52 Ancestors: #23 Antonia, Please Tell Me, Are You a STEFFEN or a GROEBER?

Today is Luxembourg National Day (Celebration publique de l’anniversaire du souverain). Grand Duchess Charlotte who ruled Luxembourg from 1919-1964 was born on 23 January 1896. The day was made a national holiday in 1941. The date of June 23 was set in 1961 by Ducal decree so that the weather would be nicer for celebrations.

During World War II on the evening of January 23 my grandmother’s neighbors met in her house to celebrate the birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The windows were covered so that no light could be seen from the street but the German patrol could hear the celebrating. They knocked on the door and asked what was going on. Bomi, as we called my grandmother, told them they were celebrating her birthday. It’s a good thing they didn’t check her identification as her birthday was not until June 17. She asked the Germans to join them in a glass of wine. She would laugh when she told us how the Germans raised their glasses to the birthday girl, not knowing that they were toasting the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this with you since I’ve been blogging about my children’s fifth great-grandparents, who mostly came from Luxembourg, on Fridays under the theme of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. And, here is today’s post.

Antonia, Please Tell Me, Are You a STEFFEN or a GROEBER?

Antonia, my children’s 5th great-grandmother, is a bit of an enigma. I don’t know if I should list her as Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER in the family tree.

I haven’t found a birth or baptismal record for her. She was born in a time period and place where the church records are lacking. The likely substitute would be a marriage record. Yes! Antonia left more than one marriage record which, instead of simplifying matters, only added a complication.

A marriage took place in 1815

1814 Marriage Publication [1]
On 7 December 1814 Peter BERNARD, son of the deceased Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) and his widow Johanna CAPPUS, and Antonia STEFFEN, daughter of Christina STEFFEN, made their intentions to marry public. The marriage banns were to be announced at the door of the town hall in Hoscheid on two Sundays, the 18th and 25th of December 1814.[1]

The publication was the first entry in the 1815 register, likely filled out after the fact and perhaps at the time they married. Taken out of context, it looks like the publication of the marriage was filled out and signed on 7 December 1815 instead of 1814.

1815 Marriage Record [2]
Peter and Antonia met with Jacob KOENIG at the Hoscheid town hall on 2 January 1815 at 10 o’clock in the morning.[2] The record produced at the time is the first mentioning Antonia’s date of birth. She appears to have been born on 8 March 1790 in Hoscheid to Christina STEFFEN. No father is mentioned. Antonia has the same surname as her mother which could mean she was an illegitimate child. Four witnesses were present for the marriage. One was Franz DUMONG, a twenty-year-old young man whose name would continue to be seen throughout this family’s story.

Another marriage took place in 1823

1822 Marriage Publication [3]
Let’s look at the second marriage of Antonia. Two days before Christmas of 1822 Johan KAUFMAN and Antonia GROEBER made their intentions to marry known. Their banns were read on the 15th and 22nd of December.[3] In this document, I found a new word, Wittib, which means widow. Antonia, the widow of the deceased Peter BERNARD, was the daughter of the widow Christina GROEBER.

How can I be sure this Antonia GROEBER is the same person as Antonia STEFFEN? Hopefully, the pieces will fall into place once all of her records are analyzed.

1823 Marriage Record [4]
Johan and Antonia met at the Hoscheid town hall on 7 January 1823 at 9 o’clock in the morning before Frans AUGUSTIN. This record has the same date and place of birth for Antonia as seen in her previous marriage record — 8 March 1790 in Hoscheid (see box next to first arrow above). The difference from her first marriage record in 1815 is that she is listed as the daughter of the deceased Valentin GROEBER and his widow Christina STEFFEN. This explains why Christina was seen as Christina GROEBER on the 1822 marriage publication. Witnesses of the marriage were two men with the BERNARD surname and Franz DUMONG.[4]

Antonia died in 1843

1843 Death Record of Antoinette STEFFEN [5]
Antonia produced one more record which infers her parentage. Her 1843 death record. On 11 March 1843 Nicolas GROEBER and Franz DUMONG were the informants for the death of Antonia STEFFEN. Her parents are not listed on this record. She died on 9 March 1843, the day after her birthday, at the age of 53 years.[5] By now the name of the second informant, Franz DUMONG, is familiar. More important here is the relationship of the informants to Antonia. Nicolas GROEBER was 43 years old, from Hoscheid, and the brother of the deceased. His 1830 marriage record[6] confirms his parents were Valentin GROEBER and Christina STEFFEN. Both Antonia and Nicolas were children of Christina STEFFEN, but was Valentin GROEBER the father of both of them?

Nicolas was ten years younger than Antonia and he carried the GROEBER surname and not STEFFEN as he claimed was his sister’s surname. Does this mean Antonia’s mother Christina STEFFEN married after Antonia’s birth in 1790 and before Nicolas’ birth abt. 1800?

GROEBER and STEFFEN surnames

I looked into the GROEBER-STEFFEN marriage. I did not find the actual record. It is very likely hidden away in the parish of Brandenbourg as I found a marriage index card citing the marriage.[7]

1794 Marriage Index Card for Valentin GREVES and Christina STEPHEN [7]
The card gives the names of the groom (époux) and bride (épouse) as well as their parents’ names with alternate spellings than were found in later records. The marriage took place on 29 January 1794 in Hoscheid.[7] Missing on the card, at the bottom, are the volume number and page in the Brandenbourg parish register where the record would be located. The date of marriage converts to the 10 pluviôse in the year II of the French Republican calendar. I may be looking in the wrong place for the marriage record as these index cards are known to have been filled out using information found on actual marriage records.

Were Christina STEFFEN and Valentin GREVES (or GROEBER as the name was seen later) a couple when Antonia was born in 1790? Very often in civil records in Luxembourg children born to a couple before their marriage are mentioned in the marriage record to make them legitimate. I have not seen this in church records. Valentin GROEBER died on 1 March 1806, a week before Antonia turned 16 years old. His wife Christina STEFFEN reported the death.[8]

Antonia’s first marriage and children

What other records can be found with Antonia’s full name? Did she have children whose birth or marriage records would include her name?

Following her first marriage to Peter BERNARD in January of 1815 the couple had a daughter Margaretha born on 2 November 1815 in Hoscheid.[9] The birth record shows the mother of the child was Anthonia STEFFEN. The same name was listed at the time of the next child Marie Cathérine’s birth on 12 September 1817.[10]

Who was Peter BERNARD and when did the marriage end?

Antonia’s first husband Peter BERNARD was born on 11 March 1790 in Holzthum.[11] He was the second of seven known children born to Jeanne CAPPUS (1763-1833) and Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) in Buckels bei Hosingen, Bockholtz near Hosingen in the canton of Clervaux (and not Bockholtz near Goesdorf in the canton of Wiltz).

Peter died on 4 June 1820 in Hoscheid in a house called Christen.[12] Jacob KOENIG who officiated at the marriage of Peter and Antonia only five years earlier was one of the informants on the death record and he gave the widow’s name as Antonia STEFFEN.

Antonia’s second marriage and children

Following Peter’s death, Antonia married Jean KAUFMAN on 7 January 1823.[4] An interesting discovery was made when analyzing this marriage record (see image of 1823 Marriage Record above). Antonia’s brothers-in-law from her first marriage, Michel BERNARD and Nicolas BERNARD were two of the four witnesses at the marriage. This would suggest there was a close bond with the BERNARD family who did not live in Hoscheid but in Holzthum. Franz DUMONG was another witness.

Antonia’s second husband Jean KAUFMAN was ten months younger than her having been born on 1 January 1791 in Pettingen (Mersch) to Théodore KAUFMAN and Marguerite SCHILTZ.[13]

Ten months to the day they married Antonia gave birth to twins, Anna Maria and Elisabetha, at four in the morning on 7 November 1823 in Hoscheid. The father Jean went to the town hall the same day, at five in the evening, to report the births. The twins shared a birth record.[14] Their mother was listed as Antonia GROEBER – the same name found on her second marriage record.

