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The family of Emil Winker - Part 1

I offered to help trace the family history of a good friend of mine recently and, after he passed on the details i needed to begin my search, i asked him which branch he would like me to delve into first and this [Emil] was the one he chose. Details of living (or recently deceased) people are withheld - exactly as they would be for any similar such research shared online. This information i am sharing here is 100% publicly available to anyone.

The start point for my research is for Emil Winker (1866-1919).

I knew the details of his son which in turn gave me my start point for him. Emil Winker spent most of his life in Iowa. We know this thanks to the various Iowa State / US Federal Census' records that we have (more on that). From the records we quickly learn that he was not native born in Iowa. He was actually from Germany. He arrived in the USA in May 1883 from a ship sailing from Hamburg as a 17 year old teenager and was among some 1.4 million German settlers who came to the united states in the 1880's. We will see, in the overall picture of this family, that they are almost entirely German-American.

He was born in SpaichingenWurttemberg, Germany to Lorenz and Elizabeth Winker. He had several brothers and sisters all of which were born in the same place. We know this is his birth place as it is found on his US passport application. This application tells us a great deal about him.

Spaichingen, Wurttemberg
Originally i had difficulty in determining his exact birth place as it was hard to read. His birthday was the 28th of February (notice it is abbreviated to "Febr") 1866.

We find him living in Kniest township, Carroll, Iowa in the Iowa state census in 1885. He was 18, single, alone and noted as a servant in that location. He would eventually be noted as a farmer shortly thereafter.

1885 Iowa State Census

I have been able to locate this ship, the SS Suevia (very hard to read that!)


So we can see he arrived in New York in 1883 - and would appear to have traveled alone.

Emil Winker - arrival
I have had difficulty locating Emil in the 1890 Iowa State Census though this does not stop us from tracking him. It is quite possible from his arrival - through to his eventual arrival in Iowa - that he was in transit. In 1898 we find him marrying a one Kate Schroeder in Arcadia, Iowa.

1898 Marriage to Kate / Cath Schroeder

The parents of both individuals are listed on the marriage records.


I believe this was requested information when they married and does not represent attendance. The 1900 US Federal Census shows the growth of this family and that they were married for two years at that point in time.

1900 US Federal Census

Two children (Lauretta & Bernhart) were already born by 1900. It is noteworthy to learn that Kate Schroeder (not "Cath") was also born in Germany. Lauretta was born in August 1898 which tells us they married because Kate was clearly a few months "with child". Circumstantial but useful information. As you scan around that page on the census report - most of the families around them were from Germany.

By 1910 the family has grown significantly.

1910 US Federal Census
Lauretta and Bernhart are not around anymore but the following other children are. Raimond, Hilda, Cecilia, Lorenz, Henry and Edwin. Notably also his wife is called "Catherina" on this return (giving us now three first names for her). Emil is still noted as a farmer.

A search shows us why Lauretta tragically was not in the 1910 census. She had died in 1907.

Lauretta's Gravestone

Notice the use of the German language on the headstone. She would have been just 8 at her death. Notice the different spelling of Lauretta (Loretta).

I struggled to find Bernhart Winker but this was because he was actually christened as Raymond.

The next eldest child Raymond / Raimond Bernhard Winker (1900-1958), a farmer in Glidden Township, Carroll, Iowa, would go on to marry Katherine and have two known sons Leroy (Born 1923) and Ralph (1927). He was drafted in WW1.

Here is his draft card confirming the physical description above and the date of registration - September 12th 1918.



It tell us he was on the third registration of the selective service act.


The armistice was signed just two months later in November 1918. It may be worth seeing if Raymond was ever actually deployed overseas but it would appear to have been unlikely. It must have been hugely conflicting for him and his parents to do so. It would not surprise me in the slightest if Raymond could speak German.

Hilda Winker, born 1903, died just 12 years old in 1915.  Her headstone also attests to this sad finding. I can only imagine how devastating this was also to lose yet another daughter.

