Category: Ancestors

What Can a Death Certificate Tell You?

Leone A. Genetti

Leon A. Genetti
1887-1962

I’ve been thinking about this post for some time. A few months ago I decided to research all death certificates related to my immediate family. Now this might not sound like a pleasant task, but from a genealogy perspective a death certificate can yield a wealth of information. Unfortunately, not all states have their records readily available through online data bases. However, the state of Pennsylvania has recently published their death certificates online for the years 1906 through 1963. Since most of my family settled, lived and died in Pennsylvania, it was easy to track down this information at Ancestry.com.

What can a Certificate of Death tell us? If the information is properly and correctly notated, you’ll find the following: name of parents, name of spouse, age and date of birth, birthplace, occupation, social security number, address, cause of death, and a number of other interesting facts about this person. The info provided can be extremely beneficial, filling in unknown gaps in your ancestor’s genealogical record. My reason for researching family death certificates was a bit more personal.

I wanted to check the Medical Certificate section of the death records along with the cause of death. Although I am reasonably still young and in good health, there have been a few health-related issues present on my most recent annual check-ups (high cholesterol and high glucose levels). I wanted to see if heredity was playing a role in elevating my health stats.

Leon Genetti

Pennsylvania Certificate of Death,
Leon Genetti – 1962
click to enlarge

It didn’t take long to track down the Certificates of Death for both of my fraternal grandparents (Leon Genetti and Angeline Marchetti) and three great-grandparents (Oliva Zambotti Genetti, Giovanni Battista Marchetti and Catterina Lucia Fellin Marchetti). As I suspected, heart-related issues and diabetes were listed as contributing factors of death on four out of five of their certificates. Our genetic make-up is a veritable vegetable soup of inherited DNA snippets! And my DNA was most likely hard-wired with an increased probability towards heart disease and Type II diabetes.

Although I wasn’t particularly happy to read this news, it confirmed that my genetic make-up needed to be taken into account when making personal health decisions such as altering my diet, exercise, etc.

Curious about health issues and the reason of death for your ancestors? Gaining this knowledge could be a great asset to your own health and well-being. If you’re a member of Ancestry.com, take advantage of their huge card catalog of searchable data bases. So far they include Death indexes for Pennsylvania, Texas, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, with more records being added daily. If you don’t have access to Ancestry.com, drop me an email with the name of the ancestor you are looking for, along with their date of death and place of death. If their Certificate of Death is available online, I’ll find it for you.

If the record is not posted online, an alternative method is to contact the county or state vital records office in the place where the death of your ancestor took place. They will provide you with a hard copy of their death certificate.

Need more info? Here’s a page by legal experts, NOLO, on “How to Get a Death Certificate“.

A Zambotti Cousin

Maria and Clemente Dallachiesa and family.

Maria Zambotti Dallachiesa (1854-1906) and Clemente Dallachiesa (1844-1905), married 1875. Family portrait, circa. 1887-1888, photographed in Tyrol. Children (left to right): Giuseppe?, Olivia, Maria, and Pietro? (The boys were only 2 years apart and are about the same height, not sure which is the older boy, but it is assumed the first born son would be placed next to his father). The older, seated woman is most likely Clemente’s mother, Barbara Marchetti.

A month ago, I received an email from a sharp-eyed visitor to our website named Arleen Dallachiesa. She had spotted an error on our Photograph page. The labeling of one name on the large group photo taken in front of the old hotel in Weston, PA was incorrect, since it happened to be her great-aunt. She also remembered the hotel from her childhood.

Arleen wrote to me: “It is my understanding that my grandfather Fortunato (Tuno) Dallachiesa and Gus Genetti were cousins.” Since I knew Dallachiesa was a common family surname in Castelfondo and that the family had emigrated to the same area of Pennsylvania as the Genettis, I was fairly sure Arleen was correct in her assumption. But neither Arleen nor I new the common link between our families.

When I arrived home from my travels, I went to work sifting through family trees. Arleen had provided me with the names of her great-grandparents, Clemente Dallachiesa and Maria Zambotti. It only took a moment to find the connection through the Zambotti family. Arleen’s great-grandmother, Maria, and my great-grandmother, Oliva, were sisters. That would make Maria and Oliva’s children first cousins. Arleen’s father, Fred, was Maria’s grandson. Therefore, yes, Fred Dallachiesa and Gus Genetti were first cousins, once removed because Gus’s mother and Fred’s grandmother were sisters.

