The Ancestors: Joseph SCHLOESSER of Wiltz and Catherine ARENT of Warken

Father’s Day in Luxembourg and Four Catholic Priests

Research on the featured couple brought to light more than I expected. What I learned fits in nicely, I think, with the holiday we are celebrating in Luxembourg today: Father’s Day.

The Marriage Record

1754 Marriage Record courtesy of FamilySearch

On Sunday, 3 February 1754, a Catholic priest named Nicolas KNEIP married my 5th great-grandparents in Ettelbrück. The 24-year-old groom was Joseph SCHLOESSER of Wiltz and his 23-year-old bride was Catherine ARENT of Warken. Joseph was the son of Nicolas SCHLOESSER and Johanna GASPERSCH (also seen as CASPER). Catherine was the daughter of Michel ARENT, deceased, and Anna Margaretha KNEIP.1

The Wark River near Warken, Luxembourg, in the winter.

Before I tell you about the rabbit hole the priest took me down, here is a list of the children of this set of 5th great-grandparents.

The children of Catherine and Joseph

Catherine and Joseph made their home in Wiltz where their 10 known children were born and baptized. Unless noted otherwise all events took place in Wiltz or Wooltz as it is known in Luxembourgish.

Anna Margareta was baptized on 30 December 1754.2 She died on 25 December 1755, days before her first birthday.3

Laurent was baptized on 12 June 1756.4 He married(1) Marie-Elisabeth DUHR (1744-1789) on 28 December 1778.5 They had 4 children. He married(2) Anne-Marguerite SCHAUL (1774-1817) on 4 August 1794.6 They had 10 children. He died on 17 September 1823 at the age of 67.7

Maria Catharina was baptized on 31 May 1759.8 She married Jean-Baptiste Jean BARNICH (1756-1811) on 19 May 1791.9 They were the parents of 5 children. She died on 22 December 1821 at the age of 62.10

Nicolas was baptized on 29 December 1760.11 He married Marie SCHMAL (1752-aft. 1824) on 20 June 1779.12 They had 9 children. He died on 22 January 1805 at the age of 44.13

Valentin was baptized on 1 August 1762.14 He married(1) Elisabeth THIES (1765-1802) on 15 April 1787.15 They had 8 children. He married(2) Marie Elisabeth DECKER (1775-1837) on 17 August 1804.16 They had 9 children. He died on 27 March 1832 in Lutremange, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, Province de Luxembourg, Belgium at the age of 69.17

Jean-Népomucène was baptized on 18 March 1764.18 He married(1) Margaretha TRAUDT (1766-1809) on 26 Apr 1790 in Vianden.19 They were the parents of a dozen children. He married(2) Elisabeth HAMELING (1779-1838) on 24 Dec 1810 in Vianden.20 They had two sons, one of whom died before the age of two months.  He died on 29 July 1833 in Vianden at the age of 69.21 Jean-Népomucène and his first wife Margaretha were my 4th great-grandparents.

Nicolas Joseph was baptized on 18 November 1766.22 He married(1) Elisabeth METZ (1766-1816) on 3 June 1787.23 They were the parents of 13 children. He married(2) the widow Marie-Catherine SCHNEIDER (1769-?) on 30 December 1818.24 He died on 29 January 1839 in Eschweiler at the age of 72.25

Elisabeth was baptized on 15 September 1770.26 She married André SPEDENER (1768-1828) on 6 May 1791.27 They had 7 children. She died on 11 July 1844 at the age of 73.28

Marie was baptized on 11 March 177329 and died two days later.30

Jean was baptized on 30 November 1775.31 He died a little over seven months later, on 16 July 1776.32

The deaths of Catherine and Joseph

Catherine ARENT did not live to see the 19th century but she saw the seven children who lived to adulthood marry. She died at the age of 65 years on 21 Apr 1796.33 Her husband Joseph SCHLOESSER died on 31 March 1800 at the age of 71 at the home of his daughter. His son Valentin and a neighbor reported the death. Which of his daughters it was, the oldest or the youngest was not mentioned.34

Research Manager(1)

Catherine and Joseph had 79 grandchildren per research done by my 6th cousin once removed, Joseph SCHLOESSER, a descendant of my Joseph’s oldest brother Jean SCHLOESSER (1719-1789). I’ve documented 14 grandchildren by their son Jean-Népomucène who is my direct ancestor. The remaining 65 still need to be looked into.

