We Monferrini | Our Stories | Monferrino Diary | History | Language | Gallery
Our Names | Family Album | Links | Bibliography | Turismo | Guestbook| Pagine Monferrine

Theresa Birolo Raso Buickerood
(May 2003 --San Carlos, CA)

From where did your family emigrate and when? Who emigrated (self, parents, grandparents) and what were their names?
Father Giovanni Birolo emigrated October 1913 to San Francisco Bay Area from San Sebastiano Po, Provincia di Torino, age 16. Mother, Margherita Riberi, emigrated December 1919 to Arizona from Stroppo, Provincia of Cuneo, age 18, sponsored by an uncle. In 1921 she moved to San Francisco Bay Area where she met and married my father. He was working in agriculture; she was a housekeeper. My father died at age 29 in San Francisco. My mother died in Torino, Italy, age 32. After my dad died, my mom and I returned to Stroppo until her demise.

I went to live with my paternal grandparents i San Sebastiano until my return to Menlo Park, California, where I then lived with my paternal aunt Luigia Birolo Emanuel and my uncle Umberto Emanuel, who also came from San Sebastiano. All of my knowledge of my heritage background is derived from them. I lost track of my mother's parents but I know that they moved to Paris, France and never came to America.

What led them to their destination (relatives already there, hopes of a job at a mill, mine, etc. Please explain)?
The first to come to America was Umberto Emanuel, who emigrated to San Francisco Bay Area (in) 1907, age 23. His sponsor was a Menlo Park vineyard grower, Giovanni Beltramo, with whom he boarded and worked in his vineyards. Umberto returned to San Sebastiano in 1913, married my aunt Luigia Birolo and returned to Menlo Park. They also brought my father with them and they all settled in Menlo Park, San Mateo County. My uncle worked as a gardener, my aunt did housekeeping, my father worked as a handyman and gardener at the Sacred Heart Convent.

Menlo Park has a very large settlement of Piemontesi. Most of the men worked as gardeners. Many were sponsored by Giovanni Beltramo who found them employment as gardeners in large estates. Many had learned gardening at home in Piemonte, working in farming communities. Many of the beautiful gardens of the area in Menlo Park owe their existence to the horticulture skills of Italian immigrants. Piemontese was commonly spoken in the gardens of Menlo Park.

Did they settle among other Piemontesi and were they members of a Piemontesi society (fraternal, mutual aid, etc.)?
There wasn't any Piemontese Society in Menlo Park in the '30s, but there was an Italian-American Social Club, which had a membership of mostly Northern Italians. However, I am a member of the Piemontesi nel Mondo in San Francisco.

Did your family maintain Piemontesi traditions -- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc.?
The Birolo/Emanuel family I grew up in did maintain Piemontese traditions -- language, culture, history, cuisine, etc. Though my aunt and uncle have been deceased for a few years, I still speak Piemontese at any opportunity I have to good fortune to encounter.

Did your family return home to visit or to live after the initial emigration? Did they maintain contact with family back home?
My aunt and uncle did return to Piemonte several times to visit family and I, too, have been there five times, once with Piemontesi nel Mondo.

Do you identify yourself more as American, Italian or Piemontese?

I'm a born American, but have maintained my Piemontese upbringing and often think in Piemontese, then English.

Have you visited your family's town(s) in Piemonte? What was your experience like?
(I've) been to San Sebastiano/Saronsella several times. (I) have several cousins there and also in Torino. I feel very much like a part of the town whenever I visit, especially since I lived there between 5 and 7 years of age and have fond memories of the experience. (I) attended first grade in our small village (in) 1930.

Have you studied your Piemontesi genealogy? Please explain why.
(I) have not studied Piemontese genealogy but would find it interesting.

Do you belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo, Famija Piemonteisa or any other organization?
Yes, I belong to the Piemontesi nel Mondo and have for several years.


Il testo in italiano è in preparazione


©2000-2013 Monferrini in America
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA

We Monferrini | Our Stories | Monferrino Diary | History | Language | Gallery
Our Names | Family Album | Links | Bibliography | Turismo | Guestbook | Pagine Monferrine