My Family History

I am relying on the accuracy of a family tree which was created by my Father, Roland Bondono, as the starting point for this family history. His family tree is reproduced below. (Please be sure to click or touch the images on this page to enlarge them. Clicking an enlarged photo puts it back to its original size and position. While enlarged, you can drag a photo so you can see what it might have covered, and you can use the right and left arrow keys to enlarge the next or the previous photo on the page you're viewing.)

Family Tree of the Bondono (my Father's) side of the family, compiled by Roland Bondono
Family tree of the Fogoros (my Mother's) side of the family, compiled by Roland Bondono

The part of my family history that I know of begins in Italy and Romania, around 1850 or 1860. On my Father's side, in Italy,

  • Joseppe Bondonno   Lepora Domenica
    • Batista Bondonno, April 14 1887 - June 10, 1958
  • Domenico Verdelli   Giovanna Perdoni
    • Teresa Verdelli, January 6, 1890 - January 11, 1972

I know very little of my paternal great grandparents: Joseppe Bondonno, Lepora Domenica, Domenica Verdelli or Giovanna Perdoni. As far as I know, they lived their entire lives in Italy, and they most likely had many children beside my grandfather and grandmother. According to my Father, Domenica Verdelli and Giovanna Perdoni were born in Lugniano D'Arda, but this town doesn't appear in Google Maps. It might be Lugagnano Val d'Arda, a town 50 miles southeast of Milan, which agrees with the my Father telling me that his family came from Northern Italy.

Batista (AKA Baltista, AKA Battista) Bondonno, my paternal grandfather, was born in Alice Castello, Italy in 1887 (I calculate this year based on the supposition that the manifest of "The France", below, is correct and that he was 25 years old in 1912). Alice Castello is in the far northwest of Italy, between Turin and Milan. Batista was a cook. Teresa Verdelli Bondono (and later Beny), my paternal grandmother (Grandma Teresa) was born on January 6, 1890. According to the manifest of "The France", below, she was born in Legaguauo. This place doesn't appear in Google Maps or anywhere in a Google search; perhaps this was a misspelling of Lugagnano Val d'Arda? I don't know when the double-n in Batista's name was changed to a single-n. Batista and Teresa married while in Italy; their last permanent address in Italy was in Alice Castello. They apparently moved to London, England for some time, perhaps only passing through, but gave birth to their first child, Joseph, while in London. They took Joseph back to Italy for Giovanna Perdoni to look after until they could come and retrieve him after they were settled into their new life, then emigrated to the United States on the ship "The France" which departed Le Havre, France, with 2026 passengers on Sept 28 1912 and arrived at Ellis Island (New York City) seven days later on October 4 1912.

Information about the ship and this voyage can be found by searching for "Baltista Bondonno" at Ellis Island; the relevant pages of the two-page-wide manifest (see lines 15 and 16) are shown below. They travelled in "steerage" class, which is described here, along with many other web pages which can be found by searching for "Steerage Class Ellis Island". They apparently travelled with the passenger in line 17 of the manifest, 16-year-old Mario Amianto, also from Alice Castello, and all three claimed they'd be staying with a friend, Bilone Ougusto, in New York. Teresa was two-months pregnant during this journey. 7 days on a ship with morning sickness in steerage class; what a picnic that must have been for Grandma Teresa. And once they arrived in New York, she gave birth to Lena in New York City, then Emma a year later in Indianapolis, Indiana, then my father, Roland Bondono, nine years later in Chicago, and eventually settled down in Cleveland, Ohio. This was a woman on the move!



Grandma Teresa was a housewife. I remember going with my family to visit her every few weeks when I was quite young. She always prepared an extensive Italian meal for us, and encouraged us to eat as much as humanly possible. During her middle age, she cooked for big bands which passed through Cleveland. She and Grandpa Beny ran a restaurant on Vincent Street which they'd keep open late to feed the entertainers after their shows finished. She was an enthusiastic basement winemaker. She loved to care for her flower beds in her later years and was very proud of her extensive rose collection.

Photographs of Batista and Grandma Teresa are below. The color photograph of Grandma Teresa is as I remember her as a child; she died a few years after this photo was taken.

Batista Bondonno and his son, Roland Bondono, circa 1928
Teresa Verdelli Bondono Beny, Roland Bondono's Mother
Teresa Verdelli Bondono, circa 1964

Batista died on June 10 1958 and is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Ohio, Section 47 Lot 32A. Teresa died on January 11 1972 in Cleveland Ohio and is buried in Lakeview Cemetary in Cleveland Ohio, Section 22, Lot 1154-A.

