Category: Castelfondo, Italy

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 8

Page 8 and Page 9, click to enlarge

Another odd entry in Tillie’s notebook! This appears to be a loan or bond between two men named Enrico Zamboni (debtor) and Ernesto Palaver (creditor). Strangely, neither family is from Castelfondo (Zamboni is from Fondo and Palaver is from Cles). And neither men are related to the Genetti family.

Loretta and I are stumped by these entries; our only guess being that Tillie may have copied a legal document that she found in her home. Your guess is as good as ours!

Here is the next entry, from page 9 (right side)

BOND

I undersigned Enrico Zamboni of Andrea from Fondo declare to receive from Ernesto Palaver of Antonio C 213 that is Crowns two hundred and thirteen as a loan,  with the obligation to give an annual interest of 4 and 1/4 %, four and one forth per cent, starting from today and to give the capital back on the 14 January 1907.

If Mr Ernesto Palaver of Antonio from Cles needs his capital before the established time, I oblige myself to give it back to him after a 15-day advance notice.

If Enrico Zamboni of Andrea from Fondo could give back the capital before the established time, Ernesto Palaver must take it back.

Read and signed at the presence of the witnesses.

Enrico Zamboni debtor
Ernesto Palaver creditor

Read past posts from this series:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 4

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 5

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 6

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 7

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 7

Cover, The Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti
click to enlarge

As our translator, Loretta, and I progress through Tillie’s notebook, we are finding it to be a unusual mixture of writing. Although the title on the cover says that it is the “Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti” written during the second session of Class II (2nd grade), the contents don’t appear to match the cover!

As all of the entries are dated 1902, Tillie would have been about twelve years old in this year – much older than a 2nd grader! And Loretta has found several entries signed by Addolorata (Dora), Tillie’s older sister who was age thirteen in 1902. It also appears the journal is certainly written by someone more mature and older than a 2nd grader.

Our little notebook is turning into quite the mystery! We will continue to translate and publish its contents and at the end, hopefully be able to make a judgement as to who was the author and what was the purpose of the school journal.

Page 6 and Page 7, click to enlarge

 

Continuing on to the next entry, we begin on Page 7 (right side) and turn to Page 8 (left side). It is a short story obviously written as moral lesson. Loretta found it difficult to read and translate the end of the story on Page 8 due to the eraser marks, so she has attempted to interpret the ending. We hope you enjoy it!

 

 

Page 8 and Page 9, click to enlarge

 

The Poor Orphan Child

Angela, daughter of rich parents, was 9 years old. One day she was eating some bread with a piece of cheese on her house door. Giulio, a poor orphan child passed by, he was still without food. When he saw the bread he went near the girl and said: Be charitable, give me a piece of bread because I am hungry.

She answered: No, go and get bread elsewhere, because I am going to eat it.

The child went away with tears in his eyes looking at the bread.

In that moment a dog came near the girl wagging its tail. She caressed it and gave it a piece of bread.

Giuseppe started to cry and said to the girl: Am I less important than an animal? I am a creature created in the image of God.

When the teacher knew what had happened she told her off  and said: If you have a piece of bread left you must not give it to a dog but spare it for the poor who suffer for hunger.

Castelfondo 7 March 1902

 

Read past posts from this series:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 4

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 5

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 6

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 6

Pages 6 and 7, click to enlarge

Our next entry in the 1902 notebook (page 6 and top of page 7) appears to be a short story entitled:

The Negligent Girl

Enrica, a girl of twelve, was negligent and careless and she was still in the first class of her school village.

One day her teacher gave them an essay to write as a homework. She presented an essay written with all the possible care. The teacher looked at Enrica’s essay and realized it had not been done by her.

The teacher said: Tell me the truth, did you do your homework yourself?

The girl said: Yes, I did it myself.

The teacher said: I am asking again, did you do it yourself?

The amazed girl said: No, I did not do it, Ernesta did it. I gave her three coins that my mother gave me to buy a notebook and two pens. My mother believed my words and gave me the money. And I gave Ernesta the money.

So the  teacher scolded her harshly.

 

Quite the little story, don’t you agree? Thank you Loretta Cologna for your help in bringing our family heirloom to life with your translations! Mille grazie!