Antonia’s first mother-in-law Johanna CAPPUS (1763-1833), paternal grandmother of Margaretha and Marie Cathérine, died on 21 January 1833 in Holzthum.[15]

Jean and Antonia spent 16 years together raising their twin daughters and Antonia’s two daughters from her first marriage.

Three deaths in the family

On 6 June 1839 at eight in the evening Jean died in the house called Christen in Hoscheid.[16] This was the same house where Antonia’s first husband Peter had died. Franz DUMONG and Mathias THIEVES were the informants for Jean’s death. They gave his widow’s name as Antonia STEFFEN. Finally, there is a record showing a relationship to Franz DUMONG. Both of the men listed as informants on this record were neighbors of the family who lived in the house called Christen in Hoscheid.

Later in the year, on 7 November 1839, the day the KAUFMAN twins would celebrate their 16th birthday, their maternal grandmother Christina STEFFEN’s died in the house called Christen. I wonder if she owned the house and this was the reason it was called Christen. Her son Nicolas GROEBER went to the town hall at one in the afternoon to declare the death took place the same day at seven in the morning.[17]

Antonia was now alone with her four daughters: Margaretha (24), Marie Cathérine (22), and the twins Anna Maria (16) and Elisabetha (16). Four years later her brother Nicolas and her neighbor Franz reported her death on 9 March 1843.[5]

What happened to her daughters?

Antonia and Peter’s first child, Margaretha BERNARD was my children’s 4th great-grandmother. She married two months after her mother’s death. On 30 May 1843, Margaretha married Anton WECKERING (1781-1857) in Bourscheid.[18] Anton was 61 years old and had been widowed in 1841.[19] Their marriage record lists the bride’s parents as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN. Their story can be read in this post: Antoine WECKERING Becomes Father of his 13th Child at Age 72!.

Margaretha’s sister Marie Cathérine BERNARD and her half-sisters, the twins Anna Maria KAUFMAN and Elisabetha KAUFMAN lived together and worked as day laborers in 1843 when the census was taken in Hoscheid.[20]

Marie Cathérine BERNARD married Pierre ROMMES on 12 February 1846 in Hoscheid.[21] Her parents were listed as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN.

Anna Maria KAUFMAN married Johann DUMONG (1824-1892) on 12 July 1849 in Hoscheid.[22] Johann’s father Franz DUMONG, who played a large part in the lives of Antonia and her family, died the previous year. He had been their neighbor as well as an informant and witness to many major events which took place from the time he was old enough to sign until his death. The DUMONG-KAUFMAN marriage record listed Jean KAUFMAN and Antoinette STEFFEN as the bride’s parents. Ten months later, like her mother Antonia, Anna Maria gave birth to twin daughters who shared a birth record.[23] They were not her only children.

Anna Maria KAUFMAN died on 26 April 1865 in Merscheid.[24] Her death record lists her parents as Johann KAUFMAN and Antoinette STEFFEN.

The oldest daughter, Margaretha BERNARD died on 15 April 1878 in the Central Hospiz in Ettelbruck.[25] Only the name of her deceased husband, Antoine WECKERING was noted on her death record.

Marie Cathérine BERNARD died on 17 January 1880 in Hoscheid.[26] Her parents were not mentioned on her death record, only her deceased husband Peter ROMMES.

Anna Maria’s twin, Elisabetha KAUFMAN, never married and worked as a seamstress. After the death of her twin, she took in Catharina DUMONG, one of her sister’s twin daughters. They were found together on the census in 1867, 1871 and 1875. Elisabetha died on 11 April 1880 in Hoscheid.[27] Her death was reported by her niece’s husband, Jean WECKERING. He gave her parents’ names as Johann KAUFMAN and Anna GRÖBER. He was a nephew of Antoine WECKERING who married Margaretha BERNARD.

Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER?

After looking at all of these records I’ve come to this conclusion. Antonia STEFFEN was her maiden name and Antonia GROEBER will be added as an alternate name. Antonia’s father may have been Valentin GROEBER or he may have been a man whose name will remain a mystery.


