From “Adami” in Giumaglio to “Adams” in Fresno

By William J. “Bill” Adams, United States

Silvio Adami (1864-1947), my grandfather that I never met, immigrated from Giumaglio, Canton Ticino to the US. At Ellis Island, NY, his name was anglicized to Adams. He ended up in Fresno County and established an alfalfa dairy and eventually cheese making. He married Mary Ann Doyle, 100% Irish from County Killdare. They had two sons, my father William J. Adams, Sr. (1891-1961) and Leland Adams (1893-1967), my uncle.

My father married Florence (Fiorinza) (1895-1979), my mother who was born at Cugnasco, the youngest of 13 children by Filippo Dodini (1848-1924) and Teresa Braghetta (1851-1899). From this marriage, I was born (1917-) at Riverdale, Fresno County as was my brother Gene Adams (1918-1988).

When Mary Ann Doyle died of cancer in 1914, Silvio went back to Giumaglio, reverting back to the last name Adami. There he married Virginia Leoni and started a second family of Marco, Maria, Ida, Alberto and Federico. None of these or their offspring immigrated. Federico married Carmencita Cotti who is the sister of Flavio Cotti, the president of the Swiss Confederation in 1998, the 150th anniversary. Federico and Carmencita visited Marijane and me in San Jose while touring the highlights of California – San Francisco, Carmel, Fresno, Yosemite and Los Angeles.

The other Adami immigrants to California were George Adams (1861-?) to Fresno County and Francesco (Frank) (1902-1985) to King City on a dairy. There, he contracted polio and was paralyzed from the waist down. After two unsuccessful surgeries at the University of California Hospital in San Francisco, he returned to Giumaglio where he had a granite workbench overlooking the summit of the Alps in repairing clocks. Frank spoke good English and was our interpreter when Marijane and I visited the Adami’s in 1960, ’66, ’83, and ’86. Other immigrants were James Adami at Santa Maria and Dario Adami, both distantly related to the Giumaglio Adami.

(This family story was submitted to swissinfo by regular post. The author is not online.)

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