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


Speranza Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

Allen Adezio ChicagoAllen Adezio’s mother was Carmella Leone and his grandmother was Speranza Ciolli.  Allen’s grandmother and my great grandmother Elvira were sisters. This makes Allen my 2nd cousin 1x removed.  Allen’s wife is Marie.  Marie and I share a passion for genealogy as well as frustration that we never have enough time for research. The photo to the left is Allen, he was in the Marine Corp. Allen enlisted 16 Sep 1957 and was sent to Camp Pendleton in California where he attended boot camp from 01 Oct 1957 to 23 Dec 1957.  On 31 Mar 1958 he entered the 2nd Infantry Training Regiment and went into the reserves. 

Esperanza (Mary) Ciolli is my 2nd great aunt.  She was born 06 Feb 1877 in Pescasseroli, Italy and died 15 July 1940 in Chicago. Speranza and Joseph Leone (1875-1926) had the following daughters; Carmella (Allen’s mother born in 1897), Lillian, Mary, Rose, Anne, Meri, Josephine, and Gladys. Ancestry records reflect that Carmella, Lillian, Mary, and Rose were born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Below is a photo of Rose, Carmella and their father Joseph. The photo is not dated. It was taken at a studio at 414 S. Halsted St. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

The photo to the right is of Lillian, Esperanza & her husband Joseph, and Carmella. The photo is date 16 Jul 1913. Carmella is Allen’s mother. These photos are wonderful, they really capture the clothing styles of their time. I love Carmella’s hat. Rose has a beautiful bow in her hair and it looks like she’s holding a purse. If you enlarge the photo of Joseph sitting down, you can see the intricate carpentry work that went into building his chair.

Joseph Leone   Speranza Ciolli, Joseph Leone

Below is a photo of Meri.  She is also Esperanza and Joseph’s daughter. Meri and Sam Mazzie had two children, Richard and Kenneth (photo on the right). Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos Marie!   

Meri Leone

Meri Leone

Richard & Kenneth Mazzie

Richard & Kenneth Mazzie



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.




My Ciolli Cousin – Allen Adezio

by  Phyllis Zeck

Allen Adezio is my 2nd cousin 1 time removed.  Allen’s parents are Carmella Leone and Cesidio Adezio (aka D’Addezio).  Carmella’s parents were Speranza (Mary) Ciolli and Joseph Leone.  Speranza was the sister of my great grandmother Elvira.

In January I received an email from Allen’s wife, Marie, stating that her husband was a descendant of the Ciolli family.  She is also interested in genealogy so as you can imagine this was the beginning of many, many email exchanges.

The Leone Family

Here is a photo of Lillian, Speranza Ciolli & her husband Joseph Leone, and Carmella.  Lillian and Carmella are their daughters.



The  photo below is of Carmella Leone and Cesidio Adezio on their wedding day June 20, 1923.  These are Allen’s parents.

Carmella Leone & Cesidio Adezio







Josephine & Gladys




This is a photo of Josephine, born in 1909 and Gladys born in 1914 (Speranza and Joseph’s daughters).





Allen and Marie traveled to Pescasseroli Italy several years ago.  They found the Ciolli home which has now been remodeled into several apartments.  Here is a photo of the home.

Ciolli Home in Pescasseroli Italy.

Several people came out to the street and they all tried to communicate and ask about the house but the language barrier was too great, they couldn’t understand each other.  A woman sent one of the young girls into the house and she came back with a large book.  The book was opened to a photo of a woman laid out for her wake.  We think this may be a photo of Filomena; Speranza and Elvira’s mother.

In the birth records of her children it is noted that Filomena Ursitti was a “property owner”.  Her husband Amabile Ciolli was the town’s Apothecary.  We had always heard that Elvira’s parents were wealthy and important people.  Is this why the town published a photo of her in a book?  What is the name of the book?  Is the person in the book Filomena?

Marie has sent me charts with family names and dates that I will add to my Ancestry.com account.   Thank you to Marie for the wonderful photos, information, and stories.  I look forward to learning more about her travels and my Ciolli ancestors.