Batista and Teresa had four children together. Their first, Joseph, died at the age of 10 months from a fall in Italy before they had a chance to go back to bring him to the United States. And about six months after arriving in the United States, their second baby, Lena, was born in New York City. Batista and Teresa's immediate family is below:

  • Batista Bondonno   Teresa Verdelli
    • Joseph Bondono, 1912-1912
    • Lena Bondono, May 29 1913 - 1945
      Paul Klienhenz
      See this tree
    • Emma Bondono, Sept 20 1914 - circa 2005
      Frank C Smith, ? - 1998
    • Roland Bondono, July 13 1923 - June 5 2005
      Olivia Mary Fogoros, March 26 1920 - April 5 2014
      See this tree

Roland Bondono, above, is my father. Interestingly enough, on Roland's birth certificate, Batista and Teresa claimed their ages to still be 25 and 22 years old; they hadn't aged at all in the past eleven years! I have many photos of this family, these are some of the best:

Emma Bondono Smith, Lena Bondono, Roland Bondono, Teresa Verdelli Bondono, Batista Bondonno, circa 1925
Lena Bondono Klienhenz, circa 1940
Emma Bondono Smith, circa 1940
Roland Bondono, circa 1944
Roland Bondono and Emma Bondono Smith, circa 1944
Roland Bondono playing chess with an unknown man, circa 1939. The man is not Batista Bondonno, and is not Desire Beny.

Something happened to the marriage between Batista and Teresa; I assume they divorced. But Teresa remarried at some point before 1935 to Desire Beny, who was born in Italy in 1885 with the name Desiderio Benanchiette, which he changed after emigrating to the United States. They had one child, my Uncle Bob, who married my Aunt Cathy and had four children together, my cousins.

  • Desire Beny, 1885 - Sept 26 1940   Teresa Verdelli
    • Robert Pierre Beny, February 20 1935 - May 29 1975
      Catalina Aguayo, ?-
      • Teresa Beny
        Dr Jim Silverblatt
        • Leigh Silverblatt
        • Emma Silverblatt
        • Trevor Silverblatt
        • Max Silverblatt
      • ...Teresa Beny
        Bob Tippie
      • Mark Beny, 1956-
        Kathy Buchanan
      • Michael Beny
      • Roberta Beny

Desire Beny was buried in Lakeview Cemetary in Cleveland Ohio, Section 22, Lot 1154-C. Robert P. Beny (my Uncle Bob) is buried in Sunset Memorial Cemetery. Several years after Uncle Bob died in a boating accident, Aunt Cathy married Miller Land, who already had four children. They had no more children together. Terry Beny named her first daughter, Leigh, after my Mom, Olivia Bondono, who everyone called Lee Bondono. Her second daughter, Emma, was named after Emma Bondono, Terry's and my Aunt Emma (in the second photo below, third photo above, and several in the next section). Here are a few photos of this family:

Teresa (Verdelli) and Desiderio (Benanchietti) Beny, scanned by Roberta Beny
Desiderio (Benanchietti) Beny, scanned by Roberta Beny
Teresa Verdelli Bondono Beny, Roland Bondono (background), Robert Beny (baby), July 4 1935
Robert Beny, Emma Bondono Smith, Roland Bondono, and Teresa Verdelli Bondono Beny, circa 1944
Robert Beny, circa 1944
Robert Pierre Beny, 1953 high school graduation photo

So now all my Aunts and Uncles on my Father's side have been introduced, and some details should be filled-in. First of all, the tree of Lena Bondono Klienhenz (pictured in the second row above), who lived in Cleveland, Ohio...

  • Lena Bondono, May 29 1913 - 1945
    Paul Klienhenz
    • Linda Kleinhenz, 1936-
      Robert Nederest (or Nedorost)
      • Robert Nederest Jr, 1960-
      • Adele Nederest, 1962-
    • ...Linda Kleinhenz
      William Kile of Valley City, Ohio
      • Belinda Kile
    • Paula Kleinhenz, 1938-
    • John Kleinhenz, 1940-

Next Emma Bondono Smith, the aunt that I saw the most while growing up, and who was Aunt Emma to me. She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and lived most of her married life in North Olmstead, Ohio, with her husband Frank C. Smith. Uncle Frank took me fishing on Lake Erie several times when I was young. Frank's father was Earl Smith, and his mother was Marie Smith. Frank worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. Frank and Emma moved to Sarasota, Florida during their retirement, where Frank enjoyed fishing the shoreline of the nearby bays in the Gulf of Mexico and Emma enjoyed cooking them! Frank died in 1998 and Emma in the early 2000s.