 

 

Oliva 1920s-b

Oliva Zambotti Genetti
1861-1938

Then I had another surprise for Arleen – she was also distantly related to a different branch of the Genetti tree! Here is my email to Arleen explaining the results of my research:

Louise to Arleen, July 12, 2015 – I have a number of surprises for you. Yes we are related, but not how you think. Your great-grandmother Maria Zambotti Dallachiesa and my great-grandmother Oliva Zambotti Genetti were sisters. Oliva married Damiano Genetti who was the founder of the Genetti Markets. Maria and Oliva had another sister, Lucia, who married Damiano’s brother, Rafaele. “Ralph” and Lucia were the owners of the hotel located in Weston pictured on our Photo page! That means you and I are cousins through the Zambotti family. Our shared relatives are Alessandro Zambotti (1825-1906) and Maria Covi (1831-1900), our 2nd great-grandparents. That makes you and I – 3rd cousins! You are also 3rd cousins with the great-grandchildren of Ralph and Lucia Genetti (as am I).

Lucia Covi-Zambotti

Lucia Zambotti Genetti
1865-1952

Now here comes another surprise that is a little more confusing. Maria’s grandmother (Alessandro Zambotti’s mother and our 3rd great-grandmother) was Maria Barbara Genetti (1796-1844). She went by the name of Barbara and was the daughter of Giovanni Battista Genetti (1776-1811) and Domineca Corazza (1776-1854). The descendants of this branch of the Genetti family emigrated to Illinois, and many of them still live there today. So you (as well as I) are also distantly related to this branch of the Genetti family. I have been in contact with many of these descendants and my relationship to most of them is 5th cousin or 5th cousin once removed. Isn’t that a lot to wrap your head around! Therefore, you are related to both the Zambotti and Genetti family through two different lineages. (end of email text)

I then asked Arleen if she had a photo of her great-grandmother. Yes she did, and now we have the three Zambotti sisters together in one blog post! Arleen’s family portrait also brought up questions as to the exact date of the photo and who was the older woman seated in the middle. The answers took a few hours of digging through San Nicolo baptismal and death records, but I believe we came up with a plausible theory. Here’s what I wrote Arleen:

Louise to Arleen, July 13, 2015 – I believe the photo was taken between April 1887 and April 1888. Maria and Clemente’s daughter Angela died on 5 April 1887 at the age of 2 years old and is not in the photo. Also their son Valentino, who was born on 8 April 1888, was not in the photo. Therefore, the portrait was most likely photographed during 1887-1888 due to the absence of both children. Maria and Clemente probably wanted a portrait of their family since they had already lost two children by this time.

I believe the older woman is Clemente’s mother, Barbara Marchetti. Here’s why: both mothers of Clemente and Maria (Barbara and Maria) were alive at the time this portrait was photographed. There is no husband in the photo, so we can assume that he has passed away and probably the mother now lives with one of her children. Since Barbara’s husband, Pietro, died young in 1855, and Maria’s husband, Alessandro, was alive at the time this photo was taken, the logical conclusion would be that Barbara was a widow and living with her son Clemente and his family. And of course, a live-in Nona would be included in the family portrait. (end of email text)

Arleen agreed with my deductive reasoning. Although we didn’t have concrete evidence for our questions, I think we came close to the correct answers.

Another amazing cousin story! And here’s one more little twist to our tale: Arleen’s great-uncle Pietro (Peter) Dallachiesa (Maria and Clemente’s oldest son) is getting married in the group photo found on our Photograph page that originally caught Arleen’s attention. And my seventeen-year-old grandmother (Angeline Marchetti Genetti) is standing just two steps behind Peter in the photo! Such a small world – a hundred years later, descendants of the ancestors pictured in this photo have found each other and are now corresponding!

Thanks so much for writing to us Arleen. It’s always thrilling to discover a new cousin. Your small comment helped unlock more clues to in our ever-growing ancestral puzzle.

If you would like to read my earlier post about Barbara Genetti and the startling discovery of my 3rd great-grandparents, click here.

Have a comment, story or question about the Genetti family? Email me at info.genett.family@gmail.com and I will do my best to reply. Who knows what secrets we will unlock together!

