The Myths and Facts about Barbara Libener Inama (1875-1936)

By Louise Genetti Roach, published August 27, 2022

About the Author: Louise Genetti Roach is a dedicated family genealogist and genetic researcher with many years of experience. She has solved over a dozen DNA mysteries, helping adoptees and other NPEs (non-paternal event) identify and locate their birth families as well as unraveling family secrets, some taking place over 150 years in the past. Louise is also of Northern Italian descent. Her paternal grandparents were Leone Alessandro Genetti and Angeline Marchetti. She has a keen interest in correcting the misconceptions attached to Barbara Libener Inama, as Ms. Roach is directly related to Barbara, sharing Louise’s 2nd great-grandparents, Lorenzo Marchetti and Rosalia Battisti, who were Barbara’s maternal grandparents. Louise’s grandmother, Angeline, was Barbara’s first cousin – making Ms. Roach a first cousin, twice removed to Barbara Libener.

The intent of this paper is to dispel the myth that Barbara Libener Inama was an adopted child from the Native American Sioux Tribe. It is evident this story of Native American ethnicity has circulated for several decades and is still perpetuated by a few members of the Inama (Enama) family. Derived from a single magazine clipping in an Italian magazine, with no supporting facts or scientific proof, the myth has no value in the ancestral history of the Libener/Inama families. It is time to dismiss this story as fictional as it does more harm than good to future generations researching their family history.

Genealogical research and DNA evidence will be presented to confirm Barbara Libener was neither an adoptee nor a child of the Sioux nation, but the first-born child of Giovanni Battista Libener (1842-1904) and Catterina Maria Marchetti (1852-1935).

The myth begins with an Italian magazine publishing a small sidebar story to accompany a larger article, included is a photograph of Barbara Libener with her husband Emanuele Inama. The photo is dated 1934.

English Translation of Side-Story (boxed text in upper right corner of left page):

The Indian Wife

Emanuele Inama of Sanzeno with his Indian wife, belonging to the Sioux tribe. Inama, born in 1866 in the Non Valley [Val di Non], immigrated very young to the United States, to Hazleton, Pennsylvania. They were the times of Sitting Bull and General Custer. After the extermination of the Seventh Cavalrymen in 1876, the Sioux were exterminated and dispersed in retaliatory actions. Those who managed to escape dispersed into Dakota, Nebraska and Montana. In 1891, after long, long wanderings, a Sioux family arrived in Hazleton. Emanuele Inama, also demonstrated certain courage against the racial prejudices of time and place, married the sixteen year old daughter of this family. Emanuele Inama was twenty-five years old and has a spirit of initiative. He quits his job and opens a saloon. From the marriage, 13 children are born, part in the United States and part in Sanzeno where the couple moved back to in 1932. In the photo, Emanuele Inama and his Sioux wife photographed in Sanzeno in 1934.

Although we have an exact copy of the article provided by several members of the Italian Inama/Enama family, the site source (name and date of publication, author’s name, etc.) has not been provided. We have been told the magazine is part of a municipal archive located in the province of Trentino, but have no further information as to its source. From the general appearance of the magazine, it was likely published sometime in the 1950’s or 1960’s (after Barbara’s death); however without any source information to offer dating, we can only guess at a publication date.

Barbara Libener died in 1936 at the age of 61. It appears the story began sometime after her death, although we don’t know when or who was the source of this falsehood. Her husband, Giovanni, lived another 16 years, passing away in 1952. Possibly Giovanni or one of the couple’s children was the source of the story since the photo accompanying the article must have been supplied by a family member along with specific details about Giovanni, such as his birth year. This in itself is cause for question as there are few details provided about Barbara herself, such as her name.

At the time, the author would not have access to Pennsylvania records to check his facts, (as Barbara was born in Lattimer, PA) or any contact with Barbara’s siblings who were all born and lived their lives in Pennsylvania. It would have been difficult to confirm or deny any part of this story.

One has to wonder how the publication was made aware of this unusual story since it was used as a sidebar to the original, full length article. Another lingering question is why this story is only present in Italy and not in the United States? Since Barbara came from a large family with many aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings all living in Pennsylvania, one would assume the unusual story of her origin would be a part of family history in the United States. However, in researching the genealogy of the Marchetti, Libener and Inama (Enama) families I have found absolutely no reference to or evidence of this story. And indeed, we will see further proof presented in this paper that current DNA evidence disproves the story of Barbara being either adopted or a Sioux Indian.

