Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

My 5th great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH was widowed on 16 February 1798.1 He was not yet 37 years old and had six children at home in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume. The children were between the ages of 10 years and 1 week. It was not surprising he married again six months after the death of his wife Theresia BRAUN.

Remacle remarries

On the 9th day of the month Fructidor in the year VI (26 August 1798), Remacle married Anne Marie WIROTH, a 32-year-old woman from Vianden.2 She was the daughter of François WIROTH and Anne Marie PETRY. Remacle and Anne Marie were married in the commune of Berg in the canton of Mersch. Colmar, where the groom lived, was part of the commune of Berg. Today the commune is known as Colmar-Berg.

Remacle was a resident of Colmar and worked as a carpenter. Anne Marie was a day laborer and lived with her parents in Vianden on the Our River, in Luxembourg’s Ardennes region.

The children of the second marriage

Their first child was born less than a year later at three in the morning on 21 July 1799 in Colmar, a daughter named Peternelle.3

Vianden – from our collection of ten framed prints of castles in Luxembourg

Less than two years later the family was living in Vianden. No records have been found which would prove Remacle and his second wife were raising his children from his first marriage. I think Remacle, Anne Marie, and their daughter Peternelle resided in Vianden without his children from the previous marriage. It must be remembered that Remacle was his parents’ youngest child. His deceased wife Theresia’s older sister Catharina BRAUN lived with her husband Franz BIVER in the BRAUN family home. Franz BIVER, by marrying into the BRAUN family, had taken over as the head of the family and likely was responsible for Remacle’s children. I will get back to this further on in this post.

“Bernadus” TRAUSCH was seen as the father of Jacob TRAUSCH born on 12 April 1801 at six in the morning to the mother Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden. The name of the father on the record is obviously an error.4 Remacle TRAUSCH was able to sign his name and the signature on this record, as well as on all birth records of his other children, were the same.

On 17 March 1803 at one in the morning a son Pierre was born to Remacle TRAUSCH and his wife Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden.5 Once again he signed with his signature.

Remacle dies in Luxembourg City

The TRAUSCH family’s sojourn in Vianden did not last long. By 21 August 1804, the family was living in Luxembourg City. On this day François WIROTH (spelled VIROTTE on the record) went to the authorities to declare the death of his brother-in-law Remacle TRAUSCH at the age of 43 years.6

Nearly two years later, Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH was still living in Luxembourg City when, on 19 July 1806, Jacob TRAUSCH, her and Remacle’s five-year-old son, died in house number 26 on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City.7

The family council gives consent for Catharina’s marriage

A few months later on 29 November 1806, Remacle’s oldest daughter from his first marriage, Catharina was married. She was only 16 years and 6 months old. The family council appeared before the justice of the peace to give consent to the marriage of the underage and orphaned daughter of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN on the 27th of the month. She married Pierre OLINGER, a 27-year-old man whose parents were also both deceased. Two of the witnesses to the marriage were François (Franz) BIVER, the bride’s maternal uncle (husband of her maternal aunt and godmother Catharina BRAUN), and Nicolas COLLIN, the bride’s maternal uncle (half brother of Theresia and Catharina BRAUN).8 These men were likely part of the “family council” which gave their consent to the marriage.

The reference to the family council at the time of Catharina’s marriage leads me to suspect Remacle’s children from his first marriage were being cared for by their maternal aunt Catharina BRAUN and her husband Franz BIVER (spelled BIWER in earlier records) in the years following his death and perhaps from the time of Theresia’s death.

Remacle’s widow has another child

On 19 September 1809 the widow DESGRANGE, a midwife, reported the birth of Pierre-Louis VIROTTE, the son of Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH (seen as VIROTTE on the record), at house number 2 in the rue St. Esprit in Luxembourg City. A father’s name was not given.9

Remacle’s oldest son marries

On 29 December 1813, Remacle and Theresia’s oldest son François “Franz” TRAUSCH married Eva MERTZ in Ettelbrück. Franz was living in Schieren which lies between Colmar-Berg and Ettelbrück. Eva was also a resident of Schieren which was part of the commune of Ettelbrück before 1850. None of the witnesses to this marriage were relatives of Franz TRAUSCH.10

Before Remacle and Theresia’s next two sons would marry, a horrific crime took place in Luxembourg City.

View of the church St. Jean in the Grund (lower part of Luxembourg City) from the guard walk of the Porte de Trèves

Death and burial records hint at a crime

As I searched for records of the children of Remacle’s second marriage I was surprised to find records of four deaths which took place in the night between 6 and 7 April 1816. Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle (now seen as Petronilla) TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH were found dead in their home in house number 23 in the rue de Trèves in Grund, the lower part of Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Michel GENERÉ, appariteur or bailiff. Anne Marie’s occupation was listed as cabarêtière (owner of a cabaret or tavern) in the city. 11

Porte de Trèves with the fortress wall in Luxembourg City

No information on the cause of death was found in the death records. As church records are now available on Matricula Online, I checked for the burial records of the family of four. I found only one sad entry.12

Imagine courtesy of Matricula Online. Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Die Septima Aprilis 1816 Anna Virotte anno aetutis quadragesimo quinto cum filia Petronillae Trausch 20 annos nata et dubbus (dubus) filiis Petro Trausch decimo quarto et Ludovico Virotte Septimo aetatis anno nocte ante Dominicam palmaram horrendo atque hucusque inaudito modo in lectibus trucidati ad supraedati postridie una sepulti fucre.

I took the Latin text apart, translating sections at a time. I then sent the image of the record, my Latin transcript (which included a few incorrect and missing words), and my English translation to my friend Linda who has helped me several times with Latin records. She confirmed my translation (below) was spot on, sent me a corrected Latin transcript (above), and the link to a magazine article which discussed this horrific crime.

On the seventh day of April 1816 Anna Virotte forty-fifth year of age and daughter Petronilla Trausch 20 years old and the victim’s sons Petro Trausch fourteen and Louis Virotte seven years of age the night before Palm Sunday in a horrible and hitherto unheard-of way were slaughtered in their beds and  buried the day following the above mentioned date.

A brief overview of the crime

Michel Engels - 17 Les portes de Trèves et de Mansfeld
Les portes de Trèves et de Mansfeld by Michel Engels [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. The scene of the crime being the building on the left below the gate.
On the night before Palm Sunday, at midnight a guard at the Porte de Trèves heard a woman’s weeping scream. Between one and two o’clock in the morning, one of the guards who were taking turns saw three men pass by. When he shouted, “Who goes there?” they replied with the password “Bourgeois!” which allowed them to pass through the gate.

At six o’clock in the morning, the milkwoman came to deliver milk to the widow TRAUSCH who lived only a few meters from the gate. The house was quiet and the front door open. As she often did, she poured the milk into a stone jar in the kitchen and went on her way.

The widow TRAUSCH was known as the Kränzercher lady. She sold Veianer Kränzercher (pastries in the form of wreaths) at the market. She also had a bad reputation as she sold drink and sexual services in the house known as “A Kränzerches” where she lived. Acquaintances knew she had plans to buy a house as she had proudly shown them the coins she’d saved from her business dealings.

At 11 o’clock the churchgoers were coming home from mass at St. Jean de Grund church. The house where widow TRAUSCH lived with her family was still quiet. This was unusual and neighbors began to gather at her door. The crowd grew. Four men entered the house and soon came out, horrified by what they had found. The widow and her three children were dead, their throats cut through.

By Monday five suspects had been taken into custody. Two were quickly released. The three who were held over for trial were Jews. News of the murders made the rounds and angry crowds insulted and threatened Jews who lived in the city. The intervention of the mayor and law enforcement prevented people from further insulting the Jews.

The trial in early September 1816 lasted several days and about one hundred witnesses were called.  Testimonies soon showed Schwartz, one of the accused, had an alibi. The Hauser brothers, the other two accused, were placed at the scene of the crime by witnesses and fresh blood had been found on the clothing of one of them. An important representative of the Jewish community testified the morality of the Hauser brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely. The anti-Semitic sentiment which prevailed in the city was not mentioned in the court records of the case.

In the end, the court came to the conclusion that Hirsch and Emmanuel Hauser were guilty and were sentenced to death by decapitation. Their appeal to the Cassation Court in Liège was denied. They were executed on a public square of the fortress city on 18 October 1816.

The article in the magazine Ons Stad is in German and gives a bit more detail.13 The court records are available to the public at the National Archives of Luxembourg.14 I have not visited the archives to view this collection of records.

Tony JUNGBLUT, author and publisher, had an interest in the judicial system and gained notoriety as a judicial chronicler. He wrote the short story “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser,” a narrative of the Trausch murders case using testimonies found in the court records. The short story was included in his 1938 book Luxemburger Pitaval, a series of criminal cases that marked the history of Luxembourg.

By searching the National Library of Luxembourg’s eluxemburgensia site, I found the story was published earlier in the weekly magazine, A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in four parts in August of 1934. It is an amazing story and worth the read if you are fluent in German.15

Life continues for Remacle’s children from his first marriage

Five months after the trial, Michel TRAUSCH, my fourth great-grandfather and the son of Remacle and his first wife Theresia, married Catharina HAMES on 17 February 1817 in Mamer. Catharina was the daughter of Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ and Johannes HAMES of Mamer and my fourth great-grandmother.16 They made their home in Mamer.

Nearly two years later, Nicolas TRAUSCH who would later be more commonly referred to as Jean Nicolas married Maria Margaritha TONTLING in Tuntange on 21 January 1819.17 They lived in Hollenfels.

I continue to seek any information on the remaining two children of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN. No marriage or death records have been found for the daughters Susanna born in 1796 and Maria born in 1798.

I was a bit uneasy about writing this story of murder, prostitution, and anti-Semitic sentiment. The fortress city of Luxembourg during this time was a multi-cultural place. People of different nationalities came to the city to trade.  The Jewish settlement had only become possible since the French Revolution in 1795. Following Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy and was under the rule of the King of Netherlands and became a member of the German Federation. The Prussia soldiers encamped in the barracks were for the most part Lutherans in a country which was predominantly Catholic.

Next week I will be tying up some of the loose ends, among others,  concerning Theresia BRAUN’s father Martin in my final post in this series.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI:

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record (bottom left page and all of right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018) and 1798 Death Record (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-645?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 9-11 of 270. 1798 Marriage Record on four pages. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XCY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 29 of 140. 1799 Birth Record (3 thermidor an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-5FN?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Vianden > Naissances 1793-1828 > image 61 of 484. 1801 Birth Record (22 germinal an IX), right page, bottom. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCWC-DG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-SPD%3A130504801%2C130707001 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  5. Ibd., Vianden > Naissances 1793-1828 > image 74 of 484. 1803 Birth Record (left page, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCWH-88?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-SPD%3A130504801%2C130707001 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1070 of 1420. 1804 (3 Fructidor XII) Death Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-W6S?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  7. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1368 of 1420. 1806 Death Record (right page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-8XD?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 28+29 of 270. 1806 Marriage Record (2 pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-L1X?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Naissances 1800 > image 910 of 1432. 1809 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCMF-NJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-RM9%3A130045801%2C132054501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Ettelbruck > Naissances 1885-1890 Mariages 1796-1844 > image 627 of 1505. 1813 Marriage Record No. 15. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X2S-MB5?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-FM9%3A129625001%2C130529102 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Luxembourg > Décès 1814 > image 274+275 of 1396. 1816 Death Records of Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH (2 pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XK9-7R8?cc=91709358&wc=9RYC-DP8%3A130045801%2C130226501 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  12. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 356-627, Luxembourg-Stadtgrund, KB-02-10, Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1808 – 1817, image 155 of 157, stamped page 26, entry in middle of right page. 1816 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/luxemburg-stadtgrund/KB-02-10/?pg=155 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  13. Renée Wagener, “Mordfall in der Festung Luxemburg ‘Ein entsetzliches Verbrechen?'”, Ons Stad 116/2017 p. 10-12,  Ville de Luxembourg, Service Communications et relations publiques. (https://onsstad.vdl.lu/fileadmin/uploads/media/ons_stad_116-2017_10-12.pdf : accessed 11 July 2019) 
  14. Archives Nationales de Luxembourg, CT-01-02-0090 Hauser Hirsch, Hauser Emmanuel, Schwartz Abraham-Jacques – Accusés de meurtre, 1816 (Dossier). (http://query.an.etat.lu/Query/detail.aspx?ID=390601 : accessed 19 August 2019) 
  15. Tony Jungblut, “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser”, published in four parts in A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte, 5 August 1934 No. 33 p. 4-7, 12 August 1934 No. 34 p. 18-20, 19 August 1934 No. 35 p. 18-19, and 26 August 1934 No. 36 p. 18-19. (https://luxemburgensia.bnl.lu/cgi/luxonline1_2.pl?action=yr&sid=azillust&year=1934 : accessed 21 August 2019). 
  16. Luxembourg Civil Records, Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1283 of 1504. 1817 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12585-51831-91?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9:130065401,130365601 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  17. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 467 of 1488. 1819 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PXQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Since I’ve spent so much time on Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia BRAUN, her parents, and her maternal grandparents, I thought it only fair to write about Remacle and his parents.

Remacle was the youngest child of Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784) and his second wife Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (1728-1786) of Mersch in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg’s Signature – “Let’s make it happen”

Part IV: Remacle TRAUSCH, the youngest son of the oldest child

Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784)

Pierre TRAUSCH, my 6th great-grandfather, was born about 1714 in Mersch. Baptismal records are not available for Mersch for the years 1696 to 1716. Pierre was the oldest known child of Martin TRAUSCH (abt. 1682-1762) and Susanna SEYWERT sive JOSTEN domo PETERS (1693-1780). [The Latin descriptives mean Susanna SEYWERT was also known as Susanna JOSTEN and came from a house called PETERS.] Baptismal records were found for seven of Pierre’s siblings born between 1718 and 1736.

1739 Marriage entry in the church register of Mersch, Luxembourg

Pierre was the first of Martin and Susanna’s children to marry in 1739. The entry in the church record for the marriage includes the names of his parents. As no baptismal record is available for Pierre, this is the first record which confirms his parents were Martin and Susanna.

Pierre married Anna Maria ADAM, the daughter of the deceased Carolus ADAM of Ansembourg, on 9 August 1739.1 The married couple would live in a house called Peters in Mersch. As I’ve determined Pierre was the oldest child of Martin and Susanna, he would inherit the family home after his parents’ death and therefore his living in the home with his parents is logical.

