Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 2)

Last week, in part 1 of this series, I discussed the surname variations for FOURNELLE, gave a short history of the village of Saulnes (France), and explained where the records for the family of interest were found.

Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702) of Saulnes in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department of France were my 7th great-grandparents. They are presently the most distant ancestral couple for the FOURNEL/FOURNELLE branch of my family tree.

As noted in the short history of Saulnes, the village was uninhabited in 1646. In 1698, fifty years after the end of The Thirty Years’ War, 8 farmers, 13 skilled workers, and 4 widows lived in Saulnes’ 25 houses and 11 hovels.1 The information came from a report of the general condition of the provost of Longwy made in the year 1698 for Saulnes (état générale de la prévôté de Longwy fait en 1698). This list includes the names of the farmers: Drouet, Arnoult, Thomas, Magnier, Istase, André, and La Fontaine (2). Jean Henrion was the only skilled worker named.2 It would appear that the FOURNEL family was not farming in the late 1600s and Jean FOURNEL may have been a skilled worker.

The population of Saulnes during the period Jean and Catherine lived there plays an important part in the research concerning their children. They were the only couple having children with the FOURNEL surname in Saulnes during the years from 1678 to 1702.

Proving the children of Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702)

To be recognized as a legally married couple on their children’s baptismal records, Jean and Catherine had to have been married before the birth of their first known child. This would place their marriage at about 1677 when Jean was 22 and Catherine 20. Their ages have been estimated from the age given at the time of their deaths. Marriage records for this period are lacking in Herserange. The records of the children, mentioning their parents as a couple will have to suffice as evidence that they were married.

The Herserange collection of records used to document this family group covered the years from 1668 to 1773. The circa 10 years before the marriage of Jean and Catherine were reviewed several times in hopes of finding other records mentioning them separately and/or as a couple. Miscellaneous records for other persons with the FOURNELLE surname or associated with the surname were found and will be discussed in Part 3. No records were found for any other person with the surname SETON.

When the pages of church register for Hesperange were digitized they were fragile and not in very good condition. Many of the old pages were missing parts along the edges. This resulted in incomplete records.

These are the children I found for Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON:

          1. Françoise baptized 18 March 1678
          2. Nicolas baptized 30 September  1683
          3. Jean baptized 9 May 1686
          4. Henri baptized 2 June 1688
          5. Jeanne born before 1691
          6. Sébastienne born about 1692
          7. Marie baptized 9 June 1696
          8. Jacques born about 1699

Five of the eight children’s baptismal records were found in the church records of Herserange from 1678 to 1688. Baptismal records are missing for the years from 1689 to 1693, a period when two of the children were born. Although records are available from 1694 to the time the youngest child is believed to have been born, no baptismal record was found.

The Eight FOURNEL Children

Françoise baptized 18 March 1678
Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 19 de 529

Jean FOURNELLE and Catherine SETON’s first known child was Françoise baptized on 18 March 1678 in Saulnes, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. They are clearly named as her parents in this record. Her godfather was Guillaume DASSIS. Her godmother was a lady named Françoise – her surname was cut off on the right side as the edges of the page have deteriorated.3

Françoise married Jean “Le Fleur” COURTOIS (1684-1745) on 23 January 1708 in Saulnes. The marriage record includes the names of her parents.4

Françoise died on 13 October 1729 in Saulnes. Her husband gave her age as 45 years although she was actually six years older.5

Nicolas baptized 30 September 1683
Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 28 de 529

The baptismal record of the second child of Jean and Catherine is missing information.

On the last day of September 1683 in Saulnes, a child [name is missing] was born to [first name missing] FOURNELLE and Catherine SETON and baptized. The verb baptizé is masculine and confirms the child was male. The godfather was [first name missing] BOUILLON and the godmother was Margueritte [illegible maiden name] [one or more missing words] COURTOIS.6

As the husband of Catherine SETON is known to have been Jean FOURNEL it can be assumed that the father’s missing name was Jean. The godmother Margueritte was most likely the wife of Bernard COURTOIS, the only Courtois with a wife named Margueritte at this time. Her maiden name was EVRARD per their 1740 death records.7,8

As the baptismal record is for a male child, he would have the same name as his godfather. Other records have been found that indicate Nicolas FOURNEL was the oldest known son of Jean and Catherine. A Nicolas BOUILLON was in Saulnes at this time. He witnessed the death entry of his wife Jeanne PIERON on 11 January 1694 in Saulnes.9 As no other baptismal record was found for a son named Nicolas, I find it very likely that Nicolas was the name of the child baptized on 30 September 1683.

Nicolas was the godfather Marie, daughter of Jean DROUET and Jeanne REMY, baptized on 3 October 1707 in Saulnes.10 He was described as un jeune garçon or a young boy or man meaning he was not yet married. His surname was spelled FOURNY.

