History of our Sanker/Zanker Family lineage in Pennsylvania


  • Over the years a significant number of people have been interested in and/or researching the Sankers. A few of these are: Bill MacKey, our Uncle Walter Sanker, our cousins, Donald Sanker and John Sanker", and presumed distant relatives James Thomas Rosenbaum and April Stralko and Don & Jeanine Hartman.
  • The data reported here is from the works of Bill and April and our uncle Walter in addition to information retrieved from the Johnstown Public Library (History of Cambria Co.), census records, and the Ebensburg Court House in Cambria Co. Bill and April's Family Tree Maker's database and Don (& Jeanine) Hartman's Pennsylavania Dutch database have provided great leads.
  • According to the Hartman's, Catherine and Peter Storm's (1829-1902) g -grandfather, Johannes Sturm emmigrated from Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany around 1750. They migrated from Frederick MD where son Peter was born in 1762 to Taneytown MD (1772-1775) to just north of the Pennsylvania line to the Conewago Settlement/ Twp after 1775. Catherine and Peter's father, John Storm (note americanization of STURM/STORM) migrated west to Cambria Co. PA in 1798/99 about the time John (Jan) Sanker was living in Adams Co. The presence of the Sankers and Sturm/ Storms at the same time in Adams Co and their later subsequent and common migration and intermarriage in Cambria Co. may be more than a coincidence. It is interesting the children of brother and sister, Catherine and Peter Storm would marry Sanker brothers of our John (Jan) Sanker, Sr. The daughter of another brother, John Storm would marry Thomas Kaylor whose grandaughter would marry a further descendant of John (Jan) Sanker, our Henry James Sanker (1892-1895). The Parrish family which Catherine Storm married into were also in Conewago Twp. Adam's Co in 1790 and migrated to Cambria Co. ahead of the Storm and Sanker families.
  • The earliest census reported Sanker is that of John (Jan) Sanker in 1840 listed in CAMBRIA CO in WASHINGTON TWP. He migrated west to Cambria Co. prior to Jan 1840 as that is when his daughter Susanna C. was born in Loretto, Cambria Co. According to info from April Stralko and Jim Bauer, there are census and orphan's court records in York Co. for Zankers as early as 1790. We feel this is more likely a misrecording as discussions with a Sharon Sanker of Missouri points to a female Sanker in Spenge, Germany in the mid 1800's and suggest a Sanker Lineage from the area.
  • There has been considerable confusion of the origins of John Jan Zanker/ Sanker. Family legend has suggested he was born in Germany and has always been "assumed" to be Europe until now. Further legend and the history of Cambria Co reports him as a farmer in Adam's Co. with little other information known. The lastest source (1999) by April Stralko has him being born in York Co. as possibly Zanker. The apparent death of John Jan Sanker's father, Anthony somtime after 1790 resulted in the orphaned children.
  • A George Sanker was listed in 1850 in BUCK CO. in MIDDLETON TWP. We do not as yet know whether George may be a brother or perhaps son of our John (Jan) Sanker or now even his brother Anthony. There is about an 11 year gap between John Jan's sons Henry (b. 1820/1) and Aloysius Sanker (b. Abt 1832). There is a DAVID SANKER listed in the 1860 census of LAWRENCE CO in UNION TWP. His connection is not known at this time.
  • Much of the data on the Sankers of Cambria Co. was obtained from the "Catholic Vital Records of Central PA" by Rev. Albert H. Ledoux which is a compilation of the church records at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Loretto, Cambria Co.
  • The families STORM/STURM, SANKER, PARRISH, ITEL, GOUSMAN, KOEHLAR/KEHLER/KAYLOR, CONRAD, SMELTZER, McQUIRE, LENTZ, DAWSON, BUCK and NAGLE all lived in Cambria Co on the summit of Cresson Mountain in the borroughs Cresson, Loretto, and Gallitzin to name a few. They were pioneer families who intermarried.
  • Others have frequently referred to Conewago as Adam's Co. prior to 1800. However, Adam's Co. was formed from York Co in 1800.

    Family Lineage

    According to April Stralko (York Co. Orphan's Court and 1790 census), Anthony Zanker/ Sanker, the father of our John (Jan) Sanker was born in Germany. He married a Sterner girl, d/o Bernard Sterner and Margaret Crait. Their Children: John (Jan) Sanker, (b. 03 June 1790, York Co.; Pa; d. 12 July 1868; Cambria Co.); Catherine Sanker, Anthony Sanker and Eve Sanker (b. 03 July 1782, PA.; d. 24 April 1867, Cambria Co.) were all presumably born in York Co. According to Sharon Sanker, who may not be a blood sanker refers to an Isabein Sanker who married a Johan Moecker in Spenge Germany in 1774. This was the time our Anthony Zanker was Abt age 10. He emigrated probably 10 years later in the 1780's. Johan Moecker took the surname of his wife due to customs and living on her property in 1774. Isabein Sanker died in 1775. Sharon's ancestors to this man came over abt 1882/83, over 100 years later fron Anthony Zanker/ Sanker. Altough Isabein Sanker may not be in our direct lineage, it suggest this town may well be the source or near to our German heritage.

