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


The Documents Can Wait

by  Phyllis Zeck

You see this cute little fellow?  He’s part of the reason that I haven’t had time for genealogy research this year. Kingston, my youngest grandchild, was born in January. I’m so lucky that we live close to each other and I babysit at least once a week. My house is a mini day care with high chair, changing table, a toy box bursting at the hinges, blocks, and trucks. I love every minute we spend together. The documents can wait.

Since Kingston’s mom is on vacation, I’m on vacation, and I’m cleaning up some of my research documents that have been waiting on my computer desktop to be shared. I ran across a few unexpected surprises in the docs.  

Click here to view my grandmother Bertha Del Principe petition for naturalization filed Aug 4, 1943. This record notes that Bertha’s eyes were green and she had a scar on her throat. The second page shows Bertha’s witnesses and has her signature. My daughter Ashley points out that perhaps Bertha was trying to disassociate herself from her place of birth due to WWII. Bertha was born April 22, 1901 in Hamburg, Germany.

My brother Tom remembers “Grandma Bertha’s witnesses were close friends of the Del Principe family. Mrs Esther Corbel lived across Harrison Street, in 1 of the 2 or 3 story houses that are long gone. Grandpa’s house had a huge first floor store front, and 4 apartments on the upper floors. Mom and Dad lived in Grandpa’s unit, and he rented out the unit facing Harrison St to Auntie Theresa & Uncle Gus. Uncle John, Aunt Jeanette and their family lived on the 3rd floor which also had a rental unit. The houses across the street were similar. There were shops on the corner so everyone saw one another all the time. Bertha’s other witness was Grandpa’s good friend Johnny DeLeo, who lived a few blocks south with his huge family. In between the DeLeos and the Del Principes was Saint Callistus Church and Catholic school which Mom & Auntie Phyllis attended. It once had fountains, gardens, chapel bells and flower beds. The church was closed long ago, and the buildings were empty for many years, The school Mom attended is now a private Christian Academy.”

I also found Emil Del Principe’s 1937 two page petition. Emil’s application renounces all allegiance to Victor Emmanuel III, King Of Italy.

Click here to read Onesto Ursitti’s Petition For Naturalization and his Declaration page. My 2nd great grandparents were Filomena Ursitti and Pietrantonio Ciolli. I’m still digging to find out how I’m related to Onesto. I was thrilled to see that Onesto’s Declaration of Intention has a photo of him! When searching for records I try to remember to look at the page before and after the document I’m looking at. When I turned the page for Onesto’s declaration, I stumbled upon one file for Vito Di Nella.  Hmmm, what other documents could I find for Vito? May as well pop over to Family Search’s website to see if they’ve scanned any of Vito’s docs. I’d fallen down the rabbit hole.

This set of documents is Cesidio Gerrardo Del Principe’s Declaration & Petition. Another photograph! I believe that Cesidio is the grandson of Vincenzo Del Principe. Pietro Del Principe (my great grandfather) and Vincenzo (1830-1888) were brothers. Vincenzo and his wife Lionarda Liboria Rossi had 4 children that I’ve been able to document: Giuseppe Donato (Daniel), Carmello Antonio, Leonardo, and Dominick. Giuseppe Donato (1863-1924) and Leonardo (1866-1946) resided in Pennsylvania. By the 1930 census Leonardo had moved to Chicago and lived at 2234 Irving Ave.

I have not yet been able to confirm that Cesidio Gerrardo’s grandparents were Vincenzo and Lionarda. Cesidio was married to Lucia (1885-1922) and they have at least 4 children: Mary, Joe, Della and Carmella. You can find more blog post about Vincenzo’s family by clicking his name in the “Categories” section. I will continue digging in the Naturalization documents to see what other ancestor’s photos I can uncover and will of course share them with you. Happy New Year to all!



When Liboria Met Carmino

by  Phyllis Zeck

Giuseppe Donato (click to enlarge)

Giuseppe Donato (click to enlarge)

In 2013 I wrote a blog post about Catie’s ancestors which you can read here. Catie’s 4th great grandfather Vincenzo and my great grandfather Pietro Del Principe were brothers.  

