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


Researching at the Family History Library

by  Phyllis Zeck

If you were following my posts on Facebook last month, you saw how excited I was about my research trip to Salt Lake City and the LDS Family Search Library.  Salt Lake City is a clean, beautiful city and the people are so friendly.  We stayed in a hotel across the street from Temple Square. Temple Square consists of many historic buildings.  Among them are the Tabernacle, the Family History Library, the Church History Museum, The Beehive House (built in 1853 and home to Brigham Young), the Assembly Hall built in 1882, and of course the majestic Salt Lake Temple, which was under construction from 1853 to 1893.   

LDS Temple in Salt Lake City

We arrived at Salt Lake City in the early afternoon.  Lori and I headed over to the library to start our research.  The Family History Library has over two million rolls of microfilmed records.  Click on the link below to watch an interesting  video on You Tube explaining how the records are stored and shipped to libraries all over the world.  Granite Mountain Vault.

I had my “to do” list ready to go. One of the advantages of researching in the Family Search Library is having access to free databases that I don’t have at home.  I only subscribe to Ancestry.com so I was anxious to see what I might uncover in the library’s free databases. 

You will not believe it, but we found evidence of more children born to Elvira and Pietro!  Lori and I had only been searching for 15 minutes when Lori discovered a record for a daughter named Amedea.  This makes a total of 4 daughters born to Elivra and Pietro.  We also found records for 1 more son named Settimie.  This makes a total of 17 children.  

Lori and I at the LDS Family Search Library

I’ve got to tell you, Lori was pretty excited!  I’ve updated the page of my website that lists the children of Elvira and Pietro so you can easily see the names and records of their children.  Click this link to view the records and click the back button to return to the blog.

Amedea was born about 1896.  She died on March 18, 1897.  If you click on her second death record source document from Family Search you will see that her death record was signed by her brother Joseph Del Principe.  A son named Settimie was born in Aug of 1897. 

Lori and I took a break for dinner and walked around Temple Square, then returned to the library for more searching.  Lori found at least 20 obituaries that I’ve never been able to obtain, she was using the free website called Proquest.  These records are packed with names and dates that may be helpful in my research.  

One of the library’s Sisters is assisting Lori with questions about research.

The next morning  we spent a few more hours researching before Don and Tim joined us. We wanted to  listen to the organist play the Temple’s organ before leaving the city.  The organ is such an amazing and beautiful instrument; it has 11,623 pipes.  Finally it was time to head home with all my treasures, what a great visit to Salt Lake City!

I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad with my new discoveries about Pietro and Elvira’s babies. They lived such a short life.  How did we let over 100 years pass before we recorded their births and deaths?  We now have documentation that at least two of the babies are buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery at 301 Chicago Ave in Evanston.  Where are the other babies buried? Another mystery waiting to be solved…



Antonio’s Descendants

by  Phyllis Zeck

Antonio Marius Del Principe was the first child of Elvira and Pietro.  He was born August 7, 1888 in Pescasseroli, Italy.  Antonio married Margaret Heenan and they had two daughters; Elvira (Snooks) and Eileen (Turk).  Antonio Del Principe

Antonio used to travel around the United States and Canada playing his music and would send postcards back to his family. They lived in the 2 story flat on Irving Street in Chicago.  Pietro and Elvira lived downstairs, and Antonio lived upstairs with his family.  Elvira Antoinette was a premie baby and Margaret told her grandchildren that Elvira was so small she fit in a cigar box which Margaret put by the the coal stove to keep her baby warm.  

Elvira (Snooks)Snooks (pictured left) married Roy Weber.  Antonio passed away on Pearl Harbor day. Snooks and Roy were planning Antonio’s funeral.  When they finished at the funeral home they turned on the radio and heard the news that the United States had been attacked.  Roy was drafted on March 17, 1942.  

Elvira and Roy had four children; Antoinette, Gregory, Madeleine, and Margaret.  All four of the Weber children danced and competed in Irish Dancing and have won many trophies. Toni and Madeleine went on to teach Irish dancing and named their company The Weber Irish Dancers.  This year is the Weber’s 50th anniversary.  Check out their website at www.weberirishdancers.com.  Click on the about page to see a photo of Toni and Madeleine with some of their trophies.

