Sophia Metzner is today’s birthday girl. She was born on January 27, 1842 in Germany. Our German Family Tree states that the Metzner family came to America from Gefell, Germany. There are records indicating that there were members of the Metzner family living in Perry County, Missouri as early as 1853. Sophia was the daughter of Johann Michael and Christiane (Aloe) Metzner. We find 7 children in the Metzner family in our German Family Tree. Sophia was child #5. In the case of Sophia Metzner, the only place we find her date of birth is found in records that have to do with her death. Her death record in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown calculate her birthdate as January 27, 1842. Also, her gravestone in inscribed with that date of birth.
There are records of members of the Metzner family found in the books of both Trinity and Immanuel Lutheran Churches in Altenburg, as well as the books of Peace Lutheran Church in Friedenberg.
Now, let’s take a look at the future husband of Sophia Metzner. His name was Friedrich Gentsch, who was born on June 6, 1843 in Ronneburg, Germany. He was the son of Friedrich and Marie (Lange) Gentsch. In the case of Friedrich, I was able to find a transcription of his baptism record from the Ronneburg parish in Germany. It is displayed below.
The map below shows the close proximity of Gefell and Ronneburg in Germany.
A later 1910 census, which gives the years of a person’s immigration, says that Friedrich and his family came to America in 1853. I was unable to find a ship’s passenger list for this family on Ancestry.com.
On November 8, 1870, Friedrich Gentsch married Sophia Metzner. These two were married at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri. We can view the marriage record found in the books of that congregation.
Our German Family Tree lists 4 children born into this Gentsch family. The baptism records of all four of those children are found in the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown. Only one of their children went on to get married and raise a family. One son died at the age of 39, another daughter died at the age of 28, and one other child died at the age of 10 months. The only child that was married was their daughter, Bertha, who married Theodosius Frentzel. The story of Bertha and Theodosius was told in the post titled, Theodosius – The Eldest Frentzel.
When the 1876 Missouri state census was enumerated, we find the Gentsch family. Friedrich’s father was still alive at the time, but his mother had died in 1857.
The third child in this Gentsch family was born in the year of the above census, and he can be seen in the above entry. His name was Ernst Gentsch. One more daughter, Emma Gentsch, was born in 1878.
The Gentsch family does not show up on Ancestry.com in the 1880 census. I fully expected to find them in the long-lost 1880 census records from the Union Township that can now be viewed, but I was also unable to find this family on those census pages.
The next census in which we can find the Gentsch household was the one taken in 1900. Two of their adult children, each in their 20’s, Gotthilf and Emma, were still in their family, but each of them would die before the end of 1910. Their daughter, Bertha, would get married in 1910.
Sophia Gentsch died in 1906 at the age of 64. Her death record from the books of Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown is one of those records that states the exact age of the person who died in years, months, and days. From that, one can backtrack to find the date of birth. In this case, the birthday is determined to be January 27, 1842. That death record is displayed below.
Friedrich can still be found in the 1910 census living in the household of his daughter, Bertha, and her husband, Theodosius Frentzel. Theodosius had previously been married to Emilie Bingenheimer, but she died prior to 1910. The two Frentzel children in this census entry were children of Theodosius’s first marriage. Gotthilf Gentsch died in August of the year this census was taken.
Friedrich Gentsch died in 1917 at the age of 74. Missouri death certificates became available in 1910, so we are able to view Friedrich’s death certificate.
I find it interesting that the undertaker on the above document is T.A. Frentzel, Friedrich’s son-in-law.
Friedrich and Sophia Gentsch are buried in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery in Uniontown. You can see the birthdate of January 27, 1842 for Sophia on her gravestone.
The Metzner and Gentsch families arrived fairly early in the Perry County. In the case of today’s couple, they ended up spending most of their lives in the Uniontown area.