Giuseppe Donato (Daniel) (born 1863) and Marie Concette D’Addezio (born 1865) are Catie’s 3rd great grandparents. In the 1920 census Donato’s address was 39 Euston St in Clearfield Pennsylvania.  In 1924 Donato died in Pennsylvania and is buried in St Catherine’s Cemetery.  Donato died at the age of 60 of tuberculosis, he was a coal minor. Concette died in Buffalo, NY.  Click here to read Concetta’s death certificate 03 Jun 1933.    Donato and Concetta had 5 children: Liboria (Laura), Nocola Vincenzo (James), Leonardo, Angelo, and Vittorio.  

Liboria (Laura) Del Principe

Liboria (Laura) Del Principe

Liboria (Laura) Del Principe and Carmino Mucci are Catie’s 2nd great grandparents.  When Liboria met Carmino she had no idea of the tough road that was ahead for her. Liboria is one of our strongest female Del Principe ancestors!  She was born in Italy in 1889 and died in Buffalo, NY in 1968. Click here to see Liboria and Carmino’s marriage license.  She was pregnant with her 8th child when her husband Carmino was killed in a mining accident on 23 Nov 1917.  He was killed by rock fall when he was only 34 years old.  Liboria named their last child Carmine after his father.  Click here to read an Obituary for Carmine Mucci. Catie and I both ponder over how Laura supported all those children. Carmino worked for the Cascade Mine and Coke Works in Sykesville, PA which is 275 miles west of Manhattan.  The mine closed in 1939 and Catie has shared the following article about the closure Coal Mine Closure 02 Jan 1939.  Below are some photos of the abandoned mine, click to enlarge.

Eriton Mine 1920's Pennslyvania

Eriton Mine 1920’s Pennsylvania

Liboria married Phillip Ventura and had two more children; Olga and Angeline (born in 1925).  In the 1930 census we found her in Buffalo, NY living with her mother and her brothers James, Leonard, and Angelo.  She was a widow for the second time.  Tragedy struck again on 10 Aug 1932 when Liboria’s first child died at the age of 23 after a brief illness. Obituary for Pasquale (Patsy) Mucci.  


Cascade Mine & Coke Works

Cascade Mine & Coke Works

Cascade Mine & Coke Works

Cascade Mine & Coke Works

It just so happens that I am in the middle of reading John Grisham’s newest novel called Gray Mountain.  If you want to read more about what life is like for the coal miner’s family you should read the book.  It’s an engrossing story of life in a small town in the heart of Appalachia (in Virginia) and the horrors of strip mining and black lung disease.  Thank you Catie for sharing your documents, stories, and photos!



Giuseppe Donato Del Principe’s Descendants

by  Phyllis Zeck

My great grandfather Pietro and Vincenzo Del Principe were brothers.  Vincenzo had at least two sons who immigrated to the United States.  Giuseppe Donato and Leonardo.  I wrote a blog post last August about a letter that Leonardo mailed to the Del Principe  brothers upon hearing of grandpa’s brother Antonio’s death.  I have since become acquainted with a descendant of Giuseppe Donato (Daniel).  Her name is Catherin Shafer and she is Giuseppe Donato’s great great great granddaughter.  Catherin is my 3rd cousin, three times removed.  Click here to see a relationship chart between myself and Catherin’s grandmother (Patricia Mary Mucci). 

Giuseppe Donato was born 01 Apr 1863 in Pescasseroli, Italy.  He arrived in the United States aboard the ship Hindoustan on 14 Nov 1891.  He applied to become a US citizen on 11 Aug 1902 at the age of 36.  In the 1910 census he was living in Clearfield county in Pennsylvania and his occupation was a coal minor.  Daniel died on 22 Feb 1924 at the age of 60.  The cause of death was Tuberculosis of the lungs.  He is buried at St Catherine Cemetery in Sandy, Pennsylvania.  Click here to see his death certificate.  

