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

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.

 

 
 

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!

 
 

Nov15th2011

Carmino (Charles) J. Ciolli

by  Phyllis Zeck

This fall I received email from two of Charles Ciolli’s descendants, Barbara and Jamila.  I just love it when that happens!  Charles and my great grandmother Elvira were brother and sister.

Charles was born in Pescasseroli, Italy on March 20, 1875.  He died on April 12, 1941 in Chicago and is buried at Mt Carmel.  Charles and his brother Oreste Emilio Fortunato arrived in New York on May 1, 1890 aboard the ship The Britannia.  Charles married Anna D’Aquila in 1908 in Chicago at Holy Guardian Angel’s Church.

Charles and Anna had two children.  Their daughter Filomena died at 3 months old in April 1909.  Robert P. Amabile Ciolli was born on March 9, 1910, and he passed away in 2000.  Robert married Emily (Carmella) Picerno on September 18, 1937.

Robert and Emily had two daughters.  Annette was their first born.  Annette married Michael Davey and they had two children (Maureen and Robert).  Robert is married to Jamila.

Robert and Emily’s younger daughter is Barbara.  Barbara married William Kucera and they had two children (Lauren and William).

Charles & Anna with Annette 1940

So now I am able to trace my relationship to my two new email friends; Jamila and Barbara.  They both share my passion for geneaology so the three of us quickly became email buddies. Jamila sent me the photo on the left.  This is Charles and Anna D’Aquila with their first granddaughter Annette (Jamila’s mother in law), taken in 1940.

The photo below was sent to me from Barbara and is Charles and his son Robert (Barbara’s father) in front of the bar Charles owned on Loomis Street in Chicago.  It was taken about 1913-1915.  Charles is in the middle, the man on the left is unknown.  The child is Robert, age 3.

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Barbara writes “Charles and Anna owned a two-flat on Lexington Street in Chicago and that is where my father was raised. When my father married Emily they lived in one flat and Charles & Anna lived in the other. That is where they lived when my sister Annette was born in June of 1940. Charles died the following April 1941.  Shortly after that the building was sold and my parents, along with Anna and my sister moved into a two-flat with my maternal grandparents (Frank & Justine Picerno) at 1034 South Hoyne in Chicago. I was born in 1946 and we all lived there until 1950.”

Charles Ciolli’s Bar

Barbara remembers Frank & Otto Del Principe and the Leones, and of course she took accordion lessons at the music store.  Barbara recalls “I guess I saw Frank and his family the most and remember going to his home with all the gorgeous Dresden figures and lamps.  I knew Frank’s children Muriel and Luke and remember eating at the beef stand”.

I’m very excited to know a little about the male side of the Ciolli family.

We’ve grown this tree so much in the last year.  I posted my first blog in October of 2010 and I am astounded by how much I’ve found out about my ancestors.  I hope that anyone who reads my blogs will help spread the word about our growing family.  I welcome any stories and photos you are willing to share with me.  Together we can  connect with family and learn about our ancestors.