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

Oct17th2017

It Can’t Be October

by  Phyllis Zeck

Wow, has it really been 9 months since I’ve written a blog post? So much has happened this year. I know everyone has been crazy busy.  I hope you’ve reached some of the goals you set for yourselves since the New Year. l have made some amazing, wonderful strides in my personal growth. My brother Tony and his bride Gail began their life as husband and wife last month. We welcome Gail and her two daughters into our clan. The photo to the right includes Gail’s daughters Lauren and Katie (in red) and Tony’s son Robert.

My first grandchild turned 21. We’ve experienced the miracle of welcoming new babies into our world; Xander Paul (Gilberto’s great, great, great grandson) and James Eugene (Antonio’s great, great, great grandson). We’ve tried to be strong watching our loved ones deal with their health challenges. We’ve mourned the deaths of our beloved family members.

One of the year’s highlights for me was the Blended Blessing of my daughter Ashley and Ryan’s families. They eloped to the beach on a warm sunny afternoon this summer to exchange their vows. Ashley and Abby along with Ryan’s three daughters cement the fact that Ryan will forever be out numbered by females. They have purchased a home in a wonderful neighborhood just a 30 minute drive away from Nana. The photo above taken in Oceanside, Oregon includes Morgan, Arlington, Ashley, Ryan, Abigail, and Emersyn. I pray this family continues to love, respect and encourage each other as they settle into their new lives.

It has been so long since I’ve logged into Ancestry.com I though I’d check out the number of little green leaves begging for my attention. Never should have looked – 2,507 hints!

We’ll here are a few hints that I couldn’t help clicking on. The first is my maternal grandmother’s Petition for Naturalization, click here Bertha Del Principe to read the document. According to this record Bertha Marie Reher was born on 22 Apr 1901. Hmmm, this conflicted with my record of Bertha’s birth year which I had as 1902. Mom and Auntie Phyllis loved to tell us the story of how our grandmother was scandalized by the fact that she was one year older than grandpa Gilbert. Now it looks like the document that Bertha filled out stated that she’s two years older than grandpa. Poor Bertha, the things we worry about. I never knew my grandmother.  She passed away when mom and Auntie Phyllis were teenagers. The document also mentions that Bertha had a scar on her throat. I wonder why she had a scar.  It was exciting to see Bertha’s signature for the first time at the bottom of the document.

The second hint that I clicked on were photographs from the 1967 Willowbrook High School yearbook in Villa Park, Illinois. Inside I found photos of my two oldest brothers Rob and Steve.  In the first photo Rob (aka Bob) is in the lower photo, back row, fourth person from the left.  He was part of the Quill & Scroll society. Rob went on to get a journalism degree from Northwestern University and taught English for awhile.  I do envy Rob’s writing skills. He really knows how to bring his characters to life and has a very unique descriptive style that makes reading a pleasure. Please click on any photo view a large image.


Rob is in back row 4th from left

Steve 2nd row from bottom

Rob is mentioned in item 6

Rob is on left, 3rd photo down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it.  I’ve checked off two hints, only 2,505 to go. I also have some wonderful documents that family members have emailed to me that I hope to share with you very soon. The photo below was taken of Rob and Steve this summer. I imagine they are thinking high school seems like it was just yesterday.

Rob & Steve in Oregon

 
 

Mar28th2016

A Chance To Hear Auntie Phyllis Laugh Again

by  Phyllis Zeck

Phyllis Vincent

Phyllis, Gilbert, & Corinne

Gilbert Del Principe and Bertha Reher married in Chicago on 27 Nov 1926. Phyllis Elvira was born in 1927 and my mother Corinne was born in 1931. I now realize that Auntie Phyllis was named after my 2nd great grandmother Filomena Ursitti.  