As for the small article itself, it is my opinion the author created a fanciful story based on hearsay. Let’s examine the text in detail.

First, the author seems to be enamored with American cowboys and Indians as he references Sitting Bull (who was a Teton Dakota chief of the Sioux tribe) and General Custer. The author’s dates are incorrect in that the Sioux were not killed in 1876 as noted. On this date the Native American warriors actually triumphed over General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, the battle that saw the demise of Custer. It was not until 1890 at the Massacre of Wounded Knee when hundreds of Lakota men, women and children were slaughtered.

A second significant point: nowhere in the article is the name of Emanuele’s wife mentioned. Why would the very subject of the article only be referenced as an “Indian Wife” who bore 13 children? This seems suspicious in that the person telling the story knew Barbara Libener did not have a Native American name and perhaps they were attempting to hide this detail. Or possibly the person passing the story on to the author did not want the magazine making contact with the Libener family in order to refute his narrative. For whatever reason, it appears Barbara’s name or any reference to her family back in Pennsylvania was purposely omitted to withhold information from the reader.

The author continues the myth by stating the supposed Sioux family arrived in Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 1891. According to genealogical record, this can’t possibly by true as Barbara clearly shows up in the 1880 United States Federal Census as a five year old living with her parents and two siblings in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. It should also be noted that in the fourth column from the left on the census record, ethnicity is stated for each person listed. The census enumerator labeled all members of the family as “W” – the code for White. If Barbara had been Native American, the enumerator would have labeled her as “I” – the code for Indian. Although enumerators often made mistakes on census records, as seen here with the misspelling of the family’s name, this ethnicity label of “W” should be taken into account as one more piece of evidence Barbara was not a Native American.

1880 United States Federal Census: the original document has been cropped to show only the Libener family. Note: the Libener surname is misspelled as “Lebenett.”

Continuing, the article also states the couple moved back to Sanzeno in 1932. However from genealogy records, we know Barbara and Emanuele’s fifth child, Pio Celeste Inama, was born in 1899 in Sanzeno. Seven more children followed born between the years 1902 to 1912.

Here is Pio Inama’s birth listing (Barbara and Emanuele’s fifth child) found on Nati in Trentino, an online archive listing Trentini births between the years of 1815-1923 (

Considering the couple’s fourth child, Emanuele Giovanni Battista Inama, was born May 1898 in Pennsylvania and their fifth child was born in November of 1899 in Sanzeno, the family must have moved to Sanzeno sometime in late 1898 or early 1899. Obviously the author is also incorrect in stating the date of their arrival in Sanzeno was 1932.

Due to the numerous inaccuracies in this article, the omission of important facts such as Barbara’s name, and no reference to factual sources, one should view this story as highly suspect.

However the goal of this paper is not only to question the accuracy of the story, but to completely disprove its premise using modern-day science in the form of DNA results and genealogical research. If we examine the genealogical record for Barbara’s immediate family, we see her parents, Catterina Marchetti and Giovanni Batista Libener, were married on May 7, 1874. Barbara was born February 25, 1875 – just eleven months after her parents’ marriage. This would be considered a typical time period for a first born child. Catterina and Giovanni then proceeded to have eight more children after Barbara, between the years of 1876 to 1892. If the 1880 Federal Census is correct and Barbara was the couple’s first child, born within a year of Catterina and Giovanni’s marriage, this should cast doubt on the notion that Barbara was adopted.

If Barbara had been adopted as a newborn or child and was not the natural child of Catterina, then the question should be asked: why would a young, newly married couple see the need to adopt a child early in their marriage?

It should be noted Giovanni’s occupation was a coal miner and he had settled his family in the tiny mining town of Lattimer, Pennsylvania. At that time, Lattimer was a village of mining shanties and dirt roads. Taking into account the hard-scrabble life of a mining family, it’s unlikely the Inamas would have had the means to adopt a child.

Before we continue with DNA proof, another piece of evidence to consider is physical appearance. Below, on the left, is a photograph of a Native American Sioux woman. On the right is a photograph of Barbara Libener with her infant daughter Anna Maria on her lap. The comparison is significant! A woman of 100% Sioux ancestry would have long, straight black hair, a dark complexion and angular facial structure. In comparison, we can see Barbara appears as a typical woman of Tyrolean descent: light brown, curly hair, fair complexion with a round facial structure. Solely on appearance, no one could mistake Barbara for a Native American woman! One can also see her young daughter, Anna Maria, has fair hair and light skin tone. There is no hint of Native American ethnicity in their appearance.

