The Ancestors: Henri Munier of Rodange and Margaretha Kilborn of Esch-sur-Alzette

Four years ago when I wrote about my 4th great-grandparents Catherine MEUNIER and Michel PHILIPPART several loose ends hadn’t been tied up. Their story was complicated by their marriage taking place when Luxembourg was under French rule.

Luxembourg History

In 1795 the Duchy of Luxembourg became the Département des Forêts following its surrender after a siege of over seven months by French Revolutionary troops. The anti-religious policy of the new government is one of the reasons a marriage record may not be found for a Luxembourg ancestor during this period.

The kitchen at the Castle of Vianden in Luxembourg

The people rebelled against the new laws continuing to be married by their priest, even if it meant having the ceremony performed in the kitchen, and refusing to have a civil record of the marriage recorded. When the Napoleonic Code was introduced in 1804 all persons were required to be married in a civil ceremony. Couples who had only been wedded by a priest since the introduction of civil records around 1796 had to be married in a civil ceremony to legitimize their children’s births. The children’s names were listed on the civil marriage record following the line pronouncing the couple husband and wife. Often the list was so long that it had to be continued in the margin of the marriage record.

1817 Civil Marriage Record of Catherine Meunier and Michel Philippart of Rodange

Civil marriage records

The civil marriage records of Luxembourg include the dates and places of birth of the bride and groom, names of parents of each and their residence, as well as, the date and place of death of any deceased parent.

I’ve estimated that the religious marriage of Catherine and Michel took place between 9 January 1800 and 8 November 1801. The first is the date of birth of Catherine’s first child, Marguerite. No mention is made of the father of the child, i.e. born to an unmarried mother.1 The second date is the date of birth of my 3rd great-grandmother Marie Catherine born to Catherine and Michel, a married couple.2 The marriage record, if it was recorded, may never turn up as religious marriage records are missing for Rodange for the years 1796-1807.

Since Catherine and Michel’s marriage wasn’t recorded in the civil registers, it had to be legalized in 1817 (see image above). It included the names of their four living children. Four other children died between 1810 and 1814. Two important dates were missing in the 1817 marriage record. For Catherine’s date of birth, only the year 1775 was noted and her father’s date of death was not included.3

When I began reviewing the information on Catherine’s parents for this post, her baptismal record had not been located.

1774 Marriage of the parents of Catherine MEUNIER

On 21 December 1774 in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Henri MUNIER (b. 1749), son of Dominic MUNIER (1718-1760s) and Catherine LADURELLE (1717-1771) of Rodange, both deceased, married Margaretha KILBORN (b. 1751), daughter of Jean KILBORN (abt. 1720-aft. 1793) and Margaretha STEFFEN (abt. 1723-1777), both living in Esch-sur-Alzette. Henri was 25 years old and Margaretha was 23 years old.4

21 December 1774 entry in the church records of Rodange on the bottom of page 314 (top) and top of page 315 (bottom) for the marriage of Henri and Margaretha.

Henri and Margaretha were my 5th great-grandparents. Margaretha was expecting at the time of their marriage as Catherine MEUNIER, my 4th great-grandmother, was born and baptized in July 1775 in Rodange.

Baptismal record of their only known child

Catherine’s baptismal record had been eluding me since I last searched in November 2015. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through the church records searching for Catherine’s baptism. Two weeks into researching this post, I browsed through the records once again on the assumption that she may have been born before her parents’ marriage.

The search was made difficult by the fact that the records for the years 1767-1777 are not in chronological order. Records for a year are together but the years are not consecutive. The baptismal record of Catherine MEUNIER was finally found between a death record of a man who fell from a tree in the woods of Sonne-la-Haute dated 10 July 1775 and the baptismal record of a child born in Rodange on 28 July 1775.5

1775 baptismal entry in the church records of Rodange for Catherine Munier (later seen as Meunier).

With no date other than the year 1775, the four lines of the record give the names of the parents and godparents. The places of residence of the parents and godparents were omitted by Jean Guilleaume, the priest who resided in Sonne or Saulnes as it is known today. He also failed to include the name of the legitimate female child. As children were named after the godparent of their gender, this record is for a daughter named Catherine.

Saulnes (France) and Rodange (Luxembourg) are neighboring towns separated by the border between the two countries. It can be assumed that Catherine was baptized between 10-28 July 1775 in Sonne or Rodange.

No further children have been found for Margaretha and Henri. Records of marriage in Luxembourg and records of death in the Rodange area of persons with the MUNIÉ, MUNIER, and MEUNIER surnames did not turn up any references of other children of Henri and Margaretha.

When did Henri MUNIER die?

The length of the MUNIER-KILBORN marriage is unknown as no record of death has been found for Henri. As with his daughter Catherine’s record of birth, his death record was not found by the civil servant who wrote up the 1817 record when Catherine’s marriage was legalized. The authorities noted only that Henri MUNIER died in Rodange.

