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


Auntie’s Godmother – Gemma Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

Elvira Ciolli in center.  Antonio Del Principe far right.

Elvira Ciolli in center. Antonio Del Principe far right.

In one of the interviews my brother Rob and I had with Auntie Phyllis in 2011, Auntie Phyllis talked about her grandmother Elvira’s siblings. I was not aware that her sister Gemma Nicolina Ciolli Leone lived right across the street (didn’t every family member live right across the street?), or that Gemma was Auntie’s godmother.  Both mom and Auntie Phyllis were baptized at St. Callistus Church.

Click here to see a birth record for Gemma (item #62). In the audio clip below Auntie also discusses what life was like during the depression. The photo to the left is Elvira and her son, Antonio, is standing next to her.  I don’t know the other two people in the photo.   Elvira

The photo to the right may be Elvira and Gemma.  If anyone recognizes these ladies, please email me and let me know. Gemma (1855-1952) married Giacomo Leone and they had 10 children; Esther, Carmen (Mimi), Phyllis (Fifi), Jeanette (Gerr), Christine, Anthony, Rocco, Joseph, Anne, and Josephine. Carmen and Phyllis were twins. I am in touch with Rocco’s son, Giacomo. Giacomo emailed me and told me “Carmen and Phyllis were twins.  There were perhaps two other children who died from Tuberculous.  My parents were Rocco Mario Leone and Caroline Philomena Amici. My mother is a first cousin of Don and Jim Amici. Don was the more famous actor, his brother Jim was a local Chicago radio personality.” As a young adult Giacomo visited the family’s music store.

Auntie Phyllis and Mom (Corinne)

Auntie Phyllis and Mom (Corinne)

You can read about Gemma’s brave journey from Pescasseroli, Italy at this blog post and see her 1901 immigration record. It appears that she traveled to America with no other family member in 1901 onboard the ship Patria.  

Click the audio link to below to hear Rob and I discuss Elvira’s sisters and the depression with Auntie Phyllis. This is our 3rd audio clip from our 2011 interview Auntie Phyllis. For more articles about Gemma click on her name in the Categories column to the right.




Ciolli Ancestral Lines in Pescasseroli and Opi Italy

by  Phyllis Zeck

Below is continued research from Kathy at GenTracer.  She has dug deeper into our family roots to uncover more about our Ciolli ancestors.  This may be the last research project that Kathy is able to give to us from the United States.  When I met with Kathy in Salt Lake City last month she said that continued research could be done at the family church, the Parish of St Pietro & St Paolo in Pescasseroli.  However researching the church records could be tricky.  The church index is by first name, then by last name (in Latin form).  

I was able to add many new names to my Ancestry.com tree such as Baldassare Ursitti and Alessandro Cucuzza (my 5th great grandfathers) and Maxine Serone (my 5th great grandmother).  Click here to read some Family Group Records and Source Citations.  Thank you Kathy, for your research.

Click here for some updated reports:   
GEDCOM Del Principe, Mattio Mar 25, 2014
GEDCOM Ciolli, Medici Carmine Mar 25, 2014
GEDCOM Ursitti, Baldassare Mar 25, 2014

Click here to see more family Pedigree views:

Del Principe Family Tree

The research goal was to extend ancestral lines in Pescasseroli and Opi, L’Aquila.  The project began with the birth, marriage and death records of Opi for 1828-1837 (FHL #1227908). They included:

#2, (source #1) the marriage of Angelico Ursitti to Nunziata Maria Celesta d’Arcangelo, filed on 2 October 1831. The groom was 33 years old, born in Opi and a landowner living in Opi. He was a son of the late Domenico Ursitti and of Nicodema Serafina Cocuzza, a landowner living in Opi. The bride was 20 years old, born in Opi and living in Opi. She was a daughter of Filippo d’Arcangelo, a landowner living in Opi and of the late Mariantonia Bevilacqua. The list of allegati (supplementary documents filed in connection with this marriage) included the birth extracts of the bride and goom, the death of the late Domenico Ursitti (the father of the groom), the death of the late Baldassare Ursitti (the paternal grandfather of the groom), the death of the late Mariantonia Bevilacqua, mother of the bride. The margin note on the far right shows that this wedding occurred on 30 December in the parish of Opi. This is longer than usual between the intention and the marriage, but since both the bride and groom were landowners, that made them just below nobility in social stature and this might have been an enormous wedding celebration that took a long to time plan and organize. Of course, it’s also possible that a family member’s ill health delayed the wedding. Source #1

2, (source #2) the marriage processetti (supplementary documents) for the above marriage. This 8 page file started with an extract of the birth of the groom. This extract was produced by the parish of Santa Maria Assunta in Opi, click here for a 360 degree view of the church. On 17 November 1798 was the baptism of an infant born the same day at 1700 hours. The child was born to the married couple of Domenico Ursitti, son of Baldassare Ursitti of Opi and to Nicodema Serafina Cucuzza, daughter of Alessandro Cucuzza and Maxine Serone of this place and named Angelico [Ursitti]. 