Liboria Laura Del principe Mucci

Liboria Laura Del Principe Mucci with Patricia who is the bride.

Giuseppe married Marie Concetta DiAddezio and they had the following children: Nocola Vincenzo Loreto (James), Liboria (Laura), Vittorio (Victor), Leonardo (he died in 1929) and Angelo.  

Liboria is Catherin’s great great  grandmother.  She is pictured in the photo on the left and is in the dark dress.  Liboria married Carmino Mucci.  They had the following children: Nicholas, Michael, Carmen E., Pasquale, Anna Marie, Adeleo Edward (Skip), William, and Ethel.  

Carmino Mucci was also a coal miner.  He died on 23 Nov 1917 at the age of 34.  His widow Liboria was left to raise their 8 children.  Carmino was killed in a coal mining accident at the Cascade Mine and Coke Works in Sykesville, Pennsylvania.  Click here to see his death certificate.  The cause of death is hard to read but it looks like he died from “shock following ?? blow chest with internal injuries.  Accidental ?? ?? of coal”.  I can’t even imagine the conditions an employee endures working at coal mines, especially at the turn of the century.

Cascase Mine

From “The Old Miner” web sites, Raymond A. Washlaski, Editor

Click on this link to see a map of the area, some historic photographs of the mine and details of the history of the mine.  Click on this link and scroll to the “M’s” for a memorial to Carmino Mucci.  Liboria would eventually move with her children, her mother Marie Concetta DiAddezio and her 3 brothers James, Leonard, and Angelo to Buffalo, New York.  She married Phillip Ventura and had two more children Angeline and Olga. 

Adeleo and Patricia Mucci

Adeleo and daughter Patricia Mucci

Liboria’s son Adeleo Edward (Skip) Mucci married Gladys Louise Scheu.  They had three children, Ronald, Barbara and Patricia Mary.  Patricia is Catherin’s grandmother. The photo on the left is of Catherin’s great grandfather Adeleo Edward (Skip) Mucci with his daughter and bride Patricia.

Thank you Catherin for sharing this valuable family history, documents, and photos.   We had many family members who worked in the coal mines, a hard and dangerous way to make a living.  I am in awe when I learn about our ancestors who lost their lives at such young ages.  Their struggles helped to make life easier for future generations.  They are our guiding stars!



Who Arrived First?

by  Phyllis Zeck

I’ve been gathering immigration documents from our Del Principe and Ciolli relatives to try to determine who was the first to arrive in the United States.  

The Belgravia

The Belgravia

Pietro (my great grandfather) arrived in the United States on May 21, 1891 onboard the Belgravia.  Click below for the record, you will be taken to a new page, click it to view.  Click the back button to return to the blog post.  Immigration Pietro Del Principe 1891 Ancesty.com. If you look closely at the record, the name after Pietro’s is the name of another Del Principe with the initial of M.  I have no idea who this is.  Darn those record keepers, would it really have hurt to write out the passengers full first name?! Listed next is D. Saltarelli, then L. Saltarelli, and G. A. DiPirro.  We have many Saltarelli’s in our family tree and Frank DiPirro married Anne Leone (daughter of Gemma Ciolli).  I can just imagine the partying that took place on that ship!

Pietro had a brother named Vincenzo who was born Jul 2, 1830. Vincenzo and his wife Lionarda Liboria Rossi were married on Jul 15, 1856.  They had at least two sons both born in Pescasseroli Italy; Giuseppe Donato (Daniel) born Apr 1, 1863 and Leonardo born Jun 1, 1866.  

Leonardo Del Principe’s port of departure was Naples, Italy aboard the ship Chateau Yqeum.  He arrived at the port of New York on May 21, 1888 at the age of 22, three years before Pietro.  Click here for the record Immigration Record Leonardo Del Principe Ancestry.com from Ancestry.com.  I did not find Leonardo in the census records of 1900, but I did find a marriage record for him and Alimarinta Barile on 30 Jul 1904 in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.  Click here for the record  Del Principe Marriage Record Family Search.