Pierre and Anna Maria had three children born in 17402, 17443, and 17514. No marriages or death records have been found for these children in Luxembourg. Sadly, I suspected they may have died young. Their mother Anna Maria died on 19 February 1751, three weeks after giving birth to her third child.5

Pierre was now widowed and had Jean Pierre (11), Anna Maria (7), and Jean (newborn) to care for.

Very little information has been found for these three children. I suspected they may have died young however quick online searches when this post was nearly ready to publish turned up a few interesting facts which need to be looked into.

The oldest son Jean Pierre was a priest from 26 February 1763 until 27 November 1813 (possibly his date of death). This was not sourced and needs to be researched.

The GEDCOM on Geneanet of a descendant of the second child Anna Maria TRAUSCH indicates Anna Maria married Louis ANCELON on 19 January 1769 in Habergy, today in the commune of Messancy in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium. An index to church records in Habergy includes an entry for Louis ANSLO and Anne Marie TRAUSCHT who married on the said day. The actual record, which would possibly include the names of her parents, is not online. 

Seven months after the death of his wife Anna Maria, Pierre TRAUSCH married again.

Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (c1723-1786), a bride with unknown parents

1751 Marriage Record of Pierre TRAUSCH married Maria Elisabetha WANTZ

On 28 September 1751, Pierre TRAUSCH married my 6th great-grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ.6 The parents of the bride and groom are not named in the record. It’s in Latin and needs to be translated by someone fluent in the language. My interpretation may not be correct. It would appear the couple was given a dispensation to marry as they may have been closely related, possibly first cousins. I cannot confirm they were related as the parents of the bride are unknown.

I have seen conflicting information concerning who her parents may have been in GEDCOM files of members of Luxracines on GeneaLux.Net.

Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER were having children in Ettelbrück from 1708 to 1728 with a daughter named Elisabeth born on 19 January 1723.7 I have not found a GEDCOM file which shows this young lady married.

Another couple from Reckange, Jean WANTZ and Marie Catherine MOLITOR alias ENTGES, were having children from 1724 to 1741 and had a daughter named Maria Elisabetha born 6 July 1728.8 This young lady has been seen in GEDCOM files as the wife of Pierre WEYDERT (married 29 February 1756 )9, Nicolas WELBES10, and my Pierre TRAUSCH. Pierre Weydert was probably her first husband and Nicolas Welbes her second husband however there is a conflict with the same lady also marrying Pierre Trausch. Maria Elisabetha WANTZ who married Pierre TRAUSCH in 1751 was having children (as will be seen below) from 1753 to 1761.

This is where my problem lies. I need to go through all the records of both of these WANTZ families to compare the names of godparents of the children’s children to see if any connection can be made to Pierre TRAUSCH and his wife Maria Elisabeth WANTZ.

As the marriage record indicates she was originally from Ettelbrück, I sway toward one set of parents being correct: Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER. This research and write-up will be saved for another day.

Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s children

Pierre TRAUSCH and Maria Elisabetha WANTZ had four sons all baptized in Mersch.

Their oldest son Nicolas was baptized on 27 December 175311, their second son Clemens on 16 July 175512, their third son Wilhelm on 27 March 175913, and their fourth and youngest son Remacle on 6 April 1761.14

Pierre and Maria Elisabeth also had a daughter Maria who died on 28 January 1758 at the age of one year.15 No baptismal record had been found for this child. She would have been their third born.

Interesting to note are the names of two of the godparents of the sons. Nicolas’ godfather was Nicolas WANS (sic, Nicolas’ mother’s name was spelled the same in the record) from Ettelbrück. Remacle’s godmother was Magdalena WANTZ of Reckange. Quick searches show Nicolas was the oldest son of the couple from Ettelbrück and Magdalena was the daughter of the couple from Reckange. This will be taken into consideration when the WANTZ research is done. At this time I can only speculate the two men, Jean WANTZ and Michel WANTZ, may have been closely related, possibly brothers, and one of them could have been Maria Elisabetha’s father.

Pierre TRAUSCH in the cadastre and the census

Section of the 1766 Cadastre sheet with information on the buildings of Pierre TRAUSCH

In 1766 when the cadastre and census were taken the TRAUSCH family was living in a house called Peters which included a small barn and a courtyard.16

1766 Census of the village of Mersch in the Parish of the same name with the Pierre TRAUSCH family in household 45.

Pierre TRAUSCH (about 52), a carpenter or menusier, was with his family in household number 45 in Mersch. His second wife Maria Elisabetha (in her 40s) and their sons Clemens (11), Wilhelm (7), and Remacle (5) were at home. Their son Nicolas (nearly 13) was either omitted or enumerated in another household, possibly in another village where he may have been working. The children of Pierre’s first marriage were not in the household. A manual laborer named Michel GEDERT likely was helping Pierre with the carpentry. Also in the household was Pierre’s widowed mother Susanna (73) and his youngest brother Philippe (30).17  Pierre’s father Martin had died on 22 June 1762.18 The six siblings who were born between Pierre and Philippe were not on this census. No marriages have been found for them. Their whereabouts remain a mystery.

The second son marries

Clemens was the first of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s sons to marry. He married Marie Catherine SCHMIT of Colmar on 1 March 1778.19 Her parents were not mentioned on the marriage record. However, as the SCHMIDT family of Colmar for this period has been researched, I was able to deduct who her parents were. Marie Catherine was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDISCH. She was seen with her parents on the 1766 census20 however no baptismal record has been found for her.

Clemens and Marie Catherine’s first child, Pierre TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1779 and baptized the following day. His godfather was his grandfather of the same name, Pierre TRAUSCH. His godmother was his maternal uncle Philipp SCHMIDT’s second wife Maria.21 Their second child, Maria Elisabetha was born on 25 October  1780 and baptized the following day. Her godmother was her grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ and her godfather was her grandfather Nicolas SCHMIDT.22 Two more sons were born in 178223 and 1785.24

Pierre TRAUSCH and his mother die within four years of each other

Pierre TRAUSCH, the husband of Maria Elisabeth WANTZ, died on 26 March 1784. Per the entry in the death register, he was about seventy and several years.25 Four years earlier his mother Susanna, widow of Martin TRAUSCH, had died in Mersch on 5 December 1780 supposedly at the age of 92 years.26 She was in fact only 87 years old as she was born in the Castle of Mersch on 7 February 1693.27

Two marriages within a month

Nearly two years after Pierre’s death, two of his three unmarried sons were married within a month of each other. Wilhelm married Susanne RONES on 12 December 1785 in Tuntange28 and Nicolas married Anna Maria STOLTZ on 9 January 1786 in Mersch.29

Pierre’s widow dies

Pierre’s widow and the mother of the four TRAUSCH brothers, Maria Elisabeth WANTZ died several months later on 23 April 1786.30

The youngest son marries

Remacle’s brothers were all married and both of his parents deceased when he, the youngest son of the family, married on 24 July 1787 to Theresia BRAUN.31 Remacle and Theresia were my 5th great-grandparents and the main characters in this research project.

Two sons are widowed and remarry

Clemens’ wife Maria Catherine SCHMIT died on 17 March 1792. Her age was recorded in the death register as being 43 years old and therefore born about 1749.32 Clemens remarried a short three months later on 25 June 1792 to Magdalena WALSDORF, the widow of Guillaume MAY.33 It is not known if Clemens and Magdalena had children or when and where they died.

Wilhelm’s wife Susanne RONES died 4 November 1805 at the age of 46 years.34 The marriage was childless. On 14 April 1806, Wilhelm married a second time to Barbara WALSDORF in Tuntange.35 The relation to his brother Clemens’ wife Magdalena WALSDORF is at this time unknown. Wilhelm was 47 years old and Barbara was 32 years old when they married. She gave him fours sons from 1807-1813. Wilhelm died in Hollenfels on 21 January 183136 and Barbara died almost exactly 15 years later on 22 January 1846 in Bissen.37

It is not known if Nicolas, the oldest son of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha, and his wife Anna Maria STOLTZ had children or when and where they died. If anyone has followed this family, I would appreciate hearing about them.

As previously mentioned in Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar, Remacle was widowed on 16 February 1798.38 He was left with six motherless children: Franz (10), Catharina (7), Michel (5), Nicolas (3), Susanna (1), and Maria (1 week).

What would become of Remacle and his children? The answer will have to wait until next week.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI:

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mersch > Mariages 1717-1749 > image 36 of 58. 1739 Marriage Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9SVW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQ9%3A1500963301%2C1501079882 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 76 of 280. 1740 Baptismal Record No. 39. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9SDN?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 88 of 280. 1744 Baptismal Record No. 48 (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SKD?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 114 of 280. 1751 Baptismal Record No. 43 (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9SZM?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1749-1772 > image 7 of 100. 1751 Death Record (right page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-93ML?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQW%3A1500963301%2C1500982636 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Mersch > Mariages 1749-1772 > image 8 of 88. 1751 Marriage Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-934R?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-168%3A1500963301%2C1500969860 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  7. Ibid., Ettelbruck > Baptêmes 1640-1724 > image 225 of 229. 1723 Baptismal Record (left page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-SS65?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-YWG%3A1500939401%2C1500972808 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 41 of 280. 1728 Baptismal Record (right page, first entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SLF?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Hostert > Baptêmes 1716-1778, mariages 1728-1763, 1771-1778, sépultures 1735-1760 > image 133 of 138. 1756 Marriage Record (right page, third entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-HCZY?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-T3G%3A1501211301%2C1501309062 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  10. Maria Elisabetha WANTZ and Nicolas WELBES were married before 1768 during a period where marriages for Hostert are missing. Their first known child was on 25 February 1768.
    Ibid., Hostert > Baptêmes 1716-1778, mariages 1728-1763, 1771-1778, sépultures 1735-1760 > image 88 of 138. 1768 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-HCGT?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-T3G%3A1501211301%2C1501309062 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  11. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 134 of 280. 1753 Baptismal Record No. 320 (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SDJ?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 145 of 280. 1755 Baptismal Record No. 751. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9SZ3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  13. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 175 of 280. 1759 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-93FQ?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  14. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 195 of 280. 1761 Baptismal Record (left, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-93N1?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  15. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 174 of 280. 1758 Death Record (right page, second to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-936G?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  16. Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014692, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 75 (Mersch), image 417 of 637, No. 93, Pierre Trausch. “.” 1766 cadastre sheet of Pierre Trausch of the house called Peters. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXW-1WJR-5?i=416&cat=1152016 : accessed 16 July 2019). 
  17. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film/DGS 1781981 > Film # 8182018 > Decanat de Mersch v. 2-3 > Mersch > Image 82 of 556. Pierre Trausch household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS21-FQ86-V?i=81&cat=1184675 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  18. Luxembourg Church Records, Mersch > Sépultures 1749-1772 > image 49 of 100. 1762 Death Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-933R?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQW%3A1500963301%2C1500982636 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  19. Ibid., Mersch > Mariages 1773-1797 > image 19 of 133. 1778 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-97VW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQW%3A1500963301%2C1501025684 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  20. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement, Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 152 of 618, page 143, household no. 2. Nicolas Schmid household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-9932-S?i=151&cat=1184675 : accessed 20 July 2019). 
  21. Luxembourg Church Records, Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 42 of 274. 1779 Baptismal Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9QH3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  22. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 70 of 274. 1780 Baptismal Record (right page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9Q4F?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  23. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 97 of 274. 1782 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9Q91?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  24. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 168 of 274. 1785 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9WS4?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  25. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 80 of 183. 1784 Death Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9QBK?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  26. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 45 of 183. 1780 Death Record (left page 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-97S2?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  27. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1675-1795 > image 53 of 61. 1693 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SBM?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQS%3A1500963301%2C1501073940 : accessed 11 July 2019). 
  28. Ibid., Tuntange > Mariages 1783-1796, 1808-1817 > image 7 of 30. 1785 Marriage Record (right page, top entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9WCN?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3YZ%3A1501171879%2C1501338700 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  29. Ibid., Mersch > Mariages 1773-1797 > image 69 of 133. 1786 Marriage Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-97ZM?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQW%3A1500963301%2C1501025684 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  30. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 101 of 183. 1786 Death Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9QZ5?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  31. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 52+53 of 186. 1789 Marriage Record part 1 (lower left and right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9WH2?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : 9 January 2018) and 1789 Marriage Record part 2 (upper left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9W2D?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  32. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 140 of 183. 1792 Death Record (left page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-9Q2G?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  33. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1789-1793 > image 196 of 245. 1792 Marriage Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S7C?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6X%3A1500963301%2C1501002482 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  34. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 978 of 1488. 1805 Death Record (13 Brumaire an XIV). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-GDV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 12 July 2019). 
  35. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 369+370 of 1488. 1806 Marriage Record part 1 (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-GJB?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 9 July 2019) and 1806 Marriage Record part 2 (both pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PMX?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  36. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 1152 of 1488. 1831 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-GYS?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 11 July 2019). 
  37. Ibid., Bissen > Naissances 1883-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1879 > image 1078 of 1490. 1846 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DR4S-7BV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-VZ9%3A129623501%2C129770001 : accessed 12 July 2019). 
  38. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record part 1 (bottom left page and right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018) and 1798 Death Record part 2 (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-645?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018). 

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

When my sixth great-grandmother Magdalena married Martin BRAUN on 19 April 1761 in the Capella of Berg in central Luxembourg she was seen as Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH. One of the two witnesses was Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH, likely her father.1 The ending of the surname was a red flag and suggested it may have been a maison dite or house name.

House Names and Surnames

What follows in this section is an extract from my blog post What’s the secret of “maison dite” or house names in Luxembourg records? published on 26 August 2017.

Until around 1500 the first name of a person was sufficient enough to identify ordinary people. When pleading someone’s case, it was done orally and normally in the presence of the person eliminating the confusion of identities.

The appearance of the first written documents however required additional distinction. Nicolas, therefore, became known as Nicolas de Steinfort (by his residence), Nicolas le Meunier (by his occupation, i.e. miller), or Nicolas le Petit (by a trait, i.e. small person).

When these extensions to the first names finally became family names transmitted from one generation to the next, they were not, for a long time, patronymic. In about half the cases, the children’s names came from the mother, as the rules of family succession in Luxembourg were based on primogeniture – the right of the oldest child inheriting the parental home without any distinction between males and females.

Luxembourg researchers are confronted with the phenomenon of maison dite or house names shared by all people living under one roof, regardless of their initial name received at birth.  At the time of the marriage, the spouse always acquired, whatever his sex, the name of the house into which he entered. Thus, each couple had only one and the same surname which was transmitted to all their children.

