Tag: Tyrol

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


New Book in the Genetti Shop

TheHiddenFrontierWhy not stop by our Book Shop to peruse our sampling of personally selected books about the Tyrolean culture? If you are interested in learning more about your roots or are planning a future trip to Trentino-Alto Adige, you’ll find just the right book to help you in your adventure.

Today I added a new book that was suggested by Chiara Dalle Nogare, one of our Genetti cousins who lives in Trento, Trentino. “The Hidden Frontier: Ecology and Ethnicity in an Alpine Valley” is a fascinated study of history and culture in the Val di Non. Well worth the read if you really want to understand your Tyrolean roots!

Click here to visit the Book Shop!

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?


Am I Italian?


Modern Italy showing the provinces of Trentino-Alto Adige. The village of Castelfondo is located in Trentino (marked by a very small dot on the enlargement of this map!)

As a child, I was told that I was “Tyrolean”. Of course, I didn’t know the meaning of “Tyrolean”, but I knew it was a source of pride for my family. As I grew older, I wondered where exactly was this mythic country called “Tyrol”. I couldn’t find it on any map. And why did I have an Italian last name, but I wasn’t Italian? Oh so many unanswered questions …

Growing up in Buffalo, New York in the 1970’s I had many friends of Italian ethnicity. But none were Tyrolean. Usually when someone asked if I was Italian, I just gave in and said “Yes, yes I am”. Because how can you explain to someone that your heritage is from a country that you can’t find on a map?

Let’s jump ahead to 1991. Something on the nightly news catches my attention. Hikers have found a man frozen for over 5,000 years in the Alps … the Tyrolean Alps! Something awakens inside me and I proclaim to my husband, “Look he’s a Tyrolean, just like me! The iceman is one of my ancestors!” At the time my husband thought I was a little crazy. But there was a spark of recognition that, yes indeed, I did come from an ancient people. Today we know this man as Otzi – The Iceman and he is a treasure to the people of South Tyrol.

A few more years roll by. In 2010 I began genealogy research to find my family. Right away I saw there were discrepancies in the United States Census information. The 1910 Census stated that my great-grandfather’s family was from Austria. In the 1920 Census their birthplace is listed as Switzerland. And by 1930, the census taker became really confused! The family is first documented as Austrian. Then this answer is crossed out and Italy is scribbled over the category of birthplace. “OK,” I thought, “even the census is confused by my ethnic background!”


Map of Austrian Tyrol drawn in 1882. Portions of these regions now belong to Italy.

Thankfully we live in the age of the internet with answers right at our fingertips. In 2010, it didn’t take long to solve the mystery of my ethnicity. Apparently the region of Tyrol is smack in the middle of Europe. Because of its central location, the fact that it is land-locked with several bordering neighbor countries and that it guards important mountain passes between eastern Europe and southern Europe – this area has been invaded and controlled by many tribes, countries and governments throughout history. Human settlements in Tyrol can be traced back to 12,000 BC. Otzi is a mere 5,300 years old! Yep, we’re talking ancient!


Modern Tyrol today – Pink areas belong to Austria; Orange area is the province of Alto Adige or Sud Tirol (South Tyrol) and belongs to Italy; Purple area is the province of Trentino and also belongs to Italy.

We’ll save the long history of Tyrol for another blog post. For now the short answer of modern ethnicity is that Tyrol belonged to the Austrian Habsburg Dynasty, (that later became the Austro-Hungarian Empire) for about 550 years. There was a short period of rule in the 1800’s under Napoleon in which the country was given to Bavaria, then later returned to Austria. After World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled and the region of Tyrol was divided with the southern portion given to Italy. By 1919 this area became the Italian provinces of Trentino and Alto Adige (or South Tyrol). The little Austrian village of Castelfondo, ancestral home of the Genetti family, was now Italian!

So there you are – the Genetti Family is of all three ethnic backgrounds: Tyrolean, Austrian and Italian. I will always consider myself to be Tyrolean and from the same beautiful part of the world where Otzi, The Iceman once lived.

Read more about the History of Tyrol, click here.

Find out about the famous Tyrolean, Otzi – the Iceman as the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, click here.



Genetti homestead in Castelfondo

Louise at the Genetti homestead in Castelfondo, 2011.

Hey – hi! Thanks for stopping by! This is the beginning of our genealogy journey together.

But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Louise Genetti Roach and I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My background is in photography and fine art. Over the years I’ve had a varied career with my last position being the Marketing Manager for an industrial manufacturing company. Today I’m retired, enjoy mountain hiking and traveling to interesting places.

How did I end up writing a genealogy blog? Well, five years ago I was bitten by the ancestry bug after watching the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are”. I started down the path of research and never turned back. At the time I knew almost nothing about my family. Then I began digging. What unfolded was a truly American story of an enigmatic family with a very long history that once lived in an ancient land. Sounds like a once-upon-a-time fairy tale, doesn’t it?

After five years of searching archives, meeting cousins and collecting data, I knew I had to share my findings with you – The Genetti Family. Since I have so much to tell you, this blog format will allow me to write a little at a time as I delve into our history. Plus it gives you the opportunity to ask questions and become a part of the process through the comments section of each blog post.

My father was a second generation American of 100% Tyrolean ancestry. That means that half of my DNA originated in a tiny valley in the Austrian Tyrol (now part of Italy). This fact alone blows my mind! For hundreds of years my ancestors knew each other’s families (Genetti, Marchetti, Zambotti, Fellin, Cologna, Lorenzetti, etc.). They intermarried and never moved away from their Alpine home. Even when their country was taken over by different rulers and governments, the people and their culture remained unchanged. Then came the great migration at the end of the 19th century when entire families left the Val di Non for a better life in North or South America. And yet today you can still find Tyrolean homes in Trentino, Italy built in the fifteenth century that are inhabited and well kept; coat-of-arms and frescoes that grace plaster walls; and cobblestone roads once traveled by Roman soldiers still wind their way up to mountain passes.

So begins the journey to unravel our family’s past and understand the almost-mythical land of Tyrol. I have stories to share, pages of history to turn and the lives of ancestors to recount.

While you’re waiting for each new blog post to be published, take a stroll through the website. Explore the ever-growing family tree, send me your photos and stories, and become a part of The Genetti Family Genealogy Project.

Let’s begin … or as they say in Italian “Cominciamo!”