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



by  Phyllis Zeck


The Church of San Pietro and Paolo in Pescasseroli

In the winter of 2010 my cousin Joe and I began corresponding regularly about our family history.  I told him I felt I’d gone as far as I could with my independent research.  My daughter and I had searched the micro film at the Family History Library in Portland (see blog from Dec 23, 2010) for the birth record of my great grandfather Pietro and were unsuccessful in finding it.  Joe had begun correspondence with the parish priest at the church of San Pietro and Paolo in Pescasseroli in the hopes of obtaining the birth record of his father Giuseppe Florian who was born in 1889.

We decided we could use a researcher of our own.  How would we find someone?  I have been watching the tv show Who Do You Think You Are.  The featured star always has their documents ready to view when they arrive at their research facility.   This was not going to be the way it worked for us.

I wrote to some professionals who posted their services on Ancestry.com but received half hearted responses.  Then I stumbled upon a website called GenTracer.  Kathy Kirkpatrick specialized in Italian research, and she lived in Salt Lake City so she had access to the Family History Library.  Her fee was low, she responded quickly to our emails, she seemed like the perfect fit.  And she was!  Within one month we had our report in hand.   Thanks to GenTracer we are now able to fill in many gaps in our family tree.

Kathy’s report told us that “women used their maiden names throughout their lives. Italian naming patterns result in the first born son and daughter being named for the father’s parents, while the second son and daughter are named for the parents of the mother.  If one of the children with an important name dies, the next child born of that sex is given that name”.

Click this link to see a PDF file which shows the family tree more clearly:
Pedigree Chart for Pietro Giovanni Del Principe

Click this link to see a PDF file which shows family group records (it takes a few seconds to open): Family Group Record Del Principe

I thought my great grandfather Pietro had no siblings. Wrong!  Cesidio Gaetano Del Principe and Annamaria Boccia had many children.  Annamaria Boccia was the daughter of Cesidio Boccia (Cesidio’s father was Michele Boccia) and Maria Domenica Gentile (Maria Domenica parents were Antonio Gentile and Lucia Sant’Ercole).

Cesidio and Annamaria’s first born child was named Vincenzo, then came Maria Domenica, Lucia Carmina, Antonio Luigi, Berorda, Gerardo, another Gerardo born 2 years later, Maria Scolastica , and Pietro Giovanni.  Joe and I now know our great grandfather Pietro was given Giovanni for his middle name.

Cesidio Gaetano Del Principe was born in 1799 and was the son of Mattio Del Principe and Maria Scolastica Salterelli (daughter of Anseleto Salterelli).  Thanks to Giovanni Del Principe I know that Cesidio’s siblings were named: Donato, Francesco Mattia, Michelangelo, Domenico Leonardo and Giustino Gennaro.

Mattio Del Principe was born in 1761 and his parents were Donato Del Principe and Maria Tarquinio.

Donato Del Principe was born in 1744 and his father was named Mattio Del Principe.  Unfortunately we don’t know the year that Mattio was born.  I’m guessing it would have been around 1700.

Wow!  This was a lot of information to take in but I was excited that I could now document the Del Principe name 7 generations back.

Kathy from GenTracer also supplied us with official records that I will scan and add to my next blog.  If you can read Italian, you’ll be thrilled.  If you can’t read Italian, it’s still pretty exciting to skim the birth, baptism, marriage, and death records of our ancestors.