I would like to make a clear picture of the branches of our 500 year old family tree. Of course you are all welcome to click on “Family Tree” on the menu and then to the Gardiner family tree.
I learned about my maternal family through my grandmother then later I found out more and more through my cousins. I found out about my Dad’s family a little through my Nana and then the rest on my own.
Let’s start with my mother’s side of the family. My Grandmother’s parents came to America from Germany in 1875. They married in Newark, NJ. My Great-Grandaddy was a gemmist and Great Grossmama was the daughter of Pastor Khuenle (pronounced keenly) of the the Presbyterian church in Newark. Meanwhile, my Grandfather’s family who were Jewish, immigrated from Austria, just a couple decades before Hitler was about to have his “fun”. Nettie and Adolf Sheps had 3 children, Abraham John (my grandfather who went by John A.), Mildred (Aunt Millie), and Louis (Uncle Lou). So my Grossmama, Rose Wiess, was the youngest of 8 children. There was Aunt Lilly, the opera singer, and Aunt Polly, Aunt Anne, Aunt Motty, and Uncle Fritz. There was a George who died at a young age. Aunt Lily and her husband Will never had children. Aunt Polly never got married. Uncle Fritz married Louise and they had 2 girls; Louise (Wea) and Charlotte (Charlie). Unfortunately, Louise died giving birth to Charlotte. Uncle Fritz remarried a couple years later then got sick himself and died. Charlie was about 5 and Wea was 10. The stepmother wanted to go back to Germany but only wanted Charlie. The sisters were split except for holidays and the summer with the stipulation that Charlie was to be returned to the family at 16 years of age. Wea mostly stayed with Aunt Motty , Uncle Frank and their children Frank Jr. and Connie.
Aunt Anne married John Becker and they had 2 children, Eleonore and John (B). Eleonore had married Ed Croot and had 3 girls, Leslie, Nancy , and Judy.
Then of course there was my grandmother who married John Sheps and had my Mom, and you know that story. What I may not have mentioned was that my Grandfather, converted from Judism to Christianity and his father disowned him. He lost contact with his family for years. By the time I came along he basically avoided admitting he was Jewish. It was the Bar Mittzvahs and going to the temple for a wedding and going to a deli called Tabachniks that gave me hints that there might be some Jewish heritage.
So, meanwhile on my father’s side, I found out through years of research, that his parents’ families have been in America since the 1600’s or so. There is more to that side of the family and I’ll save that for tomorrow.