Next to Last

Ed & Emma Meintzer
George Edward Meintzer, and his sister, Emma. Date unknown, but probably before either married. George married in 1909, Emma around 1915.

My great grandfather, Christian Meintzer, had 12 children, 9 surviving to adulthood. My grandfather, Christoph, was the youngest. The next to last child—and one of Grandpa’s two brothers—was George Edward, born in 11 July 1886. While I was seven years old when Uncle Ed (more about that later!) died, I don’t think I ever met him. From his grandchildren, though, I learned that the two brothers were very close. When Uncle Ed was ill with cancer, they remember my grandfather coming over to visit him and keep him company.

But let’s go back to the beginning. George Edward Meintzer was born 11 July 1886. His World War I¹ and World War II² registrations (filled out by him) confirm that, as well as his death certificate. For some unknown reason, the Social Security Death Index has 4 July, instead. I’m not sure whether incorrect information was submitted to them, or if someone misread/mistyped it as it was entered.

The other detail you may have noticed, is that the first draft registration lists his name as “George Edward,” but the second one has it “Edward George.” Up above I also referred to him as “Uncle Ed.” That’s the only name I ever heard, so was initially surprised to see “George” in front. His name sorts out this way:

George Edward (or just George):

  • 1917—WWI draft registration
  • 1919—daughter’s & son’s birth (twins)
  • 1920 census
  • 1930 census

Edward George (or just Edward):

  • 1900 census

    Edward Meintzer, wife Annie, and probably their oldest child, Delore. He was born in 1910, so this is 1911, perhaps? Not the best digital image.
  • 1909—marriage record
  • 1910—son’s birth
  • 1914—son’s birth
  • 1924—daughter’s birth, twin son’s death
  • 1928—daughter’s birth
  • 1940 census
  • 1942—WWII draft registration
  • 1958—daughter’s death
  • 1965—Social Security Death Index, death certificate, Find-a-Grave, and tombstone

We see him was using Edward as a primary name at least as early as age 14, but he still returned to George at times! I’ve never heard an explanation as to why he flipped his names. I do know that the other Mentzer family in the area (the ones without an “i”—we were the ones with an “i”) also had a George—a 2nd cousin to him—who was 15 years older. That’s a bit of a large gap for the two of them getting “confused” for each other. The family had been in the USA for five years, so reverting to the German tradition of using the middle name instead of the first name seems unlikely. Plus, this family didn’t really go by middle names, with the exception of their oldest daughter. Maybe he just didn’t like the name George . . .

Uncle Ed worked at the brickyard with my grandfather for a number of years, switching over to janitorial work as he aged. Or maybe the brickyard closed down (maybe I should check that!), prompting the career change?


  • 1910-1930—worked at brickyard
  • 1940-1942—janitor at school
  • 1965—brick maker (death certificate)

It’s interesting, though, that on the death certificate his son listed his dad’s occupation as brick maker! I doubt Ed had worked at that occupation for the last quarter century, yet that is how his son thought of him. I don’t have any records telling me when he retired, or if he had additional occupations later on.

His wife, Annie, had died suddenly in 1936, leaving him with at least the three youngest (all girls) at home to finish raising—the youngest one just 8 years old. He remained in the area until he passed away, almost thirty years later.

Siblings: Christoph Meintzer (Grandpa), Sophie Meintzer Kranz, and Edward Meintzer. Aunt Sophie died in 1963, so it’s before then. I’m not sure what party in whose home, though. Only one other sibling was still alive at this point.


¹”United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918″, digital image, The National Archives (, George Edward MEINTZER, serial no. 1168, order no. 95, Draft Board 1, Cook County, lllinois, citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: NARA microfilm publication M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library Roll No. 1504100, accessed 2 December 2018. Registered 5 June 1917.

²”U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942″, database, (, Edward George MEINTZER, serial no. 409, order no. not given, Draft Board 3, Cook County, Illinois; citing World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Illinois. State Headquarters ca. 1942. NARA Publication M2097, 326 rolls. NAI: 623284. The National Archives at St. Louis, Missouri. U.S.A.; accessed 2 December 2018.

2 thoughts on “Next to Last”

  1. Hi ! Some additional information about the picture of Sophie and her two brothers. The picture was taken in my parents house on Sycamore Street in Des Plaines in the living room with dining room in background. I remember that dreaded pole lamp in the corner. It must have been summer cause my grandma only wore flesh colored stockings in the summer. She wore dark ones in the winter and her arms would have been covered I believe that the year was 1956-58 because that’s when my parents bought the dining room set. Brother on right is sitting on our kitchen step stool so there must have been a large crowd at the gathering. Maybe my grandma’s birthday party?

    Liked by 1 person

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