      According to family legend, April Stralko, a Jim Bauer (researching the Adams line) and data from Rev Kittels "Souvenir of Loretto Centenary 1799-1899", Eve Sanker (3 Jul 1782 - 24 Apr 1867) the sister to John (Jan) Sanker married a William Adams (Abt 1752/65-1842) s/o Thomas Adams and Magdeline on 24 March 1806 in Conewago Chapel in Adams Co. Their children are: Jacob Adams (b. 12 April 1807); John Adams (b. 09 March 1809); James Adams (b. 27 May 1812; d. 23 March 1891); Mary Magdalen Adams (b. 21 October 1814; d. 29 December 1881); Thomas W. Adams (b. 06 July 1817; d. Unknown); William Adams (b. 14 January 1820, Allegheny Twp. Cambria Co.; d. 1900); Joseph Adams (b. 19 March 1822; d. 30 December 1899) and Juliana Adams (b. 26 March 1825; d. 30 October 1911).
    John (Jan) Sanker (1790/3 -1868) was more than likely born in what was than York Co. (Currently Adam's Co. in the vicinity of what later became Germany and Conewago twp in southeast Adam's Co where the STURM/STORM and Parrish families were during the same time period). He married an Ann Felix (1802-1885) and was a farmer in Adams Co. PA. Nothing has yet been found of Ann Felix. However, the 1810 census index enumerates a Francis Felix in Conewago Twp of Adams Co. (p. 136). John and Ann produced at least 10 known children of which at least the first four were born in Adams Co: Anthony Sanker (1820-1909) [the father of our next generation], John Sanker, Jr. (1822-Nov 1899) [married Elizabeth Storm], Samuel Sanker (1824-1912, Altoona) [married Elizabeth Bostick on 15 Nov 1851], Henry Sanker (1831- 1901) [married Matilda Becher? on 6 Oct 1857], Aloysius Sanker(Abt 1832 - 1863) [married Sarah Ann (Ryan?/Meloy)], Ambrose Sanker (May 1836 - aft 1912) [married Elizabeth Rudolph/Randolph on 16 Jun 1868], Susanna C. Sanker (1840 - 1865), Agnes Jane Sanker (Oct 1843- ), Elizabeth Sanker (Abt 1824 - ) [married George Gutwald]and Mary Sanker (Abt 1838 - ). According to the census of 1860, Anthony being the eldest was enumerated with his family in the house of his father, John Sr. with his mother and 3 younger siblings in the village of Loretto, PA. Also enumerated in Loretto of Allegheny Twp, PA but in different houses were John Jr., Henry and Alloysius Sanker. Anthony and John Jr. would marry cousins of the Storm family (Susan Parrish and Elizabeth Storm, respectively). John (Jan) Sanker and his wife, Ann are buried at St. Michael's in Loretto as well as most of their children.

  • Anthony Sanker, s/o John Sr, married Susanna Barbara Parrish (1-12-1827 -2-2-1875) on 28 February 1849 d/o George Parrish (1795-1837) and Catherine (Ann?) Storm/Sturm (1799-1837). They resided in Loretto of Allegheny Twp, Cambria Co. PA through 1870 and he and his mother there through 1880. They produced five daughters and three sons: Ann Catherine Sanker (1850 - ) [Married Joseph McMullen in 1894 - 5 children], Emanuel Arnold (Andrew?) Sanker (1851/2 - 1910), George Sanker (1854/5 - 1898) [the father of our next generation], Mary Regina Sanker (Oct 1856 - Feb 1935) [Single], Clara Mechthilde Sanker (Mar 1859 -1908 ) [Single], Caroline Cecilia Sanker (Jan 1861 - ) [married Michael James Bradley in 1899 - 3 children], William Thomas (or A. [see Photo at right]) Sanker (Oct 1864 - 1952) and Zita Elizabeth Sanker (Aug 1868 - May 1965) [Single].

