Frank's mother, Natalina Maria Vittoria Garaventa, known as Dolly, (1896-1977), was born in Val Fontanabuona, in the hamlet of Rossi Lumarzo, a village in the Italian Riviera, on 26 december 1896 of Garaventa Giovanni of late Antonio (36 at the time) and Rosa Casagrande of Lorenzo, and from there she emigrated with her parents to Hoboken, New Jersey.
Antonino, also known as Anthony Martin, after engaging in various trades, including factory worker, shoemaker, and prize-fighting, asked for the hand of Dolly. Despite the opposition of her family (Marty was illiterate, and a Sicilian) the two were married on Valentine's Day 1914 in Jersey City, and went to live in Hoboken, where on December 12 of the following year Frank was born, their only child. Antonino went with boxing, then opened a bar and became captain in the Hoboken Fire Department. Frank's mother ran a small shop and made odd jobs for families in the neighborhood and was influential in local Democratic Party circles. With his parents always at work, little Frank spent a lot of time with his grandmother and aunt, and at school became popular imitating comedians and movie stars.
In 1929 the Sinatras moved into an apartment with three bedrooms, not far from the Little Italy neighborhood. In 1930, at fifteen years of age, Frank made his debut as a singer at the AJ Demarest High School. He loved music much more than his studies, and the school expelled him because of his rowdy conduct. Frank spoke openly to his parents of his vocation to be a singer: his mother gave in and supported him, but his father was adamant, he wanted him to look for a real job, and possibly return to school. So Frank began working first in a bookshop, then as a port worker but his father, disappointed by his son's passion for singing, drove him out of home. During his childhood and teenage years music was Sinatra's main interest, he listened carefully to big band jazz, began singing for tips at the age of eight, and professionally in the 1930s, although he never learned how to read music and sang by ear.
Frank moved to New York in search of a steady job, but was forced to return to Hoboken shortly after. He began to perform as a "saloon singer", as he himself told during several concerts, in small clubs in New Jersey between 1931 and 1932, and was spotted by trumpeter Harry James. In 1935 he formed his first group, the Hoboken Four, with whom he won that year a contest for emerging talents organized by Radio Major Bowes' Amateur Hour. Since then, his career became unstoppable.