Read past posts from this series:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 4

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 5

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 5

Continuing with our translation of the 1902 notebook, at the bottom of page 4 we find this unusual entry:

Click to enlarge

Receipt
For C (crowns) 212/ two hundred and twelve that I undersigned receive from Cologna Ferdinando of the late Giuseppe Cologna from Fondo, as interests he owes me on the capital of C 182 from 1 January 1899 to the first January 1902.

Faithfully,
Cologna Ferdinando of Giuseppe

 

Neither our translator, Loretta Cologna, nor I have any clue as to why this receipt shows up in Tillie’s notebook.

According to Loretta:

“This is a receipt for some money someone lent. What I don’t understand is that the interest is more than the capital!!!!! Before the number 212 there is a letter, I believe the “C” is for crowns  but it is not very clear. Then the names of the two people are the same, it is a bit confusing….  Anyway, I translated it word for word. Maybe Tillie made some mistakes with the names or with numbers while copying.”

Another strange coincidence is that “Ferdinando Cologna, son of Giuseppe Cologna of Fondo” may be an ancestor of our wonderful translator, Loretta Cologna. As Loretta noted in one of her emails to me – there are many, many descendants of the Cologna family in Castelfondo. Unless we trace Loretta’s family tree back, we really don’t know for sure.

One can only guess at the reason a possible great-relative of Loretta’s ended up in an entry of a 1902 school notebook penned by a young Genetti girl.

Read past posts from this series:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 4

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 4

Click to enlarge

Continuing with our translation of Ottilia Genetti Zambotti’s notebook, here is a very sweet story composed by Tillie in March of 1902, as transcribed by our friend Loretta Cologna.

(left page, continued on right page)

While Maria was walking with her father along the main street of the town one day, she watched many valuable things in the jewelers’ shop windows; so she said to her father: In some months it will be Mum’s name day and as I have saved a little treasure in my money box I can buy her a nice gift.

Dear father, as you have great taste, you can give me some advice about my choice because I want to give Mum something that she may like.

My daughter – her father said – the most precious gifts that a girl can offer her mother are not jewels but obedience, hard work and study.

Following these truths Maria started to study with a double zeal, she got a notebook and wrote all the good advice and the lessons she received at school. On the last page her teacher registered the good marks and the praises that the young girl deserved throughout the school year.

On the desired day, beaming with joy, Maria gave her mother the notebook together with a  little plant of jasmine that she had grown herself.

Do you think there is a better gift for a mother?

Castelfondo, 1 March 1902

Read past posts:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

Here is our next translation of Tillie Genetti Zambotti’s notebook from our friend, Loretta Cologna. It appears to be a letter written by Tillie’s older sister, Addolorata (Dora). We aren’t sure why Dora’s letter is appearing in Tillie’s notebook, but since it is in the same handwriting as the first two pages, Loretta believes it could be an exercise in writing and copying various things. Tillie was simply copying a letter that Dora had penned.

Once again, many thanks to Loretta for her help.

Page 3:

Dear friend,

My heart was very sad hearing that your mother is ill again. But don’t despair, she will soon feel better. Go to the altar of the Virgin and pray, she will certainly help you.

I hope it will be a short illness. Even if the doctor said worrying things don’t be alarmed because just one being knows if she is going to recover. Don’t lose your courage, have faith in God and bear these sorrows patiently. I will visit you on Thursday (with?) something to strengthen your mother. In the meanwhile pray for her healing. And tell her to have courage because she will soon be better.

If you need something write me and I will help you as far as I can.

I am yours affectionately,

Addolorata Genetti

Castelfondo, 28 February 1902

Read past posts:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Sometimes the universe offers help when help is needed!

Last week I published my first post about Tillie Genetti Zambotti’s 1902 school notebook. Since I don’t speak Italian, I admittedly felt over-my-head in attempting to translate this beautiful family heirloom shared by Tillie’s granddaughter, Anne Marie Shelby. Never one to give up, I decided to do the best I could with my limited knowledge of Italian and the help of Google Translator.

On the same day that I published my post, it was shared by Giovanni Marchetti on the closed Facebook group, Chei da Chastelfon, of which I am a member and Giovanni is the Group Administrator. Within 24 hours I received a message from someone in the group, stating that she had read the post and would like to help with translation! I was overjoyed and responded immediately!