Page 2 was an extract of the birth of Nunziata Maria Celesta d’Arcangelo, filed on 9 May 1811 in Opi. The birth was reported by Filippo d’Arcangelo, a citizen, 26 years old and living on strada la Piazza #77. the female child was born at 3 am on 8 May to his legitimate wife, Mariantonia Bevilacqua. She was a daughter of Agostino Bevilacqua and of Barbara Norci, residents of the town of Gallinaro (Frosinone province).

Pages 3-4 were an extract of the death of Domenico Ursitti in the town of Villetta (L’Aquila province), filed on 21 May 1829. The death was reported by Arcangelo Celiolonio, 42 years old and a laborer and by Benedetto Clemente, 22 years old and a quarry worker living in this town. The death occurred on 21 May. He was from Opi and at the hospital in Velletta. He was 60 years old, born in Opi and a landowner who lived in Opi. He was a son of the late Baldassare Ursitti, a landowner who lived in Opi.

Page 4 was an extract of the death of Baldassare Ursitti reported in the parish of Santa Maria Assunta in Opi. It was reported on 18 December 1790. He was from Opi, about 59 years old. He received the last rites. His son was Domenico Urisitti.

Page 6 was an extract of the death of Mariantonia Bevilacqua, filed in Opi on 7 August 1822. The death was reported by Carlo di Vito, 35 years old and a landowner living in Opi and by Gioacchino Rossi, 51 years old and a landowner living in Opi. She died on 6 August, was 30 years old and the wife of Filippo de Arcangelis. She was born in Gallinaro and a landowner living in Opi. She was a daughter of Don Agostino Bevilacqua, a landowner living in Gallinaro and of Barbara Norci, a landowner living in Gallinaro. Pages 7-8 were another copy of the Solemn Promise to Marry located above (Source #1). Source #2

The birth, marriage and death records of Pescasseroli for 1812-1817 (FHL #1360874) included:

#2, (source #3) the marriage of Leonardo Antonio Visci to Donata Cesidia Gentile, filed on 21 June 1813. The groom was 19 years old and a shepherd living in Pescasseroli. He was a minor (under 21 years) son of Nicolangelo Visci, 60 years old and a shepherd living in this town and of the late Maria Domenica Ciolli. The bride was 23 years old and a homemaker living in this town. She had reached her majority (over 21 years) and was a daughter of the late Antonio Gentile and of Lucia Santercole, 50 years old and a homemaker living in the home of her late husband and giving her consent. The intended wedding was announced on 6 June and 13 June. Source #3

#8, (source #4) the marriage of Ascenzo Notarantonio to Maria Luisa Ciolli, filed on 28 September 1815. The groom 22 years old and a landowner living in this town. He was a minor child (under 21 years) of Nicola Notarantonio, 56 years old and a landowner living in this town and of Scolastica Mascia, 46 years old and a landowner living with her husband and giving consent. The bride was 20 years old and a landowner living in this town. She was a daughter of Fortunato Ciolli, 60 years old and a landowner living in this town and of Gemma d’Arcangelo, a landowner, 60 years old and living with her husband and giving consent. This intended marriage was announced on 17 September and 24 September. Source #4




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.



Historical Records for Ciolli – Part 2

by  Phyllis Zeck

In September I collaborated with three of my Ciolli cousins to dig further back into the archives of our family history.  The information below is the result of the research conducted by Kathy from GenTracer.  I will scan the documents and add them to the blog as time permits.  Please click on the tab above titled “Del Principe & Ciolli Family Tree” to see more family tree charts like the one below.

During this research project Kathy discovered that the 1854 marriage record has the title “Don” before the name of my great great grandfather Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli.  I asked Kathy about this and she said “Don is a title, as is Donna.  It is usually applied to landowners and is the top of the social strata in a town, topped only by a title (Baron, Duke, Prince, etc)”.  Also, the 1828 marriage records of Raffaele Ciolli states that Raffaele’s grandfather was named Medici (Dr.) Carmine Ciolli.  Now a new question arises about the photograph from my blog on Jan 22, 2011.  There is a sign hanging on a building leading to the Ciolli home that says “Dott (Dr.) Ciolli.  Does this sign refer to Dr. Carmine Ciolli or to Don Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli? 

Documentation from GenTracer:

The goal of the Zeck #4 research project was to comb through the civil registration records of Pescasseroli, L’Aquila in order to extend the client’s ancestral lines. Emphasis was to be placed on the Ciolli family.

