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Giovanni Alfier, Udine

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Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby rosecarm » 07 Nov 2005, 10:05

Looking for info on Giovanni Alfier, born approximately 1880, most likely in Polcenigo. Died Oct. 4, 1917 in siskiyou county, California. Founded the Weed Bakery in 1906 in Weed, Ca. after purchasing the land in 1905. He died in the bakery during a fire. His brothers were also founders of the bakery and their names are possibly Valentino and Guiseppe. He may also have had a cousin Luigi Alfier. The owners of the bakery are listed in local history sources as V Alfier and V.O. Alfier. However, Giovanni's proper name is given in the county death records. He was 37 at the time of death. He was married and I do not know the name of his wife. He had children and I do not know who they were either. I am preparing for the centennial celebration of the bakery's founding. It is still in existence and still producing the same breads. I would like him to receive proper credit for his efforts, finally. For this reason, I need FACTUAL statements as to who his family was, where they came from, and where they went. Unfortunately, there are those in our town who would like the Italian history to be a bit more dramatic than it is and I need to work fast. Anyone with any connection to the Alfiers, either by research, relation, or general knowledge, please help. Thank you.
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby mfjp » 07 Nov 2005, 12:33

How sad!
-----------
The reason why I can't find Giuseppe and Giovanni's Alfier's 1910 Census record... is because there was a good chance that they were in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada??? It's quite cold there... I'd run to California too...

Cousin Luigi is also off to Sudbury (nickel mining town) to join his cousins Guiseppe and Giovanni...

Here is Luigi's manifest, mentions that his wife is Teresa Zanchet? in Italy

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 0514%2ETIF

page 2 see line 5, column 18

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 1252060160
----------------------------------------------------------------
Here's an earlier ship record for Luigi - off to Victoria, Ontario, Canada to join cousin Giovanni.

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 2482040127

First Name: Singi (Luigi)
Last Name: Alfier
Ethnicity: Italy, North Italian
Last Place of Residence: Udine
Date of Arrival: Dec 05, 1905
Age at Arrival:  34y    Gender:  M    Marital Status:  M  
Ship of Travel: La Gascogne
Port of Departure: Havre
Manifest Line Number: 0007

Giovanni's manifest posted below somewhere does state he is a miner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
City of Polcenigo
http://en.comuni-italiani.it/093/031/
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby mfjp » 07 Nov 2005, 12:39

There is also a Victor Alfier...

the 1910 census record is hard to read, I will try another source...

Name: Victor Alfier
Age in 1910: 25
Estimated birth year: abt 1885
Home in 1910: Edgewood Twp, Siskiyou, California
Neighbors: View Results
Race: White
Gender: Male

mfjp

This 1910 census looks like a good one!! There are a group of people living as boarders all working in a bakery.

http://img118.imageshack.us/img118/7342 ... 9107lw.jpg

mfjp
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
further...
Victor Alfier found in:
Census Microfilm Records: California, 1920

http://img118.imageshack.us/img118/5351 ... 9207qh.jpg
Age:  35     
Gender:  M     
Race:  W     
Birthplace:  ITALY     
State:  CA     
County:  SISKIYOU     
Locale:  EDGEWOOD     
Series:  T625     
Roll:  149     
Part:  1     
Page:  59A     
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby mfjp » 07 Nov 2005, 13:45

Ship record for Giovanni

First Name: Giovanni
Last Name: Alfier
Ethnicity: Italy, N. Italian
Last Place of Residence: Polcemza, Italy
Date of Arrival: Feb 01, 1909
Age at Arrival:  29y    Gender:  M    Marital Status:  M  
Ship of Travel: La Gascogne
Port of Departure: Havre
Manifest Line Number: 0005

page 1

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 0045%2ETIF

Manifest mentions that he is a miner, off to San Fran, California. Wife, Maddalena in Italy is next of kin.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

On page 2, it mentions that he would be joining his brother Valentino in CA

page 2
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby rosecarm » 07 Nov 2005, 20:37

mfjp wrote:How sad!
-----------
The reason why I can't find Giuseppe and Giovanni's Alfier's 1910 Census record... is because there was a good chance that they were in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada??? It's quite cold there... I'd run to California too...

