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


Giovanni from Pescasseroli

by  Phyllis Zeck

When you are interested in genealogy you learn to network with as many people as you can.  One way to network is to join genealogy forums.  This is how I met Gina.  She was looking for relatives of the Del Principe family of which she is a distant relative.  Gina and I exchanged several emails over the summer.   She told me she wrote letters to people in Italy with the last name of Del Principe to see if she had a relation there.  I contacted her again in December to ask if she had any success with her letters and she said yes – she gave me the email address of Giovanni Del Principe.  I am so thankful for her assistance.  She gave me access to a treasure chest!

Here is a photo taken in 1997 of Giovanni’s brother, Mariano Del Principe.  In the center is Giovanni’s mother Lucia Trella.  His aunt Lucia D’Addezio is on the right.

Thanks to Giovanni I now know Pietro’s middle name – Giovanni.  And I know that Pietro had other siblings besides Maria Domenica.    Vincenzo was born in 1830, Maria Domenica was born in 1833, Lucia Carmela was born in 1836, Antonio was born in 1837, Gerardo was born in 1846, Maria was born in 1849, and Pietro Giovanni was the baby of the family.

Pietro’s parents were Gaetano Cesidio Del Principe (born in 1799) and Anna Maria Boccia (born in 1808).  Gaetano’s siblings were Donato born in 1796, Francesco Mattia born in 1802, Michelangelo born in 1806, Giustino Gennaro born in 1835, and Domenico Leonardo born in 1808.

Gaetano’s parents were Mattia Del Principe (born approx. 1769) and Maria Scolastica Salterelli.   Mattia’s father was Donato Del Principe (born approx. 1744).  I am related to Giovanni by a common thread that dates back through Donato Del Principe.

I spoke with Giovanni via Skype.  What a wonderful experience!  Giovanni speaks English fairly well and he used a machine to help him translate some of the questions my husband and I asked him.  I thank him for his time.   I learned that Pietro’s marriage to Elvira was Pietro’s second marriage.  He was married July 13, 1880 to Emanuela (born 1862, died 1887).   Pietro and Emanuela had at least 1 child who did not live past 40 days.  Click the link below for a one minute audio clip from our conversation (click the back button when finished). Giovanni is telling Don and I that Pietro and Emanuela had a child, plus he tells us about his occupation as a surveyor at the National Park of Abruzzo.   Conversation with Giovanni

This is an image Giovanni sent me of a registration to marry.   I believe the names Mattia and Maria Scolastica Saltarelli appear in the left column.  They were married on Aug 1, 1789.

The following information and photos were sent to me from Giovanni and the text was in Italian.  I have used Google translator and this is what I believe his email said:  “The use of surnames is initially a prerogative of the richest families.  Between the thirteenth century and the fourteenth century, the family name began to be used even in the lowest social strata.

The Council of Trent, 1564, the Catholic Church requires priests to manage a register of baptisms with your name, in order to avoid in breeding.  In addition to the register of baptisms, registration of marriages and deaths was recorded.  The church organizes a “Register of souls” ,  the census was to be organized much later.

These photos illustrate the “book on the state of souls”  “liber Parochialis Status Animarum” translated from the Latin.”

Giovanni tell me: “The search for records is difficult because the books and records are in poor condition.  It is difficult because everything is written in Latin.

But books are a rich source of information because in the baptism records are parents and grandparents names.

On the page of the Register of Souls in 1834 it describes the neighborhood where the family lived and Mattia Del Principe had many sons and daughters at the time of 1834.

Del Principe Family Records

The church where the logs are kept is the parish church of Pescasseroli.  There they keep all the records that I have appointed since 1650.  The other records were lost during the earthquakes and fires.”

Abbazia de SS Pietro e Paolo a Pescasseroli Church

This is a photo of the church where our family records are stored.  It is the Abbazua di SS Pietro e Paolo a Pescasseroli church.  It was founded in 1100.  Inside the church there is a wooden statue of the Madonna and Child dated to about the thirteenth century.

I can never thank Giovanni enough for all his research and information.   I have made a wonderful new friend.  He is my hero.  I can now document my Del Principe ancestors 6 generations back!


2 Responses to Giovanni from Pescasseroli

  1. 12 years ago by Ashley Zeck

    This is too cool! What an amazing find!

  2. 12 years ago by Tara Mancini

    This is wonderful. I have had luck finding some baptism’s in Pescasseroli too though the Priest. He is a very generous man. I still have a lot of research on the Pandolfi and D’Arcangelo families to go.


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