Category: Castelfondo, Italy

New Video!

CastelfondoVideo

Photo of Castelfondo by Cristina Paternoster

I just added a new video to our Gallery Video Page. Created by Cristina Paternoster (from Castelfondo), this is a wonderful representation of modern day Commune di Castelfondo. The video clip offers beautiful views of the village, upper pastures, mountains that border the town and mountain huts known as Malgas. Cristina posted the video yesterday on the group Facebook page of: Chei da Chastelfon. I knew it would be the perfect addition to our Video page, offering a glimpse of Castelfondo to those who have never visited our ancestral home.

Thank you Cristina for sharing this video with your American cousins. Grazie mille!

If you are on Facebook, I recommend visiting the public group Chei da Chastelfon (this title is in the Nones dialect – not Italian! It translates as “People from Castelfondo.”). All photographs posted to this group page are little pieces of history and shared by Castelfondo natives. Just click the “Join Group” button and you’ll receive updates in your newsfeed when new photographs and videos are posted. Who knows, you may even spot an ancestor or two among the photos uploaded by your Italian cousins!

 

Photo from Castelfondo

CastelfondoChoir

Right to left: Bianca Genetti, Basilio Marchetti, Eligio Ianes, Carlo (Carleto) Stancher, Camillo Genetti, Tullio Cologna, Giuseppe Genetti, Vittorio Marchetti, Albino Morandi, Ferdinando Corazza, Luigi Genetti, Emilio Marchetti, Narciso Genetti, Attilio Morandi, Luigi (kimpil) Marchetti, Emilio Morandi; Kneeling: Flavio Cologna, Giuseppe Stancher, Angelo Corazza, Marino Segna

We just added a fantastic photo to our Photograph Page. Gemma Genetti, one of our Italian cousins from Trentino, posted it on my Facebook page and I just had to share it on our website.

Here is the church choir of Castelfondo! There is no date on the image, but I would guess it was taken in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. Amongst the names you’ll see many familiar surnames: Genetti, Marchetti, Cologna, Corazza, Segna and Ianes (Yanes). We have descendants from all of these families in the United States. Heck – three of these names can be found on my own immediate family tree!

Gemma also sent me a link to a wonderful Facebook group called “Chei da Chastelfon”. The name is in the regional dialect of Nones. It translates to: “People from Castelfondo”. The group posts old photos of the villagers taken throughout the years. The pics are labeled in Italian, but are easy to translate using the translator function in Facebook (look for the link under descriptions and comments that says: See Translation). I spent an hour scrolling through the many photos of families, homes and festivities posted on this page. What a treat since I recognized many of the sites from my previous visits to Castelfondo. If you are a member of Facebook and would like to join “Chei da Chastelfon” – click here to access their page. Then just click on the “Join Now” button located on the right side of the banner photo. After you’ve joined, you’ll receive posts made by members of the group in your personal newsfeed.

What a unique and beautiful way to understand our ancestry through the vehicle of photos. This simple Facebook page transcends the barriers of language and the generations that separate us as cousins.

Mille grazie to Gemma Genetti, Gianpaolo Pedrazza and Giovanni Marchetti!

Welcome to New Cousins!

angela mary ralph peter

Left to right: Angela Maddalena Genetti, Ralph (Raffael) Recla, Peter Zambotti and Anna Maria (Mary) Genetti. About 1895. Photo contributed by Don Lingousky.

The past few weeks have been exceptionally busy with emails from new cousins who have stumble upon The Genetti Family Genealogy Project. Along with answering emails, I’ve been busy tracking down our shared ancestry so we can enter their family information on our tree.

We’d like to welcome Vicki Recla Underwood Simpson and Ralph Bones to our family genealogy project. Vicki and Ralph are first cousins from the Genetti/Recla branch. Their shared ancestors are grandparents Lawrence Leo Recla and Kathryn Piz. Lawrence was the son of Raffael Recla and Angela Maddalena Genetti of Sheppton, Pennsylvania. Vicki and Ralph have already supplied me with twenty-five descendants for our family tree. We look forward to their future contributions of photos and information about the Recla clan.

Do you remember Don Lingousky from past posts and contributions to this website? Well it turns out that Don is Vicki and Ralph’s second cousin, as well as a great researcher of his own family ancestry. Don’s grandmother, Leonela Recla, was the sister of Ralph and Vicki’s grandfather, Lawrence. Emails have already been exchanged between Recla cousins and I’m sure they will be comparing ancestral notes soon. (FYI – I am Vicki and Ralph’s third cousin because we share the same great-great-grandparents, Leone and Cattarina Genetti).

The tombstone of Col. Emil Joseph Genetti, Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, CO.

