Now that the gravestone of my great-grandfather Lorenzo Milano has been restored and there’s no chance of him being exhumed from his grave, I can continue my research for information regarding my other great-grandfather Giuseppe Maria Vivona.
As I mentioned before, I have written to and visited the Sicilian Comunes of Calatafimi, where he was born and Castellammare del Golfo, where he raised his family. I scoured the Ellis Island Foundation and Family Search websites, all to no avail. I am totally baffled. I even wrote to New York City Vital Records, identifying myself, including my credentials, but there was nothing except he was listed as “Father” on my grandmother, Rosaria Vivona’s marriage record.
Online, I belong to a few genealogy research groups, including the Sicilian and Aeolian Islands group. Two of the members know that I have hit the proverbial “brick wall”. They mentioned the Antenati, an Italian Records website http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it, as another resource. I figured Why not give it a try? I logged on, typed in various combinations of dates, names and reviewed the results. Everything jived with what I have in my records. Then came the true test, as I entered Giuseppe Vivona and Angela/Angelina Giliberti, hit the search key while crossing my fingers. WoooHooo! I did not find any records for Giuseppe, but found two new pieces of information.
Research results – 2 New Records
The first record was the death record for Salvatore Vivona, their first-born child. A couple of years ago, the Comune of Castellammare del Golfo, had sent me his birth record and I always wondered why there was no additional information about him. Salvatore was born in May 1891 and died in May 1912 at the age of twenty-one. His death record listed his occupation as “barber” but, of course, no cause of death was listed.
I can’t imagine what my great-grandmother Angela went through coping with his death.
The second record, was for Antonino Vivona, another son, about whom I did not know. The death record states that he also was a barber and died in October 1918 at the age of 15. Dio mio!! So young.
I wrote to the Comune in Castellammare del Golfo requesting birth and death records and received a reply from Signora Rosa Giabino that included an official birth and death certificate for Antonino. Salvatore’s has not yet arrived.
Recently I referred back to the letter written by Elisabetta Vivona Olivet, my grandmother Roasario’s sister. She stated that both Antonino and Salvatore died from the Spanish flu. But I question this, as the “Spanish flu” outbreak did not occur in Europe until 1918. According to my research, which is mindboggling, the flu outbreak occurred in the U.S. much earlier, was ignored by the government and the flu spread with our troop movements during World War I to Europe. [http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic#Hypotheses_about_source]
So I believe that Antonino, who died in October 1918, was possibly a victim of the flu.
Doing some further research, Salvatore’s death may have been caused naturally, by accident, by an outbreak of cholera [http://www.lodico.org/mike/images/Notes/Giuseppe-Angelina-Lodico.html http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM191109281651315] or by the heat wave of 1911 in Italy and Spain that had devastating consequences by creating diseases via microorganisms in fish, plants, and man. [https://www.cairn.info/revue-annales-de-demographie-historique-2010-2-page-147.htm] Another mystery.
As for their father, my elusive great grandfather, on August 16, 2014, during a conversation I had with my cousin, Betty Olivet Palumbo, she stated that her mother, Elisabetta, told her that Giuseppe Maria Vivona died of double lumbar pneumonia at age 45. So, I am assuming Giuseppe Maria Vivona died in 1910. The death date is unknown as the Comune does not have his death record. And so the mystery continues.