Category: Family History

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 16

Page 20 and Page 21 (click to enlarge)

Here is another interesting moral tale involving three animals. We don’t know if this is an original story written by Tillie or her sister Dora. It may have also been just a school assignment in the practice of copying text provided by the teacher. I enjoyed the ending of this story very much and I think you will too!

Also – the “chamois” mentioned in this translation is a type of mountain goat, similar to an antelope, native to alpine regions.

Translation: Page 20, left side and top of Page 21, right side

Chamois

The Hare and the Chamois

The times were difficult and famine and illness were hitting the animals of the wood. There was a skinny and ill hare and a tired deer lying exhausted by famine and pains. You can imagine the miserable things happening inside the animals’ lairs.

A very sensitive hare was deeply moved seeing such evils and cried day and night and prayed Heaven to end this cruel calamity.

A chamois with a less tender heart than the hare did not lose time in shedding tears for the common misfortune. It gathered a council and spoke very well about the need to solve the problem. Some animals were sent to various villages to ask for help, food and medicines. Other animals took care of the ill. The chamois watched and worked to be of advantage to the miserable and at the end he could have the joy to stop their suffering.

Girls, you must understand that when our fellow beings are unfortunate we must help them through concrete action and advice not just restricting yourself to useless compassion.

Castelfondo 19 April 1902

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Once again, we extend our thanks to Loretta Cologna for her patience in translating Tillie’s Notebook.

 

Photo Gallery: Michigan Genetti Family

click to enlarge

I have just added our first photograph to the Michigan Genetti Family Photo Gallery. Thanks to John and Nancy Faulkner, we have a beautiful period image from Bessemer, Michigan dated 1919.

Representing three families, the photograph appears to have been casually posed on a family porch. All of the parents pictured here came from the Val di Non and likely moved to Bessemer (near Ironwood, MI) because it was a mining region with available work. Many Tyroleans, including several Genetti cousins, settled in this area.

Those pictured according to the handwritten note attached to the photograph are:

Standing in back: Flora (Marchetti) Ferrari, Mrs. and Mr. Menghini, Primo Emil Joseph (child), Maria (Marchetti) Genetti and Pietro Genetti.

Seated front: Albert Joseph Genetti, Joseph Ferrari and Florian Ferrari

Here is a little background information about the families in this photo:

Angelo Pietro (Peter) Genetti (1882 -1964) and Maria (Mary) Marchetti (1892-1962), both of Castelfondo, Tyrol, married in Hurley, Wisconsin in 1915. Settling in Bessemer, Michigan near Ironwood, where Pietro was a miner, the couple had three sons: Primo Emil Joseph (1914-1977), Albert Joseph (1916-1981) and Florian Joseph (1923-1997).

Emil and Albert had long, distinguished military careers. Emil attended Michigan State University, became a doctor and joined the US Army, serving in WW II and Korea. Emil retired  as a Colonel and went on to practice medicine in California.

Like his older brother, Albert attended Michigan State University, graduating with a bachelor of science in forestry. He joined the US Army as a career military man rising to the rank of Colonel. Albert was a World War II veteran. Special note: Albert’s son, also named Albert Joseph Genetti, Jr., attended West Point, is in the Military Times Hall of Valor, and retired as a decorated Major General from the US Army. (Click here to see more about Albert Jr.)

The couple’s third son, Florian, owned a barber shop in Bessemer and became a local politician.

Peter and Mary divorced in 1930 after fifteen years of marriage, with Mary gaining custody of the three boys. She eventually remarried Joseph Regis.

Next we look at Emma Fiorentina (Flora) Marchetti (1884-1959), originally from Castelfondo, who marries Pietro (Peter) Giambattista Ferrari (1877-1959) from Revo (Peter is not shown). In 1905 the couple marry and live in Wisconsin. The two boys seated on the right in the photograph are, Joseph Christopher Ferrari (1911-1999) and Florian Lewis Ferrari (1909-1986). Joseph and Florian were the couple’s youngest children. They also had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Ferrarri (1906-1976) and another son, George David Ferrari (1908-1992). All four of the children were born in Wisconsin. The family later moved to Bessemer, Michigan where Peter supported his family as a miner.

Moving on to the older couple in the center of the photo, I’m not positive of their identification, but I believe they are Richardo Menghini (1860-?) and his wife Maria (Flor) Menghini (1864-?). Both of Brez, Tyrol, the couple came to Bessemer sometime in the 1880’s. They had a total of seven children. According to the obituary of one son, Louis Menghini (1889-1952), the family returned to Brez in 1894. By 1907 Louis and his family came back to Bessemer. From the date of this photo, we know that Richardo and Maria Menghini were neighbors of the Genetti and Ferrari families in 1919. But by this time the couple’s many children were adults and probably not living at home when this photo was taken.

