My sister Bobbie and I have always been aware of 75% of our family origins.  Grandmother Freda Belford Heller was from Minsk, Belarus.  Our mother Jeanne Bernstein Heller Polinsky’s parents were Samuel Bernstein and Sadie Roth Bernstein, both supposedly from a small village in eastern Austria.


 It was our father Hoyt Bernard “Bernie” Heller’s family line that we could not trace past his father Albert E. Heller.  All we knew of this man was that he originated from the East Stroudsburg, PA, area.

Our genealogy led us back to Johan Christopher Heller and his five sons that left Pheddersheim, Germany, in 1738 and helped colonize east-central Pennsylvania.  Johan Simon Heller is our first-generation ancestor; his son Isaac, the twelfth child, is the first Heller born in America.  We suspect our surprising Italian, Finnish, Iberian, Swedish and West African origins are from the women who married our male Heller ancestors.


There were 2,702 matches or new cousins. We have listed the first ten new first cousins twice or more removed. 

Our core Heller - Polinsky family enjoyed a mini-reunion Dec. 22 – 29, 2017.  Pictured in the group photo are my sister (R) Bobbie Heller Polinsky and her son Brett Polinsky.  Left side: her son Craig Polinsky, Arnold Heller, and Arnold Polinsky, Bobbie’s husband. 

Photo taken Dec. 28, 2017 at Chanson restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Florida. 


After we successfully traced our roots to Johan Christopher Heller and his sons, we kept searching European antecedents and discovered that their ancestors migrated from the Zurich area during the 1600’s to the Pheddersheim, Germany area. 

In the 1400’s and 1500’s, the Hellers – Fridli, Hans, Lorenz, Conrad Oder and his father Conrad - lived in the Brandenburg, Germany, area near Berlin.  We can only guess how long our ancestors lived there or any places before there.

Bobbie and I speculate that the Hellers may have originally been Jews and were forcibly converted to Christianity during Europe’s religious wars. We theorize this based on the 75% estimated proportion of Central European DNA – that Heller males carried Ashkenazim DNA and their wives contributed the other interesting strains.   

The Hellers who arrived in Philadelphia in 1738 were already fervent Lutherans probably from generations of religious practice.  The only possible Jewish source is a Becker who married into the family in the 1830’s. 

Two Hellers fought in the French & Indian War, eleven in the Revolutionary War, a dozen in the Civil War, and along with Bernsteins, Reitmans, Roths, Goldsteins, and Auerbachs, dozens fought in World War II.   

Our main discovery from this genealogy is that the Hellers are one of America’s great families and we are proud to be related. 


50 % of our DNA is pictured in this photo of my grandparents fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1954.  Standing center is Samuel Bernstein and Sadie Roth Bernstein who lived into their mid to late eighties.  The group includes their five children and spouses and our parents. 

Aunt Rose and Uncle Morris Bernstein, far left couple, divorced because Rose, Italian and Catholic, baptized their two children against his will.  Rose is not in our gene pool so she’s not part of our striking 8.3% Italian heritage.

Moving right, Uncle Irving Goldstein with daughter cousin Betty because his wife, our Aunt Rose, was ill.  Irving was of Romanian heritage.

Center, sitting: Uncle Joe and Aunt Minnie Bernstein; next couple Aunt Fannie and Uncle Harry Becker. 

Far right: Our parents, Jeanne Bernstein Heller and Bernie Heller. 


Our Family Heritage: Founders of Hellertown, Pen Argyl, Saylorsburg, Appenzell, perhaps Wind Gap too and more. 



                            Johan Christopher Heller’s farm house, circa 1760.


In 2004 I toured east central Pennsylvania, a land area stretching from northern Philadelphia suburbs to East Stroudsburg in the Poconos.  I spent a day in the Hellertown Library, Saylorsburg cemetery, and Penn Argyll downtown district researching our family line and discovered a transformative origin - Johan Christopher Heller and four of his six sons settling the land in 1740 after the Leni Lenape Indians were pushed out by the colonial Pennsylvania government located in Quaker Philadelphia.

