Welcome to our Family Bookstore! Below you’ll find books about the Tyrolean culture, travel guides for Northern Italy (originally known as Tyrol or Tirol), cookbooks, historical accounts of our ancestors, and info about DNA testing. Also listed are books to help with your own family research.
All books in our shop are provided by Amazon through their affiliate program. Your purchase from our online Bookstore helps defray the costs of this website as well as support ongoing genealogy research. Mille grazie!
Special Note: Amazon prices are subject to change without notice! The book prices listed below may be different from the online sale price (over time some books decrease in price, some books increase in price due to demand). We attempt to update information on a regular basis.
A Courageous People From the Dolomites (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase) by Bonifacio Bolognana, first published in 1981. A rare, out-of-print book which has become difficult fine. The paperback version is only available through third-party sellers on Amazon. It currently is listed at a greatly inflated price of $72.70 due to its rarity. However, I have been able to track down an online version provided by a Trentino website. Click here to view online. This is an extensive anthology compiled by a Trentino priest, Father Bonficio Bolognani about the history, traditions and emigration of numerous Trentini families. I have found many of my ancestors listed in this book (Genetti, Zambotti, Marchetti, Fellin, etc.) along with information on where they lived in the USA and the type of work they did. But fair warning, I have found several inaccuracies and mislabeled photographs. I suspect Father Bolognani did not have a fact checker, as this was written before the age of computers. However it is the most in-depth study of Trentini families available and can provide clues to a wealth of little-known ancestral information. The online version is searchable, which makes it easier to find particular names since the original text is over 500 pages in length.
Father Bonficio Bolognani’s follow-up book published in 1988, is also available in limited quantities from Amazon.com. Il Pane Della Miniera or Bread from Underground (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase) is out-of-print and only sold through third party book sellers. The paperback price is currently $37.99. This is the story of the Trentino people working in the mines of America. Written from a historical prospective, it tells of the suffering endured by many of our ancestors working as miners in North America. The book is richly illustrated with historical photographs and presented in both Italian and English. Luckily “Bread from Underground” is also available online as a free digital book. Click here to view online.
South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (Studies in Austrian and Central European History and Culture) (please click on the title for information or to purchase) by Rolf Steininger, published in 2003, is still in print and available directly through Amazon for the current price of $31.95. It can be purchased cheaper through 3rd party sellers. This is a small volume detailing the political history of Tyrol after World War I through 1998. If you ever wondered how Tyrol was transformed from an Austrian territory to an Italian province, this is the book to read. Although a bit dry with only a few photographs to enliven the text, I found “South Tyrol” answered many questions about my heritage. For example: Why my family was listed in the 1910 census as being from “Austria” but in the 1930 census their birthplace changed to “Italy”. This little book is worth the read if you are interested in the modern history of Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol).
Blue Guide Trentino & the South Tyrol with Trento, Bolzano, Rovereto, Merano, Bressanone and the Dolomites, (please click on the title for information or to purchase) by Paul Blanchard, published in 2014. I’m a big fan of electronic books and here is one that will give you a lot of value for your money. The Amazon Kindle price for this travel guide is only $5.99. Although short at only 92 electronic pages, it contains a bounty of information, especially if you are planning a trip to this region. I was impressed by how much history the author included, along with notes on architecture, regional flora and fauna, food and wine, and ancestral families. Being a travel guide, there is also advice about hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, museums and sites to see for each city and region, as well as info on how to travel in Trentino and the South Tyrol. I particularly like the detailed information included towards the end of the book on wines of the region. This is a handy guide all by itself for any budding wine connoisseur, detailing the regions and terms used in describing Northern Italian wines.
If you’re traveling to the Italian Alps, this Blue Guide is the perfect companion. Since it is an Amazon ebook, I can easily refer to it on my Kindle, computer, digital tablet or smart phone by simply installing the Amazon app across all of my digital platforms.