We would like to thank John and Nancy Faulkner for contributing to our Family Photo Gallery. Nancy is the granddaughter of Pietro (Peter) Giambattista Ferrari and Emma Fiorentina (Flora) Marchetti who is pictured standing on the far left of our group photo. Mille grazie Nancy and John!

Photo Gallery Links:

Michigan Genetti Family

Pennsylvania Genetti Family

Wyoming Genetti Family

Illinois Genetti Family

Washington Genetti/Recla Family

Castelfondo Genetti Family

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 15

Page 18 and Page 19 (click to enlarge)

As we welcome in a new year and a new decade, I hope everyone had a joyous and safe holiday shared with family and friends.

We return to our translation of Tillie’s 1902 Notebook with another strange passage. Both Loretta (our translator) and I are baffled by this short entry.

Again, we have a page penned by Tillie’s older sister Addolorata (Dora). Although brief, it offers a personal glimpse into Dora’s young life and perhaps hints at a hereditary learning disability. Here is the translation followed by my commentary.

Addorlorata (Dora) Erminia Genetti
1889-1971

Translation: Page 19, right side

My name is Addolorata Genetti, born on the 13th of August 1889, baptized on the 14th of August 1889. My godfather and godmother at the sacred font were Sisinio Genetti and Erminia Recla.

I am Damiano and Oliva Genetti’s daughter.

I don’t remember anything about my childhood, just that at six years of age I started attending school. I repeated the first class for three years and the second for three years.

At eight I received Confirmation in April 1900, my godmother was Caterina Zambotti.

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In this short entry, there are a number of strange and confusing statements made by Dora.

As Loretta points out – Dora says that she receives the sacrament of Confirmation at the age of eight years old in 1900, but her actual age in that year was eleven!

She also says that she repeated the first grade three times as well as the second grade three times! To me this seems excessive. Since both Loretta Cologna and her mother were school teachers, I asked her if this was a normal occurrence. Although schools at that time were strict, requiring children to reach a certain level of accomplishment before advancing to the next grade, Loretta also agreed that repeating a grade three times seemed odd. And repeating two successive grades three times was certainly unusual!

We don’t know whether or not this entry is accurate in describing Dora’s schooling. But if it is, the thought occurred to me that Dora may have had a learning disability making it difficult to complete school assignments. Since I know several people with dyslexia, this was my first thought to explain Dora’s difficulty in school. My own husband is on the dyslexia spectrum. Michael graduated from college with an Engineering degree and has a sharp, analytical mind; however he has struggled with reading and the reversal of numbers throughout his entire life.

Dyslexia (originally known as “word blindness”) was virtually unheard of and certainly not recognized by teachers in 1902. It also has a genetic component, meaning it may be passed down through one or both parents. Here is a definition from the Family Education Network:

Dyslexia is regarded as a neurobiological condition that is genetic in origin. This means that individuals can inherit this condition from a parent and it affects the performance of the neurological system (specifically, the parts of the brain responsible for learning to read).

It’s not uncommon for a child with dyslexia to have an immediate family member who also has this condition. Also, it’s not unusual for two or more children in a family to have this type of learning disability.

Dora may have struggled her entire life with issues tied to dyslexia, now considered a well-recognized genetic disability that affects between 5 – 15% of the population. Although I’m sure she was an intelligent woman who adapted well to her new home in Pennsylvania, Dora probably had a difficult time with the skills of reading, writing and spelling.

What do you think? Does dyslexia run in your family line?

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About others mentioned in this Notebook Entry:

Dora’s godparents:

Sisinio Alessandro Genetti (1854-1908). This was Dora’s uncle and her father’s oldest brother. Sisinio was the only sibling of Damiano Genetti who did not emigrate to America. Tragically he died in Castelfondo at a rather young age of 44 due to tuberculosis.

Erminia Enrica Genetti Recla (1876-1972). This is Dora’s aunt and her father’s youngest sibling. Erminia emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1890, a year after becoming Dora’s godmother. She eventually settled in Spokane, Washington with her husband, had eleven children (eight survived to adulthood), and died at the advanced age of 95. Erminia outlived her goddaughter by six months.

Caterina Dallachiesa Zambotti (1853-1939). Most likely this is the person Dora references as her Confirmation godmother. Caterina was her aunt by marriage, married to her mother’s brother, Simone Zambotti.

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Learn more about Dyslexia:

Dyslexia: What Brain Research Reveals About Reading

Dyslexia Help: Frequently Asked Questions

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 14

Page 16 and Page 17 (click to enlarge)

Here is another interesting moral story from Tillie’s 1902 Notebook along with a surprising revelation. Make sure you read to the end of this post!

