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

Aug21st2014

Turning Family Recipes into Memories

by  Phyllis Zeck

Gilbert Del Principe

My Grandfather Gilbert

My cousin Gina emailed me a few days ago to see if I had her mother’s (my Aunt Phyllis’) recipe for Pasta Fagioli. I told her that I didn’t and she replied that it made her sad that the recipe is now lost forever. That is sad!

Auntie Phyllis told me that she remembered visiting her Grandmother Elvira as a young child. She’d sit in the kitchen and watch Elvira cook.  Auntie Phyl said her grandmother knew very little English. Auntie told me “I didn’t speak much Italian, but it didn’t matter, we understood each other perfectly”.

So come on cousins, let’s share some recipes. Email me your favorite family recipe and I will copy and paste it into a blog post. Let’s spice up our heritage by turning delicious family recipes into memories.

 
 

Jun7th2014

Who Do You Think You Are?

by  Phyllis Zeck

WDYTYA
One of my favorite summer shows returns for a 5th season on TLC Wednesday July 23rd!  This season the series spotlights Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Kelsey Grammar, Rachel McAdams, and Cynthia Nixon.

Check out the new season highlights at TLC with Cynthia Nixon by clicking here.

 

 
 

Jun1st2014

Ancestors Lost and Found

by  Phyllis Zeck

It sure makes me happy when I get a message on this website from a “new” relative. Kathy posted the following comment “I am the granddaughter of Emil and Rose Del Principe and the daughter of their daughter Eleanore.” Kathy told me that she remembers Uncle Gilbert (my grandfather).  Kathy has generously shared some memories and some wonderful family photos.  Thank you Kathy for stories and photos of Emil and Rose and their descendants that have been missing from our lives for many years!

Amelio (Emil) was the third son born in 1891 to Pietro and Elvira Del Principe. Emil immigrated from Pescasseroli, Italy with Elvira and his two older brothers Antonio and Giuseppe aboard the ship The Wester and arrived in the United States on August 21, 1893.

Emil and Rose 1943

Emil and Rose 1943

Emil and his wife Rose Solomon had five children: Bernie, Anne, Nora Filomena (born in 1915, she survived only 12 days), William, and Eleanore.  Click here for Bernard Del Principe’s Birth Record 14 Nov 1911.  Emil worked for the Sears company in downtown Chicago and passed away in 1948.  

The photo below is Kathy in front of the music store at 5516 W. North Ave. Rose lived above the store with daughter Annie and her husband Henry after Emil passed away.  

Kathy (Emil & Rose's granddaughter)

Kathy (Emil & Rose’s granddaughter)

Next door at 5518 W North Ave was the Chicago Public Library. Kathy lived in the back apartment with her sister Emilia (CeeCee) and parents, Eleanore (Emil’s daughter) and Ted until she married in 1966. Emil’s son William and spouse Caroline lived in the front apartment.

Emil’s son Bernie and wife Florence lived across the street at 5517 W North Ave with their 3 children Bernie (Skip), Patricia, and Rosemary. Once again you can see that back in the “olden” days families did not move far away from each other which is one of the reasons I love my large Italian family!


Click on the photos below to enlarge them. 

 

 
 

May4th2014

My DNA – Add A Large Splash of Scandinavia

by  Phyllis Zeck

Two weeks ago I received my Ancestry.com DNA results and the breakdown really surprised me.  Click on the photos below to see a larger view of the images.  My approximate lineage is: Scandinavia 33%, Italy/Greece 25% (no surprise here), Great Britain 18%, Iberian Peninsula 9%, Ireland 5%, and West Asia 9%. I am stumped by these results.  If any of my cousins out there know something about my Scandinavian ancestors please send me an email ASAP.

 

DNA Results 2

 

My Great Britain DNA extends to Germany.  My mother’s mother Bertha Marie Christina Reher was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1901.  I believe Bertha’s parents Caroline and August were also born in Germany.  

When I expand on each region I get a closer look at the countries of my ethnicity.  Scandinavia includes mostly Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Hamburg is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Denmark.  Perhaps Bertha’s grandparents were born in Scandinavia. 

