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


Our Family Churches

by  Phyllis Zeck

Our family attended Saint Callistus Catholic Church at 2167  W Dekalb (now Bowler St).  The church was built in 1919.

St Callistus Church

My parents, Robert Winike and Corinne Del Principe, were married here on January 9th, 1949.

A ceremony honoring the Blessed Mother called May crowning was a tradition at St. Callistus.

Crowning the Blessed Mother at St. Callistus

An eighth grade girl would be chosen to do the honor.

There is a Catholic tradition, particularly in big cities with many parishes, to try to visit seven churches on holy days.  Elvira died on Christmas Eve 1939 praying in front of Our Lady Of Sorrows Church.  Her granddaughter Muriel remembers getting a brand new 1939 silver dollar from her grandmother as a Christmas gift, and she still has that silver dollar to this day.

This is a photo of Frank’s daughter Muriel taken approx May 1935.

Muriel's First Communion - Precious Blood

She received her First Communion at Precious Blood Church.  With Muriel is her brother Luke.  Behind Luke is Muriel’s grandfather Vitullo and behind Muriel is her Uncle Hank.



Chicago Time Line

by  Phyllis Zeck

Dearborn and Randolph Streets

Between 1870 and 1900 Chicago grew from a city of 299,000 to nearly 1.7 million, the fastest-growing city ever at the time.  The growth in Chicago’s manufacturing and retail sectors came to dominate the  Midwest and greatly influenced the nation’s economy. The Chicago Union Stock Yards dominated the packing trade.  Chicago became the world’s largest rail hub, and one of its busiest ports.

1673 Discovery
1696-1700 Mission of the Guardian Angel
1803 Construction of Fort Dearborn Begins
1812 Fort Dearborn Massacre
1818 Illinois Admitted to Statehood
1830 Thompson Plat—First Plat of Chicago
1832 Black Hawk War
1833 Incorporated as a Town
1833 Chicago’s First Newspaper – The Chicago Weekly Democrat
1837 Chicago’s First Local Theater Company Established
1837 Incorporated as a City
1837 Chicago’s First Mayor – William Butler Ogden Elected
1847 First Issue of Chicago Tribune
1848 Chicago Builds First Municipal Structure, Market Building
1848 Illinois & Michigan Canal Completed
1848 Galena & Chicago Union Railroad
1848 First City Hall in State Street
1848 Telegraph Reaches Chicago
1855 Lager Beer Riots
1855 Police Department Created
1856 Chicago Historical Society Founded
1865 Chicago’s First Museum – Academy of Sciences – Opens
1865 Chicago Union Stock Yards Completed
1867 First Tunnel Under the Lake
1868 Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens Founded
1869 First Traffic Tunnels Under the River
1869 Chicago Water Tower Built
1871 The Great Fire (more…)



Gilbert & Bertha

by  Phyllis Zeck

Gilbert Del Principe and Bertha Reher were my grandparents.  They met when grandpa was driving a taxi and he’d stop by the restaurant where grandma worked to have coffee.  After dating for 2 weeks they were married!

Bertha was born on April 22, 1901 in Hamburg, Germany.  She arrived in New York on November 30, 1904  on board the ship “The Blucher” with her mother Caroline and her brother Henry.  I can’t find any record that her father, August, ever joined the family in the U.S.   After Bertha’s mother died Bertha went to live with her Uncle Henry and his wife Hattie.




Opi, Italy

by  Phyllis Zeck


My great grandmother was Elvira Ciolli.  Her mother was Filomena Ursitti and Filomena was born in the town of Opi.

Opi is about 5 miles south of Pescasseroli.  The current population is 459 and the town’s Patron Saint is San Giovanni Battista.  The surname of Ursitti is one of the top 5 common family names in the town, and records indicate there are 17 people still living in Opi with the name Ursitti.




Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery

by  Phyllis Zeck

Many of our ancestors graves will be found at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.  My grandfather Gilbert is buried here.

Del Prinicpe Headstone

Mount Carmel Cemetery is maintained by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.   In 1901 Mount Carmel Cemetery was consecrated.  The cemetery is currently 214 acres. There are over 226,275 people buried at Mount Carmel.

Bishops Mausoleum

Mount Carmel is the site of the Bishops’ Mausoleum where seven Bishops, Archbishops and auxiliary Bishops are entombed, including most recently, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, who was entombed in 1996. Also on the cemetery grounds are the final resting places of a number of local organized crime figures such as Al Capone.  There are over 400 family mausoleums located on the cemetery grounds.