      John Sanker Jr, brother to our Anthony married Elizabeth Storm (1829-1902), d/o Peter Storm (1798; Conewago -1849; Loretto) and Ann McConnell on 30 Apr 1850 in St Michaels, Loretto, Cambria Co. They produced eleven children: Vincent Peter Sanker (Sep 1852 - 1930), Gertrude Ann Sanker (Nov 1854-1899) [married Henry F. Itel], Andrew John Sanker (May 1857 - Jan 1893), Mary Jane "Mary Margaret in family records?" Sanker (Apr 1859 - ), Luke T. Sanker (Mar 1861 - ) [married Margaret Smeltzer (1874-1957)], Joseph Aloysius Sanker (1863 - ) [founder of SANKERTOWN in Cresson Twp. Cambria Co.in 1906], Angeline "Angela" Sanker (1865 - ), Susan Elizabeth Sanker (1867 - ), Simon Francis Sanker (Aug 1869 - ) [married Julia C. Gousman], Ella Irene Sanker (May 1871 - July1895) and Edward Sanker (1873 - ). The 1860 census reports a Catharine Storm age 26 (4 yrs younger than Elizabeth) living with John and Elizabeth in Loretto with an occupation as a Catholic Scoool Teacher. John Jr.'s death record shows he died of Stomach Cancer on 19 Nov 1899 in Allegheny Twp. His interment on 23 Nov 1899 at St Michaels in Loretto.

        Sublineage of the Central PA Sankers to Detroit, Michigan
        This line comes from Bob and Kathleen Sanker Serventi's website 'www.serventi.com'. John Jr's son, Vincent Peter Sanker married Mary Catherine Litzinger (1857-1930) of Chestsprings and resided and raised their children in Sankertown adjacent to Cresson PA. Mary was the d/o John Litzinger. Their is some speculation by Sanker descendants living in the area that two brothers were founders of Sankertown. Vincent Peter Sanker may well be the other brother of Joseph Sanker. Nine children are known: Peter Aloysius Sanker () [married Ida]; Elizabeth 'Bessy' Sanker (); Stella Sanker (); Rose Sanker (died at 36 days); Otho John 'Bill' Sanker (); Edward J. Sanker (1881-1969); Leo Vincent Sanker (1887-1963) and Harold James Sanker () [Detroit Police] and Raymond Andrew Sanker (). Vincent Peter died in Cambria Co. while his wife, Mary Litzinger died in Spangler, PA.
        Leo Vincent Sanker (1887-1963) s/o Vincent Peter and Mary (Litzinger) Sanker was born in Sankertown PA. He married Ellen Brown of Turtlecreek, PA. By 1918 they had moved from central PA to Detroit Michigan where at least four of their six children were born: Thomas Sanker (1913 - ); Beatrice Sanker (1914 - 1999); Eugene Vincent Sanker (1918-1987); Leo Edward Sanker (1921 - ); Margaret Helen Sanker (1923 - ); and Dorothy Sanker (1926 - ).
        Eugene Vincent Sanker s/o Leo Vincent and Ellen (Brown) Sanker produced Kathleen Louise Sanker (1955 - ) and Gene Richard Sanker (1953 - ). Kathleen married Robert Serventi of California.

      Henry Sanker, s/o John Sr was born in Adams Co. according to his death record. He married Matilda Becher (1839- ) and supposedly produced eight children: Christina Jane Sanker (1858 -) [married Francis Nicholas Biller], James Linus Sanker (Nov 1861- ) [married Maggie or Margaret in 1889], John Nicholas Sanker (Dec 1866- ) [supposedly married Mary Buck], Mary Catherine Sanker (Mar 1869- ), Francis H. Sanker (Feb 1872- Nov 1916), Michae Sanker (Nov 1876- ), Jerome Sanker (Abt 1880- ) and Augustine Sanker (Abt 1880- ). Henry's death record shows he died on 21 June 1901 in Cresson Twp., Cambria Co. of a RR accident. His interment on 1 July 1901 at St Michaels in Loretto.

      Samuel Sanker, s/o John Sr, married Elizabeth Bostick (1831- ) and supposedly produced six children: Ann Margaret Sanker (Jul 1853- Aug 1924) [married Thomas Trexler], Felix John Sanker (Aug 1856 - ) [married Mary Levena Little and resided in Gallitzin Bor.], Mary Elizabeth Sanker (18 Nov 1860 - ) [married Thomas Nagle], William Francis Sanker (Nov 1865- ) [married Elizabeth Urban], Benjamin Albert Sanker (Dec1868- ) [married Annie Cox] and Lovinia Sanker (Abt 1872 - ).

        Sublineage of the Central PA Sankers currently in Michigan.
        Ann Margaret Sanker married Thomas Trexler (1847-1912) on 26 Oct 1869 in Loretto. Our contact April Stralko's husband is a descendant of the Sanker/ Trexler Lineage.

