Category Archives: Uncategorized

Francesco “Frank” Bivona 1904-1969

When Francesco “Frank” Bivona was born on November 30, 1904, in Mendoza, Argentina, his father, Vincenzo  Bivona, was 29 and his mother, Anna Cappadoro Bivona, was 27.

Frank was from an Italian family, but he was born in Argentina where his family resided for a number of years before going back to Sicily, Italy. He then emigrated to the United States leaving from a port of departure in Palermo, Sicily, Italy on 22 December 1915. He came to New York on the vessel known as Giuseppe Verde and arrived stateside on 6 January 1916.

FRANK’S MOTHER: The ship manifest for the Giuseppe Verde provides some information about Frank’s mother.  His mother was listed on the ship manifest as Anna Cappadero (note the name Cappadoro is spelled differently here) We know that the Giuseppe Verde vessel sailed out of Palermo on 22 December 1915.  Frank’s mother says that she is a 38 year old woman who can read and write. Her age matches with the birth date that I found for her: 30 November 1877.  She states that she is married to Vincenzo Bivona and is going to meet him in Brooklyn, NY at his residence on Stagg Street.  She also states in this manifest that she has no occupation and that the name of her mother was Maria Accardi. Her physical description is of a 5’4″ woman with brown hair and eyes. Her birth place was Partanna, Italy.

By the time of the 1920 US census, Anna is living at 165 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY with her husband and children. It is in this census that you can see her children Joe, William, John, and Frank all had been born in Argentina. The other children listed in that census Vincent, Tony, Paulie and Angelo were all born in New York.  In this census, Anna also states that she became a naturalized citizen in 1916.

FRANK’S FATHER: I believe that Vincenzo was born on 7 April 1874. One of the only methods for tracing him was a WWI draft registration card that I found. The draft registration would have occurred from 1917 to 1918. Vincenzo was naturalized as a US citizen in 1916 so he would have had to register. Here is why I believe the draft card belongs to him: He lists his closest relative as Anna Bivona and his residence as 165 Manhattan Ave. He is employed by the Eastern District Dye Works and his job is to dye silks.  Now…go back to the 1920 US census for Anna and you will see that the address is also listed as 165 Manhattan Ave. (He lists his full name as Vincent Salvatore Bivona and describes himself as of medium height and build with black hair and brown eyes.) In the 1920 US census, Vincenzo says that he is a washer in a silk factory. I believe that he is buried in a Catholic cemetery: St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens County, New York.

Vincenzo was an alcoholic and that may explain why his wife Anna eventually leaves him and lives in her own household.

Vincenzo draft card

FRANK: When working with genealogy, I try to find official documents that can provide insight and a timeline. I found a baptism record from Nuestra Señora de Luján, Luján de Cuyo, Luján, Mendoza, Argentina on 25 Jul 1905 for Frank.

In the 1920 census. Frank is listed as the 15 year old son of Vincent and Anna living on 165 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn district of Kings, New York.  His birth place is recorded as Argentina, but his mother tongue is Italian. Instead of school, Frank, at age 15, is employed as a clerk at a silk factory.

I found this declaration of intention for naturalization (by the time of this document Frank is 19 years old):

declaration of intention.JPG

At the age of 22, Frank married Angelina “Angie” Cirabisi. I found a wedding date of 30 April 1927. They were married in New York.

By the time of the 1940 census, Frank is 34 years old. (His daughter, Annabelle, is 7 years old.) The residence is now listed as 162 Irving Avenue, New York, Kings, New York. He states that the highest grade he has completed in schooling was 6th grade. He is now working 40 hours a week as an insurance agent. His yearly income is 2,450. He is living with his wife, Angie (born in New York), and his daughter Annabelle. In this 1940 census, he is also living with his father-in-law, Joseph Cirabisi who is recorded to be of alien status having been born in Italy.  In 1940, the other person living with Frank and his family is his mother-in-law, Leonada Cirabisi who is age 52.

