Author & genealogist Lynn Serafinn reveals the ancient roots of the Trentini people, and tells why she prefers the term ‘Trentini’ to ‘Italian’ or ‘Tyrolean’.
Welcome. My name is Lynn Serafinn. A quick hello to welcome you to my new blog, ‘Trentino Genealogy dot com’.
My late father, Romeo Serafini (later known as Ralph Serafinn) is the 9-year-old boy on the right side of the above photo. Romeo was born in the parish of Santa Croce del Bleggio, in the Giudicarie Valley in Trentino, Italy in 1919. My genealogical research has shown that our ancestors were present in the Giudicarie at least as far back as the early 1500s, when parish records first were used to record births, deaths and marriages. In all likelihood, if older records existed, we’d probably learn that the roots of our family — and many hundreds of others — can claim ancestry in Trentino possibly for millenia. In fact, archaelogists have unearthed many paleo-villages in the region, showing the that an argiculturally-based culture, much the same as our more recent ancestors, was present in this region at least as long as 4,000 years ago.
Earlier I referred to Trentino as ‘Italy’ because that is what it is today. However, for many centuries, up until the end of World War 1, Trentino was actually part of the Austrian (and later, Austro-Hungarian) Empire. In fact, many descendants of the Trentini who immigrated to America at the end of the 19th century (or the beginning of the 20th century) don’t think of themselves as Italians, but as ‘Tyroleans’, as Trentino used to belong to the old County of Tyrol. Today, however, it is part of Italy. As this can sometimes create a confusing sense of identify for those who are descended from Trentini immigrants, I prefer to use the term ‘Trentini’ rather than either ‘Italy’ or ‘Tyrolean’ to describe us, as I believe it transcends the political designations, and refers more our ancestors’ connection to the land itself.
In my opinion, the unique history and vibrant culture of the Trentini people make them a truly special people. In fact the more I study about ‘our people’, the more I come to love them and respect their values.
On this site, I will be sharing information, discoveries, videos, and tips on how to weave together the wonderful history of our Trentini ancestors.
I have been an avid blogger on other sites for many years, so I promise you some good stuff in the coming months. Until then, please feel free to contact me via the contact form on this website, if you would like to ask a question or discuss the possibility of working together.
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LYNN SERAFINN is a bestselling author and genealogist specialising in the families of Trentino. She is also the author of the regularly featured column ‘Genealogy Corner’ for Filò Magazine: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans.
In addition to her work for clients, her personal research project is to transcribe all the parish records for the parish of Santa Croce del Bleggio (where her father was born) from the 1400s to the current era, as well as to connect as many living people as she can who were either born in Bleggio or whose ancestors came from there. She hopes this tree, which already contains tens of thousands of people, will serve as a visual and spiritual reminder of how we are all fundamentally connected.
3 thoughts on “Welcome to Trentino Genealogy by Lynn Serafinn”
After looking at your family tree, I realize that my great uncle Luigi Onorati ( known to us as Zio Martin ) is also part of your family tree. He was married to Maria Baroni my paternal grandmother’s sister Natalina Rosa Stefania Baroni Stanga.
I would love to be able to trace the family line as far as I can, but lack the expertise to do so.
My father always claimed that he was a Tyrolean, not Italian or Austrian. He met his grandmother and his Tyrolean cousins for the first time as an 18 year old serving in the army air corps in Italy during World War II.
Eileen Stanga Schaap
Hi Eileen! Or, rather, I should say ‘cugina’!
Your great-uncle Luigi (I have never ever heard him as referred to as ‘Martin’ though) was also MY great-uncle, as he was my grandmother’s baby brother. I visited him and family many times as a child/teenager. Their daughter used to babysit a lot me when I was very little. I spoke to their son on the phone a few years ago, but cannot seem to get hold of him anymore.
So, while your aunt Maria was blood-related to you but not to me, we do have common cousins: their two children, who are our mutual 1st cousins, once removed, as they are/were 1st cousins of both of our fathers.
There are MANY Baroni from Tenno, and there are also many in Santa Croce, where both of my grandparents came from. I do have Baroni in my own pedigree, but so far I haven’t done any work on Aunt Mary’s line (shame on me!), mainly because the focus of my research has primarily been on the parish of Santa Croce del Bleggio. I’ve been researching other parishes only up to the point that they CONNECT with people in Santa Croce (unless they are directly related to me, in which case I try to go back as far as I can go).
I have just entered your grandmother’s birth date (via the Nati in Trentino website) into my tree, and it will pop up in a few minutes after I synchronise the file. If you would like to chat about our mutual family, and/or discuss hiring me to trace your ancestral lines, feel free to drop me a line on the contact form on this site (https://trentinogenealogy.com/contact), or connect with me on Facebook Messenger.
Regarding the ‘Tyrolean, not Italian or Austrian’ thing, I so get that. That is how most of us of Trentino descent who were raised in the US were brought up. I tend not to refer to myself as ‘Tyrolean’ here in Europe (I live in England, and visit Italy frequently), because people (especially Italians) misunderstand what I mean by it, and they think I mean Bolzano or Austria. When I say ‘Trentino’ it identifies the land as it has been known for centuries, without any reference to nationality or politics. But that is my preference, and most of my American cugini still proudly call themselves ‘Tyroleans’.
I really look forward to connecting with you (and your ancestors!).
P.S.: I just realised I had your email address, so I’ve just emailed you, too.