Until next time … ciao, ciao!

 

A Recent Comment

Leone and Angeline (Marchetti) Genetti. Probably photographed early 1950's.

Leone and Angeline (Marchetti) Genetti. Probably photographed early 1950’s.

Last week I received a charming comment from William Santini on the Photograph Page of our Gallery Section. I was delighted that William was writing about my grandparents, Leone and Angeline Genetti! Since comments are often overlooked, I have re-posted his message below along with my response. It’s wonderful that other American Tyrolean families are stopping by The Genetti Family Genealogy Project to enjoy our shared heritage. Thank you William – your memories are much appreciated!

William Santini – July 5, 2015: “Our grandfather, Martin Santini, was close friends of Leon and Angeline Genetti. My brother Richard and I remember from the late 50’s and 60’s being with our grandparents in Hazleton, at their home for a polenta party, visiting the Genetti market, going to a coal mining area where there was a smoldering underground fire from a collapsed mine and even a trip o the Saint Lawrence with them and our grandparents. We have some photos somewhere. My grandmother was from the Fellin family, also from Hazleton. Several of the Fellin sisters married some of the Santini brothers. There was a Fellin family reunion held in the 70’s at your motel and catered by your family. Any one have some knowledge of those old days? We remember how close friends our grandparents were with Leon and his wife Angeline. Your polenta was different from what my grandparents made – you used chestnut flour as part of your mixture. I talk too much. We would love to hear from your family.”

Louise Genetti Roach – July 5, 2015: “Hi William, thank you for writing such a wonderful comment! I am the granddaughter of Leon and Angeline Genetti and also have fond memories of my Nona and Nono. Unfortunately I was just a young child when they passed away in the early 60’s. But my parents started their marriage living in the apartment above my grandparents’ home and I often spent afternoons with them until the age of five. I remember my Nona showing me how she made polenta pie in a big, black cast iron skillet and my Nono making Tyrolean sausage in the basement then hanging it on hooks in his walk-in refrigerator. We are most likely related since Angeline’s mother (my great-grandmother) was also a Fellin. I would guess that your grandmother and my grandmother were probably first or second cousins. The Genetti Hotel in Hazleton was first owned by Gus Genetti Sr., brother to Leon. His son Bill Genetti then took it over in the 70’s. Bill and I are first cousins, once removed since he is from my father’s generation. The hotel was recently sold and Bill has now retired. There are not many of the older family left – only one of Leon and Angeline’s children is still alive, my Uncle Leon who still lives in Hazleton. My grandfather had eight siblings, the last passed away in 2005 at the age of 102 (Angela Maria Genetti McNelis). There are only about ten surviving children from my father’s generation (their children). Please fell free to email me directly at info.genetti.family@gmail.com. It would be interesting to find out if we have a common Fellin ancestor. If you send me info on your Fellin lineage (names and birth dates) I might be able to find the link. I can trace the Fellin family back four generations beginning with my great-grandmother Catterina Lucia Fellin. I look forward to hearing from you.”

The Genetti Family sends their best wishes to the Santini and Fellin families! If anyone would like to contact William Santini directly, please write me and I will provide you with his email address.

Did you know that you can leave a comment at the end of every page found on The Genetti Family Genealogy Project and on individual blog posts? Just scroll to the bottom of a page and type in the box labeled “Leave a Reply”. As webmaster, your message will first be emailed to me. I check each comment to make sure it’s not “spam” and then approve it to be posted on the site. So far, our most popular page for comments is the Photograph Page.You can also share any page on a social network by using the share buttons found at the bottom of each page. Sharing can be done through WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Stop by and leave a comment on your favorite family page. Others will appreciate your insights, memories and opinions!

 

Something to Think About

DamianoOlivaWedding

Damiano and Oliva Genetti on their wedding day (the webmaster’s great-grandparents).

I just had one of those “a-hah” moments that lit up my brain while doing research:

I am here today because of the choices and decisions made by my 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 – 2nd great-grandparents and 32 – 3rd great grandparents. Amazing when you think of it … the decisions you make today with your children will affect your great-great-great grandchildren in the future! That’s awe-inspiring!

 

I Have Returned!

Louise and Michael visiting Ireland, standing in front of the ancient tomb at New Grange.

Louise and Michael visiting Ireland, standing in front of the ancient tomb at New Grange.