Life on a Gelato Diet: Everyday Expeditions with an American in Bolzano, Italy, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase) by L. Lee McIntyre, published in 2014. I threw this one in just for fun. “Life on a Gelato Diet” is a self-published ebook detailing a typical day of an expat, living (and surviving!) in the city of Bolzano. Ebook price: $3.99 (also available as a paperback for $7.99). Lee McIntyre has traveled with her husband to South Tyrol and set-up housekeeping in an apartment at the heart of the city. Her husband has accepted a position in Bolzano, leaving Lee to figure out the details of everyday living, such as grocery shopping, dealing with handy men, and working through the bureaucracy of Italian paperwork – all while learning Italian. Yes it seems like trial by fire, but she survives and, with much humor, details her daily exploits around Bolzano. Since I have been to Bolzano and am planning a future trip back to this lovely medieval city, I found this little gem of a book entertaining and informative. I plan to use much of her advice on my next visit. And perhaps I might bump into the expat herself and invite her for a bowl of gelato!
The Hidden Frontier: Ecology and Ethnicity in an Alpine Valley, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase) by John W. Cole, first published in 1974, an updated version was reissued in 1999. Available as a new or used hardcover through individual booksellers at Amazon. You can also purchase the book directly through Amazon as a new paperback for $33.95 or as a much more reasonably priced Kindle ebook for $18.33. This book was a suggestion from Chiara Dalle Nogare, one of our Trentino cousins. It was originally published as an academic treatise based on field research comparing the peasant life of two Alpine villages: Germanic St. Felix and close neighbor, Italian-speaking Tret (a small village located close to the Genetti family’s ancestral Castelfondo and very similar in culture). During his research, Professor John Cole lived in the villages he studied, became friends with many of the residents and participated in local culture and traditions. He writes in-depth, comparing the two villages through ethnicity, identity, and nation-building, weaving within the text ethnography, ecology, culture, and politics. St. Felix and Tret reside only about one mile apart in the Val di Non, yet they differ in language, politics and in the very way each designates land usage and village design. Although this is certainly a book for those more academically inclined, the average reader will gain a deeper understanding of the history and anthropology of the old Tyrol, as well as a glimpse of how modernization is changing this isolated Alpine region. I am currently reading “The Hidden Frontier” and have found the first section to contain the best detailed historical account of the Trentino-Alto Adige region that I have ever read. From pre-Roman to modern-day, Tyrol (South Tyrol) was and still is a fascinating part of Europe. A blend of German, Italian and ancient culture; dealing with its own factions and internal politics; historically battling external governments; yet fiercely proud and autonomous by nature. If you really want to understand your Tyrolean roots, this is the book to read!
The Tyroleans: A Journey of Hope, A true story of a remarkable people and their emigration to America, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by David A. Prevedel, published in 2010. Available as a paperback through Amazon, price: $20.56. The minute you open this book, you know it’s a labor of love and a tribute to the author’s Tyrolean roots. David’s grandparents, (Giuseppe and Ester Rauzi, Floriano and Angelina Prevedel), all emigrated from the Val di Non in Austria (Italy). They, along with many other families from the villages of Brez, Castelfondo, Traversara, Fondo, Cloz and Tret, settled in Wyoming. At first they worked the coal mines in Superior and Rock Springs. After saving enough money, many families moved to Utah, becoming farmers and opening businesses. The author draws inspiration from in-person interviews conducted over the years with his Tyrolean relatives, friends and their descendants. Mr. Prevedel weaves family stories together with historical details, to create a lively and sometimes, humorous portrayal of Tyrolean immigrants building a new life in America. He touches upon the origin and history of Tyrol, as well as the affect World War I had on the people of the Val di Non. Continuing to Wyoming and Utah, the author provides a glimpse into life during the 1920’s and 30’s, Prohibition, the Great Depression, becoming an American citizen, the role World War II played in the lives of Tyrolean immigrants, and the post war years. Not only did I find Mr. Prevedel’s book warmly human and heartfelt, but this small volume truly captures the reality our Tyrolean ancestors experienced in a new land. Sprinkled throughout “The Tyroleans“, I recognized many surnames from my own research and from our Genetti family tree: Corazza, Menghini, Anselmi, Rauzi, Segna, Cologna and yes, even Genetti! Matter-of-fact, I believe David Prevedal’s book has provided a new clue to another branch of our family I have yet to research. I thoroughly enjoyed this touching memorial to a Tyrolean family and highly recommend it to anyone with ancestral roots in the Val di Non.
