Letters from America

 

 

Second letter

 

 

Transcription (German and Ladin)

English translation

 
 
The letter from Norbert Dejaco in Kentucky USA whose great-grandfather born in Val
Badia emigrated to the US from Urtijei-St. Ulrich. Norbert sent me the letters from My
great-grandfather Alois Kostner.
...
The first letter is dated 21 May 1893 written to my great-grandfather Franz
Dejaco, and signed by Alois Kostner. The second letter is dated 27 May 1898
written to my great-grandfather Franz Dejaco, and signed by Luigi Kostner.
They are handwritten on Alois Kostner letterhead stationary in both German
and Ladin. I was able to get the German script translated by a elderly nun
at the nearby convent, but the Ladin wasn't able to be translated although
we tried even at the University. Whatever you can do would be greatly
appreciated. From the cordial tone of the German translations it would
appear that my great-grandfather and Alois Kostner were friends and artists.
 
In 1847 my great-grandfather, Franz Dejaco, was born in Campill, Tyrol, then
part of the Austrian monarchy. He was the 10th child of a large family of
12 children. He reportedly attended the Institute at Innsbruck and studied
sculpture-art. He possibly did his apprenticeship in St. Ulrich. In 1881
he and an associate, Simone Grosserubacher, left Tyrol and came to the USA
through the port of New York. He established a sculptor shop in Milwaukee
where he sold religious sculptures and wood carvings. It is apparent that
the Moroder family (Josef Theodor) was close with my great-grandfather; they
possibly helped sponsore his business venture in the USA. In 1884 my
great-grandfather married Antonia Thoeny, another immigrant from Tyrol near
Pfunds. They later moved his family and business to the Northern Kentucky
area, and raised a family of nine children, two of whom became Catholic
priests.
 
I have photographs of several religious statues which my great-grandfather
created over the years. Some family members are fortunate to have
individual statues. Over the years the Catholic diocese eliminated many
religious artifacts from the local churches, but there now seems to be a
revival underway. Nevertheless, many of the statues that he created are
gone, and only the photographs of a few remain.
 
When Franz Dejaco left Tyrol his passport listed him as an Apprentice
Sculptor. I don't exactly understand what it took, but he eventually did
achieve his Masters certification, and began signing his works. Despite his
apparent reluctance to answer letters sent by old friends and relatives over
the years, he eventually did respond, and it is known that he sent aid
especially after the World War when Tyrol suffered so much devistation. My
great-grandfather died in 1926.
 
My sisters and I have attempted to journalize many of those early family
events and record them for future generations. We have extensive
information about the American family. During our endeavor we even
contacted an elderly Anthony Moroder, Sr. and he was most helpful. And we
have some information about our Tyrolean relations, but our attempt to
retrieve information is unfortunately hampered by distance and language. We
have often talked of visiting Tyrol as a team for a couple of weeks,
especially Campill, Bozen, St. Ulrich, Innsbruck, etc. to see for ourselves.
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