Category: Family Stories

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

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

Once again, many thanks to Loretta for her help.

Page 3:

Dear friend,

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

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

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

I am yours affectionately,

Addolorata Genetti

Castelfondo, 28 February 1902

Read past posts:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Sometimes the universe offers help when help is needed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bottom of page 1:

Castelfondo 24 II [February] 1902

Dear classmate, Genetti A.

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

(click on image to enlarge)

 

Page 2 (left side):

What I love

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

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

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

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

Castelfondo 28 February 1902

(click on image to enlarge)

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

 

1902 School Journal by Tillie Genetti

Ottilia Anna “Tillie” Genetti Zambotti
(1890-1985)

A few months ago I received a very special package from our cousin Anne Marie Shelby. Inside was an intact, but very fragile, school journal from 1902 by Ottilia “Tillie” (Genetti) Zambotti (1890-1985). Tillie was Anne Marie’s grandmother and the daughter of Damiano and Oliva Genetti. I was honored to be trusted with such a precious family heirloom and thrilled for the opportunity to share this treasure on our website!

I got to work carefully scanning each delicate page, aware that I was handling a 117 year old notebook! How amazing this little gem had not been lost to time; having traveled from Castelfondo to the United States, and eventually passed down to Anne Marie’s generation as a family keepsake.

After scanning the document, I assembled the digital copy into a PDF file. You can now view Tillie’s original 1902 School Notebook in our “Gallery” section, under “Biographies by Members of the Genetti Family”. For a direct link to the PDF document, click here – but be patient, it is a large file and will take several minutes to load.

The journal was most likely a school assignment given to Tillie’s class in Castelfondo, with the intention of notating her thoughts and ideas during the school year. Each entry is dated, starting on the first page with February 24, 1902. Her journal entries offer a glimpse into the family life of our ancestors at the turn of the century, before they left their mountain village to start a new life.

Tillie was about twelve years old at the time and probably in grade six. This may have been her last year of formal schooling, as she soon traveled to America with her  siblings and mother to join her father Damiano in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

I was especially delighted to view such beautiful penmanship from a young girl. Composed in Italian (and I believe with a few words of Nones, our ancestral dialect), you can see where Tillie’s teacher has made corrections throughout the text. Also interesting to note, the title of her notebook is “Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti”.

Over time, I hope to translate the entire notebook. However, I understand only a tiny bit of Italian, and no Nones at all! But by using Google Translator, background information that I already have, and a little intuition, I will attempt to offer the gist of each journal entry.

Of course, if anyone out there would like to help with translation, your assistance would be greatly appreciated! And if my translation is incorrect, please feel free to offer the correct meaning in the comment section of each blog post. Hopefully, over the next year, we will work our way through Tillie’s notebook and have a full translation.

Beginning with the first page, it appears Tillie is writing about her paternal grandfather, “my dear grandfather”. This would have been Leone Genetti (Damiano’s father). She says that on a summer evening, he is sitting by the window, looking out at the stars and beautiful night sky. After working with the “semola” (I believe this is a reference to wheat), her grandfather told her stories (or answered her questions and gave her advice) while sitting by the fire.

[As a side note, according to Tillie’s brother Stanley Genetti, their grandfather Leone was a baker, confirming the fact that he worked with “semola”, a type of very fine wheat that is milled twice.

Here is a excerpt from Stanley Genetti’s biography:

“Grandfather was a baker and I remember hearing stories of him carting his bread from village to village on a mule with two big side baskets. He also owned a lumber mill and, I think, a grist mill. The mill was in a ravine so deep that it could only be reached by ladders. Despite his apparent wealth, he came to America and worked in the coal mines. After his wife died, she is buried in Weston, Pennsylvania, he returned to Tyrol.”]

Update: The word I transcribed as semola should actually be “scuola” or school. Tillie is actually telling us that she visits the house of her good nonno after school. Thank you to genealogist Lynn Serafinn for correcting my translation! Although Tillie is not talking about her grandfather’s occupation, I thought it was nice to keep this little story in our blog post as background information.

Continuing with Tillie’s text, her grandfather tells her that he had a learning disability as a child and was incapacitated by this problem. (Disgrafia – meaning that he had trouble reading, writing and/or focusing. Possibly a form of dyslexia or autism.) Tillie is thankful for his advice and believes if she listens to the words of her grandfather “will go with it to paradise above a throne of glory that I will be prepared for.”