Our First Year: Sketches from an Alpine Village, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by Allen E. Rizzi, published in 2013. Available through Amazon as a Kindle ebook for $3.99 or as an Audible book for $1.99. I thoroughly enjoyed this little book by fellow Tyrolean American, Allen Rizzi. Each chapter is a “slice of life”, a peek into the culture and customs of the tiny village of Tret, nestled in the upper Val di Non region of Trentino. After many visits to northern Italy and the home of his ancestors, Allen and his wife take a leap of faith, moving from Washington state to rustic Tret. “Our First Year” offers the reader a glimpse of the couple’s joys and struggles making a new home in a strange land. With deep ancestral roots planted in the villages of Tret, Cloz and Merano, Allen’s Tyrolean heritage and knowledge of several languages help acclimate this American to Alpine living. There are many humorous moments, as well as a few tearful times, as Allen struggles to understand the village’s customs, dialect and people.
I particularly enjoyed this book, since Tret is but a stone’s throw from our family’s ancestral home in Castelfondo – about a 15 minute drive. I’ve visited many places Allen describes in the book and have even had lunch in the village of Tret at the charming resaurant Le Ciaspole (by the way, excellent food!).
Allen and his wife have made Tret their home since 2003. I hope on my next visit back to Castelfondo, we might meet, share a glass of wine and chat of our shared Tyrolean ancestry. Just two Americans in love with the home of our forefathers!
How-To Books About Your Family Legacy
To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by Bob Greene, published in 1993. Available as a hardcover on Amazon, price: $15.15. A warm, accessible, step-by-step guide to creating precious personal histories from the memories of older people. Amazon Customer review: “I bought this book for my Father in November for a Christmas gift but gave it to him as soon as I received it. And he got busy right away on his computer and wrote a 13 page history of his life. He passed away December 29th. My gift for him turned into a gift for me, my siblings and others. I can’t express my appreciation for this book!”
Legacy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by Linda Spence, published in 1997. Available as a paperback on Amazon, price: $15.15. Linda Spence’s Legacy proves to be just that: the creation of a family heirloom that money couldn’t buy. Through a series of thought-provoking questions about each phase in human life, Spence helps readers record their personal history, think back to feelings that any number of snapshots could never capture, and reflect upon their lives. What events occurred during your childhood? What did you like most about school? What do you wish your parents had done for you? The text includes sample essays by the author and quotations by other writers to encourage your muse.
The Legacy Guide: Capturing the Facts, Memories, and Meaning of Your Life, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by Carol Franco, published in 2006. Available through Amazon as a paperback, price: $16.70 or Kindle book, price: $14.99. The ultimate guide and companion for anyone who wants to record the story of his or her life or that of a loved one. Have you ever wondered about an ancestor you know only as a compelling face in a faded family photograph? Imagine discovering an entire book on this ancestor’s life – one that described the world in which he lived and detailed his dreams, accomplishments, disappointments, and the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime. The Legacy Guide helps readers create such a book. Designed for writers and non-writers alike, it outlines a simple, intuitive, and highly flexible framework for turning your personal history-or that of a loved one-into a treasured family heirloom.
Books of Interest!
Cook Book from Tyrol, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by M. Exenberger and F. Breit, published in 1982. Available through Amazon third party bookseller as a hardcover, price: $6.61. This a translated book, no Amazon description is available.
Governance and Grievance: Habsburg Policy and Italian Tyrol in the Eighteenth Century, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by Miriam J. Levy, published in 1988. Available through Amazon as a paperback, price: $19.95.
Amazon description: Governance and Grievance touches on various aspects of Habsburg domestic policy, focusing on how the rulers influenced and were influenced by developments in both Italian and German Tyrol, and how they used to advantage the competing regional interests.
To Invent a Life: Poems in the Trentino Dialect and English, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by Michael F. Capobianco, published in 2013. Available through Amazon as a paperback, price: $13.95 or Kindle book, price: $3.99.
Amazon description: Translating these poems with Antonia Dalpiaz has been one of the highlights of my writing career. They are so beautiful that it sometimes seemed to me that they were translating themselves! You will find within: poems of nature, poems of love, and many which defy genre classification. Dalpiaz wrote them in the dialect of her home town of Trentino, Italy (Trentino), and if you know some Italian you should be able to appreciate the wonderful charm of this dialect. This is why we wanted to publish the book in bilingual form, each poem in the original followed by the English. Enjoy!
Smart Guide Italy Trentino-Alto Adige, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by Holger Reinhardt, Angela Simmons and Alexei Cohen, published in 2012. Available through Amazon as a Kindle book, price: $2.99.