Cousin Luigi is also off to Sudbury (nickel mining town) to join his cousins Guiseppe and Giovanni...

Here is Luigi's manifest, mentions that his wife is Teresa Zanchet? in Italy

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 0514%2ETIF

page 2 see line 5, column 18

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 1252060160
----------------------------------------------------------------
Here's an earlier ship record for Luigi - off to Victoria, Ontario, Canada to join cousin Giovanni.

http://ellisisland.org/search/shipManif ... 2482040127

First Name: Singi (Luigi)
Last Name: Alfier
Ethnicity: Italy, North Italian
Last Place of Residence: Udine
Date of Arrival: Dec 05, 1905
Age at Arrival:  34y    Gender:  M    Marital Status:  M  
Ship of Travel: La Gascogne
Port of Departure: Havre
Manifest Line Number: 0007

Giovanni's manifest posted below somewhere does state he is a miner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
City of Polcenigo
http://en.comuni-italiani.it/093/031/


Excellent links, thank you very much. However, I see Victor on the census records, but I don't see a Giovanni in the Census records. How can I connect the Giovanni coming to see Valentino in Redding Calif. (a few miles away from here) with my Giovanni? Also, while I can find the death record for Giovanni in the Siskiyou County index, he is listed in the newspaper covering the fire as V. Alfier. Also, he does not appear to be buried, (what was left of him) here in siskiyou County. How remote a possibility is it that the family took him back to Italy for burial? Victor was in Italy with wife and kids visiting the folks when the bakery burned. He had left Giovanni in charge of the bakery at the time. It would have taken Victor sometime to get back. First record of his return was 13 days later when he began rebuilding the bakery out of cement. It is haunting that I cannot find where Giovanni is buried, nor can I find an obit. Our local history book states however that a large funeral was performed attended by many family and friends. Ideas? I hate to bring this up, but at that time, 1905-1917, the Italian population was somewhat segregated here and not well documented. In fact, most of them lived in block A of the company town-the reason for the bakery. Apparently the Alfiers wanted more freedom than an Italian could obtain working on the company side of town. So the powers that be did not always accurately report names, dates and spellings. It is too bad.
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby DonnaPellegrin » 07 Nov 2005, 20:59

I am going to hazard a guess that the surname in Italy would have been Alfieri. This is a common surname throughout all parts of Italy. I have the Alfieri name in my ancestry.
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby mfjp » 07 Nov 2005, 21:38

DonnaPellegrin wrote:I am going to hazard a guess that the surname in Italy would have been Alfieri. This is a common surname throughout all parts of Italy. I have the Alfieri name in my ancestry.


Hi Donna,

I too noticed the name Alfieri... which seems to come from the southern parts of Italy...

Rosecarm... mentioned earlier on the name of the town Polcenico... (UDINE)
Looking for info on Giovanni Alfier, born approximately 1880, most likely in Polcenigo.


The records show that surname , exact spelling Alfier is from the north...

Rosecarm, I just read your post ... and will review it further...
I did find a census record of a John Alfier, but he was Greek, and had a restaurant in Oakland... year of birth was very close..., but I can't find a census record for Giovanni in California... and my gut tells me that he was in Canada... and may have returned to California at one point?? All the names that you mentioned - all connect to each other - from what I gathered from the manifests....

You are sure that they were from Polcenico?? There is another town in Italy (Placinico??)... going on memory here...which also sounds very much like Polcenico.

While going through census records - Siskiyou area ... I did notice something very obviously ODD... these records were only a page long...very few people on one sheet with hardly any (or no) Italian- European names listed...

Will review further... sounds like quite the event you are putting together...
I would like him to receive proper credit for his efforts
, well said.

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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby mfjp » 07 Nov 2005, 22:13

rosecarm wrote: Excellent links, thank you very much. However, I see Victor on the census records, but I don't see a Giovanni in the Census records. How can I connect the Giovanni coming to see Valentino in Redding Calif. (a few miles away from here) with my Giovanni? Also, while I can find the death record for Giovanni in the Siskiyou County index, he is listed in the newspaper covering the fire as V. Alfier.


If you can, you should try to find out the name of his wife... on Giovanni's manifest, it mentions a Maddalena. This information would really help. Can you find a Maddalena Alfier in an index somewhere?

