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

May11th2020

National Nurses Week

by  Phyllis Zeck

Week 7 of Oregon’s stay-at-home order. Governor Kate Brown has released a three phase plan for re-opening. Each county must meet specific criteria and then submit their county’s plan to reopen. Our virus cases have to be on a downward trend, we need to increase testing and begin contact tracing before we can enter the first phase.

This week we celebrate our brave and compassionate nurses. We’ve all heard amazing stories of the sacrifices nurses have made during this Covid-19 crisis. It takes a special person to go into this occupation and I hope they feel a lot of extra love from their communities, especially now.

I’ve been sucked into the archives of digitized newspapers in the last few weeks. I never should have pressed the subscribe button for a Newspapers.com membership. I will never learn. There were some interesting articles about the influenza outbreak of 1918. Chicago’s nurses were deployed to military camps and overseas due to WWI. Soon after the outbreak began Chicago found itself with a nurse shortage. The ad above promotes fast track training by learning at home through the Chicago School of Nursing on S. Michigan Blvd.

Click on this link Nurse’s Guidelines for Flu patients to read an article which helps guide families caring for sick people at home. It’s from the Chicago Tribune dated 20 Oct 1918. Item 6 under the “essentials” section suggests that avoiding chattering, nagging or questing is helpful in the patients recovery. 

There were a shocking number of parallel’s with the Covid-19 virus we are experiencing today. To the right is an ad printed in the Sacrament Bee on 29 Oct 1918 requesting that druggists control hoarders who are  buying up all the Vick’s Vaporub.

There was a shortage of gauze for masks and hospital beds. The photo below was taken in the Oakland auditorium (Oakland Tribune dated 24 Oct 1918). Tents for flu patients were also set up at the University of California. The ad for Lysol below suggests you use their product for a cleaning agent and also try their Lysol Toilet Soap and Lysol Shaving Cream. As you can see, it was easy for me to get sucked deeper and deeper into the abyss of fascinating articles and advertisements. 

 

 
 

May3rd2020

Those Before Us

by  Phyllis Zeck

Elvira Ciolli u Teresina before 1939

Elvira Ciolli u Teresina before 1939

A few months ago I was contacted by Maria who had stumbled across this website. I’d like to share some of the email she wrote to me along with some photographs she sent. Maria’s parents are Inelde Vitale and Angelo Del Principe. Angelo emigrated in 1958 to Switzerland where Maria now lives. Inelde’s parents are Marietta Saltarelli & Bartolomeo Vitale (a tailor).  Maria’s great grandmother is Ester Ciolli. Ester and my great grandmother Elivra were sisters. 

I have never seen the photo above of my great grandmother Elvira. I don’t know the woman next to Elvira. Elvira wrote on the back of the photo “This is Teresina the mother of Lucia.” My grandfather Gilbert’s handwriting looks like his mother Elvira’s.

Maria Filomena was born in Pescasseroli in the 1950’s and lived in her grandfather Bartolomeo’s home until 1965. She has two brothers. Franco is a biologist and Claudio is a cook book author. The photo below is of Maria’s grandmother Filomena, Filomena’s sister Anna Maria, and their parents Nunzia and Gabriele Di Pirro. Filomena’s brother Cesidio Di Pirro emigrated to Buffalo, New York.

The following paragraphs are some memories that Maria shared with me in an email.

di pirro, pescasseroli

Filomena Di Pirro, sister Maria, mother Nunzia & father Gabriele.


My grandfather’s home is just opposite Salvatore’s B&B. this house used to belong to a single teacher, Miss Trella. both houses are located in the old part of pescasseroli near the church. you may find something in google view. grandfather’s house belonged to the ciolli’s and he bought the upper apartment. two rooms, screed, a vault with some chicken a goat and wood for heating, and a separate room in the stairwell. the lower apartment belonged to my grandmother’s brother, he was the father of esterina and salvatore’s grandfather. both families had at least seven children, but some of them died as a child. 

During the Second World War, German soldiers occupied this house, and when the Americans arrived, a bomb fell into a house 20m away. during this time they had little to eat and sometimes they had to ask the american garrisons for food.

del principe

Maria’s Grandparents Marietta Saltarelli  (Ester’s Daughter) & Bartolomeo Vitale

When I lived in this house, I was the only child and it was a beautiful time even though we had nothing, no running water, no bathroom, no heating. my matrasse was filled with corn leaves, which were changed every year. the drinking water was brought home in this typical “conca” of copper by the women on their head. the hot water came from a tank in the wood stove. the bread was kneaded kilos by my grandmother in the house and baked in the nearby bakery. everything was transported on a wide wooden board on the head. We also had none of the laundry,

robertocipollone.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of Robert Cipollone

everything came in the washing pan with boiling water and was knocked and rinsed in the river. I had nailed shoes from our shoemaker, my mother and her sisters had only wooden treaders in summer and winter.

The room in the stairwell was inherited from an American woman, who then came to pescasseroli and was paid out by my grandfather. My mother does not know who she was. the room was later integrated into the upper apartment and now belongs to my cousin Paolo vitale.

Domenico Pandolfi abt 1915?These photos were also sent to me from Maria. The photo to the left is Domenico Pandolfi taken approx. 1915. If you recognize anyone in the 3 photos below, please email me so I can add their name to their photo. There is a sadness that accompanies an photo without a name. It’s so important to preserve and share these photos and stories.

I’m very grateful to Maria for sharing her memories and amazing photos. I have a clearer picture of what life was like in the 50’s and 60’s in Pescasseroli and it was not like the image that I had painted in my mind. 

