"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."

Jun16th2013

Vacation

by  Phyllis Zeck

Don and Kelly

Wedding bells were ringing on June 1st!  Kelly and Don Jr were married in Kelly’s hometown in Iowa.  Don and I few into Chicago a few days before the wedding to attend the festivities and enjoy the excitement.  Kelly looked gorgeous, Don Jr was very handsome, and Tyler was perfect as his father’s best man.  We felt so blessed to share this wonderful day with Kelly and Don.

I couldn’t leave Chicago without touching base with family and friends.  We crossed over the Mississippi bright and early on Sunday morning and headed to Lake Villa.  Don and I were going to visit Antonio’s cottage and meet some of his descendants.  We arrived in the early afternoon.  I’ve discussed in many previous blogs my joy at communicating with Antonio’s great granddaughter Mary (aka Bear).  Bear stumbled upon my website in July of 2012 and we’ve been email buddies ever scince.  Bear shares my passion for genealogy and has emailed me many wonderful letters, photos, and stories which I’ve shared in my blog posts.  

 Antonio's Cottage 1940This photo was taken in 1940.  Far left is Roy & Elvira (Snook) and Eileen (Turk) with friends.  

 

                      Cottage July 1937

Three brothers?  July 1937.  My grandfather Gilbert is in the middle.                                                                                          

 

 IMG_1033Elvira’s son Greg, Greg’s son Cory, Greg’s daughter Bear, Me, and Greg’s wife Terri.

 

Don and I pulled into the driveway of the cottage and it didn’t look much different from the photos of 1940.  The cottage blends right into the woodsy environment as it’s surrounded by many beautiful tall trees.  Antonio was the first child born to Elvira and Pietro Del Principe and was 1of 17 children.  Antonio and Margaret had two daughters.  Elvira Antoinette (Snooks) and Eileen Lucille (Turk).  Elvira married Roy and they had four children;  Antoinette, Greg, Madeleine, and Margaret.  Greg and his wife Terri have two children; Mary (Bear) and Cory.  To read other blog posts about Antonio’s family go to the navigation bar on the right, scroll down to “categories” and click on “Antonio”.  To see additional photos of Antonio’s family click on this link.

What a joy it was to meet this family!  Bear’s husband Wyatt was also on hand as we were given a tour of the cottage, then settled down near the cozy pellet stove for a lively and animated visit.  We all had so much we wanted to share with each other.  Just think of how happy Antonio and his brother Gilbert (my grandfather) would have been to see their descendants meet here for the first time.  Greg said that Antonio’s brothers helped build the cottage and I’m sure my grandfather was there working along side of his brothers.

Bed Room IMG_1026

Three bedrooms lined the side of the house, off of the living room.  The bed in middle room had a quilt and pillow covers of a full moon, trees, wolves, deer, and bears.  The photo on the left was the bedroom off of the kitchen.  Bedspread, lamps, and window coverings featured a bear motif.  I suspect that Bear had a hand in decorating this room.  The kitchen and bathroom are additions to the 

Kitchen IMG_1024

cottage.  The original siding was left in place and now pots, pans, and cooking utensils hang from the siding.  Before we knew it the afternoon had flown by. We ordered pizza for dinner and then took a stroll down to Miltmore Lake. Greg smiled as he told us how his dad used to drive him down to the community water pump so they could fill the water buckets.  He said his grandfather Antonio did not want lake front property.  He was afraid his little daughters might fall in the lake so he bought a lot one block away.

The photos below left were given to me by Bear.  She was thinking ahead and asked Don to snap some photos in the same locations, very clever of her.  Thank you for thinking of that Bear.  

 011 Snook & Roy Miltmore 012 Bear_Phyllis_IMG_1045
 Elvira and Roy  Bear (Elvira’s
granddaughter) and me
 004 Elvira Eileen Roy 005 IMG_1041
 Elvira, Eileen, and Roy  Bear (with Oso bear)
and me
008 Lake Miltmore Swings  010 Phyl Swings IMG_1043
Swing Sets  
Don and Me

The sun was setting.  It was time to call it a day.  We said goodbye to these good people and thanked them for a wonderful visit.  I’m so lucky that Bear found our family website and that we had this opportunity to met.  