DNA Match adds a couple of generations to the tree

Anna Margaretha KNEIP, my 6th great-grandmother and the mother of Catherine ARENT of this post, showed up in the tree of one of my mother’s DNA matches. That’s seven generations back in Mom’s tree. The match shares only 14 cMs on one segment with Mom. Seven of the match’s eight great-grandparents were born in Luxembourg making researching and finding the MRCA time-consuming. Ancestry, however, found Anna Margaretha KNEIP to be a common ancestor of the match and my Mom. ThruLines suggested the match came through a descendant of Anna Margaretha and her second husband. At the time I didn’t have a second marriage for Anna Margaretha. In fact, I didn’t even have other children.

Instead of working out the match’s line, I looked into Anna Margaretha KNEIP. Searching for the ARENT children, the death of her husband Michel ARENT, the second marriage to Bernard AUDRIT, and the AUDRIT children took me further back. These gave me the names of her parents and I was able to locate baptismal records for 14 KNEIP siblings of Anna Margaretha KNEIP, all born in Bissen. Although many children had been born to André KNEIP and his wife Catherine FABER vulgo GOEDERT, I found no marriages in that town. That’s where I left off the research.

Rabbit Hole

Coming back to the marriage entry for Joseph SCHLOESSER and Catherine ARENT, I asked myself if the mother of the bride, Anna Margaretha KNEIP, and the priest Nicolas KNEIP might have been related. This sent me down a rabbit hole where I made several discoveries.

An online search for the reverend father Nicolas KNEIP who was a priest in Ettelbück turned up a hit for the genealogy research of Charles THIELEN last updated 18 December 2004.

Mr. Thielen is a descendant of the most distant known KNEIP ancestor through the daughter Susanne, sister of my André KNEIP. He lists 17 children for André KNEIP. I had missed one child in the baptismal records. Another child, a son, was included although only mentioned in a publication by a catholic priest.

Mr. Theilen’s work traced the ARENT and KNEIP lines a further generation than I had. He cited notary records he used to make the connections in the families.

The most amazing information in his database was the fact that six of the nine sons of André KNEIP and Catherine FABER vulgo GOEDERT studied theology and that four of them became Catholic priests. Nicolas KNEIP (1697-1768) of the parish of Ettelbrück was their oldest son and the priest who performed the marriage ceremony between his niece Catherine ARENT and Joseph SCHLOESSER.

No wonder I couldn’t find marriages for the KNEIP children when six of the sons never married. Several of the children who did marry didn’t produce entries in the church marriage records. This seems unusual when four of the siblings were priests – persons responsible for keeping the church records. Mr. Theilen used the notary records to work around these missing records. I was able to locate some of the records he cited. I even found some that he didn’t cite including two marriage contracts. One proved a second marriage for Marie Josephine, a sister of the four priests. The religious marriage record did not include her widower’s name or her parents’ names.

Research Manager(2)

Before finding these records, with the help of Mr. Thielen’s citation, I had only seen one notary record produced by an ancestor – again a record that had been referenced by another researcher. Now that I have figured out how to use these records and where to look for the notary’s index to the records, I will be checking the Luxembourg Notarial Records, 1621-1821 more often.

The handwriting from the 1700s is very hard to read and it will take some time to decipher the records. I am especially interested in the four-page record I found dated 7 February 1734, the day Anna Marguerite KNEIP married her second husband Bernard AUDRIT. Signed by several of her clergy brothers as well as a priest with the surname ARENT (her deceased husband’s surname), it appears to be a marriage contract between the two.

