Finding nonna

Guest blogger, Cathy Crenna, writes about her family history research and creating a  family tree for her nonna who was born in Caselle di Altivole, provincia di Treviso, Veneto, Italia. Part 2 will be posted on 4 October.

Catherine Crenna, summer garden, Belleville, Ontario, September 2020

My name is Catherine Crenna. I am Canadian, born in 1953 to an Italian mother Guelphina Giovanditto, and an Austrian-Hungarian/German father, Peter Fischbach.  I live in a lovely part of Ontario where I spend my time gardening, cooking, sewing and researching family history!

My nonna, Angelina Botter, born in 1900 in Caselle di Altivole, Treviso, Veneto, Italia arrived in Canada in 1927 at the age of 27. She landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and travelled to Guelph, Ontario to a marriage arranged by her older sister Onorina who had arrived in Canada in 1926.  The man who was to become her husband, and our nonno, was Vincenzo Giovanditto, born in 1892 in Sannicandro Garganico, Foggia.

Bortolo Botter & Carolina Dametto, Caselle di Altivole, c 1900

Nonna had very few stories to share about her childhood growing up in Caselle.  It was arranged for her to go to Venice at the age of 16 to work creating fine needlework and embroidery for a wealthy Venetian family.  Her two elder sisters Amalia and Onorina also went into service at the age of 16, sending their wages back home to support the family. The poverty and lack of opportunity in the Veneto forced many to leave their home in search of a better life, a common immigrant story.  Some went very far, crossing oceans to the North American, South American, and Australian continents.   Sister Amalia remained behind.  We lost touch with her and her family. Old letters and postcards didn’t provide enough information to find her.  I wanted to find out more about Amalia.  I went searching for zia.

Amalia Botter – Milan, date unknown

Family Tree
The first step I used in researching family history was to create a family tree.  I would recommend you start by gathering information on your family using what you already know.  Look at family records, pictures, old birth and death notices and family albums. Check the newspaper archives in your country and in the country of your ancestor’s birth. Visit  a free service to locate family resting places. Click here to visit

Ask relatives to help fill in the blanks.  Visit grandparents, aunts and uncles and ask about their family stories. Tap into that wealth of information.  Once you have gathered your information, put it together in a tree. The Family Tree will help visualize your family and its connections to other families.

Angelina and Vincenzo wedding, Guelph-Ontario, July 9 1927
Bortolo Botter & Carolina Dametto - family tree screenshot
Bortolo Botter & Carolina Dametto – family tree screenshot

There are many online tools to help build a Family Tree. The largest and most comprehensive free website is Family Search . You can create your family tree and view the family trees of others. and are two of the largest commercial databases for building family trees.  They allow you to create your tree at no charge, but you cannot view other trees or do research on stored records without paying a fee. Also click here for a European focus.

However, your local library may have a subscription to the Library Version of Ancestry that will give you access to all the records for no charge. Some libraries will also help you create your family tree and advise you on where the best research resources are located.

Love of Italian language and cooking
I combine my fascination with Italian cooking and with the Italian language by watching cooking videos in Italian.  Two of my favourites are “The Pasta Grannies” and “Fatto in Casa di Benedetta”

They are fun to watch as well as being educational!

Cathy Crenna
20 September 2020

Insert Italian Text here

Francesco & Margherita Marchioro

We continue the stories of the Veneto pioneers who arrived in Adelaide between 1926 and 1928. The first to arrive were Francesco and Margherita Marchioro with their seven month old baby, Mary.

Francesco and Margherita Marchioro and Mary, arrived in Adelaide on 1st March 1926. They were the only married couple in the Veneto market gardener community who arrived between 1926 and 1928. The other pioneers arrived as lone men. Francesco was 24 years old and Margherita was 21 years when they married in 1925. They came to Adelaide because life in Malo in the province of Vicenza was difficult for most families on the land.