Nicolas married Barbe AGARANT (1680-1758) on 29 June 1710 in Réhon, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. As in the baptismal record mentioned above, he was described as un jeune garçon de Sosne, paroissien de Herserange or young boy of Saulnes, a parishioner of Herserange. His surname was spelled FOURNIER. Barbe was the widow of Jean François BERNARDIN.11 The entry in the Réhon parish record does not name Nicolas’ parents however we can assume they were Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON as they were the only couple in Saulnes of this surname and with children of marrying age.

Nicolas and his family lived in Hussigny, a town whose records are lacking for the period he would have been having children up until the death of his wife in 1758.

Several more records were found that connect Nicolas to the Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON family. They will be discussed later in this post.

Jean baptized 9 May 1686
Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 42 de 529

Jean was baptized on 9 May 1686 in Saulnes. His godparents were Jean QUERIN and Marie Madeleine [illegible]. His parents’ names were Jean FOURNIER and Catherine. Space was left on the record for the maiden name of his mother but never filled in.12

Jean married Jeanne BERKIN (1683-1759) on 22 January 1713 in Rodange, Luxembourg. His father Jean FOURNEL was present at the marriage. His older brother Nicolas was a witness at the marriage.13

Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN were my 6th great-grandparents.

Henri baptized 2 June 1688
Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 55 de 529

Henri was baptized on 2 June 1688 in Saulnes. His godparents were Henry LOUIS and Barbe DROUET. His parents were listed as Jean FOURNIER and his wife. As with Jean’s baptismal record, space was left for the mother’s name but not filled in.14

Henri FOURNEL married Anne LAUNOIS. A marriage record has not been located. She was named as his wife in his death record when he died on 6 August 1753 in Saulnes. The record was witnessed by his son Henri and his brother Jacques.15

Several marriage records of sons of Henri and Anne were found. They name them as a couple and parents of the children. They will be cited in the section on Henri’s brother Jacques.

Jeanne born before 1691

A baptismal record was not found for Jeanne who was born before 1691.

Jeanne FOURNEL was the godmother of Jean COURTOIS, son of Françoise FOURNEL and Jean COURTOIS, who was baptized on 14 October 1708.16

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 234 de 529

She was also the godmother of his brother Jacques baptized on 4 February 1717.17 In this record, Jeanne was clearly named as the aunt of the child proving she was the sister of Françoise, i.e. the oldest daughter of Jean and Catherine.

Jeanne FOURNEL married Jérôme PETRISOT ( -1734) on 28 July 1720 in Obercorn, Luxembourg. She was a young lady from Saulnes and the names of her parents are not mentioned.18 Their first child was born on 20 August 1721. She was named Maria Catharina for her godmother Marie Catherine FOURNEL.19

Jeanne was still living on 6 September 1734 when she and her husband acquired property (a hovel, a garden, etc.) from Jean FOURNIER, Nicolas FOURNIER, Jean COURTOIS (representing the children of the deceased Françoise FOURNIER), and Jacques FOURNIER. The notarial records for this transaction have not been viewed.20

Sébastienne born about 1692

Sébastienne was born about 1692. No baptismal record was found due to missing records.

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 178 de 529

On 24 November 1720, she married the widower Jean FRANÇOIS (1692-1741) in Saulnes. Witnesses to the marriage were Jean FOURNEL and Jacques FOURNEL, both referred to as her brothers. She is described as a young lady from Saulnes and her parents are not named.21 As she was the sister of Jean and Jacques (younger brother seen below) we can assume she was the daughter of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON.

Sébastienne FOURNELLE died on 29 December 1752 in Saulnes at the age of about 60 years. This record was used to calculate her year of birth.22

Marie baptized 9 June 1696
Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 365 de 529

On 9 June 1696 in Saulnes, a child Marie was baptized in the presence of her godfather Jean HEINS of Hussigny and her godmother Marie LEJEUNE of Aix. Her parents’ names were Jean FOURNY and Catherine SETON.23

Marie FOURNEL was the godmother of her sister Sébastienne’s illegitimate son Jean CHOLOT who was baptized on 9 December 1713 in Saulnes.24

Jacques born about 1699

Jacques, the youngest known child of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON, was born about 1699. His estimated year of birth has been calculated from his age at death. This places his birth before the death of Catherine SETON who died in 1702.

Jacques most likely married in Hussigny where he lived his adult life. As mentioned earlier in this post, Hussigny is lacking records for the years between 1716-1765 with only 1753-1756 and 1758 being available. Even without the Hussigny records, the youngest son of Jean and Catherine produced more records than any of his siblings that show his connection to them and therefore to their parents.

