Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp's 1920 Ohio Death Certificate

Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp was a surprise when I found her obituary at MyHeritage, naming my great-grandfather, Henry Meinzen, as her brother.  I'll continue to research her and her family to confirm the relationship.  My first step was to find and transcribe her death certificate.  At the end of this transcription are comments and thoughts about what I found.
Death Certificate of Sophia (Meinzen) KroppBelow is the information I extracted from Sophia's 1920 Ohio Certificate of Death.

  1  Place of Death:     Cross Creek Township, Jefferson County
  2  Full name:     Sophia Kropp
      Residence:     West Market Rd.
  3  Sex:     Female
  4  Color or race:     White
  5  Marital status:     Widowed
      Husband:     Carl Kropp
  6  Date of birth:     Sept. 4, 1842
  7  Age     78 Years  2 Days
  8  Occupation:      Housekeeper
  9  Birthplace     Germany
10  Name of father:     Deidrick Meinzen
11  Birthplace of father:     Germany
12  Maiden name of mother:     Don't Know
13  Birthplace of mother:     [blank]
14  Informant     Mrs. John Spahn, Steubenville, O.
15  Filed     9/7, 1920      Registrar  Chas T. Beans
16  Date of death:     Sept 6, 1920
17  Cause of death:     apoplexy
18  Signed:  Thos. M. Kirk, Coroner, M.D. on Sept. 27, 1920, Steubenville, O.
19  Burial:     Union [Cemetery],  September 8, 1920
20  Undertaker:     D. F. Coe, Steubenville, O.

Comments, Thoughts, Observations

Sophia's father's surname was transcribed as Munzen at FamilySearch.  When I looked closely at the image this is what I saw:
I believe I clearly see a dotted "i" and "Meinzen."

As for Sophia's father's given name:  Henry Carl Meinzen's father's name was recorded as "Carl" (probably spelled Karl in German) in various records, including family records.  I know that in the German naming system it was not uncommon to give male children in the family the same first name and a different middle name and use the middle name as a call name.   Is it possible that Sophia and Henry are siblings and their father's given names were Carl Deidrick or Deidrick Carl?  If I depend on their fathers' names declared in various records in the U.S. I may never find enough information to solve this mystery.

I think it's interesting that the coroner signed the death certificate.  I have heard that when he does it often suggests that an autopsy was performed.  Some later death certificates have autopsy as a box to check but that was not a question in 1920.

Henry Carl Meinzen was born in 1837, Sophia in 1842.  Those dates align for them to be siblings, with another one or two between them.

I am very hopeful that Sophia is Henry's sister and that this information leads me to their parents and siblings.  My next searches will include:
  • Census records for Sophia and her family to see what information I can find.  Perhaps they lived near Henry and Elizabeth.
  • Naturalization records for Carl Kropp.  They may show Henry Meinzen as a witness to Carl's having living in the U.S. the required number of years.
  • Immigration information, including passenger lists
  • Newspaper articles.  They may show Carl and Sophia Kropp as guests at weddings and other family events.  Online searches may also reveal news articles about the Kropps.
  • Other resources?


Copyright ©2016 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.



  1. Cool find, I always find it really interesting to read death certificates.

    1. I agree, Brenna. They are interesting to read, and they often help solve genealogy puzzles, too.

  2. Too bad the mother's name was unknown but otherwise the facts seem to align in your favor. It will be interesting to see what else you find.

    1. I think I've found more death certificates on which the mothers' names are not known than ones with the mother's name listed, Wendy. Maybe people didn't talk about family history in my family?

      I hope I find enough information to be more certain that Sophia and Henry are siblings, and further, find their parents' names.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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