Don and I had one more day left in Chicago so of course I squeezed in three more activities!  We wanted to visit with my brother Tony and my nephew Robert plus meet Tony’s new fiancé Meredith.   

Robert, Meredith, & Tony

Robert, Meredith, & Tony

We decided to meet at Jay’s Beef so we could eat one of our families famous beef sandwiches.  We love Meredith!  Before our lunch arrived we were laughing, joking, and teasing.  It was clear from the start she fit right into this family.  Cousin Muriel dropped in to say hello and we all had a great visit.  My dear high school friend Sue met Don and I for dinner.  A wonderful way to end a perfect day.  Our plane took off the next day, another terrific vacation had come to a close.

 
 

Jan1st2013

Antonio’s Cottage

by  Phyllis Zeck

 

Elieen (Turk), Margaret (Gan), Elvira (Snooks), Antonio

Elieen (Turk), Margaret (Gan), Elvira (Snooks), Antonio

Mary (aka Bear) has sent me several photographs that I’ve been anxious to share.  Bear’s grandmother was Elvira (Snooks) and her great grandparents were Antonio Del Principe and Margaret (aka Gan) Heenan.  Antonio and Margaret were married on Nov 12, 1919.  In 1928 Antonio built a summer cottage in Lake Villa, Illinois. Bear wrote to me that  “During the summer my husband and I go and stay in the summer cottage that Antonio built in 1928!  It is in Lake Villa.  It’s such an amazing piece of family history.”   

To make any of the photos larger, click on the photo and you’ll be brought to a new page.  Click on the photo again and the photo will be enlarged.  Click on the back arrow to return to the blog post.

Bear and her husband have been remodeling the cottage.  They are having a new roof put on and are restoring some beams.  They are also remodeling the bathroom which was not a part of the original structure.   

Antonio"s Cottage 1940

Antonio”s Cottage 1940

This photo was taken June 2, 1940.  The back of the photo says, “Roy + Snook + Aunt Turk + Bernard O’Donnel (Aunt Turk’s old Boyfriend.)  Jack Hoffman and Red Zinger. They liked Snook but Snook liked Roy.”  Elvira (Snook) married Roy Weber and they had four children: Antoinette, Gregory, Madeleine, and Margaret.  Some of Antonio’s brothers went to the cottage to help build it.  I don’t know if my grandfather Gilbert assisted in the building, but I suspect he did.  The brothers were always helping each other.  When my grandfather and father were building our house in Villa Park in the 1950’s, grandpa’s brothers were frequently there to lend a hand to grandpa and my father.

Margaret and Antonio 1940

Margaret and Antonio and Roy 1940

Bear wrote “Roy absolutely loved going to the cottage.  When my dad, Greg, was a kid they’d go up every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  He’d come home from work and Snook would have packed everything in paper bags by the door.  He’d load up the car and Blackie (their dog at the time) would hop in the car and would NOT leave for anything.  My dad said he’d growl and snarl if anyone would try to make him get out of the car because he knew it was time to go to the cottage.  He’d wait in the car as long as it took.   My dad said that he and Mad and Maggie would start to get anxious in the winter around Feb and they’d ask how many more weeks til we get to go to the cottage? So his mom would count down the weeks with them till Memorial Day weekend.” 

“Pa (Roy) continued to go to the cottage even after Snooks died.   They were very good friends with the couple that lived across the street from the cottage, Wallie and Mickie.  Mickie still lives there, and we see her quite often.  She is one of the most active 84 year olds I ever met!”  