Margherita’s brother had been in Adelaide for about four years and had a terrazzo business and he employed Francesco. In 1927 the family situation changed: Lina was born and Francesco’s younger brother, Vittorio arrived. After some challenging years trying to make ends meet, Francesco and Margherita leased some land on Frogmore Road with Vittorio for market gardens. Francesco continued to work with his brother-in-law because he had severe asthma and could not work in the market gardens. For the first few years Francesco and Margherita and their two daughters lived in the west end of the city and Vittorio lived at Frogmore Road. In her interview Lina remembers that she was six or seven when her mother took her and Mary to Frogmore Road, a tram ride and a long walk to the market gardens on Saturdays and Sundays:

I remember that I used to come down with my mother and my sister Mary to work on the garden but them we’d go home at night … my uncle did the hard work there, heavy work, and my mother helped planting and picking the crop …

Lina, Margherita, Mary, Francesco and Connie in front, Adelaide, c 1943

The family moved to Frogmore Road and lived with Vittorio. In 1938 Margherita and Francesco’s third daughter, Connie, was born. The family transferre to the other side of the River Torrens to Pierson Street while Vittorio and his wife Angelina stayed on Frogmore Road. Francesco had an arrangement with Tilletts Memorials, monumental masons, and polished tombstones from home while Margherita worked 16 glasshouses with the help of Mary, who did not work outside the family.

Francesco died in 1945 when he was 43 years old. Connie was nearly seven, Lina was

Francesco Marchioro’s grave, West Terrace cemetery

18 and Mary 20. Margherita continued to work the market gardens with Mary and also provided accommodation for other veneti including a family from Perth whose father was interned at Loveday.

Lina remembers helping her mother in winter to try and save the tomato plants when there was a frost:

I remember when the frost used to come, Mum and I would be up at 2 o’clock in the morning to wash the frost off the glass because that would have burnt the tips of the tomato plants, so we’d hose them off with the hose water, and that saved the crops, because in those days it was, I don’t know about now, but I don’t see frost around now, but then we’d have lots of frost, frosty weather, and they’d cover the grass with ice, so we had to melt the ice with the water. It was 2 o’clock in the morning you know.

Lina, Mary with zio Vittorio, c 1946

Connie also recalls her mother’s hard work:

… when Dad died, Mum had to carry on with the glasshouses because being the youngest, I was still at school. That was the only thing she knew. Eventually burying her own property also in Lockleys. Then she built her dream home. Then she retired and waited for Dad to call her on his birthday, 28th October 2001, at the age of 97 years.

Lina and Connie have kept in touch with their relatives in Malo and Monte di Malo. Lina made five visits and Connie has been six times.

Lina Rismondo nee Marchioro, Adelaide 2011
Connie Legovich nee Marchioro, Adelaide 2018

Both Lina and Connie spoke in their interviews with pride about their mother – who arrived as a 22-year old, worked hard in her market garden, and lived a very long life in Adelaide. Mary died in 1986. Lina reflects on her parents’ decision to migrate to Australia:  Oh, they thought they’d only stay a few years, only a few years until they’d made enough money to live comfortably (laughs) initially. It didn’t turn out that way …


Madeleine Regan and Connie Leogivch nee Marchioro
23 August 2020



Francesco e Margherita Marchioro con la loro bambina, Mary, arrivarono in Adelaide il 1 marzo 1926. Era La sola coppia degli orticoltori della comunità del Veneto che arrivò dal 1926 al 1928. Tutti gli altri che arrivarono a quell’epoca erano uomini da soli. Francesco aveva 24 anni e Margherita ne aveva 21 anni quando si sposarono nel 1925. Vennero in Adelaide perché la vita a Malo nella provincia di Vicenza era difficile per molte famiglie che lavorava la terra.