I still cannot believe that my 7th great-grandparents André and Catherine had so many sons who became priests but am pleased to see all the records this particular family left.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joseph SCHLOESSER
Occupation: Labourer or farmer
Parents: Nicolas SCHLOESSER and Johanna GASPERSCH
Spouse: Catherine ARENT
Parents of spouse: Michel ARENT and Anna Margaretha KNEIP
Whereabouts: Wiltz, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandparents

1. Joseph SCHLOESSER and Catherine ARENT
2. Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER and Margaretha TRAUDT
3. Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER and Anna Maria “Maria” CONSBRÜCK
4. Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER and André FOURNELLE
5. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
6. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
7. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
8. Catherine Ann “Cathy” DEMPSEY and Living MEDER
9. Our children

© 2021, 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), Ettelbruck > Mariages 1732-1778, sépultures 1732-1782 > image 21 of 95. 1754 Marriage Record. (right, 2nd to last). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-S9T8?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-JWT%3A1500939401%2C1501027722 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  2. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 324 of 464. 1754 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5958-59?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  3. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 19 of 244. 1755 Death Record (left, left column, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9WXK?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  4. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 332 of 464. 1756 Baptismal Record (right page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32461-6112-36?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  5. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 187 of 244. 1778 Marriage Record (right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-97Y4?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  6. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 210 of 244. 1794 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9722?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 478 of 1390. 1823 Death Record No. 38. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62T4-7R?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  8. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 347 of 464. 1759 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32461-6016-35?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  9. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 241 of 356. 1791 Marriage Record (right, last). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-97B5?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  10. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 446 of 1390. 1821 Death Record No. 55. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62TV-X7?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  11. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 354 of 464. 1760 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-6386-77?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  12. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779 > image 31+32 of 43. 1779 Marriage Record part 1 (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-942C?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-W38%3A1501203801%2C1501078090 : accessed 13 December 2017) and 1779 Marriage Record part 2 (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9HZK?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-W38%3A1501203801%2C1501078090 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  13. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 137 of 1390. 1805 Death Record (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62TF-9Q?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  14. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 362 of 464. 1762 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32461-6407-23?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  15. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 160 of 356. 1787 Marriage Record (right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9WS1?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  16. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1797-1885 > image 194 of 1502. 1804 Marriage Record (part 1). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DRZQ-WRJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-HZ9%3A130592301%2C130729201 : accessed 26 September 2021). 
  17. Belgique, Luxembourg, registres d’état civil, 1580-1920, (images), FamilySearch (België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Villers-la-Bonne-Eau > Décès 1821-1840 > image 59 of 120. 1832 Death Record. No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RX1-QC6?cc=2138510&wc=S51W-2NR%3A368383201%2C368159701 : accessed 15 December 2017). 
  18. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 370 of 464. 1764 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32461-6061-12?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  19. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Vianden > Naissances, mariages, décès 1779-1793 > image 184 of 241. 1790 Marriage Record, top of left page. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12876-10821-89?cc=1709358 : accessed 18 November 2015). 
  20. Ibid., Vianden > Naissances 1829-1890 Mariages 1797-1833 > image 1250 of 1493. 1810 Marriage Record (published twice). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11589-70344-54?cc=1709358 : accessed 20 November 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Vianden > Mariages 1834-1890 Décès 1797-1866 > image 932 of 1406. 1833 Death Record No. 18. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11584-68567-78?cc=1709358 : accessed 22 January 2013). 
  22. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 384 of 464. 1766 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32461-6039-18?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  23. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 161 of 356. 1787 Marriage Record (left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9WFQ?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  24. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 450 of 1495. 1818 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC47-1NR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 10 October 2021). 
  25. Ibid., Eschweiler > Décès 1800-1850 > image 225 of 309. 1839 Death Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-65G9-638?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-SP6%3A129626801%2C129626802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  26. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 413 of 464. 1770 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5666-66?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  27. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 241 of 356. 1791 Marriage Record (left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-97B5?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  28. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 910 of 1390. 1844 Death Record No. 47. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62T6-DG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  29. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 428 of 464. 1773 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5745-76?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  30. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 47 of 244. 1773 Death Record (right, 8th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9WWF?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  31. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 442 of 464. 1775 Baptismal Record (right page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5759-66?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  32. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 54 of 244. 1776 Death Record (left, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9WKV?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  33. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 92 of 244. 1796 Death Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9W9N?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  34. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 90 of 1390. 1800 Death Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62T6-VB?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 

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.

