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


My Visit To The Windy City

by  Phyllis Zeck

Last May I took some time for a little fun and relaxation and flew to Chicago.  What a fantastic trip it was!  My only regret was that I was unable to meet my cousin Joe.  He was not able to make the trip to Chicago this year.   Lori and I did however get to meet Joe’s sister Dolores and Dolores’ daughter Gayle.  They happen to live in the same town that my sister lives in.  We met for lunch and shared stories about our families along with some photographs.

The first few days of vacation were spent catching up with my sister Lori and my brother Tony as well as with Sue, one of my best friends from high school.   In between visits, lunches and errands I began dragging boxes up from Lori’s basement to see what I could uncover to help me with my genealogy search.  These were the boxes I was itching to dig into!  There were a couple of small boxes that held some items from my grandfather Gilbert and my mother.  One box had grandpa’s glasses and glass case which he always had in his left shirt pocket.  The box had his address book and many Mass cards from friends and relatives.  The pages of grandpa’s tiny address book were frayed and had to be turned gently.  Grandpa had penciled in the birthdays of all 13 of his grandchildren in the back of the book.  He also had written in the married names of his brother Paul’s daughters Toni and Paulette.  Bingo!  I had been searching for Toni and her twin sister Paulette for a year but I didn’t know their married names.  Lori and I called Toni and Paulette right then and there and boy was it great to finally speak to them.

One day Lori and I took a trip to Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery and the Queen of Heaven Mausoleum in Hillside.  The first section we stopped at was the gravesite of our great grandparents Pietro and Elvira.  Buried nearby is their son Anthony, their son Paul and Paul’s daughter Dorothy, their son Gilbert (our grandfather) and Gilbert’s wife Bertha.

We drove to another section of the cemetery to see our parents graves, Robert and Corinne Winike.  Also buried in this section are Grandpa’s brother’s Hank, Otto and Frank and Frank’s wife Edith, as well as Muriel’s husband Justin.  

After lunch we went to the Queen of Heaven Mausoleum.  Grandpa’s brother John and his wife Jeanette are buried here.  It was dark and quiet inside and we walked through all the floors admiring the glorious stained glass windows.


Queen of Heaven Mausoleum









Our last stop of the day was to drive by the home where our family lived from 1956 to 1996.   I can not believe how many people lived in that tiny home: mom and dad, eight kids, grandpa, plus daddy’s mother & father who lived in an apartment on the second floor.  How different it looked!  I took some snap shots and how I want to “photo shop” out the huge trees that now hide the house & garage and remove the city side walk next to Villa Ave.  Those things weren’t there when I was a child.

I want to add in grandpa’s rose bushes and his garden with his tomato plants.  The swing set and swimming pool were missing from the back yard and the slip & slide wasn’t rolled out on the front lawn.  Where were all the bikes that were normally left in the driveway? Lori and I drove away feeling melancholy; I was lost in my childhood memories.

Since we needed a Pick-Me-Up we decided the next day to drive out to Jay’s Beef in Schiller Park to visit with Muriel.  Ah, I would finally be able to sink my teeth into one of our families famous beef sandwiches.  What fun we had with Muriel!  We spent the morning talking and eating; a favorite pastime of all Italians.


Another day Lori and I took the train downtown.  We went to the Chicago History Museum.  There were so many great exhibits and of course we were the last two visitors to leave as the employees tried to lock up and go home.  We caught a cab ride back to the train station and were treated to a ride along Lake Shore Drive and through the Magnificent Mile shopping district.

I have to say one of my favorite days of the trip was the day Lori and I went to meet our newly discovered Ciolli cousins.  We had lunch at Allen & Marie’s house and Vickie joined us for the day.  But I’m afraid this is a topic that will need to be written another time, stay tuned for part 2…



Margrette Elvira 1919 – 2011

by  Rob Winike

Like my sister Phyllis, I don’t remember Aunt Margie. But I just recently talked to her younger brother, John Junior, about Margie, and now I have a greater appreciation for the many people in our family she touched and influenced.

John Del Principe is 69 now, living in Southern Illinois, and has some fine memories of talks with his sister. He said Margie had already moved out of the house when he was adopted by their father, Uncle John. She was some 30 years older than he was. But she always treated him well, as did her husband, Al Vitullo. John would often visit them at their two Italian beef sandwich restaurants. The first one was on the corner of Cicero and Arlington Streets, which she opened in partnership with her friend, whom he remembers as a lady named Carm. That was the beginning of the Del Principe family’s long-standing history of beef stands.