    George Sanker married Sarah Gertrude Miller (1855-1898) shortly after 1880. Sarah Gertrude Miller was the d/o Corporal Thomas C. Miller (1830-1901) and Catherine McFeely (1827-1907). [Note Catherine McFeely is the d/o Bernard McFeely (1798-1873) and Mary Ellen Dawson (1793 - ) both of whom were born in Ireland. Thomas C. Millr is the s/o James Miller and Martha White of Indiana Co. PA]. George married Sarah Gertrude early in 1880 as George was listed only with his sister, Mary in the 1880 census of Cambria Co. in Gallitzin Twp. and their first child was born in 1882/83. Although their first home may well have been in Gallitzin twp., George and Sarah Gertrude moved and resided in Chestsprings of Clearfield Twp. in Cambria Co. sometime in the 1880's. They produced three children: James Sanker (Jun 188(2/3)-1969; Belfast, ME) [married Hester Newcombe in 1906 - 2 children], Oscar W. Sanker (188(5/6)-1967) [married Edna Curry - 5 children] and Henry "Harry" J. Sanker (1892 - 1956) [the father of our next generation]. According to Gertrude's death record, she died 12 Apr 1898 in Clearfield Twp of Dropsy after 4 months of illness. George and Gertrude along with her father, Thomas C. Miller and mother, Catherine (McFeely) Miller are buried St. Monica's Catholic cemetery in Chestsprings.

      Ann Catherine Sanker, d/o Anthony and Susanna, was born on 01 November 1849 in Cambria County, PA, and died 1938. She married Joseph Alexander McMullen (b. 19 August 1846 - 1913), s/o Alexander McMullen and Catherine McQuire Abt. 1894 in Cambria County. They produced five children: Martha M. McMullen (b. July 1881); Samuel F. McMullen (b. December 1882); Edna S McMullen (b. 03 May 1885); George McMullen (b. June 1889) and Walter A. McMullen (b. March 1891). [Note: Ann Catherine's younger brother's (George) home is located on McMullen Rd. She married a McMullen over ten years after her brother's marriage perhaps as a consequence of her visitations].

    Photocopy of the "St Michael's church choir" from Rev Kittels "Souvenir of Loretto Centenary 1799-1899" and found among papers at St Michaels by Rev. Albert H. Ledoux during his assistantship at St Therese'. Standing: Albert J. Noel, Lulu Bannan, John H. Little, Sophie Bengele. Sitting: Zita Sanker, William A. Sanker and Mary Bannan, organist.

    An original note written by Harold Sanker, s/o Harry and Anne, over the XMAS holidays disclosing the location of their dad's house near Ashville PA which is actually several miles north of Altoona and off of Rt 36 in Clearfield twp, Chestsprings and over the hill from St Monicas Cath Church. Harold married Rita Kettle referred to.)

    Henry "Harry" J. Sanker (Jul 1892-1956), s/o George and Gertrude, married Annie Kaylor (1893-1956), d/o Zacchary Ignatius Kaylor (1-4-1849 - 6-18-1928) (KOEHLAR, KEHLER, KAYLOR) and Ellen Parrish (1-1-1854 - 10-10-1898). [Note: Zacchary Kaylor was the second eldest of at least 12 children of Thomas Kaylor (1818-1868) and Mary Ellen Storm (1827- 1904) who married in 1846. Ellen Parrish was the d/o Edward Parrish (1822-1886) and Mary Ann O'Hara (1823-1906) who married on Feb. 11, 1847]. According to his son Walter, Henry started work with the R/R in Altoona Abt 1915-1916 abt the time he married Anna Kaylor and built his home at what is now 2802 Maple Ave in Altoona. Henry and Annie's first child, Harold Sanker [married Rita Kettle ()], was born in 1917 in Altoona. They produced six other children: Margaret Mary "Peg" Sanker (1922- ) [married John Conrad (1918- 1999); produced 12 children], Gertrude Sanker (1927-1989) [married William Neff - 4 children], Walter Zacchary Sanker (1925- ), Anna Marie Sanker (1931- ) [married William Charles Allshouse (1923-1998), s/o John Allen Allshouse (1889-1975 ) and Vernie Mae Connor (1902-1948)], Henry "Harry" Sanker (1929- ) and Gerald Sanker (1920-1987). Other surnames of the latest generation include Williamsons of MD, Harshbergers of Altoona, Allhouses of PA and DL, Woolridge, Buckson and Ebersoles of PA.

    Homestead of George Sanker and Sarah Gertrude Miller in Chestsprings, Cambria Co. according to Anna Marie Sanker Allshouse. This house is located just beyond Ashville off Rt 36 of Schoolhouse Rd north of Altoona. The address is McMullen Rd.
    Last Updated 1-17-2000
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