In the course of the eighteenth century when Luxembourg was under Austrian rule, the civil authorities imposed a contrary law, that each individual should keep his birth name – it could no longer be changed during the course of his life, notably at the time of marriage. Each legitimate child inherited his father’s surname.

During the long transition, the coexistence of the two rules and practices, totally opposite, constituted a complication which was the source of errors. The children of one and the same couple sometimes obtained different surnames. The second spouse of a widow or widower may have been known by the surname his spouse had previously taken from his first conjugal partner.

Priests were aware of the problem of the double and triple surnames of their parishioners. Some were careful to note more than one name. The different surnames of one and the same person were juxtaposed and linked together by Latin words: alias (otherwise called), vulgo (commonly called), modo (otherwise), sive and aut (or), dicta (said). Sometimes the correct connection with previous generations can be determined by useful references such as ex domo (from the house) or in domo (in the house). House names were also mentioned in the parish records using the term in aedibus (in house) followed by the name.

Our genealogical research may suffer from the rivalry of these two incompatible rules but I’m finding them very useful.

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

When her daughters Catharina BRAUN and Therese BRAUN were born in 1765 and 1766 Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH (the surname seen on her marriage record) was seen as SCHMIDT on their baptismal records. After losing her first husband Martin BRAUN in 1766, she married Michel COLLING a month later. When she had children with Michel from 1768 to 1775 she was still seen as Magdalena SCHMIDT even though their marriage record had Magdalena BRAUN as her name. The records for these events were cited in my previous post.

My theory at this point was:

  • SCHNEIDISCH, used at the time of Magdalena’s first marriage, was a maison dite or house name
  • her father must have been a SCHMIDT as she used this name when having children
  • her mother was possibly a SCHNEIDERS and likely the oldest child of a couple who went by the name SCHNEIDERS or lived in a house known as Schneidisch or Schneidesch.

Searching for records to prove the theory

Colmar was a part of the parish of Bissen in Luxembourg. As Magdalena lived in Colmar, I checked for marriages in the parish of Bissen for SCHMIDT, SCHNEIDERS, and variations of these names. This was an easy task as I have access to Luxracines‘ database (members only) for marriages prior to 1800 in Luxembourg.

The database was populated using the  Tables des mariages 1700-1798 (index organisée par l’époux/l’épouse), a card index of marriages performed in parishes of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg before 1800. The microfilm images of these cards are available on FamilySearch in their catalog. I would have had to browse the images of the index cards for Bissen if I weren’t a member of Luxracines. If you are interested in why these marriage index cards were created and by whom, please check out this post: Using the Back Door at FamilySearch for Missing Records.

I did not find a marriage for a SCHMIDT groom and a SCHNEIDERS bride. I searched for marriages in Bissen without a surname which generated a complete list of all marriages in the parish. There are no marriage records for the period from 1721 to 1749. On FamilySearch, I found marriages and deaths for the years 1721-1749 are missing for Bissen as well as baptisms from 1723 to July 1738. It is important to know when records are missing and how to find substitutes for them.

Baptismal records were used as substitutes for a marriage record

Magdalena married Martin BRAUN in 1761 which would indicate she was born 1743 or earlier, assuming she was 18 years of age or older. As a substitute for the missing marriage record for a SCHMIDT groom and a SCHNEIDERS bride, I searched for any children born to a couple with the SCHMIDT and/or SCHNEIDERS surnames. Magdalena’s estimated year of birth was used as a starting point.

As I searched the baptismal records I found there were three couples using these surnames and having children around the time Magdalena may have been born. The couples found were:

  • Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and wife Catharina
  • Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina
  • Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS

Taken out of context this would look like three couples but I will show they were only one couple.

These are the baptismal records found:

25 January 1741: Joes son of Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and his wife Catharina2
4 September 1743: Maria Magdalena daughter of Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and his wife Catharina3
23 January 1746: Henricus son of Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina4
25 July 1748: Martinus son of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS5

The children were born between 1741 and 1748. No children were found prior to 1741. As noted previously, baptismal records are only available from July 1738 for Bissen.

As seen in my previous post, Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN (daughter of Magdalena) and gave his consent to her marriage in 1786. As he was taking care of family business in 1786, I assumed he was the oldest son of the SCHMIDT-SCHNEIDERS couple I was interested in.

Proof: Philipp SCHMIDT was a son of Nicolas SCHMIDT

The 1766 census and cadastre de Marie-Thérèse confirmed my assumption. On the census, Nicolas SCHMIT, a farrier (maréchal), is seen with the following household.

1766 Luxembourg Census of Colmar in the parish of Bissen for the household of Nicolas Schmid or Schmit

In the column on the far right, there is a 2 indicating there were two married couples in the household. The couples were: Nicolas SCHMID and his wife Catherine as well as Philipp SCHMID and his wife Therese. The three young boys (all under 14 years of age) in the household were children of the second couple (baptismal records were found). Mathias WAGNER, Jean MARX, and Elisabeth FRABRITIUS were also in the household and possibly servants as the men were listed as domestics.6

One more person was in the household. Marie Catherine SCHMID, in the 14 years or older category, was born before 1752 (1766 age 14+). She was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS and would marry Clemens TRAUSCH in 1778. No baptismal record was found for her. The marriage record does not mention the names of her parents. However, baptismal records of her first two children will show the connection in my next post. (Marie Catherine was my 6th great-grandaunt and Clemens was my 5th great-granduncle.)

A section of the 1766 cadastre sheet found for Philipus Schmit mentions he was the son of his father Nicolas Schmit.

A second record was found connecting Philipp and Nicolas. Although the handwriting on the document (click on link to see the entire sheet) is hard to read, the cadastre of Marie-Thérèse dated 31 July 1766, includes the land worked by Philipp SCHMIT and mentions he lived in a building with his father Nicolas SCHMIT.7

I believe my 6th great-grandmother Magdalena was Maria Magdalena SCHNEIDERS born in 1743 to Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina SCHNEIDERS. First, this daughter was born in 1743 making her  18 years old in 1861 when Magdalena married Martin BRAUN. Second, Philipp SCHMID(T) who was found to be the son of the same couple would later be named as the guardian of Magdalena’s daughter Catherine when she married in 1786. Thirdly, there were no other SCHMIDT or SCHNEIDERS families in the area during this time period.

Going back another generation

I also searched the marriage database for SCHNEIDERS’ marriages which would point to Magdalena’s maternal grandparents, parents of Catharina SCHNEIDERS. Five marriages for persons with the SCHNEIDERS surname were found in Bissen. A groom in 1695 (from Colmar) as well as four brides: 1699 (from Bövingen), 1704 (from Colmar), 1706 (from Wiltz), and 1717 (from Colmar). The groom and the two brides from Colmar looked promising.

I first looked into the 1695 marriage of Johann Adam SCHNEIDERS and Margarita EICHHORNS. They were the parents of two children: Catherine born 13 April 1697 and Johann born 29 November 1701. At first, I thought Catherine would be a good candidate for the wife of Nicolas SCHMIDT. However she would have been 51 years old by the time the last SCHMIDT child was born in 1748 which seemed very unlikely.

I then searched for children of the two SCHNEIDERS brides who married in 1704 and 1717.

Elisabeth SCHNEIDERS married Nicolas HANSEN on 9 November 1717; a son Johann HANSEN was baptized on 21 June 1719 in Berg, a neighboring village of Colmar. No other children were found as the baptismal records are missing from 1723 to July 1738. As the couple lived in Berg and not Colmar, I considered the possibility of the Elisabeth being related but likely not the mother of Catherine who married Nicolas SCHMIDT.

On 16 November 1704, Marie SCHNEIDERS married Philipp HIRTZ.8 Baptisms were found for two children. A daughter Catharina SCHNEIDERS was born on 24 March 17119 to Philipp SCHNEIDERS and his wife Maria. A son Johann Conrad HIRTZ was born on 27 April 171710 to Philipp HIRTZ and wife Maria both of Colmar. The godmother of this child was Elisabeth SCHNEIDERS of Colmar, likely the woman who would marry Nicolas HANSEN later in the same year.

In 1719 Philipp HIRTZ was a witness at a marriage in Bissen.11 His name was written Phil. HIRTZ sive SCHNEIDISCH – his surname was linked to his house name by the Latin term sive meaning or. This shows Philipp was known by both names and most likely the father of both Catharina SCHNEIDERS and Johann Conrad HIRTZ, i.e. their parents were Philipp and Maria with the surname SCHNEIDERS being used in 1711 and HIRTZ in 1717.

The son Johann Conrad married on 10 January 1741 in Belgium.12 His marriage record indicates his father Philipp HIRTZ was deceased at the time of the marriage. Philipp died before 1741. He may have been living when his daughter Catherine named her first known child Philipp. If a baptismal record had survived for this child, I would not be surprised to see Philipp HIRTZ listed as the godfather of Philipp SCHMIDT.

A final record confirms the HIRTZ-SCHNEIDERS connection

While writing this post and reviewing the records, I noticed I’d overlooked something when reading the baptismal record of Henricus, the child of Catherine and Nicolas SCHMIDT, who was born in 1746.

1746 Baptismal Record of Henricus a son of Nicolas Schmit and Catharine Hirtz, a legitimate married couple of Colmar.

When I first read the record above, I thought the mother’s first name was at the end of the second line and continued on the third line. The priest appears to have run out of ink while making this entry. What I didn’t notice was the name in the third line was HIRTZ and not the ending of Catharine (-rine with a squiggle).

I did not plan on proving the maternal grandparents of my fifth great-grandmother Theresia BRAUN (aka COLLING) when I began to write about her and her husband Remacle TRAUSCH. The research took on a life of its own as I went through the church records of Bissen – several times!

In the fourth post of this series, Remacle TRAUSCH’s parents and siblings will be discussed.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI:

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 13 of 34. 1761 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 68 of 162. 1741 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQ52?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 79 of 162. 1743 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd enry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 93 of 162. 1746 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQZX?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 106 of 162. 1748 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQCT?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : 19 July 2019). 
  6. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 152 of 618, page 143, household no. 2. “.” Nicolas Schmid household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-9932-S?i=151&cat=1184675 : accessed 20 July 2019). 
  7. Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014724, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 175 (Berg, Colmar), 276 image of 676, Sheet No. 34, Philipus Schmit. 1766 cadastre sheet of Philipus Schmit with mention of father Nicolas Schmit.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSX4-B3T8-C?i=275&cat=1152016 : accessed 21 July 2019). 
  8. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 156 of 162. 1704 Marriage Record (right page, last entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQQ1?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 23 July 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 40 of 162. 1711 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQXR?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 23 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 54 of 162. 1717 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQV2?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 23 July 2019). 
  11. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 162 of 162. 1719 Marriage Record (left page, 4th entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQ9L?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 21 July 2019). 
  12. Paroisse de Selange, Province de Luxembourg, Belgique, Registres paroissiaux, 1665-1807 (images), FamilySearch (Microfilm produit de l’original dans Archives de l’Etat, Arlon.), Film #616783, DGS #8190977, image 273 of 396. 1741 Marriage Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSL6-HSZZ-S?i=272&cat=93009 : accessed 21 July 2019). 

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

As seen in my previous post, my fifth great-grandparents Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798) were married in the church of Bissen in Luxembourg on 4 July 1787. They had six children before Theresia died in 1798 at the age of 31 years. The youngest of the six motherless children was only 8 days old and the oldest 10 years old.

When Remacle and Theresia married, Theresia’s parents were seen as Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.

When her children were baptized her name was listed as Theresia COLLING (or variations of this name) on four of the church records. One child’s record had BRONGERS, a variation of BRAUNERS, and another had BRAUN. At the time of death, her name was given as Theresia BRAUN.

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also known as Theresia COLLING?

To answer this question I paid close attention to all names mentioned in birth, marriage, and death records of persons associated with Theresia and her family. For easier reading, I’ve used the COLLING spelling throughout this post except for one instance in which it was spelled COLLIN.

A thread woven through the records

A guardian, Franz BIWER, had signed the 1787 marriage record of Remacle and Theresia as discussed in the previous post. Franz was the godfather of Theresia and Remacle’s first child François TRAUSCH.  Franz was also described as her brother-in-law when her death was reported by him, her husband Remacle, and a neighbor in 1798.

Who was Franz BIWER?

1786 Marriage Index Card with parish register number and pages the record can be found.

A marriage was found for Franz BIWER and Catharina BRAUN, daughter of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.1 They were married on 11 December 1786 in Bissen about seven months before Remacle and Theresia were married. Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN and gave his consent to the marriage. Witnesses to the marriage were Clemens TRAUSCH and Peter COLLING, both married. Clemens TRAUSCH, the brother of Remacle, was married to Catharina SCHMIT of Colmar. Philippe SCHMIT was likely a relative of the deceased mother of the bride. This will be discussed further in my next post.

Catharina and Theresia were sisters as Franz BIWER had been named as the brother-in-law of Theresia BRAUN when she died and the names of the parents of both girls on their marriage records were the same.

The parents of Catharina and Theresia

A marriage record was found for the widower Martin BRAUN of Berg and Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar. They married 19 April 1761 in the Berg chapel in the parish of Bissen. Witnesses were Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar and Joannes CONRATH of Berg.2 The possibility of Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH being the father of the bride will be discussed in a later post.

1761 Marriage Index Card with parish register number and pages the record can be found.

Baptismal records of the parish of Bissen were searched. Only two children were found to have a father named Martin BRAUN after the marriage date in 1761. Catharina was born 11 April 17653 and Theresia was born 3 August 17664, both in Colmar. The mother on both records was listed as Magdalena SCHMIDT (spelled SCHMIT on the records).

As no other children were found, the death entries were searched. Martin BRAUN of Colmar died 17 February 1766.5 This was six months before the birth of Theresia.

Magdalena SCHMIDT, the widow remarries

A death record for Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a married woman about 40 years old, was found. She died on 22 January 1782 and was buried the following day.6 If this lady was the widow of Martin BRAUN, she must have married again.

No marriage was found for Magdalena SCHMIDT or Magdalena SCHNEIDERS in the marriage records of Bissen between 1766 and 1782.

1766 Marriage Index Card with parish register number and pages the record can be found.

A marriage was found on 19 March 1766, only a month after the death of Martin BRAUN, for Magdalena BRAUN and Michel COLLIN(G).  Witnesses to the marriage were Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar and Franz FRISCH of Leydenbach.7 Could the witness Philippe SCHMIDT likely be the same person as the guardian seen at the time of Catharina’s marriage?

