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


Del Principe Accordions

by  Rob Winike

Submitted by my brother, Rob Winike.

Bobby Winike

Bobby Winike

I am the accordion player shown in the wonderful blog post from Oct 2010, the artist formerly known as “Bobby Boy.” My first performance lessons were when I turned four, at Uncle Otto’s store on Cicero Ave. My teacher was George Russo, who was also a great friend of my father, Robert Thomas Winike. They both owned new 1956 Ford Fairlane Victorias, two-tone. My cousin John “Bubbles” (Dean’s dad) told me last year that he used to covet the chance to drive those cars around the block so he could wash them back in the alley between our families’ two tenements, one on Harrison Street and one on Bell Avenue. Dad and George would proudly park their Fords at the front of the cinder lot on Harrison so the public and all could see and enjoy!

When I was talented enough, my Grandfather, Gilbert Del Principe used to take me to the neighborhood tavern, the Four Deuces, where I would play songs and patrons would throw quarters at me. These I promptly plunked into a colorful Seeburg Jukebox and play top hits of the 1950s. I loved taking lessons at Uncle Otto’s store because if I played well, he would let me choose two 45 rpm records as a reward, and usually Grandpa would buy me two more. My record collection was the best in the old neighborhood by far, varied and popular with cousins and friends alike. 

John M.'s  Del Principe Accordion.

Del Principe Accordion (Owned by John M.)

I hated having to practice everyday after school, but dared not incur the wrath of my teacher, by wasting his valuable time and “make a monkey of me,” as George would say. If my hand went limp on the treble keyboard, he’d slap it sharply. “Practice don’t make perfect,” he’d say. “Perfect practice makes perfect!” This he’d say in a small acoustic practice room rank with humidity and clouded in thick cigar smoke, as was Uncle John’s whole store, which ran in streaks of grey and brown from constant cigar smoking and full trays of stale cigar butts on every desk in the back. 

Del Principe Accordion

The climax of my accordion apprenticing came in 1958, when I won a regional contest and was scheduled to audition for the Ted Mack Music Show, playing a blistering rendition of John Phillip Susa’s march, “Under the Double Eagle.” Two weeks before the audition I caught the Asian Flu, as did all my cousins and half the kids at my school, Saint Callistus Elementary School. Both our tenement buildings were quarantined, and my big chance for accordion fame and national acclaim was sadly lost. But I was still inclined to play at a large number of Italian weddings, First Communion parties, and St. Joseph Day Progressive Dinners in various homes of parish families. Polkas were popular, but classic Italian songs were always requested. Some of the crowd favorites were, of course, the Tarentella; Al di La or Domani both popular songs then by Julius LaRosa; and always, Oh Marie, Oh Sole Mio, or Santa Lucia

Rob Winike with his Accordion

Rob Winike

I greatly regret now not having developed my talent like some of the cousins of my late mother, Corrine Del Principe, and my Aunt Phyllis. I continued to play after our family moved to Villa Park, but finally gave it up after entering junior high. I was convinced no seventh grade girl was ever going to go out on a date with a guy who played the accordion, especially one with the inglorious name of “Bobby.” I changed my name to “Bob” and put the accordion aside. Last year I bought a used accordion made by Enrico Roselli and started taking weekly lessons again. I’m now practicing the same songs I played so well nearly 60 years ago! My goal is to get good enough to purchase a Del Principe accordion and post a photo of “Bobby Boy” playing with the same fire I once had, as all things accordion eventually run their course. As an historical footnote, I still have the original accordion made by Pietro shown in the blog written by Phyllis, although it is much worse for wear. I have it encased in plastic and hope to one day have it restored and displayed in a glass case. A lot of family memories and musical legends will reside in that case!



