|Birth: ||Oct. 23, 1898|
|Death: ||Feb. 15, 1994|
Bernie was the youngest child of Stephen (Stefano) Branda and Salvadora Teresa Finocchio, immigrants fom Italy, and was their third child born after the family moved to southeastern Louisiana. She appeared with the family on the 1900 Census at Bertrandville Village, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana (ED 38; Pg 3-B; Family 71) under the surname of Brann, which may have been adopted due to the growing sentiment against the wave of immigration from Southern Europe.
Shortly before Christmas 1905, her father was seriously injured on the family farm when a bee stung the horse that was drawing his cart, resulting in his being thrown to the ground and the cart crushing his chest. He died on 5 December 1902, only a month and a half after Bernie's fourth birthday. On 11 Sep 1905, only a month and a half before her seventh birthday, her mother succumbed to illness (possibly yellow fever or influenza). Her oldest brothers, Joseph and Jack, helped to rear her and the other two American-born siblings. Again under the surname Brann, the five siblings appeared on the 1910 Census in Police Jury Ward 2 in Plaquemines Parish (ED 50; Pg 3-B; Family 59).
In 1911, Joseph married, followed by Bernie's older sister Lena in 1912 and then Jack in 1913. Carmel and Bernie likely were juggled between siblings until Carmel turned 18 and went to court to have himself declared an emancipated minor. Bernie apparently followed her brother Carmel to Texas shortly thereafter, and, at 18, married Frank Bonura, another Italian immigrant, on 26 Apr 1917 in Jefferson County, Texas.
While she was expecting her first child, Bernie sold her portion of the old family farm to her sister Lena's husband in January 1919. The siblings had gone to court in September 1913 to have themselves declared the sole heirs of their parents (Their oldest two siblings had been born and died before their parents left Italy). They were each given 1/5th of the farm land, and all five parts eventually were owned by Lena's husband, who later sold the entire lot to one of his family members. Before 1920, Joseph had died of pneumonia and the other four siblings, all married, were living in Jefferson County, Texas.
Bernie and Frank had their first child, a girl, in July 1918, followed by a son in October 1920, and another girl in July 1925. They reared their children in Beaumont, near Bernie's siblings and their families. They appeared on the 1920 Census living on Avenue G (Beaumont Ward 3, ED 95; Pg 4-B; Family 93), on the 1930 Census living in Justice Precinct 1 (ED 45; Pg 53-B; Family 881), and on the 1940 Census on Joachim Street (Beaumont Ward 3; ED 123-35; Pg 16-A; Family 333).
During World War II, their son and several of his cousins served in the military. All of them survived the war. By the 1960s, Bernie and Frank had an empty nest and moved for a time onto land in Woodville, Texas, north of Beaumont, in Tyler County.
Frank died in 1971 of heart problems, and Bernie lived on her own in Jefferson County for many years before finally moving into a nursing home in Nederland. She died there at the age of 95, 22 years after her beloved husband. She outlived two of her children, all of her siblings, and many of her nieces and nephews.
Stefano "Stephen" Branda (May 1860 - Dec 1902)
Salvadora Teresa Finocchio (Jul 1860 - Sep 1905)
Giuseppe "Joseph" Branda (Jul 1887 - Jan 1919)
Giacomo "Jack" Branda (Jan 1890 - Jul 1954)
Lena Branda Cash (Nov 1893 LA - Aug 1982 TX)
Carmel Branda (Apr 1895 LA - Jun 1966 TX)
Frank Joseph Bonura (1896 - 1971)
Jennie Marie Bonura Pecorino (1918 - 2013)*
Samuel Joseph Bonura (1920 - 1990)*
Dora Louise Bonura Eastling (1925 - 1990)*
Maintained by: TexasLass
Originally Created by: Sharon Howell
Record added: Apr 12, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68260423