The children from the second marriage

Baptismal records were found for four children born to Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT – not Magdalena BRAUN. A son Michel was born 15 February 17688, a son Nicolas on 5 November 17699, a daughter Catharina on 18 June 177210, and a daughter Elisabetha on 20 January 1775.11 The mother’s surname was spelled SCHMIT, SCHMITT, and SCHMIDT on these records.

Michel COLLING died on 8 October 1782 in Colmar.12 This was nine months after Magdalena SCHMIDT. He was in his fifties. Baptismal records are missing in Bissen for the years 1721 to 1733. His parents are at this time unknown.

Records were found for three of the four children of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT after their baptisms. Michel their first child died at the age of 23 years in 1792. His parents were listed as Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT.13

Their second son Nicolas was living in the Franz BIWER home on 25 February 1807 when Franz and Catharina’s youngest child was born. Nicolas witnessed her birth record. His age was given as 33 years although he would have been 37 at the time.14 A few months earlier he had been named as a 37 years old witness and the uncle of the bride when Catharina TRAUSCH married on 29 November 1806.15 The bride was the daughter of Theresia BRAUN and Remacle TRAUSCH. No further record has been found for Nicolas.

Their daughter Catharina who was born in 1772 produced a few more records. She had an illegitimate daughter named Maria in 1797. Maria’s birth took place in the family home and was reported by the midwife as well as Franz BIWER and a neighbor. Catharina, the mother of the child, was described as being the daughter of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a deceased married couple who had resided in a house called Braumes.16

Five years later Catharina married. There are discrepancies in the marriage record. Marie Catherine COLLING, daughter of Michel COLLING and Catherine SCHMITT, born on 18 June 1772 in Colmar married Nicolas DIDESCH, son of Philippe DIDESCH and Marie WEBER. The date of birth is a match for Catharina COLLING but this is the first time she was seen as Marie Catherine. Another error is her mother’s name which should have been Magdalena and not Catherine. Franz BIWER was one of the four witnesses on the marriage record.17 No known children were born to this marriage.

Franz BIWER, the husband of Catharina BRAUN, died in 1808 in Colmar in his residence, a house called Braumes.18 This confirms the family home was passed on to Catharina BRAUN, the oldest child of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.

Catharina COLLING’s illegitimate daughter Maria died at the age of 19 on 14 June 1817 in Colmar. The informant for her death was Nicolas DIDESCH, described as the father of the deceased. The deceased’s name was listed only as Maria, without a surname. Infant naturel (child born out of wedlock) was written just above her name.19

Nicolas DIDESCH died in 1844 and was identified as the husband of Catharina COLLING.20 Catharina died in 1853. Her death was reported by Mathias BIWER, the youngest son of FRANZ BIWER and Catharina BRAUN.21

Reviewing the findings

The noticeable reoccurrence of Franz BIWER‘s name, a thread woven through the records, led me to a hypothesis of why Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING.

  • Magdalena SCHMIDT (also known as SCHNEIDISCH) was a young girl, barely 18 years old when she married the older widowed Martin BRAUN in 1761.
  • She gave him a daughter Catharina in 1765 and was pregnant with Theresia when he died in 1766.
  • She then married Michel COLLING a month later. Catharina was only 11 months old and Theresia was born five months after her mother remarried. Michel was their step-father and only father they knew.
  • Magdalena had four children with Michel between 1768 and 1775.
  • Both Magdalena and Michel died in 1782 leaving these orphans: Catharina BRAUN (16), Theresa BRAUN (15), and their half-siblings Michel (13), Nicolas (12), and Catharina COLLING (9). No trace of the youngest half-sibling Elisabeth COLLING (7) has been found and it is possible she died before her parents.
  • The guardian of the orphans was likely Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar who was seen as the tutor or guardian of Catharina BRAUN in 1786 when she married.
  • After Catharina married, her husband Franz BIWER became the head of the family and guardian of his wife’s sister and half-siblings.
  • As the oldest child of Magdalena SCHMIDT and Martin BRAUN, Catharina and her husband lived in the house known as Braumes.
  • Nicolas COLLING, the second son of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT, was named in the 1806 marriage record of Catharina TRAUSCH as her uncle, i.e. brother of her mother Theresia BRAUN.

At this point, I was convinced Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING as she was the step-daughter of Michel COLLING and raised by him and her mother from birth.

The pieces of the puzzle fit and Franz BIWER‘s presence in the records is the glue which holds it together. Missing is a record which would prove Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH who married Martin BRAUN is the same person as Magdalena BRAUN who married Michel COLLING. Or a record showing the BRAUN girls were raised by Michel COLLING.

Proof for the hypothesis

Michel and Magdalena chose the perfect time in the history of Luxembourg to marry. In 1766 Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg including Luxembourg, Belgium, and part of the Netherlands.

1766 Census of the Village of Colmar in the Parish of Bissen with the household of Michel Colling

Michel COLLING was found in the village of Colmar in the Parish of Bissen as the head of household #7. He was a farmer. A total of eight persons were in his household including his wife Magdalena seen here with his surname COLLING and two young girls named Catherine and Therese BRAUN.22 It must be noted that on this census the married women, for the most part, were enumerated with their husband’s surname.

This 1766 census listing and the records previously mentioned are proof the daughters Magdalena SCHMIDT (also seen as SCHNEIDISCH) had with Martin BRAUN were raised by her and Michel COLLING and could explain Theresia’s using both surnames: BRAUN and COLLING.

A final piece of evidence

1811 Marriage Record of Pierre Matter and Suzanne Biwer

Theresia’s sister Catharina BRAUN was also seen with the COLLING surname when several of her children were born. As I cast the net out further, I found the 1811 marriage record23 of Catharina’s second daughter Susanna (b. 1789) which includes this statement: “le nom de Collin ayant été changé et rectifié en celui de Braun par jugement du tribunal de premier instance de l’arrondisement de Luxembourg en date du 31 January 1809“.

( the name of Collin having been changed and rectified in that of Braun by judgment of the court of first instance of the district of Luxembourg on January 31, 1809 )

Either after the death of Catharina’s husband Franz BIWER in 1808 or when their oldest daughter Marie gathered supporting documentation for her marriage in March 1809, the discrepancy in the name of the mother was noticed and had to be rectified by court order. When Susanna married in 1811 this was mentioned in the marriage record (above).

Any more questions?

At this point, I’d like to answer a question I’m sure many of you had while reading this post. Why would a widow who was three months pregnant marry so soon after the death of her husband?

When a man with small children was widowed he would usually have a relative come into the home to help with the children. If there were no relatives available he would need to have a woman live in the home. As this would not be proper, a marriage took place soon after the man was widowed.

I have always thought women did not remarry in the first year of widowhood to avoid any paternity issues in case the widow was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death. In Magdalena’s case, I believe her first husband farmed leased land of the lord of Berg in the village of Colmar. To keep the family income she married Michel COLLING who took over this lease. Evidence of this was found in the 1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse and will be discussed in a later post.

In the next post, I will explain why Theresia’s mother Magdalena was also using two surnames, SCHNEIDISCH and SCHMIDT, and how this helped me to determine who her parents and grandparents were.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI:

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Mariages 1779-1791, sépultures 1779-1791 > image 61 of 91. 1786 Marriage Record (bottom left and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q7SM?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPJ%3A1500938201%2C1501129408 : accessed 16 July 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 13 of 34. 1761 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 42 of 79. 1765 Baptismal Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-Q3K8?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 44 of 79. 1766 Baptismal Record (right, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQ3G?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 29 of 34. 1766 Death Record (right page, 7th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ4S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1779-1784, mariages 1779-1784, sépultures 1779-1784 > image 43 of 68. 1782 Death Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQJ6?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPN%3A1500938201%2C1500938202 : 9 January 2015),. 
  7. Ibid., Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 15 of 34. 1766 Marriage Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQ9S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 48 of 79; paroisses, Luxembourg (parishes, Luxembourg).
    . 1768 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-QQ97?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 51 of 79. 1769 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q323?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 58 of 79. 1772 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-Q35S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  11. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 63 of 79. 1775 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q3BH?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1779-1784, mariages 1779-1784, sépultures 1779-1784 > image 44 of 68. 1782 Death Record (right page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-Q79W?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPN%3A1500938201%2C1500938202 : 9 January 2015). 
  13. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 159 of 186. 1792 Death Record (right page, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9457?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 20 July 2019). 
  14. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 92 of 140. 1807 Birth Record (lower left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-V5Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 26 July 2019). 
  15. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 28 of 270. 1806 Marriage Record (lower right and next page upper left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-L1X?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  16. Ibid., Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 9+10 of 140. 1797 Birth Record (3 brumaire an VI). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-JCQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  17. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 20 of 270. 1803 (19 nivôse an XI) Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-5L8?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  18. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 54 of 167. 1808 Death Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XHD?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 18 July 2019). 
  19. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 105 of 167. 1817 Death Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-5J6?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  20. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1831-1858 > image 73 of 160. 1844 Death Record No. 12. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-X23?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6F%3A129623401%2C129651101 : accessed 18 July 2019). 
  21. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1831-1858 > image 112 of 160. 1851 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XG8?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6F%3A129623401%2C129651101 : accessed 18 July 2019). 
  22. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 153 of 618, page 144, household no. 7. Michel Colling household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-993P-7?i=152&cat=1184675 : accessed 15 July 2019). 
  23. Luxembourg Civil Records, Bourscheid > Naissances 1872-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 > image 523 of 1447. 1811 Marriage Record No. 1 (part 1) and (part 2). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR89-YH7?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-C68%3A129628601%2C129997101 and https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR8S-M5Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-C68%3A129628601%2C129997101 : accessed 28 July 2019) 

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798) were a challenge to research. When I wrote about their son Michel in 52 Ancestors: #47 Michel Trausch and Catharina Hames of Mamer, I didn’t know anything about Michel and Catharina’s parents other than the names found in their 1787 marriage record.

Remacle and Theresia, my fifth great-grandparents and my children’s sixth, were ancestors who lived in Luxembourg. As I reviewed the records I’d found prior to writing about their son, I thought this would be straightforward. However, inconsistencies were found in the story I was seeing in their records and timeline. This led to further research. With each new record, I found myself asking more questions.

I believe I am now at a point where I can tell their story – in several parts.

Part I: The marriage of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN

On  23 July 1787 the banns were published in Colmar and Mersch for the marriage between Remacle TRAUSCH, son of Peter TRAUSCH and Elisabeth CARMES, both deceased and from Mersch, and Theresia BRAUNERS, daughter of Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.

1787 Marriage Publication and Record of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUNERS

The following day Remacle and Theresia were married in Bissen. Present as witnesses were Johann SCHILTZ and Remacle’s brother Nicolas TRAUSCH. The marriage record was signed by the groom, the two witnesses, and Franz BIWER tutor. The bride could not write and left her mark.1

I would like to make four points concerning the information found in this marriage record:

  1. The name of the mother of the groom was not correct. A record will be presented to prove this in part IV.
  2. The surname of the bride and her father was a variation of the name BRAUN.
  3. Franz BIWER was not mentioned in the record, however, he signed as a guardian. He was the brother-in-law of the bride, Theresia.
  4. The groom signed his name. This will be important in later years.

The children of Remacle and Theresia

Remacle was 26 years old when he married Theresia who was only 20. She was with child when they married. Less than six months later, on 3 January 1788 around noon, Theresia gave birth to their son Franz TRAUSCH. He was baptized the same day in the church of Bissen with Franz BIWER of Colmar and Susanna KLEIN of Hollenfels as his godparents. His mother’s name on the record was Theresia COLLING.2

On 29 May 1790 at ten in the evening, Catharina TRAUSCH was born in Colmar. She was baptized the following day in Bissen. Her godparents were Catharina SCHMIT, wife of Clemens TRAUSCH of Mersch, and Nicolas SCHMIT of Colmar. Once again the mother of the child was recorded as Theresia COLLING.3

My fourth great-grandfather Michel TRAUSCH was born on 9 May 1792 at ten in the evening in Colmar. He was baptized the following day in the church in Bissen with godparents being Michel WALZING of Hollenfels and Anna Maria STOLZ, wife of Nicolas TRAUSCH of Mersch. His mother’s name was written, Theresia COLLIN.4

In May 1794 Nicolas TRAUSCH was born to Remacle and Theresia in Colmar. He was baptized in Bissen. His godparents were Nicolas MORBUS and Catharina COLLIN, both single and from Colmar. The corners of the register may have been eaten by mice and parts of the entry for this child are missing.5 In 1813-1814 when Nicolas later served in Napoleon’s army6 and in 1819 when he married his date of birth would be seen as 11 May 1794.7 The mother’s name was seen as Theresa BRONGERS. Braun is German for brown and in Luxembourgish this is brong. As the surname BRAUN was also seen as BRAUNERS, BRONGERS is likely another variation of the name.

1794 Baptismal Record of Nicolas Trausch with partly missing text.

Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 13 April 1796 at six in the evening. She was baptized the following day in the church of Bissen. Her godparents were Susanna SINNER of Berg and Matthias SCHMIT of Colmar, both single. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia CHOLLINGE.8

On 8 February 1798 at one in the afternoon the last child of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN was born in Colmar. Their daughter Maria was baptized in Bissen the following day. Her godparents were Maria NEU and Dominique MEDER were both from Ettelbrück. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia BRAUN.9

The death of Theresia BRAUN

On 16 February 1798, eight days after the birth of Maria, Theresia died at ten in the evening. Her husband Remacle TRAUSCH, her brother-in-law Franz BIWER, and a neighbor named Mathieu NICKELS reported the death of Theresia BRAUN. Remacle and Theresia were living in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume, were she died. The civil servant went with the three witnesses to the home to confirm the death of the deceased. The witnesses and the civil servant signed the death record.10

On all of the above mentioned baptismal records, Remacle TRAUSCH signed his name. The same signature as seen on his marriage record and the death record of Theresia BRAUN, further evidence his wife Theresia was known as BRAUN as well as COLLING.