Translation: Page 17, right side and Page 18, left side

The Careless Pupil

Luigino was a stubborn and unwise boy who loved having fun more than studying.

After the school bell rang he would have never missed the occasion of being absent from school lessons whenever he could, preferring to go and play around the village with bad boys instead of being attentive and learning the useful things that the teacher taught.

He used to tease his classmates and scribble on books and notebooks wasting things and time.

It was better when he was not at school because he was a continuous bother for his classmates and his teacher.

Page 18 and Page 19 (click to enlarge)

After he had spent the school year doing very little and without changing his behavior despite his teacher’s advice and his parents’ care, he realized that the exams were near. But he was in the bad condition that it was better not to go to the exams or he would have shamefully failed.

In the moment of danger the lazy and careless confide in other people’s virtues.

So Luigino started the exams unable to perform the tasks and begging some classmates for help with various excuses. But his classmates refused to help him because the teacher had forbidden, saying that during an examination everyone must do by himself so that they could discern the grain from the tares*.

Castelfondo, April 1902

*Note: the word “tares” is referred to in the bible as an injurious weed resembling wheat when young (Matt. 13:24-30).

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In researching the word “tares” that appears in the last sentence of this translation, I stumbled upon an unusual twist to the story. It appears Tillie’s little moral tale written in 1902 may actually be a “modern” interpretation of a New Testament bible parable as told in Matthew 13:24-30. Comparing the theme of Mathew’s parable and the story of “The Careless Pupil” we find similarities along with the unusual use of the word “tares”. Tillie’s story is a much simpler version of the original parable. But this adaption makes sense if the goal was to teach moral behavior using a relatable story the class could understand. Think back when you were a child. If you were brought up in the Roman Catholic church, I’m sure you remember your catechism book filled with stories and illustrations, meant to teach you right from wrong.

Maybe the school assignment for that date was to interpret a bible story as it related to the students’ every day life in Castelfondo. I wonder if other moral stories contained in our notebook also have roots in biblical parables? I guess we will have to wait and see what future translations show us.

14th century book illustration for the parable of The Wheat and The Tares, unknown artist

Here is the passage from Matthew as written in the King James Bible. See if you agree with me!

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then the tares appeared also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in thy field? From where did the tares come out from?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13:24-30

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Leave me a comment if you recognize another entry from Tillie’s Notebook that corresponds to a bible story!

Once again, many thanks to our translator Loretta Cologna.

Read previous posts from Tillie’s Notebook by scrolling through our Archive listings (see right hand column). Translations for this series are posted from August 2019 – December 2019.

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For more info:

A sermon by Father Michael K. March:
Weeding out Judgement – A sermon on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Parable of the Wheat and Weeds, click here to read.

Illustration, Taccuino Sanitatis, Public Domain, Source: WikiMedia Commons

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 13

Our next two translations are moral stories possibly used as a school exercise in copying text.

Since many short stories are a part of Tillie’s 1902 Notebook, I thought this would be an appropriate post to mention the ancestral history of Tyrolean folklore and the custom of “Filò” (pronounced fee-lò).

A time of socializing, Filò was an evening gathering of family and friends around the fire to share ancestral folktales and songs. Probably Tillie and her siblings were familiar with this custom and it may have taken place in the lower level of their home where the animals were kept.

In many ancient cultures there is an oral tradition of teaching and the passing down of knowledge through the use of storytelling and song. During the evening gathering of Filò, a storyteller entertained both children and adults with narratives such as those found in Tillie’s notebook. Children learned lessons through the tales told by elders, often concluding with a moral ending. A story containing visual imagery like the translation that follows below (The Chased Fox) is more likely to be remembered and practiced later in life as the imagery embeds itself into one’s memory (along with the moral message).

Obviously Tillie kept her little school notebook throughout her entire life. Perhaps these simple stories had a lasting impact on the little girl from Castelfondo who came to a new and strange country when she was sixteen years old.

Learn more about the communal tradition of Filò by visiting Filò magazine online – click here!

Tyrolean folktales still exist today and have become part of many traditional events in Alpine villages throughout Trentino. One such celebration taking place on December 5th is Krampus Night (Krampusnacht). This event precedes the Feast of St. Nicholas celebrated on December 6th.

During this dark and terrifying evening, the pagan demon named “Krampus” roams the streets, punishing bad children who have misbehaved during the past year. Today he appears in Christmas events throughout the Alpine region as a masked hairy beast, growling and frightening children as he parades through the village.

Click here to view a scary Krampus Parade that took place just last week in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Would you like to read more Tyrolean folktales? Visit our Genetti Family Bookstore to find Tales and Legends of the Tyrol, a collection of folklore from the villages of Tyrol, transcribed by Maria Alker von Gunther. Her original book was published in 1874 and is now available as a reprint in both digital and paperback formats – click here for info (Amazon affiliate link).

