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


Enrico (Henry) Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

Robert Ciolli

This photo was sent to me from Val, thank you so much for sharing.  Left is Robert R Ciolli 1911 – 1962.  Center is John Serritella (Val’s godfather).  Right is Robert P. Amabile Ciolli 1910 – 2000.

Robert R.’s father was Enrico (Henry) Ciolli.  Robert P.’s father was Carmino (Charles) J. Ciolli.  Enrico and Carmino were the brothers of my great grandmother Elvira.  You can read more about the Charles Ciolli by clicking here and by clicking here.

Enrico (Henry) Ciolli was born 01 Jan 1876 in Italy. Henry married Carmela Petrella (1888-1954) and they had six children.  Frank (born in Italy), Phyllis, Mary, Robert R., Josephine (Gigi), and Nancy.

I can’t find a record of his immigration but you can click here to read his Naturalization Record dated 13 Dec 1893. The record shows he was living at 165 Forquer St in Chicago.  That must have been a huge apartment, many Ciolli’s lived at that residence!

The 1920 census lists the family’s address at 1023 Peoria in Chicago and says Henry immigrated in 1895 however that doesn’t match his Naturalization date.  It also lists his occupation as Plasterer and states he owns his home but has a mortgage.  His children are listed as Fred, Philamena, Mary, Abraham, Josephine, and Nancy.  This census taker has made several mistakes, in fact he spells the family’s last name Ciole.

Henry passed away 15 Jun 1958 at the age of 82 and is buried at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery.  I think it’s time for me to dig deeper into researching Enrico’s family.  So many relatives, so little time!



“C” Is For Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

Pizzelle Recipe Card FBarbara has graceously shared Charles Ciolli’s Pizzelle pastry recipe.  The recipe is not Charles’ original recipe, but it’s pretty close.  Barbara made the cookies this year at Easter. Carmino (Charles) Ciolli is Barbara’s grandfather and is the brother of my great grandmother Elvira.  You can read a blog post about Charles by clicking here or by clicking on his name in the category section on the right side of the page.  Barbara sent me the photo below of Charles’ press and it’s handle.  The press was used over an open flame on a gas stove.  Barbara said “it weighs a ton and dates back to 1923”.  Click on recipe card above or the photo below to see enlargements.

Press_Final_edited-1The following is some information I found about these cookies. Pizzelle pastries were originally made in Ortona, in the Abruzzo region of south central Italy.  The name comes from the Italian word for “round” and “flat”. The Pizzelle iron was held by hand over a hot burner on the stove top.  The iron stamps a snowflake pattern onto both sides of the thin golden brown cookie.  Pizzelle are popular during Christmas and Easter and are often found at Italian weddings.  It is also common for two pizzelle’s to be sandwiched with cannoli cream (ricotta blended with sugar) or hazelnut spread.  Pizzelle can also be rolled while still warm using a wooden dowel to create cannoli shells.

So I ordered a Pizzelle Press.  It does not have my initials in it and does not weight a ton and it plugs into the wall.  I bought it on Amazon.com.  Yesterday Ashley, Abby, and I made our own Pizzelle cookie memories and started a new tradition.  Next up – Ashley wants to make Cannolis.

Barbara also shared photos of the Lamb cake that she made at Easter.  The mold is her mother’s and is at least 60 years old.  I love that Barbara continues these family memories with her children and grandchildren.  Thank you for sharing with us Barb!



Carmino (Charles) J. Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

This fall I received email from two of Charles Ciolli’s descendants, Barbara and Jamila.  I just love it when that happens!  Charles and my great grandmother Elvira were brother and sister.

Charles was born in Pescasseroli, Italy on March 20, 1875.  He died on April 12, 1941 in Chicago and is buried at Mt Carmel.  Charles and his brother Oreste Emilio Fortunato arrived in New York on May 1, 1890 aboard the ship The Britannia.  Charles married Anna D’Aquila in 1908 in Chicago at Holy Guardian Angel’s Church.

Charles and Anna had two children.  Their daughter Filomena died at 3 months old in April 1909.  Robert P. Amabile Ciolli was born on March 9, 1910, and he passed away in 2000.  Robert married Emily (Carmella) Picerno on September 18, 1937.

Robert and Emily had two daughters.  Annette was their first born.  Annette married Michael Davey and they had two children (Maureen and Robert).  Robert is married to Jamila.

Robert and Emily’s younger daughter is Barbara.  Barbara married William Kucera and they had two children (Lauren and William).

Charles & Anna with Annette 1940

So now I am able to trace my relationship to my two new email friends; Jamila and Barbara.  They both share my passion for geneaology so the three of us quickly became email buddies. Jamila sent me the photo on the left.  This is Charles and Anna D’Aquila with their first granddaughter Annette (Jamila’s mother in law), taken in 1940.

The photo below was sent to me from Barbara and is Charles and his son Robert (Barbara’s father) in front of the bar Charles owned on Loomis Street in Chicago.  It was taken about 1913-1915.  Charles is in the middle, the man on the left is unknown.  The child is Robert, age 3.


