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


Marriage Bann from 1854

by  Phyllis Zeck

Persons wishing to be married in Italy must appear with two witnesses and make a declaration of their intention to marry before the Ufficiale di Stato Civile (Civil Registrar) of the city or town where the marriage is to take place.  At the time of making their declaration the couple must present all required documents.  Following the declaration it is usually necessary for banns, or marriage ammouncement, to be posted at the local comune (city hall) for two consecutive Sundays before the marriage occurs if one of the parties is Italian or if the U.S. citizen is a resident of Italy.

On the fourth day following the second Sunday on which the banns are posted the couple may be married, either in a civil ceremony or a religious one.  A civil ceremony is performed by the Ufficiale di Stato Civile or one of his assistants.

Here is a marriage ban for the sister of my great grandfather Pietro.  Her name was Maria Domencia and below is our translation of what the document says.

Maria Domencia Del Principe's Marriage Bann

Dated on the 9th of Jul, 1854.  The groom is Samuele Nicola Del Principe, the adult son of Francesco and Beatrica (Crioli) Del Principe. The Bride is Maria Domencia, the adult daughter of Gaetano and Annamaria (Boccia) Del Principe.

My daughter Ashley and I found the bann on micro film that I had ordered from the LDS church in Salt Lake.  It took 3 weeks to arrive in Portland.  The reel is put on a projector  that enlarges the image.  There were  hundreds and hundreds of documents on one reel.  Once I spotted names I recognized, I saved the page as a jpg file and brought the files home.

Almost every document was signed by Nicola Del Principe.

This is the marriage bann of Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli and Filomena Ursitti.  We believe the translation is “The year of one-thousand, eight-hundred and fifty-four, on Sunday the sixteenth day of July at 1:00 pm, and been posted on the door of the municipal notification within the time prescribed by law for the solemn promise of marriage between Pietrantonio Ciolli the adult son of Raffaelo and of Sparanza, and Filomena Ursitti the minor dauther of Angelico and ??”.  Signature of the Civil Officer of the State.  Nicola del Principe.

Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli and Filomena Ursitti 1854

If you’d like to view a short video of how the LDS Church archives their records in Salt Lake City click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAzty9dd6rA




by  Phyllis Zeck

Margaret Heenan

Antonio was Pietro and Elvira’s first child.  He was born in 1888 in Pescasseroli, Italy.  He married Margaret Heenan and they had two daughters: Elvira Antionett (Snookie) and Eileen (Turk).

Elvira married Roy Edwin Weber.  They may have had a daughter named Margaret.  Eileen may have had one son.  If anyone knows of any relatives of Elvira or Eileen please send me any information you have.

Elvira (Snookie) played the accordion.

Elvira (Snookie)

Eileen (Turk) was a ventriloquist.

Eileen (Turk)


Margaret Snookie and Turk


Snookie and Turk



Newspaper Articles

by  Phyllis Zeck

Here is a page from the Chicago Tribune from July 18, 1948 discussing entertainment at Lilacea Park.    The seventh paragraph tells the community “Choral music will be presented Aug 19 and an accordion band from Del Principe school of Music, 5220 North Av., will be heard Aug 26.”



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…)