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Mario Avignone
(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 My father belonged to the Piemontesi Society which is no longer active.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 country.

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 and Piemonte.

Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was your experience like?

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 Italian-American magazine.


Il testo in italiano è in preparazione


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