I realized that, although he was a part of the family for 12 years, and I had known him for a year before their marriage, I really didn't know anything about Tim. I knew he was one of five children, and I knew his family lived in South Florida. He never talked about his family to me, so, other than meeting them at the wedding, when I was 2 weeks past my 12th birthday, I knew nothing of them at all. So I decided to do my genealogy "digging thing" as my sister calls it.
First I found the obituaries of his parents in South Florida. That gave me birth and death dates, as well as places of birth... or so I thought. John Joseph Tschinkel was born in Ridgewood, Queens, New York, as his obituary said. I found out that he was the 8th child of 12 children born to Primus (aka Peter) Felix Tschinkel, who was born in Austria and came to the United States in 1904. His wife, Marie Rohner, was born in Switzerland and arrived in 1907. All I have found on her so far is that she was living in Alstatten, and her contact person there was her father Johann Rohner. Marie was born in 1888, and died in New York in 1950.
I found the record of Primus' arrival at Ellis Island first; it stated he was from Masern, Austria. Turns out the Tschinkel family has (had) been in residence in that small community since 1564 and the residents all spoke German. However, Masern was over-run in World War II, first by the Italians and then the Germans arrived to re-locate all but five families; the Tschinkels were among those booted out of their homes - but that comes later.... Anyway, what was Masern, Gottschee, Krain, Austria is now Grčarice, Ribnica, Slovenia - and the records for the inhabitants are now found in the Arhiv Republike Slovenije, Ljubljana.
Primus was born in 1874 to Georg Tschunkel and his wife Margaretha Krauland. I found that out from his New York Death Certificate from 1945. I couldn't find anything about Georg, other than he married Margaretha - but someone else has done the family tree of the Krauland family in Gottschee, Krain, Austria going back into the 1660s.... I thank whoever did this research most sincerely. And I also found a book, which will be my birthday present in June, titled The Bells Ring No More, written by Professor John Tschinkel. He was born in Masern, Austria in 1931 in house number 15; and his grandfather was Georg, the older brother of Primus Tschinkel, who were both also born in house number 15. I am trying to contact Professor Tschinkel, who was kicked out of his home via a "re-location" effort by the German Army in 1941 - they ended up as refugees in war-torn Europe, and John made it to New York City. He lived there, got his college degree there, worked there; and retired to Vero Beach, Florida....
I need to do more research on Tim's mother, Lydia L. Schirmer. Her obituary stated she was born and raised in Greenville, New York. But I discovered she was born in Berlin, Germany, and she and her family arrived at Ellis Island in 1924, when Lydia was 6 months old. Even more surprising was that her parents had originally come from Germany and settled in Killam, Alberta, Canada, where they had three children, before going to Portland, Oregon, where their fourth child was born. They then traveled back to New York in 1921, making the trip across the continent in Canada, and crossing back into the US in Vermont, before taking a ship back to Germany. Lydia, as I said, was born in Berlin, and they returned to the United States in May of 1924, settling as a farm family in Greenville, New York.
I will be doing more "digging" into Lydia's parents, as well as trying to bet a coherent family tree of the Tschinkels following Georg, husband of Margaretha Krauland... I do love a good mystery!