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

Apr7th2018

Chicago Panhandling in 1914

by  Phyllis Zeck

del principe, ciolliI have a subscription to Newspapers.com and every so often I jump onto the website to search for articles about our Del Principe and Ciolli relatives.  I found a very interesting one page article from the Chicago Tribune dated Sunday April 19, 1914 which contained my great grandfather Pietro (Peter) Del Principe’s name. The photos are amazing however the author’s writing skills are certainly different from what we would read in todays news stories. There are 2 photos of the author playing Pietro’s hand organ.

You can read the whole article by clicking the pdf here Chicago Tribune Apr 19, 1914 however it can be hard on the old eyes. Zoom in to read the text.  

This is what the author wrote about my great grandfather. The section titled No One Cared for the Music says: “There are several reason why hand organ begging has its drawbacks. In the first place it is hard to get hold of a hand organ in Chicago. The art seems to be passé. Finally I got a tip through one of the big music houses that an Italian over at Harrison and Jefferson streets might have one of the instruments.  Peter del Principe had one, I found, and he promised to loan it to me. But when I went back the next day, dressed for the job (as a begger), there was nothing doing. He merely shook his head and muttered. It took a $20 deposit to get hold of a the battered affair. Afterward, when I asked Signor del Principe to explain, he grunted, “No lika da elo’s!”  

The author continued “I located in front of a saloon on the west side with a “please help the blind” sign pinned to my coat and placed my hat on the wheezy organ to catch the flow of gold.  Peeking out of the corner of one eye, I could see that I wasn’t “making good” at all. It seemed so easy for the pedestrians – men, women, and children, old and young – to pass me by. Every third note on the organ was flat, and the tune was of the “Don’t Turn Away, Madge, I am Still Your Friend” vintage. Just about when the thing was repeating the chorus for the fifth time the owner of the saloon came and tapped on the window. When I tried my luck farther up the street two Italians came along and one of them bent over me with a gutteral something about “Americano” butting in on somebody else’s trade.”

The rest of the article is interesting and I was able to create a visual for myself of what downtown Chicago was like in 1914 based on the photos and the authors narration. This was a fun find for me and I hope I can turn up more newspaper articles about our ancestors.

 
 

Dec16th2017

Digital Gifts from Francesco Gentile

by  Phyllis Zeck

The last 7 years of genealogy research have bought so many wonderful new relatives and friends into my life. Thanks to email, the internet and facebook I’ve been able to deepen these friendships and I  hope that one day I will meet these wonderful people in person. This year  Francesco Gentile was kind enough to send me some amazing images and a genealogy pedigree PDF chart that I want to share with family today.

Non Solo Pizza

Francesco and his wife Hala live in Pescasseroli Italy, the birth place of many of my ancestors. Hala and Francesco own a restaurant called Non Solo Pizza. The photo above was taken of Francesco and Hala by my cousin Joe Del Principe when Joe and his wife visited Italy in 2011. I have a few ancestors with the last name of Gentile in my family tree and although we are related, I have not yet found my genetic connection to Francesco. Antonio Gentile born in 1753 is my 4th great grandfather and his daughter Maria Domenica Gentile born in 1780 is my 3rd great grandmother.

The jpg images below are official birth records from our family church in Pescasseroli. I was thrilled to find among them for the first time a record of my maternal great grandmother Elvira!  Perhaps the reason that I have not been able to find the record in the past is that her full given name was Cesidia Elvira Tranquilla Ciolli which I did not know until Francesco generously supplied the record. 

I have tried to piece together the full given names and correct birth year for the children of Filomena Ursitti and Don Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli (my great great grandparents) and have listed them below.  If you are researching your family trees I hope these records will clarify names and birth years.  Please email me if your records do not agree with the labels I’ve given to the images below.

Click below to download a file of my genealogy research from Ancestry.com of Filomena Ursitti’s descendants.
Descendants of Filomena Ursitti Dec 17, 2017

Click below to download a pdf file of Francesco’s family tree. There is a treasure trove of information in this document.  You’ll have to put on your detective hat and use google translator to figure out the clues if you don’t speak Italian though.  For starters, it looks like Pietrantonio Amabile born in 1830 had a brother named Belissario Fedele born in 1834 (see page 10). 
Francesco Gentile Ciolli Family Tree

Below are Francesco’s digital records of what I decipher names and birth years for Filomena and Pietrantonio Amabile’s children to be.  Click once on the image to view it, then click on it again to enlarge it.  Thank you so much Francesco for these priceless family records!

 
 

Jan1st2014

Happy New Year

by  Phyllis Zeck

FatherTimeClock-(QueenBr) copyI’m afraid I’ve been away from my genealogy fixation far too long. I’ve been teaching myself how to use Photoshop Elements and had a blast building my 2013 digital scrapbook.  Now that the holidays are over I’m itching to get back to my research. 

2013 has brought some devastating losses to my life.  My wonderful brother in law Paul and my beloved Aunt Phyllis both passed away in the fall.   I treasure my memories of Paul who had a kind word for everyone he met and I will miss the sweet ways my Auntie touched my heart.

I’ve also experienced many blessed events in 2013.  The birth of my granddaughter Abigail Rose and her baptism, my son Don Jr’s marriage to Kelly and my nephew Robin’s marriage to Karli.  Our family tree continues to grow and we welcome Kelly and Karli’s families into our fold.  

I have received email from new members of our family who have stumbled upon my genealogy website.  I hope to share photos and stories from them soon in my blog posts.  I am still in awe that the internet is able to help connect us all together.  I also have new research documentation to share with you thanks to Kathy from GenTracer. 

Gold2014-(QueenBr) copy

My goal for 2014 is to attend a genealogy conference.  I have toyed with going to a conference for several years and have researched many different venues. My top choices are RootsTech which is held in Salt Lake City and The National Genealogical Society Conference which this year takes place in Richmond, Virginia.  The techie in me is leaning towards RootsTech.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year! 

 

 
 

Feb16th2013

Send A Card

by  Phyllis Zeck

W1a_Send A Card-001

 

My cousin Toni sent me a copy of a letter that our grandfather wrote to her in 1980.  Click here to read it Letter from Grandpa 1980.  Thank you Toni for sharing this. 

 

W2a_Send A Card-002 copy

 
 

Jul24th2012

Family Heirlooms

by  Phyllis Zeck

I have added a new page to my geneaology website that is devoted to our family heirlooms; a very important part of genealogy.  Family treasures help connect us all in a personal way.  Whether you’re sharing or viewing an item, photos and stories help link us all together.  When my grandparents were young they were able to share their heirlooms in person by running across the street to visit with family.  New generations have spread out across the world so we need to share via photos and stories.

Family heirlooms past and current belong in this website.  We have to think about the generations yet to be born.  An item doesn’t have to be “old” to be a family heirloom.  For example, if you are a collector send me a photo of an item in your collection so that your great grandchildren will know a little about you.  If you have a photo of an heirloom that you would like to display, please  email it to me (along with a comment) and help this new page grow!