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And now for our translations of Tillie’s Notebook by Loretta Cologna …

Page 14 and Page 15 (click to enlarge)

 

Translation: Page 15, right side

Punished Arrogance

A hunter had a domesticated magpie. This man had some peacock feathers on his bedroom table. One day, after he had left the bedroom window open and had gone away, the magpie came into the room, took the feathers and put them around its neck. It proudly went among its friends but did not greet them. Then the magpie went among other birds that seeing such a well-dressed bird were cheerful.

(Note: Loretta believes this is not a finished story but a study in copying text. Therefore it does not make sense since there is no “punishment” at the end of the story as is referenced in the title “Punished Arrogance”)

Page 16 and Page 17 (click to enlarge)

 

Translation: Page 16, left side and top of Page 17, right side

The Chased Fox

On a nice spring day a fox was looking for food when it realized that two hunters were following it. It quickly went near a house where there was a woodcutter and said to him: “Be charitable, hide me because the hunters want to kill me.”

The woodcutter pointed to a hole where it could hide. The two hunters came and asked the man if he had seen a fox. The woodcutter said he had not seen it but he pointed to the hole where the animal was hiding.

The hunters did not pay attention and went away.

When the hunters were far away the fox came out of her shelter and went away without thanking him. The man said: “You are ungrateful, you go away without thanking me because I saved your life.”

The fox said: “You said no with your words but you actually showed my hiding place.”

We must learn from this story!

Castelfondo, March 1902

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For More Information:

Tales from Tirol: http://oaks.nvg.org/tirin.html

Filò Magazine: http://filo.tiroles.com/filo-magazine/

Krampus (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Krampus: The Devilish Helpers of St. Nicholas: https://www.zugspitzarena.com/en/activities/culture-tradition/krampus

Krampuslauf Klagenfurt 2019 (a scary Krampus Parade that took place November 23, 2019 in Klagenfurt, Austria): https://youtu.be/Xo6bI81J298

 

 

 

Photos from the Bott Family

Dora and Verecondo Bott,
probably early 1950’s
click to enlarge

A few months ago I received an email from Adriana Genetti along with three photos. Adriana is the youngest of four Genetti sisters from Castelfondo. She and her sisters are my 3rd cousins, once removed. On previous visits to Italy, I have had the pleasure to meet and socialize with Maria, Lidia and Luciana – Adriana’s older sisters. But I have yet to meet Adriana in person. However I do know that our Italian cousins (as well as many friends from Castelfondo) read our family blog and occasionally they send us photos and documents. I always look forward to their insight and comments.

Adriana’s email arrived in late August and was in Italian. I used Google Translator to read her message. Here is what she wrote:

Hello Louise!

Unfortunately, you and I have never met, but I know who you are and I know you. I’m writing to send you some photos of the Genetti family of America. During a trip to Assisi with my sister Luciana, I met a person from Salter who has family ties to the Bott family. We talked with her about our American relatives and she kindly gave me some photos that I now send to you.

50th Wedding Anniversary Dinner for
Condy and Anna Bott, 1957
click to enlarge

The first photo shows Dora Genetti (daughter of Damiano) with her husband Verecondo Bott. The other two photos also show Dora Genetti with her husband and other people in your family that you probably recognize. I hope you enjoy this message.

Sincerely,
Adriana Genetti

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Well, I must admit – Adriana’s photos had me stumped for some time! Of course, I knew who Dora and Verecondo Bott were. But I was completely baffled by the group photos! Usually I only post photographs on our website if I can confirm details, dates and possibly the story attached to the pictures. Unfortunately, I’m not that familiar with the Bott family and did not recognize anyone in the group photos. This certainly was going to take a bit of investigation on my part to decipher the event, find a date and identify the people pictured in Adriana’s photos.

Guests at anniversary dinner, 1957
click to enlarge

The title attached to one photograph gave me my first clue: “50 cena dei 50 anni fratelli Bott”. This was a 50th Anniversary dinner and had something to do with the Bott brothers.

Look closely and you will see a cake topper with the number “50” positioned on the head table in front of one couple. On further inspection, I recognized Addorlorata (Dora) Bott seated on the far left side of the head table, but not with her husband Verecondo. However, two other men at the head table had a very close resemblance to Verecondo Bott – the man seated in the center and the gentleman dressed in the light-colored jacket, second from the right. Examining other details, I guessed that the event took place sometime in the 1950’s. Since Dora was in attendance, I surmised the dinner was probably held in or near Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Hazleton Standard Sentinel,
June 22, 1957
click to enlarge

With these clues in mind, I went to work digging into various research websites. With help from Newspapers.com and Ancestry.com I found what I was looking for.