Yes, I thought, this is an angel from Val di Non who can help me!

Our Trentini angel is Loretta Cologna who lives in the city of Cles. Loretta grew up in Castelfondo (Cologna is a very old surname from the village). She is a retired school teacher and taught English in the Cles school system for many years. I couldn’t believe our luck! After several emails back and forth, I learned that we had at least three surnames in common from our family trees: Zambotti, Marchetti and Cologna. It’s probably a good bet that Loretta shares some DNA with our family line. She has generously offered to translate Tillie’s notebook in her spare time. Over the next year, we hope to work our way through the journal and publish a weekly post with a translation.

I am completely thankful, Loretta, for your kind and gracious generosity! Grazie di tutto!

Here is the next translation in our series courtesy of Loretta Cologna:

Bottom of page 1:

Castelfondo 24 II [February] 1902

Dear classmate, Genetti A.

While I was walking with one of my sisters on Thursday, she told me that you had told our teacher a bad lie. Bad my darling, very very bad my darling, this…(incomprehensible word) the good things that your teacher did for you.

(click on image to enlarge)

 

Page 2 (left side):

What I love

I love God, creator of a lot of wonders, beginning and end of all things, the greatest good. I love God because through holy Baptism he adopted me as his child among the many people he created.

I love the Holy Mary because through her we can get the favors of God.

I love my guardian angel because he is always near me and he defends me from dangers. I love my parents because they gave me life and because after God they are the greatest benefactors. Moreover I love my parents because they give me a lot of care and have a lot of expenses to support me.

I love my little brothers because they care about my troubles. I love my brothers.

Castelfondo 28 February 1902

(click on image to enlarge)

PDF file of 1902 School Notebook by Ottilia “Tillie” Genetti

 

New Photo Gallery!

Vigilio and Maria Genetti

Vigilio and Maria Genetti of Illinois, 1886

It’s finally completed! Our new Photo Gallery is finished and online! You’ll find the direct link located in the Main Menu at the top of each page of our website, fourth link from the left under the title: Photo Gallery.

During the past year, I received many family photographs from different branches of the Genetti family. Since our old Photograph page had grown extremely large and cumbersome, the only possible solution for adding new images was to reorganize everything into manageable sections and republish as a separate gallery. After much thought, I came up with the solution to divide our photos into individual pages representing each state where our ancestors settled after arriving in the USA. We now have photo pages for: Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Illinois, Michigan, Washington and of course, our ancestral home of Castelfondo.

Many more names, dates and stories have been added to each page in the Photo Gallery. I hope with the addition of these details, I have created a descriptive account of family life, trials and tribulations encountered by our ancestors in their new country.

Our thanks to John Nimmo, great-grandson of Peter Menghini, who contributed many wonderful group photos to the Wyoming Genetti page.

Another thank you to Sharon Genetti Cain, great-granddaughter of Vigilio and Maria Genetti, for the exceptional collection of vintage images that now compose our Illinois Genetti page.

And finally, a big thank you to our friends and cousins in Italy who contributed several new photographs to our Castelfondo page as well as to other sections in our Photo Gallery. Mille grazie to Dino Marchetti, Giovanni Marchetti and Lidia Genetti.

Leone Genetti

Leone Genetti, Castelfondo, 1871

You might wonder why it has taken so long to see your photo memories appear on the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. Here is a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse at the process!

Upon receiving a new grouping of photographs, I first sort through the collection to determine if they are: 1. Genetti descendants and 2. they fit with the general theme of our website.

But before I can publish any new photo, there is much prep work involved. If possible, I prefer photographs to be sent via email as hi-res digital JPGs, along with names, dates, places, etc. This allows for the greatest working latitude with the images. Plus sending along photo details lays the groundwork for a story to go along with your family portraits.

However, this is not always the case and most photographs I receive require I great deal of attention before they are ready for our family website. Often the files arriving in my inbox are low-resolution, in need of restoration and have either no information or just a minimal title to identify them. And sometimes I receive packages by mail containing actual photos or newspaper clippings. In any case, every photo needs to be “prepped” and authenticated before it can be added to our gallery.