Leonardo’s brother Guiseppe Donato’s (Daniel) port of departure was Naples, Italy aboard the ship Hindoustan.  He arrived at the port of New York on Dec 14, 1891.  His occupation is listed as a farmer and his last residence was Pescasseroli.  Click here for the record G. Donato Del Principe 1891 Hindoustan FamilySearch.org.  Four years later Leonardo traveled from Italy to New York aboard the ship Werra.  Click here for the records Donato Del Principe 1895 Werra Ancestry.com and G. Donato Del Principe 1895 Werra FamilySearch.org.  There is one more record of Donato coming to New York from Italy this time in 1898.  G. Donato Del Principe 1898 Kaiser Wilhelm II FamilySearch.org.  The record states he was aboard the Kaiser Wilhelm, his occupation is a Porter, his home town is Pescasseroli, and he is able to read and write.

Pietro had one more brother who came to America.  Antonio Luigi Del Principe was born on Mar 12, 1839 and died on Mar 11, 1928 in the Bronx in New York.  He had three sons that I know of; Nicholas, Henry, and Peter.  I was unable to locate any immigration information for Antonio in either Ancestry.com, Family Search or the Ellis Island webseite.

The Weser

The Weser

The first Ciolli’s to immigrate appear to be Carmino J. age 15 and Oreste Emilio age 33.  They arrived on May 1, 1890 aboard the Britannia.  Click here for the record  Emilio and Carmino Immigration 1890 Ancestry

Following her brothers was Elivra Ciolli (my great grandmother) age 25 with three of her sons Antonio, Giusepppe, and Amelio.  They arrived on Aug 21, 1893 aboard the Weser.  Click here for the record Elvira Ciolli 1893 Ancestry.com Record.  The Weser was 351 feet long and 40 feet wide and could accommodate 880 passengers (60 first class, 120 second class, 700 third class aka steerage).  It was built in 1867 and scrapped in 1896.  How is it possible that a ship this size could hold that many people?  Perhaps the crew is included in the third class count. I wonder if Elvira ever got any sleep trying to keep track of 3 toddlers.  I’d be worried that they might fall overboard or get lost in the crowd! 

Angelica Ciolli arrived in New York on board the ship Columbia on Dec 6, 1900 when she was 19 years old.  The spelling of her name is wrong in Ancestry.com, it’s spelled Angelia.  Click here for the record Angelica Ciolli 1900.  Her information is on line 1.  She is listed as single, occupation is seamstress, she is able to read and write, her nationality is Italian, her residence is Pescasseroli, her final destination is Chicago, she did not have a ticket to Chicago, she paid her own passage, she had $20.00, she had never been to the United States, she is joining her sister Elvira Ciolli, she was never in prison or supported by a charity, she was not a polygamist, her mental and physical health was good, she not deformed or crippled.  What a treasure trove of information!  Angelica was so brave if she traveled alone.  I did not recognize any family names listed along side her name.  Maybe she traveled with a neighbor or friend.  

Gemma Ciolli arrived in New York on Aug 16, 1901 aboard the Patria.  She was 46 years old.  Click here for the record Gemma Ciolli Immigration 1901 Ancestry. Gemma appears on line 54 of the ships manifest.  She was detained because she had “insuff. money to Chicago”.  The disposition column reads “to go to husb, Giacomo Leone, 165 Forquer St Chicago, Ill”.   Gemma was discharged Aug 21st at 10:00 am.  She was detained 4 days.  How scary must that have been?!  Under the meals columns the following was logged: Breakfast 4, Dinner 4, Supper 4.  Was she charged for her meals?  What if her husband wired money for transportation from New York to Chicago but not enough to pay for the 4 days of food on the ship?  She was probably terrified that she would be sent back to Italy.

Bibbiana Celestina, Henry, and Speranza (Mary) also came to the United States however I have not been able to locate their immigration records.