Pen Argyl in 1894


      We had a problem - we could not prove our connection to Christopher Heller and his six sons beyond grandfather Albert E. Heller’s birth in 1891 in Appenzell, PA.  With the assistance of, we traced our heritage to Johan Christopher Heller leaving Pheddersheim, Germany in 1738 and finally to Conrad Heller, Brandenburg, Germany born in the late 1400’s. 



The above map showing Pen Argyl in center and Appenzell to the northeast does not include either Hellertown and Saylorsburg located southeast of the area.  Lee Widener, author of Hellertown, “Images of America”, Arcadia, 2003, describes his small city.


“Nestled in the Saucon Valley, Hellertown lies just south of Bethlehem, bordered on the Saucon Creek.  While the creek derives its name from the Native America sakunk meaning ‘place where a small stream enters a large stream,” the town inherited its name from Christopher Heller and his sons, especially Michael who started the first farm and grist mill.  The 1800’s brought a wave of Deutsch (German) immigrants to this corner of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) country.”




The Genealogy of Christopher Heller and his six sons, a paper read by William Jacob

Heller at the Fifth Reunion of the Heller Family Association at Island Park, Easton, PA, August 29, 1908, Library of Congress, describes a history of Christopher and four of the six sons; Dieter, Simon, Michael and Daniel.



Michael Heller’s Grist Mill


LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Heller and Pennsylvania Ave., main intersection, Penn Argyll, PA


Founder Joseph Saylor’s wife was a Heller (Elizabeth? Louise?) 


Saylorsburg’s main commercial corridor, circa 2005


The names of these two wives are unknown and their identities will probably never be discovered.  He lies buried at the Lime Kiln School house, the ancient burying ground near Hellertown.  I have purposely left the typos and grammatical mistakes intact out of respect for their time. 


Daniel, the Fourth Son


May be wife of Milton Heller, grandfather Albert Heller’s older brother.  Burial site is in Saylorsburg, PA. 


In a History of Bucks County, PA Volume 3, William H. Davis writes:




Heller family genealogy chart Johan Simon Heller through Hoyt Bernard Heller, pictured age 10.


William Davis text continues:



Appenzell, located near Jackson Township, Monroe County, is where our grandfather Albert grew up; also, where our father Bernie spent occasional extended periods of time when his mother Freda joined Albert on the road when he managed a traveling carnival.  In the near future we hope to visit Appenzell, a place we’ve never known and are a little lesser for it. 



Our connection to the Heller family history in Pennsylvania is through our beloved grandmother Freda Belford Heller who married Albert in 1910. 


My wife Sue radiated on her wedding day like a sun in the sky. I’ve marveled at how a pretty girl in love and dressed in a gorgeous wedding gown truly glows with a special beauty on her marital day. I’ve witnessed it in Sue and others of her generation and again with their daughters.

From the pretty woman to the pretty woman in the mirror; “Who is the fairest of them all?”

The Manor, in 1973, had yet to become a super-sized wedding factory – in our time it was a pretty and popular event facility with lovely grounds and a fine kitchen and staff. Herman and Roz gave their little girl a fabulous wedding and I was welcomed into a warm and loving family. All three have passed and I miss them so much.

I found the perfect partner and am a better man for it. Sue was a passionate woman of substance and charm, a master organizer and time manager - the virtual super-mom. She did it all; career, family, excellent mother, true quality of time instead of quantity. Sue shared the same lust to know and understand the world and how it worked and it drove us to visit three dozen countries.

Sue had hoped for a hippie wedding with 20 – 30 family members and close friends. I am the one who requested a large wedding for having moved to Atlanta, I yearned to bring my family and friends spread across New Jersey, New York, and the US together one more time before Sue and I got dug in living down south.

I’ve never been a fan of tuxedos, more so for an afternoon affair. White dinner jackets with violet colored shirts and black pants fit the bill and all my bros got on board. L – R: Three beautiful ladies; my sister Bobbie with adorable nephew Brett in hand, Nan Hass Feldman, Sue’s maid of honor, and Sue. To my right are best man Rich Fertell and brother-in-law Marc Auerbach.