Emma Bondono Smith and Frank C. Smith, circa 1945, scanned by Roberta Beny
Frank C Smith, Emma Bondono Smith, holding Amy Bondono Goodwin, 1951
Frank C Smith, circa 1960, scanned by Roberta Beny
Emma Bondono Smith and Frank C Smith, circa 1996
Emma Bondono Smith, circa 2000
Frank C Smith, circa 1996

That leaves one other child of Batista and Teresa Bondono, my father, Roland Bondono. On January 3rd 1948 he married Olivia Fogoros, whose ancestry will follow. Roland and Olivia's part of the family tree is:

  • Roland Bondono, July 13 1923 - June 5 2005   Olivia Mary Fogoros, March 26 1920 - April 5 2014
    • Amy Beth Bondono, April 7 1951 -
      Carl Goodwin, July 14 1928 - March 4 2010
    • Jeffrey Roland Bondono, January 19 1956 -
      Toni Lee Relyea, May 3 1958 -
      • Brandelyn Lee Bondono, August 12 1980 -
        James Cunningham
      • ...Brandelyn Bondono
        Bruce Tosolt, March 12 1970
      • Owen Delyn Bondono, September 9 1988 -
        Elizabeth Faulkner, May 13 1988
    • ...Jeffrey Bondono
      Cecelia Brooks
    • ...Jeffrey Bondono
      Paulette Farrugia, June 5 1943-
Roland and Olivia Bondono
Roland Bondono and his mother, Teresa Verdelli Bondono, circa 1933
Olivia Fogoros Bondono, circa 1945
Carl Goodwin

Roland was born in Chicago, Illinois but moved to Cleveland as a young child, and Olivia was born in Bedford, Ohio with the aid of a midwife in the house shown below. Olivia was always proud that she was a Charter Member of the National Honor Society at Bedford High School, as proven by the certificate below. She was an executive secretary before having children, took 15 years off to raise her children, then worked as a secretary for Maple Heights Schools. She was married very briefly in 1941 to a man named Merle Cross. Roland was quite a singer and upright bass player in the Hal Lynn Orchestra, but earned his living as a tool-and-die-maker turned supervisor. He continued enjoying music by singing in the Bedford First United Methodist Church and the Solon Community Church. When they first were married they lived in an apartment above Olivia's father's A&P store, then they lived in Maple Heights, Ohio and Solon, Ohio (both outside of Cleveland) before living their last few years in Macomb, Michigan. They are buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Twinsburg, Ohio, at I-480 & Rt91, in Section 4, Lot 100, Graves 3 and 4.

House in Bedford Ohio where Olivia Fogoros was born with the aid of a midwife.
Olivia Fogoros' certificate of membership in the charter year of the Bedford High School National Honor Society, 1938
Roland Bondono, circa 1940
Roland Bondono (upright bass), Hal Lynn (flute), Gene Korb (drums), Jerry Foxx (trumpet), and Mal Fitch (piano), playing in the Hal Lynn Orchestra at the Main Ball Room of the Hotel Statler in Cleveland Ohio, April 1951

So we've travelled down the Italian family tree through Roland Bondono and his children and grandchildren, and now it's time to follow the other side of my family, that of Olivia Fogoros Bondono, of which I have very little family history. Michael Fogoros Sr and Helen Lutean grew up and were married in Romania. They emigrated to the United States but I can't find any information about that at Ellis Island. I believe some brothers and sisters of theirs emigrated as well, either at the same or different times, but I can't pin down which people in the old pictures I have are related to which. Michael Fogoros was a machinist, and Helen was a housewife. Michael and Helen's family tree is:

  • John Lutean   Anna Popa
    • Helen Lutean, 1891 - March 16 1967
  • Michael Fogoros Sr, ? - 1961   Helen Lutean, 1891 - March 16 1967
    • Emil Fogoros, 1912-1934
    • Matilda Fogoros, 1915-circa 2005
      Emil Mirantz
      • John Mirantz
      • Judy Mirantz
    • ...Matilda Fogoros
      Joseph Drochak
    • Michael Fogoros Jr, 1917-1993
      Helen Bender, ?-circa 2010
      See this tree
    • Olivia Fogoros, March 26 1920-April 5 2014
      Roland Bondono, July 13 1923 - June 5 2005
      See this tree

Emil was a star athlete and was quite popular in high school. He got into a car accident, while steering wheels were solid unforgiving metal and seat belts weren't even thought of yet. He complained of abdominal pain but was checked out at the hospital where they found nothing wrong and sent him home. The pain worsened and he died of a perforated bowel; an injury from the accident. Life Lesson: You know when something's wrong, persevere even if the Doctors don't find anything wrong, your health is your own responsibility.

