Dove sei Giuseppe Maria Vivona??

Great-grandparents Giuseppe Maria Vivona & Angelina Giliberti Vivona. [Photo courtesy of K.Vega & D. Veit]
Great-grandparents Giuseppe Maria Vivona & Angelina Giliberti Vivona. [Photo courtesy of K.Vega & D. Veit]

I have been searching for information about my other great-grandfather Giuseppe Maria Vivona for two decades. 

I’ll start with what I do know, the pedigree chart:

Vivona Pedigree Chart
Vivona Pedigree Chart

Here’s more information I found through my research:

As indicated on the above chart, he is the son of Salvatore VIVONA and Agostina BOLENA and was born in May 1865 in Calatafimi,Trapani,Sicily. He was baptized the same day in the San Giuliano Church by the priest Giuseppe Orlando. His godparents were Giorgio and Francesca Scianna.

His occupation was a barber surgeon.

He married Angelina GILIBERTI (born in Castellammare del Golfo July 1867 daughter of Michele and Girolama LaTorre) on 13 Nov 1889 at San Giuliano Parish in Calatafimi, Sicily.

They lived in Castellammare del Golfo and had the following children:

  • Salvatore VIVONA – born May 1891
  • Maria VIVONA – born August 1894 – married Antonino Bongiorno in CdelG January 1912
  • Michele VIVONA – born & died May 1896
  • Michele VIVONA was born May 1897 – married Anna Frazzitta in Palermo May 1921
  • Girolama VIVONA was born January 1899
  • Rosaria VIVONA was born Apr 1901
  • Giuseppe VIVONA was born February 1906
  • Elisabetta VIVONA was born on 8 Jul 1908

Angelina Giliberti Vivona immigrated along with her daughters Giroloma Vivona age 14 and Elisabetta age 5 on September 30, 1913 aboard the ship “SS Canada” into the Port of New York. Angelina was listed as a widow on the manifest.  Two other children, Rosaria and Giuseppe followed afterwards.

Angelina died in November 1928 at the age of 61 at Harlem Hospital in New York City, NY.

So, what happened to my great-grandfather Giuseppe Maria Vivona???? I assumed that he died in Sicily, as the ship manifest indicated. But in my research I have learned that many women who immigrated listed themselves as widows if not traveling with a male family member. So did he really die in Sicily or did he live his life elsewhere apart from his family? 

I have searched files on the Ellis Island web site without any success. But did he immigrate elsewhere?  

When I was in Sicily, my cousin Bernardo and I went to the Stato Civile in Calatafimi to speak with the clerk Signora Serafina, who has helped me via snail mail in the past. 

Serafina in the Stato Civile in Calatafimi
Serafina in the Stato Civile in Calatafimi

She pulled the registry book for him but other than his birth and marriage, there was no other annotation. So he didn’t die in Calatafimi.

Previously I wrote to the Stato Civile in Castellammare del Golfo, as this is where he and Angelina lived and raised their children, but no records were found.  But I visited it any way, but to no avail.

I also inquired at the Cimitero Comunale in Castellammare del Golfo with Maurizio Cassara, but there was no record. 

During one of our morning coffee meetings, my friend Enzo recommended that I go to the Biblioteca and ask to see the city directory.  So cousin Bernardo and I went there but the archivist was on vacation but would be back on Monday.  Early Monday morning, before going for my morning café normale, I walked to la Biblioteca.

After being buzzed in, I spoke with a young librarian. I told her who I was looking for, my great-grandfather and gave her all the information I had. I said I didn’t care if he had many wives and other children.  She laughed and said it was possible. She then told the archivist. The gentleman looked through from 1908 until 1935 but found no entry for Giuseppe Maria Vivona.

So where the heck is he?? 

I have written many letters to those with the surname Vivona in and around Castellammare del Golfo, Calatafimi, New York and New Jersey but received no response.

Newly found cousins in north Florida have been gracious in providing me photos of Angelina and her children.  Plus cousin Kim and cousin Dede provided the photo of the painting of Angelina and Giuseppe that is posted at the beginning of the blog.

But we still have no clue as to where he lived and where he’s buried.  Hopefully you, the reader, would know. If so, leave a comment.  One day before I die, I would like to visit his grave.