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The family of Emil Winker - Part 2

In the last article we discuss the immediate birth, immigration and subsequent family of Emil Winker (1866-1919). Now we need to delver deeper into who his parents and siblings were, where they came from, and where they went.

We are confident that Emil was born in Spaichingen, Wurttemberg deep in the southern part of Germany at real crossroads in Europe. Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria are all in close proximity.

Spaichingen, Wurttemberg
In Emil's marriage to Katherine Schroeder, in 1898, we learned of his parents names.

Parents Lawrence and Elisabeth

This gives us our first starting point... although, finding a marriage between Lawrence and Elisabeth, anywhere in Germany, proves initially troublesome. We know for a certainty they were both native-born Germans like their son. This is a fact and there would have been no reason to lie about that on the census returns when listing their parents birth country. Locating them in records from Wurttemberg will prove to be difficult and it is not a skill set i have - yet. So i initially parked my search for a marriage between his parents.

At times like this it is often easier to locate other siblings when encountering these "brick walls" in direct line researching. In my searches i uncovered quite a few potential candidates but only three i could be positive were his.

One name that almost immediately comes up is Henry Winker (1865-1939). Multiple sources confirm his birth just a year before Emil with parents of the same name (though, as was common, with subtle variations). They are also found listed on his record of death in 1939.

Parents names shown in 1939.

Henry appears to have arrived in the USA in 1882 on the Schiedam sailing from Rotterdam. According to shipping historical records this would appear to be one of its first charted voyages being built just a decade or so before. His age was, similarly so to Emil, just 16. Other records we can find suggest dates in or around that year. It was not uncommon on census records to be a year or so out.


You can see, in 1885 - just a few years after arriving, that he was already using the anglicized version of his name - Henry. He was found in Kniest, Carroll, Iowa. His immediate neighbours in that Iowa state census, from what i could tell, were entirely German.


He went on to marry Mary Ann Brinker (1868-1930) on the 13th of January 1891 in Breda, Carroll, Iowa. Notice the very subtly different names of his parents - Lorens and Elise. Hard to find on a first pass with what other names i had been looking for.


By 1895 he is in Sheridan, Carroll, Iowa and still there by the time of the 1900 US Federal Census. This shows us he was a farmer and a father of four children... Gusta (1891), Arthur (1895), Minnie (1897) and Frank (1898). It shows us also he can read and write - and speak English. It also shows us Mary, his wife, was from Wisconsin but that her parents were both German too.

1900 US Federal Census
In the Iowa 1905 state census collection another daughter, Hulda (1903), is listed. In the 1910 census we see a child who hadnt appeared before (for whatever reason) but was the second eldest, Gurtie (1892). Odd but not unusual. In the 1920 census we see some movements have happened.


Fred Hendrickson is actually the husband of Minnie - they were to marry that very same year.

Minnie's marriage to Fred Hendrickson in 1920.
It is very important to note something i spotted on the 1925 census. He states no age for his parents but confirms they are dead at this point. This is potentially critical information for us to help find them.



By the 1930 census Henry is just recently widowed and living (or found) with his daughter Hulda, her husband and his two grandchildren, Lyle and Dale.


Henry passed away in 1939. Searches on his children reveal some information to be noted. His daughter Gusta married Peter Daiker (1895-) on the 27th of June 1927. Gusta / Gustie / Gusty was short for Augusta and her full name was in fact Augusta Elizabeth Winker. No doubt the middle name is with regards to her grandmother. By 1940 she wasa matron in a school and mother of three children - all still living in Carroll, Iowa. By the time she died in 1978 she had 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren! One of her daughters, Alma, died just a few years before. This line can be fleshed out as needed and there is still a great deal to show.

I then located Maria Ursula Winker (1870-1960) who had exactly the same parents and who also found herself in Iowa at a very similar time. The coincidences plainly cannot be ignored. Now we have two more people with which to try to find the parents. Ursula was also the middle name of Minne Winker - her brother's daughter.

Her marriage, in Breda, Carroll, Iowa (continuing the connection) to John Agalius Hammers (1864-1935) was the key when i was searching for similarly named parents. Both of John's parents were native German born.


By the time of the 1900 census they were already in Minnesota (another strong connection to the family) in Little Falls where she would stay until she passed away. Maria and John had six children. Elizabeth (1896), Rosa (1901), Leonard (1902), Herman (1905), Clara (1907) and Carolina (1907). In the 1930 federal census she gave her year of immigration as 1891.

Immigration in 1891.
The final confirmed sibling is the most intriguing of all. I located a Franziska Winker (1864) and her marriage to John Derner (1858-1928) on the 14th of January 1890 in Breda, Carroll, Iowa with the parents name listed as Elis and Lorenze. She would later anglicize her forename as "Frances" or "Francis" as was common at that time.

Major name differences found out with a lot of searching on variables!
It was actually the Derner family that was the most interesting of all the connections and it highlights why it is so fundamentally important to flesh out even the most seemingly obscure of connections. Before we discuss Franziska any further i will highlight why i think the Derner's are an important connection.

The parents of John are Joseph Derner (1814-1894) and Theresia Merkt (1825-1891) apparently born in Spaichingen (of all the places) and who eventually passed away in Breda, Carroll, Iowa (of all the places). She is recorded as having immigrated in 1854. Joseph Derner was also born in Germany.

1853 immigration of Theresa Merkt
We find the family in Iowa at the time of 1880 census and John, who would marry Franziska Winker, is there.

1880 Derner Family
There is, clearly, a noteworthy connection to Illinois. Looking at the ages you can determine they were in Illinois from at least 1857-1871. Sometime between 1853-1857, probably in Illinois, and probably closer to 1857, Theresia married Joseph. They then ended up in Iowa. I have located other Derner's moving to and being naturalised in Illinois.

Post on genealogy site that helps us understand a bit more...


But why is this important? It seems the Merkts have a connection to the Winker's. As you may notice the father of Theresia is Johann Winker. Another article continues to reinforce this.

A search conducted in Spaichingen in 2005 by a Winker descendant on ANOTHER Johann.
This Johann (Born 1846) is a legitimate find and his immigration is discovered in 1866 and from the same place - Spachingen in Wurttemberg. Could he be connected to Lorenz and Emil? I would contend this was highly likely. It would not surprise me if he was an uncle to Emil. Can i prove it? No, not at the moment.



However we learn a fact which explains why it has proven difficult to locate the birth records of our Lorenz Winker. The town records began in 1876. Accessing the church records is likely near impossible unless they are online - and they do not seem to be. The only way to verify this data is outside of those sources. It was by researching the Derner's that we learned this fact. Layer upon layer my friends - verifying the steps.

One strong candidate for a father is "Laurence Winker" (1848-1892) a barber who immigrated to New York and naturalised in 1888.



This man had a son, Ernst (see below), by a wife not called Elisa.



This would mean that Ernst's mother, Maria Mark, was born in 1851 in Germany. That this particular "Lorens" (his father) was born in 1848. This would match the above record also.

The Lorenze/Lawrence we are interested in father four children (that we know of) between the years 1864-1870 (as shown above). It remains quite conceivable that his wife died and that he eventually made his way to New York. This would make this particular candidate 16 when Franziska was born and 22 when Maria Ursula was born. It is also suggestive, if true, of the early death of Elisa/Elisabeth and his subsequent remarriage. Can i prove it? No.

This Ernst Winker married (a much older) Emily Adams in 1901. No mother was listed - just the father - he was died by now, odd that the mother was not listed.


1910 Census in New York

Circumstantially there is a lot to consider. Tracking down this family may answer some questions about who the Lorens Winker they have is.

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