I will discuss the mystery of Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia’s use of the COLLING name in my next post.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI:

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Mariages 1779-1791, sépultures 1779-1791 > image 65 of 91. 1787 Marriage Record (p.120+121). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-Q784?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPJ%3A1500938201%2C1501129408 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 60 of 186. 1788 Baptismal Record (right, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9WZ9?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 105 of 186. 1790 Baptismal Record (left, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9W9Z?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 146 of 186. 1792 Baptismal Record part 1 (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-94K3?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1794-1805, confirmations 1803 > image 6 of 219. 1794 Baptismal Record (lower left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-94PN?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMQ%3A1500938201%2C1500969294 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  6. Matricules Napoléoniens 1802-1815 (index and images), Mémoire des hommes, Registres de matricules de l’armée Napoléonienne (garde impériale et de l’infanterie de ligne) pour la période 1802-1815. (Entry point for database https://fr.geneawiki.com/index.php/Matricules_Napol%C3%A9oniens_1802-1815/Mode_op%C3%A9ratoire), Number/Source: GR 21 YC 755, 103e regiment d’infanterie de ligne,28 juillet 1813-8 janvier 1814 (matricules 9594 à 11388), Page: 128, Matricule: 10341. (https://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/fr/ark:/40699/e0052ab334d79f0f/52ab334f4505b : accessed 2019). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 467 of 1488. 1819 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PXQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  8. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1794-1805, confirmations 1803 > image 43 of 219. 1796 Baptismal Record (right bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-94ZM?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMQ%3A1500938201%2C1500969294 : 15 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1794-1805, confirmations 1803 > image 90 of 219. 1798 Baptismal Record (lower left and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9WRS?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMQ%3A1500938201%2C1500969294 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  10. Luxembourg Civil Records, Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record part 1 (bottom left page and all of right page) and 1798 Death Record part 2 (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018). 

Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ and Johannes HAMES of Mamer

Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ (1755-1836)

On 29 October 1755 twin girls were born in Luxembourg in the town of Septfontaines.1 Maria Catherina and Agnes were the daughters of Nicolas HEITZ and Anna Catharina RONAS. Agnes was my fifth great-grandmother and her parents my sixth great-grandparents.

1755 Baptismal Records of Maria Catharina BOUR and Agnes BOUR

In Maria Catharina’s baptismal record the priest gave her parents’ names as Nicolai BOUR alias HEITZ and Anna Catharina RONAS. In Agnes’ record, he wrote Nicolai HEITZ and Anna Catharina BOUR alias RONAS. The difference in how the names are listed is due to the use of the house name BOUR. In the first record, it’s associated with the father while in the second it’s associated with the mother.

The twins were the first children of Anna Catharina RONAS and Nicolas HEITZ who married on 6 February 1755.2 However, these girls were not Anna Catharina’s first children. She was the widow of Dominique MAMER with whom she had eight children. Dominique died on 20 May 1753 in Septfontaines.3 Anna Catharina and her first husband’s house name was BOUR. Her second husband Nicolas HEITZ would also be known by the same house name (BOUR alias HEITZ or HEITZ domo BOUR) in later records.

A view of the castle of Septfontaines

Following the births of the twins, Anna Catharina had four more children with Nicolas. In all, she had a dozen children between 1741 and 1762.

In 1766 Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg. This included Luxembourg, along with Belgium, a part of the Netherlands.

The household of Nicolas HEITZ in Septfontaines in the 1766 census.

Nicolas HEITZ was found on the 1766 census with his wife Anna Catharina, her two sons Antoine and Dominique MAMER from her first marriage, and their daughters Agnes, Maria Catharina, and Marie HEITZ.4 They were living in Septfontaines in the Bourhouse near the pond.  A complete history of the house can be found in a book on the house and family history of Septfontaines for the years 1654-1985.5 Anna Catharina’s father Leonardus RONAS, a stonemason and builder, was mentioned as early as 1713 in a Septfontaines record.6

This line is of special interest to me as Agnes HEITZ and her mother Anna Catharina RONAS are my matrilineal ancestors. The continuation of my mitochondrial DNA line is stuck at this point as the name of the wife of Leonardus RONAS is unknown to me at this time.

Johannes HAMES (c1756-1826)

Town sign of Schoenfels (Schëndels in Luxembourgish) with a partial view of the church in the distance.

On 15 October 1755 Jacob HAMES of Schoenfels and Magdalena MATHIEU of Septfontaines were married in the chapel of Schoenfels Castle.7 They were my sixth great-grandparents.

Schoenfels Castle in the village of Schoenfels in the Mamer Valley between Kopstal and Mersch

Jacob and Magdalena would make their home in Mamer from at least 1759. The baptismal dates and godparents of nine of their children born between 1759 and 1776 are recorded in the alphabetical family group register of births/baptisms and marriages for Mamer.8 Actual baptismal records for this time period are missing.

Two pages out of the Family Register of the Paris of Mamer with the Hames-Mathieu and Hames-Heitz families

Their oldest son Johannes born after their marriage in 1755 and before 1759 appears to have been added as an afterthought in the entry but without a baptismal/birth date. Following Jacob and Magdalena’s family group there is an entry for my fifth great-grandfather Johannes, his wife, and their children. In Latin the compiler added filius praedictorum conjugum, indicating Johannes was the son of the couple in the previous entry.

Although my fourth great-grandfather Michel TRAUSCH indicated his father-in-law Johannes HAMES was born in Mamer when he reported his death in 1826, I think it unlikely. Baptismal records for Septfontaines, where his mother hailed, and Mersch (the parish Schoenfels was part of), where his father was from, have been checked without avail. Could his parents have been on the move after the marriage and before they settled in Mamer?

As Jacob and Magdalena were having children in Mamer, their household on the census would include their oldest son Johannes as well as Nicolas, Catherine, Willibrod, and Anton who were all born before 1766. The last two have been found in records after 1766. Unfortunately, I have not been unable to locate the Mamer census for 1766 in the browse-only collection on FamilySearch. As I understand Mamer was part of the Decanat Mersch which I have looked through several times.

Johannes and Agnes likely met as children

Although the 1766 listing for the HAMES family in Mamer wasn’t found, Johannes HAMES’ maternal grandmother was. Marie Jeanne ENDRÉ, the mother of Magdalena MATHIEU and the widow of Mathias MATHIEU, was living with her son Jean MATHIEU in Septfontaines next door to Nicolas HEITZ and Anna Catharina RONAS.

This means my fifth great-grandmother Agnes HEITZ was living next door to the grandmother of her future husband Johannes HAMES and they likely knew each other as children.

An aside concerning Marie Jeanne ENDRÉ

Johannes HAMES’ grandmother Marie Jeanne ENDRÉ came from Marienthal to Septfontaines in 1722 when she married Mathias MATHIEU alias BODEN. Their first child’s godmother was Ursula de Manteville, a religious lady from the convent of Marienthal. At that time, Marie-Catherine de Manteville was the prioress of the convent.

Former Abbey Marienthal

Marie Jeanne’s parents are at this time unknown. Could this connection to the convent, founded in the 13th century for daughters of nobility, mean she was of nobility, a convert, or only a servant? Will further research lead to records with her parents’ names?

Agnes and Johannes marry in 1785

1785 Marriage Record of “Joannes Hames” and “Agnes Heutz”

Agnes HEITZ married Johannes HAMES on 18 January 1785 in Mamer.9 Two weeks short of their first wedding anniversary their first child was born followed by five others in ten years.

The children of Johannes and Agnes

Willibrodus was born 4 January 1786. He was baptized the following day with Willibrod HAMES of Mamer and Catharina TRAUSCH, wife of Anton MANGEL of the Koerich quarry, being named as his godparents.10 Willibrodus died less than a month later on 30 January.11

Susanne was born 28 December 1786 at 6 o’clock in the morning. She was baptized the same day with Susanna MULLER, the wife of Wilhelm MAMER of Septfontaines, and Anton HAMES of Mamer serving as her godparents.12

Catharina was born 16 May 1789 and baptized the following day. Her godparents were Catharina HAMES and Joannes GOEDERS both of Mamer.13

Antonius was born 22 December 1790 at 2 o’clock in the morning and baptized the same day. His godparents were Anton MAMER of the Koerich quarry and Maria HINTGEN, wife of Nicolas KNEPPER of Mamer.14 Antonius died at the age of two years on 20 December 1792.15

Petrus was born 14 September 1792 and baptized the same day in the presence of his godparents Peter HEBER of Mamer and Maria BRAUSCH, wife of Willibrod HAMES of Bertrange.16 Petrus died at the age of a year on 10 October 1793.17

Baltasar was born 29 January 1795. He was baptized the same day with Baltasar WAGENER and Catharina FREYMAN both of Mamer being his godparents.18

Only the girls survived to marry

Susanne and Catharina grew up with their little brother Baltasar. Sadly, he died at the age of nearly 19 years on 4 January 1814 in Mamer.19

A year later on 11 January 1815, my 4th great-grand aunt Susanne married Michel KOLBACH, the half-brother of my 3rd great-grandfather Johannes FRANTZ. Michel was the son of my 4th great-grandmother Susanne KIEFFER (1754-1808) and her first husband Michel KOLBACH (1748-1796). The groom’s parents were both deceased. The bride’s parents, as well as two of her paternal uncles, were present at the marriage.20

The connections between the Hames, Trausch, and Kolbach families

Catharina, my fourth-great-grandmother, likely lived alone with her parents for two years following her sister’s marriage. Like her sister Susanne, she married a man named Michel whose parents were both deceased. Michel TRAUSCH, son of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN (also seen as COLLING), married Catharina HAMES on 18 February 1817. Her parents Johannes and Agnes were present at the marriage as well as her brother-in-law Michel KOLBACH.21:

The family grows as grandchildren are born

Susanne gave Agnes and Johannes six grandchildren between 1816 and 1827, five granddaughters and a grandson. The two youngest granddaughters did not live past the age of 2 and 4 years. The four older grandchildren all married and continued the KOLBACH line.

Catharina gave Agnes and Johannes seven grandchildren between 1818 and 1829. Six granddaughters and a grandson. The oldest and the youngest died as infants. The grandson was last seen in 1855 with his parents – no trace of him has been found thereafter. The three oldest granddaughters married and had children. The youngest granddaughter never married and died at the age of 73 years in 1900.

Johannes and Agnes lived long lives

Johannes HAMES did not live to see the births of his three youngest grandchildren. He died on 13 May 1826 in Mamer at two o’clock in the morning at the age of 71 years. His death was reported by his son-in-law Michel TRAUSCH.22

Agnes HEITZ lived another ten years dying on 23 February 1836 in Mamer at four in the afternoon at the age of 80 years. Her death was also reported by her son-in-law Michel TRAUSCH.23 She was survived by her two daughters, their husbands, and nine grandchildren.

Susanne24 and her husband Michel KOLBACH25 died within a month of each other in 1855 at the ages of 68 and 70. Catharina lived until the age of 75 dying in 1864.26 Her widower Michel TRAUSCH died four years later in 1869.27

I would like to end this post with a very special thank you to my husband for the wonderful photographs he took last week. He planned his 140 kilometer bike ride around the towns where my HEITZ, RONAS, HAMES, and MATTHIEU families lived in the 1700s.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Septfontaines > Baptêmes 1735-1797, confirmations 1774-1791, mariages 1738-1797, sépultures 1738-1788 > image 34 of 208. 1755 baptismal records for twins Agnes and Maria Catharina, 3rd and 4th entries on left page. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32463-3785-56?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-4WR:1501152901,1501459884 : accessed 7 June 2015). 
  2. ibid., Septfontaines > Baptêmes 1735-1797, confirmations 1774-1791, mariages 1738-1797, sépultures 1738-1788 > image 155 of 208. 1755 Marriage Record, 1st entry on left page. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32463-3700-90?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-4WR:1501152901,1501459884 : accessed 7 June 2015). 
  3. Ibid., Septfontaines > Baptêmes 1735-1797, confirmations 1774-1791, mariages 1738-1797, sépultures 1738-1788 > image 194 of 208. 1753 Death Record (left page entry for 20 May 1753). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32463-4937-58?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-4WR:1501152901,1501459884 : accessed 7 June 2015). 
  4. Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Film/DGS 1781981 > Film # 8182018 > Decanat de Mersch v. 2-3 > Septfontaines (paroisse de Septfontaines) > Image 328 of 556. Hietz family including Mamer step-sons. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS21-FQ85-S?i=327&cat=1184675 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  5. Haus- und Familienchronik Simmern 1654-1985, herausgegeben anlässlich des 75. Stiftungsfestes der Feuerwehr Simmern und des Kantonalverbandes Capellen (unter der Schirmherrschaft der Gemeindeverwaltung Simmern), page 75, Nr. 41a. 
  6. Ibid., page 15. 
  7. Luxembourg Church Records, Mersch > Mariages 1749-1772 > image 19 of 88. 1755 Marriage Record (left page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-938P?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-168%3A1500963301%2C1500969860 : acccessed 26 June 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes 1718-1940, familles alphabétique > image 102 of 375. Jacob Hames and Magdalena Mathieu family group information with 10 children, p. 193-194. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32402-4-51?cc=2037955 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 65 of 168. 1785 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32401-17714-18?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G:1500941501,1500913302 : accessed 6 June 2015). 
  10. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 70 of 168. 1786 Baptismal Record (right, 1st entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-92HN?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 77 of 168. 1786 Death Record (right, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-92Q2?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 73 of 168. 1786 Baptismal Record (right, last entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9KF7?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 22 December 2017). 
  13. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 102 of 168. 1789 Baptismal Record (left, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-SPR?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  14. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 114 of 168. 1790 Baptismal Record (left, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-SKW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  15. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 149 of 168. 1792 Death Record (left, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-SN1?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  16. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 139 of 168. 1792 Baptismal Record (bottom left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-SJV?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  17. Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 168 of 168. 1793 Death Record (left, 2nd entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-SXT?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6G%3A1500941501%2C1500913302 : accessed 5 January 2018). 
  18. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 356-443, Mamer, KB-01, Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1790 – 1804, page 56, image 30, right page, last entry. 1795 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/mamer/KB-01/?pg=30 : accessed 14 May 2019). 
  19. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 644 of 1497. 1814 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6XPQ-DVK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-VZ9%3A130065401%2C130130201 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  20. Ibid., Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1259 of 1504. 1815 Marriage Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61F9-R26?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9%3A130065401%2C130365601 : accessed 8 October 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1283 of 1504. 1817 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12585-51831-91?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9:130065401,130365601 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  22. Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 770 of 1497. 1826 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6XPQ-639?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-VZ9%3A130065401%2C130130201 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  23. Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 874 of 1497. 1836 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6XPQ-X8M?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-VZ9%3A130065401%2C130130201 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  24. Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 1119 of 1497. 1855 Death Record No. 15. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6XPQ-X88?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-VZ9%3A130065401%2C130130201 : accessed 22 December 2017). 
  25. Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 1118 of 1497. 1855 Death Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6XPQ-XXV?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-VZ9%3A130065401%2C130130201 : accessed 22 December 2017). 
  26. Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 1250 of 1497. 1864 Death Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12143-121075-9?cc=1709358 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  27. Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 1336 of 1497. 1869 Death Record No. 34. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12143-119820-91?cc=1709358 : accessed 22 August 2011). 

