49 Summer Street: Families of Frank Nitto and George Bornkessel of Passaic, NJ

There are two more families that lived at 49 Summer Street just a few years before my grandparents bought the house.

49 Summer Street, c1926

George Bornkessel would have slipped through the cracks had it not been for a short blurb in the Passaic Daily News on 1 September 1917 that George Bornkessel had bought the house and would live there “after alterations.” His listings in the 1918 and 1919 Passaic city directories show that he did, indeed, live there.

However, I haven’t found any Bornkessel (or any surname anywhere close to that) buying or selling any Passaic County property so I have no idea when he actually sold the house.

George J. Bornkessel was born on 5 June 1883 in Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey, the son of George Borncastle or Bornkessel and Frances Teickman, both of whom were born in Germany. George had a brother, William. He married Ada Martha Phillips in 1911, also in New Jersey. Ada was born c1886 in Germany.

George applied for a passport for himself on 29 August 1905, but gave no reason why. His occupation was listed as woolen finisher and his father attested to his birth in New Jersey.

After they left Passaic, the family lived in Sandyston Township, Sussex, New Jersey before moving to 20 Peru Road, Clifton, not far from their former home in Passaic.

George Bornkessel died suddenly on 14 December 1932 in Passaic, according to a newspaper notice.  Ada survived him at least until 6 August 1935 when she sailed from Bremen, Germany to Clifton, New Jersey.

They were the parents of one son, also named George, and a daughter, Victoria.


1. George Julius, born 22 June 1913, New Jersey; died 28 February 1991; married (1) Bessie Gibson, 1935, New Jersey (2) Ruth Werner Renneberg (27 December 1917-12 April 2006) (3) Elizabeth Jean (MNU) (1929-2016). Julius, as he was known, was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, serving from World War II until the 1960s.
2. Victoria, born May 1915, New Jersey; died December 1922, Passaic County, New Jersey

George and Ada have descendants today as son George and Ruth, his wife, were the parents of three children – Louise A., George W., and Ruth A.

The last family to live in my childhood home was that of Frank and Jennie (Manla) Nitto. They lived in the house from the time of the 1920 census until the 1923 Passaic city directory. In 1924, my grandparents were listed at 49 Summer Street.

It’s kind of fun knowing that the last residents of my house before my family were an extended family of husband and wife with three children and a fourth born while they lived there, along with grandparents – the same extended family in my case with Nana upstairs and my parents, brother and I living downstairs.

Frank Joseph Nitto was born on 19 March 1890 in Buccino, Italy. The 1920 census gives an arrival date of 1903. Frank married Jennie Manla on 17 October 1909 at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church in Passaic, New Jersey.

Jennie was also born c1890, but in New York. Her parents, brother and sister lived with Frank and Jennie’s family in 1915 in Passaic, New Jersey.

In 1910, Frank and Jennie were newlyweds living at 262 Hope Avenue in Passaic. Frank was a machinist by trade at that time. Later records describe his trade as coppersmith.

By 1920, when they lived on Summer Street, Carl, aged 9, Michael, aged 3, and Louise, under the age of 1, were in the family. Jennie’s parents, Michael and Lucy Manla, still lived with them. Their son Richard was born while the family lived in the house.

An interesting note is that Jennie, born c1890, gave New York as her birthplace, but her parents reported that they came to the United States in 1895. It’s certainly possible that they came, went back and returned once again, but no birth record comes up in a search of Jennie Manla. She may also have been born in Italy.

Frank Nitto died on 10 May 1978; Jennie passed away on 6 September 1981. Both are buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Upper Montclair, Essex, New Jersey.

This family didn’t appear much in the newspapers, except to note the 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries of Frank and Jennie.

Also, their son Harold became a well-respected Passaic judge.

Frank and Jennie were the parents of six children:


1. Carl F., born September 1911, New Jersey; died 14 March 1985; married Dorothy Levendusky. She was born 17 November 1918; died 4 September 2002. Carl was a lawyer, as were two of his brothers.
2. Edward J., born November 1914, New Jersey; died February 1916, Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey
3. Harold Michael, born 27 February 1916, Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey; died 10 May 1989; married Jean Spano (1921-18 August 2013) , 25 August 1945, Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey. He was also an attorney.
4. Louise M., born November 1919; died after 1993; unmarried.
5. Richard Daniel, born 1923; died June 2003; married Dorothy Jean Ellenoff, 12 September 1953. He was the third brother to follow a career in law.
6. Robert Thomas; born 1927, New Jersey; died 26 October 2016; married Anne Catherine Hanlon, 223 April 1955, Roselle, Union, New Jersey.

The Nitto family does have descendants living today.

That concludes the history of the families who lived at 49 Summer Street, Passaic, New Jersey before my family owned the house. After the house was sold on 7 December 1963, it appears that the revolving door of renters started up once again. I wish the house was still a well-loved home with owners who loved living in it.





2 thoughts on “49 Summer Street: Families of Frank Nitto and George Bornkessel of Passaic, NJ”

  1. What a fascinating project! And I love the old photo. My parents were the first to own my childhood home, so I can’t do the same. Would be interested to see if my maternal great-grandparents were the first to live in their house.

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