Saturday, October 15, 2016

Surname Saturday:  Meinzen Surname Variations

My occasional Surname Saturday posts focus on surname variations found while researching.  Surname variations are a staple of any genealogist's research, not because we're searching for them and want to find them but because they exist.  They can appear in nearly every type of document, from birth records to census reports to obituaries and everything in between.  When found, the researcher must decide whether the surname is a variation of an individual or family already known or pertains to someone not related to the person/family of focus. 

Below are the surname variations for Meinzen found while searching for Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp and her family.  The results provide a nice variety. 

MEINZEN (searching for Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp and family)
  • Meintzen - Church records of Zion United Christian Church (previously Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church), Steubenville, Ohio, noting Carl Kropp's death and his wife's maiden name and marriage date
  • Minsinger - Obituary of Carl Kropp published in The Steubenville Daily Gazette, Wednesday, May 31, 1905
  • Meingen - Obituary of Minnie (Kropp) Schuette, Sophia's daughter, in The Herald-Star (Steubenville, Ohio), Monday, May 20, 1946
  • Meinsen - Ohio Death Certificate of William Henry Kropp, Sophia's son, September 27, 1945, and Marriage application of Sophia Kropp, Sophia's daughter, and John Spahn, December 5, 1899
  • Meinzen - Ohio Death Certificate of Sophia (Meinzen) Kropp, September 27, 1920

Previously noted surname variations:

MEINZEN (searching for Henry Carl and family)
  • Minson - 1870 U.S. Census, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio
  • Minzen - 1880 U.S. Census, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio
  • Mincin - 1920 U.S. Census, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio
  • Meinzer - 1926, obituary in The Steubenville Herald Star, December 30, 1925

Notes and Comments

Had I found Meingen or Minsinger when I first began family history research I would have completely discounted them as not my family.  In fact, I wasn't sure Minson, Minzen, Mincin, and Meinzer were mine during those early months.  It didn't take long to learn that surname variations abound.

I often think that the spelling of a name - first, middle, or last - is at least partially the result of language and accent, especially in the days before most people were literate.  Meinzen can become Meintzen when spoken with a strong German accent, Meinsen when spoken with a less strong accent.  Bell can become Beall with a southern accent.  Armitage became Armiddage with a British accent or a lazy tongue.

Other contributions to spelling variations can be hearing impairment on the part of the person recording the name and illegible handwriting if a document must be transcribed for publication or for some other reason.


Copyright ©2016 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. You are so right. One of my earliest deeds is for James Jolet. If that was a French name, it explains how "Jolly" became a variation of "Jollett." Otherwise, I'm scratching my head wondering how people didn't HEAR or SAY those t's.

    1. LOL. The things we learn as we go along, huh? If only we could start knowing what we know after several years of experience how much further along we might be in our research.


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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...