Stephanie "Steff" Ward Mandarino, daughter of Johnny Ward and Willa "Pete" Hanks, grew up in New Orleans, but was born in Texas to a Louisiana Cajun mother and a dad who was a Georgia peach. Speaking of Johnny Ward, long story, but only recently, thanks to DNA and WikiTree, it came to light that HIS father was NOT the mysterious and elusive brick wall named "Frank Ward" found only on Johnny's birth certificate.
As for Willa "Pete" Hanks, another long story, but her Alsatian ancestors first arrived in Louisiana in 1721, and her Acadian ones in 1765. A hundred years before that, the patriarch of one Acadian line had left Lyon, France, to settle Port-Royal, Acadie (now-Nova Scotia), only to be dérangé by the English in 1755. Others arrived from France in 1785 via the Amitie, which sailed from France to the New World then-Spanish colony of Louisiana.
They married into other Acadian, and already-established German and French families, as well as newly-arriving Spanish, Irish and American settlers in southwest Louisiana. My mother's first language was French, but in school she was required to speak only English. She grew up in the time before Cajun cooking was considered cuisine and her Acadian heritage was embraced and celebrated by American Louisiana. By the time her children came along, she had assimilated so well (thanks to her WW2 service in Washington D.C. with the Marine Corps) that she had no trace of an accent and claimed she couldn't speak it when asked for help with her child's high school French (to be fair, Cajun French is quite a leap from the modern standard now taught). Met Joe Mandarino at Loyola Law School in New Orleans; married in 1991. Two children. Nothing before that matters.
PIP Guide, 11 March 2021
Participated in the USBH Connecting Challenge, adding 15 profiles, Feb 2021
Completed the Profile Improvements Project's Profile Improvement Voyage 18 Feb 2021
Challenge participant, winning team
Co-captain, Gulf Coast Hurricanes, 4th annual Source-a-Thon, Oct 4-7, 2019
Active Member, Categorization Project liason w/Acadian and Louisiana Projects, August, 2019, current
Co-captain, Gulf Coast Hurricanes, 1st annual Connect-a-Thon, Jul 12-14, 2019
Active Member, Rangers Project, May, 2019, current
Co-captain, new team Gulf Coast Hurricanes, 2nd Spring Clean-a-Thon, Mar 2019
Captain, Team Acadia, 1st annual Scan-a-Thon, 11-14 Jan 2019
Louisiana Families Project Coordinator, Oct 2018. Most of my time spent improving Louisiana profiles: adding sources; cleaning gedcoms; formatting and outlining biographies; merging duplicates; monitoring the project watch list; working with new members; clearing Louisiana errors; handling some communication. current
Co-leader, Team Acadia, 3rd annual Source-a-Thon, 2-4 Sep 2018
Active member, Profile Improvement Project, 20 Aug 2018
Participant, 1st annual Spring Clean-a-Thon, 5 Apr 2018
Participant, 2nd annual Source-a-Thon, 15 Sep 2017
Active member of the Data Doctors Project, 28 Aug 2017
Participant, 1st annual Source-a-Thon, 30 Aug 2016
Active member of the United States History Project, 23 May 2016
Active member of the Acadians Project, 13 May 2016
Active member of the Louisiana Families Project, 5 May 2016
Paternal and maternal relationships confirmed by a 23andMe test match between Stephanie Ward and John-Christopher Ward, siblings. Their most-recent common ancestors are Johnny Ward and Willa Hanks, their parents. Predicted relationship from 23andMe: Sibling, based on sharing 48.17 cM across 44 segments.
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Stephanie is 17 degrees from June Cash, 18 degrees from Patsy Cline, 26 degrees from Mickey Guyton, 18 degrees from Naomi Judd, 18 degrees from Loretta Lynn, 37 degrees from Rita MacNeil, 18 degrees from Reba McEntire, 26 degrees from Joy Kirkpatrick, 19 degrees from Dolly Parton, 16 degrees from Minnie Pearl, 20 degrees from Kitty Wells and 29 degrees from Andrew Turvey on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.