Mom and Auntie suffered some traumatic events early in life. They were both with their grandmother Elvira at Christmas Eve Mass when Elvira passed away in 1939. And they were both with their mother Bertha when she passed away at home in 1947. Auntie Phyllis was 19 and mom was 16.  Auntie Phyllis would soon marry Richard and leave Chicago to settle in Connecticut. Auntie had 5 children and mom had 8 children. This equaled plenty of grandchildren for Grandpa to spoil.

Mom and Auntie tried to see each other often and I have such fond memories of vacations with my cousins. Calling each other on the phone was a luxury for mom and Auntie that our children would not be able to comprehend. Long distance calls were very expensive and once the sisters started chatting there was no stopping them. When my aunt and mother got together those two ladies laughed and talked non stop.  I can still hear them as if it was yesterday. 

Phyllis Vincent Corinne Winike

Sisters

In 2011 my brother Rob and I recorded an interview with Auntie Phyllis. I had just begun my genealogy research and knew Auntie Phyl had some great stories to tell. I recently played those files and found myself laughing out loud and smiling. What a great idea we had and why hadn’t we thought of it earlier so we could have recorded our mother!? Click the link below to listen to part of the interview. This is the 1st audio clip in our series. To listen to the other interviews, click on the box titled “Vincent Family” in the categories box to the right.

Click below to listen to Auntie talk about how her older cousin Elvira (Snookie) gave Auntie Phyllis a bike she had outgrown. She tells us how grandpa taught her to ride it. We also discuss childhood illnesses (my mother had scarlet fever) and a lesson auntie and mom learned about washing the dishes in a timely manner.

 

 
 

Mar27th2016

Baby Girl Del Principe

by  Phyllis Zeck

Bertha & Gilbert, Phyllis & Corinne

Bertha & Gilbert, Phyllis & Corinne

I count on my favorite podcast, Genealogy Gems, to keep me up to date with family history news and technology. I listen to Lisa while driving or working at my desk and I get her weekly email newsletter updates. The databases I use for my genealogy research grows too fast for me to keep up with so I keep my eyes peeled for Illinois news. Lisa keeps me updated with new source additions at this link. Scrolling down to February 18th brought up the link to over 3.7 million records that have been added to the free index for Cook County, Illinois deaths at FamilySearch.org. If you don’t subscribe to a searchable database like Ancestry.com but you are researching your heritage, the Family Search website is a wonderful resource.

It was at the Family Search website that I discovered a death record for Baby Girl Del Principe, Auntie Phyllis and mom’s younger sister. I knew that Bertha and Gilbert had a third daughter but did not have much information about her. My aunt told me that Bertha lost the baby when Bertha fell down some stairs. You can read more about Bertha and Gilbert at this blog post from 2010. Auntie Phyllis was born in 1927, my mother Corinne was born in 1931, and their sister was born 04 Jan 1938. Click here Family Search to view  the source information from Family Search “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994”. The actual record has not yet been scanned to FamilySearch.org.

I wanted to see if Ancestry.com had scanned the record. They had indexed the record but had not scanned it. Click here Ancestry.com and you can see that Ancestry included different source information than Family Search did. The family’s address was not included, but I found it interesting that the baby’s body was released to the Presbyterian hospital. I just assumed that Bertha was also Catholic but perhaps she was Presbyterian. 

Auntie Phyllis would have been 10 and my mother almost 7 when Bertha was carrying this baby. What a devastating loss for my family. I’m so appreciative that we have access to these records. Having actual birth records sheds new light on this ancestor for me. 

 
 

Nov2nd2010

Gilbert & Bertha

by  Phyllis Zeck

Gilbert Del Principe and Bertha Reher were my grandparents.  They met when grandpa was driving a taxi and he’d stop by the restaurant where grandma worked to have coffee.  After dating for 2 weeks they were married!

Bertha was born on April 22, 1901 in Hamburg, Germany.  She arrived in New York on November 30, 1904  on board the ship “The Blucher” with her mother Caroline and her brother Henry.  I can’t find any record that her father, August, ever joined the family in the U.S.   After Bertha’s mother died Bertha went to live with her Uncle Henry and his wife Hattie.

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