After searching the Hazleton papers, circa 1950’s for the surname of Bott, I eventually narrowed my findings down to two articles that tell the story of Adriana’s photos. (see articles pictured in this post)

The group photographs were taken at a 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner for Mr. and Mrs. Condy Bott on June 22nd, 1957. Condy (short for Condido and incorrectly spelled as “Coney” in the first newspaper article) was the brother of Verecondo Bott, husband of Dora Genetti. So the couple at the center of the table were Condy Bott and his wife of 50 years, Anna Maria Seppi Bott. The people seated at the other tables were Condy and Anna’s adult children with their families. It was obvious that Condy looked very much like his brother Verecondo. 

But why was Dora at the dinner without her husband and who was the 2nd man at the table who also resembled Verecondo?

The rest of the story fell in place after I located Verecondo’s obituary dated July of 1955 (see below). Dora was seated at the head table because she was part of the Bott family. However her husband Verecondo passed away in 1955, two years prior to his brother’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. Therefore, he obviously was not at this event.

In Verecondo’s obituary it states that he is survived by two brothers: Condy of Drifton, PA and Silvio of Tyrol. Although I’m not certain, but I believe the man at the head table, second from the right is most likely the younger brother Silvio. He must have traveled to Pennsylvania to visit his family and take part in the celebration. Silvio was the baby of the family and much younger than his two brothers. I found no documentation that Silvio ever immigrated from the village of Salter to the United States. Therefore we can probably assume the anniversary photos were passed down through the descendants of Silvio Bott. And according to Adriana’s email, these descendants still lived in Salter, Val di Non!

In conclusion to this very long blog post – I also searched and found the obituaries for both Condy and Anna, (see below).

Condido Angelo Bott was born in Salter, Tyrol on December 11, 1876. He died in Drifton, Pennsylvania on Decemeber 8, 1958 at the age of 72.

Anna Maria Seppi Bott was born in Lattimer, Pennsylvania on January 3, 1888. She passed away in Hazleton, Pennsylvania on February 10, 1974 at the age of 86.

I have also included the obituary for Addolorata “Dora” Genetti Bott, born August 12, 1889 in Castefondo, Val di Non; died October 11, 1971 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Our thanks to Adriana Genetti for thinking of her American cousins and sharing these special photos with our extended family. Adriana’s photographs have also been added to our Pennsylvania Photo Page.

Obituary of Verecondo Bott, 1955, The Plain Speaker
click to enlarge

 

Obituary of Condy Bott, 1958,
The Plain Speaker
click to enlarge

 

Obituary of Anna Maria Seppi Bott, 1974
click to enlarge

 

Obituary of Dora Genetti Bott, 1971, Standard Speaker
click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 12

Page 12 and Page 13, click to enlarge

Again we have an entry in our 1902 notebook signed by Tillie’s sister, Addolorata (Dora). It appears to be a letter from Dora to a friend in another village describing the First Communion taking place in Castelfondo at San Nicolo’ Church.

Translation is from Page 13 right side, and Page 14 left side

Dear friend,

This week the schoolchildren of Castelfondo received the Easter Holy Communion and I want to tell you what we did.

On Monday first the boys then the girls who had to receive the Communion went to Confession.

Page 14 and Page 15, click to enlarge

On Tuesday the bells rang and we all went to church.

Seven lucky girls were admitted to the Communion, they were seated in the first bench and all the others behind them.

At seven started the Holy Mass celebrated by our parish priest. During the Mass the chaplain read the preparation to the Communion of our priest, then went to the sacristy wearing a white robe. He went to the altar, said the Confiteor [in Latin this means “I confess” and refers to a prayer said during Mass], then the Communion started. First the children of the first Communion, then all the others in good order.

Interior of San Nicolo’ Church, about 1900

After some minutes the chaplain read a thanksgiving. After that the priest gave some memory cards to the children who had received the first Communion. We said three prayers and we went away in good order and went back to our houses.

To tell the truth, on that day I said a word for you to Jesus and I hope you did the same.

I would like to know what you did in your village.

I am your affectionate classmate,

Addolorata Genetti 

20 March 1902

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Loretta Cologna (our translator) and I thought this was the perfect post to show a few photos of the church and an archival communion photo published by Dino Marchetti in his beautiful hardcover book about Castelfondo. That’s when I learned that Loretta’s mother, a school teacher in Castelfondo, was also in several of the communion photos. I asked Loretta to share a few details about her mother and here is what she told me:

San Nicolo’ Church, photographed in 2011

From Loretta Cologna:

My mother was Livia Marchetti. She was born in 1920 and died in 2010. In 1940 she started teaching and worked for forty years as an elementary teacher until she retired in 1980.

For a few years she worked far from Castelfondo, then she got a job in the small village of Salobbi (north of Castelfondo) where she worked for eleven years. After that she had a position at the elementary school in Castelfondo, where she worked until her retirement.

