Category: Genetti Family

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

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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/

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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

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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

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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.

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 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.