Select 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 of 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

Select Zink Resources on The Internet

Select 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. 

.  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 England.  
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. 

.  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 Sink and his wife Ester who arrived sometime in the 1750’s and made their home in Cumberland county.  The family name changed to Zink with the next generation.  Their grandson Enoch Zink moved from Bedford county, Pennsylvania to Highland county, Ohio in 1813.  Another descendant Samuel Zink left Pennsylvania for Ohio in 1841 and later settled in Fulton county, Illinois
Samuel Zink of Lancaster county who had served in the War of 1812 was an early settler in Clarion county, arriving there around 1816.  He was the father of eleven children.  Joseph Zink 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.

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 Erie 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 present-day Kendall county.  Many liberal Germans were attracted there after the failure of the 1848 revolutions in Europe.

.  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 Montana.

.  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.
Select Zink Miscellany

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

Select 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)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page