Recently, Anne (Annabelle “Anne” Bivona Barnes)  described her residence on Irving Ave. It was a railroad flat, a 4 unit apartment above a drug store. She said they lived there from 1939-1955. Pasquale Zinnanti owned the building. The owner was a distant cousin of Angie’s. The Zinnanti children, Frank and Joseph, were like brothers to Anne.

FRANK’S SIBLINGS: Frank’s parents Vincenzo and Anna had 7 children. Here is some information on those family members:

Giuseppe or “Joseph” was born around 1899 in Argentina.

William seems to have 2 birth places! In some cases, he lists Argentina as his place of birth. BUT, in his petition for citizenship he states that he was born in Italy. The photo below is very interesting because it shows Pasquale Zinaupi as a witness who resides at the same 162 Irving Avenue address as shown in the photo I included for Frank and fits with Anne Bivona Barnes’ recollection of the owner of the building! The other witness is Giuseppe (or Joseph) his brother.

William Bivona petition

I am also including this photo of William Bivona’s death notice because it gives a clue as to the possible burial location for other members of the family. William Bivona death notice

Vincent was born 5 December 1908 and states 2 places for his birth. In the 1920 census (he was 11 years old) and he claims to have been born in New York. In the 1930 census (he was 22 years old) he states that he was born in Argentina. The other information that the 1930 census gives us is that Anna is now living without her husband at 350 Melrose Street. In 1930, she is claimed to be the head of household living with her children Vincent, Tommy, Angelo and Pauline.  In this 1930 census Vincent lists his occupation as a “paster” in a shoe factory.

Antonio “Tony” was born approx. 1911 in …well, here we go again. In the 1920 census he states that he was born in New York, but in the 1940 census he states that he was born in Argentina. In 1940 he is living at 331 Melrose Street with his wife. Note: he is obviously a neighbor to his mother Anna and some of his siblings in 1940! In 1940 his occupation was a wood heel turner.

Paolina was born in New York approx. 1913

Angelo was born 31 Oct. 1918.



Frank, father of Annabelle “Anne” Bivona Barnes, died on 18 Feb. 1969 in New York. Here is a copy of his death notice from the Daily News in New York:

death notice of Frank Bivona

He was 64 years old at the time of his death.






Margaret Thomae Thornbladh 1901 – 1975

Margaret Thomae was born on June 10, 1901. It has been difficult to find information about Margaret. I have tried to piece together some of the clues that I have found.

I believe that Margaret was  the daughter of Friederike (do not know her maiden name) and Jakob Thomae.

In the 1930 census, Margaret states that her birthplace was Romania, but also lists in that same census record that her language spoken was German. (Her husband Nils also states that his mother tongue is German.) She states that in 1930 she is 28 years old, and she lives in Ohio. In this same census her husband’s occupation is recorded as a draftsman working for a Steel Company.

Note that Margaret lists her date of immigration as 1921. This would have made her a young woman of 20 when she arrived in the states.

1930 census Thornbladh

1930 census recap

By the time of the 1940 census, Margaret has changed her birth place to Austria (previous records stated it was Romania) Her husband Nils lists his birth country as Sweden (in the 1930 census he had stated his birthplace was Germany.) Even though Nils lists his birthplace as Germany in one census, I was able to locate Swedish index birth records. Here is a recap:



Margaret was 23 years old when she gave birth to her son Robert Nelson Thornbladh. She was 28 years old when she had her daughter, Sonja Greta Thornbladh.

Margaret died on April 14, 1975, in Fort Pierce, Florida, at the age of 73. Nils died at the age of 83 in 1980.

death of Margaret Thornbladh from Palm Beach Post 15 Apr 1975

listing above is from the Palm Beach Post 15 Apr 1975


Note from Kurt Thornbladh about his grandmother: “She had a social security card. They left the Austrian Hungarian empire and went to Canada. I saw an old photo of WWI soldiers sitting and drinking wine . Grandmother didn’t know who they were except to say they were the Austrians. Grandmother didn’t know her father.”

