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


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…


4 Responses to Researching at the Family History Library

  1. 9 years ago by tom winike

    Calvary was consecrated in 1859, that was 42 years before Mt Carmel; the only other Catholic cemetaries in 1897 were in the far south suburbs. The family could have taken streetcars or the El train north to Evanston; but it was never an Italian-American suburb. Hillside was founded by the Italian community and it is the only town in Illinois with 3 Catholic cemetaries.

  2. 9 years ago by Lori Winike

    The saddest thing we found was babies could be buried in the 1900s without any records! We found deceased babies with no record of reason for death, no record of addresses, no record of parents! And then on top of all of that, the cemetery misspelled their names!

    Thanks Tom, I knew that Calvary was the first Catholic Cemetery in the area, but I could not figure out why all of the babies were there, while the adults were at Mt Carmel. I did not consider transportation issues!

  3. 9 years ago by Ashley Miller

    What an amazing find! I can’t believe Elvira had 18 children! It must have been so hard for her to lose all those babies. We are so lucky to have all the medical innovations that we do today. Salt Lake City seems to have so much history! It is a place that I definitely need to visit.

  4. 9 years ago by lisa sullivan taisey

    Great Article! SLC is on my bucket list. I was thinking Ciollo was very close to my family name of Chiafullo. Something I will investigate. Also, My G Grandmother was a Mazza and you have a similar surname. Hey, we are from Italy and that is enough right? Thanks for the interesting articles!


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