American Gypsies Family Tree

Video highlights from American Gypsies

Meet the Family!



Bob Sr. is the patriarch of the Johns family and a respected elder in the Romani community. When it comes to family matters, he has the final word. Lately, however, health problems are making it difficult for Bob to be the boss and keep his family in line. Especially with five grown sons who are seemingly always at odds.

Tina is the ultimate matriarch: strict, loving, and not to be crossed. Determined to keep her family free from shame and evil spirits, Tina, who considers herself a psychic healer—("In Gypsy culture, every woman is psychic")—performs rituals to ward off evil and bring good luck. And when her granddaughters start acting too much like "gaje" (non-Gypsies), Tina lays down the law.

As the eldest of the five sons, Erik's in charge while Bob Sr. recovers from health problems—meaning he has say over his brothers on all things. But it's not so easy being boss, with a hot-headed brother like Nicky always taking things into his own hands. On top of everything, Erik must marry off his eldest son, Val, to a suitable Romani bride before it's too late.

Unlike his brothers, who are fiercely loyal to Romani tradition, Bobby wants the family to modernize and adapt to American ways. He was a teenager when he had his oldest daughter, Sable, and he regrets never giving her a choice in being Rom. Now, with his youngest kids, he's trying a more progressive approach to parenting—even at the risk of being kicked out of the family.

Hot-tempered and bull-headed, Nicky's always ready for a fight, especially when anything or anyone threatens the good name of his family. Nicky takes it upon himself to protect the family's honor at all costs—even though it's Erik, the oldest, who's supposed to be in charge. For Nicky, upholding their Romani traditions is not up for discussion, period.

Nicky's wife, Christine, struggles with balancing her business (working as a psychic healer) and her relationship with her husband. As a mother of three, Christine tries her best to maintain the family unit, but Nicky's impulsive ways make it difficult.

Joey is a hot-tempered brother who boasts about being "the muscle" of the family. While growing up in the Johns family, if there was ever an issue with his brothers, Joey solved it with his fists.

Jack is the youngest of the five brothers, and gets treated as so. Jack's burden is that he's always struggling to prove himself to his brothers and win the respect of the community. Jack married his wife, Sylvia, when he was 15, in keeping with the Romani tradition of marrying young.

Jack's wife, Sylvia, is a caring wife and a loving mother of two. She tries to avoid as much of the family drama as possible, but no matter what she does, she keeps finding herself getting pulled right in.

At 18, Val (short for Valentino) has been secretly dating a "gaje" (or non-Romani) girl, even though it's forbidden by Romani tradition. His father, Erik, has been pressuring him to get married soon, to a Romani girl, but Val doesn't feel ready for that yet. He still has some partying to do. "He wanna get me married," he says. "I don't know. I need at least two trips to Vegas."

Erik's youngest son, Blake, is a smart, quick-witted boy. When he grows up, Blake wants to be just like his dad.

At 23, Bobby's eldest daughter, Sable, now lives with her new husband's family, as is tradition. With a baby on the way, Sable has quickly adapted to her new family's ways, which are quite different from how she was raised. But Sable misses the family she came from, and wishes they could be a part of her new home and business life.

Sable's husband, John, doesn't mind getting his hands dirty in the scrap metal business, unlike most Roma in the community. This stirs up some controversy within his family, but his father-in-law, Bobby, is supportive, and sees the business as a lucrative opportunity.

At 18, Bobby's eldest son, Chris, is eager to follow the traditions of his family. "I am traditional. It means I'm following my grandfather's footsteps in the old ways." With a new wife, a baby on the way, and the start of his own psychic shop business, Chris is on the path to a traditional Romani life.

At 19, Chris's wife, Sam (short for Samantha), now lives with her husband's family, as is Romani tradition. But it's a full house, with her father-in-law, Bobby, and Chris' teenage siblings living there too. And with a baby on the way, Sam is eager to get their own place.

Bobby's youngest son, Sean, loves to party with the boys. Even though he has a quiet demeanor, Sean always has his eyes and ears open for the next big business opportunity.

Bobby's 15-year-old daughter, Amanda, struggles over whether the Gypsy life is right for her. "I don't want to be like all the other women [psychics] in my family.  Even if I have the gift, I don't want it." According to tradition, she should be married by now. But Amanda and her sister Vivian have a very "gaje" dream: they want to be actresses.

Vivian, Bobby's 13-year-old daughter, is just like her sister Amanda—she wants to be an actress. But it's not easy fitting in with the "gaje" (non-Romani) world. And despite her dad's attempts to let her and her sister try it out, the rest of the family will not tolerate it.

Justin is Nicky and Christine's oldest son. When things in the house get a little crazy, Justin's wry sense of humor and levelheadedness help keep everything together.

Britany is Nicky and Christine's only daughter.

Zack is Nicky and Christine's baby boy. He's adorable, sweet, and as wild as they come.

Joey's daughter, Strawberry, is best friends with her cousins, Amanda and Vivian. While she loves to party, she never strays too far from her father's wishes to stay traditional.

Even though he's still a boy, Joey's son (nicknamed "Baby Eric") lives and acts like an elder. He's very proud of his culture and hopes to one day be a great Rom, like his grandfather.

Joey's youngest daughter, Candy, is just like her name—She's Joey's sweet little girl.

Summer is the apple of her Bapo's (grandfather's) eye. Summer looks up to her mother, and, while still young, loves to go out with the girls and party when she can.

Jack and Sylvia's son, Tristen, is a young wise guy. You could say he's a 30-year-old man trapped in a 10-year-old's body.


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