Il fratello di Margherita era già in Adelaide per circa 4 anni e aveva un business di terrazzo e Francesco lavorava per lui. Nel 1927, la situazione familiare cambiò perché la seconda figlia, Lina, è nata e il fratello di Francesco, Vittorio arrivò in Adelaide e si unì alla famiglia. Dopo qualche anno durante la depressione, la coppia con Vittorio affittarono terreno in Frogmore Road vicino altri veneti per coltivare verdure. Francesco continuò a lavorare con suo cognato perché soffriva un problema ai polmoni e non poteva lavorare il terreno. Per i primi anni Francesco e Margherita con le loro due bambine vissero nella parte della città ovest e Vittorio visse a Frogmore Road. Nella intervista con Lina si ricorda che quando aveva 6 o 7 anni la madre portò lei e la sorella al terreno col tram e una lunga passeggiata sabato e domenica al posto dove lavorava con Vittorio:

Mi ricordo che andavo con mia madre e mia sorella Mary a lavorare il terreno ma dopo si ritornava a casa al buio … mio zio fece il duro lavoro e mia madre aiutava piantando e raccogliendo il prodotto.

La famiglia, Adelaide c 1943

Nel 1938, la terza figlia di Francesco e Margherita arrivò. La famiglia visse a Frogmore Road con Vittorio prima che la sua moglie Angelina arrivò in Adelaide. Francesco e Margherita e le tre figlie si erano trasferito all’altra parte del fiume Torrens mentre Vittorio e Angelina rimasero. Francesco non stava bene di salute e trovò lavoro con Tillets Memorials (muratori monumentali) a pulire e lucidare le lapidi in casa. Margherita lavorava sempre nelle 16 serre con l’aiuto di Mary che non lavorava in altri posti.

La tomba di Francesco, Adelaide

Francesco morì nel 1945 quando aveva 43 anni. Connie aveva quasi 7 anni, Lina aveva 18 anni e Mary aveva 20 anni. Margherita continuò a lavorare come il terreno e le serre con Mary e provvedeva alloggio ad altri veneti includendo una famiglia da Perth che il marito era internato durante la guerra a Loveday (un campo di internamento circa 230 chilometri da Adelaide).

Lina, Mary e zio Vittorio, Adelaide c 1946

Lina si ricorda che dopo il padre morì aiutò la madre durante l’inverno:

… Mi ricordo quando la brina scendeva, mamma ed io ci alzavamo alle due del mattino per sciogliere il ghiaccio dalle serre perché avrebbero bruciato le punte delle piante di pomodori. A quel tempo scendeva molto la brina durante l’inverno. Scioglievamo il ghiaccio con spruzzi di acqua. Era molto presto alle due del mattino.

Connie anche si ricorda che la madre lavorò duro.

… quando papa morì, era necessario che la mamma continuasse a lavorare perché ero ancora una studentessa di scuola. Quello era l’unico lavoro che conosceva. Alla fine ha comprato una proprietà a Lockleys. Poi ha costruito la casa dei suoi sogni. Poi si ritirata e ha aspettato che papà la chiamasse per il suo compleanno il 28 ottobre 2001 all’età di 97 anni.

Lina e Connie rimangono in contatto con i loro parenti a Malo e Monte di

Lina Rismondo nee Marchioro, Adelaide c 2011

Malo. Lina è andata cinque volte. Connie ha fatto sie viaggi per vedere i suoi parenti.

Nelle interviste tutti a due Lina e Conni hanno parlato con orgoglio della loro madre che, arrivata a 22 anni, ha lavorato duro sulla terra e che ha vissuto una lunga vita. Mary morì nel 1986. Lina riflette sulle decisioni dei suoi genitori di emigrare in Australia nel 1926:

Connie Legovich nee Marchioro, Adelaide 2018

… O loro hanno pensavano che sarebbero rimasti solo pochi anni finchè non avessero guadagnato abbastanza soldi per vivere comodamente. (ride) Ma non è andata così …

Madeleine Regan e Connie Marchioro in Legovich
il 23 agosto 2020


Zampin family tree

Irene Zampin, guest blogger, reflects on her family history and migration. Irene was born in Adelaide and  when she was 15 years old her parents returned to live in Italy.

