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

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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