Summer 1939

Summer 1936

Bear explains the photo to the right: “The girls are sitting on the roof of the south side of the cottage.  If you are looking at the cottage from the front, they are dangling their legs off the left side of the cottage. Snook is the third one from the left.  I always assumed Turk was in the photo, but I don’t recognize the other three. One might be Turk.  We just lost the big tree behind them in the photo.  There was a nasty storm last June.  Wyatt (my husband) and I were up there during the storm and it was scary!!  A near by big oak tree was split in half by lightening and the tree in the photo was knocked down by 70 mile an hour winds. We also lost the tree between Gan and Antonio in the other picture.  It was a sad day.”

Wow Bear! Thank you so much for sharing your stories and photographs.  Because of your generosity we are able to get a deeper understanding of our ancestors, which was one of my goals for starting this blog.  

 
 

Nov12th2012

The Entertainer

by  Phyllis Zeck

Tony Prince Antonio Del PrincipeAntonio Del Principe was the first child born to Elivra Ciolli and Pietro Del Principe.  He was born in Pescasseroli, Italy and arrived in the United States on the ship The Weser when he was 4 years old.   

Tony married Margaret Heenan and they had two daughters; Elvira and Eileen. Elvira’s granddaughter Mary (aka Bear) sent the wonderful photos displayed above. Tony is the gentleman on the right in both of the partner photos.  Tony had promotion photographs taken.  The photo of Tony in a hat was taken by “Swisher” at 32 N State St in Chicago.  The photograph taken with him playing the accordion was taken by “C-I-Hak” at 323 W. Clark St in Chicago.

Antonio Del Principe Music Store business cardTony spent much of his time traveling and performing.  This is one of the business cards that he carried.   Bear sent me an absolute treasure which I want to share.  I received an original brochure that her great grandfather handed out promoting his sales and entertainment services. My Aunt Phyllis always told me that Antonio went by the name of Tony Prince.  As you can see by the brochure below, she was correct.  Tony passed away in 1941 so the brochure is at least 71 years old.  You can click on the business card to enlarge it.  Click here to see page 1 of the brochure and to read the lyrics to the songs, click here to see page 2.  Thank you for sharing Bear!

 
 

Oct2nd2012

Antonio’s Descendants

by  Phyllis Zeck

Antonio Marius Del Principe was the first child of Elvira and Pietro.  He was born August 7, 1888 in Pescasseroli, Italy.  Antonio married Margaret Heenan and they had two daughters; Elvira (Snooks) and Eileen (Turk).  Antonio Del Principe

Antonio used to travel around the United States and Canada playing his music and would send postcards back to his family. They lived in the 2 story flat on Irving Street in Chicago.  Pietro and Elvira lived downstairs, and Antonio lived upstairs with his family.  Elvira Antoinette was a premie baby and Margaret told her grandchildren that Elvira was so small she fit in a cigar box which Margaret put by the the coal stove to keep her baby warm.  

Elvira (Snooks)Snooks (pictured left) married Roy Weber.  Antonio passed away on Pearl Harbor day. Snooks and Roy were planning Antonio’s funeral.  When they finished at the funeral home they turned on the radio and heard the news that the United States had been attacked.  Roy was drafted on March 17, 1942.  

Elvira and Roy had four children; Antoinette, Gregory, Madeleine, and Margaret.  All four of the Weber children danced and competed in Irish Dancing and have won many trophies. Toni and Madeleine went on to teach Irish dancing and named their company The Weber Irish Dancers.  This year is the Weber’s 50th anniversary.  Check out their website at www.weberirishdancers.com.  Click on the about page to see a photo of Toni and Madeleine with some of their trophies.

Elvira’s children. Toni is seated. Left to right – Madeleine, Maggie, and Greg

Greg married Teresa and they had two children; Cory and Mary (Bear).  

Antonio’s great granddaughter Mary (Bear)

Bear teaches at Madeleine and Toni’s studio so she gets to interact with her aunts daily.  What a lucky lady! It’s such an  interesting coincidence that Bear and I are so involved with the world of dance.  As you can see Antonio passed his love for music down through three generations.  Bear and I have been corresponding this summer and she’s been so kind in sharing stories, photos and memorabilia.   I’ll be adding it all to my website as time permits, so stay tuned. 