My sister Phyllis has posted a blog and photo of the second beef stand, where she writes, “Margie and her husband Al Vitullo owned an ice cream store under the El tracks on Hoyne Ave and added the sandwich to the menu.  Their most popular beef stand was located at Cicero Ave and Kammerlig St.” (See blog dated Jan 4, 2011).   According to John Jr., this was across the street from a huge railroad manufacturing plant owned by the Pettibone-Mulligan company, a historic part of Chicago’s phenomenal rapid growth at the turn of the century. He remembers that when he would visit Margie there, he saw massive lunch crowds from the factory, and long lines of customers eagerly waiting for Margie’s delicious beef sandwiches.

In the front row from right to left: Leona & Margie (John’s children)

He remembers that Margie and Carm got into the beef sandwich business around 1948, after they had become friends with Ralph Scala, who operated an Italian Beef packing company on West Harrison Street, along with his brother Robert. Scala’s was established by their father, Pasquale, in 1925.

This is all an important part of the history of the Taylor Neighborhood, in the heart of one of Chicago’s most classic Italian neighborhoods. Margie’s contribution to her family, neighbors, and many customers through the years cannot be underestimated, and is much appreciated. She was among the oldest surviving members of the Del Principe family, was much loved, and will always be a blessed part of our family history.




Historical Records for Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

Below is the historical documentation about my great grandmother’s family (Elvira Ciolli).  Thank you to my cousin Joe for collaborating with me on this project and thank you to Kathy from GenTracer for her research.  The photo below of Ann and Mary was contributed by Allen and Marie, my Ciolli cousins.  It was taken in Cicero Illinois.


Esperanza Ciolli’s Daughters 1919 Ann and Mary

Note below that some of the Ciolli children were delivered by midwives with the last name of Di Nella and Vitale. These last names appear over the years in our family tree.

I don’t have a completed “Family Group Record” because all birth records could not be obtained by our researcher, Kathy from GenTracer.  She explains the reason for this below.

There is some confusion as to the year Elvira was born.  I have recorded her birth year based on the information on Elvira’s death certificate.

My conclusion as to the children born to Pietroantonio Amabile Ciolli and Filomena Ursitti are:  Gemma Nicolina born 28 Jun 1855 (married ?? Leone), Oreste Emilio Fortunato born 25 Aug 1856 (married Maria “Mary” Giusta Criola), Maria Celestina Belisena born 26 Feb 1859, Cesidia Bibbia born 12 Sep 1860, Florindo Ercole born 16 Dec 1862 (married Maria Conacci), Bibbiana Celestina born 19 Jan 1865 (married Basilio Di Nella), Elvira born 08 Nov 1874 (married Pietro Giovanni Del Principe), Carmino “Charles” born 20 Mar 1875 (married Anna D’Aquila), Speranza “Mary” born 06 Feb 1877 (married Joseph Leone), Ester date of birth unknown, Angelica date of birth unknown (married Pasquale Neri),  and Henry date of birth unknown.

Documentation From GenTracer:

Elvira and one of her sisters

The goal of this research project was to trace back the ancestral line of Elvira Ciolli, wife of Pietro Giovanni del Principe, in Pescasseroli, L’Aquila, Italy.

The first step was to discover when Elvira immigrated to the U.S. and to glean as much information about her from her immigration record as possible. On the Ellis Island Website (www.ellisisland.org), a search was conducted for Elvira Ciolli or Elvira del Principe. Only one match was located: Elvira Ciolli, age 25, who arrived on board the S.S. Weser on 21 August 1893. Three children accompanied Elvira: Antonio del Principe, age 4, Giuseppe Del Principe, age 3, and Amelio Del Principe, age 2.  There was no name of the town that Elvira and her family had emigrated from, only that she was from Italy. Her destination was Illinois but there was no category on the manifest where the name and address of persons being visited in the U.S. could be listed.

Initial information on Elvira Ciolli suggested that Pescasseroli, L’Aquila was her home in Italy and that she was born about 1874. Her passenger record however stated that she was 25 years old when she arrived here in 1893, making her birth year about 1868. Because the civil registration records of Pescasseroli only cover the years 1809 to 1865, it would be impossible to obtain her birth record from the microfilms of the Family History Library, regardless of whether she was born in 1868 or 1874.