To offer a base of understanding for Tillie’s story, here is a timeline of events for this time period:

  • Born in 1826 in Castelfondo, Leone Genetti married his distant cousin, Cattarina Genetti (1834-1893) in 1853.
  • They had fourteen children, with seven surviving to adulthood.
  • In 1891, Leone and Cattarina, came to Pennsylvania to join several of their adult children.
  • By this time, Leone’s son Damiano, his wife Oliva and their infant son Leone, have return to Castelfondo (1888).
  • Tillie is born in 1890 in Castelfondo.
  • Meanwhile, her grandmother, Cattarina, passes away in 1893 and is buried in Weston, Pennsylvania.
  • Her grandfather, Leone, soon returns to Castelfondo and reunites with Damiano’s growing family, his grandchildren.
  • Tillie leaves for Pennsylvania with five of her siblings and mother, 1906.
  • Leone passes away in 1909 in Castelfondo of old age.

During the next year, I will post more translations of Tillie’s notebook on our family blog.

Our many thanks to Anne Marie Shelby! Your generosity in sharing this lovely family heirloom is so very much appreciated!

Check out links referenced in this blog post:

School Notebook of Ottilia “Tillie” Genetti – composed in 1902, at school in Castelfondo, when Tillie was about twelve years old.

Autobiography of Stanley Genetti – written by Stanley Genetti, 1981

A photo of Tillie’s grandfather, Leone Genetti (1826-1909) can be found on the Photo Gallery page for the Pennsylvania Genetti Family.

UPDATE – August 29, 2019: My thanks to those of you who have sent corrections and suggestions about this post. 

Anne Marie Shelby corrected my date of immigration for Tillie, as the ship’s manifest states that Tillie arrived in 1906 (not 1904-1905 as I previously stated). She came with her mother Oliva and five of her siblings. This correction has been made in the text above! Many thanks Anne Maria for catching my mistake.

Thank you to genealogist Lynn Serafinn for correcting my English translation! Lynn is a friend (and distant Genetti cousin) living in London and specializing in Trentino Genealogy. You can visit Lynn’s website at: http://trentinogenealogy.com/

 

 

New Photo Gallery!

Vigilio and Maria Genetti

Vigilio and Maria Genetti of Illinois, 1886

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leone Genetti

Leone Genetti, Castelfondo, 1871

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Follow-up News on Documentary Film

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the documentary film: Trentini Americani – I just found out from the film maker that an interview with Bill Genetti will be included in the final cut of the project! Filmed in 2011, Bill was interviewed at his business in Hazleton, Pennsylvania along with footage of the city and other Tyroleans telling their story. I featured an edited YouTube clip of this interview on our blog back in May. Here’s the link if you would like to watch it again: Pennsylvania Trentini Americani.

Since our family will be represented in the documentary film, it’s even more reason to support this exceptional ancestral project! I can’t wait to watch the final film since Vincenzo also did interviews with descendants in Wyoming, Montana, California and Colorado – all places where the Genetti ancestors settled.

There are six levels of “Perks” being offered ranging from $11 to $2,916. (Note: five of the levels are under $95 – so I know you can find a level that fits within your budget.) If you value preserving our heritage and the memories of our first generation Trentini Americans, I know you will support this worthy project.

To learn more, go to: Trentini Americani: Recollections of a Journey

The Traveling Genealogist: Part 2 – Salzburg, Austria

View of Salzburg from the Salzach river. Originally built in 1077, the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress can be seen on the hill towering above the city.

Leaving Berlin on October 6th, we hopped a plane to Salzburg, Austria, the next stop on our 2018 trip. Michael had reserved four days in this charming little city located on the banks of the Salzach river. Although I have no genealogical ties to Salzburg (that I know of), it felt like a step back in time to my original Tyrolean heritage. As you may remember from previous posts, Trentino was part of the Austrian Tyrol for many centuries and the culture of Austria certainly influenced our ancestors in many ways.

So quaint and picturesque, I fell in love with Salzburg the very minute we stepped onto its cobblestone streets. Shop windows displayed traditional Tyrolean woolen jackets, leather lederhosen and dirndl dresses. Rows of cuckoo clocks patiently ticked away in another store window. At a third shop intricate beer steins and green felt Tyrolean hats beckoned. Restaurants were decorated in knotty pine paneling with carved wooden chairs selling mugs of beer, plates of sausages, and scrumptious apple streusel. 

On our first afternoon we asked for a recommendation to a traditional beer garden. After a bit of walking, we found ourselves at a lovely garden located away from the usual tourist area. My husband ordered a frosty mug of beer and I imbibed in a local Riesling. A few tables away a small wedding party celebrated their afternoon nuptials. Dressed in stunning Tyrolean couture, they laughed and toasted each other. The men wore smartly tailored jackets with knee-length leather pants; the women were in beautiful pastel and white dirndle dresses carrying small nosegays with their hair coiffed in braids and pinned to frame their faces. A memorable afternoon indeed!