Amazing coincidence: Marc and Rich had the same nickname – Bink. Rich was called bink because Morris Horowitz called him that one night at age eighteen and it stuck for life. Marc’s origin is that as an infant he was always with his Binky pacifier and that stuck too. Roz was still occasionally calling Marc Bink when she died at age ninety-four; he was sixty-seven.

Uncle Joseph Bernstein accompanied me and my mother Jeanne down the aisle. My mother and I respected Joe’s quiet strength, responsible character, and wisdom. Grandpa Sam Bernstein, a furrier in a coat factory, made a seasonal living. Joe went to work early, put himself through college, became an accountant for an insurance company, then built a successful insurance agency. By the time he was fifty, Joe was the patriarch and whether he sought the position or not, he paid his parents rent. Thank God, he finally sold my father a life insurance policy the year before he was fatally run over by a car.

The insurance companies involved in my Dad’s policy sued each other – Joe went to court in Elizabeth, NJ, with us for two days until a modest settlement was reached. Joe always ate for lunch a peanut butter and cream cheese on whole wheat sandwich with a glass of milk.

His son Alan became a lawyer – Joe’s accident cases were his platform so I was groomed to succeed Joe as broker and he started me at age fourteen working the files or running errands. But I was a born social studies teacher with an interest in possibly becoming a lawyer too and Joe expected me to squelch my interest in both and get an accounting degree to be a broker. In his mind, teaching paid too little and he couldn’t help me with the law. The Vietnam War and the need for a deferment led me to teaching.

Aunt Minnie Bernstein, a kind and smart lady, took a special interest in me. I was in awe of her – she’d had radical mastectomy (when still young) to catch breast cancer in an age when cancer care was ignorant and primitive. She researched and built a life based on excluding chemicals – made her own clothes, baked bread, riced vegetables and lived thirty to forty more chemically free extra years. God bless Aunt Minnie, back then she knew more than the doctors. In the below picture, Joe, quite ill, has his eyes closed – he typically did this for his baby sister. He and Min’s last years were plagued by serious health problems – they were good people who deserved a better end and I miss them.

In the grand-parents picture below (L – R), Sue’s step grandpa Julius Roth, grandma Sadie Scheer Roth, Sue, me, my grandmother Freda Belford Heller. Sadie immigrated from Poland at age seventeen, married Milton Scheer at age nineteen, Rozzie was born a year later. Milton, age twenty-two, opened a grocery store. Italian gangsters extorted him, he didn’t pay, they robbed and killed him. Sadie became a beautician to support Roz until she married Herman who was in the Army at the time. After the war, the very Americanized Sadie would meet and marry Julius, an Austrian immigrant who worked in the garment district and never really assimilated. I liked him – he was European man who perhaps valued my Ph. D. scholarship more than anyone. But Nana did not find Julius the partner she’d hoped for; Sue as a child liking to having breakfast with them, Nana doing her braids, Julius doting on her, was their sun that lit two lives that clicked on few cylinders.

Julius Roth was called up to cut the challah and say the prayer for bread. A scholar, who supposedly spoke a dozen languages, after retiring from the garment district, he became a color-blind tailor who occasionally got into fights with customers because he matched the wrong thread with cloth – they were always wrong according to him – he slowly alienated his family too.

Julius Roth and Murray Panzer of his famous line the guy stinks a mile a minute (pictured smoking) were two outsiders in their own family; Murray, probably because of an untreated emotional problem, Julius because he remained a stranger in a land that remained strange to him.

Curiously, I recall Uncle Murray being very subdued at our wedding – he loved Sue, the one person he never insulted or barked at and interrupted me to dance with his niece.

We met again, of course, in Israel three years later where I discovered his likely problem; untreated manic – depression; he cried thirty seconds after laughing heartily.

A series of four group pictures begins, the first being a circle of New Jersey friends at the time. From L – R standing: Jeff and Leslie Wyman (Schneider?). Leslie and I were pals in high school and college, she the married Jeff, a lawyer, they were living in Teaneck when I lost touch with them. Mike Abelson and wife Ellen – his family once owned twenty-six jewelry stores – he and I shared some great times during a European trip at age twenty-two. Mike Abelson, a sweet guy who made a career in advertising, died tragically young of an illness.

