This year marks the 160th anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church in Chatt. The other day I came across this nice photo of the Henry and Mary (Manche) Baker family. Their families were some of the earliest members of Zion Chatt and Zion’s old records contain quite a bit of information about both the Becker and Manche families.
In the photo, seated in front: Henry & Mary (Manche) Baker. Their children, standing in back, with their married names: Anna Egger, Amelia McGough, Lula Baumgartner, Theodore W., Caroline Evans, Clara Merkle, Freda Egger.
Henry was born 13 September 1851 in Piqua, Ohio, the son of Johannes “John” and Barbara Catharina (Wiedmann) Becker. His father was from Rhein-Bavaria and his mother was from Württemberg. They married in Pennsylvania and eventually settled in Blackcreek Township in the early-mid 1850s. Back then their name was written as “Becker” in the church records.
Henry “Baker” married Anna Maria “Mary” Manche on 16 April 1874 in Van Wert County. 
Mary was the daughter of John and Barbara (Hopf) Manche and was born 7 April 1856 in Butler County, Ohio. Her parents were also immigrants, her father from Hesse-Darmstadt and her mother from Bavaria. They settled in Willshire in about 1860  and Mary’s father served in Co. B of the 62nd OVI during the Civil War. He died 15 June 1865 and is buried in Richmond National Cemetery in Virginia. 
Henry and Mary had the following children:
Wilhelm “Theodore” (1875-1932), married Mary H. Bollenbacher 
Barbara Emilie “Amelia” (1877-1950), married John McGough 
Maria Louise “Lula” (1880-1964), married Birch L. Baumgardner 
Ida Carolina “Caroline” (1882-), married Samuel L. Evans 
Anna Catharina “Anna” (1885-), married Louis S. Egger 
Clara (1890-),married Leo Merkle 
Friederike “Frieda” (1893-), married Frank T. Egger 
One of Zion’s large stained glass windows was given in memory of Henry and Mary Baker by their children. It is the beautiful south window which depicts an angel reporting Christ’s birth to the shepherds. Below the window, in the stained glass: In Memory of Father and Mother, Henry and Mary Baker. Henry and Mary passed away a couple years before the current church was built in 1916.
Becker or Baker? Zion’s records show both spellings, with Becker being the earliest. When did the family change their name from Becker to Baker? It is a little difficult to determine because the Zion’s ministers went back and forth between the two spellings. The spelling sometimes changed with the minister, but not always.
It was spelled Becker in the Familienbuch section of Zion’s records, which was said to have been written by Rev. Gackenheimer’s daughter. Gackenheimer was Zion’s first minister, serving Zion from 1855-1861.
It was recorded as Becker in the church records when Henry and Mary married.
In 1875, at son William Theodore’s baptism, the name was spelled Backer by Rev. Phillipp Schmidt, which is actually a third spelling variation of the name. William Theodore was a Baker when confirmed in 1890.
Rev. Hugo Willert recorded the name as Becker for the baptism of Barbara Emilie but she was confirmed a Baker in 1891. Maria Louise was also baptized as a Becker, possibly by an interim or neighboring minister, and was still a Becker when confirmed in 1893. Ida Caroline was baptized as Baker in 1883, possibly by Rev. F.H. Besel and confirmed as a Becker in 1896 by Rev. Johannes Vollmar.
Anna Catherine was baptized as Becker in 1884 by Rev. Karl Adam Jr. and stayed a Becker when confirmed in 1899 by Rev. August Affeld. Rev. Carl Reichert recorded the name as Baker for Clara’s baptism in 1890 but she was confirmed a Becker in 1905 by Rev. Paul Brockhaus. Friederike was baptized a Becker in 1893 by Rev. John Soller and confirmed a Baker in 1907 by Rev. George Haas.
And so it went, back and forth…
They just couldn’t seem to make up their minds. There were several different ministers during those years and there were several years, between ministers, when the church was probably served by a traveling, neighboring, or temporary minister. The names of those ministers were not always recorded so I do not know who performed some of the baptisms and confirmations. That could account for some the spelling inconsistency.
Even the family was undecided about the spelling because someone tried to change the name on the family photo shown above. Someone wrote over the surname, changing the name from Backer to Baker. Or vice versa.
The problem seemed to be mainly with the church records because all of their children’s probate marriage records recorded their name as Baker, but they were all married during a later time period.
Henry died 19 Nov 1914 and his widow Mary died 21 Apr 1915. Both names were spelled as Baker in the church records and on their tombstone.
And, just to add to the confusion, there were “Bechers” who also attended Zion Chatt, but I won’t go there today…
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), Henry Baker and Mary Menche, 30 May 1874; citing Van Wert, Ohio, marriages, p.229; from FHL microfilm 1015860.
 1870 U. S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.450B, dwelling 44, family 46, Barbara Manche; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2015); from FHL microfilm 552774, from NARA microfilm M593, roll 1275.
 U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962, John Manche; database on-line, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2015); Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, Record Group 92, NARA, College Park, Maryland.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), Theodore w. Baker and Mary H. Bollenbacher, 22 Nov 1896; citing Mercer, Ohio, marriages, p.217; from FHL microfilm 914957.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), John Mcgough and Amelia Baker, 29 Mar 1896; citing Mercer, Ohio, marriages, p.167; from FHL microfilm 914957.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), B.L. Baumgarder and Mary Louisa Baker, 11 Jan 1900; citing Mercer, Ohio, marriages, p.100; from FHL microfilm 914957.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), Samuel L. Evans and Caroline I. Baker, 1 Jan 1902; citing Mercer, Ohio, marriages, p.317; from FHL microfilm 914957.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), Louis S. Egger and Anna Baker, 23 Dec 1908; citing Mercer, Ohio, marriages, p.481; from FHL microfilm 914958.
 Marriage records of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga; Leo Merkle of Chattanooga and Clara Baker of Chattanooga, 30 Jun 1912.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 Jun 2015), Frank Egger and Freda Baker, 22 Dec 1915; citing Mercer, Ohio, marriages, p.507; from FHL microfilm 914959.