Notes from Kurt Thornbladh about his grandfather: “He was the purser on the Drotningholm [sp?]. Whether he had an understanding with the ships master I don’t know. He had a fight with his father before i do know.”

“Great Grandfather had a lucrative business of some sort. A civil engineering firm or something like that. Grandfather did his military service in an elite regiment. The Royal Life Guards. He was studying engineering in Berlin in World War I when he was drafted into the German Army. He was a lieutenant on the Eastern Front fighting the Russians in I suspect Finland. Great Grandfather believed, I suspect correctly, that his son could look forward to a brilliant career serving the king. But with typical bad Thornbladh genes he insisted he should take over the business and great uncle should serve the King. Probably had a poor service record. I have to take great grandfather ‘s side on that one.”

Marion P. Annis Watts 1837-1894 ( the 2nd great grandmother of Heidi Thornbladh)

When Marion  P Annis (her first name was also recorded as Mariam by census takers) was born on September 7, 1837, in Londonderry, New Hampshire, her father, John Annis, was already 45 years old, and her mother, Delilah Coburn Annis, was 40. Marion had 12 siblings!

Marion married Charles H Watts on January 1, 1861, in Derry, New Hampshire.

Watts and Annis

Charles Watts

photo above of Charles Watts- husband of Marion P. Annis Watts

photo below of death certificate for Charles Watts

death of Charles Watts

Charles and Marion had seven children together. Their 4th child, Olive Annis Watts, is the direct ancestor of my friend Heidi Thornbladh. Olive was Heidi’s great grandmother. Olive married William Lawrence Joyce.

Marion died on July 2, 1894, in Derry, New Hampshire, at the age of 56. Her death certificate is listed below:

death of Miriam Watts

There is some evidence that following Marion’s death, her husband Charles Watts, may have remarried to Eldora Martha Nichols. (Not many details to verify this 2nd marriage) Charles was 53 years old at the time of Marion’s death. He lived another 31 years after her death.

Here is a record of the descendancy starting with Marion’s father:

John Towns Annis (1791 – 1871)
3rd great-grandfather
Marion P Annis (1838 – 1894)
daughter of John Towns Annis
Olive Annis Watts (1873 – )
daughter of Marion P Annis
Celia Marion Joyce (1898 – 1961)
daughter of Olive Annis Watts
Ruth Beverly Moller (1924 – 2006)
daughter of Celia Marion Joyce

Olive Annis Watts Joyce 1873 –



Watts Family at Beaver Lake 1903

When Olive Annis Watts was born on July 16, 1873, in Londonderry, New Hampshire, her father, Charles Watts, was 32, and her mother, Miriam P. Annis Watts, was 35.

Olive married William Lawrence Joyce on June 30, 1897, in Derry, New Hampshire. They had two children during their marriage. She had one brother and five sisters.

Sonja Greta Thornbladh Harris


Sonja Thronbladh Euclid Central HS 1947

When Sonja Greta Thornbladh was born on June 25, 1929, in Ohio, her father, Nils Magnus Thornbladh, was 32, and her mother, Maragret (Thomae), was 28. Her older brother was Robert Nelson Thornbladh (1925-2004).

Sonja married George Russell Harris in 1950 in Cuyahoga, Ohio.

Marriage of Sonja Thornbladh

(please note that in the above certificate of marriage the Maiden Name of Mother is listed as Margaret Thomas – actually should be Margaret Thomae)

In 1955, Sonja and George had a son, Todd George Harris. At the age of 24, Todd married Thereasa Probst.

Sonja was 45 years old at the time her mother, Maragret passed away on April 14, 1975, in Fort Pierce, Florida, at the age of 73. When Sonja was 50 years old, her father Nils Magnus Thornbladh, passed away on April 28, 1980, in Fort Pierce, Florida, at the age of 83.

Sonja was divorced on January 9, 2004, when she was 74 years old. The grounds for divorce were “gross neglect of duty.”