Yvonne Marguerite Porche Zeck

by  Phyllis Zeck

Yvonne Porche My mother-in-law was born in 23 Apr 1920 in Chicago, Illinois, she passed away 21 Jun 2007 in Vancouver, WA.  Yvonne had no siblings. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois and worked for a brief time as a social worker.  Yvonne married Francis H. C. Zeck on 20 Jan 1943 at the age of 22.  Her first son Francis Harry was born nine months later, and her second son Donald Arthur (my husband) was born in 1946.  Yvonne traveled the world with her husband Harry (see post about Francis H. C. Zeck) and was a loving and supportive military wife. Yvonne’s father was Arthur Harold Porche born 10 Feb 1895 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Arthur’s WW II draft card lists his address at 424 W. 60th Place in Chicago.  His employer was Illinois Iron and Bolt, his job title was a Division Sales Manager, and his work address was 918 S. Michigan Ave.  Arthur was killed in January 1947 in a small engine airplane crash.

Harry and Yvonne

Harry and Yvonne

Yvonne Porche Univ of Illinois

Yvonne Porche Univ of Illinois

The following is taken from an article in the Stars and Stripes newspaper; “Private Plane Explodes in Indiana, Killing 5.  Rensselaer Indiana Jan 26 1947 (his wife Alma’s birthday).  The pilot and four passengers were killed last night in the explosion and crash of a twin-engined Beechcraft private plane in a barnyard six miles southeast of Rensselaer.”  Arthur’s father was named J. George Porche born in 1856 in Louisiana and his mother was Amelia Tervalon born approx 1856.  Arthur had 6 siblings Edna, May, George, Stanley, Mildred, and Clifford.  Click here to read an article about the crash from The Arlington Heights Herald 31 Jan 1947. Arthur enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp on 03 Jun 1917.  Frank remembers his mother telling him that “Arthur was sent to France where he met with family members and served as an interpreter for the US Forces, and that he was wounded in the Battle of Belleau Wood”.  The muster roll from Sept 1918 listed Arthur #122479 Porche “trans. to S.O.S. Hospital”.  Click here to read the Muster Roll.  Most of the men listed with him on the muster roll have the following remarks “slightly wounded in action during attack on Hill 160.600 yds NW of Tigny Prov of the Aisne, France”.

Arthur Harold Porche

Arthur Harold Porche

Arthur Porche

Arthur Porche

The Battle of Belleau Wood was the first real taste of battle for the US Marines in WWI with General Pershing calling Belleau Wood the most important battle fought by US forces since the US Civil War.  Click here to read more about the Battle of Belleau Wood 1918. Yvonne’s mother was Alma Pauline Harrison born 26 Jan 1895 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Alma died in 1987 at the age of 92.  Alma had two sisters Violet and Beulah and she had a brother named Homer.   In 2011 email correspondence began

Sisters Alma and Beulah Harrison

Sisters Alma and Beulah

between Shirley and I.  Shirley is the granddaughter of Beulah.  Alma (Don’s grandmother) and Beulah are sisters.  Alma and Beulah’s parents were Pauline Barbara Baumann and Harry Hill Harrison.  Shirley has an extensive family tree account at Ancestry.com and she invited me to look at her tree, documents, and photos.  She has graciously agreed to share some of her research in this blog post.  I want to extend to her my sincere appreciation. Alma and Beulah’s grandparents were Matilda Johnson (1852-1922) and James Connor Baumann (1848-1928).  James Baumann was born on  27 Apr 1848 on the Atlantic Ocean aboard the ship the “James Corner”.  Thus he was given the name James Connor.  His parents Samuel Baumann and Maria Barbara Peterhans were immigrating from Stilli, Switzerland to New Orleans, Louisiana arriving 18 May 1848.  Samuel left behind his parents, three brothers and two sisters.  James was 3 weeks old when the ship docked.