Hilda Winker 1915
Fortunately this trend is reversed with their third daughter Cecilia Winker (born 1905). We find evidence of her marriage to Albert William Frank on the 1st of February 1925. She died in Jackson Minnesota in 1994 having lived a very long life indeed. On the 1930 census we find her, her husband and baby son Donald (born 1929) living in Milwaukee. Notice it lists the fathers birthplace as Germany.

Cecila 1930 census
They were still in Milwaukee in 1940 and with two other children, Darlene (1932) and Tayetta (1935). Her husband is listed as a truck driver which probably goes some way to explain the movement of the family.

The next child in this family is Lawrence / Lorenz Winker (1907-1976). He married Regina Booth, from Nebraska, and they had six children by 1940. That census shows us he was a labourer - still in Iowa.


His children were Alice (1931), Louise (1933), Berdall (1934), Kenneth (1937), Shirley (1938) and Patricia (1939).  Intriguingly his death in 1976 was in Cottonwood, Minnesota. This is some 100 or so miles from Jackson where his sister Cecilia died in 1994. No doubt they knew each other - and so did their families.

Jackson and Cottonwood Proximity (Minnesota)
Lawrence must have married Regina very young as he is listed, with her as a lodger, as married with him at 23 and her at 19 in the 1930 census but not children (not until next year with Alice).

After Lawrence died - Regina remarried in Minnesota, aged 71!

She is found in the 1920 census with her family in Carroll, Iowa.

Regina's family in 1920, Iowa.
Next is Henry Winker (1908-1996) who was to go on and marry Dorothy Veit (1913-2004). We find two children in this family in the 1940 census, Ruth (1933) and Larry (1940). He lived and died in Iowa working as a farmer.

Henry Winker in the 1940 census
The name Bruce has been found, from 1948, but cannot be verified.

Bruce Winker 1948 - unverified.
The next individual is Edwin Winker (1910-1989). He served in the second world war and, on his gravestone, is shown to have been a prisoner of war. He fought with the 377th infantry, 95th division. The 95th Infantry Division was assigned to XIII Corps of the Ninth United States Army, Twelfth United States Army Group. The division sailed for Europe on 10 August 1944. The 95th Infantry Division arrived in England on 17 August. After receiving additional training, it moved to France one month later on 15 September. It appears to have been involved in extremely bitter fighting. Edwin appears to have been one of the 380 captured in battle.

Edwin one of the 380 POW's of the 95th infantry division


His gravestone.

We find a compensation claim for $42,500 submitted in 1949. This claim appears to have been awarded and is, even by today's standards, a truly substantial amount of money.


We can only assume this is for what happened to him in world war 2. The details of his imprisonment are found below:

Edwin as a POW.
This must have been a strange experience being the son of a German father and mother, no? More details on this specific camp in Limburg an der Lahn in Hesse, Germany near its eastern border.

Sobering reading, no?
He was liberated at the end of the war but must have experienced truly brutal conditions and hardship. Fascinating story no? I cannot locate, currently, a subsequent marriage for him. One can only hope he did and in marriage, with children, may have found some comfort in his latter years. No doubt more to find on this man.

The next child is Gregor Winker (1912-1955) who we find on the 1930 census. His mother, Katherine, is listed as widowed at this stage (as Emil was dead by 1919). We find the death of a Gregor J Winker in Arcadia, Carroll which appears to be a very strong match.


It is worth noting also that he was buried in a Catholic cemetery. He does not appear, at first glance, to have married or had children.

The final child of Emil and Katherine is Delores Winker (1914-1990). Intriguingly she married David Veit. Is there a connection between this David and the Dorothy who married Henry? Indeed there was... they were brother and sister.


According to the Iowa State Census of 1925. Dorothy was 12 and David 10. This would have put Dorothy's birth at about 1913. We already know from Dorothy's birth that her parents shared the same name - John and Mary. Its as cut and dry as you need it to be. A strong connection between the Winker's and Veit's was established. Delores and David, who married in 1935, would go on to have at least one recorded son - Dwayne (1937).

This concludes our initial first part study of Emil Winker. We looked at his birth, marriage and early life and that of his children. There are some truly remarkable stories therein.

In part 2 we will delve into more detail on the origins of Emil, his siblings and parents, in SpaichingenWurttemberg,.

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