The Lenker family belongs to a group of people from Germany, Switzerland and France who emigrated via Rotterdam, Holland to Americ during the period 1680-1776.
Numerous theories exist as to the origin of the first Lenkers in America. Some historians state that three Lenker brothers came to America from Germany. This legend probably stems from the passenger list of the Ship Leathley, which departed from Hamburg, Germany, cleared Cowes, England and arrived at the Port of Philadelphia September 19, 1753. On board were Christoffel, Friedrich Whilhelm and Frantz Heinrich Schlenker. Some claim there were five brothers and that two returned to Germany.
There are others who state the Lenkers of Upper Dauphin and Lower Northumberland County, Pennsylvania descend from a Hessian soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War and did not return to Germany at the war’s end. This theory is in error since Hessian troops were composed of unwed soldiers in their late teens or early twenties who did not arrive in America until the fall of 1776. The ancestor of the Lenker families in that area were born in the 1730′s, married in the 1750′s and fathered children prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War .
Floyd’s 1911 “Genealogical and Biographical Annals of Northumberland County” (Pa.) states the Lenkers were of Swiss ancestry.
First Generation in America…
To date the immigrant ancestor of the Lenker families in Upper Dauphin and Lower Northumberland County, Pa. is unknown; however, two possibilities exist:
1. Johannes Lingker, Port of Philadelphia, October 23, 1752, Ship Rawley.
2. Johannes Lincker, Port of Philadelphia, September 30, 1754, Ship Edinburg.
The above immigrants probably had given middle names; however, the scribes who entered their names in the ship’s log failed to record their complete names.