(March 2003 -- Concord, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My grandfather Angelo Voto and my grandmother Margherita moved
to America in the early 1900s. My grandfather and his brother
moved to Silverton, Colorado where they had a gold mine! My grandfather
died in the mine and my grandmother moved to Oakland, California
where her sister and husband (Uncle Pasquale) lived. My father
was raised in Oakland, California where there was an Italian community
mainly of Piemontesi and Genovesi immigrants. My father's name
was Peter Michael Dominic Vota. My father's sister was Teresa.
What led them to their destination (relatives
already there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
They thought they were going to make it big in mining. I think
my grandmother was very disappointed to leave a lovely place like
Torino to move to a mining town like Silverton, Colorado.
Did they emigrate to another location before
or after (Argentina, France, England, etc.)?
Didn't move to another country.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were
they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
Stayed in Oakland, California. My father belonged to the Liberty
Club and Columbo Club. The Liberty Club had mostly Piemontesi
people. My father was a butcher and was in a grocery store with
other Italian men. The neighborhood in those days, 1940-1950,
was very close and the Italians in the Temescal area (of Oakland)
supported each other.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions
-- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
My father was a great cook and we had all the wonderful Piemontesi
foods: Bagna Cauda, etc., which I learned to cook and enjoy to
Did your family return home to visit or to live
after the initial emigration? Did they maintain contact with family
My father went back to Italy in 1985 and tried to find any relatives
he could find and wanted to learn about his father. He put together
the genealogy as best he could piece-meal, but couldn't really
find anyone living. He was sure he was out of relatives. The priest
at the local church in Rivarolo (Canavese) helped us best but
demanded more and money! Although Vota is not a common Italian
name, one place you will find it is in Rivarolo. Many Votas there.
Are we all related? Who knows?
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?
I am an American, but I never realized how Italian I was until
I went there and it felt like home.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was
your experience like?
I didn't get to Rivarolo or Torino because I was on a tour. I
would very much like to, if I could find someone to go with!
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain
Yes. I am 56; I have brothers and sisters but I am the only one
who is interested in my ancestry.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis
or any other organization?
I belong to Piemontesi nel Mondo.