James Connor Baumann approx 1921

James Connor Baumann approx 1921

James and Matilda married in 1868 and they had 10 children.  On 30 Jan 1870 James was appointed a Kennerville school director. The town of Kenner is 13 miles west of New Orleans.  My husband and I stopped in New Orleans during our honeymoon.  If only we’d known how close we were to Zeck ancestors we would definitely have detoured to Kenner!  In1880 James Baumann was elected Mayor of Kenner running for the Republican party.  The 1887 city directory lists James as a clerk for the 26th Judicial Court for Kennerville.  In 1891 he was an assistant foreman at the U.S. Mint.  Then on 40 Dec 1891 James was shot at and decided to leave Kenner.  Click here to read the newspaper clipping about the mysterious assault. He moved his family to 720 Lyon St in New Orleans. On 26 Sep 1892 the New York Times printed an article that James was “arrested and charged with being an accessory to the attempted assassination of Judge Long in Gretna in July.  He was taken to Gretna by Sheriff Landridge of Jefferson Parish and locked up.  Baumann’s arrest grows out of the confession of Dennis Richards, a negro who was arrested last Friday in swamp near Boutte.  Richards admits that he fired the shots which wounded Judge Long, but further says that Baumann offered him $100 to kill Long.

James & Matilda Baumann & family

James & Matilda Baumann and family

He also says that he was in communication with Baumann after the shooting, and that Baumann promised to send him money and use his influence to get him out of the trouble.”   Click here to read the full article.  A second article describes the evidence in more detail, click here to read the article.  James was eventually acquitted and went on to become a real estate agent. Click here to read the article from the Times-Picayune dated 26 Jan 1893 which states there was not enough evidence to hold and charge him.  From 1900-1915 James was appointed a U.S. Shipping Commissioner at the U.S. Custom House.  A 1902 newspaper article details the damage done by a lightening strike at the Baumann home.  Click here to read the article. James passed away in 1928 at the age of 79 in Los Angeles which is where he is buried.  You can see that newspapers play a huge roll in a genealogists quest to know their ancestors. I wonder if my mother-in-law knew that her great grandfather led such an interesting life.  In some journal notes left to us Yvonne wrote “Alma’s grandfather James came to visit us in Chicago.  Oh, how impressed I was with his tall slim stature, thatch of pure white hair and the fact he was born on the Atlantic coming from Germany.  Alma seems to have been in awe of these grandparents who gave Alma her first pick of the fruit from their own trees.” Yvonne wrote “Alma’s father used to tell funny, outrageous tales.  He used to hide lemon drops in his pocket and permit me to search for them.”

Yvonne Porche Zeck

San Francisco painted by Yvonne

Yvonne had a insatiable appetite for books and the arts.  She loved letter writing and appreciated rich textured stationary. Mimi, as she was known after her first grandchild was born, was a talented painter.  She collected small charms from all over the world and always dressed in coordinating colors.  She must have had two dozen different colored Keds tennis shoes so that all of her outfits

Yvonne and Harry Zeck

Harry & Yvonne with Frank & Don

matched.  Mimi worked with miniatures and made a Christmas tree with miniature ornaments and gifts.  I put it on our table every year.  Mimi and Gramps loved to travel in their 40 foot Beaver motor coach.  Of all her passions I believe Mimi loved her family the most.


Yvonne, Harry & Don   Don remembers “I loved going to visit Mom.  Her smile would melt the snow on Mt Hood.  Mom always made me feel like a success.  She had to have everything in perfect order.  We’d go to her house for Sunday dinner and I would rearrange the order of the towels in the bathroom.  It drove her crazy!  Mimi kept in contact with her many life long friends over the years showing she appreciated the value of an old friend.” “I remember how Mom broke out in tears as we finished a hike on Mt. Hood.” Don continued.  “I showed her my secret valley and panoramic view.  Later she asked that her ashes be taken to that spot because it was so special.”   And that is exactly what Don and I did.



