Category: DNA

On a Personal Note

Since the intention of this blog is to discuss genealogy, family history and Tyrolean culture, I usually keep my posts on theme and don’t relate anything of a personal nature. However the past two months have brought a number of unusual circumstances into my life and I want to share these with you. So sit back with a cup of coffee while I relate the trials and tribulations of my recent adventures during self-isolation.

In September my computer crashed and burned! Yep, I had a dead laptop and a big headache to go with it! Since I rely heavily on my computer for just about everything (including this website and blog!) I knew I had to meet the problem head-on and get through it.

After a few days of online research using a borrowed laptop from my husband, I decided on a new PC, ordered it from Amazon and a week later my shiny new computer was delivered to my door.

Then the fun began! Luckily all of my graphic and genealogy files were saved to external hard drives. No problem there – all of my precious specialized files were safe and sound. And I had automatic cloud backup for my main hard drive through Backblaze. However I soon found out – reloading all of my software and then restoring thousands of files from my old computer to my new laptop was a massive job! Thank goodness I had cloud backup or I would have been in real trouble. The annual fee to Backblaze was certainly money well spent!

Since I am also a graphic artist, there are hundreds of embedded files such as fonts, etc. that had to be located and reloaded into the correct program. It took almost three weeks to get my new computer in working order. Although I lost a few apps and files here and there, for the most part I was back to normal by the beginning of October. This is one reason why you have seen so few blog posts from me in the past two months.

The second thing to occur in my life during this time of isolation is an unexpected turn on the genealogy research path. Since March I have been actively helping NPEs (non-parental events, adoptees) along with others who have family members with questionable parentage, locate birth parents and solve family mysteries. This has taken up the majority of my time and I now consider myself a full-time “Search Angel” (someone who works pro bono in helping others locate family). Within the past seven months, I have solved six “cases”, found a number of unknown half-siblings, yanked a few skeletons out of dark family closets and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Helping others in their life-long search for the truth is both thrilling and rewarding. I now consider this to be my life purpose. So – I am currently in the process of channeling my genealogy energy towards the goal of being a full-time “gen geni” (genetic genealogist). Although I’m not exactly sure how this pivot will occur, I am making tentative plans to proceed in this direction. I love being a modern-day detective, using DNA and genealogy to solve family mysteries. And believe me – I have found many strange and unknown events hiding in every family tree that I have researched!

In closing, I would say there is certainly a silver lining to this time of self-isolation. With no social engagements to contend with and quiet days allowing for deep research and concentration, I have found a rewarding direction that naturally utilizes my personal skills.

Thanks for listening to my private ramblings! If there are any folks out there with lingering questions about their family origins (unknown birth parents, mysterious grandparents or unexplained DNA matches) send me an email and I’ll see if I can be of assistance.

The Basics of DNA Testing

DNAhelixThe details have been finalized! The Genetti Family Reunion 2016 will present a Saturday afternoon workshop about DNA testing and genetic genealogy. This type of program is a first for our family reunion. We’re thrilled to bring you exciting information to help you trace your family roots on a personal level.

“The Basics of DNA Testing” is scheduled for Saturday, October 8th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Genetti Ballrooms. If you are planning to attend our reunion weekend in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (Oct. 7 – 9), the workshop is included with your reunion reservation. For more info, see the Reunion News! page on the Genetti Family website.

And now – here is our workshop description:

The Basics of DNA Testing
Presented by Louise Genetti Roach and Don Lingousky

You don’t need a PhD to understand the basics of DNA testing. This workshop will present easy-to-understand information constructed specifically for the beginner. Is DNA a mystery to you? Or have you completed a test and now don’t know what to do with it? Louise and Don can offer advice based on their own genetic experiences.

Learn about different types of DNA testing, who can be tested and how to use the test results to find cousin matches. We will also discuss recommended companies for DNA testing, pricing, how to order a testing kit and even conduct an on-site autosomal DNA test.

Louise and Don (who are 3rd cousins and have matched through DNA) will share their actual test results and explain how DNA has played a role in their own genetic genealogy research.

This is a must-see workshop for every descendant of the Genetti Family! Find out why preserving family DNA is so important and why you need to do it today!

Come with questions – Louise and Don will do their best to answer your queries!

The workshop is free to all Genetti family members attending the reunion. So make sure you note the time and date in your calendar!


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 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!


New Photos Added


Erminia and Emmanuel Recla with their family. Children are Ralph, Elaine (in lap), Catherine (standing), Esther, Marie and Emma.
Spokane, WA – 1914.

Thank you to Mary Russell for sending me two family photos. Mary is the great-granddaughter of Erminia Enrica Genetti Recla.

The youngest child of Leone and Cattarina Genetti, Erminia was born in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy) in the year 1876. She arrived in America in 1890 at the age of 13. The ship’s passenger list shows that she traveled with her big brother Damiano, who escorted her across the ocean and then returned to his family in Castelfondo.


Marie Recla and her husband Harry Pettis – early 1920’s.

Since most of Erminia’s large family was already living in Pennsylvania, she was not alone. Her older sister Angela, had married a young man by the name of Raphael Recla in 1887. Angela must have introduced her little sister to Raphael’s brother, because a few years later in 1893 Erminia married Emmanuel Recla. The couple set-up housekeeping in Shepton, PA near Angela and Raphael, where their first two children were born. By 1897 they were living in Michigan and five more children followed. The family moved again around 1907 to Spokane, Washington and four more children were added to the large family. Of Erminia and Emmanuel’s eleven children, eight survived to adulthood.

Erminia passed away in 1972 at the ripe old age of 95. She was laid to rest next to Emmanuel (who passed away in 1939) in Holy Cross Cemetery – Spokane, WA. Erminia was the last surviving sibling of her family.

The interesting part of this story is that I met Mary Russell, Erminia’s great-granddaughter, through when our DNA results came up as a match. Mary’s test results matched mine as “extremely high probability for 3rd or 4th cousins”. And sure enough, our “shared ancestor hint” correctly predicted that we shared common 2nd great-grandparents, Leone and Cattarina Genetti. Our great-grandparents, Erminia and Damiano, were siblings. This made Mary and I third cousins. I’m so glad that science brought us together and I have yet another lovely person to call cousin!

And one more twist to the story – I recently worked on an ancestral genealogy for Don Lingousky, the great-grandson of Angela Genetti Recla (see blog post from March 26, 2015). Don had emailed me directly, providing information and photos for our family tree. Since Don and Mary shared both a Genetti and a Recla ancestor (two Genetti sisters marrying two Recla brothers) and they were both interested in their family’s genealogy, it was only natural that they should meet. After several emails between the three of us, Don and Mary are now working on their Recla ancestry together. As it turns out – Don, Mary and I are all third cousins through the Genetti family. Don and Mary are also third cousins through the Recla family – therefore they are twice related. I bet they share a very interesting DNA match!

Make sure to visit our ever-growing Photograph page in the Gallery section of The Genetti Family Genealogy Project. You might also enjoy reading about the Genetti clan on our Family Stories page.