The Domenighini family and the Gamboni brothers

From Mark Lesina, United States

In response to Louise Radcliffe

Mark LesinaI can provide you with just a little information on the Domenighini family. Since in my family’s photo album there were several photos of the Domenighini family, I did contact them to see what they may have known about my family. From speaking with the descendents of the Domenighini family and doing research, I believe my family and theirs were just friends, sharing a common homeland.

There is an interesting article on this family, which I have included. The family lived both in Northern California / Southern Oregon where their paths crossed paths with my family. They too would come to my grandparent’s ranch in Del Norte for celebrations and when my family ranched in Oregon the families were neighbors. The descents of these families still live in Southern Oregon and Northern California today.


The families of Silvio & Nancy (Gamboni) and John & Mary (Sarina) Tamagni of Humboldt County, California

In the 1930 census both families (Silvio & Nancy (Gamboni) Domenighini and John & Mary (Sarina) Tamagni), were listed as living in the District 40 – Rohnerville, of Humboldt County.

From the book on Humboldt County comes this bio on Silvio Domenighini.

SILVIO DOMENIGHINI.-The Alps region in Switzerland has sent many substantial settlers to California, who have won success in the various lines of business they have chosen. Among these we find Silvio Domenighini, who is engaged in dairying near Fortuna. He was born in Vogorno, Canton Ticino, September 26, 1877. His father Bartol owned a farm at Vogorno which he operated until his death. By his union with Severina Anselmi, who still resides on the old home place, he had seven children, as follows : Olivia, Mrs. Gambonini, and Angelina, Mrs. Cordo., reside in Ticino; Silvio, of whom we write.; Salvatori, Charles and Bartol, reside in Coos county, Oregon, and William lives near Ferndale.  Silvio received a good education in the schools of his native place, after which he continued to assist ‘his parents until the age of twenty, when he enlisted in the Swiss army, serving •the required time, when he was honorably discharged, after which he concluded to come to California to better his con­dition, and in January, 1899, he arrived in San Francisco. The first seven months were spent in a dairy in Marin county, and in August of 1899 he came to Humboldt county. He was employed for eighteen months in the dairy of Joe Moranda at Loleta, after which he followed the same line of work in Salmon Creek and Ferndale, when he drifted into Coos county, Oregon, where he spent two years, after which he returned to Loleta and leased a dairy ranch of forty acres from Bartol Moranda, having a herd of twenty cows and con­tinuing there for a period of five years. In November, 1913, he leased the pres­ent place of forty-five acres, just south of Fortuna, devoted to dairying. This place is fertile bottom land on which he raises large crops of feed for his twenty-six milk cows and is making a decided success. In Ferndale, September 23, 1911, occurred the marriage of Mr. Domen­ighini with Nancy Gamboni, also a native of Vogorno, and they have two children, Silvio Fred and Severina Emma.

Brothers to Silvio’s wife are recorded as:

GAMBONI BROTHERS.-Among the dairymen on the island near Ferndale who are meeting with merited success we find Alfred and Bartol Gamboni, who came hither from Switzerland and fully appreciate the oppor­tunities offered men who are willing to work and apply themselves closely. Their chosen occupation is the dairy industry, in which they are meeting with deserved success. The brothers are natives of Vogorno, Canton Ticino, Switzerland, the eldest brother, Alfred, having been born in 1883. He remained on the home farm until 1903, when he came to California, being employed on a dairy in Marin County until 1908, and then came to Hum­boldt County. He continued in the dairy business until December, 1910, when he formed the present partnership with his brother Bartol. The latter was born in 1887 and received his education and training in the public school of Vogorno. It was on October 23, 1907, that he came to California. Besides being employed on a dairy he was also engaged in driving a milk wagon in San Francisco until July, 1909, when he came to Humboldt County. As has been stated, Alfred and Bartol Gamboni formed a partnership in December, 1910, for the purpose of carrying on a dairy business of their own, and rented their present place of seventy acres on the island, stocking it with a dairy herd. They have been prospered in their undertaking, milk­ing forty cows, to which number they are continually adding, and their business generally is growing steadily.  The brothers are enterprising and progressive business men, being well and favorably known, and are liberal, open-hearted and honest in all their dealings.

4 thoughts on “The Domenighini family and the Gamboni brothers

  1. Hi,

    Thank you do much for this information. Does anyone happen to know what the name DOMENIGHINI might mean? Dom means sun in Italian, and sol (sun) in Swiss. There is also The Dom, a mountain in the Swiss Alps. I understand that there are a mixture of languages around the Ticino area, but just a clue of the name meaning would be great.

    Thank You,


  2. Hello Louise:

    The name Domenighini probably means “a small person named Domenico.” Domenico and Domenica were extremely common Ticinese first names. Often last names were a combination of first names. The ending “ini” often means “small.” The “igh” was probably added to make the name easier to pronounce.

    There is also a family in Sant’Antonino named Domenghini, but they would not be related to the Domenighini family of Vogorno as the villages are too far apart.

    Tony Quinn

  3. Hi Mark,
    I am the great grandson of Dominique Buzzini of whom you have written in your posting regarding the Swiss in Del Norte County, California. Dominique’s parents were Gottardo and Rosa (Domenigoni) Buzzini. Is it possible that Rosa was somehow related to the Domenighini’s or were there two families from the same region with very similar surnames?

  4. Hello Harry

    More than likely they are two different families – I did look in the book of names – “Patriziati e Pratrizi Ticinesi” by Flavio Maggi – basically years ago names came from certain villages and were associated to a village. Some names come from multiple villages.

    Buzzini is from Broine Verzasca, as Lacy mentioned before, but as Regina mentioned Dominique comes from Ossernone and the name Domenigoni is also from this same village. While Domenghini is from the villages of Malvaglia and Vogorno.

    “Vergeletto is a municipality in the district of Locarno in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland. In the Middle Ages Vergeletto belonged to the Onsernone Vicinanza and to the squadra of Russo. In 1803 the municipality of Vergeletto also included the municipality of Gresso, both municipalities separated into independent municipalities in 1882. Vergeletto was part of the parish of Russo until 1757, when it became an autonomous parish.”

    I believe one of your cousins had replied earlier – I suggested that she look at the photo of the Blue Front Saloon and see if she could confirm the identify Dominique or his brother in the photo of the saloon.

    All the best

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