At this point it seemed that the only way to identify the ancestry of Elvira Ciolli was through her siblings, who could have been born to Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli and Filomena Ursitti, in 1865 and earlier. The research now turned to the births of any children of Pietrantonio and Filomena and also the marriage of the couple in Pescasseroli. The following children were found:

The births of Pescasseroli for 1864-1865 (FHL #1360907) included #2, the birth of Bibbiana Celestina Ciolli, was filed on 19 January 1865 in Pescasseroli, by Gemma di Nella, age 53, a midwife residing in this town. Bibbiana Celestina was born on 19 January 1865 to Amabile Ciolli, age 34, a pharmacist, and Filomena Ursitti, age 27, a property owner, residents of Pescasseroli. Bibbiana was baptized on 19 January at the parish church in Pescasseroli. Bibbiana Celestina Ciolli was married to Basilio Di Nella, son of Vincenzo Di Nella, on 18 August 1883 in Pescasseroli.2 (Document 2)

The births of Pescasseroli for 1861-1863 (FHL #1360906) included #85, the birth of Florindo Ercole Ciolli, was filed on 16 December 1862 in Pescasseroli, by Gemma di Nella, age 50, a midwife residing in this town. Florindo Ercole was born on 16 December 1862 to Amabile Ciolli, age 32, a pharmacist, and Filomena Ursitti, age 25, a property owner, residents of Pescasseroli. Florindo was baptized on 16 December at the parish church in Pescaserroli. Florindo Ercole Ciolli was married to Maria Filomena on 24 August 1891 in Pescasseroli. 3 (Document 3)

The births of Pescasseroli for 1859-1861 (FHL #1360905) included #89, the birth of Cesidia Bibbia Ciolli, was filed on 12 September 1860 in Pescasseroli, by Gemma di Nella, age 48, a midwife residing in this town. Cesidia was born on 11 September 1860 to Amabile Ciolli, age 30, a pharmacist, and Filomena Ursitti, age 22, a property owner, residents of Pescaserroli. Cesidia Bibbia Ciolli was baptized on 12 September in the parish church in Pescasseroli.4 (Document 4)

#5, the birth of Maria Celestina Belisena Ciolli, was filed on 26 February 1859, in Pescasseroli by Battista Vitale, age 71, a midwife residing in this town. Maria was born on 26 February 1859 to Amabile Pietrantonio Ciolli, age 28, a pharmacist, and Filomena Ursitti, age 21, a property owner, residents of Pescasseroli. Maria Celestina Belisena Ciolli was baptized on 26 February in the parish church in Pescasseroli.5 (Document 5)

The births of Pescasseroli for 1854-1858 (FHL #1360904) included #85, the birth of Oreste Emilio Fortunato Ciolli, was filed on 25 August 1856, in Pescasseroli by Innocenza di Nella, age 77, a midwife residing in this town. Oreste was born on 25 August 1856 to Amabile Pietrantonio Ciolli, age 26, a pharmacist, and Filomena Ursitti, age 19, a property owner, residents of Pescasseroli. Oreste Emilio Fortunato Ciolli was baptized on 25 August in the parish church in Pescasseroli. Oreste Emilio Fortunato Ciolli was married on 4 August 1884 to Maria Giusta Criola, daugher of Geremia Criola in Pescasseroli.6 (Document 6)

#62, the birth of Gemma Nicolina Ciolli, was filed on 29 June 1855 in Pescasseroli by Innocenza di Nella, age 73, a midwife residing in this town. Gemma was born on 28 June 1855, to Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli, age 25, a pharmacist, and Filomena Ursitti, age 18, a property owner, residents of Pescasseroli. Gemma Nicolina Ciolli was baptized on 29 June in the parish church in Pescasseroli.7

The same film included the marriage of Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli to Filomena Ursitti was not located during the above search. Nor was it found in the Pescasseroli marriage records back to 1852. However, the first and second marriage banns (intentions) were finally located in 1854 as follows:

#10: Parte Prima, 16 July 1854, the notification of the solemn promise of marriage between Pietrantonio Ciolli, son of the living Raffaele Ciolli, and the living Speranza Tudini, and Filomena Ursitti, daughter of the living Angelico Ursitti, and the late Annunziata de Arcangelis.

