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

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!

 
 

Apr25th2016

Mending A Broken Heart

by  Phyllis Zeck

Auntie Phyllis  and her great grandchild

Auntie Phyllis and her great grandchild

This weekend I edited more of the three interviews that my brother Rob and I recorded with Auntie Phyllis in 2011.  Auntie was my mother Corinne’s older sister. You can listen to the first interview by clicking here. I’ve skipped ahead to our third interview but will be editing the other two interviews as time permits. In this discussion we asked auntie what has given her the most pleasure and satisfaction in her life. “My children”, she told us. Phyllis and Richard had five children; Mark, Toni, Ricky, Gina, and Michele.

We also talked about my genealogy research and how pleased auntie was to begin correspondence with her first cousin, Joe Del Principe.  Rob then moved the discussion to God, faith, miracles, and Heaven. Auntie Phyllis encourages her descendants (in 2011 she had 14 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren) to follow their dreams. We ended with a story about how Auntie “calmly” explained to an aide in her assisted living center the difference between spaghetti and macaroni.

Auntie’s daughter Michele shares a memory below about her mother, thank you Michele!

“My First Broken Heart. I suffered my first broken heart at the age of 15 and I’ll never forget how my mother helped me get over it. After I had been lying in my mother’s bed crying for a couple of days, my mom came home from work one day with a little pink and white heart shaped pillow about 6″ x 6″. Coming from a family of five children, we didn’t often get spontaneous gifts so it meant a lot to me and I knew it was an effort to help me get through my first broken heart. The pillow itself was nothing special but for some reason I kept it in my cedar chest for years. When I’d see it, It would remind me of my first love and my first broken heart.

Auntie Phyllis & Michele (appor 2010)

Auntie Phyllis & Michele (approx 2010)

Fast forward many years, and my grown daughter is lying on her bed crying her eyes out over her first broken heart and suddenly I understood. My heart was breaking watching my daughter with her first broken heart. I wanted so badly to help her get through it. I so wished there was something I could do or say to help her and I felt helpless. My heart hurt. I went to my cedar chest and picked up the pink and white heart pillow. It no longer represented my first broken heart. I now understood that when my mother gave me this heart pillow, it was because her heart was breaking and she wanted to do something, anything, to help me. It was now about my mother’s love for me. I knew what I had to do. I handed the heart pillow to my daughter and told her about my first broken heart and how my mother helped me get through it.”

Click on this button below to listen to an excerpt from our interview with Auntie Phyllis in 2011.

 
 

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. 

 
 

Jul12th2015

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.