Category: Family History

Honoring Those Who Served

August Henry Genetti (1892-1976)

August Henry Genetti (1892-1976)
Served 1917-1919

To celebrate Memorial Day this year I have compiled a list of Genetti descendants who served the United States in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. My goal is to create a special page on our website dedicated to our military family. Unfortunately, I am not able to access records for military personnel serving after the Korean War. So those serving later than the mid-1950’s are not on this list.

Also, the following compilation only includes descendants with the surname of Genetti. I would like to include all of our military descendants who have served our country from 1880 to present and can trace their roots directly to a Genetti ancestor.

If you or a loved one is a Genetti descendant, served in any branch of the military and would like to be listed on our permanent page, please write me through our Contact Page.

In researching this post, I also located a moving tribute to Frank George Genetti (1913-2010) who served in the Navy from 1942 to 1945. Descendant from the Illinois branch of the Genetti family, Frank and his three brothers all served our country during World War II. Frank’s youngest brother, Bernard, is alive and well – thank you so much for your honorable service! We salute you Bernard Genetti on this day of remembrance.

Frank George Genetti (1913-2010)

Frank George Genetti (1913-2010)
Served 1942-1945

To read about Frank George Genetti, click (GenettiFrank – 1916-2010) to open the PDF document. (Created by Vicki DeWitt, Area 51 Learning Technology Center, Edwardsville, IL. Memories, photos and images provided by Frank Genetti and his family of Gillespie, IL)

 

Descendants Serving in the United States Military – WW I, WW II, Korean War

World War I

August Henry Genetti (19 Jun 1892 – 22 Nov 1976) Enlisted 5 Jun 1917, Released 17 Feb 1919

John B. Genetti (30 Mar 1890 – 4 Jul 1972) Enlisted 28 Feb 1918, Released 7 Aug 1919

 

World War II

Albert  Joseph Genetti (5 Aug 1915 – 17 Nov 1980) Enlisted 5 Jul 1938, Released 10 Oct 1969

Bernard Genetti (1926 – living) Enlisted 29 Jan 1944

Charles A. Genetti (15 Aug 1922 – 9 Jun 2007) Enlisted 26 May 1944, Released 5 Apr 1946

Edward Genetti (10 Nov 1913 – 29 Sep 1999) Enlisted 31 Aug 1943, Released 6 Feb 1946

Emil Joseph Genetti (24 May 1914 – 30 March 1977) Enlisted 23 July 1941, Released 2 Nov 1961

Frank George Genetti (19 Apr 1913 – 3 Nov 2010) Enlisted 16 July 1942, Released 2 Nov 1945

Frank L. Genetti (16 Oct 1916 – 7 Jan 2008) Enlisted 19 June 1942, Released 16 June 1945

Frank V. Genetti (20 Dec 1918 – 19 March 1994) Enlisted 1 July 1941, Released 31 Dec 1963

Henry Genetti (12 June 1922 – 16 Jun 1989) Enlisted 29 Nov 1942, Released 16 Nov 1945

John Damian Genetti (1 Nov 1919 – 21 July 1981) Enlisted 26 Oct 1942, Released 31 March 1947

John M. Genetti (20 Apr 1920 – 10 Apr 1986) Enlisted 17 Oct 1941, Released 2 May 1945

Leonard J. Genetti (8 Mar 1924 – 4 Oct 1973) Enlisted 15 Dec 1942, Released 23 Feb 1946

Nicholas Genetti (5 Dec 1914 – 6 Jun 1985) Enlisted 7 Jun 1941, Released 25 Nov 1945

Regina L. Genetti (3 Jan 1927 – 28 Jan 1996) Service Date 25 Sep 1944 to 3 March 1947 – Cadet Nurses

Richard S. Genetti (10 Oct 1919 – 11 Sep 2009) Enlisted 3 Apr 1941, Released 24 Jun 1944

Rinaldo W. Genetti (16 Oct 1911 – 17 Jan 1962) Enlisted 17 Mar 1942

Robert Herman Genetti  (18 Nov 1916 – 24 June 2011) 1943-1948

Rudolph J. Genetti (12 Jan 1910 – 30 Jun 1994) Enlisted 22 Sep 1942, Released 6 Nov 1945