I begin by uploading (or in the case of hard copy photos – scanning) the images into Photoshop. I then try to increase clarity by using various filters and adjusting the tone of the photo. Next comes digitally repairing rips and tears, getting rid of dust spots and generally cleaning up the the image, restoring it to as close to original appearance as possible. After that, each photo must be resized to the correct resolution for online publishing. Now I’m ready for research!

If only basic information has been sent to me, I first locate the ancestor in my offline family tree (to date, I have collected information on over 1,700 family members beginning in the mid-1400’s up to present day living descendants). If I can’t find the ancestor on our tree or there just isn’t enough information in their file, I need to start researching using a variety of online resources such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and Find-A-Grave. After authenticating the people in the photo and finding enough information to compile a short story, I need to date the photograph. Sometimes I’m lucky and a date will be written on the photo or provided by the family, but usually this is not the case. Then I must put on my detective hat and estimate the year in which the photo was taken. I do this by using the following clues: determining the age of the subjects, the era of clothing style they are wearing, type of hairstyle they have, jewelry being worn and sometimes even identifying the background. All of these elements can offer clues to an approximate date.

After identifying the photo’s subjects, place and date, I am ready to publish your family memories to our website!

So take a stroll through the history of the Genetti family, see if you recognize any of your ancestors and enjoy browsing our new Photo Gallery.

Our many, many thanks to everyone who has contributed to our website! With your help, we have grown the Genetti Family Genealogy Project into an extensive resource, not only for our family, but also for the many Tyroleans who visit our website daily.

Grazie a tutti i nostri cugini di tutto il mondo (thank you to all of our cousins throughout the world)!

 

We welcome all contributions to the Genetti Family Photo Gallery. Please send me a direct message through our Contact page for directions on how to submit photographs.

 

 

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!

 

Cugini?

Massimino and Camillo Genetti, probably late 1920’s, photo courtesy of Giovanni Marchetti.

I am FaceBook friends with Gemma Genetti. She lives in Merano, a beautiful historical city in northern Italy. Gemma’s roots are from Castelfondo, the ancestral village of the Genetti family. Over the past few years we have kept in touch and were sure we were related. But somehow the link between our families eluded me – until yesterday.

I saw a FaceBook comment Gemma made under a photograph of her father and uncle posted in “Chei da Chastelfon,” a private FB group that we both belong to. The group publishes many historical documents and photos of scenes and people from Castelfondo. Yesterday I was staring at a portrait posted by the group administrator, Giovanni Marchetti, of Massimino Genetti and his brother Camillo in military uniform. As I translated the comments below the photo, a realization came to me. I might be able to match up the two siblings in the town’s baptismal records. If I could find both siblings, plus their sister Anna (mentioned in one of the comments) I would have the correct ancestors for this family. Since we have many repetitive names on our tree (such as Pietro, Giovanni and Fortunato) this is not always an easy task. But if all of the siblings’ records matched and I had the exact names of their parents and grandparents, I could positively identify the branch of their ancestors.

Part of Genetti Family Tree showing Antonio and Veronica Genetti with their six sons.

Within an hour I had scanned through pages of Castelfondo records prior to 1925 and found two of the three siblings. The baptismal records had exactly the information I was searching for. I glanced up at the family tree hanging above my desk and immediately saw Gemma’s grandfather, Pietro!

Grabbing a piece of paper, I drew a descendant chart for Gemma and another for me – and yes, we shared a set of great-grandparents! Our 3rd great-grandparents, Giovanni Battista Antonio Genetti (1789-1852) and Veronica Paniza (1789-1871) are one in the same. That means my 2nd great-grandfather, Leone Genetti (1826-1909) and Gemma’s 2nd great-grandfather, Francesco Genetti (1818-?) were brothers. After counting down the generations, I concluded Gemma and I are 4th cousins (cugini) from the same branch of the Genetti family. Yea!

It’s always exciting to find our genealogical connections and to acknowledge those that came before us. The life paths our families chose were different and yet we have a deep connection through DNA and ancestral heritage. Gemma’s great-grandfather, Fortunato, stayed in Italy. My great-grandfather, Damiano, came to America. Two different countries, two different families, two different languages – and yet connected six generations in the past.

A special hello and thank you (ciao e grazie) to Gemma Genetti, Giovanni Marchetti and all of the wonderful members of Chei da Chastelfon. I have so enjoyed connecting to my Trentino heritage through your posts and photos.