52 Ancestors: #20 The Family Who Lived in the Tip of the Shoe

Mathias GRISIUS married Magdalena SCHAETTER on the 23rd day of the month Pluviôse in the 6th year of the French Republic in Alscheid in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.[1] This date from the French Republican calendar converts to 11 February 1798 on the Gregorian calendar. An easy to use converter can be found on the Pas-de-Calais Archives website.

Pluviôse commence le 21 ou 22 janvier
By Tresca, Salvatore (Graveur) – Lafitte, Louis (Dessinateur du modèle) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The French Republican Calendar Months

The Republican calendar begins with the autumn months, the first being Vendémiaire (starting around 22 September) with the name coming from the French word vendange or grape harvest. The next two fall months were Brumaire (brume or mist) and Frimaire (frimas or frost). The winter months were Nivôse (Latin nivosus or snowy), Pluviôse (pluvieux or rainy), and Ventôse (venteux or windy). The spring months were Germinal (germination), Floréal (fleur or flower) and Prairial (prairie or meadow). The summer months were Messidor (Latin messis or harvest), Thermidor (Greek thermon or summer heat), and Fructidor (Latin fructus or fruit).

This little French Republican calendar diversion was not meant to distract attention from my children’s fifth great-grandparents, Mathias and Magdalena.


Mathias, the son of Leonard GRITIUS (1743-1813) and Marie NEIEN (d. bef. 11 February 1798), was born on 10 May 1776 in Ouren, Province de Liege, Belgium. His birth record has not been found. [I’m looking for tips on how to research church records for this period in Belgium.] When he married the marriage record[1] included his date of birth and indicated he was born in the canton of Wiltz. When he died his death record[2] listed Ouren in Luxembourg. Today, if you look on a map, Ouren is located in Belgium at the border triangle of Belgium-Germany-Luxembourg. All of the borders are tangent in the middle of the Our River.

His parents’ names came from his marriage record. At this time, his siblings are unknown.


Magdalena, the daughter of Jean SCHETTERT and Anna Catharina SCHAACK, was born on 26 April 1775 in Grümelscheid,[3] also called Grummelscheid in French and Grëmmelescht in Luxembourgish. The town is today part of the Winseler commune in the canton of Wiltz. Her birth record was found in the Oberwampach church records.

When Things Don’t Want to Fall in Place

While searching for more information on the parents and siblings of Magdalena SCHAETTER, I found a table of baptisms for Oberwampach for 1716 to 1797. It helped to find many baptisms for children with these surname variations: Schutter, Schoettert, Shetter, Schettert and Schaettert. The church records for the entire period for the Oberwampach area will have to be carefully viewed and followed up on as there is some confusion as to the name of Jean SCHETTERT’s wife as seen in several online GEDCOM files. I will have to check the birth, marriage, and death/burial of each person found in the GEDCOM files to determine where and if there is an error.

I became so frustrated with the research on this family that I laid it aside for several weeks, taking a break from research and blogging.

Life After the Wedding

When they married in Alscheid, Mathias was living in Merkholtz, less than 2 km away, and Magdalena and her parents were from the Eschweiler area, about a dozen kilometers from Alscheid.

Flag-map of Luxembourg
By Stasyan117 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
They spent their married life moving around the northern tip of Luxembourg (the tip of the shoe). On 15 November 1799, they were in Bavigne (Böwen in German and Béiwen in Luxembourgish) when their first child, a son named Wilhelm was born. I have not found this birth record, the information came from his 1824 marriage record.[4]

By the time the next child, a daughter named Elisabeth, joined the family on 11 February 1802 they were living in Goesdorf.[5] As you can see below, the handwriting on this birth record was a challenge. The surname was spelled GREISCH instead of GRISIUS and the record was in German.

1802 Birth Record of Elisabetha GREISCH [5]
They returned to the area of Alscheid for the births of the next three children. Frederich, my children’s 4th great-grandfather, was born on 9 March 1805[6] and his brother Jean was born on 16 November 1807.[7] Baby Jean died at nearly six months of age on 1 May 1808.[8] Another son, Pierre was born on 5 January 1810.[9] All three of these birth records were written completely by hand and in French. This example of Pierre’s birth was the first in the register for the year 1810.

1810 Birth Record of Pierre GRISIUS [9]
The family was residing in Schlindermanderscheid when the last three children were born. Margaretha was born on 22 September 1811.[10] Mathias’ father, Leonard GRITIUS, may have been living in Schlindermanderscheid before Mathias and Magdalena brought their family there as this is where his death took place on 30 December 1813.[11] Less than three weeks later another daughter, Catherine was born on 17 January 1814.[12] Anne Marie, the baby of the family, was born on 7 April 1816.[13]

Of the eight children Magdalena gave birth to, seven were living in 1816. Six-year-old Pierre died on 30 September 1816[14] and Anne Marie died on 21 January 1817[15] at the age of nine months. This left two sons and three daughters between the ages of three and eighteen.

The oldest son Wilhelm GRISIUS, who was living in Bavigne, married Catherine SCHNEIDER on 28 April 1824 in Mecher.[4] Mathias and Magdalena were living in Heffingen at the time (if I deciphered the place name correctly on the marriage record).

Mathias and Magdalena Settle in Hoscheid

Map Hoscheid
Map of Luxembourg with Hoscheid highlighted in orange, and the Diekirch canton in dark red. As of 2012, it is part of the Clervaux canton (the section at the tip), in the district of Diekirch.
By around 1830 the commune of Hoscheid had become the family’s residence. At first they were living in Hoscheid in the cowherd’s or Kühhirt‘s house where Mathias’ wife Magdalena SCHAETTER died on 1 December 1831.[16] She left Mathias with three daughters and son Frederich still at home. The oldest daughter Elisabetha was two months short of 30 years and still single. She most likely shared household duties with her younger sisters Margaretha (20) and Catherine (17).

At some point, after Magdalena died, the family went to live in der Dickt or in Houschterdéckt, also known in German as Hoscheiderdickt. This was likely between 1833 and 1836 when Mathias’ occupation changed from being a cowherd to working as a day laborer. By 1836 he was 60 years old and probably too old to be working as a cowherd.

The four remaining children were seen marrying in the commune of Hoscheid from 1833 to 1845.

  • Frederich GRISIUS married Catherina SCHAEFFER (1815-1898) on 3 July 1833 in Hoscheid. He and his father were living in Hoscheid.[17]
  • Cathérine Grisius married Michel MILLANG (1811-1875) on 7 September 1836 in Hoscheid. She and her father were living in der Dickt.[12]
  • Elisabetha Grisius married Adam KLEESEN (1799-1858) on 18 January 1843 in Hoscheid. She and her father were living in der Dickt.[18]
  • Margaretha Grisius married Jean PEIFFER (1818-1880) on 12 June 1845 in Heffingen. She and her father were living in der Dickt.[19]

Almost six months after the last of the GRISIUS children married they lost their oldest brother Wilhelm who died on 7 December 1845 in Bavigne.[20]

Eleven months later Mathias GRISIUS died at eight in the evening of 27 October 1846 in Hoscheiderdickt at the age of 70. His son-in-law Adam KLEESEN, who had been living in the GRISIUS household in 1843, reported his death.[2]

Elisabetha, the oldest daughter, had only been married four years when she died on 17 March 1847 in Hoscheiderdickt at the age of 45. Like her father, she died in a house called Theis.[21]

Five years later, Frederich GRISIUS, 47 years old and the oldest living child, died on 16 December 1852 in Hoscheiderdickt.[22] He left a wife, seven children, and two sisters, Margaretha and Catherine.

Margaretha died on 11 November 1875 in Heffingen.[23] By this time Catherine was living in Belgium, where her husband died three months earlier on 16 August 1875 in Seraing.[24] Catherine remained in Belgium and died in Flémalle (Wallonie) on 21 September 1887 at the age of 73.[25]

It’s good to be back to researching and blogging but I am even more happy to finally get this family put to bed. Some are not as easy as others. The GRISIUS-SCHAETTER family who lived in the tip of the Luxembourg shoe was one of these.


[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Alscheid > Mariages 1797-1830 > image 3 of 202. 1798 Marriage Record No. 3 (part 1). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12419-76075-81?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-L23:129624001,129711201 : accessed 18 September 2015) and 1798 Marriage Record No. 3 (part 2). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12419-75966-75?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-L23:129624001,129711201 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[2] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 128 of 162. 1846 Death Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12341-70030-5?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR:129844501,129896301 : accessed 6 September 2015).
[3] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch< (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Oberwampach > Baptêmes 1716-1797, confirmations 1721-1789, tables 1715-1797 > image 54 of 118. 1775 Baptismal Record (left page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9W61?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TB%3A1500931501%2C1501091444 : accessed 15 May 2017).
[4] Luxembourg Civil Records, Mecher > Mariages 1824-1890 Décès 1797-1824, 1797-1876 > image 8 of 1496. 1824 Marriage Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11672-185795-40?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-N38:130066801,130109301 : accessed 7 September 2015).
[5] Ibid., Goesdorf > Naissances 1797-1890 Mariages 1800-1809 > image 28 of 1227. 1802 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11028-26395-71?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-3TL:129625401,129841301 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[6] Ibid. Alscheid > Naissances 1797-1830 > image 62 of 207. 1805 Birth Record No. 8 (18 Ventôse An 13). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12419-76521-94?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2CB:1005941488 : accessed 09 Apr 2013).
[7] Ibid., Alscheid > Naissances 1797-1830 > image 77 of 207. 1807 Birth Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12419-77170-93?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-L2S:129624001,129782901 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[8] Ibid., Alscheid > Décès 1797-1849 > image 42 of 263. 1808 Death Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-10999-93661-43?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-N36:129624001,129624002 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[9] Ibid., Alscheid > Naissances 1797-1830 > image 89 of 207. 1810 Birth Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12419-75496-62?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-L2S:129624001,129782901 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[10] Ibid., Bourscheid > Naissances 1797-1871 > image 203 of 1296. 1811 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12397-97469-18?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-VZ9:129628601,129837501 : accessed 16 September 2015).
[11] Ibid., Bourscheid > Décès 1797-1890 > image 131 of 1157. 1813 Death Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12650-31277-32?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-N38:129628601,129626302 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[12] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 937 of 1491. 1836 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11672-67118-81?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL:129844501,129973001 : accessed 17 September 2015).
[13] Belgique, Liège, registres d’état civil, 1621-1914, database with images, FamilySearch (België Nationaal Archief, Brussels – Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Flémalle-Grande > Naissances, publications de mariage, mariages, décès 1886-1890 > image 197 of 567. 1887 Death Record No. 60. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-159333-68305-82?cc=2138505&wc=SRG5-PTG:1008819301,1447928801 : accessed 17 September 2015).
[14] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bourscheid > Décès 1797-1890 > image 157 of 1157. 1816 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12650-35668-99?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-N38:129628601,129626302 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[15] searching….
[16] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 25 of 162. 1831 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12341-74010-45?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR:129844501,129896301 : accessed 6 September 2015).
[17] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 841 of 1491. 1833 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11672-57155-81?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2B6:1412473990 : accessed 09 Apr 2013).
[18] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1063 of 1491. 1843 Marriage Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11672-57228-83?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL:129844501,129973001 : accessed 6 September 2015).
[19] Ibid., Heffingen > Mariages 1796-1890 > image 274 of 544. 1845 Marriage Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11015-90138-86?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-PTG:129687801,129719801 : accessed 16 September 2015).
[20] Ibid., Mecher > Mariages 1824-1890 Décès 1797-1824, 1797-1876 > image 1137 of 1496. 1845 Death Record No. 38. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11672-186060-72?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-N38:130066801,130109301 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[21] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 134 of 162. 1847 Death Record No. 14. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12341-73256-31?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR:129844501,129896301 : accessed 18 September 2015).
[22] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 15 of 296. 1852 Death Record No. 22. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12341-64957-16?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2B8:n401754830 : accessed 09 Apr 2013).
[23] Ibid., Boevange-Clervaux > Décès 1856-1890 > image 238 of 400. 1875 Death Record No. 35. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12346-163233-63?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-FM9:129627001,129627002 : accessed 6 September 2015).
[24] Belgium Civil Records, Seraing > Naissances, publications de mariage, mariages, décès 1875-1876 > image 563 of 1299. 1875 Death Record No. 469. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-159328-819029-16?cc=2138505&wc=SRG8-PTL:1008528601,1448458901 : accessed 17 September 2015).
[25] Ibid., Flémalle-Grande > Naissances, publications de mariage, mariages, décès 1886-1890 > image 197 of 567. 1887 Death Record No. 60. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-159333-68305-82?cc=2138505&wc=SRG5-PTG:1008819301,1447928801 : accessed 17 September 2015).

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

8 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #20 The Family Who Lived in the Tip of the Shoe”

  1. Interesting how much family members seem to have moved around. We tend to believe ancestors lived and worked their whole lives in just one or two places.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great title—I thought it was a reference to the old woman who lived in the shoe—she had so many children she didn’t know what to do! Seems to fit also. I was totally baffled when I ran into those strange month names while researching my Schoenfeld family from Erbes-Budesheim. How long were they used for?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The French Republican calendar was used from 1792-1806 (years I through XIV). Thank you, Amy. The title was a last minute thing. I should have mentioned Luxembourg is shaped like a shoe with the heel being south and the toe north but hopefully my readers figured it out on their own.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are some families that feel really good to “put to bed” as you said and move on from. Some are just much harder than others. One thing that struck me as I was reading is how much I love the diversity in the field of genealogy. You never run out of things to learn. No matter how expert you may be, you can’t possibly know the entirety of the genealogical field. I research all over the world – just not anywhere near where you research, so I regularly read words in your posts that I don’t know. Like canton. I’m guessing from context clues that it might be similar to the county level. I suppose I could just google it but I’m in a hurry to get ready for a t-ball game. 😉 The point of this big long ramble is, I love reading your blog because it exposes me to parts of genealogy that are completely new to me. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t the best part of blogging and reading other genealogy bloggers’ post the exposure we get? Teaching from experience and learning about the areas we have no clue of how to research. Yes, a Canton is similar to the county level in the US. Stay tuned for a more detailed explanation, Amberly. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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