Origin and Variations of the Family Name
Although the actual origin of the family name is lost in the mists of time, it appears
that the original spelling was Meinzer, Menzer or Mentzer, and the name seems to
have meant "One Who Comes from Mainz", or a "man from Mainz". Mainz is a city
on the Rhine near Wiesbaden.. This interpretation is the source of the title of the family newsletter,
The Man from Mainz.
In Saxony, Westfalen and the Rhineland the name appears as Mainzer or
Hesse-Darmstadt it is usually Mentzer, and in the Baden-Wurttemberg
area it nearly always is listed as Meinzer or Mainzer. It doesn't
seem to appear elsewhere in Germany.
According to one old family legend, the original "Man from Mainz" was a bugler
on the stage coach from Mainz to what is now the Karlsruhe area; the graphic
you see at the top of this page, and on the
Coat of Arms (Family Crest) represents a post
horn of the type used by the buglers on the coaches in Germany.
For many years it was assumed by most researchers that Ludwig came from the
village of Neureut, now a suburb of Karlsruhe, in Baden-Wurttenburg (see the
Neureut controversy), but recent research
now points toward the village of Merchingen, in the same state, but a
little farther east. See
The REAL Ludwig Mäintzger Uncovered for details.
These are the known variant spellings of the family name:
There are undoubtedly other variations on the family name as well, especially in the
United States. In an age before universal education, often the family members
themselves had only a vague idea of how their names were spelled, and the early
census takers became quite adept at rendering the names more or less phonetically.
For a good example of this, see the 1850
It is also common that new arrivals at Ellis Island in the late 19th & early 20th
Centuries were given new surnames that were approximations of their original names,
usually based on the sound of the name. This is how the families of Samuel and Hyman
Manskirch came to carry the name "Mansker" (See the
Manskirch Manskers Page.) There may be several other
Mansker families in the US who have also derived their surname this way.
There are also a number of Minskers in the country who are not descended from
Ludwig; they also appear to have come out of Eastern Europe, expecially the area
surrounding Minsk, Russia (a "Minsker" being "One Who Comes from Minsk").
Researchers into the family name are cautioned that the name Metzger, fairly
common in Germany and German-American communities, is not a variation on
our family name; it means "butcher" in German. It is likely, however, that more than
one early census taker wrote "Metzger" on the census rolls for our family members.
Note also that the Manasco family, which appears in the records of several
southern states, is not related to the Mansker - Minsker families. Again, however, the
census taker could have spelled the family name of our relatives this way. As in
everything else in genealogy, take everything you find with a grain of salt, and
verify, verify, verify.