The tombstone of Col. Emil Joseph Genetti, Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, CO.

Also we would like to welcome Francesco Marchetti of Trentino, Italy. Francesco wrote me several weeks ago searching for information on his American cousins. His family, likes ours, is from the village of Castelfondo in northern Italy. Francesco’s 3rd great-aunt, Maria Marchetti, came to America in 1913 and married Pietro Genetti, also of Castelfondo. Their life in America and the amazing legacy that their children built deserves its own blog post! I am still researching this interesting family, but for now I can tell you that Maria and Pietro represent a new branch of our family that I have yet to add to the Genetti tree. The couple settled in Michigan, had three sons and their lives are well-documented through the Federal Census and newspaper articles. Plus I have uncovered several living descendants and hope they will eventually connect with our website, adding their own stories and photos. The great-grandchildren of Maria and Pietro, now living in various locals throughout the United States, are Francesco’s third cousins.

The story deepens because I am also from the Marchetti-Genetti families. After doing the math and counting the generations, I concluded that Francesco is my 6th cousin, once removed (Francesco is a generation younger than me). And I am also related to Maria and Pietro’s descendants – twice! Their grandchildren are my 5th cousins through the Genetti family, and my 6th cousins through the Marchetti family.

Within a few weeks, I will write the complete story of Maria, Pietro and their sons, Emil Joseph (Primo), Albert and Florian. My sincere thanks (mille grazie!) to Francesco for contacting our website and beginning the research into his fascinating family!

A final note – due to the many Genetti ancestors and their descendants who have served in the military, I have decided to compile a page honoring our family’s military history. If you would like to note family members on this page, please email photos, military history, documents, etc. to: info.genetti.family@gmail.com. I will do my best to create a suitable tribute to our family in uniform.

 

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

New Photos!

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Group photo taken in the meadows above Castelfondo.

Yay! Three new photos have been added to our Photograph page under the Gallery Section of the website. What a treat as these are from our Italian family in Trentino. Check them out, click here!

If you have family photos you would like to share on The Genetti Family Genealogy Project website, we would love to hear from you. Please email photos along with a description to: info.genetti.family(at)gmail.com.

 

A New Cousin

Vigilio Genetti, born 1852 in Castelfondo. Died 1932 in Collinsville, IL.

Baptismal record from San Nicolo Church:
Vigilio Genetti, born 1852 in Castelfondo, Austria.
Died 1932 in Collinsville, IL.

The Illinois Genetti Clan has proven to be very inquisitive and helpful concerning our shared ancestors. A few weeks ago I received an email from Brian Genetti with info about his family line. It turns out Brian is also a descendant of Vigilio Genetti who settled in Collinsville, Illinois around 1890. Why I say “also” is that I have had three other descendants of Vigilio contact me during the past year (Tom, Gary and Andrew). Each has contributed a bit more of our ancestral puzzle and allowed me to research further into their branch of the family tree. As a result of Brian’s info, I was able to add ten more descendants to our online tree and continue to extend Vigilio’s legacy in America. Brian says he also has photos of Vigilio Genetti tucked away somewhere. When he finds them we’ll add those pics to our photo archive page too.

Of course, I had to work out all of the cousin relationships. Here’s what I came up with:

– Brian is 1st cousin, twice removed from Tom.

– Brian is 1st cousin, once removed from Gary.

– Brian is a 3rd cousin of Andrew.

And Brian is my 5th cousin, once removed AND my 8th cousin once removed! Yes, my family twig is related to Brian twice!

Do you have descendants you would like included on our family tree? I believe we have only about a third of our ancestors documented so far. Feel free to email me with your information. If I can find documentation on the ancestor, I will add he/she to the Genetti Family online tree.

Many thanks to the Illinois Genetti Family for their participation.

 

 

 

 

 

The Nones Language on YouTube

If your ancestors are from the Val di Non as are the Genetti family, your family’s native tongue is a dialect called “Nones”. An ancient Rhaeto-Romance language, Nones is now considered an endangered language with only about 40,000 people in the Non Valley of Trentino who can still speak the dialect.

Today I stumbled upon a surprising YouTube link by the Endangered Language Alliance. It was a five part video series of three members of the Flaim family telling of their life as Tyrolean immigrants in New York City. I recognized the family surname right away, as we have several Flaim women  who married into the Genetti family and are listed on our family tree. Also the Flaim family originated in the village of Revo located near Castelfondo in the Val di Non. As it happens, one of my great-grandmothers was Catterina Lucia Fellin (married to Giovanni Battista Marchetti). Catterina’s family was also from Revo.