Colonel Francis Harry Charles Zeck

by  Phyllis Zeck

Colonel Francis Harry Charles Zeck

Francis Harry Charles Zeck

My father-in-law was known to all as “Colonel”.  He was an amazing man. People respected and admired him.  He was born 04 Oct 1921 and passed away 06 May 2007. Harry received his bachelors degree from the University of Illinois.  He entered the US Army in 1943 as a Sergeant and retired in 1974 as a Colonel from the US Air Force. In his 30 year carrier with the military Harry served during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The photo to the left was taken on the island of Espiritu Santo (east of Australia).  Harry said that the navy dropped them off on the island with rations of orange marmalade and spam. Harry had one brother named Raymond. Ray was a radar mechanic for the 747th bomb squad.  His “battles and campaigns” include:  S. France, N. France, Rhineland, Central Europe, air offensive Europe and air combat Balkans.

Col. Frances H. C. Zeck 1967

Harry Jr approx 1967

The photo on the right is of my father-in-law.  From 1966-1968 he was stationed in Taiwan as a military advisor to the Taiwan Air Force. Last week I decided to go through some genealogy notes my mother and Aunt Agnes (Raymond’s wife) passed down to the Zeck family.

Florence and Harry Zeck

Florence and Harry Zeck

Here’s a little family tree background: Harry’s mother was Florence Margaret Huff.  She was born 17 Jul 1893 in Girard, Illinois and died 25 Dec 1983 in Universal City, Texas. Harry’s father was Herman (Harry) Karl (Charles) Zech (Zeck).  He was born 29 Jun 1890 in Danzig, Poland and died 16 Sep 1983 in Chicago Illinois.  Harry Sr changed the spelling of the family name from Zech to Zeck.  It is not known if he also shortened it.  Harry Sr’s family immigrated from Poland to Sandusky, Ohio. Harry Sr was a manager for U.S. Sample Company.  I remember my father-in-law telling me that during the depression Harry Sr would bring home fabric samples and Florence would make slacks and suits for Ray and Harry Jr.  Harry Sr invented and patented a machine to glue and attach fabric samples on card stock for the fabric salesmen to use in the field.

Col Frances Harry Charles Zeck

Col Frances Harry Charles Zeck

Documents that my mother in law saved show that Harry’s grandparents on his father’s side were named Carl August Zech (1857-1930) and Julianna Dombrowski (1857-1942).  Carl’s parents were David Zech and Christine Lenfer. Harry’s grandparents on his mother Florence’s side were Alice Wheeler (1872-1963) and Albert Huff (1865-1939). Florence and Albert had 6 children: Edward, May, Florence, William, George and Marcella.  Albert was a policeman for the city of Chicago.  Click here to see a record of funeral costs and an obituary for Albert Huff.  Albert’s obituary states: “Albert Huff, 76 years old, a retired policeman, died yesterday in Blaine Ramsay hospital.  Huff saw service at the Iroquois fire, the stockyards fire of 1910, and the Eastland Disaster.  He lived at 1330 South Pulaski Road.  Surviving are his widow, Alice, three daughters, Mrs Florence Zeck, Mae, and Marcella, and three sons, William, Edward, and George.  Funeral services will be held Thursday at 9:15 am in the chapel at 4817 Madison Street, with burial in All Saints’ Cemetery.”

A button from Albert's police uniform.

A button from Albert’s police uniform, click to enlarge.

The Iroquois Theatre Fire occurred on December 30, 1903, in Chicago, Illinois.  “It is the deadliest theater fire and the deadliest single-building fire in United States history. A total of 602 people died as a result of the fire.”  Click here to read about the fire in an article posted at the Chicago Tribune.  The stockyards fire of 1910 “stood as the single greatest loss of professional big-city firefighters in U.S. history until Sept. 11, 2001.”  Click here to read more about this tragedy from the Chicago Tribune.

