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Photograph by Robert Clark – National Geographic.

For all of you Ötzi fans, The Iceman has been making the news recently.

PBS just aired an informative NOVA episode, “Iceman Reborn”, filming the unique process used to create an identical replica of the Tyrolean mummy. Ötzi’s twin will be available to scientists who are unable to observe the famous ice mummy in person.

Paleo-artist, Gary Staab, worked for five months to reproduce the first of three copies utilizing cutting edge techniques in 3-D printing combined with his extraordinary talent of observation and artistic skill. I loved the program!

Read an interview with artist, Gary Staab at the Smithsonian: http://goo.gl/ZZHSOz

Or, watch the PBS NOVA episode at: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365669542/

In other Ötzi news – The Iceman Speaks! Well … not quite. Scientists are in the process of recreating Ötzi’s vocal tract, including his vocal cords and mouth. The experiment will then combine the replica with software that will approximate what Ötzi’s voice sounded like 5,300 years ago.

Of course scientists have no idea what language was spoken by the famous Tyrolean, since the earliest written inscriptions by humans appear around 1500 BC. Ötzi’s birth date is between 3359 and 3105 BC. According to project coordinator, Francesco Avanzini, “We should be able to recreate the timbre of his vowel sounds and, I hope, even create simulation of consonants.” How exciting!

Click here to read the article “Can mummies talk? Scientists find out” by The Christian Science Monitor.

See more photos of Ötzi, published in the March 2016 issue of National Geographic, click here.

Want to get up-close and personal with The Iceman, then hop on over to Ötzi’s home at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology: http://www.iceman.it/en