18 thoughts on “The Ancestors: Joseph SCHLOESSER of Wiltz and Catherine ARENT of Warken”

  1. Wow! 79 grandkids. That’s a lot, but my husband’s ancestors, George and Esther (Robertson) Baker had 93 that I know of. There were probably some who died young that I’ve missed, given that they married in 1800 in Kentucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my James Sims (two wives and 15 children who all had children) may top that number for grandchildren but I really hadn’t paid attention to the number. I did here because I was seeing I still had lots of work to do on the grandchildren. Thank you, Linda.

      Like

  2. Cathy, There are some researchers who do not like rabbit holes…for me, I’m all in! I love going down rabbit holes. Sometimes you come out empty handed, but those times you come out with new information is quite rewarding. Plus, even if you do come out empty handed, you still learn things along the way that can be quite helpful for future searches. This game is always about learning and discovery, even if you’re not looking for it. Thank you for taking us down your rabbit hole! Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This rabbit hole taught we about a record set I‘ve been avoiding because I thought most of my ancestors in Luxembourg were not well off enough to have the need of a notary. This family taught me different! You‘re welcome and thank you, too, Brian.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My 5th great grandmother was Marie Petesch/Arendt, born to Pierre Petesch ( b 1680) and Marguerite Arendt in Luxembourg. Marie was born about 1718 – had daughter Catherine b Mar 8, 1745, married to Johannes “Paul” Mersch, in Redange-sur-Attert Luxembourg. If you’d like to be in touch, I’m at smithretsmithnancy@aol.com.

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  4. I imagine the parents had mixed feelings about so many children becoming priests. Proud but maybe concerned about lack of DIL and grandchildren? Sad that Anna Margareta died on Christmas. I always feel sad when I see that knowing how hard for the family.

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    1. I think the sons must have been raised to study theology and become priests. So far only one son married and this was not until the age of 41. Only one daughter has been documented for his union. She left a notary record when she decided to enter the convent. Thank you, Luanne.

      Like

  5. That was quite the productive rabbit hole. I did notice some of those sons, especially, having multiple wives and lots of children. Goodness! I’m glad you take the time to add some photos, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am quite pleased with what I was able to get out of this rabbit hole, Eilene. Compared to Catherine’s mother’s family (with all the priests) it’s easy to notice that Catherine’s sons were not celibate and remarried when their spouses died. Maybe they were making up for all the children the grandmother’s generation failed to produce. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry for the delay in commenting—we were on the road yesterday when I read this, but couldn’t comment in the car.

    Anyway—what a contrast! 79 grandchildren for one couple, but then four priests who have no descendants in the same extended family. I cannot imagine how people back then raised so many children, and then trying to keep track of 79 birthdays for grandchildren is unimaginable! I always wonder how growing up with so many siblings (and cousins) affected the psychological and social development of children. Did they feel more secure surrounded by such a large family? Or did they feel less seen and cared for among so many? I am sure there were pluses and minuses and lots of variations from one family to another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s as if they were making up for the many celibate men in the family.

      I think they may not have bothered to celebrate birthdays back then. My step-father who was the only child of an older couple never celebrated his birthday and doesn’t understand why we get together for birthdays. Also very often the children were born in the same month – like nine months after a period when there was little outside work.

      Be safe, Amy. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder when and where birthday celebrations became a big thing. For Jews from Eastern Europe, it was not at all, and many only knew they were born near a certain holiday or in a certain time of year. I have one great-uncle who decided to make his birthday July 4 when he immigrated to align his birthday with that of his new country.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember reading about that birthday.

        I think, at least for Catholics before 1900, the religious holidays and the sacraments (baptism, communion, confirmation, holy orders for priests and nuns, marriage, anointment of the sick) were more important than birthdays.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And death was the biggie for Jews! People always knew the anniversaries of the deaths of their loved ones so that they could say Kaddish and light a candle. It’s called their Yahrzeit, which until I learned some Germany I never realized meant “year time.”

        Liked by 1 person

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