Vernon C. Genetti (5 Apr 1918 – 15 May 1999) Enlisted 29 Dec 1942, Released 19 Nov 1945

 

Korean War

Albert Genetti (5 Aug 1915 – 17 Nov 1980) Career Army

Emil Joseph Genetti (24 May 1914 – 30 March 1977) Career Army

Joseph Genetti (23 Mar 1931 – 17 May 1986) Enlisted 8 Oct 1952, Released 7 Oct 1954

Richard Genetti (3 Nov 1933 – 3 April 1983) Enlisted 28 Sep 1951, Released 27 Sep 1955

 

Special Recognition

US Army Major General Albert J. Genetti

US Army Major General Albert J. Genetti (retired)
Photo: US National Archives

Albert J. Genetti (living) – U.S. Army Major General  (retired)

A Few Stats About the Genetti Family

Damiano Genetti Meat Wagon, Hazleton, PA – about 1915

Since I’m an avid genealogist, I am also a big fan of Ancestry.com. Having been a member of the research website for the past ten years, I often come across interesting bits of information, rare photos and valuable documents pertaining to our ancestors.

Today I found a fun link on Ancestry that instantly compiled facts about the Genetti Family as documented by the Ancestry data base. I just entered our surname and here’s what I found.

Meaning of Genetti: Italian – patronymic or plural form of Genetto, a reduced pet form of the personal name Eugenio, from Latin Eugenius. (Source: Dictionary of American Family Names)

Marriage License for Leon Genetti and Angeline Marchetti, 1914

There are over 4,000 historical documents on Ancestry containing the name Genetti:

  • 1K Birth, Marriage and Death
  • 259 Military Records
  • 350 Immigration Records
  • 1K Census and Voter Lists
  • 1K Member Trees

According to Ancestry.com, the Genetti family name was found in the USA, and the UK between 1891 and 1920. The most Genetti families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1920 there were 14 Genetti families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 19% of all the recorded Genetti’s in the USA. Pennsylvania had the highst population of Genetti families in 1920. The next largest concentrations are in: Illinois, Michigan, Wyoming, Nebraska and California (according to Federal Census Data).

Webmaster’s Note: the Genetti families listed in the federal census living in New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey at this time were not connect to our family. They originated in central Italy with the surname of Giannetti. Sometime after they immigrated, the family changed their name to Genetti. The New England Genetti family is not related to the Castelfondo Genetti family.

Between 1963 and 2004, in the United States, Genetti life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1973, and highest in 1979. The average life expectancy for Genetti in 1963 was 83, and 85 in 2004 (according to the Social Security Death Index). FYI – this is very good news! It appears that Genetti family members tend to live longer than the average population, considering that in 2004 the average life expectancy of the general public was 74. So far our oldest living known ancestor was Angela Maria “Ann” Genetti McNelis (1903-2005), youngest daughter of Damiano and Oliva Genetti. She lived to be 102 years old!

Fascinating information at a glance! Want to try it out for yourself? You can find the Ancestry link here:

https://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts

 

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.

Hurry! Our Family DVD Will Soon Be Discontinued!

There are only a few copies left of our professionally edited DVD: “The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America”! The deadline to order is December 31, 2017. After this date the DVD will be discontinued and we will no longer ship copies.

If you missed Reunion 2016 or would like a unique Christmas gift for a family member, this DVD is the perfect solution! Place your order TODAY – hurry before you miss this opportunity to own a piece of Genetti genealogy!

The price for this beautifully packaged presentation is $20 (includes shipping).

Please send your check addressed to:
William Genetti, 1345 N. Church St., Hazle Township, PA 18202.

Stop by the Genetti Family Shop for more goodies and gifts, from books about Tyrolean heritage to coffee mugs with the Genetti family coat-of-arms. Click here to shop!

Letters from the Past

DamianoDoorAs a genealogist, I get excited about dates and stats. But nothing thrills me more than finding a memoir or letter written by an ancestor. These bits of history allow a personal glimpse into the life and times of a family member.

On my last visit back to Pennsylvania, I was fortunate to be gifted a box of memories by my Uncle Leon Genetti. It proved to be a cache of information, transporting me back decades into my personal family line.

