||Domingo Ghirardelli was involved in the westward expansion of the USA.|
Join: California Gold Rush Project
Discuss: California Gold Rush
Domenico "Domingo" Ghirardelli was born Feb. 21, 1817 to Giuseppe Ghirardelli and Madalena Ferretto.
He apprenticed at a fancy confectionary shop in Genoa. In 1837, he and his bride, Elisabetta "Bettina" Corsini, sailed to Montevideo, Uruguay. He worked there for a short time but then, in 1838, took the voyage around Cape Horn to Callao, Peru, and then settled in Lima. He opened a shop selling confections and specializing in chocolate. It was in South America that Domenico changed his name to the Spanish equivalent and became Domingo. Bettina died in 1846 and Domingo married, the next year Carmen Alvarado Martin, a Spanish-Peruvian widow with an infant of her own.
When the Gold Rush hit California, Domingo went to America and opened his first store in a mining camp where he stocked the shelves with chocolate. In 1852, he founded a confectionery shop in San Francisco which later became known as the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.
He became a naturalized citizen of the United States on Jul. 19, 1871.
The 1870 national recession and subsequent panic of 1873 led Domingo and his business partner, son-in-law, Angelo Mangini, to declare bankruptcy. By 1874, Domingo was forced to auction everything he owned, including his home, property and stores with the exception of the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory in San Francisco. Creditors waited 40 years for their money, but in the end, had to receive 75 cents on the dollar for what was owed.
Domingo appeared in the 1880 US census in Oakland, Alameda County, California. 
Domingo was a life member of the Society of California Pioneers, a Mason, and an Odd Fellow.
Domingo Ghirardelli died in Rapallo, Italy, 17 January 1894, age 76 years, 10 months, 27 days. He was visiting Italy for the benefit of his health and spent some time there visiting with his son-in-law who was studying art there. His remains were returned to San Francisco, arriving on 16 February 1894, and his funeral was held on the 18th from his late residence at Fourteenth and Poplar Streets in Oakland, California.
Domingo is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. 
He was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 2012.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
On 19 Jan 2017 at 20:43 GMT Ron Levagood wrote:
On 19 Jan 2017 at 02:11 GMT William Phillips wrote:
On 17 Aug 2016 at 12:54 GMT Sharon (Troy) Centanne wrote: