I was on duty a week ago Saturday at my genealogy society’s library in Walferdange, Luxembourg. This new library is open to the public on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 5. Three members of the board of Luxracines were present and six visitors dropped in to research and to become familiar with our collections.
As it was not yet too busy, I was able to get some research done while on duty.
- I opened up my genealogy software (AQ14), went to my maternal grandfather’s pedigree and checked for the closest unknown sets of ancestors. One by one I pulled the family books of the towns they were from and looked up the families.
- I used Evernote’s Scannable app on my iPhone to scan the images of the pages of the German family books concerning the families I was interested in.
- I attached the names of 5 sets of NEW ancestors to my family tree, as placeholders. I did not input any further information.
- To the Research Manager of AQ14, I added a To Do/Research Item for each placeholder person:
“Check the images from the [name of town] family book taken at Luxracines library on 29 Oct 2016“
- I included a red tag for good measure.
- At home, I sent the images to Evernote. Each image became a note which I titled with the town name, page number, family number(s), surname. The notes were filed in a temporary notebook.
The next step was to begin inputting the information, citing sources, and adding the cropped images to my database. I began with the Familienbuch der Pfarrei Messerich, Dekanat Bitburg, 1720-1900 compiled by Werner Naumann. It covers the towns of Messerich, Birtlingen, Niederstedem, and Oberstedem.
Last year I wrote 52 Ancestors: #45 The WAGNER-KERSCHT Family. My third great-grandmother Anna Maria KERSCHT, wife of Johann WAGNER, was the daughter of Mathias KERSCHT (1759-1841), a sheep herder, Schäfer, and Anna EVEN (1766-1828) who were married 26 November 1785 in Messerich in the Eifel. Anna Maria’s parents, my 4th great-grandparents, would be the next logical couple to write about. The Mettendorf FB entry M1158 for them indicated that they had not always lived in Mettendorf. Their first six children had only estimated years of birth indicating the information was not to be found in Mettendorf. Their seventh child, born in 1809, was documented as being born in Mettendorf.
My fourth great-grandmother’s name was seen as Anna EVEN in the Mettendorf FB (Family Book). Since Anna and Mathias married in Messerich this was the logical place to look further for this family line.
To put this in perspective, Nicolas WILDINGER was my maternal grandfather. His line back to Anna is through his mother Catherine PÖPPELREITER, her mother Magdalena WAGNER, her mother Anna Maria KERSCHT, her mother Anna EWEN.
The first thing I noticed when I looked up EVEN, the name found in the Mettendorf FB, was that the name was spelled EWEN in the Messerich FB. I had suspected this may be the case as I had found Anna’s parents listed as Gerardus EWEN and Barbara THILIEN on Thomas A. Pick’s Homepage for Eifel Birth and Marriage Data. The data was transcribed from an unknown source and the town of Messerich is seen as Mefserich (clearly a transcription error). This made me question the correctness of Pick’s use of the names EWEN and THILIEN.
In the Messerich FB, Mr. Naumann included the book number, page number, and record number of the church records he viewed. He also mentions other spellings of names or name changes. Although records will have to be obtained as proof, I will, for now, go with the spelling found by Mr. Naumann.
The parents of Anna EWEN (1766-1828) were Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THIL, also seen as THIELEN. Anna had nine siblings born between 1761 and 1780. Not only did I find her parents but also her paternal grandparents, maternal grandfather, and both sets of paternal great-grandparents. The new names in the family tree are seen below in generations 8 and 9 in white.
An interesting name change was seen for Anna EWEN’s parents. Her father Remigius was born EUPERS. At the time of his marriage to Margaretha EWEN in 1733 he lost his surname as they lived in the EWEN home and their children were all baptized EWEN. He was known as Remigius EUPERS vulgo EWEN. Vulgo means “alias” or “also known as” and shows his association to the EWEN family and property.
The Mathias KERSCHT and Anna EWEN family group were included in the Messerich FB. However, there are still discrepancies. My Anna Maria KERSCHT is in the Mettendorf FB with birth being circa 1793. She had five siblings born between 1786 and 1794 in Messerich but she was not in the Messerich FB.
When I wrote 52 Ancestors: #45 The WAGNER-KERSCHT Family I discussed my doubts about Anna Maria being born abt. 1793 which would mean she was nearly 50 when her last child, my 2nd great-grandmother Magdalena WAGNER, was born. I didn’t have the WAGNER-KERSCHT family’s entry from the Mettendorf FB when I wrote the post a year ago. At the time the theme of the post was “nur nicht verzweifeln” or don’t despair due to all the missing information. I still don’t have the entry and have added it to the Research Manager as a To Do/Research Item for my next visit to the library.
The first documented mention of the town Messerich, Miezriche, was in the year 1066. In 1852 remains of Roman settlements were found thus proving that the place existed nearly one thousand years before it was first mentioned. In 1473 Messerich had 15 Feuerstellen, or houses which were lived in; in 1525 there were 12; in 1541 there were 14; and in 1624 there were only 5. The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), one of the deadliest conflicts in European history, and the Black Death, which repeatedly struck the Nimstal area in 1620-1633, were the cause for the decline in population. Today there are over 400 residents and 100 houses in Messerich.
On the map above Messerich is a bit south of Bitburg. The closest towns to Messerich are Masholder, Birtlingen, Oberstedem, and Bitburg. Echternach, Luxembourg, the town where I live, lies 17.5 km or 10 miles to the south.
Until the end of the 18th century, Messerich belonged to the Bitburg Provost District of the Duchy of Luxembourg. The borders of Luxembourg, before 1659, are seen above as black lines including areas of present-day France, Belgium, and Germany. The area where Messerich lies belonged to the Duchy of Luxembourg until the dark green area went to Prussia in 1815.
Although Messerich today lies in Germany, during the time my ancestors lived there it was part of the Duchy of Luxembourg. Now I am curious to find out which of my other “German” ancestors were actually Luxembourgers.
The entries from the Messerich FB have all been inputted and cited in my family tree. Schankweiler, Mettendorf, Neuerburg/Eifel, Mürlenbach, and Fliessem family books remain to be done. Hopefully I will have finished them by November 26th when it is once again my turn to be on library duty.
© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.