So I was absolutely delighted to view these video clips. Giovanna Flaim speaks of her family in her native dialect, although I’m certain that Italian was also mixed in with the conversation. The old photos used to illustrate the videos are marvelous. It was well worth an hour of time listening to their words, beautifully melodic and foreign, awakening my ear to the language of my great-grandparents.

To view all of the Flaim family clips on YouTube, click here!

You also may be interested in a short webpage by Carol E. Genetti, a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Dean of the Graduate Division at UC Santa Barara (and yes Carol is a descendant of the Genetti family who originally immigrated to Wyoming from Castelfondo). To read more of Carol Genetti’s experience with the Nones dialect, click here.

And finally, you can view an interesting section on the website maintained by “Filo: A Quarterly Magazine for Tyrolean Americans” describing the Nones dialect, written by Lou Brunelli, Editor of this enterprising publication. Lou grew up hearing dialect spoken in his home. He includes several word lists of dialect along with their Italian and English translations, plus a history of the Nones language. For this link at Filo, click here.

Wishing all of my Genetti kin a happy and prosperous New Year!

Welcoming Another Cousin

The Genetti Family Tree

The Genetti Family Tree

One of the best things about being a family genealogist is helping others find their roots. About once a month I receive a request from someone who has searched online for family information and stumbled upon the Genetti Family Genealogy Project. Often the only connection they have with their past are their grandparents. So this is where we begin the search, hoping that my library of family ancestry will yield clues to their heritage. Usually it takes about a week to research and compile the information, always with surprising results!

Two weeks ago I received an email from Andrew. His mother was a Genetti and he was hoping I could trace his family lineage. When I read that his family had settled in Illinois, I knew exactly what branch of the tree to begin our search. You see I’ve found that different family groups (or branches) from our tree, immigrated to specific locations in North and South America. They usually stayed together as an extended family and you can still find them in that location today. For example, my family settled in Pennsylvania. Others went to California, South Dakota, Michigan, Utah, Colorado and even Argentina. Andrew’s family was all in the Illinois/Missouri area.

It didn’t take long to find the connections since I had already compiled a genealogy for one of Andrew’s cousins. Here are the results of my research:

– We added two more generations to Andrew’s original line, extending four generations past the last ancestor noted on the family tree.

– Twelve new names were added to our online family tree.

– I have had past contact with two of Andrew’s cousins (Tom who is Andrew’s 1st cousin, twice removed, and Gary who is Andrew’s 2nd cousin, once removed). Hopefully they will all connect through this website. (FYI – I don’t share personal contact information of family members, but am more than happy to assist in making connections.)

– I am related twice to Andrew: My 2nd great-grandfather and Andrew’s 3rd great-grandmother were first cousins. That makes Andrew and me 4th cousins, once removed. And through Andrew’s 3rd great-grandfather, I am Andrew’s 8th cousin, once removed with our closest share relative being Pietro Genetti born in 1650.

Plus there were other surprises hiding within this genealogy that I have yet to figure out. But I’m sure it will be quite the story when I do! If there is anything I’ve learned from the Genetti clan, it’s that we are always full of surprises!

In my next blog post I’ll explain how I determine the different levels of cousins (2nd, 3rd, etc.) and what does it mean to be a cousin “once removed”. So stay tune for more interesting genealogy jargon.

 

 

Who or Where is Melango?

While visiting Castelfondo this past September, I was told an interesting story by an old-timer of the village. See what you think …

TreeCloseup

Base of the original family tree.

Since I began researching our family genealogy, I’ve had a question about “Melango”. The first time I saw this word was on the Genetti Family Tree under Pietro Genetti born in 1461. Along with Pietro’s name is the word “Melango”. At first I thought this was Pietro’s wife, as this is the format for everyone else on the tree – husband’s name first, wife’s name listed below his.

But when I began researching baptismal records, I found that Melango was recorded as a place of origin. The record pictured below states that a son was born to Pietro Genet (oldest form of our name) of Melango on the 12th of February, 1568. He was baptized Andrea. The godmother to the child was the wife of Antoni Lorenecto (maybe a form of the name Lorenzetti) also of Melango. Obviously, Melango was a place. In almost all baptismal records of the time, the father’s village of origin is recorded, as a means of identification. For example, if you have five men named Pietro Genet born in the same region, you can tell them apart by their town.

baptismalrecord

Baptismal record from St. Nicolo Church, 1568.

 

Since the origin of the Genetti Family was supposedly the village of Castelfondo, I was confused. Researching further, I found that baptismal records through the end of the 1500’s clearly state that our branch of the family were all from Melango. About 1625, the records change, stating that our ancestors were “di Castelfondo” or “of Castelfondo”.

