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Impink Family Heritage

"What kind of name is 'Impink'?" "Is that Dutch? Or maybe German?" How many times have you heard that question? Perhaps the following information can shed some light on the mystery of the meaning and origin of the Impink name.

The following information is based upon a summary of the book titled "EEN SPOOR IN DE TIJD", or "A Track Through Time".

The Origin of the Impink Name
The family originates from Biemenhorst, a peasant village near Bocholt in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, not far from the border with Holland. (See map at left.) The name Impink (or Imping) means "son if Immo", also Imme or Imke, a derivative of Irminfrid. Imme is a shortened form of the Germanic Irmin-names, which mean "great" or "grand."

In the eastern part of Holland and in the Westphalia region of Germany, families traditionally took the name of the farm where they lived. The Impink name comes from the farm "Immekinck" in Biemenhorst. It's earliest recorded reference was in 1453: "Erbe Immekinck in the Kierspel Heide (a farm Immekinck in the parish of Heath) near the town of Borken." In 1498 it appears as "IJmmekinck" and "IJmkinck" in Biemenhorst. Over the years this became shortened to simply "Impink".

The First Impinks
In 1498, census data reveals the earliest recorded persons of Impink ancestry: Johann IJmekinck in Biemenhorst, Alheid IJmkinck in the Neystrate (Newstreet), Gosschalk IJmkinck in the Rauwerstrate in Bocholt, and Hinrich IJmkinck in Lyderen. In 1553, the farm was property of Prince Fuerst of Salm-Salm, and Rotger Immekinck was the tenant. Papers of the time reveal that the livestock consisted of 3 horses, 3 oxen, 5 cows, 3 dry cows, 3 goats, 8 adult and 7 young pigs, 82 sheep, and 6 bee hives. The honey was used along with water and hops for brewing a strong and popular type of beer called Met (mead).

The Ravages of War
The Biemenhorst/Münster region of Germany was often the scene of many battles during the Thirty Years War. The farm was ruined and the peasants' houses were burnt down in 1625. By 1630, Immekinck and his family, although paupers, re-establish the farm. In 1652, Rudolph Budding and Mecheld te Strote concluded a tenancy agreement with the steward of the prince of Salm-Salm for a period of 12 years. Mecheld and Rudolph then called themselves Impinck, after the Erbe Impinck (the large farm called Impinck.) In 1659, Mecheld marries her second husband, Berndt Leickink, who adopts the name Impinck. During this time, war rages on, but the Münster area is spared devastation. The farm began to flourish by 1670. However, it was not to stay so. By 1677, Impinck must deal with house taxation, several bad harvests, abandoned farms, pauper families, and some farmers who became soldiers. In 1659, his son, Rudolph, takes over the farm. Activity continues on the farm under Johann Berndt, Rudolph's grandson, until the Seven Years War breaks out in 1767 and leaves the land ruined, resulting in a famine in the region. The family is torn apart. Three of Johann Berndt's sons emigrate to a more prosperous Holland. It is from this branch that the Dutch Impinks are decended.

Coming to America
Six generations later, the Impinks come to America. Johann Jacob Impinck, his wife Johanna Epping, and their children leave Europe via Rotterdam and arrive in New York on November 10, 1847. While two daughters of Johann Jacob travel to Milwaukee, the rest of the family settle in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania where they are counted in the federal census in 1850. Reading experiences a boom at that time due to the large number of German immigrants, who find jobs in the knitting and weaving mills, and the steel works. Most decendents of Johann Jacob still live in the Reading area.

The photo on the right was taken in "Aunt Sally's Yard" circa 1936 in Reading PA. It is the earliest photographic record available of the Impinks in Reading.

Left to right: Leona Impink, Mary and Pete Faller, Mark Enzman, Lou Twardowski, Luke Impink, Helen Twardowski, Loretta Enzman, Francis Enzman.
Standing in front: Joyce Impink, Louise Impink, Gerald Impink

The Impink surname can be found in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Australia.