Stately Mirabell Gardens

If you are a fan of “The Sound of Music” you’ll remember the original story of Maria and the Von Trapp family took place in Salzburg. Although the movie is somewhat fictionalized, it does embody the spirit of the real-life Maria. Filmed in and around Salzburg, it was great fun searching out the original sites pictured in the movie. We climbed the steep stairs to reach the Abbey of Nonnberg (the oldest continuously existing nunnery in the world dating back to the year 715). The original Maria was a novice at Nonnberg and she was married in the abbey church. It is a rather simple, dark church, nothing like the grand cathedral pictured in the movie. We also walked through the beautiful Mirabell Gardens pictured in “Do Re Mi” and photographed the Pegasus Fountain from the same musical number where the children danced along the edge. Tourists who visit Salzburg often book a “Sound of Music Tour” that buses you around to each location in the film. But we found it much more fun exploring on foot and discovering the sites for ourselves.

The church at Nonnberg Abbey where the real-life Maria was married.

When we arrived home in November I had to watch the movie again. The film is now 52 years old, but Salzburg hasn’t changed much and I could easily point out many sites we had visited.

Michael and I spent many happy hours trekking over the hills surrounding the city (remember – The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music!), photographing sites of interest, strolling the river promenade and enjoying a city of heritage and culture, the birthplace of Mozart. What a wonderful way to spend four days in Austria!

Next stop: Bolzano, Italy!

(Note: click on photos to see a larger view.)

 

When was the last time you saw The Sound of Music? I recommend purchasing or renting the 50th Anniversary Edition. The entire extra hour at the end is an interview with Julie Andrews! She visits Salzburg to celebrate the 50th anniversary, sharing memories and photos from the original filming. I absolutely loved it!

Here’s the Amazon link: The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary Edition

 

If you missed the first part of The Traveling Genealogist series, read:
Part 1 – London, Berlin and a Cousin Coincidence!

 

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.

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!

The Story of a Mailbox

HermanGenettiMailbox

Every week I receive emails from cousins near and far. Many have family stories or photos to share with me. But an email I received last week, was truly unusual in nature! It came from a gentleman named Gerard Loeve who lives in The Netherlands. Gerard tracked down our family website via search, because he was intrigued by the name on a mailbox! I love this story – how a total stranger from another country connect to our family through a photo taken 36 years ago on a trek through the American southwest. Here is Gerard’s email. I’m sure you’ll find his tale totally charming!

“My name is Gerard Loeve from Gouda, The Netherlands. In 1980 I traveled the western part of the U.S. with two of my best friends. After our U.S. visit I have been so fortunate to see much more of the globe between 1980 and the present day. Most of my travels were before digital photography and part of the heritage of my travels is a collection of 26,000 slides. A couple of years back I started digitizing (scanning) my nicest and/or most interesting slides (in random travel order). It is a very time consuming process, but the reward is huge. I ‘live’ it all once more and my collection is preserved for ever, also in ‘the cloud’.

You must be wondering what all this has to do with you. I will explain. I am presently scanning the slides of my 1980 visit I mentioned above. One of them was taken in Wyoming along a desolate road. My two friends are standing next to the car in the distance. In the forefront of the picture there are a number of typical US mailboxes we don’t see in Europe. After scanning, removing dust & scratches and executing other improvements, I noticed a name on the nearest box: Herman Genetti.

For some reason his name intrigued me and I started a search on the internet where I came across your ‘The Genetti Family Genealogy Project’. After some reading and surfing on your very impressive website (my compliments!), I am almost convinced the mailbox must have belonged to the Herman Angelo Genetti who wrote ‘Herman’s Howling’s’, the book which is mentioned on your website. Since slides do not contain any meta data, I have been doing some more puzzling. The picture was taken in southern direction on October 4, 1980, along road 189, somewhere in the La Barge, Wyoming surroundings, where Herman used to live, as far as I figure.

Why I have been doing the search I can not explain. Maybe because my wife’s aunt is also from Southern Tirol (Quero, near Belluno). Her aunt owns a very famous Ice Parlor in The Hague and we have visited Italy very often. We have a ‘thing’ for Italy I suppose. I don’t know. Of course I told my wife about the above and she suggested I should tell you my little story and send you the picture. So here we are. I do not know if my story is of any interest to you, so please do with it what you like.

Of course, you will find ‘the’ 1980 slide scan, the trigger for all this, attached to this mail.”

I agree with Gerard – this must have been Herman Genetti’s mailbox located along the side of the road in La Barge, Wyoming!

Our thanks to Gerard for sharing this story with us! I hope one day to visit he and his wife in The Netherlands – and we will raise a toast to our ancestor, Herman Genetti!

If you haven’t already, check out Herman’s biography “Herman’s Howlings” on our website: click here to read the digital version of his book.