Maurice Perret: Scholar of the Italian-speaking Swiss

img_1689 by Tony Quinn

The Swiss American Historical Society has just published a new book that was sent to all its members, “Emigrant Paths, Encounters with 20th Century Swiss Americans.”  Among the people portrayed in the book is Maurice Perret, a French Swiss geographer from Neuchatel who was born in 1911 and died in 1996. Continue reading

Carlo Martinoia / Charles Martin: “the wealthiest man in Sonoma and Marin counties”

From Marilyn Longinotti Geary, United States

Carlo Martinoia arrived in San Francisco via the Isthmus of Panama on June 15, 1852. Born in 1829 to a poor family in Cevio in the Valle Maggia, Martinoia began working at the age of 15 as a mason’s helper, first in France, then in Africa.

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Seeking information on the Scettrinis from Vogorno

From Carla Rezzonico, Switzerland

I am looking for information on Giuseppe and Paolo Scettrini from Vogorno, sons of Giulio and Angiolina née Gamboni, who left for America at the beginning of the 1900s. Continue reading

Looking for Cheda relations

From Barbara Reilly, United States

My great grandfather, Gaudenzio Cheda came to California from Maggia around 1860 and had the first dairy ranch. He married Antionia Calzonia and they returned to Maggia several times and had several children.

Gaudenzio’s brother, Pete had a son, Phillip Henry Cheda born in the US traveled to Maggia in 1922 and we are trying to find info on whether he stayed or if there are any Calzonia or Cheda’s that can be traced that I might be related to. My grandfather George Cheda hosted picnics for those living in California from Ticino on our family ranch in Tocoloma, Olema Marin County California. I can not id anyone in the photos.


The Californian letters of Silvio DeBernardi

From Natasha De Bernardi, Ticino

Between 1880 and 1914, 27,000 young people from Ticino emigrated to California. Silvio Debernardi (14.1.1873 -13.7.1954) was one of them. This book ( contains 61 letters written and received by my great grandfather Silvio during his years in California, from 1891 to 1901.


The book is in English with the original Italian transcription printed at the end of each letter. Sixty-one images are included in the publication.

Seeking info on Rotanzi family of Peccia

From Marilyn Longinotti Geary, United States

I am searching for information on the Rotanzi Family of Peccia. Three sons of father Luigi Rotanzi left in the mid-19th century. Francesco went to Australia in 1855 and became a manager of a gold mining operation. Continue reading

JB Monaco: “The Dean of North Beach Photographers”

From Dick Monaco, United States

There were five siblings who emigrated from Verscio to the United States starting with Louis who emigrated in 1859.

Louis was the pioneer and first started work in the mines at Lancha Plana in 1859. Then he moved to Virginia City and Gold City in approximately 1862. He was in several businesses in Nevada and started a photo gallery there in 1869. Continue reading

The Monighetti story continues

barb_mullen2by Barb Mullen, Australia

The Monighetti family story continues and here we explore aspects of the adult lives of Kit and Carlo Monighetti’s children. Every parent wants their children to have a life that is an improvement on theirs. Continue reading