Matilda Fogoros, my Aunt Tillie, was always very kind to me.

I remember visiting Uncle Mike (Michael Fogoros Jr) and his family many times at his house outside of Toledo Ohio. He sold insurance, and was active in Toastmasters International. He had two daughters, and his family tree is shown below.

  • Michael Fogoros Jr, 1917-1993
    Helen Bender, ?-circa 2010
    • Sandra Fogoros
      Jeff Dazel
      • Robert Dazel
    • ...Sandra Fogoros
      Donald Gratop
      • Lindsey Gratop
      • Kristen Gratop
    • Nancy Fogoros
      Dr Joseph Calkins
      • Joseph Calkins Jr
      • David Calkins
      • Rebecca Calkins

Here are some photos of the Fogoros family. The first picture below shows Anna Popa Lutean, Helen Lutean's mother, my maternal Great Grandmother, on the right with the white scarf. I unfortunately have no information at all about Michael Fogoros Sr's parents. The second photo shows Michael and Helen's wedding, in Romania. The third photo is their best family photo. The fourth photo shows the family store: Grandpa Fogoros was the butcher in an A&P in a building which he had built in Bedford, Ohio. His name is on the inscription above the center upstairs window. The last photo is an interior shot of the lunch counter in the store.

Pauline (vest) and Anna Popa Lutean (no vest) in Romania. Anna Popa Lutean was Olivia Fogoros Bondono's Grandmother, my great-grandmother.
Wedding Photo, in Romania. Top Row, left to right: Lena Anton, Pete Anton, Pauline Gradimar, Charles Gradimar (?). unknown. Seated: Helen and Michael Fogoros Sr
The Fogoros Family: Micahel Jr, Emil, Michael Sr, Helen, Matilda, Olivia
Michael Fogoros Sr's A&P Grocery store, circa 1925, building built in 1920, in Bedford Ohio. Building inscription above the center upstairs window reads "Michael Fogoros", since he had this building built. The people, left to right, are (bottom row): Cousin Pete, Michael Jr, Olivia, Emil, and top row: 2 men from A&P, Michael Sr, Helen, and an unidentified man.
Michael Fogoros Jr, Emil Fogoros, Matilda Fogoros and Helen Lutean Fogoros, at the counter in the family store, circa 1920

Photos of Grandma and Grandpa Fogoros as I remember them as a child are:

Helen and Michael Fogoros, Olivia's parents, in Bedford, Ohio, circa 1962
Helen Fogoros (right), circa 1960
Jeff Bondono, Helen Lutean Fogoros, Amy Bondono Goodwin, circa 1964, shortly before Helen's death

The photos below are of Michael Sr and Helen's children.

Matilda Fogoros, Emil Fogoros, Michael Fogoros Jr, and Olivia Fogoros Bondono, circa 1927
Emil Fogoros (Olivia's oldest brother)
Cousin George Fogoros, his wife, Michael Fogoros Jr, Helen (Bender) Fogoros, Olivia (Fogoros) Bondono, Roland Bondono, Matilda (Fogoros) Drochak, Joseph Drochak
Michael Fogoros Jr and George Fogoros
Olivia Fogoros, circa 1940?

The last photo is my Mother, so you can follow her family tree here.

Finally, here is the family tree of my children from their Mother's side:

  • John Edgar Snyder
    Elnora Bucey
    • Shelby Ellen Snyder
      Larry Richard Relyea
      • Larry Relyea
      • Toni Lee Relyea, May 3 1958-
        Jeffrey Roland Bondono, January 19 1956-
        See this tree
    • ...Shelby Ellen Snyder
      Bluford Kirby
      • John Kirby
    • ...Shelby Ellen Snyder
      Brooks Hines
      • Briton Dakota Brooks Hines
        Melissa Lupfer
        • Colin
        • Cairan
    • Connie Snyder
      Don Sahadi
      • Louis Sahadi
      • Rachel Sahadi
    • Michael Snyder
John Edgar Snyder
Elnora Bucey Snyder
Shelby Ellen Snyder
Standing: Shelby Snyder, forgot, Elnora Snyder holding Brandelyn Bondono, Connie Snyder Sahadi, Rachel Sahadi, Toni Relyea Bondono. Kneeling: Michael Snyder, John Snyder