Mahnken or Mahnke?

Heinrich Mahnken was born on September 26, 1846.  Or was it Heinrich Mahnke who was born on this day?  This question puzzled me as I looked into today’s story.  One of these two was the grandfather of the woman who married Richard Popp, who was a teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Altenburg for several years.

Richard Popp
Teacher Richard Popp

A previous post was written about Teacher Popp’s parents titled, Teacher Popp’s Pop.  Today, we discuss his wife’s family.  However, as you will find out, it’s hard to discuss her family without also including Richard’s family.

On August 9, 1942, Teacher Popp married Rose Mahnke in Sylvan Grove, Kansas.  Rose was the daughter of Martin and Martha (Jacob) Mahnke.  The Mahnkes were both from East Perry County, and Rose was born in Altenburg and baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in 1915.  Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Sylvan Grove, Kansas.  I found evidence that Teacher Popp taught school in Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois prior to his marriage, but no mention is made of him being a teacher in Kansas.  He must have had a different way to meet up with Rose.  We may find an answer by looking back one generation into Rose’s family.

Martin Mahnke’s parents were Heinrich and Martha (Popp) Mahnke.  Martha Popp was indeed in the same family tree with Teacher Popp.  Rose’s great grandparents and Richard’s grandparents were the same people.  If I have this figured out, they would have been first cousins, once removed.  It may be that Richard knew Rose through family gatherings over the years, and that may have led him to travel to Sylvan Grove to get married.

But just who is this Heinrich Mahnke?  And was he really Heinrich Mahnken?  The first record I could find of Heinrich is a confirmation record in the Concordia Lutheran Church books in Frohna for the year 1860.

Heinrich Mahnke confirmation 1860
1860 Confirmations – Concordia, Frohna

In this record, we see Heinrich’s last name spelled as Mahnken.  It is also a source that we have for giving his birthday of September 26, 1846.  The 1870 census has Heinrich living with the Robert Fiehler family in Perry County at the age of 23.

Henry Mahnke 1870 census
1870 census – Perry County, MO

In this record, we see his last name spelled as Mahnke…..with no “n” at the end.  Okay, here is where things get even more confusing.  There is another Heinrich Mahnken who was born in 1850.  This Heinrich died rather early and was buried in the Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Frohna.  Both of these Heinrichs got married, and we have records of those marriages.

First, the Heinrich born in 1846, as stated before, married Martha Popp.  Here is their marriage record.  They were married in 1875.   It is quite difficult to read.

Mahnke Popp marriage license
Mahnke/Popp marriage record

Henry’s name is in the red box.  Although much of the name is hard to determine, I think it is safe to say that the name does not have an “n” at the end.  It is Mahnke.

The other Heinrich, the one born in 1850, married Wilhelmine Hemmann at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown in 1876.  Here is their record.

Mahnken Hemmann marriage record
Mahnken/Hemmann marriage record

In this record, we can definitely see an “n” at the end of Heinrich’s name.  Although, I should be fair and say this document’s spelling may be suspect because Wilhelmine’s last name is entirely butchered.

Here’s another rub.  Our German Family Tree indicates that these two Heinrichs were sons of the same parents, Peter and Margaretha (Miesner) Mahnken.  I don’t think that is possible.

Another piece of evidence can be found in Martin Mahnke’s marriage license.

Mahnke Jacob marriage license
Mahnken/Jacob marriage license

Being a son of Heinrich and Martha, you would expect his name to be written correctly on his marriage license.  And here we see it as Mahnke……no “n”.

I have pretty much concluded that Martha Popp’s husband was Heinrich Mahnke.  Another fact has led me to this conclusion.  Here is this Heinrich’s gravestone.

Heinrich Mahnke gravestone Trinity

Although it, too, is difficult to read, there is definitely no “n” at the end of his name.  He was a Mahnke.  And as such, we have no indication in our German Family Tree who his parents were.  The census shown above indicates he was born in Hanover, so we will not find any baptism record here.

I also talked to Bernice Loebs last night.  She is a Popp descendant, and she said Heinrich’s name was Mahnke.  So there you have it.  She knows her stuff.

Now on to another puzzle.  Heinrich died in 1908 and is buried in the Trinity Lutheran Cemetery.  A portion of his gravestone is shown above.  His wife Martha, died in 1914 on July 11th from cancer.  The death record is in the Trinity books.  However, no gravestone can be found in that cemetery. does not list her at all.  I took a trip to the cemetery to look for her.  Here is what I found.

Martha Popp Mahnke gravesite Trinity
Martha Mahnke probable gravesite

Since Trinity basically buries people as they die, and this photo shows several stones that indicate people’s deaths in 1914, the place where Martha would have been buried is the open space you see here.  I wonder how many unmarked spots can be found in this cemetery.



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