Her school was the new school built in 1954. Before the new school, the original school was on the main square where the town hall offices are now.

The ground floor of the new school is for the nursery school children, ages 3 to 6. The first floor [in the US we would call this the second floor] is for the elementary grades.

First communion class of 1958 with Don Bruno (parish priest) and Livia Marchetti standing on the steps of San Nicolo’
click to enlarge

In the past the elementary teacher took an important part in the preparation of the First Communion and accompanied the children to Mass. As my mother worked for more than twenty years in the Castelfondo school, there are a lot of photos of her in Dino’s book.

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Loretta told me that until the age of eleven, she also attended the little green school house in Castelfondo where her mother taught. She and the rest of her class then attended middle school in the village of Fondo (just a few miles down the road from Castelfondo). Loretta went on to attend a language high school in the city of Bolzano (about a 45 minute drive over the mountain pass). Finally completing her schooling at a university of languages in Verona.

Thank you Loretta! We are so happy to have you as a friend of our family and our wonderful translator!

The new school house of Castelfondo, located behind the church, built in 1954

One additional note, the little green school house in Castelfondo contains the portraits of Damiano and Oliva (Zambotti) Genetti in the front entry way along with a dedication plaque. (Look closely at the marble plaque pictured below and you will see Addolorata’s name!) It is my understanding that funds raised from the sale of Damiano’s estate after his death in 1944, helped to finance the construction of the school house. My grandparents, Leone and Angeline (Marchetti) Genetti, visited Castelfondo in 1954. Perhaps it was for the dedication of the school. Leone’s brother, Stanley, also visited Castelfondo many times as an adult. According to Stanley’s autobiography, over the years he purchased several pieces of new playground equipment for the schoolyard.

Portraits of Damiano and Oliva (Zambotti) Genetti

So again we see how the lives of our ancestors are interwoven to create a vibrant family history!

Our special thanks to Dino Marchetti! His dedication and passion for preserving the history of Castelfondo is truly a gift to future generations and to his American cousins. The first communion class photo published in this post can be found on page 421 of Dino’s book “Castelfondo: Il paese la sua gente”. (Translation – Castelfondo: the country its people).

Find all previous translations from this series by scrolling through our earlier blog posts.

Plaque hanging inside Castelfondo school
click to enlarge

Veterans Day and the Armistice

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

Today we pay tribute to those who have served in the Armed Forces. On this Veterans Day, we salute you and thank you for your service to our country!

But did you know that Veterans Day was originally named Armistice Day? It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that marked the end of World War I and the day that the Armistice was signed (November 11, 1918). The name of this federal holiday was officially changed in 1954 to Veterans Day by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. November 11th is commemorated throughout the world as the end of World War I and is celebrated as “Remembrance Day” by the Commonwealth of Nations. Only the United States refers to this date as Veterans Day.

Today marks the 101st anniversary of the Armistice. It is also the time when our ancestors living in the Val di Non became citizens of Italy. Prior to 1918, their valley was under Austrian rule.

In tribute to our Genetti descendants who served in past wars and conflicts, I have listed many of them below. Unfortunately, it is difficult to access military records for any living descendants or for those whose records were destroyed in the fire of 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Approximately 16 to 18 million service history documents for personnel discharged between 1912 and 1964 were lost in this disaster.

If someone in your family has served in the United States military and is not included in the following list, please send me a message through our Contact page. Include your family member’s name (does not have to be named Genetti as long as they are a descendant of a Genetti), rank, the branch of the military in which they served, their years of service and any war or conflict that was part of their military service.

Eventually I would like to build a page on this website to honor our military veterans.

With respect and gratitude, we say thank you to all who have served our country!

 

Descendants Serving in the United States Military

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

Leo Alex Zambotti (11 Oct 1913 – 30 June 1993) Enlisted 21 Dec 1942, Released 23 Feb 1946

 

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

 

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For more info about the history of the Armistice:

World War I Armistice Signed: November 11, 1918 – 100th Anniversary

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919)

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 11

Page 12 and 13, click to enlarge

Our next translation is an entry by Addolorata (Dora) Genetti, Tillie’s older sister. After reading this sweet thank-you letter addressed to Dora’s godmother, I went to work searching through Castelfondo records and the references I had saved to my Ancestry.com tree. Using various dates and documentation, I pieced together a background story to go with our translation. It’s truly incredible the family history that can be constructed from clues in a thank-you note penned over a century ago!

Here is Loretta Cologna’s translation, followed by my family history information. I hope you enjoy the read!