Jacques FOURNEL was the godfather of his nephew Jacques COURTOIS, son of Jean COURTOIS and Françoise FOURNEL, baptized on 4 February 1717 in Saulnes. He and his sister Jeanne were the godparents and referred to as the uncle and aunt.[See footnote #17 and image 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 234 de 529]

When Sébastienne married Jean FRANCOIS in 1720, Jacques and Jean FOURNEL were witnesses and referred to as brothers of the bride.[See footnote #21 and image 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 178 de 529]

Jacques married Marie JACOB most likely in Hussigny before 1724. The 1758 death record of Marie JACOB names Jacques as her husband.25

On 18 January 1743 Jacques FOURNEL of Hussigny was a witness to the marriage of his niece Jeanne FOURNEL to Henry DE CHAIVE. Jeanne was the daughter of Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN. Jacques was referred to as the uncle of the bride.26

Jacques was a witness at the marriages of two of his nephews, sons of Henri FOURNEL and his wife Anne LAUNOIS. On 26 February 1756 their son Henri married Marie Claire BOULANGER in the presence of Jacques FOURNEL uncle of the groom and others.27

On 8 February 1763 their son Dominique married Marie COMES in the presence of witnesses that included Jacques FOURNEL of Hussigny.28

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 3 vue 60 de 328

Dominique was widowed and married again on 28 December 1765 to Barbe SCHMIT. Jacques, his uncle from Hussigny, was a witness.29

Jacques died at the age of 75 years on 9 December 1774 in Hussigny and was buried the following day in the presence of parishioners including his nephew Henri FOURNEL (son of Henri and Anne) and his grandson Charles LIBERT (son of his daughter Marguerite).30

A ninth child for Jean and Catherine?

Two baptismal records were found that name Marie Catherine FOURNEL as a godmother in 1721. On 20 August 1721 Maria Catharina PETRISOT, daughter of Jérôme PETRISOT and Jeanne FOURNEL, was baptized in Obercorn. Her godmother was Maria Catharina FURNIER of Saulnes. The child’s mother’s maiden name was also spelled FURNIER.31

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 184 de 529

Two months later, Marie Catherine FRANÇOIS, daughter of Jean FRANÇOIS and Sébastienne FOURNEL was baptized in Saulnes. Her godmother was Marie Catherine FOURNEL described as her aunt.32

Was Marie Catherine the same person as Marie born in 1696?

No records have been found for the marriage or death of Marie FOURNEL or Marie Catherine FOURNEL. No baptismal record was found for a child named Marie Catherine FOURNEL. As I reviewed the records while writing about the children, I wondered if those found are for two separate persons. Should I enter Marie Catherine as a ninth child of my 7th great-grandparents? Could she have been born after Jacques and before the death of the children’s mother?

The Deaths of Jean FOURNEL and his wife Catherine SETON

Catherine SETON the wife of Jean FOURNEL died on 21 September 1702 in Saulnes of an unknown illness at the age of about 45 years. Was this following childbirth? Her husband Jean arranged the funeral and solemn services for three consecutive days for her soul to rest. He signed her death and burial entry in the parish record with his mark.33

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 333 de 529

When my 6th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN married in 1713, the elder Jean FOURNEL was present at the marriage and signed the parish register with the same mark as in 1702 when his wife died.[See footnote #13]

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 266 de 529

Jean also signed with his mark on the 1708 marriage record of his oldest child Françoise.[See footnote #4]

Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 300 de 529

Jean FOURNEL outlived his wife Catherine by a few days less than 19 years. He died on 3 September 1721 in Saulnes. His two oldest sons Nicolas and Jean arranged for the funeral and solemn services for three consecutive days so that his soul would rest in peace.34

