(January 2003 -- Healdsburg, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated (self,
parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My grandfather, Cesario Carpignano (1884-1947) emigrated from Montechiaro
D'Asti. He left Montechiaro in 1904 (he was about 22 years old).
He had two sisters and three brothers who all remained in Montechiaro.
My grandmother, Pierina Morezzi emigrated around the same time and
she was from Biella. Not too many details about my grandmother.
What led them to their destination (relatives already there,
hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
Cesario hoped to find a better job. In Italy he was working for
the army. He was an official. He wasn't poor or starving. His parents
were shoemakers -- even though there is a discrepency here -- some
relatives say his parents were shoemakers and some other relatives
deny that. It was also a bit of an adventure for Cesario. Pierina
was a seamstress in Biella and she was working in NYC as a seamstress
when she met Cesario and they married.
Were they part of a migration chain?
No they were not part of a migration chain. Cesario was alone when
he left and so was Pierina.
Did they emigrate to another location before or after (Argentina,
France, England, etc.)?
No. Only America. First N.Y. and the N.J.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were they members
of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
No.They settled in West Milford, N.J. and they were not members
of a Piemontesi society.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language, culture,
history, cuisine, etc.?
Cesario and Pierina bought many acres in Northern N.J. and started
an Italian (Piemontesi) Restaurant called Villa Carpignano. Therefore,
the cuisine was maintained in the Piemontesi tradition as they would
serve the clients the Piemontesi fare. The language was maintained
to a degree but many times, they would combine broken English and
Italian to form another dialect -- Italo-English.... The history
was not maintained but some of the culture -- the singing of Italian
songs, the food, etc. - was.
Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial
emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
Never Cesario wanted to go back for a visit, but he died some months
before. He wrote to his family to keep in touch, but not too often.
Cesario was Luigi Pelissero's uncle and Luigi (who still lives in
Cossombrato/Montechiaro D'Asti) told me that Cesario wrote once
a year since Cesario didn't have a telephone.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was
your experience like?
Yes, about four times. I was delighted to meet my "new"
cousins who treated us royally. We got along with the Pelissero
family so well -- and we had so much in common: both Lisa and I
are language professors, my sons and Lisa and her brothers are all
very well educated and they had much in common. It was wonderful
to be there and I felt very much "at home."
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain why.
Yes, a little -- Luigi Pelissero wrote a genealogical tree for us
but there were many dates missing. Too much time went by since then
and too much has been lost.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis or
any other organization?
No, unfortunately, I do not belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo,
Famija Piemonteis or any other Italian organization. I am a Spanish
professor so I have concentrated in the Spanish area.