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  Alberta's Italian Community:  Research

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Early Years

Interwar Period

World War II
and After

Cultural Life 




by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.

 1  |  2  |  Page 3

Even the Ross and Appleby books, however, include useful information that allowed the development of an inventory of Italian names. Ross provides excellent information on accidents and injuries, and names the individuals involved. There is a pathos and irony in this-the people mentioned are the ones who died. Some Italian names came from this, as well as a 1917 society set up to help the Hon. C.W. Cross, a Liberal, in his election campaign (there was a Cross Club for the men and a Ladies Cross Club). Joseph Ciciarelli translated remarks of the speakers into Italian indicating the Italian communities early alignment with the Liberal party.1 In the Appleby book, accidents are mentioned and deaths but no names are included. Rolls of Honour, such as this one from Canmore, Alberta, are useful as research tools.  Image from Edna (Hill) Appleby's book, Canmore: The Story of An Era. Names came through the social and recreational life of the community including bands, hockey, baseball and other activities. As well, Rolls of Honour for enlisted men in the First and Second World Wars provided additional names. This is important information in view of the sensitivities about "enemy aliens," in both world wars but particularly with internment in WWII.

Various popular histories and specialist resources were consulted including: 

  • Howard and Tamara Palmer, Alberta: A New History (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1990)
  • Alex Johnston and Andy A. den Otter, Lethbridge: A Centennial History (Lethbridge: The City of Lethbridge and The Whoop-Up Country Chapter, Historical Society of Alberta, 1985)
  • W. John Koch, Martin Nordegg: The Uncommon Immigrant (Edmonton: Brightest Pebble Publishing Co. Ltd., 1997) 
  • David Jay Bercuson, Alberta's Coal Industry 1919 (Calgary: Alberta Records Publication Board, Historical Society of Alberta, 1978)
  • Catherine Cavanaugh & Jeremy Mouat, Making Western Canada: Essays on European Colonization and Settlement (Toronto: Garamond Press, 1996)
  • Aritha Van Herk, Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta (Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 2001).

For those interested in further research, please click here to consult a more comprehensive, but by no means complete, list of references.  

The Celebrating Alberta's Italian Community website is a new way of doing community history. The site will continue to grow as more research is done and, also, as family members from around the world undertake genealogical research and find their way to the site and contribute information. The site is a work in progress and, while every attention has been paid to provide as accurate a record as possible, it cannot be perfect. All overviews include a framework of information on important political and economic events. Only enough information is included to provide a basic context for understanding the immigration patterns, work record, family, cultural and social life of community members. Above all, the website is a "celebration."

The flexibility of the World Wide Web has allowed the Heritage Community Foundation to develop an extremely large website including the following materials:

  • National, provincial and regional profiles
  • Family histories and photo albums
  • Digitized oral histories available through audio bytes as well as transcripts
  • Photographic material drawn from museum and archival collections as well as a range of community publications and private sources
  • Audio and video materials from a range of sources
  • Culture and lifeways thematic materials
  • Profiles of Italian societies and their activities
  • Virtual tour of Edmonton's Little Italy
  • A searchable database for select articles from the Il Congresso newspaper, based in Edmonton but with a provincial focus
  • A range of external links to relevant materials.
  • The most important aspect of the site is that immigrants speak in their own voices.

The project research team includes Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D., David Ridley, Kim Palmer, Cindy Ewanus and Michael Flewwelling.


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Copyright © 2002 Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D. and The Heritage Community Foundation

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