The Use of DNA Testing to Confirm Ethnicity and Ancestry

Unlike the genealogical record, that may contain errors or missing information, DNA testing is a solid, science-based method with virtually no room for error. We can learn a great deal about our ancestors through the testing of their descendants.

There are three types of DNA testing, each with their own attributes: Y-DNA, Mitochondrial DNA and Autosomal DNA. Since we are searching for information about a female ancestor, we will be using Mitochondrial DNA and Autosomal DNA in this paper.

Note: Women do not have a Y chromosome, therefore they cannot be tested for Y-DNA. If a male descendant of Barbara Libener is tested for Y-DNA it will not yield any information about Barbara.

Mitochondrial DNA Testing:

For Mitochondrial testing, only direct female lines related to Barbara Libener’s daughters are eligible. Since Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from the mother to all of her children, but only her daughters pass it on to their children, it is important that no descendants of Barbara’s sons or grandsons are tested as the results would be inaccurate.

How will Mitochondrial testing help determine Barbara’s ethnicity? After testing, a haplogroup is assigned to the tester based on their combination of single nuclear polymorphisms (SNPs) which have been inherited from a common ancestor. A haplogroup defines a genetic population of people who share a common ancestor thousands of years in the past. Each haplogroup describes a different branch on the human tree. In the case of some populations, they are identified by a very specific haplogroup only attached to their linage and rarely found in the general population, such as with Ashkenazi Jews and Native Americans.

The Mitochondrial haplogroups assigned to North American indigenous populations are: A, B, C, D and X. In the case of the Sioux tribe, a female ancestor will most likely have the haplogroup of “X”. Therefore if one of Barbara’s direct female ancestors was tested for Mitochondrial DNA and the descendant’s test results show she belonged to Haplogroup X, then Barbara was of Native American ethnicity. If the descendant’s haplogroup is designated as European in origin, then Barbara was of European ethnicity, not Native American. The most common Mitochondrial haplogroups in alpine populations of Northern Italy are: R1b/R1a, E, G, I, J, and K.

At this time, we know of no direct female ancestor of Barbara’s who has taken a Mitochondrial DNA test. However, we believe there may be eligible female descendants living in Italy who could be tested.

Those Eligible for Mitochondrial DNA Testing:

  • Granddaughter or great-granddaughter of Luciana Buratti (daughter of Anna Maria Inama and Barbara’s granddaughter) or Luciana Buratti herself if she is still alive.
  • A direct female descendant of Carlotta Regina Inama (1904-1965), daughter of Barbara Libener Inama.
  • A direct female descendant of Ida Luigia Inama (1912-1997?), daughter of Barbara Libener Inama.

Again, we must stress only female descendants of Barbara’s daughters can test to give us an accurate Mitochondrial haplogroup. Female descendants of Barbara’s sons are not eligible in this case, as their haplogroup would match their mother’s haplogroup, who is not a descendant of Barbara Libener.

Since we have no known Mitochondrial results to check for ethnicity, let us move on to Autosomal DNA testing.

Where to test Mitochondrial DNA:


Autosomal DNA Testing:

This type of DNA allows for a much broader testing pool as any living descendant of Barbara Libener is eligible for Autosomal testing. Male and female descendants of Barbara’s sons and daughters can take an autosomal test and it will offer important information about their ancestor. This type of DNA testing has several options for verifying ethnicity and ancestral lineage.

Autosomal results will tell us our “admixture” (the percentage of each ethnic group we most closely match). Even if our close ancestors are 100% European, our admixture will contain several ethnic groups representing control populations our DNA most closely resembles. This can give us a glimpse into the past, showing where our ancient ancestors once settled. In the case of Native American ethnicity, this population group was isolated for thousands of years in the Americas. When you find a percentage of your admixture dedicated to Native American ethnicity, you can almost be sure you had a Native American great-grandparent somewhere in your ancestral history.

If Barbara Libener was 100% Sioux, as the article in question claims, her living grandchildren, great-grandchildren and 2nd great-grandchildren will certainly show a significant percentage of their admixture being Native American. Their ethnicity results will show in the range of 6% to 25% Native American based on the generation of the descendant.

