Giuditta (Julia) Civitano ~ My Great Aunt

Julia was born today, June 18th, 1909. She was the sister to my grandfather Frank Civitano.

Today I remember and celebrate her birthday.

Both Julia and Frank were born in New York City to Vincenzo Civitano and Nicoletta Marvulli. Just 4 months after Julia was born, her father Vincenzo was murdered, stabbed in the streets of the city over what was believed a ‘ice route’ dispute.

Julia with her brother Frank 

Julia&Frank copyIn this photo Frank and Julia (late teens or very early 20’s) are attendants in a wedding party. If any family members knows who wedding this might have been, has a wedding photo to match Julia’s dress, we would love to hear from you.


Frank and Julia 

GrandpaFrank:sisterJulia copy

You can read more about Julia by clicking here 


In Memory of Angelina Vizzo nee Civitano

In Memory of 

Angelina Vizzo 

1 November 1909, N.Y.C.  ~  25 January 1999, Bronx, New York 

Daughter of Francesco Civitano and Rosina D’Armiento


Lena Vizzo 5

Angelina was the first born of seven children to newly arrived immigrant parents, Francesco and Rosina Civitano from Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy. She married Salvatore Vizzo on 28 April 1929, however, they had applied for their marriage license on February 14, 1929.  Please be my Valentine!

More commonly known as Lena, she and Salvatore went on to have two daughters.

Lena was laid to rest at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, Westchester County, N.Y.

vizzo, lena - gate of heaven cemetery



May Her Memory Be A Blessing 




©2019, copyright, Sharon Haimowitz-Civitano, All rights reserved.

It Pays To Look Twice: Emily Tanzillo Revisited

I my last post I told the tale of love, murder and heartbreak regarding my great Aunt Emily (Ermina) Langellotti who married Frank Tanzillo on Feb 19th, 1920 at the Bronx Borough Hall.



Evidently I had sent away for another marriage certificate which I just received. I was pleasantly surprised with this additional certificate. You can see the original certificate number was crossed off and rewritten with the first certificate’s number on it. The date of this new record was 4 months later on June 20th, 1920 at Our Lady of Pity Church in the Bronx.

Marriage Certificate - Frank

Marriage Certificate - Frank -2




The question: why? The first was a legal state marriage and the second a wedding sanctioned in the eyes of the church. Was this done because of parental pressure or did it hold a true religious meaning for the couple? I don’t think the questions can ever be answered.

A google search for Our Lady of Pity led me to learn that it was demolished. You can read the story at

As I was reading the article on the demolition I came across this mention

“In 1929, the current church was built to serve the fast-growing community of Ponzese living in the neighborhood. For decades, Our Lady of Pity Church and School served the Italian community even as the fires roared through the South Bronx. Even after the parish was merged with nearby Immaculate Conception in 2007, the faithful Ponzese congregated each June 20th on the feast day of Ponza’s patron saint, San Silverio.”

Emily and Frank were married in the church on the June 20th, 1920 on the feast day of Ponza’s patron saint, San Silverio.

For me all of this just adds to the sadness of Emily’s story. I know we must tear down to make way for the new but do we have too? Something stirs deeply in my soul for the loss of the past, whether with her stories, or the physical reminders of what once was. I hate to see these old houses of worship church/synagogue torn down instead of designated as landmarks and refurbished. Their beauty, the craftsmanship of these old buildings of worship can never be replaced. The stained glass, the mosaic tile work irreplaceable.



One one last note before closing, I wanted to also make mention of the witnesses on this June 20th wedding. Giovanni Dunnola and Lena Piacente. A conversation with my Uncle Joe and a quick look at the 1930c Bronx census answered a question and clarified  fading memories.

Lena Piacente was the sister of Edward Piancente. Edward, an undertaker, our families undertaker was also a very close and personal friend to the family. He was my grandfather’s best man at his wedding in 1929. Lena would go on to marry Michael Puglia in 1924. Connecting our family even more strongly is the fact that my Aunt Coletta later in her life time reconnected with her first love Joseph Puglia- Michael’s (an undertaker) brother. Joseph and Coletta would go on to live out their later years in each others arms and not even in death would they part.


Coletta and Joe



The families of Vincenzo James Civitano and Giuseppe Joseph Civitano: the youngest of Vito Luigi and Angelina’s children

In my last post I wrote about Rosa Civitano, the daughter of Louis (Vito Luigi) Civitano and his wife Angelina Marvulli. I would like to continue with this family and focus on their two youngest sons, Vincenzo (James) and Giuseppe (Joseph). Vincenzo would later be known as James; as was my great grandfather Vincenzo; and Giuseppe was known as Joseph.

James (Vincenzo) was born July 3, 1897 in Grumo Appula, Italy.

BC-Vincenzo Civitano1897 p.1

BC- Vincenzo Civitano1897 p.2

On Dec 30, 1909, James (13) under the name of Vincenzo boarded the ship the SS America with his mother Angelina; (traveling under her maiden name of Marvulli) along with his younger brother Joseph (10) for New York. They arrived on the 12 of January 1910. On the ship manifest under ‘family left behind’ it states – ‘nobody’. What an incredible feeling for father Louis to know the last of his family was finally arriving.

SS America

I have been unable to find any records for Louis and family in the 1910 or 1915 census records. A clue to where they were living was found in the 1918 WWI draft record for James, his home address is listed as 421 W. 26th St. Under nearest relative was his father Louis (Vito Luigi) at the same address.