The Iberian Peninsula region is mostly Spain and southern France.  West Asia includes Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.   Below is a detailed photo of my Italian ethnicity and how my DNA compares to a typical person native to the Italy/Greece region.

 

DNA Italy

 

I keep saying this, but I’ve got to start digging into my father’s lineage.  After seeing the results of my DNA breakdown I wonder if his ancestors were Scandinavian.  My father’s mother was Grace M. Norder, born in Monroe Wisconsin. Grace’s father Edwin C Norder (born in 1880) and Grace’s mother Tilly (born in 1879) were born in Wisconsin. According to the 1910 census Edwin’s parents were born in the U.S. but Tilly’s father was born in Germany, her mother was born in New York.  My father’s father was Frank Winike.  I know nothing about him or his ancestors.  Maybe they were born in the Scandinavian countries.

Along with my ethnicity chart came a very, very long list of 3rd, 4th, and distant cousin matches.  The research never ends…

 
 

Mar8th2014

Abigail Rose Turns One

by  Phyllis Zeck

IMG_0066Miss Abby turned one year old on March 7th.  I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by.  As I was contemplating this I decided it was time for me to start on two projects for Abby.  

Project #1.  Start a savings account for Abby’s wedding dress.  Now you may think I’m jumping the gun here, but you see how fast her first year sped by!  

I had opened a savings account for Ashley when she was a teenager and I put money into it that my mother gifted to Ashley.  I was saving for Ashley’s wedding gown.  

In 2011 Ashley and I went shopping for her wedding gown.  She tried on many gowns of course, but the moment she put on that very special gown and I saw tears in her eyes, I knew she had found the gown of her dreams.  She whispered “This is the gown I want mom” as she spun around and hundreds of tiny rhinestones sparkled in the lights and glittered in the mirrors.  I told Ashley that the gown is a gift from her grandmother.  My mother had passed away seven years earlier but she was still able to have a significant role in Ashley’s wedding day.  

Ash_DSC_0259

Now I will start a savings account for Abby.  God willing I will be with Abby on that special day and watch her dance the first dance in her husbands arms, but if not, Abby will feel my presence when she puts on her wedding gown the morning of her magical day.

Project #2.  Start filling Abby’s hope chest.  I have my mother in law Yvonne Zeck‘s Lane hope chest at the foot of my bed and I’ve been storing blankets in it for many years.  I emptied out the blankets last week and took a deep breath of that magnificent cedar smell.  This hope chest will be Abby’s one day.  What should I put in it?  The first items were a lace doily and a hand embroidered handkerchief that had both been purchased in Italy in the year 2000.  I also put in my 8th grade and 12th grade yearbooks and a Life magazine that my mother had given me which was published on July 9, 1956 (the day after I was born). 

I put in the teddy bear that I’ve been saving since 2002. When Ashley was in high school she was on the dance team.  Each spring one of the dance team moms bought teddy bears and sewed costumes to match the dance teams costumes.  Since I was team advisor for the dance team (for 11 years) I got a teddy bear also.  I decided I would put mine aside from 2002 because that was the first year we won our state competition and it was Ashley’s senior year.  Then I put a framed photography of Ashley on the dance floor at the Memorial Coliseum into the chest.  Dance is very important in our lives and I hope that Abby catches the dance bug also!

hope chest IMG_0008

Next I wanted to put Ashley’s baby book in.  I got out a chair, went into my closet, and brought down several boxes.  The first box sent me reeling, inside were some old photographs that I had never seen! I brought the box downstairs and my sister Lori and I went through old and new photos.  Some photos were of ancestors we did not recognize.  I follow many genealogy blog posts and have always been so jealous of people who share their stories of long lost boxes of photos they had just discovered.  Now I had one of those boxes of my very own!  The next few hours were spent going through the photos.  As time permits I will post them here so that you can enjoy them (and help me figure out who they are).

As you can see I did not get too far filling Abby’s hope chest before I got side tracked.  It will clearly take me the next 17 years to fill it up.