Continuing R – L standing; Jay Garfunkel and Richard Duke Engle. Jay married Ellen, second from left sitting – they live in Oceanport, NJ. We reunited a couple of years ago and I look forward to seeing them again in near future. You have seen the patio furniture they manufacture and distribute on what seems like every outdoor deck and patio and for two good reasons – it’s attractive and well made.

Richie Engle manages concerts given on Grey Line boat tours around Manhattan with his son. The mother, Daphne Engel Gregory, seated far left, divorced Duke and later married Dean Gregory and has a career planning, internships, and educational services company.

Continuing L – R seated is Ellen Garfunkel who help Jay build a model family business, raised three nice children and now tends to her grandkids. Finally, Helen and Neil Markowitz – Neil died tragically young too, perhaps a decade after this picture. Sue and I sadly lost touch with Helen.

The photographer keeps interrupting people’s dining to take pictures, thus the lack of smiles and even some frowns. I was starving and the dude did not let Sue and I eat a morsel of food.

Below L – R seated; Best Man Rich Fertell, Sue, me, Marc and Lisa Auerbach. Standing R – L: Arnold Polinsky holding son Brett, sister Bobbie, Wendy Handelman Nachman and David Nachman with whom we later moved on from and they divorced. Artist Nan Haas Feldman and retired English professor and poet husband Alan Feldman who live in Framingham, Mass. and now travel and create art and literature.

Note Ivan’s slightly frothier Jewfro than Marc’s – sign of the times.

Frankly, I cropped about six people out of the above picture due to my not remembering who they are or being able to say something nice about them. L – R; note my cousin Ivan’s Heller’s Jewfro is higher and more picked out than my brother-in-law Marc’s Jewfro (see picture before, Marc second from right) which for its time was pretty awesome. Blonde Debbie, next to Ivan, was his girl-friend for a few months. Jeff and Leslie, last names long forgotten and maybe first names too, was a Long Island couple we were friends with until Sue got into an argument with Leslie over a teaching philosophy.

Above picture (L – R); Lewis Goetz who has been a prominent Washington, DC architect for over forty-five years and had three marriages. Robb Miller, then a Newark teacher, became a prominent architectural photographer and is now retired and living in LA with interior decorator Caryn Swann. Rita, last name forgotten, was a Long Island girl who moved to Atlanta to teach the same time as us. She taught in Conyers, then deep red country, in a trailer to poor white special education students. Rita announced at our wedding that she was moving back to Long Island.

Sue and I seated Rich Cooper (far right seated) next to Rita – they were single and we hoped they might like each other. Not – Rich, at that moment, was into meditation and celibacy and I believe was not with a woman until he married Jeannie some years later.

Standing left is Joe Cohen who was in the music business for years and I heard from someone that he’d enjoyed success with Jersey City waterside housing renovations. Cousin Carl Reitman was a liquor salesman and the three young ladies to his left are cousins from Sue’s Panzer and Waterman family strains.

Just me and my lovely bride.

From Hoyt Bernard “Bernie” Heller, 1914 - 1955, to Conrad Heller, Brandenburg, Germany, estimated birth 1434 – 1494.


My sister Bobbie and I grew up with very limited knowledge of our Heller family line mostly located in east – central Pennsylvania.  This was by design of our well-meaning mother Jeanne Bernstein Heller Polinsky who worried that we might feel comfortable to marry outside of our Jewish faith if we knew Albert E. Heller, our grandfather, had been born a Christian, in his case, a Lutheran. 

Picture of Barbara “Bobbie” Polinsky, age 18, and brother Arnold Heller, age 13, Newark, NJ.

Albert Heller converted to Judaism at age twenty-four to marry our grandmother, Frieda Belford, who immigrated from Minsk, Belarus at age five in 1898.  In 1891, Albert, born in Appenzell, Pennsylvania, just outside of East Stroudsburg, migrated to Newark in search of work.  He met Frieda, fell in love with her, and married in 1913.  They had two boys, Hoyt Bernard, born in 1914, and Ralph, born two years later. 


Our mother, born Jeannette December 12, 1913, married our father Bernie in June of 1935 – they honeymooned in Spring Lake.  This photo was taken at grandparents Samuel and Sadie Bernstein’s Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary in 1954 – they were thirty-nine.  Samuel, born in 1875, immigrated from Austria in 1895 and brought his wife Sadie and two children over three years later. 