Another attribute of autosomal DNA results are cousin matches. Testing gives us a long list of people we share DNA with who have also tested with that same company, from close family to distant cousins. Most testers will have thousands of distant cousin matches, with approximately 300-500 matches in the range of 4th cousin or closer.

The lower the amount of DNA you share with a match, the more distant the relationship is and the more distant is your closest shared ancestor(s). For example, if you share a set of great-grandparents with someone and you both take an autosomal test, you should match as 2nd cousins sharing about 3.125% DNA or an average of 229 centimorgans of DNA. Autosomal DNA can guarantee any match that is 2nd cousin or closer because you share a significant amount of DNA. It’s more difficult to establish a cousin relationship past third cousin as there is less shared DNA. However, it is possible to detect shared autosomal DNA as far back as the range of 5th to 8th cousin. When genealogical research is combined with test results, distant cousin matches can be confirmed through the lineage of family trees.

We can also use autosomal results to find shared matches with another cousin. If one of Barbara’s descendants tests and matches us, it is easy to find all other shared matches to that tester who has tested with the same company. The Shared Matches feature allows us to find other cousins who are also a descendant of Barbara Libener. Of course, it is necessary to also do genealogy in order to verify the cousin relationship matches the genealogical record.

How does the Shared Match feature help us untangle Barbara’s ancestry? If Barbara was actually adopted, she would not be related to any of her maternal (Marchetti) or paternal (Libener) ancestral lineage. Meaning, Barbara’s descendants would not have any shared cousin matches for the Marchetti or Libener families, as all distant cousin matches would match Sioux ancestral lines (or other unknown family lines if she was adopted but not from the Sioux tribe).

We will prove all of the factors involved in Autosomal testing will identify Barbara Libener’s ethnicity and ancestry by examining descendants who have already tested with various companies.

Since we inherit 50% of our Autosomal DNA from each parent, Barbara’s DNA will be passed down through her descendants in the following percentages:

  • Her children inherit 50% of her DNA
  • Her grandchildren inherit 25% of her DNA
  • Her great-grandchildren inherit 12.5% of her DNA
  • Her 2nd great-grandchildren inherit 6.25% of her DNA

Therefore, if Barbara’s ethnicity was 100% Sioux Indian:

  • Her children’s ethnicity results would show they are 50% Native American
  • Her grandchildren’s ethnicity results would show they are 25% Native American
  • Her great-grandchildren’s ethnicity results would show they are 12.5% Native American
  • Her 2nd great-grandchildren’s ethnicity results would show they are 6.25% Native American

Let us examine known descendants of Barbara Libener and Emanuele Inama and what their Autosomal DNA results tell us. (Note: Since the author of this paper, Louise Genetti Roach, has tested at all major testing companies and she has a DNA connection to Barbara Libener’s descendants through her Marchetti family, she is able to view and access the information of her shared DNA matches.)

Descendants with a Proven Relationship to Barbara Libener and Emanuele Inama Who Have Completed Autosomal Testing:

(For reasons of privacy, an initial is used for the first name of each tester.)

D. Richard – great-grandson of Barbara Libener, descendant from Barbara’s daughter Anna Maria Inama Buratti. Tested at MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA.

  • Ethnicity:
    • 0% Native American (MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA)

A. Craig – 2nd great-grandson of Barbara Libener, descendant from Barbara’s son Giuseppe Romedio Enama. Tested at MyHeritage.

  • Ethnicity:
    • 0% Native American (MyHeritage)

M. Marchetti – great-grandson of Barbara Libener, descendant from son Giuseppe Romedio Enama. Tested at MyHeritage.

  • Ethnicity:
    • 0% Native American (MyHeritage)

K. Enama – great-granddaughter of Barbara Libener, descendant from son Joseph R. Enama. Tested at AncestryDNA.

  • Ethnicity:
    • 0% Native American (AncestryDNA)

All four descendants have a documented relationship to Barbara Libener and Emanuel Inama through genealogy research and their autosomal DNA results match directly with Barbara Libener’s extended family.

If Barbara Libener was 100% Sioux, then D. Richard, M. Marchetti and K. Enama should have about 12.5% of their ethnicity results being Native American. A. Craig should show 6.25% of his results as Native American. Instead, all four testers show no percentage at all of Native American ethnicity. This is evidence that Barbara Libener was not a Sioux Native American. Being the true daughter of Catterina Marchetti and Giovanni Libener, she would have been 100% European (Northern Italian/Austro/German). And indeed, all four descendants show the majority of their ethnicity is European.