After searching for Melango on historical maps, Google, Wikipedia and even consulting with a local historian, I had no clear-cut answers. It seemed that Melango had been lost somewhere in time!

Melongo-2

Possible location of Melango – hill near Castelfondo.

 

On my first visit to Castelfondo in 2011, I met an older gentleman who had known my great-grandfather in the 1930’s and 40’s. Since Andrea spoke fluent English, he escorted me around the village, explaining various sites. When I approached the question of Melango, Andrea was also unsure. He and our historian friend, Marco, thought that it was a name for the general area of Castelfondo, but it was no longer used.

When I returned to the village this past September, Andrea had a surprise for me. He brought me to a hill right off the road leading into Castelfondo. The site was located between the village and Castello di Castelfondo, an ancient castle with origins dating back to the 11th century. “This is Melango,” he told me. We were standing on a high mound, covered with grass and partially planted with apple trees and grape vines. From the top of the hill we could see the gables of Castello di Castelfondo, peaking out from the forest further down the highway. Again, I was confused.

Melongo-3

Possible location of Melango – hill near Castelfondo.

Andrea explained. After speaking to a number of people, he had learned that Melango had indeed been a village located closer to the castle than the current town of Castelfondo. He was told at some point in history, there was a landslide that covered the village of Melango. And this hill was the remains of Melango – we were standing on top of an archaeological site! Apparently everyone who had survived moved up the road to Castelfondo or to the other surrounding hamlets. I asked if he knew the date of the landslide. No, he did not. Judging from the Castelfondo baptismal records I had spent months scouring over, Melango as a location seemed to fall out of use by around 1600. So if a slide had occurred, my guess was that it happened a generation before, around 1575.

Castle

The rooftops of Castello di Castelfondo as seen from the hill where Melango may have been located.

Arriving home, I tried researching Melango again. This time I was lucky! I found it mentioned on the Commune di Castelfondo webpage under the section titled: “Il paese”. After running the page through Google translator, I had a rough English translation. It seems the name “Castelfondo” designated a parish region composed of the communities of Melango, Raina and Dovena. I was familiar with Raina and Dovena, as they are hamlets bordering Castelfondo still in existence today – almost like Gothic suburbs. So that meant Melango had also bordered the village at one time. From the website translation, the description of Melango’s location matched the hill that Andrea had taken me to.

According to the historian, Carl Ausserer (“Archive Trentino” published 1900, historical literature quoted on the Castelfondo website), Melango was the original location of the first fortification and settlement in the region. It pre-dated Castello di Castelfondo!

Numerous archaeological finds from the site confirm that there were originally Roman and pre-Roman settlements on this location. The text also states that apparently over time the community of Melango disappeared due to abandonment or depopulation as a result of plague epidemics. The name was no longer used and the entire region became known as Castelfondo.

So now I had two stories about Melango, both fascinating! The village certainly did exist, but it’s true history pre-dates written records. Now I don’t know how valid either story is, but a few of the puzzle pieces are following into place.

In conclusion, it appears that our true family origin is from a village that no longer exists! However, this also could mean that the Genetti family is much older than the first date on our family tree of “1461”. What do you think?

I have another date that I’m researching of 1265 concerning the origin of our family. But hey, that’s another story!

 

Special Note: here is a link to an excellent photograph by Enrico Marchetti, showing Castello di Castelfondo in the forground and the village of Castelfondo in the background. Click here!

 

 

 

The Old and the New

OldTownPhoto

The view of Castelfondo from the hill outside of town. Probably about 1900.

 

I love old photographs! Particularly fascinating are “then and now” images comparing hundred-year-old photos with updates of the same location today. Sometimes the area looks completely different and unrecognizable from the original photo; sometimes little has changed and it appears time has stood still.

Village

Castelfondo today. Photo from the “Commune di Castelfondo” website. Click photo to access this website.

Here are a few photographs from Castelfondo – the village in Northern Italy where the Genetti family originated. You judge for yourself how much has changed … and how much has stayed the same.

CastelfondoWell

Castelfondo’s central well, photographed June 8, 1921.

The village well (fountain) is located in a little piazza near the center of town.

The town’s women would gather here to do laundry.

Photo provided by Dino Marchetti of Castelfondo.

 

 

 

 

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The town well today. This is not from the same view as the older photo.

The town well today is completely restored and mostly ornamental in function.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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San Nicolo, late 1800’s.

The interior of San Nicolo church photographed in the late 1800’s and San Nicolo today.

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San Nicolo, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Damiano Genetti standing in the doorway of the Genetti homestead in Castelfondo, about 1937.

The doorway of the Genetti Family homestead in Castelfondo.

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Louise Genetti Roach standing in the same doorway, 2014.