Albert Huff

Albert Huff

In the Eastland disaster of 1915 844 employees and family of Western Electric Co. drown in an accident on the Chicago River. Click here for a link to the disaster from the Chicago Tribune.  My father-in-law’s grandfather was a huge part of Chicago’s history at the turn of the century.  Harry was born in 1921, he was 18 years old when his grandfather died.  I wonder if he asked his grandfather about his experiences on the police force.

Harry Zeck & HorseDuring his career Harry served at Guadacanal, Okinawa, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.  State side he was stationed in Illinois, Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, Washington DC, and Texas. In the photo on the left Harry is pictured with his horse named Kit. He was a Second Lieutenant with the US Army (which became the Army/Air Corp. and then became the US Air Force). Harry quickly rose in rank, in 1945 he was promoted to First Lieutenant Captain Major in the Air National Guard. In 1951 he was promoted to Major, in 1953 promoted again to Lieutenant Colonel. From 1954-1956 he was stationed in Korea and Japan as Director of Personnel. From 1957-1962 the family were living in Washington DC, Harry was at the Pentagon in charge of Airman Procurement. He was then assigned to the University of Portland in Oregon as their Professor of Aerospace.  Upon returning from Taiwan as a military advisor (1966-1968) Harry was promoted to Colonel and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas.  Harry retired from the Air Force in 1974.

Harry and Yvonne had two sons; Frances Harry and Donald Arthur. Harry and Yvonne passed away within two months of each other in 2007.   

Harry and Yvonne with their descendants.

Harry and Yvonne with their descendants.

A week after my father-in-law passed away I was at Glenwood retirement center visiting my mother-in-law.  A nurse’s aid stopped me in the hall and said she had something she wanted me to hear.  She pulled out her phone and I listened to a recording of the Colonel sing “Oh, how I hate to get up in the Morning”.   She said “Harry had two songs that he liked to sing in the shower in the the morning and I recorded them both”.  I told her that I was so grateful to her for making these recordings, now Harry’s descendants will forever be able to hear his voice.  What a wonderful act of kindness.  Click the following link to hear the Colonel singing:  Col Zeck Singing The Bugler Song 2007.

Harry and Yvonne are buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon.    Harry and Yvonne’s headstones are engraved “Parents and Patriots”.  



Abigail Rose’s Love Blanket

by  Phyllis Zeck

Ashley, Abby, and Me

Ashley, Abby, and Me

Abigail Rose was born on March 7th.  It seemed like my daughter Ashley took her sweet time being pregnant!  We were all so anxious to meet this baby.  Abby was named after Matt’s grandmother Rose.  Ashley and Matt chose to be surprised and not learn the gender of the baby until her arrival.  Now we can stock up on pink and purple clothes.  

We’ve been busy getting ready for baby’s arrival.  I described in Baby Miller Surname Family Tree blog post the genealogy album I made for Abigail.  Don built Abby a co-sleeper.  Ashley and Matt decorated the nursery.  Matt’s father Walt sanded and stained an old dresser that used to belong to Ashley.

Matt’s mother Shirley sewed Abby her Love Blanket.  The blanket is made from the clothing of Abby’s ancestors.  The squares labeled #1 (Oregon State University) is the college that Matt and Alicia (Matt’s sister) graduated from. The material is from a shirt that belonged to Alicia. The checked squares labeled #2 are from the shirt that Matt wore to his wedding rehearsal dinner. The squares labeled #3 are pieces from the dress that Ashley wore to her wedding rehearsal dinner.

Quilt1_IMG_8878The squares labeled #4 are of embroidered flowers and lady bugs from a blouse that belonged to my mother.  The peach lace square #5 is from my wedding dress.  

The squares labeled #6 are from a blue denim work shirt that belonged to Don that I had embroidered.  Don and I met in 1975 and it was popular to embroider designs on shirts and purses.  

