(March 2003 -- Walnut Creek, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated
(self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My parents came from Provincia d'Asti (formerly part of the province
of Alessandria). My father Giovanni Maggiora was born in Quattordio
and immigrated to the U.S. from Refrancore in 1903. My mother
Clara Ghidella (fathers wife) was born in and immigrated to the
US in 1921 from Castello d'Annone (frazione Campanella).
What led them to their destination (relatives
already there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
My father came to the San Francisco bay area where some friends
had come previously. I believe his first job was with the Italian
Swiss Colony in the winery. My mother was a house-wife and occasionally
worked in a fruit cannery.
Did they emigrate to another location before
or after (Argentina, France, England, etc.)?
No, they both came straight to California.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were
they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
Yes, they settled where many Piemonteis lived, but I'm not aware
that they belonged to any Piemoteis club. There were some Italian
clubs in local towns.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions
-- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
The previous generation more or less maintained the Piemonteis
traditions cuisine, but the the majority wanted to be Americans
and many changed their names to American names "Betty, Ruth,
etc." In fact, my father-in-law changed his name from "Giuseppe
Pittavino" to "Joe Pittavin." I guess this was
to appear more American. the history/stories as I remember were
very localized. In their day they probably lived within a radius
of 20 miles their whole lives.
Did your family return home to visit or to live
after the initial emigration? Did they maintain contact with family
My father never did. My mother became ill and had to return to
Italy (after) being deported in 1926 for having become a "Public
Ward" before establishing U.S. residency (five years). My
brother and I went with her; we were 4+ years and 18 months old,
respectively.I returned to the U.S. in 1931,and my brother in
1940. We made several trips to Italy during the years.
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian
American first, followed by Piemonteis and Italian.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte?
What was your experience like?
Each time I returned it was great,seeing school friends,and living
in a small village (six families) in the country even the cow
manure pile smelled good and brought back memories of my childhood.
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please
I have studied my genealogy because wanting to know "where
it all happened" and my five children have seen where their
grandparents lived so that they will know their roots.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija
Piemonteis or any other organization?
I belong to the Piemontese nel Mondo of Northern California, where
we are studying the Piemonteis language.