Pat (Chiono) Smith
(March 2003 -- Ogden, UT)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
Our great-grandparents Domenico Giovanni and Domenica Giacoma
Chiono came to the U.S. in 1883 and settled in Tombstone, Arizona.
Our grandfather Pietro Chiono was born in 1879 in Sale Castelnuovo,
Italy in the Piedmont region. Pietro was left in Italy with his
grandparents for a few years. Domenico and Domenica had three
children in Tombstone, Margarita, Domenico and Giovanni. Then
they all moved back to Sale about 1890 and went on to have several
more children: Alberto, Magdalena and Maria, all born in Sale.
In 1903 Domenico and Pietro came back to the U.S. and again worked
in the mines. They were in several different places: Silverbow,
Butte, Montana, Silverton, Colorado ... and then Pietro went into
Sonora, Mexico to run a mining company (El Cuervo Mines) for some
men that lived in California. Domenico went back to Italy to be
with the rest of the family. Pietro and his brothers Domenico
and Giovanni came over a couple times as their records are found
on the manifest coming through Ellis Island. One of the times
(1903), they came on the ship El Saviore when Pietro was 24 years
old and had $75 and Giovanni age 16 had $45. Pietro was found
in the 1910 census in Colorado. They were in Banamichi Sonora
Mexico about 1912 when Pietro made sure Giovanni had an escort
back to Cananea Mexico. Pietro married my grandmother Concepcion
Tato in 1914.
What led them to their destination (relatives
already there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
The wanted a better life but the West was too "wild"
for Domenica so she wanted to go back home. 1890. Domenico went
back and forth a couple times visiting his three sons. We dont
know what led them to Tombstone for weve not heard of any
relatives living there.
Did they emigrate to another location before
or after (Argentina, France, England, etc.)?
The ship that they came over on, left out of (Le) Havre, but Im
sure they were not there long at all.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were
they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
Our grandfather Pietro Chiono died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Our
father Dominic Chiono was raised with his brother Rodrigo by foster
parents in Santa Clara, California. Afterwards, their mother Concepcion
made sure they made it to the U.S. and found foster parents for
them. She knew she was to die soon. She died in 1924
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions
-- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
Due to the death of both of our dads parents, he was not
raised in the Italian culture, cuisine or language. He did understand
Italian and could converse slightly with it. The foster parents
were Portuguese and they raised him to speak both Spanish and
English. He spoke both languages without a hint of the others
Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial
emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
In the 1970s we were able to find Pietros sister Margarita
Chiono Chiono. She happened to marry another Chiono and our brother
spotted her name on the mailbox in Pacheco California. They were
living only 60 miles apart and didnt know each other existed.
Margarita had spent 60 years searching for her three brothers.
So she was delighted to find Pietros sons. Aunt Margarita
and her husband Antonio Chiono made a few trips back to Italy
and kept in touch with the family.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?
Being raised a Chiono , we knew with an unusual name like that,
we were Italian. Our mother is a 20th-generation American so we
"blended" into the American way. Now my last name is
Smith and my twin's last name is Cortez. So, it is a surprise
to many that we have Italian ancestry in us.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was
your experience like?
I have lived in Sicily, for about six months (loved it and felt
"at home") and visited via a cruise, Rome and Venice.
But have never made it up to the Piedmont area.
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain
Yes, have traced our Piedmont genealogy back to the early 1700s.
Weve been able to find some films at the nearby library
and have found most of our lineage. Some of our surnames from
the village of Sale, Castelnuovo, are: Cima-Sander, Cima, Giacoma-Ghello,
Chiono-Bar, Bontempo, Revello, Giovando, Bertoglio, and Cuinunatto.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis or
any other organization?
No, we have put a Rootsweb Chiono mailing list out on the Internet.
Also, we have our full genealogy on our website www.chiono.net
and myfamily.com. We are also subscribed to the CIMA family web
site. Genealogy is our hobby and we want to explore heritage.