Our family does not possess a photo of grandfather Albert, nor have we ever seen one of the man who died in 1929 at age thirty-eight.  Albert managed a traveling carnival, grew lonely during time away from home so Frieda often joined him on the road. 


Bernie and Ralph were frequently placed with relatives – the 1920 census lists Bernie as a boarder with his grandparents Ferdinand and Mary Heller in Appenzell – he was six years old at the time.  He is about ten years old in the following picture, the only one we have of him as a child. 


Bernie Heller, (above photo), about age ten.  List of eight generations (above columns) of Hellers in USA starting with Johan Simon Heller’s arrival in 1738 with his father Johan Christopher Simon and four brothers.  Isaac Heller, born in 1752 in colonial Pennsylvania, is our family line’s first child born in America. 


I was astonished while researching this history of our lineage from the lack of documentation of our mother and father’s life experiences in this country. I found very few birth, marriage or general census records for two urban people who lived in the Twentieth Century. 


I’ve learned that sourcing public information records provides limited information – searching existing family trees proved far more productive in discovering matches.  For example, our father’s life is recorded in a death certificate (March 29, 1955, Irvington, NJ), an erroneous reference in the 1910 census that he was born four years before actual birth day, a reference to him in the 1940 census as a brother-in-law of my mother’s grandparents living at 367 Peshine Avenue in Newark. 


In the Bernstein household of 1940, occupants listed include Samuel Bernstein, age 63, Sadie Bernstein, age 60, Morris Bernstein, age 26, son-in-law Hoyt Heller, age 26, daughter Jeanne Heller, age 26.  Morris, two years older than his sister Jeanne is probably 28 at the time; also, Bernie and Jeanne lived a block away and not with her parents. 


Our mother’s recorded life is far surprisingly scarcer than our father for she lived almost twice as long.  In contrast, the public records of Bobbie and I, though limited, are almost voluminous compared to our parents.    



Source: Examine above document.  Notice our grandmother’s name is misspelled; Belfar instead of Belford – it is also misspelled as such for Albert Heller’s burial form in 1929. Was Belfar shortened from a longer name at Ellis Island, perhaps Belfarsky and changed to Belford?  Or coincidentally twice misspelled? 


Frieda Belford Heller, our grandmother, 1893 – 1991 or 1892 - 1987.


Note too that Arnold Heller, born in 1946, is listed but not Bobbie Heller who was born in 1940.  Furthermore, I typed in Jeanne Bernstein’s birth and death dates – they had not been previously recorded. The following 1920 census document shows Bernie Heller living with his grandparents in Appenzell.


Photo circa 1944 of Bernie Heller (R), brother Ralph Heller (L) two years younger, and Bobbie Heller, age 4. 

In the US Census of 1910, Albert Heller is listed as living in Jackson, Monroe, Pennsylvania and 19 years old.  His father Ferdinand, mother Mary and five siblings are also listed. 

Albert Heller’s death certificate. 

Right of main driveway, 5th section from South Orange Avenue. 


The above photo is of either Mary Heller, 1862 – 1957, wife of Albert, Bernie’s grandmother, or it is of Frieda Belford Heller’s mother, name unknown despite aggressive searches.  The austere clothing and facial expression suggests Mary Heller; Grammys’ mom is written on back of the photo. Grammy is the name Bobbie and I called our grandmother growing up so you be the judge. 


Source: Family Search Family Trees – My Heritage: Ferdinand Heller.



Source: Billion Graves. 








James B. Heller




Jacob Heller, Pennsylvania / US Census, 1870

Jacob Heller’s wife is Mary Heller, born Brewer, 1809 - 1885.  The match is with their son James B. Heller and his son Ferdinand Heller.  Jacob, later in life, migrated to Sulphur Springs, Crawford Co., Ohio and was buried there.


John Heller, 1778 – 1847


Spouses – Susannah Bordner, Catherina Bitterman, Anna Marie Paul; father of Isaac. 


Susannah Bordner is the spouse of John Heller. 



