Category: Resources

Guest Post by Allen Rizzi: Tirolean Names

Allen Rizzi
Author and Blogger

Today we have an interesting and informative guest article by author, songwriter, genealogist and fellow Trentini American, Allen E. Rizzi. We feature two of Allen’s books in our Family Bookstore (you’ll find links for all of his books at the end of this blog post).

I follow Allen’s eclectic blog and as soon as I read this post, I knew it would be perfect for the Genetti Family Genealogy Project.

If you enjoy Allen’s insightful article, read more of Mr. Rizzi’s plethora of commentary or subscribe to his blog at: https://rizziallen.wordpress.com/

Here is Allen’s August 30th post in its entirety.

Tirolean Names by Allen Rizzi

I have always loved names, especially Tirolean surnames. Surnames were invented after first names ceased to distinguish various people in small villages and towns. Prior to the year 800, people usually only had given names in the Tirol. Hence, you find Johannes fu (or von) Dominicus to simply describe the birth of Johannes, son of Dominicus. It was a simple naming convention and it worked… for awhile.

Surnames were then used to distinguish between the various people having the same given name in any particular population center. They were often fashioned after the patriarch’s given name. Of the various Johannes living in one spot, the surname was added; perhaps Dominici to distinguish a particular Johannes who was descended from Dominicus. Surnames were always descriptive and were intended to differentiate for reasons of census and taxation.

But as populations grew, there were too many people of the same given name and same surname in any one location. Confusion once again reigned. In my native village of Cloz for example, there were many people named Giovanni Rizzi at any one time. What to do? In the Tirol, sopranomi (nicknames) were introduced.

Sopranomi were first used to distinguish people with identical names living in one population center or town. If there were too many Johannes Dominicis in one area, the sopronome helped to discern which Johannes Dominici was being named in any instance.

Sopranomi vary widely in the Tirol. Some are taken from physical characteristic, others from one’s occupation and still others from the patriarch of the family. I was, for example, born Picolo Alessandro di Eugenio Valentino Von Rizzi Regin. The last of this huge moniker is my soprnome, Regin. It derives from the fact that a very distant ancestor once worked in the court of Maria Teresa of Austria (regin = queen in our dialect) as a secretary. My grandmother’s sopranome was Segala, indicating that one of her ancestors was known for being born in a rye field. Sopranomi were mandatory for many years as populations in the Tirol grew. Both governments and local residents had to know who exactly was being referred to. Today, they are of little real importance although most families still carry them with pride as a cherished piece of their heritage. In fact in some villages, people are still known only by their sopranome rather than their surname.

But let’s turn our attention to those wonderful Tirolean surnames. Many simply mean “sons of” such as Michelini, Bertagnolli, Martinelli, Giuliani (sons of Michael, Umberto, Martin and Julian). Of all Tirolean surnames, this type is the most common. Hundreds of examples can be found, many ending in “i.” Sometimes surnames of German origin have been Italianized such as Gebardi (sons of Gebhart, which in turn means hardy and brave). Other Germanic surnames have survived intact such as Larcher (living among the larch ((tamarack)) trees), Mayrhofer (from the region of Mayrhof in Austria.) and Kirschbaumer (cherry grower).

Still other surnames are descriptive of physical characteristics such as my own surname Rizzi, which simply means “curly haired.” In my native village of Cloz in the Val di Non, there are only a few surnames: Angeli (Angels), Franch (free of taxation), Gembrini (born in December), Flor (flower), Floretta (little flower), Zanoni (sons of John), Canestrini (little jars), Rauzi (root harvesters) and of course Rizzi.

Yet other surnames describe a trade or residence location. These are commonly found in both the Italian and German rooted languages. Some examples of trade referenced surnames include Zadra (weavers), Kofler (land surveyors), Geiser (goat herders), Sartori (tailors), Mitterer (carpenters), Preti (priests), and Zucali (pumpkin growers).

Examples of residence referenced surnames include Aufderklamm (living on the gorge), Plattner (living on level fields), Egger (living on the corner), DalRi (living near the river), DallaValle (living in the valley), Dalsass (living among the stones), Dalpiaz (living in the piazza), Clauser (from Cloz) and Ausserer (living outside the edge of town).

Sometimes, surnames are super obvious. I recently saw a funeral notice for a woman whose maiden name was Carotta (carrot) and whose married name was Stanchina (a little tired). I joked that she had passed away as a “carrot who was a little tired.” Actually, the woman lived to 103 years; not bad for a tired old vegetable!

In all cases Tirolean surnames actually mean something, even if it has been lost in ancient local dialect. That’s where genealogists like me come in. Many of us are able to trace the exact origin of surnames, even if those words or names no longer exist or have been drastically changed.

