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Frank Francone
(January 2003 -- Denver, CO)

From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated (self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My Italian ancestors were born in and emigrated from San Benigno Canavese (TO). My great uncle, Feliciano Aliberti emigrated on the ship La Normandie from Le Havre France and landed at New York on April 11 1887. My grandfather Carlo Francone arrived in the U.S. on May 4, 1891 aboard the La Gascogne. My grandmother, Caterina Aliberti came to the U.S. by way of Le Havre France and landed in New York on December 14, 1891.

What led them to their destination (relatives already there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
I believe Feliciano Aliberti heard of the opportunities in the U.S. and decided to move there for economic gain. I think primogeniture was an issue with Carlo Francone. Carlo was not the eldest son of Feliciano and Maria and as such was not entitled to any of the family inheritance. Also I suspect letters from his brother-in-law (Feliciano) encouraged him to emigrate. There were lots of jobs in the silver mines of Colorado. Caterina and her baby (Feliciano/Phillip Francone) followed Carlo.

Did they emigrate to another location before or after (Argentina, France, England, etc.)?

They came via France, but I believe that was just because Le Havre was a convenient port to the Piedmont region. They went to the U.S.A. via Castle Gardens and on to Silver Plume, Colorado.

Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were they members of a Piemontese society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
There were many other Piemontesi in the Silver Plume, Colorado area. Yes they joined the SocietŠ Bersaglieri Di Savoia in Silver Plume. This was a benevolent society made up of Piemontese Italians. Feleciano Aliberti (my great uncle) was president of this society for a couple of years. I have copies of the minutes of their meetings (all in Piemontese) and copies of letters to and from doctors justifying help from the society for accidents, illnesses and deaths.

Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
The immigrant generation maintained their Piemontesi traditions. The next generation (those born in the U.S.A.) could still speak Piemontese and used it to communicate with their parents but they naturally learned English and grew up as Americans. Some branches of the family (those living on farms) continued to speak in Piemontese with their children (second generation immigrants). There were certain traditions which I know of (there may have been others) which were maintained:

My father, Frank P. Francone, who was born in Silver Plume in 1895, and his brothers loved to sing. One of the Piemontesi songs they sang was "Marieme veuj marieme, veuj déje 'na mariolà .."

Each year on Christmas Eve the family would get together and have "bagna cauda". (I assume you are familiar with this northern Italian dish). This tradition (with some modifications) is still carried on today in my family -- third generation Piemontese. (with Scottish, English, Swedish and French mixed in) But it is interesting that the Italian heritage seems to be the one most recognized -- perhaps that’s because the surname is Italian.

Caterina and part of the family retained their religious ties, attending the Roman Catholic Church.

Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
My great uncle (Feliciano Aliberti) returned to Italy to live. I believe he was ill and he died soon thereafter. Caterina returned to visit in the late 1940s, but returned to the U.S.A. where she died in 1954.

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?
No, but I’m planning a trip to San Benigno Canavese in July of 2003.
I am hoping to meet relatives who still live there and to do some more genealogy research. San Benigno Canavese is a small commune about 30 miles north of Torino. The abbey in San Benigno Canavese was formed in the year 1003, and I am looking forward to being there after 1000 years.

Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain why.
Yes, I have and I have written a book documenting what I have found. I am interested in family history and genealogy. I have included abstracts from my book on the Web page.

Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis or any other organization?


Il testo in italiano


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