Isaac Heller, 1752, son and eighteenth child of Johan “John” Simon Heller, the son of Johan Christopher Heller, is the first Heller child of our family line born in America.  Isaac’s birth date’s listing ranges from 1742 to 1752.  I believe the latter date for John Simon moved into Northampton / Monroe / Jackson in 1742.  Hellertown was established in 1750; Penn Argyll in 1765. 



Isaac Heller’s birth date listed of 1751 shows Pheddersheim, Germany as the family’s origin.  From; web site of Byrum Tudor; time line of Isaac Heller’s life beginning in 1751.

Johan “John” Simon Heller is the immigrant ancestor that established the family in the “new world”. He married five women that birthed him twenty-six children. 


Source: Genie World Tree

At age twenty-five, I learned of grandfather Albert’s conversion; at age fifty-eight I made a pilgrimage to Hellertown to research our origins in the public library and learned of Christopher Heller and his five sons that established the town and surrounding locations.  For thirteen years I sensed this was our family’s roots in America but could not prove it until this genealogical search. 


Johan Christopher Heller, and his son Johan Simon, are the DNA that chartered our family heritage in America; indeed, the Heller family settled much of east-central Pennsylvania, literally from the northern stretches beyond Philadelphia to the Pocono Mountains in the far northeastern corner; also the lands west of Philadelphia that became the Amish country. Christopher and Simon are literally two of the many “fathers of our country”.


Marriage: Anna Loysa “Lowii” Heller (born Dietz), Saucon Twnshp, Northhampton, PA, 1726 -1768

Marriage: Anna Margharetha Heller (born Anthony), 1745 - 1769

Marriage: Christina Heller (born Bossard), 1769 – 1822

Marriage: Barbara Heller (born Knect), 1762, born 1723 - ?

Marriage: Mest Heller (born Dieter Heller)


Given the prodigious number of children born, the medical conditions of time, number of twin births, it is assumed that some wives and a number of children died in child birth or soon afterwards.


Wife Rebecca Heller, 1805 - ?


Anna Louisa “Lowii” Heller

It appears that Johan Simon Heller began having children with a younger woman, Rebecca Heller.  Born in 1726, Lowii died at Wind Gap, Northampton, Pennsylvania married to Johannes George Heller.  Isaac Heller is apparently Johan Simon’s eighteenth child – glad that he did not stop at seventeen.

Johan Christopher Heller, 1688 – 1778

Christening: March 24, 1706, Reformed Church (Evangelical Lutheran), Pfeddersheim, Germany, Rhineland – Palatinate.


Marriage: Veronica Heller (born Lavall), Feb. 18, 1716; Budesheim, Bitburg-Prum, Rhineland-Platz, Germany


Arrival: 1738, Philadelphia, PA


Marriage: Tohickon, Bucks Co., PA, 1844


Residence: 1750 – Hamilton, Northampton, PA, founded Hellertown in Lower Saucon Valley and lived there until his death in 1778 at age 90 and where he is buried.



Michael Heller for unknown reasons is not included.  Michael was influential in developing the first trading post and farm in Lower Saucon Valley and Hellertown. 


The next phase of this genealogy is to trace the family line back through Europe starting with Johan Christopher Heller’s parents.  Although the family appears to have immigrated from Pheddersheim in the 17th Century, family members in the 16th Century appear to be moving from the German speaking part of Switzerland, particularly Zurich and environs to the present German state of Hesse. 


The search will conclude with Conrad Heller, estimated birth 1434 – 1494, residing in Brandenburg, Germany just outside of modern day Berlin.  Brandenburg is a kind of colonial Williamsburg showcasing Frederick the Great and other leading Prussian monarchs.  One wonders what measures of civil instability, war, religious intolerance, or other disaster caused the migrations. 


It is believed that the search for religious tolerance and cheap farmland drew hundreds of thousands of Germans – including our family – across the ocean to Pennsylvania, a green land with rolling hills and climate similar to Germany.  They came, sacrificed, prospered, and we benefit to this very day. 


Hans Jacob Heller, 1662 - 1727 

Hans was born in Pheddersheim, Rhein, Hessen, Germany and married Anna Sara Heller (born Stricker) in 1687.  She died in 1689 in Pheddersheim.  Source for below diagram: Davenport web site; Howard Brimmer, manager. 