It’s been awhile since I wrote a new post, but I’m back and ready to dig into our Genetti genealogy! For the past six weeks I’ve been adventuring in Ireland with my husband, Michael. We had a grand time hiking through the Irish countryside, chatting it up with new-found friends, exploring ancient ruins, and generally “having craic” (pronounced ‘crack’) – the Irish expression for having a good time.

Since part of my husband’s lineage is Irish, we also conducted a bit of informal genealogy research on the Roach surname (originally spelled Roche) wherever we wandered. During conversations with local people we met, tour guides or museum historians, I always mentioned the Roach name. Everyone recognized it as a prominent Irish surname originating in County Cork, but I learned very little beyond this.

Deciding to take matters into my own hands, one evening I searched Google for ancestral leads. Prior to our trip, my husband had conducted his own family research on Ancestry.com. Michael was confident of his American lineage stretching back to the late 1790’s. But he found no ancestor that linked his 3rd great-grandfather, John Jacob Roach born in 1802 in New Jersey, back to Ireland. In genealogy research, this is called “a brick wall”. Unfortunately for Irish descendants, it is a common problem since many records were destroyed during numerous uprisings throughout Irish history. And later, records of Irish immigrants were burned during the American War of 1812.

Luckily my research skills quickly paid off! I came across a goldmine of genealogy information about the Roche/Roach/Roache clan in a blog published by Jim Roache called Roche Lineages. Michael’s ancestral roots were indeed planted in County Cork, with the arrival of two brothers to the island in the year 1167. The brothers had been knighted and granted land in Cork. I soon found another surprise – the Roche family was actually Flemish. (According to Wikipedia, the Flemish were a Germanic ethnic group who spoke Dutch and lived in the northern region of modern-day Belgium.) The family first settled in Wales over a thousand years ago before moving on to Ireland. According to Jim’s findings, they were not Irish in origin but transplants that came with the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172 – a true surprise! To learn if Michael is connected to the original Roche family from County Cork, he’ll need to take a Y-chromosome DNA test and enter it into theRoach, Roche, Roch Surname Group. This surname project was established by Peter Roche through Family Tree DNA to collect Y-chromosome results from males having the last name of Roach or any of its similar spellings. Positive DNA matches with existing members in the group will link Michael to a specific branch of the family and perhaps connect him with distant cousins throughout the world. Very exciting indeed!

Jim Roache’s blog contained a good deal more information in the form of an ancestral timeline. He had compiled info on every person, event and date he could find belonging to the Roach family of Country Cork and published it all in one large PDF document. Impressive! I was intrigued by this genealogical presentation. The thought occurred to me that a similar timeline might work for the Genetti family.

Over the years I have accumulated a vast amount of ancestral information on our family, including births, marriages, deaths, news articles and other interesting tidbits. How to organize and assemble all of these facts into one easy-to-read, searchable document had been a problem. Perhaps a timeline was the right solution! By compiling statistics from the original records of Castelfondo, Trentino (our ancestral village) along with our modern family stats, a document could be created that consolidated all information from every branch of the family in one place. Plus by using a digital format for the Timeline, new information would be easy to add and publish as future revised issues.

So you guessed it – this will be my next family project! My vision is to establish a Genetti Family Timeline as a concise archive to be enjoyed by today’s family members and for use by future generations in their own genealogy research. It will be a document that can be passed down from one generation to the next. A tall order to tackle, but my genealogist heart is doing back- flips! Yes, this is a project that I can really dig into and continue to develop!

I’ll keep you posted as to the progress of our Genetti Family Timeline.

Before I close … a big thank you to all the great folks who emailed me while I was traveling. I’ll be getting back to you as soon as I can to compare notes, share DNA test results and chat about our family connections. I may even share your messages here at our blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and participate in The Genetti Family Genealogy Project!

 

The Gallery

DamianoDoor

Damiano Genetti standing in the doorway of the Genetti ancestral home in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy).

Have you visited The Gallery yet on The Genetti Family Genealogy Project? This section of our website contains a huge amount of information about our family. Here you’ll find an archive of photographs, individual family portraits, info and photos from our ancestral home of Castelfondo, a cache of family stories, pics from cemeteries where our ancestors are buried, and obituaries. The Gallery section is always growing as more cousins send in their family archives.

 

 

 

 

Stop by today for a visit! Click below to visit individual sections.