Barbara writes “Charles and Anna owned a two-flat on Lexington Street in Chicago and that is where my father was raised. When my father married Emily they lived in one flat and Charles & Anna lived in the other. That is where they lived when my sister Annette was born in June of 1940. Charles died the following April 1941.  Shortly after that the building was sold and my parents, along with Anna and my sister moved into a two-flat with my maternal grandparents (Frank & Justine Picerno) at 1034 South Hoyne in Chicago. I was born in 1946 and we all lived there until 1950.”

Charles Ciolli’s Bar

Barbara remembers Frank & Otto Del Principe and the Leones, and of course she took accordion lessons at the music store.  Barbara recalls “I guess I saw Frank and his family the most and remember going to his home with all the gorgeous Dresden figures and lamps.  I knew Frank’s children Muriel and Luke and remember eating at the beef stand”.

I’m very excited to know a little about the male side of the Ciolli family.

We’ve grown this tree so much in the last year.  I posted my first blog in October of 2010 and I am astounded by how much I’ve found out about my ancestors.  I hope that anyone who reads my blogs will help spread the word about our growing family.  I welcome any stories and photos you are willing to share with me.  Together we can  connect with family and learn about our ancestors.



The Ciolli Family Crest

by  Phyllis Zeck

As I was saying in my previous blog, one of the highlights of my visit to Chicago in May was the day my sister Lori and I joined our cousins Allen Adezio and his wife Marie, and Vickie Di Nella for lunch at Allen & Marie’s beautiful home in southern Illinois.

How are we connected?  Elvira Ciolli is Lori and my great grandmother.  Speranza (Mary) Ciolli is Allen’s great grandmother.  Bibbiana Celestina is Vickie’s great grandmother.  Elvira, Speranza, and Bibbiana were sisters.

This stunning painting is hanging in the entry hallway of Allen & Marie’s home.  It was painted by a relative of Allen’s from a snap shot that was taken a few years ago when Allen and his brother Ron went to Italy with their wives.  The photograph is Allen (on the right) and Ron in front of the Adezio family home in Italy.   The writing on the photograph says D’Addezio House, 2 Vico Corto, Pescassoreli, Italy. 

This was the home of Allen and Ron’s father Cesidio (Jesse) Adezio, who was a Shepard as a little boy.   Cesidio’s parents were Luigi D’Addezio and Carmela Testa.  Their children were Guiseppi (Joseph), Antonio (Babe), Cesidio (Jesse), Guilia, and Lucia.  Allen’s last name is now Adezio so somewhere along the way the family name was changed.  Unfortunately no family members currently live in the home.

This is our Ciolli Family Crest.  Some people refer to this as a Coat of Arms; they are basically the same thing.   Allen’s cousin said that her father was given the “plans” for the Ciolli Crest from Frank DePirro.  (Frank was married to Ann who was the daughter of Gemma Nicolina Ciolli and Giacomo Leone).

Below is a photo taken last May of my sister Lori, Allen is behind her, Vickie is next to Allen, and I’m in front of Vickie.  As you can see the Ciolli Crest is hanging on the wall.  Beneath it is a wine press.  Allen’s father used the press to actually make wine, Allen and his brother assisted their father.  Allen tells the story of  “driving his dad to the markets to get crates of grapes, and putting all the grapes in the trunk of his car.  That’s when the trunks of cars were big!!!”

Now let me introduce Barbara.  Barbara found our family website and emailed me that she was one of my long lost relatives.  I love it when that happens!  Barbara’s grandfather was Carmino (Charles) Ciolli, brother to my great grandmother Elvira. (Check back later for more info, because of course I will have to write a blog about Barbara’s family.)  Allen’s wife Marie, Barbara, Joe and I sent several emails back and forth.  It turns out that Barbara has the very same Crest hanging in her home.   Barbara agreed to copy a black and white version of her Crest and mail it to Marie and I.

Barbara knows that her Crest was done and researched by a commercial company in Italy in the 1930’s.  Her crest bears the stamp: Archivio Araldivo Cimino.   We assume this is the company that made the Crest.

Since this is the very same family Crest we thought it was time to take this investigation one step further.

I turned once again to Kathy from GenTracer to ask her to research her archives and see if she could find any records of a family Crest for the Ciolli family.  Oh and by the way – would she look for record of a Crest for the Del Principe family?  I scanned the copy of the Crest that I received from Barbara to Kathy because there was some text below the Crest.  Kathy didn’t find any record that an official Crest was made for the Ciolli family or the Del Principe family but she did give us an explanation of the text below the Ciolli Crest.  Click on the Crest to see a larger version, click the back button to return to this blog.

Kathy writes:  The brief translation on the Crest is that the family is from Tuscany and Memorialized in the town archives of Pisa in the magistrate of Siena until 1408 and patrons in Florence.

Valerio was a sculptor in the 15th century, born at Settignano.  Andrea was a senator of Florence in the 15th century.  Michele was born at Settignano in the 16th century and a scupturer in Siena. Raffaele and Simone were sculptors.  

Of course, there is no documentation of any of the above. There is also no clear connection to your family.      



My brother shared this Del Principe Crest with me.  It is an example of what our crest might look like.  It is not authentic.






If you have an interest in the origin of Family Crests and a Coat of Arms click on the links above and check out the websites that were sent to me from Kathy.