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


Speranza Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

Allen Adezio ChicagoAllen Adezio’s mother was Carmella Leone and his grandmother was Speranza Ciolli.  Allen’s grandmother and my great grandmother Elvira were sisters. This makes Allen my 2nd cousin 1x removed.  Allen’s wife is Marie.  Marie and I share a passion for genealogy as well as frustration that we never have enough time for research. The photo to the left is Allen, he was in the Marine Corp. Allen enlisted 16 Sep 1957 and was sent to Camp Pendleton in California where he attended boot camp from 01 Oct 1957 to 23 Dec 1957.  On 31 Mar 1958 he entered the 2nd Infantry Training Regiment and went into the reserves. 

Esperanza (Mary) Ciolli is my 2nd great aunt.  She was born 06 Feb 1877 in Pescasseroli, Italy and died 15 July 1940 in Chicago. Speranza and Joseph Leone (1875-1926) had the following daughters; Carmella (Allen’s mother born in 1897), Lillian, Mary, Rose, Anne, Meri, Josephine, and Gladys. Ancestry records reflect that Carmella, Lillian, Mary, and Rose were born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Below is a photo of Rose, Carmella and their father Joseph. The photo is not dated. It was taken at a studio at 414 S. Halsted St. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

The photo to the right is of Lillian, Esperanza & her husband Joseph, and Carmella. The photo is date 16 Jul 1913. Carmella is Allen’s mother. These photos are wonderful, they really capture the clothing styles of their time. I love Carmella’s hat. Rose has a beautiful bow in her hair and it looks like she’s holding a purse. If you enlarge the photo of Joseph sitting down, you can see the intricate carpentry work that went into building his chair.

Joseph Leone   Speranza Ciolli, Joseph Leone

Below is a photo of Meri.  She is also Esperanza and Joseph’s daughter. Meri and Sam Mazzie had two children, Richard and Kenneth (photo on the right). Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos Marie!   

Meri Leone

Meri Leone

Richard & Kenneth Mazzie

Richard & Kenneth Mazzie



His Last Will and Testament (part 2)

by  Phyllis Zeck

Chicago Court House
The right side of the following pdf document, Elvira’s Executor Documentation, addresses Pietro’s will recorded in Cook County, Chicago. It is digitized at Ancestry.com.  There are three parts to the document: Executor’s Bond, Executor’s Oath, and Letters Testamentary.  Click on this link to read more about the three parts. The pdf source information is from Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999.  The source citation is from Executor’s Bonds and Letters, 1879-1923; Author: Illinois. Probate Court (Cook County).

The bond amount was $500.00. Elvira may have been required to pay 10% of the bond and once she had executed Pietro’s will she should have been refunded her money.  

This task must have seemed completely overwhelming to Elvira as Auntie Phyllis told me that Elvira spoke and understood very little English.  I’m sure she relied heavily on her sons to maneuver her way through the daunting legal process of executing Pietro’s will.

Note that the Executor’s Bond is dated 21 Aug 1922 and is stamped with the name Henry Horner Probate Judge of Cook County, Illinois.  Henry went on to become Illinois’ thirtieth governor in 1933.



His Last Will and Testament

by  Phyllis Zeck

The other day I was passing through the living room and my sister Lori said oh so casually, “Have you seen these hints from Ancestry.com”?  I looked down at her laptop and she was pointing to hints for our great grandfather Pietro Del Prinicipe.  One hint caught my eye. It was titled “Illinois, Wills and Probate Records, 1772-1999”.  I knew that Ancestry had been indexing these documents but it didn’t occur to me that Pietro might have recorded his will.  I calmly (not really) asked Lori to click on the hint and it truly was Pietro’s will!  

Below is page 1 of the will which was created by Pietro on 06 Apr 1922. Pietro passed away on 11 Jun 1922.  Click here to see the Death Certificate of Pietro.  It’s hard to read the cause of death but it had something to do with a liver problem. Pietro must have had health issues prompting his trip to an attorney (and perhaps to a doctor) to register a last will and testament.

Click on the jpg files to enlarge and read them. Page 1 of Pietro’s will is on the right side of the book in the first image and on the left side of the book in the second image.
Pietro Del Prinicpe Will
Pietro's Will Page 2I have no heirlooms from my great grandparents. It is truly good luck to come across a document that has been scanned and archived for us and for future generations to view. I am very appreciative to all the genealogists who volunteer their time to Family Search and to Ancestry who scan these important documents for us to stumble across. 



Happy Holidays!

by  Phyllis Zeck

del principeThis picture was taken Christmas Day in 1961.  Second cousins Rosemary Heneghan, Sandy Del Principe, and Susan Heneghan were celebrating at their grandparents apartment, Bernie and Florence Del Principe. Bernie and Florence’s home was on North Ave, across the street from the music store. The girls great parents were Amelio (Emil) Del Principe and Rose Solomon.  

My sister and I also received a doll like the one in Sandy’s photo. Below is a photo of me and christmas in villa park IMG_0004 (Medium)my sister Janice. Janice was born in 1958 so this photo was probably taken in 1960 or 1961. Looks like large dolls were at the top of little girls Christmas wish lists.

Thank you for sharing the photo Sandy.  As you gather with family this holiday season I hope you share photos and stories with the younger generations. I welcome any photos and stories you’d like me to post on our family website. Let’s honor our ancestors by keeping their stories alive.  “There is no time like the present to save the past”.  

Wishing everyone a warm holiday season filled with love and laughter, family and friends.



Pescasseroli’s Infiorata

by  Phyllis Zeck

A few weeks ago my cousin, Joe Del Principe, emailed me a link to a you tube video that we’d like to share.  Joe wrote “I thought you might like to have a copy of this Youtube video. It is from Pescasseroli this year during the Infiorata.” Infiorata means decorated with flowers. The whole community takes part in the tradition. The elderly collect flowers and the children and young people implement the designs. Flower petals are used to create amazing works of art in the streets for Pescasseroli’s annual flower art festival.  

Pescasseroli Italy


Joe explained “At about the 2 minute mark in the video the local priest is talking, and in the background, on the building behind him, there is a sign “B&B”. That is Salvatore Toscano’s B&B della via piazza where we stayed while we were visiting there.” Salvatore’s great, great grandmother Ester and my great grandmother Elvira were sisters.  I inquired about the church in the background and Joe explained, “it is the Chiesa Del SS Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, which is where many of our family had been baptized and married.”  

I love listening to the church bells chime. One day I hope to dig through those church records! Thanks for sharing Joe. Click here to watch the video.