Proving the True Identity of Jean Baptiste BREGER 1738-1805

The steeple of the Saint Michael’s Church in Luxembourg City is in the upper right quadrant of the featured image.

There is a reason why we look at the entire family group including grandparents and grandchildren when trying to solve a genealogy problem.

Adding new ancestors to the family tree

My fifth great-grandmother, Margretha BREGER’s baptismal record1 was found the day before I wrote 52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen, a post about my fourth great-grandparents. Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER were the parents of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS and my fifth great-grandparents.

The status of this branch of the family tree in January 2018.

With this find, I was able to add the names of her parents to my family tree. The next step was finding a marriage record for Jean Baptiste and Susanne, my 6th great-grandparents.

1758 Marriage Index Card for Brigert-Mertens couple

The marriage index card for the 1758 marriage of Jean Baptiste BRIGERT and Susanna MERTENS gave the parents of the bride and groom.2 The information was verified in the actual entry for the marriage in the church records of St. Jean-du-Grund.3

1758 marriage entry in church records for Jean Baptiste Brigert (parents: Michaelis Brigert p.m. et Maria Joanna Hackenberger) and Susanne Mertens (parents: Theodori Mertens et Joanna Bevinger p.m.). Note: p.m. means deceased.

The bride’s parents, Theodore MERTENS and Jeanne BEVING,  and maternal grandparents, Nicolas BEVING and Anne Marie KURTZ, were proven by accessing records found using A Hidden Index for Luxembourg City’s Parishes and Garrison. The groom’s line was a bit more complicated.

The BRIGERT-HACKENBERGER family group

I used different spellings of the surnames of Michel BRIGERT and Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER to search for a marriage record in the Marriage Index Database for Luxembourg for the years 1610-1797 but without any success.

I utilized the index I’d found for the parishes in Luxembourg City to find baptisms of children with the surname BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, BREDER, and BREGER.

For the period 1725 to 1736, I found three baptismal records for children born to a couple with the same surnames as the parents of Johann Baptiste. However, the first name of the father of the children was Caspar or Gaspar and not Michel.

1725 Baptismal Record of Jean Adam BREYER

On 15 May 1725, an illegitimate male child was baptized Joannes Adamus (Jean Adam). His parents were Caspar BREYER, a soldier, and Joanna HACKENBERG. His godparents were Jean Adam WEBER and Elisabetha RECKIN. The entry was followed by an annotation made at a later date. It stated the child was legitimized with the subsequent marriage of Gaspar BREYER and Joanna HACKENBERGER.4

1733 Baptismal Record of Elisabeth BRYER (sic)

On 1 May 1733, Elisabetha the legitimate daughter of Gaspar BREYER and Johannata HACKENBERG was baptized. Her godparents were Elisabetha BISSDORFF and Jean Georges HACKENBERG.5

1736 Baptismal Record of Maria BRIGER

On 12 August 1736, Maria the legitimate daughter of Gaspar BRIGER and Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER was baptized. Her godparents were Maria CHRISTOFF and Jean WEBER.6

These baptismal records show Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER was the wife of Caspar aka Gaspar BREYER (later seen as BRIGER) and not of Michel BRIGERT as noted on the marriage index card above for Johann Baptiste BRIGERT. A marriage record for the BREYER-HACKENBERGER couple was not found although the first baptismal record indicates they were married after the birth of Jean Adam. A baptismal record for a son named Jean Baptiste was not found.

Jean Adam BREYER

I researched the three children above. When I ran the son Jean Adam BREYER (b. 1725) through the marriage database for 1610-1797 there were no hits. However in the database for 1797-1923 there was a hit in 1801. Could he have married at the age of 76 years?

1801 Publication of marriage for Jean Adam BREYER and Catherine GASPAR

The publication of the marriage of Jean Adam BREYER included the following information: Jean Adam BREYER, 76 years old, maçon or builder, widower of Susanne MERTENS, son of Gaspar BREYER and Jeanne HACKENBERG, marrying Catherine GASPAR, 46 years old and widow of Jean DUNCKHOLTZ.7

We have Jean Adam the son of Gaspar and Jeanne which matches the child born in 1725. If he was the widower of Susanne MERTENS his name should have been Jean Baptiste and not Jean Adam.

1801 Marriage Record of Jean Adam BREYER and Catherine GASPAR

The actual marriage record has more information.8

  • The upper third part of the record has the groom and bride’s information.
  • The lower third part has the names, occupations, residence, and age of the four witnesses as well as their signatures.
  • The middle third of the record is completely handwritten and explains which records were consulted.

The groom and bride had to furnish pièces à l’appui or documents supporting the information they gave.  The birth record of Jean Adam BREYER came from a register of Luxembourg City. This can only be the church register as civil records were not kept prior to 1796. The date listed on the marriage record is the date seen on the baptismal record found above, i.e. 15 May 1725.

The bride was the widow of Jean DUNCKHOLS and daughter of Jean GASPAR and Petronille SPECK.

Following the bride’s information, the deceased wife of the groom, Susanne MERTENS, and deceased husband of the bride, Jean DUNCKHOLS, are mentioned with their dates and places of death.

Death record of the first wife

Susanne MERTENS died on 16 Fructidor of the year 7 (2 September 1799) in Luxembourg City per the marriage record of her widower. The death record confirms she was the wife of Jean Baptiste BREGER.9

1799 Death Record of Susanne MERTENS

Were Jean Adam and Jean Baptiste the same person?

1805 Death Record of Jean Baptiste BREGER

On 24 October 1805, Jean Baptiste BREGER died in house number 22 in the rue de Thionville in Luxembourg City. He is listed as the husband of Catherine GASPAR.10

I was convinced the two men were the same and my 6th great-grandfather was born in 1725 as Jean Adam but for some reason later called himself Jean Baptiste and made himself younger.

Until I continued research on the HACKENBERGER branch…

Baptisms in St. Michel from 1649 to 1786

Fernand G. EMMEL, during his years working for the municipal archives, compiled a list of 12,210 baptisms which took place in the church of St. Michel from 1649 to 1786. This compilation was published by Luxracines and includes the names of the parents as well as godparents and their residence when mentioned.11

I searched my digital copy of this book for Jean Georges HACKENBERG(ER) who had been the godfather of one of Gaspar BREYER and Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER’s daughters. He was found to be the son of Nicolas HACKENBERG (also seen as HACKENBERGER and HACKENBURGER) and Agatha CHINY (also seen as SCHINY, CHINAY, SEINECKEN, SCHYNE). HACKENBERG(ER) is not a common name in Luxembourg.

I added all information from the baptismal entries for Nicolas and Agatha’s children to an unattached branch in my family tree. There were eight children but no daughter named Maria or Joanna. I then searched for each baptismal record to confirm the dates as well as the names of the children, parents, and godparents.

A son Jean listed in Mr. EMMEL’s compilation turned out to be Jeannatta, a daughter, born on 4 February 1700.12 I had found the parents of my 7th great-grandmother.

As she had been listed incorrectly in the compilation, I searched again for all HACKENBERG(ER) individuals in the book paying close attention to women’s names, either as mothers or as godmothers.

Jean Baptiste YGEL (sic, a possible error)

There was an entry for a child named Jean Baptiste YGEL baptized on 13 October 1738, son of Gaspard YGEL and Jeanette HACKENBERG. The baptismal record13 confirmed the names in the compilation…

1738 Baptismal Record of a child named Jean Baptiste

…however, I believe the priest made a mistake when he wrote the father’s surname. It should be BREYER or BREGER and not IGEL or YGEL.

I didn’t come to this conclusion without first checking baptismal records for all IGEL children, a marriage between an IGEL and a HACKENBERG(ER), or any possible mention of these names in relation to each other. The only couple found having children at this time was Guillaume IGEL and Marguerite KRICK (KREITZ).

A last piece of evidence

To pull this all together I needed one more record to prove Jean Baptiste BREGER and not Jean Adam BREYER had married Catherine GASPAR.

As seen above when Jean Baptiste BREGER died in 1805 his surviving wife was listed as Catherine GASPAR. She died three years later. Her death record shows she was the widow of Jean DUNCKHOLS, a first marriage, and Jean Baptiste BREGER, a second marriage.14

1808 Death Record of Catherine GASPAR

This matches the information found in the 1801 marriage record of Jean Adam BREYER and Catherine GASPAR with the exception of the name of her second husband.

Conclusion

Jean Baptiste BREGER was seen as Jean Baptiste BREGER on his first marriage record in 1758, on the 176015 and 176716 baptismal records of his children, on the  1783 marriage record of his son Michel17, on the 1797 birth record of his grandson Jean Baptiste MAJERUS18, on the 1799 death record of his first wife Susanna MERTENS, on his 1805 death record, and on his second wife Catherine GASPAR’s 1808 death record.

The wrong name, Jean Adam BREYER, was found only on his marriage publication and marriage record in 1801. As civil records were required to make a marriage legal, Jean Baptiste had to present supporting documentation in the form of a baptismal record to identify his parents and a death record of his first wife to show he was free to marry. His baptismal record was not found as the priest had written the wrong surname for his father. The next best record was that of Jean Adam BREYER, Jean Baptiste’s older brother who was born ten years earlier.

Who would have known an error made on a baptismal record of a child born in 1735 would cause problems for a 66 years old groom when he married in 1801 and hours of research for this genealogist 274 years later?

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Jean > Tables des mariages 1709-1789 (index organisée par l’époux) > image 52 of 445. 1758 Marriage Index Card. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-SRCM?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-PT5%3A1501286401%2C1501336258 : accessed 19 May 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint-Jean à Grund > Mariages, décès 1708-1791 > image 181 of 208. 1758 Marriage Record (page 191 back, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9HYT?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-4WL%3A1500891703%2C1500978904 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 112 of 371. 1725 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9VXF?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 169 of 371. 1733 Baptismal Record (left page, left column, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9V4Y?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 186 of 371. 1736 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9VLL?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Mariages 1799 > image 169 of 1529. 1801 Marriage Publication (30 Brumaire an X). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6M83-R3Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-SP8%3A130045801%2C131341901 : accessed 7 June 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1799 > image 213 of 1529. 1801 Marriage Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6M83-GPL?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-SP8%3A130045801%2C131341901 : accessed 23 June 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 523 of 1420. 1799 Death Record (16 Fructidor an 7) right page, bottom. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-D8B?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 23 June 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1256 of 1420. 1805 Death Record (2 Brumaire year XIV). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-7LR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 7 June 2019). 
  11. Fernand G. Emmel, Baptêmes Luxembourg Saint-Michel 1649-1786, (Recherches effectuées par Fernand G. Emmel), a publication of Luxracines a.s.b.l. 
  12. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1649-1701, mariages 1706 > image 228 of 240. 1700 Baptismal Record (right page, right column). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-MX3D?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-YW5%3A1500891707%2C1500941762 : accessed 22 June 2019). 
  13. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 197 of 371. 1738 Baptismal Record for Jean Baptiste Igel (sic, Breyer) (left page, right column, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-9KMW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 22 June 2019). Error on the record concerning the surname of the father and child. 
  14. Luxembourg Civil Records, Luxembourg > Décès 1807-1814 > image 257 of 1511. 1808 Death Record (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X96S-33H?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-FM9%3A130045801%2C130045802 : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  15. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 341 of 371. 1760 Baptismal Record (right page, right column, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9K7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 20 May 2019). 
  16. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  17. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Mariages 1764-1796 > image 108 of 305. 1783 Marriage Record (lower left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-92QD?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3YZ%3A1500891707%2C1500962420 : accessed 19 May 2019). 
  18. Luxembourg Civil Records, Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018). 

Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER from Gronn to Strassen

Église Saint-Jean-du-Grund. The featured image was taken in December 2008 while walking in Luxembourg City’s Grund. At the time I had no idea I was looking at the church where Margretha BREGER’s parents were married in 1758.

I’m finally at a point where I can write about my 5th great-grandparents Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851). As I mentioned in The Farm Where the Majerus Family Lived in the 1700s I’ve spent a lot of time researching their descendants.

The main objective of the research was to find out how many children Jean and Margretha had and which ones produced families. By the time I had gone through ALL civil birth, marriage, and death records in Strassen as well as census records, I was able to generate a descendants report for the couple in question with nine generations, 74 pages, and over 350 source citations. The number of citations will likely reach 400 by the time I finish adding more census records, recent church records, and newspaper clippings.

After taking the time to evaluate and cite the records found, I now have a clear picture of several generations of descendants of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER.

Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852)

As we learned in How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen! my 5th great-grandfather was born in France. He was born on 2 June 1766 in Boulay-Moselle to the single mother Anne Catherine ALBERT.1 She married Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof (near Medernach in Luxembourg) on 17 August 1767 in Boulay.2 It was at this time that Jean’s birth was legitimized and he became Jean MAJERUS. He was not quite 18 years old when his widowed mother died on 2 January 1784.3 His father had already passed away but when and where this event took place is not known.

Between Jean’s birth in 1766 and his mother’s death in 1784, I found he had two younger brothers, Joannes born in 17694 and Barthélémy who lived only ten days in 1772.5 Joannes was born in Larochette, Luxembourg, while Barthélémy was born in Boulay, France. No trace of Joannes has been found after his baptism.

What brought Jean MAJERUS back to Luxembourg? Did he return to his father’s home place before or after his mother’s death? When did he settle in Luxembourg City where he was found in 1797?

Margretha BREGER (1767-1851)

Margretha BREGER was baptized on 12 January 1767 in the church of Saint Michel in Luxembourg City.6 She was the daughter of Jean Baptiste BREGER (1738-1805) and Susanne MERTENS (1728-bef. 1801). She had one older brother Michel (1760-1810). Margretha’s surname was spelled many different ways in the records found, evolving from BREYER to BREGER during her father’s lifetime and including these spellings: BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, and BREDER.

Interesting details about her father were uncovered while researching the family group. The records connecting Jean Adam BREYER to Jean Baptiste BREGER will be revealed in a later post.

When and where were Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER married?