Anna Gotteiba Heller (born Sclintwein) 1644 – 1682

Anna was born, lived, and died in Pheddersheim, Pfalz, Hessen, Germany. 


Source: My Heritage Family Trees


Conrad Heller, 1615 – 1640

Residence: Weyl Bei Rafz, Zurich, Switzerland. 

Marriage: Maria Magdalena Heller (born Angst) circa 1635



It appears that the family during the life of Conrad Heller migrated from the Zurich area to the Worms – Pheddersheim area in Germany.  Neither Switzerland nor Germany existed as countries yet; monarchies, principalities, small entitled states were the rule. The nation-state concept had formed in Spain, England, France, Netherlands, but not in the German language regions. 




Conrad is also listed as residing in the Wil, Zurich area.  Conrad Heller’s parents appear to be Marx Heller, 1597 – 1671, and Veronica Neukom, 1601 – 1667 with no marriage event happening. 


Bernard Heller, 1619 - ?

Residence: Wil Bei Rafz, Zurich, Switzerland



Fridli Heller, 1580 – 1665

One wonders if Fridli Heller – instead of Marx Heller – is Conrad Heller’s father. 

Hans Heller, 1563 – 1615


Conrad apparently is listed here as Lorenz Robert Heller’s son.  Source: Geni World Tree


Lorenz Robert Heller, 1549 – 1600

Residence: Grobgartach, Heilbronn, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.



Conrad Oder Lorenz Hiller

Source: David Rumsey, Manager, last updated November 5, 2017

Birth date: Between 1499 and 1500


Birthplace: Brandenburg, Germany


Death: After 1540


Immediate family: Father of Lorenz Heller

Conrad Heller

Birth date: Estimated between 1434 and 1494

Immediate family: Conrad Oder Lorenz Heller, birth – 1499 / 1500

A forthcoming DNA Ancestry Test may shed more light on our journey into our past heritage. 

Photo of sister Barbara “Bobbie” Heller Polinsky and husband Arnold Polinsky. 

Photo of Arnold Heller with late wife Sue Auerbach Heller (1950 – 2009) and son Sasha Bart Heller taken at 50th birthday party, February 26, 1996.

Sue proudly and lovingly displayed photos that were special to her in attractive frames, or on prominent walls. Four years ago, when I moved into my apartment, all of her favored pictures were gathered in to a visibly prime display space in my living room. With the creation of these online photo albums, the space can be re-purposed for what it was designed for – placement of a laptop to stream shows into the adjacent home entertainment center.

Samuel and Sadie Bernstein celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary

The Bernstein family gathering for celebrating Samuel and Sadie Roth Bernstein’s 50th wedding anniversary is my most treasured photo – my mother’s whole family is gathered. My grandfather, born Shimon Berghenstein in 1870, left Austria in 1895 and arrived at Ellis Island at age 25 where he was renamed by the Irish immigration official who could not say his name - Samuel Bernstein. Voila.

Samuel married Sadie Roth, left her in Austria with Rose, Joe, and Fanny to go to America and get a job as a furrier. Remarkably, he brought the family over two years later. Morris, and Jeanne were born in the US, my mother is the baby.

L – R: Rose and Morris Bernstein, Betty Goldstein with father Irving, Joe and Minnie Bernstein, Fanny and Harry Becker, and Jeanne and Bernie Heller. Rose Bernstein was Italian and Catholic; she and Morris divorced five years later. Rose Goldstein was ill that night – her daughter Betty subbed for her. Irving Goldstein is of Romanian origin.

Betty Goldstein, now about 83, is the only person in the picture still living. She married Mel Mintz who played a major role in the computerization of the textile industry – Mel passed a few years ago.

Joe Bernstein became a successful insurance broker and the family patriarch; Minnie was the first college educated woman in the family and successfully battled breast cancer for the last thirty years of her life. Fanny, the middle child, married Harry Becker, a man of German origin, who was a plumber and luncheonette owner. Morris Bernstein, an easy-going man who ran marginal cleaning stores, moved to Florida after divorcing Rose and lived with Elsie Melniker for the rest of his life.