Elvira’s children. Toni is seated. Left to right – Madeleine, Maggie, and Greg

Greg married Teresa and they had two children; Cory and Mary (Bear).  

Antonio’s great granddaughter Mary (Bear)

Bear teaches at Madeleine and Toni’s studio so she gets to interact with her aunts daily.  What a lucky lady! It’s such an  interesting coincidence that Bear and I are so involved with the world of dance.  As you can see Antonio passed his love for music down through three generations.  Bear and I have been corresponding this summer and she’s been so kind in sharing stories, photos and memorabilia.   I’ll be adding it all to my website as time permits, so stay tuned. 






Sarafino Amideo (John) & Jeanette Del Principe

by  Phyllis Zeck

Sarafino (John) was born July 18, 1897 in Chicago, Illinois.  This is his birth certificate.  Click on the image to enlarge it.  Note that John was born in Elvira and Pietro’s apartment at 165 Forquer in the first flat, front.  He was delivered by a midwife at 6 AM on a Sunday morning.   What a fantastic record to have!  Isn’t it great when you can read the handwriting of the record keeper?  

John married Eva D’Asaro and they had two children; Margrette (Margie) Elvira born in 1919 and Leona born in 1920.  They divorced and John married Jeanette Martin who was divorced with two children;  Francis (Hobby) Johnson and Violet Johnson.  John and Jeanette adopted one child; John Anthony who was born in 1941.   

This is the marriage license for John age 44 and Jeanette age 40.   Click on the image to enlarge it.  The record is a bit fuzzy but it’s interesting to note that John and Jeanette applied for a marriage license in St Louis, Missouri.  Perhaps that is where Jeanette was born and raised.  It makes me wonder how John and Jeanette met.  Also Jeanette signed the document “Mrs Jeanette Martin”.  Her children’s last names were Johnson.  I wonder if Martin was her maiden name.

Through this connection with Jeanette I have met (via email) Jeanette’s great grandson John McCallion.  John’s grandmother was Jeanette’s daughter Violet Johnson.  Violet married John Messina. 

Violet & John Messina

Violet and John had a daughter named Sandra.  Sandra married Tom McCallion and their son is John.

John has many happy memories of every Christmas spent at John and Jeanette’s until he was a pre teen.  He remembers that John had many acres of land out in the “Country” which was Orland Park. 

My brother Tom remembers John and Jeanette fondly.  “John and Jeanette were always so kind to me.  I admired all my mother’s uncles but Uncle John and Uncle Hank were among my favorites because they could do anything, just like my grandpa Gilbert”.   Tom said, “Uncle John was a neighborhood hero in the old days.  He taught me carpentry when I was a kid.  We used to replace the boards in the huge wooden decks behind his apartment home.  John also had a wonderful house in the country called “Playfield”.  He built his big house from scratch; and a bunch of cottages for his guests.  The weekend getaway from the inner city was awesome and magical.  John welcomed all of his nephews by name.  He was an incredible inspiration.  I miss him dearly.”

Sandra & Tom with Jeanette & John

Thank you to John and Tom for sharing your photos and memories.  New generations now have an opportunity to see how these two ancestors touched our lives. 



Our Family Tree Website Gets Spruced Up

by  Phyllis Zeck

I can’t believe it, but I am fast approaching the two year mark of the launch of our family tree website.  To celebrate this milestone I decided the website needed a new look.  I hope you love the new template as much as I do!  I couldn’t have made the switch without the expertise of Jocelyn from Mozak Design in Portland Oregon.  I’m trying to learn wordpress but this switch over was too much for me.  Thank you so much Jocelyn.

Check out the navigation bar, which now sits on the right instead of the top of the screen.  I’m adding photo galleries!  I have many more photos that I’ll be adding as time permits, so check the albums out periodically. 

If you have any photos that you’d like to contribute, please email them to me.  I’d love to add them to our albums.

Facebook members – please take a moment and click on the “Follow this blog” button in the Networked Blogs box on the right side of the screen.  I really appreciate your support! 



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