Uprooted: Henry John Heinz

Uprooted: Henry John Heinz

A trivial look at famous family trees.

Relishing the Past

Crack open the condiments: March is International Hamburger and Pickle Month, making this the perfect occasion to memorialize Henry John Heinz, the mogul of mustard, ketchup, relish and other tasty sandwich toppings. Born in Pittsburgh Oct. 11, 1844, Heinz began selling produce door to door when he was 8. At 25, he teamed up with a neighbor to produce horseradish, pickles, vinegar and sauerkraut. The banking panic of 1875 forced him to start over. He launched his now-famous family business that year, introducing tomato ketchup and adding new condiments over time — in fact, the company’s product line grew to include far more than the advertised “57 Varieties.” Heinz died May 14, 1919, but he didn’t leave the company in a pickle: Son Howard stepped in and took the hamburger by the buns. Our quiz lets more Heinz history out of the ketchup bottle.

1 How did Heinz describe his own ancestry?

a. “I’m a Heinz 57″

b. German

c. Polish

d. English from Worcestershire

2 Heinz’s great-grandson John Heinz III

a. became chairman of the board of Hunt’s Ketchup

b. was the first person to put ketchup on scrambled eggs

c. hated hamburgers

d. was a politician

3 Heinz’s nickname for his wife, Sarah, was

a. Baby Dill

b. Sweet Pickles

c. Sallie

d. Baby Gherkin

4 Sarah Heinz’s ancestry was

a. Irish

b. English

c. German

d. Jewish (that’s why so many Heinz products are kosher)

5 Heinz’s father was a

a. cucumber farmer

b. brickmaker

c. burger flipper at the local McDonald’s

d. tomato salesman

6 Upon marrying Sen. John Heinz III’s widow, Teresa, Sen. John Kerry allegedly said

a. “She’ll bring home the bread-and-butter pickles.”

b. “Heinz makes everything taste better.”

c. “That’s one hot cherry pepper.”

d. “She dills my pickle.”

e. none of the above

7 The 1900 census lists Heinz’s occupation as

a. pickle manufacturer

b. condiment maker

c. food distiller

8 What was the maiden name of Heinz’s mother?

a. Piccalilli

b. Kraut

c. Spears

d. Schmitt

8 Heinz died from

a. horseradish-induced heartburn

b. pneumonia

c. high blood pressure caused by excess sodium

d. vinegar poisoning

10 Heinz’s body was

a. pickled

b. buried in Grant’s tomb

c. interred in Pittsburgh’s Homewood Cemetery


1. b. Both his parents were German immigrants who arrived in the early 1840s.

2. d. He was a US senator from Pennsylvania.

3. c. Heinz’s wife was Sarah Sloan Young. She died in 1894.

4. a. Her family came from County Down, Ireland.

5. b. According to the 1860 federal census for Allegheny County, Pa.

6. e.

7. a.

8. d. Heinz’s parents were Henry Heinz and Anna Margaretta Schmitt.

9. b.

10. c.


Number of correct answers:

8-1 0 Celebrity Savvy

6-7 Notably Knowledgeable

4-5 Star Crossed

0-3 Infamously Ignorant
From the March 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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