The Gallery

Photographs

Family Pages

Castelfondo

Family Stories

Cemeteries and Markers

Tributes

Family Memories by Don Lingousky

angela mary ralph peter

Left to right: Angela Genetti, her husband Raffael Recla; Peter Zambotti and his wife, Anna Maria (Mary) Genetti. Angela and Mary were sisters. About 1895.

Another Memory Page has been added to our Family Stories section! Don Lingousky, the great-grandson of Angela Maddalena Genetti Recla of Sheppton, Pennsylvania has shared a treasure trove of photographs and stories about his family.

During the past few months, I’ve became acquainted with Don and his wife Joyce, via email. While conducting his own genealogy research, Don found the Genetti website and generously offered his ancestral findings for our family archives. I was thrilled to see formal portraits from the turn of the century and read personal stories about another twig of the Genetti family tree. And even more excited – this particular twig was part of my branch of the tree! Don’s great-grandmother (Angela) and my great-grandfather (Damiano), were siblings – making Don and I third cousins. We share the same great-great grandparents – Leone and Cattarina Genetti.

angela genetti photo

Angela Maddalena Genetti Recla, 1865 – 1937. Photo taken sometime before 1937.

Through our combined research, we have uncovered a number of interesting facts that shed light on our mutual ancestors. Along the way, I introduced Don to another third cousin of ours, Nancy, who I met through Ancestry.com when our DNA results matched. Don and Nancy have the added bonus of being double 3rd cousins – both of their great-grandmothers (sisters Angela and Erminia Genetti) married brothers (Raffael and Emmanuel Recla). Now we are all communicating together and sharing our research.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back in your favorite comfy chair and reminisce while you’re reading Don’s Memory Page, (click here). Allow yourself to be transported 125 years back in time to the coal mines of rural Pennsylvania. It was an era when the Genetti family immigrated to America, worked hard and brought with them the dream of becoming entrepreneurs.

After you have enjoyed Don’s family lore, why not take a stroll down your own memory lane? Dig out that dusty shoe box of photos from the back of the closet. Pick a few of your favorites and begin writing. Soon you’ll find stories flowing from forgotten corners of your memory – precious moments your brain tucked safely away, waiting for the right moment to surface. And if you are so inclined, please share your special family tales with the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. We would love to hear from you!

Click here for our Contact page!

Need help or ideas on how to write your family story? Visit the online Bookstore and check out our Family Legacy Book selections.

We would like to thank Don and Joyce Lingousky for their contribution to and continuing support of the Genetti Family Genealogy Project.

Family Memories from Jean Branz Daly

JeanAndFamily

Standing: Jean Branz Daly and Leona Zambotti (daughter of Tillie). Seated: Ann Genetti McNelis, Tillie Genetti Zambotti and Catherine Branz La Porte (Jean’s sister), 1977.

During the past year I’ve met many family members through email correspondence. A few weeks after our site was launched in July of 2014, I received an email  from Regina Branz Daly. Jean, as she is called, introduced herself as the granddaughter of Oliva and Damiano Genetti. She was excited about the website and wanted to contribute her own memories and photos. I’m always thrilled when a cousin contacts me with information for our family website. And so began our year-long correspondence.

Jean is 84 years old and of the same generation as my father. Matter-of-fact, Jean and my father were first cousins – they were born just two days apart! She remembers playing together as children. Over the past ten months we have written back and forth, shared family stories, and have become good friends. Since Jean was my father’s 1st cousin and the common relatives we share are Oliva and Damiano Genetti (Jean’s grandparents and my great-grandparents), but I am of the next younger generation – our official relationship is “1st cousin, once removed”.

This past month I compiled all of Jean’s stories and photos, with contributions from her sister Catherine, into a Family Memory Page. You can now find this lovely personal memoir under the Gallery section of the Genetti website – click on the Family Stories link to find the page. Jean, her sister Catherine, and I look forward to our continuing correspondence. We will be adding more stories and photos in the future to their ongoing memoir.

My sincerest thanks to both of the Branz sisters for sharing their little corner of our family history. In their memories, I have found many personal connections to my Pennsylvania Tyrolean family as I’m sure you will too! Click here for a direct link to Family Memories by Regina “Jean” Branz Daly.

