Erma Franscioni, and a renewed appreciation for yearbooks

Erma Franscioni, 2nd grade, Gonzales, CA

Erma Franscioni, 2nd grade, Gonzales, CA

Erma Franscioni is a serious looking 8 year old in the 1923 Second grade class of Gonzales Grammar School in Gonzales, Monterey county, California. Like many of her classmates her parents were from Switzerland; her father a farmer. The first piece of evidence to pop up online for Erma was the 1930 Federal Census in Monterey Co., CA. Erma (spelled Irma intermittently) was about 15. She lived with dad (Silvo, aged 60), mom (Mary, aged 45) and six siblings, although I believe there were more siblings who had already left home. In this census Irma was the3rd oldest child listed, with 4 behind her.

Next I uncovered a slew of yearbooks. Ranging from 1935, when Erma was attending Gonzales High School to 1937, when she was at the University of California at Berkley. There are at least 10+ pages that include photographs of Erma in various clubs or class photos. She was very activity in hockey apparently and was the treasurer of something! If the Franscioni family is looking for photos they don’t need to go far. There is a ton of great information hiding in these yearbook pages.

It’s never easy to compare a 90 year old photo of an 8 year old girl with photos taken 10 to 12 years after that. However, I see a lot of similarities between little Erma and Erma bound for adulthood – the eyes and dark hair/complexion being the most prominent.  As one yearbook states her full name was Erma Adele Franscioni. Several passenger lists on Swiss Emigration and NY Passenger list from 1925 suggest the family did go home to visit relatives still living in Europe. Quite a trek from Gonzales, California.

Still, I had no record of marriage and in 1940, the last available census, Erma still lived with her parents during her last year of college. Then I found a 2012 obituary of Rena Franscioni. Erma has a sister Rina, could this be the same person? Well, it wasn’t. Rena was married to a Victor Franscioni, but the obituary did mention that she was preceded in death by a sister-in-law Erma Eckman as well as several other siblings of Victor – all of whom matched the children in the 1930 census. Hmmm.

In steps Find A Grave. Sure enough there is a memorial for Erma Adele Franscioni Eckman! With an obituary listed as well. Assuming that information is correct, Erma was born in 1914 and died in 2008. She married James Eckman in 1944 and taught school in Gonzales for 23 years. The whole family seemed to be long time Gonzales residents and long lived too!

3 thoughts on “Erma Franscioni, and a renewed appreciation for yearbooks

  1. Rena was Erma’s biological sister. She married Victor, but her maiden name was also Franscioni (the family had split generations prior to their marriage, so the relation was quite distant). I’m their grandniece. My grandfather was their brother, Silvio. It’s interesting to come across your site.

    • Carli, the owner of the memorial for Erma would like you to contact her. Sheila can be reached by going to Erma’s Find a Grave memorial listed on this blog and follow the link on Find a Grave to “created by” at the bottom.

  2. Carli, I’m so glad you did find us and thanks for the family update. Sorry to hear about the split in the family. All to familiar unfortunately. Enjoy the photo!

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