Bonaventura Marini

Bonaventura was born in Voltino, Tremosine, Lombardy, Italy on September 4, 1855.  His mother’s mother was from Ustecchio, a small neighboring village in Tremosine, but otherwise his family is from Voltino for as far back as we know. The town is close to the Austrian border, and Ed Marini says that Bonaventura knew about 7 languages- Italian, Dialect, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English. Ed also recalls that his father Angelo ( Babe) Marini would often jokingly intimate that Bonaventura was an “importer” and that the family needed to get out of the country fast. We believe he may have been involved in smuggling over the border (Trento was Austria), though none of this has ever been verified. On US Census documents he is notated as a farmer and Ed Marini says that in the US he worked grafting known quality fruit shoots on established root stock in a lemon orchard because he had expertise from the similar climate and farm work back in Tremosine, Italy. Additionally, on the most credible and supported passenger list, his occupation is noted as “Miner”. There are many tunnels in his hometown region and perhaps he helped on those projects.  The Strada Della Forra tunnels were completed in 1913, but they were worked on for years beforehand and they employed locals. In regards to immigration, passenger lists and census records notate travel in 1882, 1892, and 1896- this last date highly credible and supported by several documents. Each time he did not travel in 1st or 2nd class, but in steerage as a “single man”. His final immigration passage was with his wife and children at age 40 departing from Havre, France to NY on the vessel La Bourgogne, arriving in New York on June 1, 1896. Records show that he came on that passage with his whole family (at the time); his wife Carolina Zanetti, and his two children Bernardo and Maria Margherita.  Ed Marini says that he first came alone to the US to check it out, established himself on a lemon citrus ranch in Goleta, and then brought his family over; renting a place on the ranch which was near what is now San Marcos High School on Hollister Ave. The Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society does not have any record of him in their naturalization records database which only covers Santa Barbara and goes back to 1906. He died on March 22, 1909 at the age of 54, therefore we believe that he never naturalized (and Homeland Security & Immigration verify this fact). Babe Marini, his youngest child was only about 4 years old when he died. Bonaventura died from pneumonia. There was perhaps an epidemic at the time because Ed Marini says that there were so many deaths at once that he is only on a group death card- not an individual death certificate. Ed saw this information on microfiche at the Recorder’s office in Santa Barbara. He says that there was about 2 dozen names grouped together.  At the SB Genealogical Society there is an inheritance record which states that Bonaventura left behind $2,114.65 and no real property at his death. Ed Marini seems to think that this was a good amount of money back then. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara.

Carolina Zanetti

Carolina was born in Voltino, Tremosine, Lombardy, Italy on September 7, 1865. She married Bonaventura in Voltino in 1887 at the age of 22. On the birth certificate of her son, Bernardo, it says that she was a farmer there. She had her two children Maria Margherita and Bernardo in Voltino, while Bonaventura travelled back and forth between the US and Italy two times (1882 & 1892) before bringing the family over. At age 30 years old, she immigrated to the US arriving on June 1, 1896 with her husband and two children travelling in steerage (immigration details under Bonaventura). Her other two children, Pietro and Angelo, were born in Santa Barbara. She did not ever become a citizen because she didn’t learn to read or speak English, which was a requirement. On the 1900 & 1910 census, it is marked that she did not speak English, only later censuses say that she could speak English. The 1940 census says that she had an 8th grade education, but research shows that responses to the education question were often inflated. Carolina was 44 when her husband died in 1909. She never remarried though she lived to be 86 years old. The family initially lived on a ranch which was located near what is now San Marcos High School. After Bonaventura died in 1909, they continued to rent in Goleta with Bernardo as head of the household. Between 1926-1927 they purchased land at 2510 Hollister Avenue and had a house built by Alex D’Alfonso which they moved into. The 1930 census says that they owned the 2510 residence and that it was worth $9000. Carolina lived there for the rest of her life with her son, Babe Angelo and his wife Amelia and eventually their two children, along with Babe’s brother Pietro. 2510 Hollister Avenue became 2510 De La Vina Street in the 1950s. She did not have to work outside of the home. She was a housewife and homemaker, while her sons were farmer, banker/cook, and machinist. Carolina died in 1951 due to Senility.

Angelo Mario (Babe) Marini

Angelo Mario (Babe) Marini was born in Santa Barbara, CA on December 29, 1904. His parents were Bonaventura Marini and Carolina Zanetti. He was the youngest of four siblings; in descending order, Maria Margherita (Mary), Bernardo, Pietro and then himself- hence the name “Babe”. The two oldest, Mary and Bernardo, were born in Voltino, Tremosine, Italy and he was the second one born in the US after Pietro. Angelo was just 4 years old when his father died from pneumonia. Census records show that he had an 8th grade level of education but Edward Marini, his son, says that he only attended school to the 5th or 6th grade. Babe spoke both Italian and English. On voter registration records for 1930-1932 he, along with his wife and brothers, are registered as Republican. He worked for 48 years at Westwick Iron Works (W.I.W.) as a machinist, and had skills as a blacksmith, welder, builder and winemaker. At age 24, in 1929 Babe married Amelia Varni at Our Lady of Sorrows; the church he helped rebuild (with structural steel by Westwick Iron Works) after the 1925 earthquake. During the depression, W.I.W. kept their doors open with reduced hours for their employees, and Babe never missed a paycheck during this time. W.I.W. closed their doors when Babe retired after 48 years on his 65th birthday, December 29th, 1969. He and Amelia lived at 2510 Hollister Avenue (later changed to De La Vina Street in 1954) with his mother Carolina and his brother Peter. They had two children; Edward was born February 10, 1940 and Margaret was born July 1, 1945. Around 1950, Babe built the back house on that property, doing everything except the electrical and all interior and exterior stucco work. When his mother died in 1951, Babe had a meeting with his sister Mary and asserted his sole claim to the property (she having a husband and living elsewhere) and continued living there for the rest of his life. Ed and Margaret grew up without any grandfathers, and their grandmother Carolina that lived with them only spoke Italian. Growing up, the adults only spoke Italian when they didn’t want Ed or Margaret to know what they were planning, while Ed and Margaret were not allowed to speak in Italian at all. Babe outlived his wife by just two and a half years. And Ed Marini always felt that his dad died of a saddened/broken heart, meaning that he didn’t feel much like living without his wife Amelia. In 1977, at age 72 Babe died of Congestive Heart failure due to Arteriosclerotic heart disease. He was a life-long smoker and his granddaughter, Sacha Marini, remembers that he always had yellowed fingers from rolling his own cigarettes.
(Biographies provided by Sacha Marini, descendant of Bonaventura Marini)