On a final note, if you have a parent or grandparent, take a few moments and talk with them about family history. Ask them about their childhood, their parents and the town that they grew up in. Beyond dates and stats, it is the ancestral stories that matter most. Today the sages of the Genetti family are Jean’s generation. They link the memories of past and present. Don’t let this opportunity to connect with your ancestry slip away. Ask your father or grandmother a few questions, than document your conversation with a family journal, photographs and video. Your children will cherish the legacy you have created as will future generations when they look back at the words and images of their great great grandparents.

 

Special Note: If you are interested in preserving families memories, I have added three new books to our online Bookstore with advise on how to create a treasured family memoir. Click here to find out more and scroll to the bottom of the page.

 

New Book – The Tyroleans: A Journey of Hope

TheTyroleansJust added to our family Book Store – a lively account of a Tyrolean emigrant family. Read my review:

The Tyroleans: A Journey of Hope, A true story of a remarkable people and their emigration to America, (this is an Amazon affiliate link, click on title for information or to purchase), by David A. Prevedel, published in 2010. Available as a paperback through Amazon, price: $17.95. The minute you open this book, you know it’s a labor of love and a tribute to the author’s Tyrolean roots. David’s grandparents, (Giuseppe and Ester Rauzi, Floriano and Angelina Prevedel), all emigrated from the Val di Non in Austria (Italy). They, along with many other families from the villages of Brez, Castelfondo, Traversara, Fondo, Cloz and Tret, settled in Wyoming. At first they worked the coal mines in Superior and Rock Springs. After saving enough money, many families moved to Utah, becoming farmers and opening businesses. The author draws inspiration from in-person interviews conducted over the years with his Tyrolean relatives, friends and their descendants. Mr. Prevedel weaves family stories together with historical details, to create a lively and sometimes, humorous portrayal of Tyrolean immigrants building a new life in America. He touches upon the origin and history of Tyrol, as well as the affect World War I had on the people of the Val di Non. Continuing to Wyoming and Utah, the author provides a glimpse into life during the 1920’s and 30’s, Prohibition, the Great Depression, becoming an American citizen, the role World War II played in the lives of Tyrolean immigrants, and the post war years. Not only did I find Mr. Prevedel’s book warmly human and heartfelt, but this small volume truly captures the reality our Tyrolean ancestors experienced in a new land. Sprinkled throughout “The Tyroleans“, I recognized many surnames from my own research and from our Genetti family tree: Corazza, Menghini, Anselmi, Rauzi, Segna, Cologna and yes, even Genetti. Matter-of-fact, I believe David Prevedal’s book has provided a new clue to another branch of our family I have yet to research. I thoroughly enjoyed this touching memorial to a Tyrolean family and highly recommend it to anyone with ancestral roots in the Val di Non.

Stop by our online family Book Store to see all of our selections, click here!

Shop for family mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, glassware and family tree prints at our online Genetti Shop, click here!

The Mystery of Giuseppe Genetti

My great-grandfather, Damiano Genetti (1857-1944), had three brothers and three sisters who survived to adulthood. All of his siblings emigrated to the United States with the exception of his oldest brother, Sisinio Alessandro (1854-1908), who stayed in the village of Castelfondo. He passed away at the age of 53 of tuberculosis. From the perspective of genealogy, we know quite a bit about Damiano and his siblings since they all left a trail of documentation: census, vital stats (birth, marriage, death records), land deeds, family photos, newspaper articles, etc. Every sibling except for one – Giuseppe Genetti (or Joseph in English).

GiuseppeGenetti1862

Giuseppe Genetti’s baptismal record from Castelfondo, Austria (Italy)

When I began our family research a number of years ago, I was told stories about Giuseppe. He had emigrated to Pennsylvania at a young age, worked in the coal mines, and one day left for California. His family never heard from him again. No one knew if he had any descendants, when he died or where he was buried. And there seemed to be no existing portraits of Giuseppe. Since I love a good mystery, my great granduncle, Joseph, became an ongoing research project that I have returned to time and time again throughout the years.

NYpassengerlistJun1882

Ship manifest from 1882 – Joseph Genetti is listed on the 2nd half of the document, 14th name from the bottom.

I had two documents for Giuseppe that I felt certain of: his baptismal record from St. Nicolo church in Castelfondo stating that he was born July 30, 1862 and a ship’s manifest showing his arrival in New York City on June 19, 1882. The ship’s list showed that Joseph came over with two other young men of his village, Fortunato and Peter Ianas (both of whom I have identified in Castelfondo baptismal records.) And that’s as far as I got!

