(July 2003 -- Chicago, IL)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My mother and father migrated from Albiano Torino, Italy. My father's
name was Joseph Avignone. My mother's name was Maria Rolla. I
don't know the names of grandparents.
What led them to their destination (relatives already there,
hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
Father migrated to the Chicagoland area (Roseland community) because
there were people from (the) Torino area here. (He) came for employment
and a better life. Began working for the Illinois Central Railroad
at their Burnside shop in Chicago as a tinsmith and repairing
railroad cars. Burnshide shops was located at 95th Street and
Cottage Grove in Chicago. The factory closed in 1930 at the start
of the great depression. (It) moved to Paducah, Kentucky. Father
was then unemployed until he retired many years later.
Did they emigrate to another location before or after (Argentina,
France, England, etc.)?
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were they members
of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
They settled amongst the Piemontesi in the community of Roseland
in Chicago. My father belonged to the Piemontesi Society which
is no longer active.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language, culture,
history, cuisine, etc.?
Yes, my family did manytain many Piemontesi traditions, language,
etc. But also stressed that we were Americans and to love our
Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial
emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
My parents did keep in contact with their relatives in Italy through
the mail. My father did go back to Piemonte in 1927 to settle
property affairs and also to visit his family and relatives.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?
My dad always said that we children are Americans and be Americans
but respect and love the country my parents came from: Piemonte,
Italy. I identify myself as an American and a background of Italy
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was your
Yes, my wife and I did visit my relatives in Piemonte in 1968,
but not being able to speak Italian it was a difficult visit.
They couldn't speak English. But it was wonderful for me to visit
Albano, Piemonte where my parents were born.
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain why.
I never studied Piemontese genealogy. Why? I don't know.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteisa
or any other organization?
Yes, I belong to Piemontesi nel Mondo. Years ago I belonged to
the men's Piemontesi Lodge which disbanded many years ago.
Note: Mario Avignone is a columnist for Chicago's Fra Noi monthly