I am now in the process of sorting and scanning documents before returning this “time capsule” back to my uncle. The amount of historical information I have found is incredible, yielding several stories I will tell you in future blog posts.

letters1The first bit of Genetti memorabilia I’d like to share with you are two letters penned by my great-grandfather Damiano Genetti, sent to his son Stanley (Costante) Genetti. The letters were written in December of 1938 and August of 1939, sent from Castelfondo, Italy.

A little back history about Damiano – he returns to his native village in the Val di Non (Trentino, Italy) around 1922, without his family. He lives in Castelfondo for the next twenty-two years, until his death in December of 1944. During this time World War II breaks out (Sept. 1939 – Sept. 1945). The northern province of Trentino/Alto Adige is caught in the middle between German and Italian forces.

It is significant to note that Damiano’s wife, Oliva Zambotti Genetti, passes away in August of 1938. The second letter discusses Damiano paying for masses to be said in the memory of Oliva.

Another known fact to consider is that by 1939, Damiano is making plans to return to America, but is unable to leave due to the declaration of war in Europe.

Now back to our letters! After inspecting the documents, it’s obvious that the original letters were penned in dialect or Italian and later translated into English by someone familiar with the Tyrolean tongue. We can tell this from the unusual sentence syntax. Also, the signature at the bottom of both letters, does not match other documents personally signed by Damiano. From these observations we can conclude that the letters were received by one member of the family (in this case Damiano’s son Stanley) then translated, copied and distributed to other family members. We can also conclude from the mention of past letters, that Damiano wrote to his children on a fairly frequent basis and was concerned with their welfare.

letters2-aBefore composing this blog post, I shared the letters with Bill Genetti, Damiano’s grandson, to get his impressions. Bill made a very important observation: “The 2nd letter is dated 3 days before WWII broke out. September 1st was the date Hitler attacked Poland and war was declared. That 2nd letter may be the last letter to get through and he died before the Allies reached his area.”

Wow! Damiano was writing to his family on the very brink of war! I felt many emotions reading his letters – sadness, loneliness, affection for his children, a resignation of his position in life. Damiano’s words resonated through the decades, speaking volumes.

Since I was born thirteen years after his death, I can only go by the description others have told me of my great-grandfather: stubborn and determined, intelligent and scrupulous, caring and generous, a humanitarian yet distant and detached from his family. Perhaps Damiano’s words will give you a new perspective of an ancestor who lived many different lives (husband, father, mining superintendent, Calvary officer, businessman, traveler, mayor, herbalist).For these are personal letters from a man who lived a complicated life. It is an honor to share them with you now.

I’ll leave Damiano’s words speak for themselves. (To read each letter, click on the image for an enlarged view.)

letters2-bDo you have ancestor letters tucked away in your basement or attic? Why not share them with the Genetti Genealogy Project. Write me at info.genetti.family@gmail.com. Each letter will be added to your ancestor’s digital file in the Genetti Archive we are in the process of compiling.

See more photos of Damiano Genetti on our website Photograph Page.

Read Damiano’s obituary on our Tributes Page.

New Family Memory Page

raffaeleluciaolder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We Made the News!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reunion Photos

1987small

Genetti Family Reunion – 1987 – Hazleton, PA
First Row Seated, L to R: Gus Genetti, Esther Bott Clark, Jean Branz Daly, Catherine Branz LaPorte, Betty Zambotti Reich, Aunt Ann Genetti NcNelis, Leo Zambotti, Catherine Genetti Farkus, Rita Genetti Young, Agnes Bott York, Marianne Genetti, Bill Genetti. 1st Row Standing, L to R: Val Genetti, Gus Genetti III, Joseph LaPorte, Louis Reich, Erma Zambotti, Steve Farkus, Elaine White Young, unknown, unknown, Pat Genetti.

Thanks to Jean Branz Daly, we have just added a few more reunion group photos to our Reunion News page. Take a stroll down memory lane and see what the Genetti family looked like in years past. Click here then scroll to the bottom of the page to see reunions from 1983, 1987, 1992, 1994 and 1995. Jean even provided most of the names for the 1987 photo.