Amazon description: ‘Smart Guide Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige’ is the perfect travel guide for discovering one of Italy’s most remote regions. Smart Guide provides essential background, cultural, and practical information that makes a holiday memorable. The guide is divided into the two provinces that make up the region and has been researched and written by local residents who taste the polenta (local specialty) and visit each monument before writing about it.
Smart Guide Italy is the only digital travel guide that covers all of Italy’s regions and is written, researched, and investigated by full-time residents. Each title is the series provides insights to the most important monuments and useful information for eating, drinking, sleeping and having a good time in Italy.
South Tyrol Guide: Sightseeing, Hotel, Restaurant & Shopping Highlights, (please click on the title for additional information or to purchase), by Christina Taylor, published in 2015. Available through Amazon as a paperback, price: $12.95 or Kindle book, price: $3.99, (click here for Kindle book link).
Amazon description: South Tyrol in Italy lies in the heart of the majestic Dolomite mountain range in the Southern Alps. The region has an interesting mixture of Italian, Austrian and German culture and this multi-cultural identity remains a large part of its fascination. In winter, South Tyrol becomes a popular ski region, and its resorts are more family-friendly and nurturing than the glamorous, yet somewhat competitive slopes of the French Alps. You can bring your kids to South Tyrol for their first ski trip and to help build their confidence on the slopes.
Information includes: South Tyrol culture, location and orientation, climate and when to visit, and sightseeing highlights such as the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Messner Mountain Museum, Castel Trostburg, Trauttmansdorff Castle, Abbey of Neustift, and Stelvio National Park. Also incuded are recommendations for the budget traveler, places to stay, farm holidays, places to eat, places to shop and Christmas Markets.
Tales and Legends of the Tyrol, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by A. von Gunther, published in 2014. Available through Amazon as a paperback, price: $14.95 or Kindle book, price: $0.99. This is a reprint of a classic book originally published in 1874. The tales were collected from villages in Tyrol and transcribed by Maria Alker Gunther in the mid-1800’s.
Amazon description: The Tyrol, the land of glory and tradition, the wonder-garden of the world, so often visited but so little known, forms the theme of the following volume; and in dedicating it to the public the authoress feels certain of a fair share of their approval, perhaps, even, of their thanks; for many are the dangers which have been incurred in its production, and many are the days of weary walks and severe trials that it has cost.
Traditional Cooking Tyrol, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase). No author or book description available. Sold through Amazon third party booksellers. Available as a hardcover, price: $1.49.
Tyrol and Its People, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by Clive Holland and Adrian Stokes. Originally published in 1909, this is a classic reprint of the original text. Available through Amazon as a hardcover, price: $20.00 (click here for hardcover link) or a Kindle book, price: FREE!
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web.
Customer review: Being of Tyrolean descent and also an amateur genealogist, I found this book to be an enlightening history of my ancestral home. Written over 100 years ago, the language is somewhat old-fashioned. However this little volume offers historical information of the ancient region called Tyrol that few modern descendants are aware of. It was very helpful in my personal research in finding my roots.
Willow Vale, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase) – by Alethea Williams, 2015, publisher C. A. Williams, Available in Paperback: $8.46 and Kindle ebook: $3.99. Let me say first off that I rarely include novels in our Bookstore. But this wonderful little tome tugged at my heart, begging to become a part of our Tyrolean heritage library. Using her grandmother (Nona) as inspiration for the lead character, Francesca Sittoni, the author paints the world of a beautiful young widow with a precocious toddler from the Val di Non in Trentino just after WW I. Her little village in the Tyrolean valley has changed hands from Austria to Italy. After Francesca’s beloved husband dies, she must find another spouse as soon as possible to support herself and her young daughter. She is soon sold off as a war bride, boards a ship to America and joins her new husband in the coal mining region of Wyoming. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story for you, but let’s say that the tenacious and stubborn Francesca refuses to give up in a new land even when her second husband is no longer in the picture and she fears being deported back to impoverished Northern Italy.
I fell in love with the story of fictional Francesca. Since many of the Genetti family set down roots in Wyoming, working the dangerous coal mines and eking out a living from the dry, dusty land – this was a story that echoed our own journey to America. I think any Tyrolean American will find “Willow Vale” captivating and heartwarming – a wonderful gift for a grandparent or elder. Younger generations will experience an eye-opening glimpse into the struggles of our first generation ancestors as they experienced a new life in America.
DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing – (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by Richard Hill, 2014, self-published, available as Kindle ebook: $0.99. This is an easy-to-follow, compact guide to DNA testing. Perfect for the beginner as an intro into DNA lingo. Written by Richard Hill, who was adopted at birth, this publication is the result of his personal mission (that included DNA testing) to find his birth parents and their family. I highly recommend this book if you know nothing about DNA testing. It’s short, cheap and easy to read!
Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA – (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by Richard Hill, 2012, self-published, available as Paperback: $14.53 and Kindle ebook: $9.49, includes free bonus book: Guide to DNA Testing. Adopted at birth, Richard Hill embarks on a life-long quest to find his roots when, as a teenager, the “secret” slips out. For anyone fascinated with genealogy and the new science of genetic testing, this book is a page-turner! I found the story even more mesmerizing because it is a true account of this man’s unending persistence to learn the truth. You will rejoice with Richard as he slowly builds his facts and uncovers hidden family secrets. A true detective story, Richard Hill is known as the first person to absolutely indentify adoptive parents using DNA testing. As you can tell, I loved this book! Plus Mr. Hill includes his “Guide to DNA Testing” as a freebie at the end of this book.
Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond – (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), by Emily D. Aulicino, 2013, publisher Author House, available in Paperback: $19.95 and Kindle ebook: $3.67. A useful introduction to genetic genealogy, at times this book becomes overly technical. I read this book for the first time in 2014 and must admit that some chapters were over my head. But I reread it just a few months ago in 2016. This time around I had several DNA tests under my belt and a better understood of DNA lingo. My second read-through was very helpful! I grasp much more of the information. “Genetic Genealogy” cleared up many questions I had as a result of my personal experience with testing. Since this book was written in 2013, some of the information is outdated (such as the type of testing offered by different companies – example: Ancestry.com no longer offers Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA testing). However, if you are past the beginner stage and want to dig into the science of DNA, this is a great book to expand your knowledge of genetic genealogy. I will read this book again as I advance in my personal DNA research and keep it handy as a research tool.
Genealogy: DNA and the Family Tree, 2nd Edition – (please click on title for additional information or to purchase), James Mayflower, 2015, publisher Healing Habits Publishing, available as a Paperback: $12.43 and Kindle ebook: $2.99. The first half of this book is very useful and informative. It detailed many interesting aspects of genetic genealogy and DNA testing that I had not read in other books. I also applaud the author for coupling the science of genetics with genealogy. Most books present one or the other. Mr. Mayflower’s approach exemplifies the benefits of studying genetics in conjunction with personal genealogy research. Unfortunately the last section discussing how to research your personal genealogy and build a family tree is too basic for the average family genealogist who has advanced past this stage. Plus this book is written by a British author; therefore all of the genealogy links pertain to English ancestry. However, the book in its 2nd edition, has a recent publication date of 2015 (making it up-to-date with current science) and the ebook is only $2.99 – a very reasonable price for so much information. I will certainly reread the first half of this book again, as it expanded my knowledge of DNA. I’m sure revisiting the text in a year or two will give me more “ah-ha” moments of clarity.
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, (please click on title for additional information or to purchase) – by Blaine T. Bettinger, 2016, publisher Family Tree Books, Available in Paperback: $21.11 and Kindle ebook: $14.99. One of the latest books to enter the field of genetic genealogy, I found this to be a very helpful guide and a great addition to my growing DNA library. Information is current and as accurate as possible in this ever-evolving science. Most of the material presented can be easily understood by beginners. Advanced concepts are also presented later in the book, but this should not be a deterrent for newbies as they can always come back to these sections after gaining a bit of expertise in DNA testing. I particularly found the chapters relating to surprises in one’s ancestry, such as illegitimacy and adoption, to be extremely informative and sensitive to this topic. Most books about genetic genealogy only touch upon the subject of non-parental events. The author handled this area of DNA testing/genetic genealogy with tact and depth. There are many charts, diagrams and illustrations included in this book. I purchased the ebook version and had no problem viewing the graphic information. I highly recommend “The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy” as a comprehensive instruction manual for both beginners and advance students of DNA.
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