When I wrote about Jean and Margretha’s son in 52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen I mentioned a marriage record had not been found for his parents. However, they were a legally married couple in 1797 when Jean Baptiste was born. Birth records of the children born after him also indicate they were a married couple.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Jean Baptiste, their oldest son, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn. Witnesses to the birth record were the maternal grandfather Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years, the maternal aunt by marriage.7

As the birth records of their first three children indicate, Jean and Margretha lived their early years of marriage in the Gronn. Elisabeth was the second child, born on 2 April  17998, and their third was a son, Jean born on 10 June 1801.9

In 1797 Jean was a clothier (drapier) but, with the births of the children who followed, his occupation was seen as a wool spinner (fileur de laine). He continued to practice this occupation until he was at least in his mid-sixties as seen in the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Following Jean’s birth in 1801 the family moved to Strassen where their youngest child Marie was born on 19 December 1806.10 The five-year gap between the two children has always made me wonder if the change of residence was direct – from Gronn to Strassen – or if they may have lived somewhere else – a place where another child may have been born. If the move was from Gronn to Strassen, in what year did it take place?

Same place, same surname research

The oldest three children were fairly easy to research. Their marriage records, the birth records for their children, the grandchildren of Jean and Margretha, as well as census records from 1843 to 1900 were found. They lived in Strassen, had their children in Strassen, and died in Strassen. No other families with the MAJERUS name were found living in Strassen before 1923. Their living in one place for a long period of time made the research easier even though in several generations many children did not survive infancy.

A discovery made by error and omission

The youngest child Marie caused difficulties while researching but also helped with a new discovery. Her father Jean MAJERUS, the informant on her birth record dated 19 December 1806, stated she was born the same day at one in the morning. As no marriage record or trace of Marie were found following her birth, I assumed she must have died. FamilySearch has only civil records for this time period and no death record was found.

I located her baptismal record on Matricula Online where Catholic church records for Luxembourg are now available. The priest who recorded her baptism gave her date of birth and baptism as 18 December 1806, the day before she was born per the civil birth record.11 The switch from the Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar in January 1806 in the civil records may explain this discrepancy. Generally, the Catholic church didn’t use the Republican calendar during the 13 years it was in use.

Next, I searched for a death and burial record in the church records. As these are browse-only I had to find a point of entry for a death which took place in late 1806 or later. No death record was found for Marie. However as I jumped in a bit early in 1806 I found a death record for a child named Margaretha MAJERUS, daughter of Jean MAJERUS, who died on 9 June 1806.12 I was able to translate most of the record but was stumped at the part which revealed her age at death.

I asked for help with the translation from my friend Linda who has helped me several times after reading one or the other of my posts. She came through with a transcription for the record.

Anno Dni Millesimo octingentisimo sexto die nonae mensis primi horae nonae matutinae in Strassen mortua est Margaretha, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, filia legitima Joannis MAJERUS lanifici et Margarethae BRIGER conjugum hie habitantium.

Linda translated the part I could not read, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, as meaning the child Margaretha was two years and two months old at the time of death.

I went back to the civil records to find the birth of a child in April 1804. The 1804 handwritten index for Luxembourg City had been cut off at the bottom of the page with the M’s and I had to look at every record for the year 1804. There was no MAJERUS child born in the city in 1804. Next, I checked Strassen’s index. Again no MAJERUS birth. There was a Margaretha MEYERS born 16 Germinal in the year XII which computes to 6 April 1804. MEYERS is a variation of MAJERUS. After viewing hundreds of records for this family, this was the first time I’d seen it spelled this way. Jean and Margretha were living in Strassen in April 1804 when their second daughter and fourth child was born.13

Margaretha’s death in 1806 was not found in the civil records. Could Marie’s death also have been omitted?  The first person of the surname to die in Strassen according to the civil records was a granddaughter of Jean and Margretha, Marie Catherine MAJERUS who died in 1823 at the age of three months.14

Three marriages in thirteen years

I now had five children for the MAJERUS couple who moved to Strassen between June 1801 and April 1804. I’m convinced only three of them grew to adulthood, married, and had children. Margaretha was proven to have died at two years and two months. No trace of Marie has been found after her birth.

My 4th great-grandfather Jean Baptiste MAJERUS was the first to marry on 25 April 1817 in Strassen to Catharina CORNELY.15 Of the parties involved, only the father of the groom was able to sign his name. The groom Jean Baptiste was only twenty years old and the bride Catharina was twenty-three and expecting their first child. A month later their son Jean was born.16 The first grandchild of Jean and Margretha and my 3rd great-grandfather.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1817 marriage record of his son Jean Baptiste

The next wedding took place in Dippach on 16 August 1823 when Jean MAJERUS married Josephine HESS of Sprinkange in the commune of Dippach.17 Jean’s brother Jean Baptiste was one of the four witnesses at the marriage. Neither of the brothers nor their mother was able to sign their names but Jean MAJERUS signed as the father of the groom.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1823 marriage record of his son Jean

The third marriage took place on 20 January 1830 in Strassen when Elisabeth MAJERUS, thirty years old, married Jean DAMY, twenty-eight years old.18 Jean MAJERUS, the father of the bride, signed the marriage record while the bride and her mother did not.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth

Twenty-five grandchildren born between 1817 to 1841

Jean and Margretha’s three married children gave them twenty-five grandchildren in fourteen years.

  • Jean Baptiste and his wife Catharina had eleven children from 1817 to 1840 with only one child dying at the age of two months in 1823 (Marie Catherine mentioned earlier). All of their children married with the exception of their son Nicolas (still being researched). Their sons Nicolas (b. 1835) and Michel (b. 1840) went to America in 1853 and 1865. Later three grandsons and a granddaughter would go to America and one granddaughter to England.
  • Elisabeth and her husband Jean DAMY had six sons between 1830 and 1841. Three of these died as babies. The two older sons married and lived in Strassen while their son Jean (b. 1838) went to America likely at the same time as his cousin Michel MAJERUS in 1865. In 1870 they were living next door to each other in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota.
  • Jean and his wife Josephine HESS had five sons and then three daughters. One daughter died as a baby and a son died at the age of 19 years. All of the children except for one daughter married.

Jean and Margretha lived another decade after the last of their grandchildren were born. They were found ont the census of 184319, 184620, 184721, and 184922 in their own household without any other persons. Finally, in 1847 the answer to when they moved to Strassen was found in the census. The census sheet for 1847 included a column with the number of years they had lived in the commune – forty-five years which placed their move to Strassen at during the year 1802.

Margretha died at the age of 84 years on 1 April 1851.23 Her oldest son Jean Baptiste was the informant on her death record. He had not been able to sign his name when he married in 1817. On the birth records of his first nine children born between 1817 and 1835 he had declared each time that he could not write or sign. In 1837 he had finally learned to sign his name and his signatures were found on the 1837 and 1840 birth records of his two youngest children as well as on his mother’s death record.

Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1851 death record of his mother Margretha BREGER
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1837 birth record of his son Jean Pierre MAJERUS
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1840 birth record of his son Michel MAJERUS

Jean appeared on the 1851 census with the family of his oldest son Jean Baptiste.24 His name was added to the top of the list likely after the names of his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were listed.

1851 Luxembourg Census sheet No. 48 with the MAJERUS family of Strassen

Jean lived a little over a year longer, dying on 5 July 1852. His death was reported by his grandson Jean Baptiste, 5th son of his son Jean Baptiste. Jean was 86 years old.25

I once compared my second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) to a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). Jean being the first grandchild of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER. On one side of the fence, Marie was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence I found her parents, grandparents, and now at last count 185 relatives with the MAJERUS name.

I still don’t know what Jean MAJERUS’ life was like before he met and married Margretha BREGER nor when or where the marriage took place. However, their marriage produced a large number of descendants in Luxembourg, America, England, and who knows where else….

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image: RAD057_100EDGG8_0028.jpg, image 28 of 193. 1766 Baptismal Record (bottom left and top right).(http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. 
  2. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil : BOULAY et Après 1760 et avant 1770; Description : Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0061.jpg. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG10 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1780-1792), Image: FRAD057_100EDGG10_0108.jpg, image 108 of 307. Death Record No. 1. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606016/605804:613196:606016/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  4. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Nommern > Baptêmes 1744-1787, confirmations 1750-1789, mariages 1751-1765, 1769-1787, sépultures 1752-1787 > image 45 of 170. 1769 Baptismal Record No. 324. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-L2V%3A1500981117%2C1501018978 : accessed 27 May 2019). 
  5. Archives 57, Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY; Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0173.jpg. 1772 Birth Record (left page, top) and 1772 Death Record (right page, middle). (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  6. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1200 of 1504. 1799 Birth Record, right, top (13 germinal an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LF-X1?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : 5 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1473 of 1504. 1801 Birth Record, right, bottom (21 prairial an IX). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LD-TK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 8 January 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 108 of 1464. 1806 Birth Record (lower left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QK8?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : 17 July 2014),. 
  11. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 16 of 138, left page, 4th entry. 1806 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=16 : accessed 11 June 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 53 of 138, right page, 3rd entry. 1806 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=53 : accessed 18 June 2019). 
  13. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 55 of 1464. 1804 Birth Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QZX?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : accessed 19 June 2019). 
  14. Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1796-1823 > image 148 of 149. 1823 Death Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-2966-96?cc=1709358 : accessed 5 December 2015). 
  15. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1000 of 1464. 1817 Marriage No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58675-14?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  16. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 214 of 1464. 1817 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61261-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 27 March 2010). Note: mother listed as Maria Cornely. 
  17. Ibid., Dippach > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1386 of 1485. 1823 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DT1L-5C?cc=1709358&wc=9RY9-L2S%3A129628301%2C129829701 : accessed 29 August 2017). 
  18. Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 23 of 1416. 1830 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-736?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 7 January 2018). 
  19. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 309 of 407. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32355-17392-51?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  20. Ibid., Bertrange > 1846 > image 324 of 431. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32358-11377-81?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Bertrange > 1847 > image 198 of 448. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32349-25407-72?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  22. Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 388 of 474. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32350-6437-36?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  23. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 8 of 446. 1851 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-163713-71?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  24. Luxembourg Census Records, Strassen > 1851 > image 67 of 222. “Jean Majerus, his son Jean Baptiste Majerus, his daughter-in-law Catherine Cornely, their children Jacques, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie.” Jean Majerus household No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32351-8999-55?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  25. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 21 of 446. 1852 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-161808-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 

The Farm Where the Majerus Family Lived in the 1700s

After crashing through the Jean MAJERUS brick wall I thought things would become simpler.

I’d planned on writing about my 5th great-grandparents Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851) and their four known children.

When I wrote about their son Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1797-1868) and his wife Catharina CORNELY (1794-1871) in January 2018 I had dropped rough citations in the notes of his children and grandchildren for miscellaneous records I’d found. I’ve spent hours adding these to the correct individuals while making notes in the Research Manager of Ancestral Quest, my genealogy software, to check for more records.

I got carried away down in a rabbit hole as I tried to round up Jean Baptiste’s siblings’ children’s marriage records in order to learn when his three siblings died. Normally I would use the Tables Décennales (ten-year lists of births, marriages, and deaths) to quickly search for a name and date. However, the MAJERUS families in Strassen used the same first names for their children (over and over) and I was looking up multiple records before I found what I was looking for.

As I viewed each I ended up copying the citation and adding the event to the correct individual. I’m glad I took the time to go through the motions of inputting, citing, and formulating items to be added to the research manager. I now have a clearer picture of several generations of descendants of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER.

Still, I realized I’m not ready for the planned post. I want to have everything in place before I begin to write about Jean and Margretha. Instead of the planned post, I’m sharing these wonderful photos my husband took last week.

Scherfenhof in the commune of Heffingen

The day after I posted How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen! my husband took a bike ride in the Larochette area of Luxembourg. He planned the ride so he would pass by the farm my MAJERUS ancestors lived on in the 1700s.

The road from Christnach to Larochette with the farm up on a little hill to the right of the road.
The sign at the entrance to Scherfenhaff, Luxembourgish for Scherfenhof.

When he arrived at the farm he asked some men working there if any of them were the owner. They pointed to a car pulling up and said the driver was the owner. My husband explained to him that I  had recently learned some of my ancestors lived on the farm in the 1700s. He asked permission to take some pictures of the farm and the owner kindly agreed.

A little chapel at the entrance to the farm.
The barn at Scherfenhof on one side of the cobblestoned yard.
The main house at Scherfenhof with it’s the cobblestoned yard.
An addition to the main house.
Leaving Scherfenhof. That’s my photographer’s bicycle on the right.

I hoped you’ve enjoyed visiting the farm my 7th great-grandparents Jean MAJERUS and Elisabeth AMBROSI (aka DITGES) and my 6th great-grandfather Jean MAJERUS lived and worked on during the 18th century.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen!

Did you hear the brick wall come crashing down?

Finding an index to the church records for Luxembourg City helped add several generations to my 5th great-grandmother Margretha BREGER‘s branch of the family tree. I was so excited and motivated that I began looking for a way to find more information on her husband Jean MAJERUS whose parentage is was unknown.

Research Questions

Who were the parents of Jean MAJERUS born between 1765 and 1773 in Luxembourg or France? When and where was he actually born?

Keys: Known Facts

The following records were found for Jean MAJERUS and included some information which may help with the research questions.

Birth records of four children born in 17971, 17992, 18013, and 18064 included the father’s signature showing he was literate and could write. His occupation was listed as drapier or clothier on the first and as fileur de laine or wool weaver on the last three. His age was only found on one birth record, in 1806 age 33 years.

Census records from 18435, 18466, 18477, 18498, and 18519 included the place of birth for Jean. In 1843 he was 80 years old and born in Luxembourg. In 1846 he was 82 years old and born in Boulé. In 1847 he was 85 years old and born in Bouvigne, France. In 1849 he was 86 years old and born in Boulé, France. In 1851 he was 86 years and 6 months old and born in Felz (Fels or Larochette). In all of these, he was without an occupation which is not surprising considering his age.

Death record from 185210 shows he was 87 years old (born about 1765) and born in Felz (Fels or Larochette). He was the widower of Margaretha BRECKER. The information was given by a grandson who would have only known his grandfather’s birthplace by word of mouth.

Keys: Place of Birth

From the above records, Jean’s place of birth was seen as being either Boulé in France or Larochette (Felz or Fels) in Luxembourg. Boulé is not a place name in France. However, Boulay which is pronounced the same lies in the Moselle department in northeastern France. His age fell in the time range 1765-1773.

A Door: A Possible Match

Last year when I gathered the above records, I located a baptismal record for a child named Jean MAJERUS born in 1769 in Felz in the parish of Nommern.11

1769 Baptismal Record for Joannes son of Joannis Majerus and his wife Anna Catharina

On 21 April 1769 Joannes was baptized, the son of Jean MAJERUS, blacksmith, and his wife Anna Catharina, a couple living in Feltz. The godfather was Joannes HANSEN from Feltz and the godmother was Catharina GILLEN, the wife of Nicolai GILLEN of Scharftenhoft (sic, Scherfenhof). [rough translation]

This record fell within the date range. No marriage was found for this couple in Luxembourg. I consulted the family book of Nommern12 and found they were included in the book with only this child; no marriage date and no parents. This would suggest they may have only been living in the Feltz (as seen in the record, today Fels in German and Larochette in French) and the Nommern area at the time the child was born.

The residence of the godmother and her husband was spelled Scherferhof in the book which is in pdf form and easily searchable. I checked for other entries for the GILLEN couple and found the wife was listed as Maria Catherina MAJERUS when she was named godmother of a child in 1783 (page 283, family #896, child #5). There was no entry for them as a couple, only entries in which one or the other was a godparent.

The baptismal record of Joannes MAJERUS with godmother Maria Catherina MAJERUS, wife of Nicolas GILLEN, cannot be proven to be a record for my Jean MAJERUS as there is not enough information.

A Key: Was Boulé meant to be Boulay?

When the census was taken in 1846 and 1849, Jean MAJERUS and his wife were the only persons in the household. One of them must have given information about their ages and places of birth. It was on these two census sheets that Boulé was given as Jean’s birthplace. In 1849 it specified Boulé was in France. Searching for this town did not turn up any exact hits. I tried other spellings as é sounds the same as ait, ais, and ay and found Boulay-Moselle in the Moselle department in northeastern France, not far from Luxembourg.

A Door: Geneanet

I did a broad search for MAJERUS in Boulay on Geneanet, a genealogy site used mainly by European users to share their GEDCOM files. Four trees and a marriage record abstract were found.

Screenshot from Geneanet of the abstracted marriage information from a marriage record.

There is no farm called Schressenhoff in the parish of Medernach. Could this be Scherfenhof? All fours trees had this couple, Jean MAJERUS and Catherine ALBERT who married on 17 August 1767 in Boulay. Three of the trees included children, two sons, Jean born 2 June 1766 and Barthélémy born and died in 1772.

A Door: Archives Moselle

The above-abstracted information for the 1767 marriage of the MAJERUS-ALBERT couple would have to be confirmed by consulting the parish records of Boulay on the Archives Moselle site.

These are the general conditions for reuse of images of public information held by the Departmental Archives of the Moselle: The departmental council of the Moselle has not deliberated on the establishment of licenses in case of reuse of public information it publishes on the site http://www.archives57.com. As a result, the reuse of the digitized archival images disseminated by this site is free (sections L. 321-1 and L. 323-1 of the Code of relations between the public and the administration).

After reviewing the conditions for use of the images I did searches for the birth record of the child Jean and for the marriage record of the MAJERUS-ALBERT couple.

A Key: 1766 Birth/Baptismal Record

Jean was born on 2 June 1766 as the natural son of Catherine ALBERT. The record did not give the name of the father.13 In the margin of the church register, children were listed with their baptismal name and their father’s surname or in the case of illegitimate children, with their given name and the phrase a natural child of followed by the mother’s name.

1766 Baptismal Record of Jean, natural son of Catharine ALBERT. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de la Moselle (57)

Could this illegitimate child be my 5th great-grandfather Jean MAJERUS? The time period and place of birth fit.

A Key: 1767 Marriage Record

Was Catherine ALBERT, the mother of little Jean, the same woman who married Jean MAJERUS on 17 August 1767 in Boulay as seen in the trees?

This is the marriage record14 I found:

1767 Marriage Record of Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT (bottom of left page). Image courtesy of Archives départementales de la Moselle (57)
1767 Marriage Record of Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT (top of right page). Image courtesy of Archives départementales de la Moselle (57)

It included the following information:

  • Date of marriage: 17 August 1767
  • Three banns were read in Boulay and one in Medernach
  • Groom: Jean MAJERUS, the underaged son of the deceased Jean MAJERUS and (his widow) Elisabeth AMBROS, farmers at Schrefsen Hof in the parish of Medernach
  • Bride: Anne Catherine ALBERT, the of age daughter of Jean ALBERT, cordonnier (shoemaker), and Louise BECK of the parish of Boulay
  • The dispense for the two banns in Medernach was allowed by Jean Philippe the Archbishop of Trier
  • Consent of Nicolas GILLEN, a farmer at Schreffenhoff and guardian of Jean MAJERUS
  • After the bride and groom were joined in marriage they declared having had Jean, the natural son of Catherine ALBERT, born 2 June 1766 and baptized the 3rd of the same month, before their marriage. The son was declared a legitimate child of the couple through this marriage.
  • Four witnesses were present, all relatives of the bride and from Boulay. Her father, a brother-in-law, and two maternal uncles. None of the groom’s family were present.
  • The bride declared she could not write and signed with her mark. The groom, witnesses, and priest signed.

The information found in the marriage record confirmed Jean, the natural son of Catherine ALBERT, was the son of Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT and was legitimized with their marriage.

The years between 1766 and 1784

Following the birth of young Jean in 1766 and the marriage of Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT in 1767, the couple appears to have moved to Larochette in Luxembourg before 1769. In Larochette (Feltz) they had a son Joannes in 1769 whose godmother was Catharina GILLEN, wife of Nicolas GILLEN, a farmer on Scherfenhof. This same Nicolas GILLEN had been the guardian of the father of the child in 1767 when he married. This would suggest a close family relationship between Jean MAJERUS and Catharina MAJERUS, wife of Nicolas GILLEN.

By 1772 Jean and Anne Catherine were back in her hometown as she gave birth to son Barthélémy on 25 February 1772. He died on 5 March 1772. His parents were living in Boulay at the time. His surname was spelled MACHERIUS.15

On 2 January 1784, Anne Catherine ALBERT died in Boulay. She was the widow of Jean MACHERI (sic, a variation of MAJERUS).16 This would mean her husband died between 1772 and 1784. I checked the death index for 1780-1790; he was not listed. For the years 1772-1780, there is no index and all records would need to be searched to find his death record – if he died in Boulay.

Have the research questions been answered?

Who were the parents of Jean MAJERUS born between 1765 and 1773 in Luxembourg or France? When and where was he actually born?

It is not known if Jean born in 1766 and Joannes born in 1769 were both living at the time of their mother’s death in 1784. They would have been 18 and 15 years old. As my Jean MAJERUS or his wife gave his place of birth on the census as being in Boulé (sic, Boulay), France, I have come to the conclusion he would have been the son born in 1766 in Boulay.

Jean born 2 June 1766 to a single mother, Anne Catherine ALBERT, was legitimized when his parents Jean MAJERUS and Anne Catherine ALBERT married on 17 August 1767 when Jean became Jean MAJERUS. The grandparents of little Jean were named in his parents’ marriage record: Jean MAJERUS and Elisabeth AMBROS as well as Jean ALBERT and Louise BECK. The ALBERT and BECK lines now have placeholders for several generations with RED tags to indicate research needs to be done to prove these names.

Keys and doors made it happen but also a place called Scherfenhof

I am convinced finding Scherfenhof mentioned in the 1769 baptismal record in the Nommern parish and in the 1767 marriage record in Boulay, France, was not a coincidence. They must be connected.

Jean MAJERUS deceased before 1767 and Elisabeth AMBROS will not be as easy to research however their being a married couple from Scherfenhof is an important clue.

Scherfenhof, known as Schäerfenhaff in Luxembourgish, is today part of the commune of Heffingen and lies between Larochette (Fels) and Christnach off of C.R. 118. Location of Scherfenhof (see the middle of the map).

Thomas Webers who compiled the Nommern family book using the church and civil records for the period 1637-1923 appears to have recorded all families found in the registers during this period. He also compiled family books for Medernach, Larochette, and Heffingen – all towns in the immediate area of Scherfenhof. I searched all of them for Scherfenhof and for the family names MAJERUS and GILLEN.

I noted miscellaneous instances of Scherfenhof (with various spelling variations) being found in GEDCOM files of members of Luxracines.

Death and burial information were found for Nicholas GILLEN17 and Elisabeth AMBROSI (spelling as seen on the death entry).18 Both Nicholas and Elisabeth died on Scherfenhof in 1787.

By following the timeline of the entries found in the family books, the GEDCOMs, and miscellaneous records, a chronological history of Scherfenhof came to light and is in part supported by the 1766 census.19

A Peter MAJERUS was living on Scherfenhof as early as 1722. He was the father of Conrad MAJERUS who married twice in Echternach, in 174320 and 1745.21 Conrad’s not remaining on Scherfenhof could mean he was not the oldest child.

1766 Luxembourg Census for Scherfenhof

I believe Jean MAJERUS, husband of Elisabeth AMBROSI (also seen as DITGES in 1776) and father of the Jean MAJERUS who married in France, was likely the oldest child of Peter. As the oldest child he would have taken over the farm and homeplace and following his death, it would have gone to his oldest child. This would explain the presence of his widow and several children on the 1766 census listing above. Nicolas GILEN (sic, GILLEN) was the head of household in the 1766 listing for Scherfenhof. Also in the household were Peter MAJERUS, Elisabeth MAJERUS, Catherine GILEN, Angelique MAJERUS, Catherine SCHMITTEN, and Conrad FABER.

How are these people related? Anna Catharina MAJERUS was likely the oldest child of Jean MAJERUS and his wife Elisabeth AMBROSI (DITGES). She married Michel FABER before 1756 and they had a son Conrad FABER  born about 1756. Between 1756 and 1766 Michel FABER died and his widow married Nicholas GILLEN. They would have a son Michel GILLEN but only after the 1766 census. The firstborn son of Anna Catharina, Conrad FABER would take over Scherfenhof after the death of Nicholas GILLEN in 1787.

The other children of Jean and Elisabeth were Conrad, Jean, Peter, and Angelique. Conrad, possibly named after his uncle, had married in Waldbillig in 1765. He was listed as the of age son of Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof.22 Son Jean was likely living in Boulay, France, as his son was born there in 1766. Peter was the son of Jean MAJERUS and Elisabeth DITGES per his 1776 marriage record.23 Angelique was very likely a daughter of the same couple. No marriage has been found for her.

This rounds up the individuals I found who likely made up the family group of the deceased Jean MAJERUS and his wife Elisabeth AMBROSI (DITGES). No baptismal records were found in the Nommern parish for these children but there was the fragile connection to Scherfenhof as seen in their marriage records, the 1766 census, and baptisms where Nicholas GILLEN, manager of Scherfenhof, was the godfather of several of the grandchildren.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1200 of 1504. 1799 Birth Record, left, top (13 germinal an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LF-X1?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : 5 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1473 of 1504. 1801 Birth Record, right, bottom (21 prairial an IX). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LD-TK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 8 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 108 of 1464. 1806 Birth Record (lower left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QK8?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : 17 July 2014),. 
  5. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 309 of 407. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32355-17392-51?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  6. Ibid., Bertrange > 1846 > image 324 of 431. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32358-11377-81?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  7. Ibid., Bertrange > 1847 > image 198 of 448. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32349-25407-72?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  8. Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 388 of 474. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32350-6437-36?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  9. Ibid., Strassen > 1851 > image 67 of 222. “Jean Majerus, his son Jean Baptiste Majerus, his daughter-in-law Catherine Cornely, their children Jacques, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie.” Jean Majerus household No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32351-8999-55?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  10. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 21 of 446. 1852 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-161808-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  11. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Nommern > Baptêmes 1744-1787, confirmations 1750-1789, mariages 1751-1765, 1769-1787, sépultures 1752-1787 > image 45 of 170. 1769 Baptismal Record No. 324. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-L2V%3A1500981117%2C1501018978 : accessed 27 May 2019). 
  12. Thomas Webers, Familienbuch der Pfarrei und Gemeinde Nommern mit Cruchten 1637-1923, Luxracines a.s.b.l., 2015; page 415, family #1295. 
  13. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image RAD057_100EDGG8_0028.jpg, image 28 of 193. 1766 Baptismal Record (bottom left and top right).(http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. 
  14. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image FRAD057_100EDGG8_0061.jpg, image 61 of 193. 1767 Marriage Record (left bottom, right page). (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  15. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0173.jpg, image 173 of 193. 1772 Birth Record (left page, top) and 1772 Death Record (right page, middle)
    (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  16. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG10 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1780-1792), Image: FRAD057_100EDGG10_0108.jpg, image 108 of 307. Death Record No. 1. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606016/605804:613196:606016/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  17. Luxembourg Parish Records, Medernach > Baptêmes 1786-1797, mariages 1785-1797, sépultures 1786-1797 > image 51 of 56. 1787 Death Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-S7Z1?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-16T%3A1501014033%2C1501044882 : accessed 22 May 2019). 
  18. Ibid., Medernach > Baptêmes 1786-1797, mariages 1785-1797, sépultures 1786-1797 > image 51 of 56. 1787 Death Record (right page, first entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-S7Z1?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-16T%3A1501014033%2C1501044882 : accessed 22 May 2019). 
  19. Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Film #1781981, DGS #8182018 > Decanat de Mersch > Medernach > image 75 of 556 > household 49 > Nicolas Gilen. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS21-FQ86-3?i=74&cat=1184675 : accessed 30 May 2019). 
  20. Luxembourg Parish Records, Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 86 of 293. 1743 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L971-1XQJ?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-PYM%3A1500937901%2C1501028848 : accessed 31 May 2019). 
  21. Ibid., Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 93 of 293. 1745 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-16GP?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-PYM%3A1500937901%2C1501028848 : accessed 31 May 2019). 
  22. Ibid., Waldbillig > Baptêmes 1685-1797, mariages 1773-1779, 1785-1797, 1800-1804, sépultures 1779, 1785-1797 > image 160 of 201. 1765 Marriage Record (left page, 2nd entry for 1765). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-78Z1?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-N3D%3A1500971651%2C1501345888 : accessed 31 May 2019). 
  23. Ibid., Ospern > Baptêmes 1730-1796, mariages 1737-1779 > image 280 of 286. 1776 Marriage Record (left page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9F44?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-J4N%3A1500962801%2C1501082608 : accessed 22 May 2019).