A Priest Born in the 16th Century Leaves a Key to Open the Door in a Brick Wall

On Sunday I was checking my post, 52 Ancestors: #25 A Family on Two Continents, and doing miscellaneous searches for descendants of this family from Luxembourg when I made a fantastic discovery.

While searching the newspapers and periodicals on eluxemburgensia, part of the National Library of Luxembourg site, I got a surprising hit for Elisabetha HOBSCHEID and Michel GRASSER, my children’s 5th great-grandparents who I wrote about in the above article.

The hit brought up the book Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois, published in 1858. Imagine my surprise. Michel died in 1821, Elisabetha in 1831, and this book was from 1858. A manual of scholarships available to Luxembourgers written by Jean-Pierre Koltz (1804-1880), a teacher.

Unlike the newspapers where you are taken directly to the page the name is found on, this search took me to a chapter in the book. It was not immediately obvious why I was getting a hit in the chapter titled Penninger Foundation. I leafed through until I found Elisabetha and Michel. Their names were on a list of genealogical information. I slowly went back through each generation to find myself at the beginning of the family tree of Pierre PENNINGER.

It took me a few days to get my thoughts together and figure out how to share this discovery. This morning we took a bike ride to Brandenbourg to take pictures which I’ve added throughout this post. I’d like to thank my husband for sharing my enthusiasm through his photography. I hope you enjoy and they don’t distract too much from the rest of the story.

Who was Pierre PENNINGER?

Pierre PENNINGER, a native of Diekirch, took his vows for the priesthood and was the pastor of Brandenbourg at the time of his death.

On 4 June 1632, he donated 2,500 écus to the Jesuit priests. On the 1st of December of the same year, the Conseil provincial (Provincial Council) approved the donation to be used for two scholarships for the seminary in honor of the Holy Trinity.

The road into Brandenbourg with the castle on top of the hill.

In his last will and testament dated 5 January 1636 Father Penninger added the sum of 700 écus for a total of 3,200 écus (7,680 francs in 1848) for the scholarship fund to benefit three students of the Jesuit seminary. Relatives of Pierre PENNINGER, the founder, were the first eligible for the scholarships. If no relatives applied then the scholarships would go to poor young men of the Brandenbourg parish or its environs.

Kapell Brandenbourg (Chapel)

The original capital of the Penninger Foundation was 2,500 écus. The revenue of the capital was enough to fund two students during their stay at the seminary. The wars of the times caused the value of the scholarships to be reduced by nearly half so that only one scholarship for offered.

Inside the Chapel of Brandenbourg

However, through the wise administration of the capital, the fund increased in value to 12,698 francs in 1848. By a royal decree in 1848 it was decided to increase the number of scholarships to two.

Cornerstone of the Chapel of Brandenbourg

As the terms of the will were that the scholarships should go to the priest’s relatives, a family tree, in the possession of the Société Archéologique du Grand-Duché, was kept for consultation by candidates for the scholarships.

Brandenbourg Castle

Why all the excitement?

In my last post about Michel GRASSER and Elisabetha HOSCHEID, I wrote:

Elisabetha’s family lived in Brandenbourg. This parish’s records are lacking and those which are included are out of order. I have not gone through them to find her parents’ family group.

I did not even try to go through the records. The genealogy information in the chapter about the Penninger Foundation in the book mentioned above turned out to be the key I needed to open the door, or maybe a window, in this brick wall.

Stained glass window in the chapel of Brandenbourg

The PENNINGER Family Tree from 1672 and 1705

What follows are extracts of the Penninger family tree pertaining to my children’s direct line from Pierre PENNINGER’s parents to Elisabeth and Michel.

  • All screenshots (below) are from Jean-Pierre Koltz’s Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois. Link to the book (public domain) is found at the end of this article.

The genealogical information for the grandfather of Pierre PENNINGER was certified by the aldermen of the town of Diekirch on 7 April 1672 and 21 April 1705.

The grandfather of the founder, Pierre PENNINGER, had two sons. One of the sons was the father of a son and a daughter: Pierre PENNINGER, a lawyer in Diekirch, who was already deceased at the time his cousin, the pastor of Brandenbourg, made his will on 5 January 1636 and Elisabeth PENNINGER who married Regnard HERMAN.

The other son of the grandfather had three children. 1. Pierre, the pastor of Brandenbourg and founder of the scholarship foundation in his name. 2. Hélène, referred to as Hildegarde in her brother’s will, married Pierre FUNCK of Brandenbourg. 3. Marguerite married Jean KLEIN of Bockoltz who the founder referred to as Mercatoris (merchant) in his will.

The descendency of the two sisters of pastor Penninger of Brandenbourg.

My children’s line goes through the second sister Marguerite PENNINGER who married Jean KLEIN and had the following children:

  1. Jean KLEIN
  2. Dominique KLEIN, who was mentioned in Pierre PENNINGER’s will
  3. Jean KLEIN married Eve FLORENTZ
  4. Nicolas KLEIN married Odile BERNARD of Wiltz

The descendency of the KLEIN-PENNINGER couple was certified on 11 August 1768 by the mayors and aldermen of the high justice of Wiltz. The information was later complemented by information found in the civil records.

