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Streu Surname

The Streu surname (and its variant spellings) comes from the Mecklenburg-Schwerin area of northeast Germany (now Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). Although the spelling in Germany was relatively consistent as "Streu", in America, the spelling of the name has been more varied: Strey, Stray, Stroy, Struwe, etc.

1st Generation:

Johann Jochim Friedrich Streu was born circa 1803 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 1. He died on July 2, 1883 in Mankato, Blue Earth Co., Minnesota 2.

We have not yet been able to identify Johann's parents. There is a strong possibility though that he was the Johann Streu (born in January 1808), the son of Friedrich Streu and Maria Rost. The family was living in the village of Striesdorf in Mecklenburg in 1819.

Johann was a day laborer while living in Germany. He and his family apparently moved frequently in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany between the 1830s and 1850s. They eventually decided to emigrate to the United States. They left Hamburg, Germany on May 1, 1857 on the ship "Johannes", which arrived in New York City, New York, on June 20, 1857. The family immediately moved out west to Wisconsin. In 1860, they were living in Raymond, Racine Co., Wisconsin. In 1870, were living near Greenfield, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. In the early 1870s, they moved to Mankato, Blue Earth Co., Minnesota, where John's daughter Sophia was living. The burial place for John or Fredericka has not been found.

Johann married Fredericke Dorothea Dethloff circa 1833 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. She was born circa 1804 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 1. She died on March 30, 1883 in Mankato, Blue Earth Co., Minnesota 2.

She may have been Friederika Dethloff (born in December 1804), daughter of Peter and Christina Dethloff. In 1819, they were living in the village of Rostock, in Mecklenburg.

They had the following children:
1 Johann Carl Christian Streu was born on September 21, 1834 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 2. He died in 1918 in Elmwood, Cass Co., Nebraska.
He married Johanna Dorothea Kupke on September 21, 1864 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin 2. (She was born in December 1844 in Germany and died in 1905 in Elmwood, Cass Co., Nebraska.)
They had the following children:
Amelia Streu (c. 1865-???)
Emma Louise Wilhelmina Streu (1867-1882)
John C. Stroy (1868-???)
Charles Streu (1870-???)
Mary Streu (c. 1874-???)
Anna Streu (1877-???)

John apparently came by himself to America in about 1854. Within a few years, his parents and siblings joined him in America (Wisconsin). John first lived with his wife and children in Wisconsin. In the mid-1870s, they moved out west to Nebraska, where they remained.

2 Carolina Maria Sophia Streu was born on August 22, 1836 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 2. She died after 1857.
She apparently went by her middle name Maria. She accompanied her family to America in 1857, which is the last known reference to her. Since she left no further trace, the greatest likelihood is that she died young, without having married or left children.
3 Infant Streu was born and died on October 28, 1838 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.
4 Sophia Maria Christina Streu
5 Bernhard Johan Wilhelm Streu was born on September 4, 1842 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 2. He died after 1870.

He was last found living with his parents in Greenfield, Wisconsin in 1870.

6 Wilhelm Herman Ludwig Streu was born on February 24, 1846 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 2. He died after 1870.

He was last found in 1870 in Greenfield, Wisconsin; living in the household of both his parents and of his sister Sophia and her husband.

7 Louisa Wilhelmina Christiana Streu was born on February 28, 1848 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 2. She died before 1857 in Germany.

2nd Generation:

Sophia Maria Christina Streu was born on May 29, 1840 in Levkendorf, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany 3. She died on March 23, 1922 in Mankato, Blue Earth Co., Minnesota 4. She is buried in the Glenwood Cemetery, Mankato, Blue Earth Co., Minnesota.

Father: Johann Joachim Friedrich Streu
Mother: Fredericke Dorothea Dethloff

Sophia spent her earliest years in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, where the family was probably poor. In 1857, when she was 17 years old, she emigrated with her family from Germany to the United States, where they settled in Wisconsin. After moving with her family to Wisconsin, Sophia was hired out to work as a servant girl to a different farming family. There is a story that the family she worked for told her that if any Indians came by, she was to give them food. On one occasion, an Indian came by when she was alone, but before he would eat any of the food, he made her taste it first so that he would know that she was not poisoning him. In 1859, Sophia married Henry Hoffman, also a recent German emigrant, and the two began living near the village of Greenfield, in Franklin Township, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin. In 1870 or 1871, Sophia and her family moved to a farm near the city of Mankato, in Mankato Township, Blue Earth Co., Minnesota. Sophia and her husband were members of the Lutheran Church in Mankato. In 1876, after Jesse James and his gang robbed the Northfield bank in Northfield, Minnesota, they passed near Mankato on their way home to Nebraska. One of the Hoffman's hired hand vowed to kill Jesse James when they passed near the farm, but Sophia would not let him, for fear that they would kill the family. Sophia continued to live on the farm near Mankato, where her husband died in 1906. Sometime during the 1910's, she moved off the family farm and into a house in the city of Mankato. She is buried in the Glenwood Cemetery, Mankato, Minnesota.

Sophia married Johannes Heinrich Wilhelm Hoffmann on October 18, 1859 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin 5..
For information on their children, see his page.


1. Assorted US Federal Census records
2. Research of Carole Hoffman
3. Obituary of Sophia Hoffman, Mankato Free Press, March 23, 1922
4. Death certificate of Sophia Hoffman, 1922, Blue Earth Co., MN
5. Marriage certificate of Henry Hoffman and Sophia Streu, 1859, Milwaukee Co., WI