Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Switzerland to West Marin (Part 1 of 10)

This series of articles is directly from the 'Switzerland to West Marin' articles published in the 'Point Reyes Light' weekley newspaper, for the city of Point Reyes (West Marin County, CA) and vicinity. We don't want this story to be lost, so we are republishing it here. It's highly significant to us, because it represents part of a history of Lombardian people in North America.

Ticino is the southernmost Canton in Switzerland, and the only one south of the Alps. It's root stock population is ethnically and culturally Lombardian. One of the most important events in Ticinese history is the migration to California, estimated at about 20,000 between 1850 and 1930.

California's traditional "Swiss" population had long been almost exclusively Ticinese. Their was once many "Swiss Clubs" in California, as they identified themselves as distinct from Italian-Americans. As "Lombardian-Americans," we consider them to be fully our kindred.

From the Point Reyes Light newpaper:

"Lavertezzo in the Valley Verzasca is typical of villages in Ticino. An Italian-speaking canton (or state) of Switzerland, Ticino lies on the southern side of the Alps. The Light sent reporter David Rolland and photographer Janine Collins to Switzerland and Croatia in April and May to research two of the five historic waves of ethnic immigration to West Marin. Others were from Ireland, Portugal's Azore Islands, and the Mexican state of Jalisco. Next week, The Light's three-part series will discuss the Genazzi, Campigli, Martinelli, Cheda, Dolcini, Lafranchi, and Barboni families. The final week will deal with Marshall's Viliciches and Konatiches and their relatives in war-torn Croatia."

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