Angelina Tinetti was my mother's mother's mother. When I found her birth record in the Civil Records of Torre Canavese, Torino, Italy I was surprised to find her name at birth was Angela Margarita Tinetti. Angelina is a familiar form of Angela. To my knowledge she was always called Angelina by her family. Her father had an Aunt Angela for whom she was likely named. She was born in the family home in Valia, a small community part of Torre Canavese, Torino, Italy. This is in Northwestern Italy, not far from the Alps to the north and France to the West. She was the daughter of Giovanni Tinetti and his second wife, Catterina Zanotti-Cussio. At the time of her birth Giovanni had five children by his first wife and four children before her by his second wife. There was only one more after Angelina. Her parents are listed as "contadini" or peasant farmers. Family data says that they grew and sold herbs.
In 1885 Angelina's older sister, Rosa, married Louis Bonino and they went to America, operating a Saloon in Norway, Michigan. Rosa's twin sister, Domenica "Minnie" joined them there. Minnie married Pietro "Peter" Peretti. Angelina joined them in 1890. Her brother-in-law paid for her passage and she paid him back by working in the saloon. While doing that she met Frank Stefani, a coal miner who had immigrated from Sporminore in North Eastern Italy (Austria then). They were married in 1891. That is the version of the story that was told by Angelina's children. When I started to research the family I found some descendants of her sister, Rosa. One of them told me a slightly different version. She was told this by her mother who had gotten it from Rosa. It goes: Frank Stefani came often to the saloon and struck up a friendship with Rosa and Louis. He had seen her bring her sister, Minnie, over. He was looking for a wife and he asked Rosa if she had any more sisters. She said she did but Minnie had been unhappy in her marriage so she didn't want the same for Angelina. So Frank said he'd make a deal with her. He would pay for her sister to come over but they wouldn't tell her. Frank would meet her and if they hit it off they'd marry but if not he would pay for her to return to Italy. Rosa agreed, Angelina came over and on 2 Jun 1891 she and Frank Stefani were married. Louis Bonino signed the marriage certificate as a witness, he signed "Luigi Bonino". According to Ruth's mother, Angelina's family never knew this second story. I don't know if Angelina ever knew it!
Not long after their marriage, Frank and Angelina moved to Comox, British Columbia, where Frank worked in the mines and their first son, Fred, was born. From there they moved to Issaquah, Washington. Their children, John Frank, Edith Rosetta, Adelina Justina, Mary Victoria, Francis Eugene George and Clement Eugene, were born. John Frank died at the age of 5 in 1898 and Francis Eugene George died at the age of 4 in 1908. One of these boys had bright red hair. When Edith's son,Milton,had a son with bright red hair she mentioned this. My guess is that this is an inheritance from the Wegher family of Frank's mother. Edith named her oldest son Lyman Francis for her father and for the second brother who died.
Angelina was a good mother and the family was close. They would all come to the farm in Issaquah every Sunday with spouses and kids in tow. They would have a big family meal. I have a couple letters from Angelina to her granddaughter, my mother. My mother said that they enjoyed her grandmother's letters for their quaint spelling and ways of expressing herself. Here is part of one:
"Issaquah March 4-47
"Dearest grandauther & grandson
"I received your surprising letter from Chicago I could not thinking wo was writing to us from there as I dind recogize your end writeing until I read it and was very glad to hear from both of you. and what please us more is to hear that you and Jack are very happy and try to fello Granpa's foot steps of his young days wen we was like two birds just flying out of mother's nest but Grandpa allway work faytfully at anything onest and alway try to save a little but wat he got he neva made it by the bushuls, at that time the wages was small 2.00 a day of 10 hours was good pay and with good manegment we allway save a little evrething was chiper then and we never take in sports or anything that take our money that he sweet so ard to get and we were glad by our lonesom together like your mother & fathr ave been in ther life together and rasing their famili at the best of their ability. God bless them with grand hope that all of you will succide like we did or better, there is better chances now....
"Now I send you both our best regards & hope that this will find you all well like it leave us.
"For ever you grandma and grandpa Stefani
let us hear about you alway".
Angelina and Frank celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on 2 June 1941. Angelina outlived her sisters, dying on 14 Jun 1947. She is buried in Hillside Cemetery in Issaquah, Washington next to Frank. Angelina had beautiful big brown eyes. Her daughter Edith, had the same. I inherited these as have my daughter, Devin and my granddaughter, Elinor. Part of our inheritance from a lovely woman.