Reason for researching the Zampin family
The idea came to my mind two years ago when I was putting some photos of my family into frames to put on the wall. I saw that I didn’t have any photos of my father’s parents and I did not know their names. I was surprised and started to research through my cousin, Roberto Zampin.

My cousin had started researching because he was curious to know the origins of the Zampin family and he came to the conclusion that all the Zampin’s came from Pagnano (Asolo). Through the town hall he was able to find a document about the Zampinus family written in Latin dated 1545.

Zampin family, Riese Pio X, circa 1931
L-R: Angelo, Pietro, Rita, Antonio (Nico), Irene’s father

Another incident made me think about my family history. Not long ago my son brought his first photo album and showed me the family tree which had all the names of our family except my father’s parents since at that time I didn’t know them. My son was surprised that I did not know and because I have worked with my cousin on the family history, I am happy that I have the names.

Giuliano, Irene and children, Claudia and Luca, Caselle di Altivole, 1986


I hope that my research into the family history will be useful to my children and grandchildren besides having helped me.

Mario – Irene’s grandson, Caselle di Altivole, 2018


Tommaso, Irene’s grandson, Caselle di Altivole, 2018






Importance of knowing the history of migration in a family
It’s important to understand why people have to emigrate. Their stories give us an idea of how lucky we are if we have not had to go abroad for work or to find enough food to satisfy hunger. Migrants leave their country, traditions and families because they have the need. If we know the reasons why people leave it should help us not to find fault with them or criticise them.

Family photos
I think family photos are very important because if we had not had them, I probably would not have started researching my family. When I look at photos on the website, I am reminded of lots of people I knew when I was growing up in Adelaide and the times we spent together.

Nico Zampin and Delia Simeoni, 25th wedding anniversary, 1971

Why my father emigrated
I always knew why my parents migrated but when they returned to Italy, I was rather young and couldn’t understand why they wanted to come back when life for me, was better there. Certainly, it was not better for my father.

My father emigrated because he was poor and he was sponsored by his brother in Australia. Here in Italy there was no work and he had a family to maintain. They used to laugh about their experience in Australia; rain coming into their tin houses, their use of English and why the Australians could not understand them.

Involvement in the oral history interviews
In 2018 when I asked my Auntie Gilda and Gabriella Antonini if they would like to record an interview for the website, I wasn’t quite sure they would agree. But to my surprise, both of them said yes immediately. I was enthusiastic about the idea and I wanted to hear their stories and I knew I could help with translating in the interview.

Teresa’s first visit to Italy with her husband Luigi and children, Riese Pio X, 1973, L-R: Nico, Dennis, Teresa with Ines, Luigi Mazzarolo, Delia holding Mark, Irene

Role of the website
The website is a great help. It was been most interesting to listen to some interviews and read transcripts and see photos of people I have forgotten. Their adventures reminded me how hard it was even for my parents. When my cousin was researching the Internet, he wrote the Zampin surname and he immediately found a link to the Veneto market gardeners website and he was happy to see all his relatives in Australia.

Irene visits Australia for the first time in 1999, after 32 years, Trevisani nel Mondo picnic, Adelaide, L-R; Teresa, Irene, Arturo Semola, Giuliano Berdusco, Sandra Semola nee Zampin, Luigi Mazzarolo


Irene Zampin
9 August 2020


Irene Zampin riflette sulla storia della sua famiglia e sull’immigrazione

Motivo della ricerca sulla famiglia Zampin
L’idea mi venne due anni fa quando incorniciando alcune foto della mia famiglia da appendere al muro, mi accorsi che non avevo alcuna foto dei miei nonni paterni e che non conoscevo neppure i loro nomi. Rimasi sorpresa e così ho iniziato una ricerca tramite mio cugino, Roberto Zampin.

Roberto iniziò la ricerca curioso di conoscere le origini della famiglia Zampin e venne alla conclusione che tutti gli “Zampin” provenivano da Pagnano di Asolo. Tramite il municipio è stato in grado di trovare un documento riguardante la famiglia”Zampinus” scritta in latino e datato 1545.

