Sunday, July 25, 2010

How His Surname Passed Away

My great-grandfather, Henry Meinzen, was born on July 25, 1837, in Hannover, Prussia.

Henry and his wife Elizabeth Armitage had 15 children. Seven of those children (and possibly another infant) were males. You would think with 7 sons in the family, the family name would continue for generations. Not so for Henry. This is what happened with Henry's sons.

Son #1: Henry Carl was born September 25, 1870, and died on August 11, 1958
He had 2 sons and 6 daughters. Both sons died in infancy.

Son #2: William was born in 1872 and died on November 4, 1888, at the age of 16 of typhoid fever.
He had no children.

Son #3: Edward was born March 5, 1879, and died on November 15, 1911. He never married.
He had no children.

Son #4: Walter was born on November 13, 1882. He married on June 28, 1906, and died on May 31, 1907, in an ugly factory accident.
He had no children.

Son # 5: William Carl Robert was born on February 8, 1892.
He had 4 daughters and no sons.

Son #6: Jacob Increase was born on December 15, 1893. He married on September 4, 1916 and died on September 12, 1917, in a horrible factory accident.
He had 1 daughter.

Son #7: Carl Nelson was born September 3, 1896 and died 11 days later on September 14.

Only 2 of Henry's sons (Henry and W. C. Robert) were alive when he died, and only 6 of his children outlived him. While Henry has many, many descencants, both male and female, the only ones from his line with his surname are females who do not carry on the Meinzen name.

Since today is Grampa Henry's birthday I want to honor him and commemorate his birth. With so many descendants, Grampa, you should be celebrated royally. Happy Birthday!


  1. What a splendid little illustration of life (and death) in those times. A very informative post indeed.

  2. Two horrible factory accidents in one It goes to show that work is a lot safer now than it used to be; those things used to happen all the time.

  3. Nancy,
    I watch this phenomenon of surnames passing away with in my own family with a certain amount of angst --- but for a surname to pass away with 7 sons-- that is quite unusual. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. I am amazed that there are no living male descendants in this family with 7 sons. The two sons were killed in the same factory but doing different jobs.

  5. Too bad us women cant carry the surname with us. At least some form of it.
    It is nice that we have now to help keep track og things. Nancy this is a very nice post in honor of your Gramps.

  6. Nancy, this was so fascinating and tragic too.
    You have done an excelent job on this. We never realize how well we live in the 21st century until we look back. Amazing!

  7. Happy (belated) Birthday, Henry. He has a great smile and a twinkle in his eye. Sad and wonderful story. I agree with Eileen; I think it would be nice if women carried on their surnames in some way.

  8. Hi Nancy! What a great story on Henry! I can relate on two accounts - my dad's own line has basically died, as my brother has no children - and never will due to medical circumstance. My husband has a line that had six daughter's and one son, who died at age 7. How heartbreaking that must have been.

    I've taken my maiden name as my middle name in honor of my father.

  9. Lovely looking man! I have a similar situation with one of my great-grandfathers. Only one of his five sons had children and his only son had no children. He did have numerous brothers so the name continues, even if not in our line.


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