The Hills of Pescasseroli

The Hills of Pescasseroli

And so the answer to the question Who Arrived First? seems to be Pietro’s nephew Leonardo Del Principe, Carmino & Emilo Ciolli were next, then Pietro followed closely behind.  I wonder what took Leonardo to Pennsylvania and Carmino, Emilo, and Pietro to Chicago.  Just think, if they had not ventured to America along with all the Del Principe and Ciolli’s who followed, we would all be running around the hills of Pescasseroli, Italy instead of spread out across the United States of America.



A Letter From Our Cousin

by  Phyllis Zeck


Elvira Ciolli Del Principe died on December 24, 1939.  Since it was Christmas Eve Elvira wanted my grandfather Gilbert to take her to church to see the Nativity Scene.  My mother Corinne and my aunt Phyllis were with Elvira.  Grandpa was pulling the car to the front of the church when Elvira collapsed.

Elivra’s first born child Antonio died on Dec 7, 1941.  This is the morning that Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor.  Antonio suffered internal injuries when he fell from a ladder a few months before his death.

Elvira is in the center in this photo.  Her arm is linked around Antonio’s.  We don’t know who the woman on Elvira’s right is.  I  suspect she felt close to Elvira, notice that her hand is on Elvira’s shoulder.  We also do not know who the person is in front of Elvira.  If you are able to help identify the two unknown people, please leave a comment or email me.

Antonio had a daughter named Elvira.  Elvira’s granddaughter Mary sent this photo to me along with the letter below.  Thank you so much for sharing Mary!  The letter is from a cousin named Leonard Del Principe dated Dec 10, 1941.  He lists his address as 1211 W. Lead Ave in Albuquerque New Mexico.  The letter is addressed to Antonio’s brother John at 2244 W. Harrison St in Chicago.  

I believe Pietro had 3 brothers: Vincenzo, Antonio, and Gerardo.  Leonardo was the son of Vincenzo.  Leonardo married Alimarinta and they had two children; Frederico born in 1907 and Lucrezia was born in 1912.  Leonardo had a brother named Giuseppe Donato.  The 1910 census show Donato living with his wife Marie Concetta Diaddezio and their 4 children as well as his brother Leonardo in Pennsylvania. In the 1940 census Leonardo, age 74, lived at 2224 Polk St in Chicago with his son Frederick age 32, Frederick’s wife Esta, and their 7 year old daughter Dolores.  

I have tried to decifer the text of the letter below.

“To John Del Principe brothers and families

Nearly two years on Dec 24, ’39 while I laid in bed I heard a rap at the door.  I said what is it?  Oh Pa, Zia Elvira is dead!  I exclaimed oh God, what Christmas greeting are those given me!  There I came into the house that should be in gay and happy, enjoying the festivity of the Baby Jesus, and the families, of old and young with heart filled with joy and happiness I found?  I found the scene all changed, the house, from gay & happiness, to a mournful and the families young and old from a happiness and contentment, to a sorrowful heart and tearing eyes, crying the death of dearest mother!  Yes Zia Elvira was dead!!

On Dec 8, 1941 the day of the immaculate conception, a rap at the door came, and the voice of my daughter said Pa, here is a telegram for you; what is it?  John says his brother Anthony died!  Oh God, I cried what Christmas greeting is this?  Is the same fatal change falling on that misfortunate family?  Oh God, yes is identical the same!

The first being the dearest Mother, now is the first link of her golden chain, that broke loose and fell dead, and cause the remaining eight brothers and families, old and young to change the festival of the coming Merry Christmas to a sorrowful house, into mourn & tears & crying the death of their dearest brother Antonio Del Prinicpe!  Yes he is passed away.  

May I hope and pray God to let enter the kingdom of Heaven and sit by his dearest Mother!  With my breaking heart and tears from my eyes I am writing yours this letter to express my deepest sympathy to the deceased family, the brothers, and all their families & relatives of my dear cousin Antonio Del Principe.  

Forgive me for not being present at the wake among yours my dearest ones to share the sorrowful time or pay a better respect than this, but hope that God will bless all of yours and give you courage and comfort.  

Your Affectionate Cousin

Leonard Del Principe”

Letter from Cousin Leonard Del Principe Front

Letter from Cousin Leonard Del Principe Back