The Birth of a Dance Man

One of the things I have learned since moving to East Perry County is the fact that it is not exactly a hotbed for dancing.  When I listen to people tell stories of their past, I rarely hear them telling stories that took place at a dance.  There were even time periods when dancing was frowned upon around here.  So, why am I writing about a Dance Man?  It is because in the German language, the word for dance is Tanz.  Today is the birthday of Herman Tanz.

Herman was born on March 2, 1848, the son of Christian and Justine (Haselbarth) Tanz.  He was born in Germany, but there is some debate about when his family made the trip to America.  The 1900 census says Herman immigrated in 1849.  The 1910 census says 1648, which I think meant 1848.  The 1920 census says 1852.  The first census in which we can find Herman’s family was the one taken in 1860.  Herman was 12 years old.

Herman Tanz 1860 census Brazeau Township MO
1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

This entry indicates that the first two Tanz children were born in Germany.  Then, a daughter is said to have been born in Wisconsin around 1852.  Starting around 1854, the children began being born in Missouri.  The first baptism that shows up in our German Family Tree took place in 1856 at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown.  I also included the Blanken family listed above the Tanz household.  I knew that Herman was going to marry Margaretha Blanken, so I immediately thought that the 12 year-old Margaret who is shown on this page was his future wife.  I was wrong.  It certainly would have explained how Herman and Margaretha become a couple, but it is not the case.

Before I move on to his future wife, I will point out that Herman Tanz was living by himself in the 1870 census.  I had trouble finding him, but the name Tanz was often interchangeable with the name Danz, and I found him listed as Herman Dantz.

Herman Tanz 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Margaretha Blanken was born on February 8, 1856, the daughter of John Heinrich and Margarethe (Reimann) Blanken.  She was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri.  We have her baptism record.

Margaretha Blanken baptism record Concordia Frohna MO
Margaretha Blanken baptism record –  Concordia, Frohna, MO

Although the 12 year-old Margaret in the 1860 census was not this Margaretha, her mother, the  47 year-old wife of Henry Blanken in that entry, was one of the sponsors shown on the above record.

This Margaretha Blanken can be found on a different page of that 1860 census.  Her family spills over two pages, so I have to display two images.  Margaret was 4 years old.

Margaretha Blanken 1860 census Brazeau Township MO

Margaretha Blanken 1860 census 2 Brazeau Township MO
1860 census – Brazeau Township, MO

I also experienced some difficulty finding Margaretha in the 1870 census.  I think it was because her age was 10 years off.  We find her listed as still being 4 years old on this census, even though she was 14.  If you look at the ages of her older and younger siblings, you will notice that the age of 14 fits better.  I figure it was a census taker’s error.

Margaretha Blanken 1870 census Brazeau Township MO
1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

On May 11, 1875, Herman Tanz married Margaretha Blanken.  No church record can be found for that wedding, indicating that the marriage almost certainly took place at Margaretha’s church, Concordia in Frohna.  Rev. J.F. Koestering was the pastor, so this marriage took place during the “Koestering Hole”.  There are church records available from Herman’s church, Grace in Uniontown, but this marriage is not included.  We do have a civil marriage record to view, and it does list Rev. Koestering.  This marriage was likely one of the first weddings to take place in the new church sanctuary in Frohna which was dedicated at the end of 1874.

Tanz Blanken marriage record Perry County MO
Tanz/Blanken marriage record – Perry County, MO

The above document shows Margaretha’s surname as Blank.  That name was another that carried different spellings over the years…Blanken, Blank, and Blancken.

Our German Family Tree shows this family had 11 children.  However, 4 of these died as infants.  Then in 1880, we have the issue of finding this household in the missing Union Township records.  Fortunately, I know where to find these records online.  Herman’s family had two children when that census was taken.

Herman Tanz 1880 census Union Township MO
1880 census – Union Township, MO

All of the Tanz children had been born by the time the 1900 census rolled around.

Herman Tanz 1900 census Union Township MO
1900 census – Union Township, MO

Next, we can view the 1910 census which includes Herman and Margaretha.  This time some grandchildren were included in the household because their son, Theodor, had gotten married in 1905.

Herman Tanz 1910 census Union Township MO
1910 census – Union Township, MO

When the Perry County plat maps were produced in 1915, we find the Herman Tanz farm located on the road between Uniontown and Frohna, now called Highway A.

Herman Tanz land map 1915
Herman Tanz land map – 1915

The 1920 census is the last one in which we find Herman and Margaretha.  We still find them living with the Theodor Tanz family.  I am thinking that Grandma Margaretha enjoyed having so many grandchildren living with her.

Herman Tanz 1920 census Union Township MO
1920 census – Union Township, MO

Both Herman and Margaretha died in 1925.  Margaretha died in May of that year, on Cinco de Mayo, at the age of 69.  Here is her death certificate.

Margaretha Tanz death certificate
Margaretha Tanz death certificate

Herman died in October at the age of 77.  His cause of death is listed as cancer of the face and throat.  Here is his death certificate.  Because of this death certificate, several family histories on list Herman’s mother’s maiden name as Hazelbud.

Herman Tanz death certificate
Herman Tanz death certificate

Herman and Margaretha Tanz are buried together in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown, Missouri.

Herman and Margaretha Tanz gravestone Grace Uniontown MO
Herman and Margeretha Tanz gravestone – Grace, Uniontown, MO

I wonder whether the above gravestone was not produced until after Herman’s death.  I suspect that to be the case.

Telling this story certainly presented some difficulty with several census records.  There are quite a few family histories to be found for this couple on  I don’t think any of them found all the census records that I eventually found.  If some of the folks who made those family histories find this blog post, they could now go back and fill in a few holes.

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