My wedding dress

My wedding dress

The rest of the squares are pieces from Matt’s ancestors.  I will add specific details when I get them.  Matt’s parents will be here soon to visit little Abby and Shirley will tell us more about the pieces when she arrives. Some of Matt’s ancestors traveled to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.  I wonder if Matt and Shirley have any family stories they can share with Abigail about adventures on the Oregon Trail.

Shirley’s gift is such a treasure.  Every quilt tells a story.  This quilt is the story of Abby’s ancestors.



Giuseppe Donato Del Principe’s Descendants

by  Phyllis Zeck

My great grandfather Pietro and Vincenzo Del Principe were brothers.  Vincenzo had at least two sons who immigrated to the United States.  Giuseppe Donato and Leonardo.  I wrote a blog post last August about a letter that Leonardo mailed to the Del Principe  brothers upon hearing of grandpa’s brother Antonio’s death.  I have since become acquainted with a descendant of Giuseppe Donato (Daniel).  Her name is Catherin Shafer and she is Giuseppe Donato’s great great great granddaughter.  Catherin is my 3rd cousin, three times removed.  Click here to see a relationship chart between myself and Catherin’s grandmother (Patricia Mary Mucci). 

Giuseppe Donato was born 01 Apr 1863 in Pescasseroli, Italy.  He arrived in the United States aboard the ship Hindoustan on 14 Nov 1891.  He applied to become a US citizen on 11 Aug 1902 at the age of 36.  In the 1910 census he was living in Clearfield county in Pennsylvania and his occupation was a coal minor.  Daniel died on 22 Feb 1924 at the age of 60.  The cause of death was Tuberculosis of the lungs.  He is buried at St Catherine Cemetery in Sandy, Pennsylvania.  Click here to see his death certificate.  

Liboria Laura Del principe Mucci

Liboria Laura Del Principe Mucci with Patricia who is the bride.

Giuseppe married Marie Concetta DiAddezio and they had the following children: Nocola Vincenzo Loreto (James), Liboria (Laura), Vittorio (Victor), Leonardo (he died in 1929) and Angelo.  

Liboria is Catherin’s great great  grandmother.  She is pictured in the photo on the left and is in the dark dress.  Liboria married Carmino Mucci.  They had the following children: Nicholas, Michael, Carmen E., Pasquale, Anna Marie, Adeleo Edward (Skip), William, and Ethel.  

Carmino Mucci was also a coal miner.  He died on 23 Nov 1917 at the age of 34.  His widow Liboria was left to raise their 8 children.  Carmino was killed in a coal mining accident at the Cascade Mine and Coke Works in Sykesville, Pennsylvania.  Click here to see his death certificate.  The cause of death is hard to read but it looks like he died from “shock following ?? blow chest with internal injuries.  Accidental ?? ?? of coal”.  I can’t even imagine the conditions an employee endures working at coal mines, especially at the turn of the century.

Cascase Mine

From “The Old Miner” web sites, Raymond A. Washlaski, Editor

Click on this link to see a map of the area, some historic photographs of the mine and details of the history of the mine.  Click on this link and scroll to the “M’s” for a memorial to Carmino Mucci.  Liboria would eventually move with her children, her mother Marie Concetta DiAddezio and her 3 brothers James, Leonard, and Angelo to Buffalo, New York.  She married Phillip Ventura and had two more children Angeline and Olga. 

Adeleo and Patricia Mucci

Adeleo and daughter Patricia Mucci

Liboria’s son Adeleo Edward (Skip) Mucci married Gladys Louise Scheu.  They had three children, Ronald, Barbara and Patricia Mary.  Patricia is Catherin’s grandmother. The photo on the left is of Catherin’s great grandfather Adeleo Edward (Skip) Mucci with his daughter and bride Patricia.

Thank you Catherin for sharing this valuable family history, documents, and photos.   We had many family members who worked in the coal mines, a hard and dangerous way to make a living.  I am in awe when I learn about our ancestors who lost their lives at such young ages.  Their struggles helped to make life easier for future generations.  They are our guiding stars!