Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yahnke Mystery ..... (updated)

So I am a Yahnke by marriage..... my husband however ... is one by birth.

He has heard that on the Yahnke side, there is a Jewish connection ....  but it's hard to figure out when the Yahnke line abruptly ends with my husband's Great-Great Grandfather....  who was an immigrant from Prussia (Germany).

Daniel YAHNKE (end) Jahnke, Jannke

Birth 4 September 1842 in Prussia, Germany
Death 9 March 1926 in Joliet, Will, Illinois, United States

....   so, when we first go somewhere and someone has to look at something using our last name... DB says you can always tell if they are Jewish or at least have knowledge of ..... because they'll look under the letter J first...  ha ha ...

so yeah, we know that it's commonly spelled Jahnke.

This is the current timeline I have for him.

Rosa (Rose, Rosie) Lepke (end)

Birth Jun 1844 in Prussia, Germany
Death 1914 in Joliet, Will, Illinois, United States

So Daniel and Rosa had nine children....

They are on the 1880 Census (taken on June 12th) ....  in Joliet, Illinois which is where my husband grew up.  I cropped up the census so it's just their info.

Best guess is that they were living at 393 Des. Plaines Street ...  there is no street on their page, so if it's not that street it's something close since that's the one listed on the opposite page.

So Daniel is listed as head of household.  Of course.  Age 36.  He was working as a Laborer at the Rail Road.  My husband's family has a history of working at the Rail Road in the Chicago (and surrounding) areas.  He has himself listed as being from Prussia (Germany) and his parents also.

Rosa (Rosia) is 35 (which fits, 1845/1844, we have it listed as 1844) .... She is listed as a "Housekeeper" and I'm not sure if it's a "Housewife" type thing or an actual go into other's homes and cleaning up.  Regardless, that's what it says ...  also that she's from Prussia and so are HER parents.

The children listed are:  Augusta (age 6), Menia (age 4), William (age 3), Annie (age 1) and Daniel was only a month old.  (1/12) ...

So the Census has a few mistakes (or discrepancies) on it - which is just....  funny, cuz when don't they.

1: Yanica - obviously not correctly spelled.
2: Daniel is listed as 36 - which puts his birth year as 1844 (maybe 1843) ..  we have it as 1842.
3: Rosa is "Rosia"
4: Wilhelmina is listed as "Menia" which is probably her nickname.
5: "Menia" is listed as a boy .... when, she was a girl.
6: Daniel was a month old in the middle of June when the census was taken, which puts his birthday in May (which is what I have in my records) ... they have "April" written next to him though - meaning he was born in April.
7: Augusta would have been 8 years old, not 6 - based on the birth date I have.  I think the rest of the kids ages are right (or about right)

They are on the 1900 Census (taken on June 8th) ....  in Joliet, Illinois.  I cropped up the census so it's just their info.

They were living at 102 Shariden St.  They owned the home and were paying mortgage (however that's listest on the next census and not this one.)

They have the last name spelled Yahnaka on this one.

Daniel - age 54 - Sept. 1845 (it's supposed to be 1842, and he should be 56) ... he is listed as being a "Section Man" ... if I think I'm reading it right. They have him immigrating in 1874 at the age of 26.

Rose - age 55 - June 1844 ...  she is listed as to having 11 births and 10 living children....  (I had 9 children listed and there were only 6 on the census.  They have her immigrating in 1875 at the age of 25.

Daniel and Rosa had been married 27 years.

I can't read the name of the first child, but since they have birth year listed as 1870 and them being the age of 29, and being a duaghter - I can only assume it's

Augusta - age 29 - Sept. 1870 (should be 1872) -   They have her "Attending School"
William - age 22 - Dec 1877 (he's listed as 1878, perhaps he's actually 1877 because he was born so late in the year they put 1878)- I believe his occupation is listed as "Wire Mechanic"
Daniel - age 20 - May 1880 - They have him doing "Mechanics"
Martin - age 16 - April 1884 - a SOMETHING "(Alrentic?) Boiler Manager"
Henry - age 14 - June 1886 - Going to School
John - age 12 - Mar 1888 - Going to School

So the Census has a few mistakes (or discrepancies) on it - which is just....  funny, cuz when don't they.

1: Yahnaka - obviously spelled wrong.
2: Age wise - they have Daniel born in 1845 and the age of 54. (1842 is his birth year) and Rosa as 1844 (which is correct) ... but they have her as a year older.
3: Augusta wasn't born in 1870 or was 29... she was born in 1872
4: William was born in 1878.
5:  She has 10 living children but I only have 9 (total) and the only ones I have seen on census.
6: Emma would have only been about 10 but she's not listed on the census?  Did they forget her?

They are on the 1910 Census (taken on May 3rd) ....  in Joliet, Illinois.  I cropped up the census so it's just their info.

They were living at 102 Shariden St.  They owned the home and were paying mortgage.

By now (according to the census) ... Daniel and Rosa had been married 39 years.

Daniel was (listed as) 68 now.  Had him immigrating in 1872.  Also working as a Flagman (Crossing) meaning he was probably still working for the Rail Road (right?) ...

Rosie is listed as 66 and immigrating in 1873.  The interesting thing on this census is that it says that she didn't speak English, but only German.   This one also lists that 16 births and 9 living children.

Their sons John and Henry were both still living with them.  John is listed as 22 and Henry as 24.    They both have listed occupations of Wire Drawer at the Wire Mill.

So the Census has a few mistakes (or discrepancies) on it - which is just....  funny, cuz when don't they.

1: They spelled it Yonlee this time.
2: According to the other censuses - Rosa knew how to speak English, so which is right?
3: Immigrations were in 1874 & 1875 in other census ...

