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


Anna Pauline & Annie Carmela & Anna Paulina Carmela

by  Phyllis Zeck

As I discussed in my blog post from Oct 13, 2012 Pietro bought one grave site on June 15, 1896 at the Calvary Cemetery in Evanston, Illinois.   Through research at the LDS Family Search website my sister Lori and I discovered two of Elvira and Pietro’s babies are buried in this grave; Angelo Serafino and Amadea (the cemetery spelled her name Amdesa).  Lori wrote to the cemetery in an effort to obtain more information and was told the children are buried in Lot 95, Block 31, Section T and the owner of the grave is Pietro Del Principe.  

Lori also found out that Annie Carmela was interred in this same lot on Feb 5, 1907 at the age of 6 months.  Click on this link to view the undertakers report Annie Carmela Undertaker Report Family Search.  It looks like she died from pneumonia. 

I had to find out more about this grave.  I called my brother Tony and asked him if was willing to drive out to the cemetery to see if he could find out anything else. He called me to say that there is no head stone for the babies.  This is very upsetting to me however I know that Pietro had only been in the United States for 5 years when he bought the lot and I suspect that money was scarce.   Tony also discovered that a fourth child was buried in this lot and her name is Anna Paulina.  She died on July 4, 1902 at the age of 2.  Thank you Tony for researching this for me.

Calvary Evanston Cemetery in Chicago. View from the babies gravesite.

Calvary Evanston Cemetery in Chicago. View from the babies gravesite.

Next I turned to the Cook County Vital Records Department to see if they could confirm who the parents of Annie Carmela are.  When I called Cook County they said I can fill out the request for a birth record but I probably would not find one.  Birth and death records were not required by law until 1916.  Most people gave birth at home because they couldn’t afford to go to the hospital.  The clerk said that my undertakers report is probably the only document they will have for Annie Carmela.  The undertaker was not required by law to fill in the parents names.   The cemetery required an undertakers report before they would bury a family member.  It seems very strange that they have a spot for the parents place of birth but not for the parents names.  

Four babies are buried in the grave at Calvary Cemetery.  Amadea (Female) Age 1 year 2 months died March 19, 1897.  Angelo Serafino (Male) Age 1 year 9 months died June 14, 1896.   Anna Paulina (Female) Age 2 died July 4, 1902.  Annie Carmela (Female) Age 6 months died Feb 5, 1907. 

The undertakers report (click on the child’s name to view the report) stated that all three babies lived at 289 S Jefferson at the time of their deaths.  Anna Pauline who died in 1902 and Annie Carmela who died in 1907 are buried at Calvary Cemetery.  Anna Paulina Carmela who died in 1909 is buried at Mt Carmel.  

My records show that Elvira and Pietro lived at the following locations: (1900 census) 165 Forquer St, (1905 City Directory)  289 S. Jefferson St., (1910 census) 618 S. Jefferson St., (1914 City Directory) 618 S. Jefferson St., and (1920 census) 2244 W. Harrison St. 

I don’t know that Annie Carmela was born to Elvira and Pietro even though we have 3 pieces of evidence closely linking her to them.  We have documentation to show that Elvira and Pietro lived at the same address in 1905 that appears on Annie’s death record in 1907.  The Calvary cemetery has confirmed that Pietro owned the grave site where Annie is buried.  The death record states that Annie’s parents are from Pescasseroli, Italy.  

Who else could be Annie’s parents?  Pietro’s brother Antonio came to America and passed away in New York on 11 Mar 1928.  Antonio would have been 68 in 1907 so it is unlikely that Annie Carmela is his child.  I have not found any relatives of Antonio’s but it is possible a son of Antonio’s could be Annie’s father. 

Pietro’s brother Vincenzo may have come to America.  We know for certain that Vincenzo’s two sons came to America.  Giuseppe Donato Del Principe married Marie Concetta DiAddezio and they had five children that I know of; Nocola Vincenzo Loreto (James) born 1892, Liboria (Laura) 1889-1968, Victor born 1904, Leonardo 1901-1929, and Angelo born in 1903.

Vincenzo’s other son Leonardo married Almerinta and they had two children; Frederico was born in 1907 and daughter Lucrezia was born in 1912.  

I don’t know if I will ever solve the mystery of Annie Carmela or Anna Pauline or Anna Paulina Carmela.  I hope I do.  It’s very distressing that many of our ancestors came into this world and left so quickly, with just a whisper of their existence.  Someday I hope to visit the gravesite of these babies and let them know that they are not forgotten. 



National Day Of Listening

by  Phyllis Zeck

As we go into the holidays we all reflect on what we are most thankful for.  I think the holidays are a perfect time to also take advantage of visits with extended family members and to listen to their stories.   Let me tell you about StoryCorps.  StoryCorps records and preserves the stories of everyday people and is one of the largest oral history projects of it’s kind.  Since 2003 StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews.  Each conversation is recorded and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  StoryCorps encourages you to interview a family member.  Recording your interviews is super easy in our digital world.  

StoryCorps has a StoryBook location in Atlanta, GA & San Francisco, CA.  They also have a MobileBooth which is an airstream trailer that travels the country year round collecting stories.  StoryCorps interviews are featured every Friday on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.  You can listen to some sample stories by clicking on their podcast page

Friday November 23rd is StoryCorps National Day Of Listening.  I hope you take the time to set aside the chores and hectic shopping and interview a family member.  Listen to their story.



The Entertainer

by  Phyllis Zeck

Tony Prince Antonio Del PrincipeAntonio Del Principe was the first child born to Elivra Ciolli and Pietro Del Principe.  He was born in Pescasseroli, Italy and arrived in the United States on the ship The Weser when he was 4 years old.   

Tony married Margaret Heenan and they had two daughters; Elvira and Eileen. Elvira’s granddaughter Mary (aka Bear) sent the wonderful photos displayed above. Tony is the gentleman on the right in both of the partner photos.  Tony had promotion photographs taken.  The photo of Tony in a hat was taken by “Swisher” at 32 N State St in Chicago.  The photograph taken with him playing the accordion was taken by “C-I-Hak” at 323 W. Clark St in Chicago.

Antonio Del Principe Music Store business cardTony spent much of his time traveling and performing.  This is one of the business cards that he carried.   Bear sent me an absolute treasure which I want to share.  I received an original brochure that her great grandfather handed out promoting his sales and entertainment services. My Aunt Phyllis always told me that Antonio went by the name of Tony Prince.  As you can see by the brochure below, she was correct.  Tony passed away in 1941 so the brochure is at least 71 years old.  You can click on the business card to enlarge it.  Click here to see page 1 of the brochure and to read the lyrics to the songs, click here to see page 2.  Thank you for sharing Bear!



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.