I am the Genealogist for the Freiberg family of Switzerland. I have followed some of our collateral lines which include Levi and Guanella.
I wanted to share some of the information I have obtained on the GUANELLA family. I have additional information on this line in Italy. Of specific interest, is that a member of this family has been BLESSED by the Catholic Church (first step toward Sainthood) .. he is Blessed Luigi Guanella. Blessed Guanella was born, lived, and died in Italy. His parents are Lorenzo Guanella (1800-1874) married Maria Bianchi about 1826 (1806-1879) thirteen children.
There has been some discussion here regarding Thomas Guanella. I have not attempted to trace his particular descendency in the Guanella family, as my interest in him is peripheral. I am interested because he married into OUR line. His wife, Catherine Levi, ties into the Guanella family DIRECTLY through her mother, who was a Guanella. It is for that reason, that I delved into Genealogical research of this family, and it is her line, which I have traced.
If this information is of interest to anyone out there, perhaps I will make a second post showing the family of Thomas Guanella and Catherine Levi in America.
Following is the history (accumulated to date) of her mother which will take you back eight generations of the Guanella line, in Italy. I do not mind sharing but would appreciate acknowledgement if you use this material in your own histories. As my mother always said, "Give credit where credit is due". Thanks.
Freiberg Family Genealogist
Name: Lorenzo Levi 2
(Explanation Lorenzo is the 2nd generation and his father was Lorenzo1)
Birth: born in early 1800's, in Fraciscio di Campodolcino, Como, Italy;
Married: in Italy about 1831-32 (first child born c. 1833),
Died: c. 1849 (see Obituary of wife), in Fraciscio di Campodolcino, Como, Italy; buried in Italy.
Parents: Lorenzo Levi and Maria Bianchi
Pat GP: Not found
Mat GP: Not found
Spouse: MARIA ORSOLA (Mary Ursula) GUANELLA 8
Descent: Lorenzo7, Tomaso6, Ludovico5 Tomaso4, Luigi3, Tomaso2, Ludovico1
(Explanation: Mary is the 8th generation descendent in this family and her line of descent is shown)
Birth: 26 Feb 1824, in Como, Italy (See Obituary)
Other Marriages: md (2) before 1860, possibly in St. Paul, Ramsey, MN, to Joseph Trussoni, from Campodolcino, Como, Italy.
Died: of old age, age 98, on 10 Apr 1902, at the farm in Cleveland township, Le Sueur, MN; buried at St. Henry church, Le Sueur, MN.
Parents: Tomasa Lorenzo Guanella and Maria Orsola Buzzetti
Pat GP: Ludovico Guanella and Maria Trussoni
Mat GP: Not found
1) Anthony Levi c. 1833 Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Anthony farmed in Genoa, Vernon, WI. Married: Maria Teresa Angelina Zaboglio , widow of Silvio Buzzetti, in Genoa, Vernon, WI. Died: 11 Jun 1882, Genoa, Vernon, WI; buried in the St. Charles cemetery in Genoa, Vernon, WI. No children of his own but he raised her three children.
2) Mary Levi c. 1834, Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Married: Joseph M Huonder, perhaps by 1854 (child born c. 1855); 7 children. They lived in Stillwater, Washington, MN for a time and then moved to St. Henry, Le Sueur, MN. Died: March of 1902, Cleveland, Le Sueur, MN; buried St. Henry cemetery.
3) Catherine Levi 04 Aug 1836, Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Married: Thomas Guanella, 22 Jun 1857, at St. Michaelâ€™s Catholic church in Stillwater, MN; 13 children. They resided in Stillwater, Washington, MN for a time then relocated to Camp Lincoln (near Amery), Polk, WI. Died: 18 May 1911, of a stroke, at the age of 79, in Amery, Polk, WI.