Zampin family, Riese Pio X, circa
L-R: Angelo, Pietro, Rita, Antonio Nico)

Un altro episodio mi ha fatto pensare sulla storia della mia famiglia: non molto tempo fa mio figlio, Luca, mi portò il suo primo album fotografico dove c’era il disegno di un albero genealogico con tutti i nomi della nostra famiglia eccetto quelli dei bisnonni materni Zampin. Non erano stati inseriti poiché allora non  conoscevo i nomi. Mio figlio era sorpreso da questo fatto e fu così che contattai mio cugino.



Giuliano, Irene, Caludia and Luca, Caselle di Altivole,

Oltre ad aver aiutato me, spero che la ricerca sulla storia della mia famiglia sia utile ai miei figli, Luca e Claudia,  e ai miei nipoti, Tommaso e Mario.

Mario – grandson of Irene, Caselle di Altivole
Tommaso, grandson of Irene, Caselle di Altivole,







L’importanza di conoscere la storia dell’emigrazione in una famiglia
E’ importante conoscere per quale motivo la gente emigra: le loro storie ci danno un’idea di quanto siamo stati fortunati a non farlo per lavoro o trovare cibo per saziare la fame. Gli emigranti lasciano il loro paese, le loro tradizioni e le loro famiglie per bisogno. Se solo conoscessimo il motivo per il quale la  gente emigra, ciò ci aiuterebbe a non pensare a colpe o a criticare.

Foto di famiglia
Le foto di famiglia per me sono state molto importanti, perché non avendole non avrei fatto probabilmente la ricerca. Quando scorro le foto sul sito, mi ritorna in mente molta gente che conoscevo nella mia crescita ed il tempo trascorso insieme in Adelaide.

Nico Zampin and Delia Simeoni

I motivi per i quali mio padre emigrò
Ho sempre saputo il motivo per il quale i miei genitori emigrarono ma ritornati in Italia, – ed ero abbastanza giovane – non capivo la volontà di tornare, quando la vita era lì, per me, ed era migliore. Certamente non era migliore per mio padre.

Mio papà emigrò per povertà, aiutato con la sponsorizzazione di suo fratello già in Australia. In quel tempo, in Italia non c’era lavoro e lui aveva una famiglia da mantenere e qui ridevano quando pensavano alla loro esperienza in Australia: la pioggia che entrava dal tetto di lamiera della loro casa, il loro modo di parlare l’inglese ed il motivo per il quale gli australiani non capivano la loro parlata…

Coinvolgimento nelle interviste orali
Nel 2018, quando chiesi a mia Zia Gilda (Simeoni) e alla mia amica Gabriella Antonini, se fossero d’accordo nel registrare un’intervista per il sito, non ero abbastanza sicura che avrebbero aderito. Ma, a mia sorpresa, entrambe risposero immediatamente di sì. Ero entusiasta dell’idea e volevo sentire le loro storie, sapendo di aiutarle con la traduzione delI’intervista.

Nico, Dennis, Teresa con Ines, Luigi Mazzarolo, Delia con Mark, Irene. Caselle di Altivole,

Il ruolo del sito
Il sito è di grande aiuto. E’ stato molto interessante ascoltare alcune interviste e leggere le trascrizioni, vedere le foto di gente che avevo quasi dimenticato. Le loro avventure mi ricordavano quanto fossero difficili anche per i miei genitori.

Quando mio cugino fece la ricerca in internet e scrisse il cognome “Zampin”, immediatamente trovò un riferimento e un aggancio al sito del Veneto market gardeners, e felice di vedere i suoi parenti in Australia.

Adelaide, la prima visita di Irene dopo 32 anni, Teresa, Irene, Arturo Semoloa, Giulano Berdusco, Sandra Zampin, Luigi Mazzarolo

Irene Zampin
il 8 agosto 2020