[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch< (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 490 of 1491. 1814 Marriage Publication. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-7MS?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 20 June 2017).
[2] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 493 of 1491. 1815 Marriage Record (left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-D74?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[3] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 534 of 1491. 1822 Marriage Publication (right page, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-HDN?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 20 June 2017).
[4] ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 544 of 1491. 1823 Marriage Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-FZF?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[5] ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 103 of 162. 1843 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12341-65980-21?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR:129844501,129896301 : accessed 14 September 2015).
[6] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 713 of 1491. 1830 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-QW6?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[7] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Brandenbourg > Tables des mariages 1675-1793 (index organisée par l’épouse) > image 246 of 313. 1794 Marriage Index Card. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-SS9G?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-L2W%3A1500940601%2C1501098802 : accessed 20 June 2017).
[8] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1368 of 1491. 1806 Death Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-Q11?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 20 June 2017).
[9] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 135 of 459. 1815 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11669-111343-72?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-6TR:129844501,129804701 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[10] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 148 of 459. 1817 Birth Record (left, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DB1Q-9JN?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-6TR%3A129844501%2C129804701 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[11] Ibid., Consthum > Naissances, mariages, décès 1779-1793 > image 101 of 145. 1790 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6SNN-BS?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-2NP%3A129626301%2C129967401 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[12] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1446 of 1491. 1820 Death Record (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-CRK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[13] Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 264 of 274. 1791 Baptismal Record (left page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9723?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 23 June 2017).
[14] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 196 of 459. 1823 Birth Record for twins. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11669-109875-22?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-6TR:129844501,129804701 : accessed 14 September 2015).
[15] Ibid., Consthum > Décès 1797-1890 > image 192 of 520. 1833 Death Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DR3Q-BSW?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-DPD%3A129626301%2C129626302 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[16] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 76 of 162. 1839 Death Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-GCC?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR%3A129844501%2C129896301 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[17] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 77 of 162. 1839 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-GFC?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR%3A129844501%2C129896301 : accessed 20 June 2017).
[18] Ibid., Bourscheid > Naissances 1872-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 > image 995 of 1447. 1843 Marriage Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11561-51550-20?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-C68:129628601,129997101 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[19] Ibid., Bourscheid > Décès 1797-1890 > image 438 of 1157. 1841 Death Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12650-33893-10?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-N38:129628601,129626302 : accessed 11 September 2015).
[20] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Hoscheid > 1843 > image 55 of 137. Bernard household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32359-9430-48?cc=2037957&wc=M5LT-ZV3:345858701,345863501 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[21] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1080 of 1491. 1846 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-F7Q?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[22] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1095 of 1491. 1849 Marriage Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-WJ4?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[23] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 452 of 459. 1850 Birth Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DB13-R8P?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-6TR%3A129844501%2C129804701 : accessed 23 June 2017).
[24] Ibid., Putscheid > Décès 1859-1890 > image 83 of 381. 1865 Death Record No. 22. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRX9-KBP?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-T3D%3A130227001%2C129657101 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[25] Ibid., Ettelbruck > Décès 1814-1881 > image 1356 of 1379. 1878 Death Record No. 36. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11675-61468-76?cc=1709358&wc=9RYS-FM9:129625001,1290913101 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[26] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 230 of 296. 1880 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-DZW?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WP%3A129844501%2C129625502 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[27] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 231 of 296. 1880 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-NQ9?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WP%3A129844501%2C129625502 : accessed 22 June 2017).

© 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.

10 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #23 Antonia, Please Tell Me, Are You a STEFFEN or a GROEBER?”

  1. What a maze! I loved the story of your grandmother—what spunk she had. And as always, your ability to wade through all those names and documents blows me away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s getting harder and harder to get them done in a week. If I move on to the next generation of 6th great-grandparents (of my children) I may shift down a bit and do them on a monthly basis.
      My American cousins are patiently waiting for me to get back to the US lines.
      I’ve shared the story of my grandmother before but it’s worth telling again and again. Thank you, Amy.


      1. I don’t know how you do those in a week. I’ve learned to break things down into smaller chunks—both for me and my readers. It was just too hard to keep up!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating read Cathy. I kept developing theories and then a few records later I would toss them. You are right – no way to know. I also love the story of your Grandmother at the beginning. I can imagine her telling that story with glee!

    Liked by 1 person

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