Catherine was eight years of when her father Henri witnessed the marriage of his youngest sister Catherine MUNIER in Rodange on 29 August 1783.6 This was the second to last event that mentions Henri.

A decade later, on 17 December 1793, Margaretha KILBORN was described as the widow of Henri MUNIER when she married André DOMANGE in Rodange. Witnesses to the marriage included André’s father Nicolas DOMANGE, André’s maternal first cousin Pierre BERKIN, Margaretha’s brother-in-law Théodore LUCAS (husband of Margaretha MUNIER, sister of the bride’s deceased husband), and Margaretha’s father Jean KILBORN.7

When they married Margaretha was 42 years old and André was 31. the marriage lasted 27 years and was childless.

As an aside, André DOMANGE was my second cousin six times removed. We share Domange BERKIN and Anne WARCOLLIER (d. 1726) as ancestors.

Margaretha KILBORN died on 4 April 1821 in Rodange at the age of 69 years. Her husband André was the informant and gave her age as 80.8 He died 12 years later on 17 December 1833 at the age of 71.9 They were both buried in the cemetery of Rodange.

Research Manager

There are still items that need to be researched for this couple.

Death/burial entries in the church records of Rodange need to be checked (again) for the years 1783 to 1793 on the off chance that Henri MUNIER’s entry was missed.

The spelling of the surnames MUNIER and KILBORN needs to be considered when searching for records. Henri’s surname was spelled MUNIÉ on the 1774 marriage record. MUNIÉ  is pronounced the same as MUNIER. Later, the name was also seen as MEUNIER. KILBORN has been difficult to research as so many different spellings have been found: Kubborn, Kilborn, Kibourg, Kilbourg, Kubourg, and Quilbourt. One example, in 1793, when Margaretha married for the second time and her father was still living, the priest who wrote the marriage entry spelled the surname Kuborne.

Sources were not included in the post 52 Ancestors: #41 The Philippart-Meunier Family of Rodange. This to-do item has been marked off. Thirty-four sources were added to the post on 1 November 2021.

Research for this couple was slow going. Although Henri MUNIER and Margaretha KILBORN had only one known child, she gave them many descendants. The ancestry of the MUNIER-KILBORN couple goes back four generations on Henri’s side and two generations on Margaretha’s side, leaving much to be discovered.

As this is not the only branch in my family tree that lived in Rodange, more records and connections will likely be found while looking into the next three sets of 5th great-grandparents.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Henri MUNIER b. 7 Jan 1749
Parents: Dominic MUNIER and Catherine LADURELLE
Spouse: Margaretha KILBORN b. 25 Oct 1751
Occupation: day laborer
Parents of spouse: Jean KILBORN and Margaretha STEFFEN
Whereabouts: Esch-sur-Alzette and Rodange, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandparents

1. Henri MUNIER and Margaretha KILBORN
2. Catherine MEUNIER and Michel PHILIPPART
3. Marie Catherine PHILIPPART and André FOURNELLE
4. André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
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 d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Pétange > Naissances 1796-1877 > image 37 of 944. 1800 Birth Record (19 Nivose An 8). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6PXS-9GJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-GP8%3A130201201%2C130460501 : accessed 10 December 2017). 
  2. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1796-1877 > image 58 of 944. 1801 Birth Record (17 brumaire an X). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6PXS-W9X?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-GP8%3A130201201%2C130460501 : accessed 27 Mar 2013). 
  3. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 475 of 1497. 1817 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-1956-61?cc=1709358 : accessed 17 November 2015). 
  4. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Esch-sur-Alzette > Baptêmes 1721-1797, confirmations 1745-1772, mariages 1743-1797, sépultures 1742-1783 > image 154 of 208. 1774 Marriage Record No. 173 (bottom left and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S9PQ?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-HZ2%3A1500966021%2C1500966022 : accessed 7 December 2017). 
  5. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 27 of 102. 1775 Baptismal Record No. 111. (left page, third entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-3NW3?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W32%3A1501084779%2C1501084780 : accessed 17 October 2021). 
  6. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 36 of 108. 1783 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-3ND6?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 17 October 2021). 
  7. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 81 of 102. 1793 Marriage Record (right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3NZ6?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W32%3A1501084779%2C1501084780 : accessed 6 December 2017). 
  8. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1223 of 1497. 1821 Death Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62QW-FXL?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-168%3A130201201%2C130563401 : accessed 6 December 2017). 
  9. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1314 of 1497. 1833 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62QW-ND4?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-168%3A130201201%2C130563401 : accessed 5 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.

8 thoughts on “The Ancestors: Henri Munier of Rodange and Margaretha Kilborn of Esch-sur-Alzette”

  1. Cathy, Those records for our ancestors that are difficult to find can be so frustrating, but with “dogged” determination, you can pull them out of obscurity. Great work! Brian

    Liked by 1 person

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