One year after registering for the WWI draft James married Anna Plavcsan. His best man was Vincenzo Simone and the maid of honor was Maggie Caso. Anna (1899 – 1963) was the daughter of Thomas Plavcsan and Julianna Marva. Anna was born in Litany, Sabinov, Presovsky, Slovakia. On census records Austria or Hungry was listed. This country is wrapped up in the  Austrio-Hungarian Comprimise of 1867, Czechoslovakia, to independent Slovakia. (A quick search for the history of Slovakia will uncover its rich history)


The beautiful St Clare’s Church – Chiesa di Santa Chaira, 436 West 36th St. N.Y.C., where so many of our family married. In the last post I shared that sadly this beauty was destroyed to make way for the Lincoln Tunnel.

MC-VincenzoCivitano:AnnaPlavMarriage certificate of James Civitano and Anna Plavcsan

When I first saw the name of Vincenzo Simone as best man I immediately thought of Jame’s sister Rosa (from my last post) who married Domenico Simone, and his sister Julia who married Vito Simone (2 brothers, 2 sisters) I quickly assumed Vincenzo was another Simone brother. However a quick scan of cousin Peter Marino’s meticulous research on his site, I found that there was no mention of this brother with the parents. I could have very easily gone down the rabbit hole at this point, but I decided to move forward and leave this for another day. So the question remains, who is Vincenzo Simone and how is he connected to the Simone family? As for Maggie Caso as maid of honor, this was easier to identify. I believe this was Domenica know as Margaret Caso (1903, Grumo Appula) daughter of Gaetano Caso and Margaret Rita Marvulli- Caso. Rita was the sister of Angelina Marvulli James’s mother. Maggie (maid of honor was 1st cousin to James) Marriage not only ties these families of Simone, Civitano, Caso but their ancestral home town of Grumo Appula, Italy as well.


James and Anna began their married life living with Jame’s parents Louis and Angelina at 434 W. 25th St. NYC. James was a laborer in the ice business and Anna was a seamstress in a shop.  First child to arrive was son Louis (1921) and then Angelina/Antonetta (1923) and Julia (1926).

By 1930 James (32) had moved his family to 640 Thieriot Ave, Bronx. He owned the home, value listed was $8,000. He was still in the ice business. The language spoken was Italian by James and German by Anna, that must have been fun!

The family remained at the 640 Thieriot Ave. home into the 1940’s. Son Thomas was born in July, 1930 shortly after the census was taken. Frank Thomas  followed in 1935. James was still working as an ice man on his own account and son Louis’s (18) occupation was carpenter and the industry was ship building. Daughter Julia was a new worker, having worked 6 weeks in 1939. Below is Julia’s high school year book picture from

Julia Civitano 1943
Julia, 1943 Monroe High School, Bronx

Both the 1930 and 1940 census says that James naturalized but I was unable to find a record for this. I did however find a record for wife Anna *street address number should read 640


Anna Plavcsan – Civitano


In the years that followed James and Anna had the opportunity to see their children marry. James had the honor seeing both of his 2 daughters marry before passing away in 1954. Angelina married Ely Corbi (1946) Julia married Thomas Eberhart (1949) Anna would see all but 1 of her children marry before she passed away. Thomas married Rose Migliaccio (1956), Louis married Anne Halloran (1957) and Frank married Geraldine Zardo (1967)


Brother Joseph (Giuseppe) arrived with his mother Anna and with brother James (Vincenzo). Joseph was the youngest of the children. He was 10 when he arrived in 1910. (Immigration above in post)

Joseph (Giuseppe) was born November 11, 1899, Grumo Appula, ItalyBC- Joseph(Giuseppe)Civitano 1899p.1

BC-Joseph(Giuseppe)Civitano p.2

He too would register for the WWI draft in 1918. Listed was the W. 26th St address.


Below, Joseph  Petition To Naturalize  22nd Of April 1925. He declared his intention on Sept. 4,  1918.



On Sept. 9, 1926 Joseph married Nancy (Annunciate) Traini, daughter of Nicola Traini and Rosa D’Aprile. Nancy was born on Sept 4, 1903, Toritto, Bari, Italy. Toritto is in the vicinity of Grumo. They were married at the Bronx Borough Hall.


Bronx Borough Hall

First found in the 1930 census Joseph (30) and Nancy (26) were living at 3337 Fish Ave, Bronx. They had bought this home (on the left with black fencing) valued at $12,500. Joe joins many other family members in the ice delivery business. Daughters Lillian (1927) and Rose (Rose Ann) (1930) have joined the family. * I want to make note that daughter Lillian may be a census error as Lillian was Angelina (Lena). I do not have a birth record for Lena. Another clerical error on this census has father Joseph born in N.Y. as well as both his parents, which we know for certain is not true.


The family remained in this home and by 1940 Joseph and Nancy added 2 more daughters, Judith (1931) and Louise (1937). Daughter Anne would join the family 9in 1942.  In this 1940 census Joseph’s occupation was listed timber man working on highway/unable to read the rest.

Joe Cook
Photo courtesy of Peter Marino ~ Joseph (Giuseppe) Civitano aka Joe Cook 

Nancy Civitano
Photo courtesy of Peter Marino

familypic6 copyPhoto Courtesy Peter Marino 

Left to Right: RoseAnn, Judy, Mom Nancy, Ann (standing) Angelina & Louise

Marriages that I am aware of are Angelina to Louis Grabowski (1947), Rose to  Jack Ferro (1962), Judith to Earl Michelin.

So much of the story of Joseph (Giuseppe) and Nancy is unknown to me but is remembered and carried on in the stories passed down by their immediate families.

Today I remember the 2 sons of Louis (Vito Luigi) and Angelina Marvulli – Civitano and their wives,

Vincenzo James Civitano and Anna Plavcsan 

St Raymond’s Cemetery, St John Section

Giuseppe Joseph Civitano and Annuziata Nancy Traini 



St. Raymond’s Cemetery, S.t Peter Section