Also, he does not appear to be buried, (what was left of him) here in siskiyou County. How remote a possibility is it that the family took him back to Italy for burial?


I don't know... my guess... transporting a body by ship to Italy would be very hazardous. My understanding is if a person died on ship, he/she was wrapped up and buried at sea... to prevent contamination during a long journey.

further edit On second thought.... I can see your point here... "what was left of him"... at this point there wasn't much left of him, as awful as it sounds... and could he have been transported to Italy??? Now you've got me thinking....

Victor was in Italy with wife and kids visiting the folks when the bakery burned. He had left Giovanni in charge of the bakery at the time. It would have taken Victor sometime to get back. First record of his return was 13 days later when he began rebuilding the bakery out of cement.


Please find out when they were rebuilding... maybe another manifest for Victor can be located.

It is haunting that I cannot find where Giovanni is buried, nor can I find an obit. Our local history book states however that a large funeral was performed attended by many family and friends. Ideas?


What about the newspapers?? Would they carry information about the funeral? Have you contacted the churches in that area? Maybe a library would have have a collection of historical newspapers.

If he had a large funeral, then he probably had a good burial too.. what if his name Giovanni is a middle name... and not a given name?

I hate to bring this up, but at that time, 1905-1917, the Italian population was somewhat segregated here and not well documented. In fact, most of them lived in block A of the company town-the reason for the bakery. Apparently the Alfiers wanted more freedom than an Italian could obtain working on the company side of town. So the powers that be did not always accurately report names, dates and spellings. It is too bad.


I noticed it too as mentioned earlier on.

Unfortunately, there are those in our town who would like the Italian history to be a bit more dramatic than it is and I need to work fast.


I am no way related to any of the people you are researching... but am viewing all this from documents and not hear-say. Maybe other forum members can add or provide opinions too..

Once again, I look forward to hearing back. Quite the family history here.... but we really need to find out the name of Giovanni's wife...

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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby brujaojos » 08 Nov 2005, 03:32

Hi all,

I have to throw my two cents in. I found this in the 1910 census.

Name: John Alfier
Born in Greece
Occupation Waiter
Age in 1910: 28
Estimated birth year: abt 1882
Home in 1910: 6-Wd Oakland, Alameda, California
Race: White
Gender: Male
Image Source: Year: 1910; Census Place: 6-Wd Oakland, Alameda, California; Series: T624; Roll: 71; Page: 115B; Enumeration District: 133; Part: 1; Line: 71.

I have this Giovanni

Name: Giovanni Alfieri
Born in Italy
Occupation Laborer
Age in 1910: 34
Estimated birth year: abt 1876
Home in 1910: San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Race: White
Gender: Male
Image Source: Year: 1910; Census Place: San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Series: T624; Roll: 102; Page: 203B; Enumeration District: 314; Part: 2; Line: 26.


I also found this Alfredo who was an owner of bakery, but it was in San Francisco. He also had a son named Luigi living with him.

Alferi, Alfred
Age: 70
Gender: M
Race: W
Birthplace: ITAL
State: California
County: SAN FRANCISCO
Locale: SAN FRANCISCO
Series: T624
Roll: 97
Part: 2
Page: 126A

I'm still poking around.
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby brujaojos » 08 Nov 2005, 04:16

Hi,

Throwing in another two cents.

If there was a fire, then there has to be some type of documentation on it. You can possibly find it as Front Page News in the Newspaper of that town or county.

The Death information could be in the Obits and the Death Notices. Also, if you know the year of death, you can send away for the death certificate.

There are Land records and Probrate records that you can try.

I would also check with the Historical Society in that area as well as the County Archives.