Shared Matches Who Have Tested with Proven Relationship to Barbara Libener’s Maternal/Paternal Lines:

If Barbara was adopted, her descendants would have no autosomal shared matches connecting them to Barbara’s maternal or paternal lineages, that being the Marchetti and Libener families. However as we will see, this is not true and there are actually many shared matches to our four descendant testers related to Barbara’s parents, grandparents and earlier generations.

A Selection of Shared Matches for D. Richard related to Marchetti/Libener/Battisti: (shared matches from MyHeritage)

  • M. Marchetti (2nd cousin and 3rd cousin, once removed to D. Richard)
    • Shared ancestors: Lorenzo Marchetti and Rosalia Battisti (Barbara’s maternal grandparents)
    • Note: M. Marchetti’s mother is a descendant of Barbara Libener and Emanuele Inama; therefore he is related twice to D. Richard
  • L. A. Genetti (2nd cousin, twice removed to D. Richard)
    • Shared ancestors: Lorenzo Marchetti and Rosalia Battisti (Barbara’s maternal grandparents)
  • G. J. Sanford (3rd cousin, once removed to D. Richard)
    • Shared ancestors: Lorenzo Marchetti and Rosalia Battisti (Barbara’s maternal grandparents)
  • J. Belusko – descendant of Catterina Marchetti and Giovanni Libener
  • R. W. Hine
    • Shared ancestors: Lorenzo Marchetti and Rosalia Battisti (Barbara’s maternal grandparents)
  • Note: D. Richard has 10 autosomal matches within the 4th cousin range or closer, all related to the Marchetti/Battisti families (Barbara’s grandparents.) There are many more distant cousin matches in his test results associated with this lineage.

M. Marchetti and A. Craig share the same matches as D. Richard since they descend from the same Marchetti/Battisti lineage. Therefore, all three descendants who tested at MyHeritage are directly related to Barbara’s maternal grandparents, Lorenzo Marchetti and Rosalia Battisti.

A Selection of Shared Matches for K. Enama related to Marchetti/Libener: (shared matches from AncestryDNA)

  • L.A. Genetti
  • J. Genetti
  • Louise Genetti Roach – author
  • L. May
  • J. McCormick
  • G. J. Sanford
  • Note: K. Enama has 35 autosomal matches within the 4th cousin range or closer, all related to the Marchetti/Battisti families (Barbara’s grandparents) as well as matches related to earlier generations from this lineage.

As we can see from the autosomal results of four Libener/Inama (Enama) descendants, they have many shared DNA matches related to Barbara Libener’s maternal grandparent line. If Barbara had been adopted, her descendants would have no cousin matches related to the Marchetti/Battisti family. This proves without a doubt that Barbara was not adopted.


  • Genealogical records (1880 Federal Census) prove Barbara Libener, at the age of five years old, was living with her parents and two siblings in Lattimer, Pennsylvania. The census states Barbara’s racial designation is “white”.
  • Many inaccuracies are found in the article of question, with no proof of evidence to support said claims.
  • The article in question was most likely published after Barbara’s death; therefore she was not present to tell the truth. It’s likely the story originated with her husband or one of her children.
  • A comparison of facial features indicates Barbara had no features associated with Native American heritage.
  • Currently there are four known descendants of Barbara Libener and Emanuel Inama who have completed autosomal DNA testing. No direct female descendants have completed Mitochondrial DNA testing.
  • The autosomal ethnicity results of all four descendants show no inherited Native American ethnicity.
  • The autosomal results of all four descendants connect them to matches sharing DNA from the Marchetti/Battisti families who were Barbara’s maternal grandparents or to earlier generations of this same lineage. Therefore Barbara could not have been adopted as her descendants have no matches from the Sioux tribe, but many matches to Barbara’s true birth family.


There is abundant evidence, as stated in the summary above, that Barbara Libener was the true daughter of Catterina Marchetti and Giovanni Battista Libener. She was neither adopted nor a child of the Sioux Native American tribe. It is my opinion after examining all of the genealogical and DNA evidence, the story in question is fictional and should not be included in the Libener/Inama (Enama) family history.

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