Addolorata (Dora) Erminia Genetti Bott, (1889-1971) photographed in Pennsylvania about 1911

 

Page 12, left side and top of Page 13

Dear godmother,

I received your present with great pleasure yesterday night. A pair of golden earrings! It is too much for me, I surely did not deserve so much.

I will send you a present too, it as a bunch of forget-me-nots made of canvas which I made myself. Every leaf tells you that your goddaughter loves you. I did not know what other gift I could send you.

Thank you, thousand times thank you.

I am your goddaughter,

Addolorata Genetti

Castelfondo, 17 March 1902

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Addolorata (Dora) Genetti was born on August 12, 1889. Her parents Damiano and Oliva, had just returned to Castelfondo from Latimer, Pennsylvania early in 1888. They brought with them their infant son, Leone, who was about eight months old at the time they traveled.

According to baptismal records, Dora was born a triplet. Unfortunately her brother was still-born and never named. Her twin sister, Angela Cattarina, lived until the age of two. Dora was the only surviving child from this pregnancy.

Her baptismal record is somewhat complicated due to the triplet entry. Dora’s godparents are listed as Sisinio Genetti (Damiano’s older brother) and Erminia Erica Genetti (Damiano’s youngest sister). Dora’s twin, Angela, also has Erminia listed as her godmother, but a different godfather, Clemente Dallachiesa.

Erminia Enrica Genetti Recla, (1876-1972)

It is interesting to note that Erminia was just thirteen years old at the time of Dora’s birth. However, if we look at Dora’s full name, Addolorata Erminia, we now understand that she was her Aunt’s namesake.

Soon after Dora was born, her godmother left for the United States. According to the ship’s manifest, Erminia was escorted by her big brother Damiano, sailing on the ship La Bretagne out of the port at Le Havre, France. She arrived in New York City on March 10, 1890. After seeing his little sister safely to her new home, Damiano returned to his family in Castelfondo.

From her marriage certificate, it appears that Dora lived in Weston, Pennsylvania where she met her future husband Emanuel Recla. The young couple soon married in 1893. It is interesting to note that Erminia’s older sister, Angela Maddalena, married Raffaele Recla (Emanuel’s older brother) in 1887. So again, we see two sisters marrying two brothers. Thus the children of Erminia and Angela were double first cousins!

Returning to Dora’s thank you note of March 1902, we see through birth records that Erminia already has four children and is living in Crystal Falls, Michigan by this date. Within a few years, the growing family moved again and settled in Spokane, Washington. Erminia and Emanuel had a total of eleven children, with eight surviving to adulthood. Today you can still find many of their descendants living in Washington State.

As for Dora, she soon left for America with her father Damiano and little sister Esther, probably sometime in 1903. Big brother Leone, followed in 1904. The family set down roots in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where they established a meat and butchering business. The three siblings and their father moved into a home on Cedar Street. Their mother, Oliva, along with the remaining five siblings (Ottilia, August, Albino, Erminia, Constante and Angela) joined them in 1906.

We still are uncertain if this entry in the 1902 notebook was written by Dora, or penned by Tillie as a copy of an existing letter by her sister, possibly as a school exercise. We will have to wait and see what answers are found in future translations of the notebook.

One last side note: Dora’s godfather, Sisinio Genetti, died of tuberculosis in Castelfondo in 1908 at the young age of forty-four. However, Dora’s godmother, Erminia Genetti Recla, lived to a very old age of ninety-six, passing away in March of 1972. Erminia outlived her goddaughter by six months, as Dora died in October of 1971 at the age of eighty-two.

So that is the family history contained in Dora’s innocent little thank-you note to her godmother. I hope you enjoyed my diversion into family relationships and our recent ancestral past. 

Find all previous translations from this series by scrolling through our earlier blog posts.

Remembering Our Ancestors

Raffaele Genetti and Simone Zambotti, abt. 1890

“The thing that interests me most about family history is the gap between the things we think we know about our families and the realities.” ~ Jeremy Hardy

This is the perfect quote to describe my journey through genealogy! I became interested in family history ten years ago after watching the first episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” (a popular genealogy television show). The initial reason for researching my personal genealogy was simple – I had no idea who my ancestors were beyond my grandparents. Although I remembered childhood stories about the Alpine region of Tyrol and I had fuzzy memories of a few great-aunts and uncles, there was little else to go on other than the surnames of my paternal grandparents.

It didn’t take long before I was digging through online records at Ancestry.com, spending hours poring over microfilm church records at the local LDS family history center, and compiling names and dates into a huge family tree.

Damiano Genetti Meat Wagon
with sons and daughters
about 1908

Along the way I had help. Bill Genetti of Hazleton, gave me a copy of the original Genetti family tree, along with family records he had collected during the 1990’s. Bill is my first cousin, once removed and one of the many newly-found relatives I met at a family reunion held in October of 2010. At that time I was just a fledgling genealogist, but Bill’s tree and original family records were my road map to further research. The tree gave me a direction as I confirmed names, dates and events. I filled in the gaps, added missing ancestors and included my own facts and stats as I went along.

