A Little Taste of Hungarian Popp

Prior to my research on this story, I had never heard of the surname, Mutzu. Nor are there many girls found in the German Family Tree who had the first or middle name, Cecilia. I did a search on the name, Cecilia, in our GFT and came up with only 32 results, and many of those were duplicates. You will read the story of Cecilia Mutzu today.

Our birthday girl for today is Marie Cecilia Popp, who was born on January 9, 1889. She went by the name Cecilia. Her parents were Peter and Theresa (Schade) Popp. Our German Family Tree lists 5 children born into this Popp family, and Cecilia was #2, but her older brother died as an infant, so Cecilia spent her childhood as the oldest child in her family. She was also the only girl. Cecilia was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg. Her baptism record is displayed here in two images.

Cecilia Popp baptism record – Immanuel, Altenburg, MO

Cecilia is one of those individuals who does not have much documentation showing her presence in Perry County. All we have is this baptism record, a confirmation record, and only one census entry. The only census in which we find Cecilia in Perry County was the one taken in 1900. She was 11 years old at the time. Her father was a photographer in Altenburg.

1900 census – Altenburg, MO

I have noticed this census entry before which shows Peter as a photographer in Altenburg. I have done some investigating prior to today for some other evidence of this business. I know that it must have been right after 1900 that Paul Lueders opened a photography studio in Frohna that became rather well known, but I found nothing about Peter Popp’s photography. I can show a photograph of Peter and Theresa Popp. I wonder if somehow Peter managed to take this photo of himself and his wife.

Peter and Theresa Popp

Cecilia would get confirmed two years after the above census was taken. Then, when we find her in the 1910 census, she is no longer living with her parents. In fact, her father had died in 1905. Perhaps his early death is the reason this photography business in not well documented in Altenburg history. The death record for Peter Popp found in the Immanuel, Altenburg books says he died from tuberculosis. Cecilia’s mother was still living in Altenburg in 1910, but Cecilia is found living in St. Louis with a Nies family and working as a servant.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

So many young women like Cecilia went to St. Louis to find work back in those days. Some of them eventually returned to Perry County, but others, like Cecilia, found a husband in St. Louis and lived there the rest of her life. We will now take a look at the man who would become her husband. His name was Joseph Mutzu, who was born in Hungary on the Ides of March, March 15, 1890. Joseph was the son of Pasku and Johanna (Alexiu) Mutzu. Both of his parents were of Hungarian descent. Joseph and his mother arrived in America in 1904 aboard the ship, Darmstadt. A later census states that his father also arrived in this country in 1904, but for some unknown reason, he is not listed as being a passenger on this ship.

Mutzu names – Darmstadt passenger list 1904

We find the small Mutzu family living in St. Louis in 1910. Joseph, at the age of 20, was a stock clerk for what was called a railing factory. His father was a butcher in a sausage factory. This census entry says the Mutzu’s were from Romania, but as near as I can tell, the place they were from in Europe was right on the border between Hungary and Romania, and that border may have changed over the years.

1910 census – St. Louis, MO

At this point, let me just mention that Cecilia’s mother died in 1915 in Altenburg. Her death certificate pictured here says she died of tuberculosis.

Theresa Popp death certificate

Joseph Mutzu married Cecilia Popp on January 8, 1916. That means this wedding took place the day before Cecilia’s 27th birthday. The only documentation for this marriage I was able to locate was in an index for articles that can be found on the website, Newspapers.com. I do not have a subscription to this service, so I cannot view this reference in the actual newspaper.

Mutzu/Popp marriage record – St. Louis newspaper

Not long after this marriage, Joseph had to complete a World War I draft registration. He listed a father, a mother, a wife, and a young child as dependents. This document also says Joseph was a machinist. I think it says his employer was Henderson & Wilkes.

Joseph Mutzu – WWI draft registration

I can only rely on information I found on Ancestry.com and census entries to say that this couple had 3 children. Two of them were born before the 1920 census. This entry says Joseph was a machinist for an iron works business.

1920 census – St. Louis, MO

The last census in which we find Cecilia was the one taken in 1930. Their 3 children, Helen, Robert, and Loretta, were all included in this entry. Joseph was called a shipping clerk for an engine works company.

1930 census – St. Louis, MO

Cecilia Mutzu died in 1933 at the age of 44. Her death certificate says she died of tuberculosis. That means she died of the same disease that caused the death of both her father and her mother.

Cecilia Mutzu death certificate

I was not able to find any documentation for it, but Joseph Mutzu got married again before the next census was taken. About all I can tell you about her was that her name was Christine Meyer, and she was born on February 9, 1887 in Germany. We find the Mutzu household in the 1940 census. The household included Joseph, his second wife, one daughter, and his 84 year-old mother. Joseph was a merchant for a brass and bronze company. Christine was a seamstress at a garment factory.

1940 census – St. Louis, MO

Joseph had a World War II draft card completed in 1942. It says he was employed by the Fulton Iron Works. Both of Joseph’s military draft forms say he was from Temesvar, Hungary. That is the fact that led me to say he was from a city that was on the border between Hungary and Romania. I’m going to go back to my teaching days and declare that Joseph’s cursive signature would get an “A” from me.

Joseph Mutzu

I found this photo of a building that may have housed the Fulton Iron Works in St. Louis. Fulton Iron Works is now found near Lemay, Missouri on the south end of St. Louis. That company still exists.

The last census we can view for the Mutzu’s was the one taken in 1950. It looks like he was still working at the Fulton Iron Works. Joseph’s 93 year-old mother was still living with him.

1950 census – St. Louis, MO

Christine Mutzu died in 1960 at the age of 73. Her death certificate is the source for about the only information we have on her.

Christine Mutzu death certificate

Joseph Mutzu died in 1977 at the age of 87. Once in a while, we find a gravestone like the one we see for this family. Joseph is buried together with both of his wives in the St. Matthew’s Cemetery in St. Louis.

Joseph, Cecilia, and Christine Mutzu gravestone – St. Matthew’s, St. Louis, MO

I had to make a new folder in our German Family Tree photo file for the name Mutzu as a result of this post. This might be the only Mutzu entry I write on this blog unless I someday write a post about one of Joseph and Cecilia’s children. I would have to live a long time in order to find enough documentation for such a story, so I doubt that is going to happen. However, maybe a change could be made to our German Family Tree and get the Mutzu surname added to that document.


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