Tirolean names – They are interesting and most have a very long and traceable history. If you would like your Tirolean name researched, please get in touch with me. Genealogy is what I do. You may contact me here: http://www.allenrizzi.weebly.com

About Allen Rizzi: Writer with over 55 years professional experience including non-fiction, music, and corporate analytical writing. Author of eight books available through Amazon.com. Additional expertise as a photographer. Specialties: Historical non-fiction, fiction, nostalgia, public profiles, biographies, contracts, and documentary writing in English, Italian, and German. Recent articles have appeared in The Numismatist, NOS Magazine, and on the internet. Music composition and lyrics have been a specialty since 1974. Songwriting credits include over 150 songs (1974-present): Easy Listening, Country, Rock, and R&B. Currently completing a book in German and writing music and lyrics for recording artists in the United States and Europe. Cogito, ergo scribo….

For more info, please see Allen Rizzi’s LinkedIn account at:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/allen-rizzi-59ab5420/

Books by Allen Rizzi

Click on book for Amazon link:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New in Bookstore!

I love books! In my office I have a small personal library dedicated to Tyrolean culture and history. Our online Family Bookstore is one way that I share my genealogy research and love of books with you.

This past week I did a complete update of the Bookstore. Now you can access it from the main menu found at the top of the website. All dead links and books that are no longer available have been removed. Plus I have added many new categories, filled with interesting book titles, most of which I have personally read.

 

There’s something for everyone under our new category listings:

  • Tyrolean Culture and History
  • Travel
  • Trentini American Non-Fiction
  • Family Legacy
  • Cookbooks
  • Trentini American Fiction
  • Tyrolean Communities in USA
  • DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
  • Genealogy Research
  • Genealogy Fiction (Love this new genre of literature!)

Come by for a visit at the Genetti Family Bookstore and browse our virtual bookshelves!

 

Link Resource List

Our Links section has just been updated! For all you genealogy buffs, or those just fascinated with Tyrolean history and culture, you’ll find this list to be a valuable resource. To locate just scroll down any page on our website and you’ll see the “Links” list in the right hand column, right below “Archives”.

All links have been checked and updated, plus several informative websites added. Here are two that I know you’ll enjoy –

Val di Non to USA:
Discovering our ancestors who left Val di Non for a job or better life in America.
Researched and published by Elaine Erspamer Marchant, this website is truly a work of love! Elaine’s family is from Fondo (just down the road from Castelfondo) and she has made it a mission to categorize as many immigrants as possible who came from Val di Non. This is a fantastic resource for family surnames!

 

Trentino Family History Links:
Resources specific to Trentino Family History Research
According to genealogist Lynn Serafinn, “this is a new list of resource links specific to the province of Trento (aka Trentino)”. You might know Lynn from her popular column in Filo Magazine called Genealogy Corner. Living in England, Lynn specializes in genealogy research for Trentini descendants, with the majority of her clients being Americans. A frequent researcher at the archives located in the city of Trent, Lynn is certainly the person to hire if you want deep and thorough research into your Tyrolean family tree. In this new section just added to her extensive website, Lynn shares many research tools for Trentini ancestry. She also includes The Genetti Family Genealogy Project under the Family History Blog section of her list! Plus one more interesting point – Lynn has a Genetti ancestor from Castelfondo in her family tree! That’s right, Lynn is a distant cousin to our family! Our common ancestor predates baptismal records, but we believe our closest shared ancestor lived sometime around 1500. Thanks again Lynn for creating such a valuable resource and for including our family website! Make sure you check out the entire Trentino Genealogy website as it is filled with informative articles, personal stories and photographs.

New Family Business Directory!

1950’s vintage advertisement for Gus Genetti’s Hotel and Restaurant, Hazleton, PA

A new page has been added to our family website: Genetti Family Directory of Services, Businesses and Creators. Since our family is filled with entrepreneurial spirit, I thought it was about time that we created a directory in support of Genetti family businesses.

Please help me grow our directory by adding as many family businesses, services and creators as possible.

The criteria:

  1. The person or owner of business must be a Genetti descendant or spouse of a Genetti descendant.
  2. The listing must fit into one of these categories: business, service, creator (artist, musician, author, designer).
  3. The listing must have a website address that we can link to.

All listings are free of charge. If you would like your business or service listed or know of someone who should be included in our directory, please use the Contact form on our website. Send the business or person’s name; description of business, service or creator’s specialty; and their web address. I’ll take care of the rest.

I hope you enjoy visiting the websites listed in our Family Business Directory as well as patronizing their services and creations.

Follow us on Twitter!

imgresWooHoo! I finally signed up our family website to Twitter! Now you can follow blog posts and other Genetti family newsy stuff through our “tweets”. I’m sure this super social network will put us in-touch with family members throughout the world, plus offer a lively ongoing conversation.

