(March 2003 -- Oakland, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated (self,
parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My grandparents emigrated from Casalborgone (Torino) and Montiglio
d'Asti (Asti) in about 1892. Their names were Giuseppe Ferro and
What led them to their destination (relatives already
there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
They emigrated to San Francisco to work.
Did they emigrate to another location before or
after (Argentina, France, England, etc.)?
They remained in San Francisco.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were
they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
They settled in an Italian community comprised of natives of many
regions of Italy. I do not think they were members of any Piemontese
group, but they were members of Italian (and business) groups.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language, culture,
history, cuisine, etc.?
They spoke Piemontese and Italian at home and at work. Their English
was strongly inflected by Italian. Their diet remained in many ways
Piemontese -- polenta was a common food and rosemary a common seasoning.
Did your family return home to visit or to live
after the initial emigration? Did they maintain contact with family
After the First World War they returned to Piemonte to live but
they remained only 18 months before returning to San Francisco.
One of my grandfather's brothers came to San Francisco to work for
several years but returned permanently to the Torino area.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian
I identify myself more as Piemontese-Californian than American.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte?
What was your experience like?
I have visited cousins in the Torino area several times. They are
generous, lively, happy people, with comfortable houses and splendid
diets. They live in a beautiful part of the world. Their children
seem quite happy. I wonder whether those who came here were, in
the end, any better off than those who remained, despite the poverty
in Italy in the early 20th century and the horrors of the Second
World War in northern Italy.
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please
I have identified over 100 members of my family, all descended from
(or married to spouses who are descended) from one set of great-grandparents,
here and in Piemonte. There are somewhat more of us in Piemonte
(68) than in California (55).
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija
Piemonteis or any other organization?
I am a member of the Piemontese nel Mondo.