Category: Family Stories

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 18 – Final Translation

Cover of 1902 Notebook
Title: The Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti

After some discussion, Loretta and I have decided to conclude our notebook translation project. Upon reviewing the remaining pages of Tillie’s notebook, we came to several conclusions.

It became obvious to us that the first half of the notebook, dated 1902, was written in a neat, legible handwriting. Whereas, the second half of our journal was in a script difficult to analyze, most likely written at a later date of 1903.

Second, the remaining pages of the notebook depict a tragic play entitled “The Roman Martyrs”. Printed on the label of our notebook cover is “The Tragedy of Ottilia Genetti” and may very well refer to this long and laborious entry. Loretta believes the text of this play was copied from a different source. Since the entry is not an original journal post, the handwriting is difficult to read, and there doesn’t appear to be any benefit in translating this lengthy text, we both agreed this was a good stopping point for our translation project.

However the last page of the journal is a personal letter penned and dated by Tillie. This leads us to believe that the first half of our notebook was most likely written in 1902 by older sister Addolorata (Dora). The notebook was then passed on to her sister Tillie, who used it during the school year of 1903.

Loretta has translated the last page and I’m sure you will find it to be a sweet conclusion to our project. Viewing the letter in context of the date, much was happening in 1903 concerning the Genetti family of Castelfondo. This unsettling time is reflected in Tillie’s affectionate letter to her mother. After reading the following translation, I’ll detail a few historical facts to bring further understanding to our final page.

Last page, click to enlarge

Translation, last page

My dear mother,

Christmas is knocking at our door. The love that I feel for you and the gratitude that I owe you, push me to wish you happy holidays.

Dear mother, I have always prayed for you and especially during these holy days I will double my prayers. I will pray to the holy baby so that he will spread abundant blessings upon you and will keep you healthy and happy for a lot of years, being the consolation of the whole family.

I will pray to the Baby Jesus to grow up good, studious and obedient, and to be your consolation.

On Holy Christmas Day I will receive Jesus in my heart, I will tell him a word for you that you may stay healthy, together with the whole family.

I am yours affectionately,

Ottilia

Castelfondo 16 December 1903

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Portrait of Damiano and Oliva Genetti with family, photographed in Castelfondo, Austria (now Italy), about 1898 or 1899. Damiao is seated on the left, Oliva is in the center, Leone (Leo) is the tallest son in the back touching his father’s shoulder, between his parents stands Augusto (Gus), seated between Damiano and Oliva is Esther, to the right of Oliva the taller girl is Addolorata (Dora), next to her is Ottilia (Tilly), Albino (Albert) is standing behind his sisters and Erminia (Erma) is the little girl holding Oliva’s hand. Their youngest children, Costante (Stanley) and Angela (Ann), are not in the portrait as they have yet to be born.

Looking back at 1903, we find the Genetti family in transition. Father Damiano has departed for far-off Pennsylvania. He will join his other siblings with the hope of establishing a business to support his large family. Damiano has brought with him two daughters: Addolorata (about 13 years old) and Esther (about 8 years old). We have no record of the exact date or place of arrival, but  most likely it was sometime towards the end of 1902 or early 1903.

When Damiano left, mother Oliva was pregnant with her thirteenth and final child. (Note: Four siblings died soon after birth or in early childhood, leaving nine surviving children who grew to adulthood).

Oliva gave birth to Tillie’s little sister, Angela Maria “Ann”, on April 21st, 1903. By Christmas of 1903, the date of Tillie’s letter, Oliva is managing the family household on her own and caring for seven children: Leone (age 16), Tillie (age 13), Augusto “Gus” (age 11), Albino “Al” (age 10), Erminia “Erma” (age 6), Costante “Stanley” (age 4) and little Angela (age 8 months). Obviously from Tillie’s letter, she is concerned for her mother and the great responsibility of taking care of a large family while Damiano is establishing a new home for them in Pennsylvania.

Tillie also misses her two sisters and is anxious about the family’s future move to America. Her childhood home of Castelfondo will be left behind, as well as her friends and classmates.

In 1904, oldest son Leone departs for America to join his father and two sisters in the new family business. By 1906, Damiano has secured a home in Hazleton and has sent for the rest of his family. On December 3rd, 1906, Oliva along with her six remaining children arrive at Ellis Island in New York.

How stressful the year 1903 must have been for thirteen year old Tillie. Her family is divided by an ocean and she faces an uncertain future in a strange land. According to Anne Marie Shelby (Tillie’s granddaughter), her grandmother refused to accompany her father Damiano to Pennsylvania, wanting to stay close to her mother Oliva in Castelfondo. We can certainly sympathize with the upheaval and emotional trauma facing this young woman as she shares a Christmas wish of a healthy and happy future for her family.