Here are a couple of links for you to try

http://www.cagenweb.com/eb/siskiyou/

http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/

http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~shannara/

http://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/

http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/about_us/

I hope this helps,
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby rosecarm » 08 Nov 2005, 04:32

Wow this is great. I can't believe the help I'm getting here. Let me address
some questions I'm getting here.
1.The Alfiers went back and forth to Italy at least once a year. These people were not poor although they traveled steerage. From what I can see, the wives with the possible exception of Victor remained in Italy.
At that time 1905-1930, the town of Weed was divided both racially and politically. OUr section was called Shastina-not Weed. Most Italians lived in Block A of the company town of Weed- a lumber town. The others lived in Shastina, seperated from the company town by one street. The ones in Shastina were all well to do businessmen who owned their own businesses- the Brunelli's, Alfier's, Giacomelli's, and later the Brunello's. Paul Brunello came over in 1926, bought this bakery from Alfier, ran it for a while and sold it to the Peruzzis. He then went south to the S.F. Bay Area and opened up Le Boulanger- a chain restaurant that has been very successful. The Alfiers were able to to business with Brunello because they came from the same part of Italy- not the town but the general region. In Shastina, Italians from the south very rarely associated with Italians from the North. Also, most southern Italians here worked as laborors for the company town and the Northerners were prosperous. This story might help some of you researchers on Alfier as it explains the importance placed first on: Alfieri vs. Alfier, and also why it is somewhat difficult to find records here that fit. Even within the cemetary we find some segregation. So discrimination here happened several times over: American vs. Italian period and Italian vs. Italian.
2. A search of the Siskiyou County Land Records produced some interesting facts: 1890-1920 no Italians "apparently" owned land. This is patently false as this whole section I'm in was deeded to different Italians, including the Alfiers who are listed on my title deed when they purchased the lot for the bakery from a rancher named Sullivan in 1905. But for some reason, the Siskiyou Land Index does not show them owning anything at all. The same for the Brunelli's, Gubetta's, Aiello's and so on. For some reason, the Aquistapace's and Mazzei's show up, but that might be an accident. Because of this, I cannot necessarily trust county records.
3. We live in snow country high up on an active volcano- very much like the Alps. Unfortunately, this means that our cemetaries experience quite a bit of movement and not all graves are located or still even here. Some have quite disappeared.
4. The bakery fire in 1917 was started by arsonists. Coal oil was thrown around the flour warehouse and lit. This of course makes Alfier's death a murder and criminal. This was never addressed by our own and only constable at any time. Not unusual in 1917. We had one Greek family here- two brothers who owned a coffeeshop across the street from the bakery. They fared much worse than the Italians- one named Frank was stabbed in the middle of the street and left to bleed to death in front of witnesses. No arrests were made- no one was interested enough. So ends any connection the Alfiers might have had with the Greeks. And with it goes any idea that newspaper accounts of Alfier's death and burial are reliable.
5. Witnesses claimed that all that was left of Giovanni when he died were his teeth. Ugh. But if that it is the case, it would be possible to transport said teeth back to Italy where his wife was for burial.
6. Another town mentioned at ellisisalnd.org was Polcemza. Never able to locate that town and I think it might be a misspelling for Polcenigo. Did anyone notice that Luigi was listed as Singi at elliesisland.org?
7. I was told by a very old timer that the Alfiers were from Northern Italy, north of Venice. I was also told they were Venetians. Don't know if that helps. Also that the Brunellos were venetians and I know Paul Brunello was from Tirese or Trise, something like that. I'm so ignorant of Italian it is a joke I own this place.
Hope some of this helps.
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby rosecarm » 08 Nov 2005, 04:35

mfjp wrote:
rosecarm wrote:



Victor was in Italy with wife and kids visiting the folks when the bakery burned. He had left Giovanni in charge of the bakery at the time. It would have taken Victor sometime to get back. First record of his return was 13 days later when he began rebuilding the bakery out of cement.


Please find out when they were rebuilding... maybe another manifest for Victor can be located.

Maria


Ah, the fire in which Giovanni died took place on October 4, 1917. The rebuilding out of cement blocks began by Victor on October 17, 1917. A quick turn around from Italy, huh?
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby mfjp » 08 Nov 2005, 06:43

It's wonderful when someone comes back and gives us more information about the subject town and people! There have been other posts-topics submitted at this forum by people... who slowly but surely filled us in the rest of the story... and it adds so much!

It makes ancestral research very exciting... everyone learns from events such as this... these are real people!

I've already read your reply about 3 times... and will probably read it again when all is quiet here... kids and a router going on here...

What I can suggest is... review all the material that was posted here, check out the links, data etc. You will also see that I posted a link for the town of Polcenigo and "Singi's" manifest earlier on... another Ellis Island terrible transcription... but we're used to that here.

I think there is more to discover... and will continue to research this.. I will also check out the info Trish posted too.

