Now this is interesting.
TLC’s Gypsy Sisters might be related to Dayton royalty.
It seems that the Stanley Sisters featured on that recently canceled show, a spin off from My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, could be related to the long-gone but much-celebrated Dayton-based gypsy king and queen Levi and Matilda Stanley.
Dayton Metro Library Genealogy Librarian Shawna Woodard said “The Stanley Sisters” — Nettie Stanley, Mellie Stanley, Kayla Williams, and Laura Johnston — are likely family members.
“I can say with 99 percent certainty that they are the same family,” Woodard told me.
Levi and Matilda and their clan lived in the northern part of Dayton. Originally from England, they bought farms in Harrison, Mad River, Butler and Wayne townships to have houses to stay in during the cold months.
Matilda Stanley died in Vicksburg, Mississippi in January 1878 after a two-year fight with cancer. She was embalmed to “retain the natural aspect of life” and placed in a receiving vault in Dayton’s Woodland Cemetery.
Her funeral was held eight months later to give time for word of her death to spread.
As was tradition, people traveled to Dayton from across the United States, England and Canada to pay respect for the Stanley family. An estimated 20,000 people — a dozen chiefs and their tribes included — arrived here to pay tribute to Matilda, according to Woodland Cemetary. The funeral attracted press coverage from major newspapers, but was brief and lacked the extraordinary rites many expected.
Levi died on April 13, 1909 at age 96, according to Dayton History Books Online.
Woodard is researching the connection, and I have a word out to TLC for more information.
Woodard has researched the Stanley family in the past, but most of what she retains deals with Stanley descendants that have died.
Lottie Mae Stanley, one of the “Gypsy Sisters” show’s two main matriarchs, was recently released from prison after a nine-year stint on bank fraud, which she was convicted of in 2004.
It was a Sugarcreek Township detective that helped match the mother of 12’s name to an unknown face on bank surveillance pictures around the nation, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
This from the Enquirer’s article:
“She is one of the smoothest talkers you will ever run into,” Chalecki said of the way Stanley operates. He said she uses small talk, acts forgetful, and employs her 13-year-old daughter to gain trust and further confuse young bank tellers into releasing account information.
Investigators say that Stanley has used computer-generated counterfeit checks in some cases, and has even gone through garbage cans and taped together a victim’s ripped up bank deposit slip to identify his account number.”
Woodard said all things point to the Stanleys from the show being related to Matilda Stanley, including the fact that “Charlotte” is a common name in their line.
She added that gypsies, also known as Romani people or Travelers, have a tendency to marry within their culture. Levi and Matilda had connections in West Virginia, Indiana, Arkansas and Florida.
The Stanley sisters’ family is based in West Virginia.
“The name, the geography,” she said. “It just makes sense to me based on what I know of the culture and their naming practices.”
Stay tuned. I will let you know if we confirm the connection.
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