(February 2003 -- San Francisco, CA)
From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated (self,
parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
My parents emigrated from the small town of Cavour, about 20 miles
distant from Torino. Time: second decade of the 20th century. Names:
Joseph and Margaret Ribotta.
What led them to their destination (relatives already there,
hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
Basically in pursuit of the American dream -- what else?
Did they emigrate to another location before or after (Argentina,
France, England, etc.)?
Direct from Italy. No intervening stopovers.
Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were they members
of a Piemontese society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
Parents settled in what was then known as "Little Italy"
-- today, the North Beach district of San Francisco. However, at
the time that district of San Francisco was inhabited chiefly by
Italians from the south of Italy (Sicily, Naples, etc.). The Piemontesi
were a minority among the Italian immigrants.
Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language, culture,
history, cuisine, etc.?
Parents maintained their Piemontesi traditions as much as they were
able. However, the Piemontese dialect was used often in our household.
Since my parents operated a mom and pop grocery store they gradually,
but not completely, became "Americanized."
Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial
emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
Mother made several visits back home to visit sisters and brothers,
nephews and nieces. There was never any manifest desire to return
back "to the old country."
Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian
A question not very tactfully phrased. I am an American, proud of
my Italian heritage.
Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was
your experience like?
I have visited Italy a dozen times, making Torino my home base.
Touring and visiting Piedmont was a continuing delight.
Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain why.
Yes, I possess a document of my family tree which I secured from
the "municipio" in Cavour.
Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteis or
any other organization?
I formerly belonged to the Piemontese nel Mondo but advancing age
has precluded attendance at their meetings and sponsored events.