This concludes our translation of Tillie’s Notebook. Our sincerest thanks to Anne Marie Shelby  for sharing her grandmother’s precious journal with us. Thank you for being the guardian of this fragile century-old document! And for trusting in the United States Postal service to deliver and return your family heirloom in one piece, allowing me the opportunity to scan the entire notebook. We are so very grateful!

And once again our great thanks to Loretta Cologna for her generous contribution of time and translation skills. Your patience, generosity and insight has given our family a glimpse into our ancestral past. Non ho parole per ringraziarla! Grazie mille!

View Tillie’s original notebook in entirety here:
https://genettifamily.com/books-by-members-of-the-genetti-family/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If any cousins have letters, documents or journals they would like to share on our family website, feel free to write me at our Contact Page.

 

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 17

Page 20 and Page 21 (click to enlarge)

Our next translation in Tillie’s notebook is a scientific description of a leech. Yes, you read that correctly – a leech! This entry was obviously copied from another text or from a teacher’s lesson. You might find it oddly curious (and a little disgusting) that the use of leeches was still considered an important part of medicine in 1902.

I did research into the use of “leech therapy” in modern medicine and found that it has made a resurgence as a simple and inexpensive treatment for a variety of health issues. Today leech therapy is being used to treat hypertension, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, skin problems, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and used to promote healing after cosmetic surgery. No kidding!

Page 22 and Page 23 (click to enlarge)

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t imagine going to the doctor and asking for “leech therapy”. But I do find it fascinating that a medical practice first used in ancient Egypt is still in practice today – and was obviously used by physicians and those practicing home remedies at the turn of the 20th century in Tyrol.

Translation: Page 21, right side and top of Page 22, left side

 

The Leech or Bloodsucker

They are born in sweet stagnant waters and in quiet streams. They are from 8 to 13 centimeters long with a curved form and a skin with a ring pattern. On the superior part they are from black to dark green with six yellow lines, on the lower part they are grey with black spots. The head is not separated from the body and around it there are ten small eyes hardly visible.

The leeches can stick to the skin. On the lower part they have a mouth with three little mandibles that have from 60 to 90 small teeth similar to those of a saw. If we put a leech on our skin it opens a three-ray wound and then it starts sucking blood.

The back part serves to adhere tenaciously to the bodies to which it attaches. They swim meandering and crawling and they hold still with their mouths, dragging their body behind them. They feed on the blood they suck from fish, frogs and other animals. The leeches are used to extract blood in case of an inflammatory disease, so they are seen at the chemist’s. If you put salt over a leech after it has sucked, it will vomit blood. A leech can be kept a lot of time if we put it in water changed every day, so the same leech can be used on animals many times.

Most of them are imported from Dalmatia, Hungary and Turkey. These small animals are once again a proof of the great goodness and patience of God who created all things to the advantage of man.

Castelfondo 21 April 1902

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read more about the modern use of leeches here:

Healthline: What is Leech Therapy?

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

 

New In Family Stories

I was recently sifting through news articles about the Genetti family and found a fairly substantial story of historical importance published right before our 2016 family reunion by The Citizens’ Voice. Although both Bill Genetti and myself had been interviewed by phone for this article, it had completely slipped my mind until I stumbled upon it in search results.

Since the extensive article relates a historical timeline of the Genetti family in Pennsylvania, I felt it should be a part of the Family Stories section on our website. Take a moment, grab a cup of coffee and click here to read – Business: A Family Affair for Genetti Clan.

Find all of our Family Stories under the Gallery section of the main menu.

Links:

See everything featured in our online Gallery.

Lots more stories and memories to read at: Family Stories.

Don’t forget a browse through our extensive Photo Gallery featuring photographs from many branches of the 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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 9

Page 10 and 11, click to enlarge

Another mysterious entry appears to have been penned by Tillie’s older sister, Addolorata. Or perhaps Tillie was simply copying a letter written by her big sister. We simply don’t know!

Page 10, left side

Dear friend,

While I was walking with Enrica yesterday afternoon she asked me: Are you ill again? Poor you! No leaf falls that God forbid! Bear your sorrows patiently and offer them to Jesus and one day you will find them written down in golden characters. Don’t despair my dear, because your illness will be temporary.

And even if you can’t go to school, don’t worry because I am going to visit you on Thursday and I am going to repeat the lessons that were taught these days.

In the meanwhile I will pray for your recovery.

Yours affectionately,

Genetti Addolorata

Castelfondo 14 March 1902

 

Read past posts from this series:

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 1

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 2

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 3

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 4

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 5

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 6

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 7

Tillie’s Notebook, Part 8