The paesanos of Polcenigo also ended up in Rossland or Trail, British Columbia, another mining town... probably earning about $2.50 a week (which I hear was a good wage), and if you had darker skin, $0.50 per week...

I would like your opinion on one thing though... your thoughts about the Alfier's being in Canada...(Sudbury, Ontario)... :!:

Thanks for your reply.
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby rosecarm » 08 Nov 2005, 10:32

mfjp wrote:
The paesanos of Polcenigo also ended up in Rossland or Trail, British Columbia, another mining town... probably earning about $2.50 a week (which I hear was a good wage), and if you had darker skin, $0.50 per week...

I would like your opinion on one thing though... your thoughts about the Alfier's being in Canada...(Sudbury, Ontario)... :!:

Thanks for your reply.
maria


Thanks for your response. It is encouraging to find people interested in these people as I am. Their accomplishments here have been rather ignored or bypassed, especially by those who came later. Sometimes I feel silly trying to discuss someone who lived such a time ago, so this is very good for me.
About the Sudbury thing: I really don't know. It is possible that they are connected as cousins or something. I noticed on one manifest for Luigi Alfier that he stated he was meeting his uncles Fridare, Guiseppe and Giovanni in Sudbury. He also stated that he was going to meet his cousins Guiseppe and Giovanni in Cal. ???
Another manifest for Giovanni Alfier states he is meeting his brother Valentino in Redding Calif. Tht makes sense to me as Redding would have been the biggest closest town to here. The train did come as far as Dunsmuir only 10 miles away, but he might have had some reason for meeting Valentino in Redding instead, some 40 miles away. There is also another major Italian bakery in Redding, not as old as this one, maybe 40 years old. It could have been established earlier in another Redding location I suppose. Also, there was a good supply of industrial equipment and tools in Redding that we just don't have here, even today. Also much nickel mining took place between here and there at the time. There are old nickel mines on Shasta Lake 19 miles north of Redding.
When the oven we have in the bakery was built in 1906 by the Alfiers, the contractor J.P. Glaser was hired out of San Francisco. I am told he brought his own workman with him as he found no one in Weed he felt could do the job. He also hauled I don't know how much fire brick up here from the S.F. Bay Area by train- we are that isolated. This may be one of the reasons the Alfiers spent so much time in S.F. and Redding. When the bakery burned down as a wooden structure eleven years later only the ovens were standing and undamaged. So Victor Alfier again did the only reasonable thing- he rebuilt the bakery around the ovens and again hired contractors from S.F. to come up and update the oven to kerosene. Prior it had burned on wood but coal oil and coal had to be imported. In 1926, Paul Brunello updated it to gasoline and we have recently returned it to wood. The point being- there were many reasons for the Alfiers to be in S.F. and Redding and listing such on their manifests.

It is interesting what you say about British Columbia. We had the opposite situation here. When Long bell Lumber closed it's Louisiana plant and decided to expand here, they felt they could not use the local workforce (predominantly Southern Italian here) to man the skilled labor jobs in their new mill. So the manager stated he was going to recruit the cream of the crop black workers from Lousiana. Long Bell Timber paid their train fare here and built a huge boarding house in what is now called Lincoln Heights, some two miles a way from A block which was Italian and B block which was Mexican. When the black laborers arrived they were paid a higher wage than the Italians with seniority, significantly higher. This led to a long strike in 1922 by the Italians in which they lost everything. Because their houses were on company land, the company simply removed the houses. Bummer. I myself live in one of the houses that belonged to what the company then referred to as the "undesireables". It is one of the oldest houses in town, it is in A block and was actually picked up by the company and moved across the street off of their land. Incredible! Nice house though. First time I saw it a year ago, I thought it was a chalet or something in the Swiss Alps. Built by a family called Marchi.
Anyway this labor story,I believe, is a very rare occurrence in which the black man fared much better than the others around him. Only in Weed!
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Re: Giovanni Alfier, Udine

Postby rosecarm » 08 Nov 2005, 10:45

Actually, I should correct something I said earlier: Paul Brunello was from Treviso, Italy, just down the road from Polcenigo, not Triso. This agrees with the old timer gossip that the Alfiers would not do business with anyone outside their Italian "neighborhood".
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