 
 

Mar29th2019

Aerial View of Pescasseroli & Opi

by  Phyllis Zeck

Pescasseroli Italy Del Principe

Pescasseroli, Italy

This winter I was looking for some images to purchase for the walls of our new home. I bought these panoramic photos of the towns of Pescasseroli and Opi. After having 11×14 prints made I bought new frames and hung the photos in my bedroom. They look wonderful. The photo on the left is the birth town of my great grandparents Cesidia Elvira Tranquilla Ciolli (1867-1939) and Pietro Giovanni Del Prinicipe (1853-1922). The photo below is the town of Opi where my great great grandmother Filomena Ursitti was born in 1837.  Filomena married Don Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli and they raised their family in Pescasseroli. 

Opi Italy

Opi, Italy

While I was looking for photos I came across the website Life in Abruzzo. If you plan to visit Italy this site has some info about the community of Pescasseroli and things to do in the town. The writer mentions Salvatore, the owner of the B&B via Della Piazza, at the end of the article.

 

 
 

Apr7th2018

Chicago Panhandling in 1914

by  Phyllis Zeck

del principe, ciolliI have a subscription to Newspapers.com and every so often I jump onto the website to search for articles about our Del Principe and Ciolli relatives.  I found a very interesting one page article from the Chicago Tribune dated Sunday April 19, 1914 which contained my great grandfather Pietro (Peter) Del Principe’s name. The photos are amazing however the author’s writing skills are certainly different from what we would read in todays news stories. There are 2 photos of the author playing Pietro’s hand organ.

You can read the whole article by clicking the pdf here Chicago Tribune Apr 19, 1914 however it can be hard on the old eyes. Zoom in to read the text.  

This is what the author wrote about my great grandfather. The section titled No One Cared for the Music says: “There are several reason why hand organ begging has its drawbacks. In the first place it is hard to get hold of a hand organ in Chicago. The art seems to be passé. Finally I got a tip through one of the big music houses that an Italian over at Harrison and Jefferson streets might have one of the instruments.  Peter del Principe had one, I found, and he promised to loan it to me. But when I went back the next day, dressed for the job (as a begger), there was nothing doing. He merely shook his head and muttered. It took a $20 deposit to get hold of a the battered affair. Afterward, when I asked Signor del Principe to explain, he grunted, “No lika da elo’s!”  

The author continued “I located in front of a saloon on the west side with a “please help the blind” sign pinned to my coat and placed my hat on the wheezy organ to catch the flow of gold.  Peeking out of the corner of one eye, I could see that I wasn’t “making good” at all. It seemed so easy for the pedestrians – men, women, and children, old and young – to pass me by. Every third note on the organ was flat, and the tune was of the “Don’t Turn Away, Madge, I am Still Your Friend” vintage. Just about when the thing was repeating the chorus for the fifth time the owner of the saloon came and tapped on the window. When I tried my luck farther up the street two Italians came along and one of them bent over me with a gutteral something about “Americano” butting in on somebody else’s trade.”

The rest of the article is interesting and I was able to create a visual for myself of what downtown Chicago was like in 1914 based on the photos and the authors narration. This was a fun find for me and I hope I can turn up more newspaper articles about our ancestors.

 
 

Dec16th2017

Digital Gifts from Francesco Gentile

by  Phyllis Zeck

The last 7 years of genealogy research have bought so many wonderful new relatives and friends into my life. Thanks to email, the internet and facebook I’ve been able to deepen these friendships and I  hope that one day I will meet these wonderful people in person. This year  Francesco Gentile was kind enough to send me some amazing images and a genealogy pedigree PDF chart that I want to share with family today.

Non Solo Pizza

Francesco and his wife Hala live in Pescasseroli Italy, the birth place of many of my ancestors. Hala and Francesco own a restaurant called Non Solo Pizza. The photo above was taken of Francesco and Hala by my cousin Joe Del Principe when Joe and his wife visited Italy in 2011. I have a few ancestors with the last name of Gentile in my family tree and although we are related, I have not yet found my genetic connection to Francesco. Antonio Gentile born in 1753 is my 4th great grandfather and his daughter Maria Domenica Gentile born in 1780 is my 3rd great grandmother.

The jpg images below are official birth records from our family church in Pescasseroli. I was thrilled to find among them for the first time a record of my maternal great grandmother Elvira!  Perhaps the reason that I have not been able to find the record in the past is that her full given name was Cesidia Elvira Tranquilla Ciolli which I did not know until Francesco generously supplied the record. 

I have tried to piece together the full given names and correct birth year for the children of Filomena Ursitti and Don Pietrantonio Amabile Ciolli (my great great grandparents) and have listed them below.  If you are researching your family trees I hope these records will clarify names and birth years.  Please email me if your records do not agree with the labels I’ve given to the images below.

Click below to download a file of my genealogy research from Ancestry.com of Filomena Ursitti’s descendants.
Descendants of Filomena Ursitti Dec 17, 2017

Click below to download a pdf file of Francesco’s family tree. There is a treasure trove of information in this document.  You’ll have to put on your detective hat and use google translator to figure out the clues if you don’t speak Italian though.  For starters, it looks like Pietrantonio Amabile born in 1830 had a brother named Belissario Fedele born in 1834 (see page 10). 
Francesco Gentile Ciolli Family Tree

Below are Francesco’s digital records of what I decipher names and birth years for Filomena and Pietrantonio Amabile’s children to be.  Click once on the image to view it, then click on it again to enlarge it.  Thank you so much Francesco for these priceless family records!