The Ancestors: Where the Genealogy Research is Going in the New Year

With last week’s post The Ancestors: Pierre Fournelle of Rodange, Luxembourg, and Jeanne Neu of Athus, Belgium, I finished writing about half of my maternal fifth great-grandparents. This week, I’d like to talk to you about my change in plans.

I had planned on researching and writing about the other half of my maternal fifth great-grandparents, these being from locations in present-day Germany, then a part of a greater Luxembourg.

The Ancestors: My mother’s paternal fourth great-grandparents

(448 & 449) Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG
(450 & 451) Michael WELTER and Katharian KLEIN
(452 & 453) Matthias SCHRAMEN and Anna Barbara LEIBRICH (BURG)
(454 & 455) Sebastian SCHMITT and Maria LORANG
(456 & 457) Nikolaus WEYMAN and Maria Katharina HUSS
(458 & 459) Gerard MALAMBRÉ and Barbara BIESDORF
(460 & 461) Johann Bernard WELTER and Maria BRIMERS
(462 & 463) Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER
(464 & 465) Peter BUBELREITER and Gertrud LAMBERTI or BOSEN
(466 & 467) Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN
(468 & 469) Peter MERTSCHERT and Susanna “Anna”SCHNEIDER
(470 & 471) Theodor MERGEN and Gertrud THELEN
(472 & 473) Johann Nicolaus WAGNER and Anna Maria KLEIWER
(474 & 475) Johann HARTERT and Elisabeth HEINZ
(476 & 477) Peter KERSCHT and Eva SCHMIDS
(478 & 479) Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THEILEN

I have marriage records for the couples marked in red as they married in the parish of Echternach, Luxembourg. Dates of marriage are known for the couples in blue but records are not accessible online (some possibly only due to my European residence). For the remaining couples, I have no dates of marriage. Their marriages are assumed to have occurred before the birth/baptism of legitimate children.

Missing or non-accessible documentation

My mother’s paternal ancestors lived in villages that became a part of Germany at the time of the Second Partition of Luxembourg in 1815. I have access to the family books of the German villages the 16 sets of 5th great-grandparents lived in. These finding aids are reliable but not error-free. They include dates and places of birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial. Some have the register, page, and entry number to aid in finding the record.

I’ve used the information in family books to grow my family tree adding the documents to support the dates and places of events when accessible. For this group of ancestors, the records I’ve been able to obtain have been those that were recorded in catholic church registers that remained in Luxembourg mainly in the parish of Echternach. However, many of the events were recorded in the church registers archived in the Bistumsarchiv Trier and the civil registers archived in the Kreisarchiv Bitburg.

Although the church records were filmed by FamilySearch, access in Europe is limited to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of these are available stateside to the public but I don’t plan to request help from family or friends to do lookups for me.

Bistumarchiv and Kreisarchiv

The church records can be consulted at the Diocese Archive (Bistumarchiv) in Trier, Germany, and the civil records at the District Archive Bitburg-Prüm (Kreisarchiv) in Bitburg, Germany. These are less than an hour’s drive from my residence but impractical due to Covid restrictions.

Records found in these archives were used by the compilers of the family books of the German towns. Although primary sources were used, the publications are secondary sources. I’ve used them as sources in earlier posts but I don’t think they will be of benefit for the stories of this generation.

Our family schedule doesn’t leave much time for trips to either archive at this time. The past two years have not been easy for any of us. As with many of my other genealogy friends in my age group, we are caring for the older and the younger generations in our family. Keeping them safe during this pandemic.

Moving on to US research

I long to get back to US research as many records have been added to FamilySearch‘s online collections. I’ve stolen minutes here and there, working on finding my American ancestors in the personal property tax lists, land tax lists, court records, land deeds, etc. This is a time-consuming project as the records are not indexed and have to be browsed, cited, and evaluated. With each record, events are added to the ancestor’s timeline, adding detail to the yet unwritten story.

Another reason for fixing my focus on US research is the coming release of the 1950 US census in April 2022.

December will be quiet here at Opening Doors in Brick Walls as I take a break from writing.

My warmest thoughts for a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year. May peace, love, and prosperity follow you always. May the world become a safer place for all.

© 2021, 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.

14 thoughts on “The Ancestors: Where the Genealogy Research is Going in the New Year”

  1. It must be frustrating for you since you are so incredibly thorough and persistent in your research. I know that I also reach a point where finding records becomes impracticable if not impossible—especially on my maternal side where I have no records before the births of my grandparents in 1888/1895 (except for later US records that provide earlier birth dates from Europe).

    I have to admit that when I find a family member who immigrated to the US, I am relieved because I know that I can learn more. The language barrier and the inaccessibility of records makes Europe a real problem. Germany is better than Poland or Romania, but even there, there are regions with no online records.

    Have a great December! Stay safe and enjoy your family. Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Over the years I have learned that there is more to family history than the basic set of records we begin with. I am lucky that I don’t have the language barrier. We grow with our trees, learning ways to better document our work. I’m sure that in the years to come more records will be available online. I just have to be patient.

      Thank you, Amy. All the best to you and yours during the holiday season and in the New Year. Be safe, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathy, I definitely feel your pain when it comes to not being able to see certain records simply because you happen to live on the European continent. Oh, and by the way, I don’t mind looking up stuff for people. Gives me something to do when I’m not writing myself, plus it hones my skills. Anyway, I have an upcoming post I hope you will enjoy. It’s pretty special…As always during this season, Have a Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holidays with your family! Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand your frustration. Even though we have an affiliate library in my town, it isn’t always accessible, and the FHL in Salt Lake wasn’t allowing access for months while they upgraded their system.

    Enjoy your holiday break and New Year celebrations. See you in 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not familiar with the format of the Bistumarchiv’s records. The Kreisarchiv has the ONLY original civil records. They have not been digitized. Patrons are allowed to take pictures of the pages of interest. However, I would not be able to use the images on my blog without special permission. The Bistum doesn’t allow photographing of their records.

      Thank you, Eilene. See you in 2022!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The 1950 census release is going to be very exciting! I think it’s good to change focus when you feel the need, rather than forcing yourself to “stay the course.” This is meant to be a fun pursuit! You are of the sandwich generation, squished between the younger and older and all their needs. This is particularly difficult during the pandemic. I am still of that generation because my mother is still alive, but she lives far from me, and this is proving to be very difficult during these times. Merry Christmas, Cathy. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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