4) Antonette â€œNettieâ€ Levi 26 Jul 1838, Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Married: William Francis Henry Curti, 22 Jun 1857, at St. Michaelâ€™s Catholic church in Stillwater, MN; 12 children. They resided in Stillwater, Washington, MN for a time then relocated to Camp Lincoln (near Amery), Polk, WI. Died: 19 Sep 1912, in Amery, Polk, WI.
5) Dominique Levi born in Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Her birth date is not certain, hence her birth order in this family, is surmised. Married: Agustus E Destafani, year and place not known. They resided in Stillwater, Washington, MN; 4 children. Died: Date and place unknown (There is some evidence she returned to Italy.)
6) Thomas Levi born c. 1842 (28 in 1870 census) in Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Resided in Stillwater, Washington, MN; then Camp Lincoln, Polk, WI, and then to St. Henry, Le Sueur, MN. Never married, no issue. Died: on 05 Apr 1913 Princeton, Mille Lacs, MN
7) Lawrence Levi born 12 July 1846 in Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Married: Lucy Ellen Kelley on 10 Aug 1873 at St. Maryâ€™s Catholic church, Stillwater, Washington, MN; 11 children. Resided in Stillwater, Washington, MN; then Camp Lincoln, Polk, WI, and then to St. Henry, Le Sueur, MN. Died: 11 Feb 1904 in St. Henry, Le Sueur, MN; buried in St. Henry cemetery
In about 1831, Lorenzo Levi and Maria Ursola Guanella were married, probably in or near Campodolcino. Lorenzo was the son of Lorenzo and Maria Bianchi Levi. Not much more has been located in his Genealogy. I have located several older Levi families in Campodolcino, but I have been unable to determine which of them he descends from.
Seven children were born to this union, in Italy, when the family decided to emigrate. Lorenzo died "when their youngest child was three", which would place his death circa 1849.
Mary was born 26 Feb 1804 in what was then, the province of Como, Italy. Mary was the descendent in a very old family from the "Guadera" of Fraciscio di Campodolcino, Como, Italy. Guadera, is the name of the ancient landsite where the Guanella family resided in Italy. (*See my Genealogy of her forefathers for more information on the Guanella line.)
After her husband's death, Mary decided to continue with the plans to immigrate with her children.
Early history of Genoa, Wisconsin indicates there were early settlers from Campodolcino living there. Lombardian families with the surnames of Levi, Trussoni, Buzzeti, Bianchi Monte Bella, etc. were living in Genoa. They were probably writing home and encouraging others from Campodolcino to join them in America. Our Levi family immigrated and I figure they arrived in America about 1857.
Mary initially settled in Stillwater and later, with son Tom, they moved to Camp Lincoln, Polk, WI. About 1875 they moved to the St. Henry community in Le Sueur, MN. She and Tom lived in a Log Cabin there until son Lawrence built a farm. At that time they moved into the farm. Mary resided with Lawrenceâ€™s family until her death almost twenty years later. Mary died at age 98, on April 10, 1902 at the Levi farm in St. Henry. Two of her children preceded her in death (Anthony and Mary). She had forty-three grandchildren, fifty-two of whom survived her.
Last First Age/Sex Occupation WhereBorn
Levy Henry 27/m laborer Italy
Levy Maria 57/f "
Trussoni Mary 25/f "
Levy Catherine 5/f "
Levy Thomas 19/m laborer "
Levy Lawrence 14/m "
Paigo Henry 1/m Minn
* Notes: Unknown who Henry Levi and Mary Trussoni are. Henry Paigo is a member of the Paggi family. Catherine would marry William Curti, and his sister was married to a Dominic Paggi; perhaps Henry was their son and visiting.