Freda Heller, my Dad’s mom, immigrated from Belarus at age five (1900). She married Albert Heller who died at age forty in 1927. Jeanne and Bernie, my mother and father married in 1935 at age twenty-one. My sister Bobbie was born in 1941, me in 1946 - proud baby-boomer that I am.

I am ten months old in this picture and did not walk until I was seventeen months. Sue is a year old in the following picture. It’s my opinion that she looked more like a Campbell’s soup kid than any other American child.

Sue – one year old.

My theory – to be tested by an upcoming DNA ancestry search – is that in 1740 Mennonite Joachim Heller and his five sons left German speaking Switzerland and landed in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania colonial government opened up the northeastern corner for settlement by driving the Leni Lenape Indians out.

Joachim and his five sons moved in. They opened up the first trading store, started the first farm, and established Hellertown in the Lehigh / Saucon Valley. Fifteen years later, apparently annoyed by a new elite, the Heller family moved fifteen miles east to found Penn-Argyll.

Albert Heller, around 1911, supposedly moved from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he grew up to Newark, NJ for a job. He met Freda Belford, proposed, and was rejected until he converted to Judaism and was also circumcised.

Albert managed a carnival and traveled up and down the coast. He supposedly died of pneumonia in 1927 in a small southern town and was buried in Newark.

The woman in the following picture is the most mysterious photo I’ve ever possessed. She is my great grandmother yet I do not know her first name nor anything about her. My mother developed hard feelings towards this branch and shielded Bobbie and I from them during our formative stages. I presume she is a Christian woman and given the gown, may be associated with a religious order such as the alleged Mennonites.

My Grandfather Albert was supposedly very hard on Bernie and Ralph; when Albert drank, he could become abusive. Albert traveled with the carnival – Freda sometimes joined him on the road and sent the boys to stay with relatives.

The below picture of my father is the only one I ever saw of him as a child. Bernie spoke very little about him – my mother always changed the subject when I brought it up.

Bernie Heller, about ten years old.

My sister Bobbie Heller Polinsky, age 4, flanked by her Uncle Ralph Heller (L) and her father Bernie Heller (R).

Sister Bobbie Heller Polinsky with husband Arnold Polinsky.

Sue loved this picture of my sister and brother-in-law; a copy adorns a wall of mine with other beloved family pictures.

Craig, Carrie, and Brett Polinsky.

Given that the three Polinsky children were born two years apart, Brett is ten here, Craig eight, Carrie six.

Picture of Sasha with cousins Carrie and Craig Polinsky.

My cousin Ivan Heller, in 1985, migrated from New Jersey to Atlanta at age thirty-six. He married Gail Zweigel who had a son Ethan with first husband Hank Zweigel. Jared Heller, about three months old in below picture, is now twenty-six.

L – R: Ivan Heller, Arnold Heller, Sasha Heller, about 12 – 13, Ralph Heller. Ralph passed away five years ago, Ivan three years ago.

Sasha Heller, age nine; Melissa Zandman, age 6; Adam Zandman, age 4.

This picture was taken in 1988 in Great Smokey National Park in Cherokee, NC. They spent so many camping trips together that Sash was almost like a big brother to Melissa and Adam.

Fiftieth birthday party picture.

This happy picture is worth another showing.

Photo of Sasha, age 14, and my mother Jeanne and husband Rubie Polinsky at Sasha’s Bar Mitzvah (1992).

Left picture: Sue and I in Kiowa Island, SC, at Heller – Polinsky – Auerbach family reunion. Right picture: Sue with Nan Haas Feldman around 1987 in Framingham, Mass. Nan and Sue became best friends age twelve.

Excursion from Alaska Sea & Land Cruise

Yes, that is me under all of that protective wear which is needed to handle the flying mud and swirling dust. This was the only time in my life on an all-terrain vehicle which I rode very carefully. We arrived in Denali, found our excursion outfit, and drove down a river bed, over hills and down trails for an hour – loved every second.

Life is a journey and I’m still on my way.

Please go on to Photo Album 10 – Arnold & Sue Heller: More Pictures from our Wedding