#10: Parte Seconda, 31 July 1854, the notification of the intended marriage of Pietrantonio Ciolli, age 24, a pharmacist living in Pescasseroli. He was a son of the living Raffaele Ciolli, a land owner, and the living Speranza Tudini, residents of Pescasseroli, and Filomena Ursitti, age 17, daughter of the living Angelico Ursitti, a land owner, and the late Annunziata de Arcangelis.9 (Document 9)

Even though there was notification of the marriage of Pietroantonio Ciolli to Filomena Ursitti in 1854, their marriage record could not be located. A search was made of the marriage index for that year, and the actual marriage records were examined one-by-one. The un-indexed processetti (marriage supplement) records of 1854 were also searched from beginning to end with no results, but that isn’t conclusive either way. It is possible that Pietrantonio and Filomena were married in another town, but there was no indication of that in the notification documents since both the bride and groom were living in this town with their parents.

It is more likely that they married in the church in Pescasseroli and didn’t register the marriage with the civil authorities. There were some groups who refused to register their marriages with the civil authorities because it was a holy rite.




Lisa & Mark visit Pescasseroli, Italy

by  Phyllis Zeck

Last month Lisa & Mark visited Europe and one of their stops was Pescasseroli.  Lisa’s great grandparents were Pietro Del Principe and Elvira Ciolli.  Pietro and Elvira’s youngest son was Frank.  Frank’s son is Frank Jr. (Luke) and Lisa is Luke’s daughter. Whew, kind of confusing isn’t it?!  Lisa and Mark live in Arizona  and they have been looking forward to this trip to Europe since last fall.  Lisa’s email to me said “The trip was great, we had a blast.  Pescasseroli was one of the highlights of the trip.  The drive from Rome to Pescasseroli was very picturesque.  The town is quite a bit bigger than I thought it would be.”

Lisa and Mark stayed at Salvatore Toscano’s Bed and Breakfast – Via Della Piazza. Salvatore’s great, great grandmother Ester and my great grandmother Elvira were sisters.  They also met Salvatore’s mother, Ester Saltarelli.    Then they visited with Giovanni Del Principe.  I am very jealous!  They have graciously agreed to let me post some of their photos in my blog, thank you Lisa & Mark.

Pescasseroli is a town in the province of L’Aquila in southern Abruzzo.   A summer and winter resort, it is the headquarters of the Abruzzo National Park.   The monument below (I believe it is a WWII monument) was funded mostly by money sent from America. Click on any of the photos below to enlarge them, click on the back button to return to the blog.

Homes in Pescasseroli







The Fontana di san Rocco

Piazza Sant’ Antonio






Next are photos from our family church in Pescasseroli.  Chiesa Dei Ss. Apostoli Pietro E Paolo was founded in 1100.  Below is a link to a very interesting article about a Church in Buffalo, New York and a statue of the Madonna that was brought to Buffalo by Gaetano Del Principe.  I don’t believe I am directly related to this Gaetano Del Prinicipe, his family appears to have settled in New York in the early 1900’s.

“The statue of the Madonna is a copy of the one in Pescasseroli, Italy and was brought here from Italy by the efforts of Mr. Gaetano Del Principe. It was beautifully adorned with a hand embroidered white dress and blue mantle that was made by several members of the Society.” xx http://www.stlawrencebuffalo.org/devotion.shtml












Below are photos of Salvatore taking Lisa and Mark to the Ciolli home, the arch leading to the home, and snapshots of the area around the home.  Although the home no longer is owned by Salvatore’s family, they still own the storage area below the home which is just inside the Arco Ciolli.

Ciolli Arch


Back of the Ciolli Home

Homes in the area

Salvatore’s storage area

Ciolli Home











Below are photos of Salvatore Toscano’s Via Della Piazza Bed & Breakfast.  This is a link to his website http://www.viadellapiazza.it/


Salvatore, Salvatore’s Mother, and Lisa










While in Pescasseroli Lisa and Mark checked into “The Book” that was mentioned in my previous post (March 12, 2011).  The book appears to have been published by the community and it is about the people and landmarks in Pescasseroli.  Salvatore checked with his mother as to the name of the woman at the wake and she believes the woman is Filomena Ursitti (my great great grandmother).  The last photo is the remains of a castle which was destroyed by an earthquake.









Below are photos of Chiesa Del Carmelo




by  Phyllis Zeck

I don’t have much information about Paul.  He was married to Mary and they had three daughters.

One daughter Dorothy was killed by a truck when she was young.  Dorothy (in the photo to the left) is 3 years old.

Their twins were named Paulette and Toni.  The top left photo is of Paul and Mary with the twins. The bottom right photo is of Edith with the twins.  Click on any photo to enlarge it.