So be one of our first Twitter Followers – fly over to http://twitter.com/GenettiFamily and add us to the list of pages that you follow.

The Gallery

DamianoDoor

Damiano Genetti standing in the doorway of the Genetti ancestral home in Castelfondo, Austria (Italy).

Have you visited The Gallery yet on The Genetti Family Genealogy Project? This section of our website contains a huge amount of information about our family. Here you’ll find an archive of photographs, individual family portraits, info and photos from our ancestral home of Castelfondo, a cache of family stories, pics from cemeteries where our ancestors are buried, and obituaries. The Gallery section is always growing as more cousins send in their family archives.

 

 

 

 

Stop by today for a visit! Click below to visit individual sections.

The Gallery

Photographs

Family Pages

Castelfondo

Family Stories

Cemeteries and Markers

Tributes

The Tyrol Guide

Tyrolean Folk Costumes

Traditional Tryolean Folk Costumes
photo by Elzbieta Fazel, copyrighted

I just stumbled upon an interesting website/blog about Tyrolean culture. For those history buffs who would like to know more about our cultural roots, I found this to be a very informative site. It has a rather long official title: Tyrol Guide: History, Culture, Religion, Photos, Folklore and Present Day, but don’t let that put you off. You’ll find this website charmingly captivating.

The author of the blog, Elzbieta Fazel, lives in Telfs in the Austrian Tyrol. Not only a blogger, she is also an accomplished photographer. Many of Elzbieta’s posts are illustrated with beautiful images of Tyrol, which can be purchased through various sites as fine art prints. I hope Elzbieta doesn’t mind – I have included one of her lovely images here for you to enjoy. At the end of this post are links to Elzbieta’s portfolio where you can view more of her work and perhaps select a print or greeting card.

Although most of the information presented by the Tyrol Guide website covers the history and culture of Austrian Tyrol (north of the Brenner Pass), I’m sure you will still find it fascinating since this was also our history prior to 1918. Before World War I the lands of Italian-speaking Tyrol (our homeland) located south of the Brenner Pass, belonged to Austria. After the war, this region became the northern Italian province of Trentino. So to read the history of Austrian Tyrol is also a peak into our cultural past. In the right sidebar of the website you’ll find a Brief History of Tyrol, an abbreviated version of events that formed the region’s interesting and sometimes confusing past. It’s worth reading!

For easy reference, the site’s web address has been added to our Link section found in the right hand column section of The Genetti Family website. You can also access the Tyrol Guide at: www.tyrol-guide.com.

To enjoy more photographs by Elzbieta Fazel go to:

Pictures of Tyrol

Redbubble: The Portfolio of Elzbieta Fazel

 

My Desk

deskJust for giggles I thought you might like to see my work space. This is where I do family research, work on the Genetti Family Genealogy website and blog, and ponder over ancestry mysteries.

Hanging on the wall is a print of our family tree, where I can easily reference it. The bright blue and yellow banner on the left  was given to me by Dino Marchetti, an ex-mayor and unofficial town historian of Castelfondo. It contains the Coat-of-Arms of the Commune of Castelfondo, Italy.

PrintsOn the wall to my left hangs a print of the carved marble family coat-of-arms (called a “stemma” in Italian), and a print of the Gothic fresco that graces the front wall of the Genetti homestead in Castelfondo.

This all sets the “mood” when I sit down at my computer to dig through names, dates, old newspaper articles, data bases and photos. I also have a bookshelf filled with books about Italy, the Tyrolean culture, documents and photos sent to me over the years, and a huge binder containing research notes. Lol …yes, I guess you could say that I am passionate about genealogy!

 

Filo: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans

FiloIf you are Tyrolean American and would like to learn more about your heritage, you need to subscribe to Filo Magazine. First published in 2011, this quarterly magazine is available as a paper version or online – both are free. Filo (pronounced fee-lo) was the Tyrolean word for the daily gathering in the stables of the Trentino. Each day after work and chores, villagers would come together to tell stories, sing and socialize. Filo Magazine is published in the United States, but has many ties to Trentino. Their goal is to reach as many Tyrolean Americans as possible “to provide you with the background of your roots and ancestry.”

I have been receiving Filo since 2012. Through the magazine I have learned so much about our culture, food and language, as well as been intrigued by family stories that are publish in each issue.

To receive the free magazine, simple register at: http://filo.tiroles.com/registration.html.

Or to browse their extensive site, go to: http://filo.tiroles.com. If you are interested in learning more about dialect and in particular, the Nones language of the Val di Non (which is what the Genetti ancestors spoke), check out their dialect section. Quite fascinating!

In closing, here is a bit of dialect from Filo: ‘sa fente, nente o stente? Which translates into: What should we do, stay or go?