Obituary of Mary Ursula â€œMaryâ€ GuanellaOver the river - Mrs. Mary E. Levi, died yesterday at 11 o'clock a.m. at the home of her son Lawrence in Cleveland township, aged 98 years, 1 month, 21 days. The subject of this sketch was born in Coma, Italy and moved to this state some thirty five years ago: afterwards, lived in Amery, Wisconsin and about twenty five years ago, came to the old homestead, where she has ever since lived and died. Grandma Levi as was familiarly called, was a true type of a Christian woman, ever striving to eliminate the sorrows and cares of those around her and doing good as good ought to be done. Thomas and Lawrence Levi of Cleveland township, Mrs. Thos. Guanella and Mrs. William Corty of Amery, Polk Co. Wisconsin, children of the deceased besides a large number of grand children and great grand children and a host of friends and neighbors mourn the loss of this estimatible lady. The funeral will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m. from the Catholic church at St. Henry. Rev. Father Kartiger officiating. We extend sympathy. - Le Sueur County Leader - April 17, 1902
Another Obituary of Mary Ursula â€œMaryâ€ GuanellaMary Ursula Levi died at the home of her son Lawrence in St. Henry, April 10, 1902. She was born in Italy, Feb 26, 1804, and there married to Lawrence Levi, who died in 1849. She was left a widow with six small children, the youngest being three years of age, and came to Stillwater with her family in 1855, where she lived for twelve years, then removed to Amery, Polk County, Wis., in 1868, where she lived til 1878. She then moved to Minnesota with her son Thomas and with whom she lived till 1884, since then she has been living with her two sons, Lawrence and Thomas. She leaves four children, Mr. Thos. Guanella and Mrs. Wm. Corty of Amery, Wis., Lawrence and Thomas of St. Henry, her oldest son Anthony having died in Wisconsin nineteen years ago and her daughter Mr. Mary Hounder of Le Sueur Center preceded her to the grave just three weeks. She had forty-three grandchildren, fifty-two of whom survive her. The funeral was held from the St. Henry Catholic church, Friday, April 18, Rev. Father Castiger officiating. The remains was followed to its last resting place by a larger number of friends and relatives. Name of Newspaper and date not shown on clipping
Guanella's In America .. by Martina Guanella All our lives, my sisters and I were very much interested in a letter from Italy, which was in my father's old desk. It was written in the Italian and we were unable to read it. Exactly why it had been kept all through the years we can only explain, by saying that it was a part of God's plan. A few years ago a copy of this letter was sent to the Sisters at St. Mary of Providence School. The Sisters kindly had it translated for us and this translation proves that indeed, we are related to Don Luigi Guanella. The letter was written by Don Luigi to our grandfather, Thomas Guanella in 1879. Thomas was an uncle to Don Luigi. Thomas Guanella had come to America, probably in the early 1830's. When I read in the life of Don Luigi that he was disappointed that he was unable to contact any of his relatives, we he visited the United States in 1912 and 1913, I thought it would be interesting to ascertain as nearly as I could, the location of those relatives at the time. Only two of Thomas Guanella's children were still living then. Sister Martina, who had been Theodora Guanella, was a Benedictine nun located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. At that time she was probably at Hot Springs, where she had founded the Sister's Hospital. She would have been delighted to have heard from Don Luigi. In later life, when she read anything about him, she would write and tell us about it. She died in 1945, after more than fifty years a a nun. George W. Guanella was living near Little Rock, Arkansas at that time. His wife had died in 1911, and he had taken his two small sons, George and Thomas, to a Sister's Orphanage. He worked for the Sisters to be near his children. George W. Died in 1915. His son George, still lives in Little Rock. His son Thomas, died in 1954, but his wife and two sons still live in Little Rock.
My three sisters and I, were living with our mother in Council Bluffs, Iowa at that time. Our father, Francis H. Guanella, had died in 1899. Frances lives in Brooklyn, NY at the present time. The other three of us, Clementine, Mary, and myself, live in Omaha, Nebraska. None of us ever married and so we are still Guanella's. Our grandfather's oldest son, Thomas, lived in Georgetown, CO. There are still a number of his descendants living in Denver and Empire, Colo. We know very little about them. One of these is Byron Guanella, adopted son of Anna Guanella, a granddaughter of Thomas' second. He has two daughters. Our grandfather had a sister who came to the United States also. However, we know noting of where she may have lived or whom she may have married. Our grandfather, Thomas Guanella died in 1883. None of his children spoke or read Italian, and so contact with the relatives in Italy was lost.