Alas, many of our old-timers are no longer with us. Some who were pictured in the early reunions, were born in Castelfondo, Tyrol (Stanley Genetti, Ann Genetti McNelis). We owe them a debt of gratitude as the first immigrants of our family. They came to Pennsylvania as children, forging a life for future generations. Their children were the first generation to be born in America. Many of our 1st generation family members are also pictured throughout the years (Jean Branz Daly, Catherine Branz LaPorte, Gus Genetti, Bill Genetti, Marianne Genetti, Betty Zambotti Reich).

Can you help identify others in our reunion photos? I know some, but not all. It would be a great gift to the family if we can positively identify each person in all of these photos. If you can help or you were in any of these photos, write me at info.genetti.family@gmail.com with your photo names, reunion year and position in the photo.

Many thanks to Jean Branz Daly (the granddaughter of Damiano and Oliva Genetti). Jean has been a frequent contributor to our family website and we are sincerely grateful! Grazie mille Jean!

Hey – have you sent in your Reunion Reservation yet? Only one week to go before the reservation deadline of September 1st! Don’t miss out on this special event – meet new cousins, hug old cousins, two special presentations, great food and loads of door prizes! It will be a memorable weekend for all, celebrating our Genetti Family heritage!

Check the links below for Reunion info:

Reunion News!

Reunion Reservation Form

Afternoon Workshop: The Basics of DNA Testing

Evening Presentation: The Genetti Family of Castelfondo: Our Journey to America

Reunion Prizes!

Reunion Sponsors

Casa di Genetti (Lanci)

GenettiLanciCasa1916-2

Genetti home in Castelfondo, about 1916
click photo for a larger view

Surprises abound when you are connected to your roots!

I belong to a private group on FaceBook called Chei da Chastelfon. Members are either from my ancestral village of Castelfondo in Trentino or have family members who were born there. A few days ago I found this fantastic black and white photograph on Chei da Chastelfon’s group page. It was posted by Luciana Genetti, one of my Italian cousins. Luciana and I share my 3rd great-grandparents, Antonio Genetti and Veronica Panizza. In official cousin terms, we are 3rd cousins, once removed.

Luciana’s beautiful vintage photo was captured sometime around 1916 and is the Castelfondo home of Genetti Lanci. Yes, my ancestors were “Lanci” – a sopranome or nickname used by a particular branch of our family. I have been told that “Lanci” was originally from old German meaning Lance. I have no idea where or how this sopranome became attached to our branch of the Genetti family other than it is noted in baptismal records as early as the 1600’s. You can still see the sopranome used today on family markers in the village cemetery.

Luciana’s photo caption reads: “Cento anni fa i soldati austriaci davanti a casa nostra (Lanci). Viva la Pace e la Convivenza!”

Since my Italian is limited, I ran this through Google Translator. It translates as: “One hundred years ago the Austrian soldiers in front of our house (Lanci). Alive Peace and Coexistence!”

GenettiHome-1

The Genetti home today, with restored fresco and carved Coat-of-Arms over the doorway.
click photo for a larger view

If you remember world history, at the time this photo was taken it was during World War I. Tyrol was, and had been for centuries, part of the Austrian-Hapsburg Dynasty. Only in 1918, after WW I, was Tyrol turned over to Italy to become the Northern Italian province of Trentino. That is why many of our ancestors who immigrated to America around 1900 considered themselves Tyrolean (not Italian) and had Austrian passports.

Here is what Casa Lanci looks like today. As you can see, the home has been restored and updated. The structure dates to the mid-1500’s (or possibly older). It now houses five apartments, several of which are owned by Luciana and her sisters. The beautiful fresco of Madonna and Child, seen on the front side wall, was restored in 1998 with funds donated by Adriana Genetti, Luciana’s sister.

La nostra gratitudine a Luciana per contribuire questa foto. Mille grazie!

I have also added Luciana’s photo to our photograph page of Castelfondo. Take a quick visit to our ancestral village, click here to access this page on our family website.

Photos from the Past, Part 2

AngelineGenettiRecla

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

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

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

OK – one postcard identified, nineteen more to go!

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

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

angela genetti portrait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you at the Reunion in October!