They are on the 1920 Census (taken on January 2nd) ....  in Joliet, Illinois.  I cropped up the census so it's just their info.

By this time, Rosa had died.  She has passed away in 1914.

Daniel was living with his youngest daughter Emma and her husband William Winckles who also came from a German heritage.

Daniel was listed at 77 (which is right)... for the first time he is NOT the Head of House - he's listed as "father-in-law" ... he is listed as immigrating in 1882 and nationalizing in 1885.  (All his children were born in Illinois, and considering some were born prior to 1882 - I doubt that info is right.  However, his Nationalization record is below! That gives the date of 1896.

William - Head of House - listed at 39, working as a Janitor at the Court House.  Both his parents were German.
Emma is listed as 29.  She's a housewife.

Rosa & Daniel's Graves ...  they are both buried in Elmhurst Cemetery in Joliet

Daniel's nationalization record - October 24, 1896.

Digging around yesterday ..... I happened to find a Passenger List that has a DAN JAHNKE listed ...  the immigration year is about right, since he immigrated (I'm pretty sure) prior to getting married to Rosa (before I thought it was after he and Rosa got married.) ...  His birth year is ABOUT right ...  and his age is about right ...  Destination is definitely right.

The actual Passenger Manifest .....

He's listed as Dan (with a period after which means - usually anyway - that it's shortened.) ... and if you look at how the "J" ... it looks like a "Y"  ... is that how it got changed from Jahnke to Yahnke.

So then I started to look around on Family Search ...  and I found this birth record.   Daniel Jannke. The birth date is what I have for him (Christening Date?) ...  and it gives parents names (possible parents.)

They also had this death information ....

And I haven't searched much for Rosa though ...    I'll definitely have to continue digging.

September 24th, 2014 Update: 

I had sent an email to someone that was suggested ... and this is what I had sent... 

Hi Brigitte, 

My name is Annissa Yahnke and I've been working on my families ancestry for awhile.... 

I have hit a brick wall with my husband's side however and it was suggested that I email you for some possible insight.  

His Great-Great Grandparents Daniel YAHNKE and his wife Rosa (Rose, Rosie) Lepke.

Daniel's infomation: Birth 4 September 1842 in Prussia, Germany
Death 9 March 1926 in Joliet, Will, Illinois, United States

Rosa's information: Birth Jun 1844 in Prussia, Germany
Death 1914 in Joliet, Will, Illinois, United States

I have them marrying in 1873 in Germany, and arriving in the States in either 1873, 1874 - their first child was born in 1875 in Illinois, US, so it had to be prior to that.

They had many children: Augusta, Wilhelmina, William, Anna (or Annie), Daniel, Martin, Henry, John, and Emily A (or Emma R) ....

Martin Yahnke is my husband's Great-Grandfather. Martin's son Clyde M, Yahnke to his son named after him (Clyde M. Yahnke) to my husband (Dennis).

There are rumors in the family there is a Jewish connection, and we're really interested in finding out if that's true or not so we really want to break down this wall. 

We know that typically it's spelled Yahnke, I did find a birth record as a possible match for Daniel - but it's got his last name as Jannke and my husband said that it got changed from something sounding similar to "Jahn-ka" 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I understand if you cannot help, but didn't want to leave this stone un-turned.  

And I got a reply from her a few days ago that was - not only a welcome surprise, but confirmed the above information I had found.  Makes me feel good!  I think it's almost safe to say I know what I'm doing!

Here is her reply:

Hi Anissa,

my husbands family is Jahnke, Jancke, Janke, etc.

That name is quite frequent all over Germany and especially the former Prussia.

My husbands family originates from some town in Brandenburg, Prussia, possibly from  a place called Neustadt/Dosse not so very far from Berlin. But we are not sure.

Between ab. 1820 and 1945 the family lived in nowadays Poland, not so very far from Lodz. This is that has been part of Poland that was Russian before WW 1. 

And here is your Daniel:

In case that this link does not work:

Daniel Jannke
bapt. 4 Sep 1842
evangelical, Battrow, Westpreußen, Preußen
Paul Jannke
Louise Kraklau

He had a win sister "Heinriette".

The place Battrow (less but 500 souls bef. WWI) today is part of Poland, 
situated near Flatow,  Polish: Złotów

one more link:,+Polen/@53.7677287,17.3315744,8z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x4703c508dde8e4d5:0xf9182cb662f232b3

Don't think that there is any Jewish connection, J...../Y..... is a very common name all over Northern Germany.

Wish you good luck with your further researches - over there are lot's of J.........

Herzliche Grüße

Although I still believe (and maybe even more now) that there IS a Jewish connection because the stories were handed down through the generations about them trying to escape some Jewish Persecution.  But that's just my feelings on it.

Now Brigitte says he had a "win" (twin) sister "Heinriette" ....

So I took a trip back to Family Search and broadened my search .... and these are the new information I found.

Paul and Louise had five children.   Daniel was the oldest, then there was a brother Johann born, then three sisters, Rosa, Henriette & Whlhelmine.  Henriette wasn't Daniel's twin, but she did die as a baby :(

We also see, Paul's parents Jacob Jahnke and Mariane Caro.   They had two children.  Paul, the oldest, and Johann.

And from there, the trail is again cold.....  for the moment.


  1. Hi,
    I have Lepke in my family line with a Jewish connection. They travelled to Australia, 1860s from Germany, but came from other areas, Poland/Czech. They converted to Christianity as many did.

  2. do you know of any Lepke's coming to Australia from Germany 1860s?

  3. Do you know if Rosa (Rose, Rosie) Lepke was Jewish?


Thanks for coming over to my side of the tree :) Comments are always welcome and appreciated!