Jean KLEIN and Eve FLORENTZ had a daughter Hélène KLEIN who married Nicolas BOCK.

Nicolas BOCK and Hélène KLEIN had the following children:

  1. Ludovine BOCK married Jean-Michel REULAND
  2. Marguerite BOCK married Jean KETTELS of Niederwiltz
  3. Jean-Grégoire BOCK married Marie LEMMAER of Brandenbourg
  4. Jean-Nicolas BOCK, a notary from Merzig-sur-la-Sarre, was a Penninger scholar

Jean-Michel REULAND and Ludovine BOCK had the following children:

  1. Marie-Marguerite REULAND married Guillaume FISCHBACH (conflicting information – this daughter is also seen in the line down from the founder’s sister Hélène)
  2. Anne-Marguerite REULAND married N. Fischbach
  3. Jean-Philippe REULAND
  4. Jean-Nicolas REULAND
  5. Marie-Catherine REULAND married Léonard HOSCHEID of Brandenbourg

Léonard HOBSCHEID (sic, HOSCHEID) and Marie-Catherine REULAND of Brandenbourg had the following children:

  1. Marie-Catherine HOBSCHEID (sic) married(1) Philippe FISCHBACH and married(2) Michel LIMES of Brandenbourg
  2. Michel HOBSCHEID (sic) of Brandenbourg married an unknown lady
  3. Elisabeth HOBSCHEID (sic) married Michel GRASSER of Moestroff

Children #1 and #2 continue with another generation while my children’s 5th great-grandparents Elisabeth HOSCHEID and Michael GRASSER of Moestroff do not have children listed.

Have you counted through the generations found for this family? I had the names of Elisabeth HOSCHEID’s parents and, with the above, I have been able to add four more generations back to my children’s 10th great-grandmother Marguerite PENNINGER, sister of Pierre PENNINGER, the pastor who set up the scholarship fund for his relatives or needy young men of the parish of Brandenbourg and environs.

The church of Brandenbourg with the cemetery on the sides and back.

Although the Brandenbourg parish records aren’t complete, I have been able to find baptismal, marriage, and death/burial records for several of the person’s named above as well as for children who were not included in the list. The genealogical information lacks dates and can only be used as a guide until records are found to confirm the line back to the PENNINGER grandfather of Pierre, Hélène, and Marguerite and their cousins Pierre and Elisabeth.

As I began to look for records to support the information found in the published family tree, I learned I was not the first to make this discovery. It kind of burst my bubble but I still feel really good about this since I came across it on my own – even if it was a bit by chance.

Sources:

Auguste Neÿen, Biographie luxembourgeoise: histoire des hommes distingues …, Volume 2, Luxembourg 1861; pg. 40 and 105; online https://archive.org/stream/biographieluxem00negoog#page/n45/mode/2up/search/Penninger

Koltz, Jean-Pierre, Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois; V. Bück , Luxembourg, 1858; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=2828373&search_terms=Elisabeth%20Hobscheid#panel:pp|issue:2828373|article:DTL3386|page:107|query:Elisabeth Hobscheid

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.

23 thoughts on “A Priest Born in the 16th Century Leaves a Key to Open the Door in a Brick Wall”

  1. Exciting find Cathy! So fun when you discover a record that is not the standard census or BMD. That surname Bock seemed familiar so I checked my family tree. I have a Maria/Marie Bock married Theodore/Theodorus Brochmann/Bruckman my oldest known ancestor in Luxembourg as far back as I can go, to They had 2 known children in Diekirch, 1st Henri born 6 March 1691 in Gilsdorf, Diekirch Canton, and 2nd Andreas born 1691/1695? in Diekirch. Source: Familienbuch de Gemeinde Diekirch by Rob Deltgen, pg 99. I found the original baptism records in FamilySearch. Keep up the good work. I love reading about your discoveries!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathy. Yes, I’ve also seen BOCK but never knew there might be a connection to my or my children’s family tree. It’s a good thing I have everything in one database. 🙂 I love reading your comments and enthusiasm!

      Like

  2. Such an interesting story and a GREAT find! You have such wonderful countrysides there to photograph and discover. I wish I was closer to Georgia to take off on adventures to photograph, but thankful I do visit twice a year. I congratulate you on doing more of the 52 week stories on your ancestors. I’d love to but they are so demanding, I’m happy to do my A to Z on Me this year. I always enjoy your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How exciting! I too wish I could be there to see some of the sights with you! Your great research skills paid off and your creativity and energy to ride you bike and take these gorgeous photos is just astounding! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 10th great-grandmother?! Wow. It’s as though you pulled the arm of the slot machine and struck it rich. Fantastic. And you’re right, it’s all the more rewarding that you made the discovery on your own. Congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a cool find Cathy! As I was reading, I had already forgotten the names of the couple and I kept thinking, “Oh, any second here one of these names will be familiar…” And then, there they were. I love it! Congratulations. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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