Sunday, October 16, 2016

No Record for Sophia - Church Record Sunday

I wrote to Zion United Christian Church in Steubenville, Ohio, a few weeks ago.  I wrote with the specific request to learn if the home towns of Henry Meinzen and Carl and Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp had been recorded when they began attendance at the church, at the times of their deaths, or at any other time.  I gave specific beginning and end dates for searches.  I received a response within two weeks.  Quick work by the church historian there.  In total I received five photocopied pages.

Two undated pages were handwritten lists compiled, the historian said, to invite individuals to church reunions.  They include the following two individuals:  Mr. Henry Meinzen, 933 Sherman Ave. City (Calif.) and Henry Kropp, 1216 Plum St. City (Conf.).

I believe Henry Meinzen is the son of Henry Carl Meinzen, though as far as I know he never lived in California.  Henry Kropp is probably Carl and Sophia's son.  I have not looked at Steubenville city directories to know where Henry and his wife, Katie, lived.

Another undated page had a numbered list of marriages.  In the margin of the one of interest was written "1905" and, in German, "Kropp Henry W und Katie Spahn ??????? [looks like getraut] am 22 November 1905.  Zeugen:  John Spahn und Fau Minnie Schuette."  I understand it to mean that Henry W. Kropp married Katie Spahn on November 22, 1905, and that the witnesses were John Spahn (Katie's brother) and Minnie Shuette (Henry's sister).

On another handwritten dated list under "1890" I found "Sophia Kropp    Mrs. John Spahn."  There's no information about the purpose of the list.  I know that Sophia Kropp and John Spahn married in 1899 but this doesn't seem to correspond to that.  The previous dates on the page were 1889 and 1888.

There was no record of Sophia's death; however, there was a death record for Carl Kropp which tells the location of his birth.  I'll share and translate it in another post.  It was handwritten in German but (thankfully) not in old German script.  I may still struggle to get an accurate translation but it will be less difficult than if it were in old German.

One of the challenges with these church records is that I can't accurately cite volume and page for the photocopies I received.  The closest I can come is to state that they came from the archives of the church and they date they were provided to me.

I am disappointed that there was no church record for Sophia, neither of her arrival  nor of her death.  Steubenville had a German newspaper (available on microfilm at the Ohio State Archives Library) but it ceased publication in 1916 and Sophie died in 1920, so no help there (not that I'd be able to translate enough pages to determine whether there was an obituary, anyway).  I must keep looking for her location of birth and confirmation of her relationship to my great-grandfather Henry Carl Meinzen.  An obituary stating him as her brother and her death certificate with her father's first name different than the first name Henry gives for his father are not enough.  The search continues.


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  1. I'm sure it was disappointing not to get more specific info on Sophia, but 5 pages is still a good day.

    1. Yes, five pages is much better than nothing, Wendy, especially knowing they could have refused to do a search. (I'm not sure how thorough the search was this time, though. The last time it took quite a bit longer -- but maybe she had a back-up of look-ups to do then.)


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