The project began with the birth, marriage and death records of Pescasseroli for 1828-1833 (FHL #1360877). They included #33, the birth of Pietrantonio Ciolli, filed on 4 May 1830. The birth was reported by a midwife (Innocenza di Nella). The male child was born to Speranza Tudini, 21 years old and a property owner living in Pescasseroli and Raffaele Ciolli, 23 years old and a property owner living in Pescasseroli on 4 May in their home. The right column shows that he was baptized on 4 May in the parish of Pescasseroli. Source #1 (more…)



The Ciolli Family Crest

by  Phyllis Zeck

As I was saying in my previous blog, one of the highlights of my visit to Chicago in May was the day my sister Lori and I joined our cousins Allen Adezio and his wife Marie, and Vickie Di Nella for lunch at Allen & Marie’s beautiful home in southern Illinois.

How are we connected?  Elvira Ciolli is Lori and my great grandmother.  Speranza (Mary) Ciolli is Allen’s great grandmother.  Bibbiana Celestina is Vickie’s great grandmother.  Elvira, Speranza, and Bibbiana were sisters.

This stunning painting is hanging in the entry hallway of Allen & Marie’s home.  It was painted by a relative of Allen’s from a snap shot that was taken a few years ago when Allen and his brother Ron went to Italy with their wives.  The photograph is Allen (on the right) and Ron in front of the Adezio family home in Italy.   The writing on the photograph says D’Addezio House, 2 Vico Corto, Pescassoreli, Italy. 

This was the home of Allen and Ron’s father Cesidio (Jesse) Adezio, who was a Shepard as a little boy.   Cesidio’s parents were Luigi D’Addezio and Carmela Testa.  Their children were Guiseppi (Joseph), Antonio (Babe), Cesidio (Jesse), Guilia, and Lucia.  Allen’s last name is now Adezio so somewhere along the way the family name was changed.  Unfortunately no family members currently live in the home.

This is our Ciolli Family Crest.  Some people refer to this as a Coat of Arms; they are basically the same thing.   Allen’s cousin said that her father was given the “plans” for the Ciolli Crest from Frank DePirro.  (Frank was married to Ann who was the daughter of Gemma Nicolina Ciolli and Giacomo Leone).

Below is a photo taken last May of my sister Lori, Allen is behind her, Vickie is next to Allen, and I’m in front of Vickie.  As you can see the Ciolli Crest is hanging on the wall.  Beneath it is a wine press.  Allen’s father used the press to actually make wine, Allen and his brother assisted their father.  Allen tells the story of  “driving his dad to the markets to get crates of grapes, and putting all the grapes in the trunk of his car.  That’s when the trunks of cars were big!!!”

Now let me introduce Barbara.  Barbara found our family website and emailed me that she was one of my long lost relatives.  I love it when that happens!  Barbara’s grandfather was Carmino (Charles) Ciolli, brother to my great grandmother Elvira. (Check back later for more info, because of course I will have to write a blog about Barbara’s family.)  Allen’s wife Marie, Barbara, Joe and I sent several emails back and forth.  It turns out that Barbara has the very same Crest hanging in her home.   Barbara agreed to copy a black and white version of her Crest and mail it to Marie and I.

Barbara knows that her Crest was done and researched by a commercial company in Italy in the 1930’s.  Her crest bears the stamp: Archivio Araldivo Cimino.   We assume this is the company that made the Crest.

Since this is the very same family Crest we thought it was time to take this investigation one step further.

I turned once again to Kathy from GenTracer to ask her to research her archives and see if she could find any records of a family Crest for the Ciolli family.  Oh and by the way – would she look for record of a Crest for the Del Principe family?  I scanned the copy of the Crest that I received from Barbara to Kathy because there was some text below the Crest.  Kathy didn’t find any record that an official Crest was made for the Ciolli family or the Del Principe family but she did give us an explanation of the text below the Ciolli Crest.  Click on the Crest to see a larger version, click the back button to return to this blog.

Kathy writes:  The brief translation on the Crest is that the family is from Tuscany and Memorialized in the town archives of Pisa in the magistrate of Siena until 1408 and patrons in Florence.

Valerio was a sculptor in the 15th century, born at Settignano.  Andrea was a senator of Florence in the 15th century.  Michele was born at Settignano in the 16th century and a scupturer in Siena. Raffaele and Simone were sculptors.  

Of course, there is no documentation of any of the above. There is also no clear connection to your family.      



My brother shared this Del Principe Crest with me.  It is an example of what our crest might look like.  It is not authentic.






If you have an interest in the origin of Family Crests and a Coat of Arms click on the links above and check out the websites that were sent to me from Kathy.