Thursday, April 3, 2014

Menke and Related Families in Hanover, Germany

Jim Menke did extensive research of the Menke family, which he spelled out in his "Menkes of Schwagstorf" booklet. In it, he outlined the Menke family in and around Schwagstorf, Furstenau, Hanover, Germany. His was one of the first family histories that I added to my genealogy database years ago. I didn't have access to the original documentation but he provided the information he obtained from it.

During my trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I was able to look at microfilm of some of the church records that he looked at. A helpful staff member was also able to help me narrow down where families that seemed to be related to the Menkes would be from.

First, here is the baptismal record for my great-grandfather, Johan Anton "August" Menke:

Next is the marriage record for his parents, my great-great-grandparents, Johan Diederich "Dirk" Menke and Maria Elizabeth Geers:

Jim Menke had gone to the Schwagstorf area of Hanover for his research and was apparently able to look at the original church books. It appears that not all of the church books have been microfilmed. This was all I could find regarding my Menke line in Salt Lake City. Given the information in the marriage record, it appears Maria Elizabeth Geers is from the same area, which makes sense. The question then becomes, what about the Harmeyers? August Menke married Mary Harmeyer, daughter of Joseph Harmeyer and Maria Agnes Kempker. Joseph was the son of Gerhardt and Mary Elizabeth Harmeyer. Maria Agnes was the daughter of Johann Heinrich Kempker and Mary A. Nichting. I don't have documented proof of these relationships. This branch is the last line of my ancestor information that I haven't been able to document myself. For this, I'm relying on what others have passed along to me.

Here is an ancestor chart for my grandmother, Elizabeth Menke. You can see the last names of some of her ancestors are Menke, Harmeyer, Kempker, Geers and Nichting.
In this map, I've highlighted the area that we know the Menke family is from. Records are found for baptisms and marriages in Ankum and Furstenau but also a few in Bippen, Mersen and Voltlage.

Using the website , you can see the area of Germany a particular surname is found. Here are the maps of the various surnames found in my grandmother's ancestry:



von der Haar


Menke - Much more widespread than the others
but still a good concentration where the rest are found.
This is a good indication that all of these families likely are from the same area. We just need to gain access to their records.
Finally, here is a page from a district court case book from Lee County, Iowa in 1843. It shows that John Henry Kempker came before the court and petitioned for citizenship, which was granted.


  1. Is Elizabeth Joseph Menke's sister

    1. My grandmother, Elizabeth Menke Panther did have a brother named Joseph. He was born January 20, 1896 in St. Paul, Lee County, Iowa and died February 23, 1975 in Fort Madison. He first married Elizabeth Rippenkroeger and after she died in 1923, married Louise Mohrfeld.

  2. My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Menke, married Heinrich Stallbories on September 28, 1869 in St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Illinois. Any relation/information?

  3. My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Menke, married Heinrich Stallbories on September 28, 1869 in St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Illinois. Any relation/information?

    1. I do not have a Heinreich Stallbories or any similar name in my database. Do you have a birth date or parents for Elizabeth?

  4. Is this website still active? I am looking for more information about the parents of Marie Catherine Menke born 1808 in Hanover, Germany but the exact location could be a bit off. She died in Indiana and I think came overseas with her husband John Frederick Woerdeman from Oldenburg, Germany.

    1. The Menke surname is very common in the area of Hanover shown above. I looked in my database and found a Marie Catherine Menke, born in 1809 in Schwagstorf. She married a Bernard Heinrich von der Haar there and apparently never left Germany so I'm confident this is not your Maria Catherine Menke. I wish I could be of more help! You can browse my database here: