The American Beginning
This is a record of the family of Damiano and Oliva Genetti. They were both born in the village of Castelfondo, located in the Dolomites of the Austrian Alps.
Damiano and Oliva came separately to the Hazleton area in the early 1880’s. In 1886, they were married in Scranton, Pennsylvania by Bishop William O’Hara. In 1887, their first child, Leon, was born in the Hazleton area. In 1888 Damiano, Oliva and their infant returned to the Genetti homestead in Castlefondo. Upon returning to Tyrol, Damiano performed his required military service as an officer in the Austrian army. All other children were born in Castelfondo during this era.
In 1901, Damiano returned to Hazleton with Leon (15), Dora (14), Al (11) and Tillie (10), and started a butcher business, door to door, with a horse and wagon. By 1906, he established a home on the southeast corner of Chapel Street and Fulton Court. He also established a butcher shop in a garage to the rear of the house. In 1906, Damiano arranged to have Oliva and the other five children join him in Hazleton. [Webmaster Note: There is some question as to the date of 1901. Although this date is referenced in many sources as the founding date of the Genetti businesses, Damiano may not have arrived until 1902 as stated by Stanley Genetti in his memoirs. Also Damiano’s youngest child, Angela Maria “Ann”, was born in April of 1903. This seems to suggest that he must have been living in Castelfondo at least nine months before her birth. Also according to Census and immigration sources, it is more likely that the first four children emigrated sometime between 1904 and 1905.]
In 1923, Damiano turned the business, two stores and the butcher shop, over to his four sons and returned to Castelfondo.
All the children and Oliva remained in Hazleton. Damiano returned to Hazleton from time to time to visit. He left the U.S. for the last time in 1934. Following the death of Oliva in 1938, Damiano had plans to return to Hazleton in 1939, but the outbreak of World War II prevented the visit. He died in Castelfondo at the age of 87, five months before the war ended.