Soon it was obvious – research was yielding so much more than just names and dates. The memories of real people lingered as ghosts behind static records I found online. People born in another country, who grew up in a little village and married someone from down the road. They had children (sometimes many, many children!), grew old and were buried in the cemetery next to the church they had attended all of their lives. I knew my ancestors had made life decisions that ultimately affected who I am today. Their DNA was part of my DNA. I saw myself reflected back in their eyes and wondered if they ever thought about future generations.

Family and friends of the Genetti/Menghini/Yanes family
LaBarge, Wyoming, about 1934

With some sadness, I also realized how fleeting our memories were of those who came before us. In just two or three generations a relative’s memory can slip from family consciousness. When no one is left to remember an ancestor, they become little more than a name with a birth, marriage and death date attached. It was this understanding that resonated in my being and became the spark to continue searching for my forebears. Genealogy was so much more than just tracking down names and dates. Our ancestors had full and interesting lives, contributing much to our family history. I felt their memory should live on, not be forgotten and dismissed to a dusty past.

Rudy Genetti, born in
Rock Springs, Wyoming – 1954

Today my genealogy mission is to bring ancestors alive through the telling of stories, collected photographs, newspaper articles, and anything else I can find that adds details and richness to their memory. And once you start looking past a simple birth record and into a life filled with a spectrum of emotions and experiences, you find incredible people that shaped our modern existence.

During the past year this has become even more evident to me as I uncover the stories of both “saints and sinners” along with little-known historical details.

In 2019 DNA also played a major role in my genealogy research. Since January of this year, I have helped three adoptees and one person with questionable parentage to identify their true family origin. And guess what – they were all my cousins of varying degrees, linked to me through DNA results! Obviously their connection to our family offers insight into our ancestors’ stories as well as uncovering secrets long ago hidden away. Did you know that at least 10% (and sometimes the estimate is as high as 20%) of births are attributed to a “non-parental event”? That means that one or both parents you grew up with are not your true birth parents. With the advancement of DNA testing it was only a matter of time before unknown cousins began showing up in our matches. For obvious reasons of privacy, I won’t be sharing their stories. However, I am extremely honored to help adoptees with their ongoing ancestral search to identify birth parentage.

Siblings Frank, Katie and August Genetti
Collinsville, IL – about 1897

Also during the past year I encountered ancestors who went missing, never to be heard from again; plus stumbled upon several relatives who changed their surname, thus cutting family ties and heritage. I even came in contact with a family who changed their surname to “Genetti” after arriving in Hazleton, Pennsylvania – although they had no connection at all to our Genetti family, having immigrated from southern Italy with a completely different surname!

In 2019, I researched a century-old infamous trial involving four cousins, found references to bootlegging and family lawsuits, as well as investigated a few ancestors who met untimely deaths. I also found many family milestones marked by: military courage, successful businesses, artistic achievements, and happy life events. All of these and more are woven into the fabric of our family history.

Through the Genetti website and blog I hope to keep ancestral memories alive, colorful and relevant for today’s cousins. One example of this is a recent series published on our blog, translating a 1902 school notebook kept by Tillie Genetti Zambotti. Our thanks to Tillie’s granddaughter, Anne Marie Shelby, and to our translator, Loretta Cologna, of Cles, Italy for making this happen.

Another way to honor ancestors is through family trees. I began the Family Branch Tree project this year with the intention to:

  • extend our current family tree
  • include female relatives (missing from the original tree)
  • add detailed and well-researched information that might be missing
  • and offer a personalized print to individual branches of the Genetti family as an heirloom meant to be passed on to future generations

Family tree of Raffaele and Lucia Genetti

Through the handing down of family trees, we keep our most recent ancestors alive for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I will continue to research, dig and uncover our family’s past, sharing fascinating stories I feel are appropriate for publication.

If you have photographs, newspaper articles, obituaries, or personal stories you would like to share on this website, please email me through our Contact Page. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Original Genetti Family Tree

Add a piece of ancestral history to your home with a Genetti Family Tree:

Original Genetti Family Tree (click for more info)

3-Generation Descendant Tree of Damiano and Oliva Genetti (click for more info)

3-Generation Descendant Tree of Raffaele and Lucia Genetti (click for more info)

 

Family tree of Damiano and Oliva Genetti

Disclaimer: purchases made through the above links will result in a small commission to me (at no extra cost to you!) This allows me to do what I LOVE to do, supports the costs involved with maintaining this website and helps pay the fees associated with genealogical research. Thank you to everyone who supports this family website by purchasing from our Genetti Family Shop.