 

 

 

 
 

Aug11th2012

A Letter From Our Cousin

by  Phyllis Zeck

Image

Elvira Ciolli Del Principe died on December 24, 1939.  Since it was Christmas Eve Elvira wanted my grandfather Gilbert to take her to church to see the Nativity Scene.  My mother Corinne and my aunt Phyllis were with Elvira.  Grandpa was pulling the car to the front of the church when Elvira collapsed.

Elivra’s first born child Antonio died on Dec 7, 1941.  This is the morning that Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor.  Antonio suffered internal injuries when he fell from a ladder a few months before his death.

Elvira is in the center in this photo.  Her arm is linked around Antonio’s.  We don’t know who the woman on Elvira’s right is.  I  suspect she felt close to Elvira, notice that her hand is on Elvira’s shoulder.  We also do not know who the person is in front of Elvira.  If you are able to help identify the two unknown people, please leave a comment or email me.

Antonio had a daughter named Elvira.  Elvira’s granddaughter Mary sent this photo to me along with the letter below.  Thank you so much for sharing Mary!  The letter is from a cousin named Leonard Del Principe dated Dec 10, 1941.  He lists his address as 1211 W. Lead Ave in Albuquerque New Mexico.  The letter is addressed to Antonio’s brother John at 2244 W. Harrison St in Chicago.  

I believe Pietro had 3 brothers: Vincenzo, Antonio, and Gerardo.  Leonardo was the son of Vincenzo.  Leonardo married Alimarinta and they had two children; Frederico born in 1907 and Lucrezia was born in 1912.  Leonardo had a brother named Giuseppe Donato.  The 1910 census show Donato living with his wife Marie Concetta Diaddezio and their 4 children as well as his brother Leonardo in Pennsylvania. In the 1940 census Leonardo, age 74, lived at 2224 Polk St in Chicago with his son Frederick age 32, Frederick’s wife Esta, and their 7 year old daughter Dolores.  

I have tried to decifer the text of the letter below.

“To John Del Principe brothers and families

Nearly two years on Dec 24, ’39 while I laid in bed I heard a rap at the door.  I said what is it?  Oh Pa, Zia Elvira is dead!  I exclaimed oh God, what Christmas greeting are those given me!  There I came into the house that should be in gay and happy, enjoying the festivity of the Baby Jesus, and the families, of old and young with heart filled with joy and happiness I found?  I found the scene all changed, the house, from gay & happiness, to a mournful and the families young and old from a happiness and contentment, to a sorrowful heart and tearing eyes, crying the death of dearest mother!  Yes Zia Elvira was dead!!

On Dec 8, 1941 the day of the immaculate conception, a rap at the door came, and the voice of my daughter said Pa, here is a telegram for you; what is it?  John says his brother Anthony died!  Oh God, I cried what Christmas greeting is this?  Is the same fatal change falling on that misfortunate family?  Oh God, yes is identical the same!

The first being the dearest Mother, now is the first link of her golden chain, that broke loose and fell dead, and cause the remaining eight brothers and families, old and young to change the festival of the coming Merry Christmas to a sorrowful house, into mourn & tears & crying the death of their dearest brother Antonio Del Prinicpe!  Yes he is passed away.  

May I hope and pray God to let enter the kingdom of Heaven and sit by his dearest Mother!  With my breaking heart and tears from my eyes I am writing yours this letter to express my deepest sympathy to the deceased family, the brothers, and all their families & relatives of my dear cousin Antonio Del Principe.  

Forgive me for not being present at the wake among yours my dearest ones to share the sorrowful time or pay a better respect than this, but hope that God will bless all of yours and give you courage and comfort.  

Your Affectionate Cousin

Leonard Del Principe”

Letter from Cousin Leonard Del Principe Front

Letter from Cousin Leonard Del Principe Back