P for PAGOTTO
My maiden name is PAGOTTO….
My father was Luigi PAGOTTO born August 23, 1933 in Azzano Decimo, Pordenone, Italy.
I spent the better part of my childhood wishing I had a different last name. Growing up as a 1st generation Canadian with immigrant Italian parents was difficult, especially since we lived in a very “English” neighbourhood.
As it goes, children can be very mean. My surname was “Potato Pototto” and various other versions. All I ever wanted was a name like Smith, Jones, White etc. It was when I was almost in college that I finally realized that I, like hundreds of other immigrants, made up the fabric of what Toronto was all about. We were a very multi-cultural city and I became proud of my different background. I was also very proud that I spoke English, Italian and French. Not many of my friends could.
PAGOTTO is not a common name even in Italy. It’s regional and mostly in the Trento area of Italy but there are a few pockets of families in southern Italy.
My father emigrated to Canada in 1951 at only 17 years old! Alone. I still have the letter he wrote to his parents upon arriving at Union Station in Toronto, telling them that he was not tired at all and that he would start looking for work the next day! He didn’t speak a word of English but he found work. He worked very hard. He started working in lumber camps in northern Ontario and then went to Flin Flon, Manitoba. There were no social services back then and you just did whatever you could to earn a dollar.
Eventually he settled in Toronto and some of his cousins arrived. He had a flashy car by 22 and was very proud of the fact he sent money home every month to help his family.
After 6 years alone he travelled back to visit his family in Italy. Upon returning, he met my mother on board the ship. They danced at a get together and then went their separate ways. She was 21 and emigrating to Canada with her brother.
As fate would have it, my father and mother were both invited to the same wedding 3 months later!! The rest, as they say, was history.
My father passed away in 2002. I WISHED I had gotten a DNA test from him but there were no such thing like we have now. I think it was only available for solving crimes.
He had no brothers and his father and uncle were dead. His uncle had no children and my father only had daughters.
It’s now only possible to do a Y-DNA test if I go back to a great grandparent and go down the line. THAT should be an interesting email/phone call!
I’ve managed to trace my PAGOTTO family name back as far as Angelo PAGOTTO (born 1755) who married Anna BORGAN. Thereafter, the PAGOTTO surname was given the nickname PAGOTTO detto BORGAN to differentiate from other PAGOTTO families in the records. This was a common practice and actually helped me find him!
He was born in Rivarotta, which is not that far from where my father was born. People didn’t travel around very much back then. One day I hope to go back to the archives in Italy and go back further.