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

Mattei family of Australia now on Facebook

Barb Mullen, AustraliaFrom Barb Mullen, Australia

Over the last year and a half I have produced monthly newsletters on the Mattei family in Australia, spanning the years 1850 to 1950 primarily. The newsletters, Mattei Matters, covered the lives and families of the original Alessandro and Catherine Mattei nee Mulcahy and their 12 children. 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.

Continue reading

Online book in English about Valle Maggia families

Mark LesinaFrom Mark Lesina, United States

I found a link online ( and have started reading it, and it seems really interesting. It is a book that has been scanned and placed on line by University of Victoria – Melbourne in Australia. Continue reading

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.


Excellent reference work on Ticino

From Marilyn L. Geary, United States

I came across a document on the web that may be useful for researchers who are looking for their roots in Ticino. It’s called the “Annuario della Repubblica e Cantone del Ticino: per l’anno 1859-1860” and it lists all kinds of information about the Canton, the political organization and leaders, the churches and hospitals and professions. Continue reading

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

Mattei family: From Rovanna to Gippsland and married life

Barb Mullen, Australiaby Barb Mullen, Australia

When Peter Mattei was about 5 years old, the family fortunes changed for the better. What was to become the family home, ‘Rovanna’ was a house on many acres of land where the family had fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum, peach and cherry trees. The chestnut so important as a food source in Cevio, especially in times of hunger, was also grown here and two trees stand today on the property in Green Hills, near Blackwood. Continue reading

Does anyone know a Giocomo Canepa or Caneva who emigrated from Losone to Uruguay?

From Pablo Machado Canepa, Uruguay

Our family would like to research our great-grandfather Giacomo Canepa or Caneva who was, according to his marriage certificate, born in Losone. The document is in Spanish since he emigrated to Uruguay in 1875 where all of his descendants were born.

Since he went to America when he was young, we would like to know if there are any relatives there. Continue reading