He does not appear in any Federal Census, city directories, land deeds, marriage records or death notices under either Giuseppe or Joseph Genetti.

As much as I searched, the only clue to Joseph’s whereabouts was a mention in the obituaries of his sisters, Marie Genetti Zambotti and Angela Genetti Recla. Both obits state surviving family members and siblings, including “Joseph Genetti of California”.

Imagine my surprise when last month I received a photo from Don Lingousky identified as “Uncle Joe”. Don is the great-grandson of Angela Genetti Recla (sister of Joseph). After years of searching, here was an actual portrait of my mysterious great granduncle! What clues would it hold?

uncle joe

Studio portrait of Giuseppe “Uncle Joe” Genetti – photographed sometime in the early 1900’s.

After a little investigative work, Don and I determined that this must indeed be a portrait of the missing Giuseppe (Joseph), since we could find no evidence of a Joseph on the Recla side of Don’s family. Obviously a studio portrait, the image also contained the name of the photographer: L.C. Marchetti. This was another amazing clue! Searching online I found several formal portraits photographed in the early 1900’s by the same L.C. Marchetti who was from Nuremberg, Pennsylvania. At this time the Genetti siblings all lived in the same region of north central PA in the towns of Weston, Nuremberg, Hazleton and Sheppton, as did many Tyrolean families who immigrated from the Val di Non region of Austria (Italy).

Since my grandmother was from the Marchetti family of Nuremberg, PA, I took a look at her family tree. There was my answer – she had an older brother named Lawrence Camillo Marchetti. He must have been L.C. Marchetti since no other Marchetti ancestors matched those initials. Lawrence would have known the other Tyrolean families and was probably the only photographer at this time in the area. Giuseppe may have had a formal portrait taken in Nuremberg before leaving on his travels. Judging from the dates on other portraits by L.C. Marchetti that I found, the time frame was most likely between 1900-1910. Since Don was in possession of the photo, it had apparently been handed down through Angela Genetti Recla’s family (Joseph’s sister). So from this evidence, we now know that Giuseppe (Joseph) was living in Pennsylvania at least until the turn of the century, that he had contact with his family before seeking his fortune elsewhere, and that he most likely lived with or close to them since the portrait was done in Nuremberg.

1916CAsouthernpacificemployment

Payroll list from the Southern Pacific Company – Salt Lake Division, dated Aug. 1916. Joe Genetti is the 16th name on the list.

I was so grateful to Don for providing this unexpected find! The information we had gleaned from the portrait now gave me some idea of a timeline for Joseph. Again I went back to searching hundreds of online records for any inkling of his whereabouts. Taking a different tactic, I researched categories and scanned through individual data bases, rather than doing a general search under records. After two weeks of research, I found one document with promise – although there is no hard evidence that this is our Joseph Genetti. What I came upon was a California payroll sheet from the Southern Pacific Company – Salt Lake Division dated August of 1916. It shows a Joe Genetti who worked as a laborer for eleven and a half days during this month, earning $2.00 a day, for a total paycheck of $23.50. Not much info to go on!

I was aware of a Genetti family who had eventually settled in Utah, but they don’t show up in the Federal Census until much later in 1940. There was also a Genetti family living in California as early as the 1900 Census, but none that matched Joseph’s name, birth year or immigration year. Since the Southern Pacific was a railroad company, this could mean that he worked the rails and had no permanent address – if indeed, it is the same Giuseppe (Joseph) Genetti that we are looking for. With no other collaborating evidence, this may be hard to prove.

For now, it is the end of the line for Giuseppe. As more data bases are digitized, we may come upon new clues in the future. Or, like Don’s portrait of “Uncle Joe”, information may unexpectedly surface from a family member’s closet or attic. If you are reading this blog post and have information, stories, letters or documents about Giuseppe (Joseph) Genetti born in 1862 in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy), we would love to hear from you!

Our special thanks to Don Lingouski for your help and contribution to our family story.

You can read the full obituaries of Angela Genetti Recla and Maria Genetti Zambotti (click on their names).

And visit our Photograph Page to see our large collection of family portraits (including Giuseppe Genetti). Click here!