Sophia Pardoen was born on 4 May 1827 in The Hague, North Holland. Her parents were Johannes Pardoen (1781-1850), a paver and his wife Margaretha la Heij (1784-1858), originally from Grave, North Brabant. Sophia's siblings were Johanna, Catrina, Johannes, Hendrik, Pieter, Johanna Margaretha, Paulus, Cornelis, Stephanus and Cornelia Catharina. Sophia was the youngest child.
On 24 July 1850 Sophia married Giovanni Antonio Vitali (1823-1893) in The Hague. Giovanni was a chimney sweep who came to Amsterdam from Italy in 1840. Sophia's father died 12 days after the wedding. Shortly afterwards, the young couple purchased an apartment and Giovanni started two new businesses.
According to later stories, Sophia was half-French. This has not been proven or disproved, however both her parents were born in the Netherlands. Sophia was remembered as a kind, hard working and strong woman.
After 42 years of marriage, Giovanni died at his home on 25 May 1893 aged 70. Sophia lived until 9 January 1905 when she passed away aged 77.