Zink Surname Genealogy

Zink, with its earlier
spellings of Zinck, Zincke and Zinke, is a German-origin surname. The root here is likely to be the German word
zinke meaning a “tip,” “point,” or
“prong.” Here the name may have
developed as a nickname for someone with a singularly pointed nose. Zinken
today is German slang for a hooter. Alternatively,
the name may have derived from the personal name Sink, a Frisian form
Signand meaning “victory.”
Zink as a surname has no relationship with
zinc. This metal was not discovered and
named until after the Zink surname was in use.

Zink Resources on

Zink Ancestry

Zincke has been found in Prussia, Zinck in Denmark,
while Zinke spread across northern Germany.
Zink has become more common in Germany than Zinke, accounting
for 70% of
the 18,000 Zinks and Zinkes today. Zincke is little found now.

England. Christian Zincke from
Dresden came to London in 1706 and established himself there as the
most successful miniaturist enamel painter of his era.
His English descendant line in the 19th
century represented a varied bunch:

  • from
    a literary forger in London who ended
    up in poverty
  • to
    a plantation owner in
    Jamaica whose financial position deteriorated. His
    son was a clergyman who married well and lived a
    gentleman’s life in

America. The
surnames here have been Zink and Zinke, with Zink predominating at
around 90%
today. The early arrival point, as for
other Germans, was Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania. Gottlieb Zink arrived in
Philadelphia in 1752
and owned considerable property there by the time of the Revolutionary
War. After the war he moved to Abingdon,
Virginia where he died in 1802. His line
in America was covered in Dora Zink Kellogg’s 1933 book The
Zink Families in America

Gottlieb’s son Jacob was a Lutheran
minister who died in 1829 in Indiana; another son Daniel
Zink had four wives
. The line from
Daniel and his son Andrew led
from Virginia through Indiana and Illinois to Missouri.

Other early Zink arrivals into
Pennsylvania were:

  • Hiram
    Zink who came in 1755 from Baden and started an iron foundry, machine
    shop and
    later a gunpowder factory at Germantown, Philadelphia.
    His son Philip settled in Augusta, Virginia.
  • and Leonardt
    and his
    wife Ester who arrived sometime in the 1750’s and made their home in
    county. The family name changed to Zink
    with the next generation.

Enoch Zink moved from Bedford county, Pennsylvania to
Highland county,
Ohio in
1813. And Samuel Zink
left Pennsylvania for Ohio in 1841 and later settled in Fulton county,

Samuel Zink of Lancaster county who had
served in the War of 1812 was an early settler in Clarion county,
there around 1816. He was the father of
eleven children. Joseph
who grew
up in Clarion county had a mixed bag of jobs there.
He fought in the Civil War and subsequently moved
to Greene county, Missouri.

Elsewhere. There were two Zink arrivals
into upstate New York in the 1830’s:

  • Francis and Bridget Zink who came to
    Buffalo from Germany with their family in 1831, settling in Erie county. Francis and his son William, just three when
    they arrived, were farmers there.
  • while John and Mary Zink from the Rhineland
    Palatinate came in 1837. They initially
    settled in the Niagara region of New York state, subsequently moving to
    county and, much later with many of their children, to Monroe in
    Michigan. Starting in 1912, their
    descendants began to
    hold annual reunions.In 1844

Nicolaus Zink and his wife emigrated to Texas from
Bavaria. Three years later he founded a
new German settlement at Sisterdale on the banks of Sister Creek in
Kendall county. Many liberal Germans
were attracted there after the failure of the 1848 revolutions in

Zinke. Zinkes appear to have arrived
later in
America. They were mainly to be found in
the Upper Midwest, the largest number being in Wisconsin in the 1920
census. August Zinke
arrived in Wisconsin from
Prussia in 1866 and settled in Portage.
John Zinke, born in Limora, Wisconsin in 1866, moved with his
family to
Walsh county in North Dakota in 1882.

Ryan Zinke, who was the US Secretary of
the Interior from 2017 to 2019, had his roots in North Dakota and

The Zink name in Canada has been very much associated with the
town of Brandon in Manitoba:

  • William Zink was
    recorded there in the 1901 census.
  • William Zink and his family left Brandon for
    California in the 1920’s
  • and William Zink closed Zink’s Food Store in Brandon
    after his father’s retirement in 1980

Zink Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Zink Names

Christian Zincke established himself in
London in the early 1700’s as the most successful miniaturist enamel
painter of
his time.

Nicolaus Zink
founded a new settlement for
German colonists at Sisterdale in Texas in 1847.
Jack Zink
who died in 2005 built up a major business in Oklahoma in
the manufacture of oil and gas combustion units. He
was also well known for his involvement in
Indy car racing and was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame

Select Zinks Today

  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in Ohio)
  • 600 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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