History of Our Ocean Tripby Sr. M. Martina, O.S.B .. Trip taken by Sr. M. Martina (born Theodora Guanella) In 1863 when I was 3 years old, my father (during the Civil War) being in poor health, suffering from Tuberculosis, he decided to take a trip to California by Wagon. There were 30 persons in the tail. My father and mother, one grown up sister, married brother, his wife and two children, two other brothers, who attained manhood, and two young brothers one 9 years, another 6 years. Also several friends, making a party of 30 persons.The roads were bad and very rough. It was very painful for my father to ride, he preferred walking. He could be traced from the blood sputum, he raised from his lungs. Four horses here hiked to each wagon and a grub box was stored under each seat on the wagon. I liked to sit with my brother Ralph. He would place the four lines in my hands, while he got out to lunch. Of course I felt I was a big driver, holding those four lines. How good that lunch tasted to hungry travelers, we leave to your imagination. When we arrived at San Francisco, my father sold the teams and wagons. We then entered the ship on the ocean.
How wonderful those Mexican men looked in their little row boats. They had baskets of sea shells large and beautiful, the outer parts rough, the pretty inner parts were smooth and lovely shades of red and pink. When we held them to our ears the roar of the ocean sounded. They never lost that sound unless broken. I kept those shells many years. They have disappeared lately, guess we gave them to friends. Those Mexicans would throw a rope up with the price of those baskets of shells tied to it. If you wanted a basket you tied the money on the rope and they then sent up the basket of shells. We traveled by water to New York City, visited an aunt, my mothers sister who never came West, but raised her family in New York City. Well this is all for the present. My brother Tom remained in Colorado My father and family returned to Council Bluffs and all remained there until the death of my father. After my father's death my brother Frank and I visited my brother Tom's family in Colorado. A year later I visited an old friend who had lived with us in Council Bluffs as her husband had gone to the Black Hills in search of gold. He obtained a nice ranch at the foot hills, built a log cabin on it, and sent for his wife and young son. I visited this old time friend and enjoyed the novelty of ranch life and I gained improved health. But I missed Sunday Mass so obtained a horse and a little cart and drove to Sturgis to Mass. I noticed many orphan children in church with the sister. Then I thought this was a wonderful work these sisters were doing. As Fall came, I thought it will be cold driving 12 miles to Church. I called on the sisters and asked if I could board with them for the winter. Mother (Angela) said we do not take grown persons, only children for borders, but why don't you take the veil and remain? Oh I said you would not want me I could never work and pray as you folks do. She said you could try. On my way back to the ranch Ilost the road twice so busy thinking of Convent life. A few weeks later I wrote Rev. Mother I could like to enter. So arrived on St. Martin's day and received that name at Profession.Sr. M. Martina, O.S.B.
Some Other Primary Sources:
**Father Louis Guanella, The Life, the Spirit and the Works, by Leonardo Mazzucchi, S.C., Translated by Fr. Peter DiTullio, S.C. from the original in Italian, Published by the House of Providence, Como, Italy, 1920.
**La Nostra Storia, Numero Unico (Life of Don Gouigi Guanella) Brochure published by the Daughters of St. Mary Providence.
**Louis Guanella 1842-1915, Life of Louis Guanella, paperback 25 pages, by Ann Ball, Ten Books & Publishers, Rockford, Il (Modern Saints, Their Lives and Faces Series)
**In addition I must mention correspondence, most notably with Alan Guanella who is the founder of the Blessed Don Guanella family association in America, and with the Sisters of St. Mary Providence, in Chicago.