Did Jean FOURNEL’s mark have a special significance to him, his family, his occupation? Did anyone else in Saulnes or in the area use the same sign? These questions will be brought up again in part 3 of this series.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Histoire de Saulnes, online https://www.saulnes.fr/saulnes-historique/histoire-de-saulnes/ : accessed 10 July 2020. 
  2. Catherine Goncalves, Bernard Batrthélémy, René Bréden, Aimé Tarnus, Familles de Saulnes de 1668 à 1920 (three volumes) published by the Cercle Généalogique du Pays de Longwy, p. 9. 
  3. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archives.cg54.fr/), Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > Herserange B. (1668-1688, 1694-1742, 1745-1746), M. (1684-1686, 1688-1692, 1694-1742, 1745-1746), S. (1676-1679, 1681-1689, 1694-1742, 1745-1773) image 19 of 529 . New terms of use: En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation. 1678 Fournel, Françoise baptismal record (middle of right page under Sosne).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075b0db : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  4. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 300 of 529 . 1708 Courtois, Jean and Fournel, Françoise marriage record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380814b5d : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  5. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 114 of 529 . 1729 Françoise Fournel death record (age about 45 years) (left page, 3rd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380788d8e : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  6. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 28 of 529. 1683 Baptismal Record (right page, 5th entry). This document is in very bad condition. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075f780 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  7. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 79 of 529. 1740 Death Record (left page, first entry).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538077740c : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  8. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 79 of 529. 1740 Death Record (right page, first entry).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538077740c : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  9. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 28 of 529. 1683 Baptismal Record (right page, 5th entry). This document is in very bad condition. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075f780 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  10. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 311 of 529. 1707 Baptismal Record of Marie Drouet, godfather Nicolas Fourny. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538081d08c : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  11. Ibid., Réhon B., M. (1710, 1714-1715, 1733-1792), S. (1714-1715, 1733-1791) 1710-1792 > 5 Mi 450/R 2 image 373 of 767. 1710 Marriage Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10eca1233/54b0f2e7a367b : accessed 7 Augut 2020). 
  12. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 42 of 529. 1686 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380766086 : accessed 10 July 2020). 
  13. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 266 of 529 . 1713 Jean Fournel and Jeanne Berkin marriage record (right page, top). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807ed8f7 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  14. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 55 of 529. 1688 Henri Fournel baptismal record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538076c2be : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  15. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 455 of 529. 1753 Death Record (right page, 1st entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53808948e4 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  16. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 303 of 529. 1708 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd to last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380816b4f : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  17. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 234 of 529. 1717 Baptismal Record (left page, 1st entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807d29ad : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  18. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 6 of 296. 1720 Marriage Record (left page, 4th entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9SK3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 12 July 2020). 
  19. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 78 of 296. 1721 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9SCK?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 12 July 2020). 
  20. Aimé Tarnus, Histoires des Familles, Hussigny-Godbrange de 1550 à 1900; Tome 2 (2002-Fortier à 4096-Mohy); page 535, family 2029, notary records Meurthe-et-Moselle 23 E 147 Étude Guyot, transférée à Villerupt (1719-1882). 
  21. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 178 of 529. 1720 François, Jean and Fournel, Sébastienne marriage record. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b09bb : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  22. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 459 of 529. 1752 Death Record (left page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380898021 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  23. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 365 of 529. 1696 Marie Fournel baptismal record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380847004 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  24.   Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 274 of 529. 1713 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807f3dc5 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  25. Ibid., Hussigny-Godbrange > 5 Mi 268/R 1 image 38 of 677. 1758 Death Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea53d8a/54b010531aec1 : accessed 2 August 2020). 
  26. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 3 images 197 and 198 of 328. 1743 Marriage Record (part 1)(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f06e6ad : accessed 9 July 2020) and 1743 Marriage Record (part 2) (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f06f031 : accessed 9 July 2020) 
  27. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 3 image 123 of 328. 1756 Marriage Record (right page, top entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f040929 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  28. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 3 image 69 of 328. 1763 Marriage Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f0253fe : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  29. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 3 image 60 of 328. 1765 Marriage Record (left page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f021335 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  30. Ibid., Hussigny > 5 Mi 268/R 1 image 83 of 677. 1774 Death Record (right page). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea53d8a/54b010532f877 : accessed 2 August 2020). 
  31. Luxembourg Parish Records, Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 78 of 296. 1721 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9SCK?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 12 July 2020). 
  32. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 184 of 529. 1721 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b4610 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  33. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 333 of 529. 1702 Catherine Seton death record, age at death about 45 yrs (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538082e2f7 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  34. Ibid., Herserange > 5 Mi 259/R 1 image 183 of 529. 1721 Death Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b3cf3 : accessed 7 July 2020). 

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 1)

The FOURNELLE family has always been one of my favorites to research.

In 2013 I spent nearly a year working exclusively on finding the records for descendants of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL (ca. 1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (ca. 1657-1702) of Saulnes, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.

The FOURNELLE line is my maternal grandmother’s paternal line. She carried the name as did her father, his father, their grandfathers, all the way back to…

Variations of the Surname

In the earliest records found, Jean FOURNEL was seen as Jean FOURNELLE in 1678 and 1683 (baptismal records of daughter Françoise and son Nicolas), as Jean FOURNIER in 1686 and 1688 (baptismal records of sons Jean and Henri), and as Jean FOURNY in 1696 (baptismal record of daughter Marie) and 1708 (marriage record of daughter Françoise). At the time of his wife Catherine’s death in 1702 and his own death in 1721, the name was spelled FOURNEL. In the next generations, the name FOURNEL was more frequently seen as FOURNELLE.

Several records dated before 1678 were found for persons in Saulnes with the FOURNELLE, FOURNEL, and FOURNY spelling. Persons who appear to have been related to Jean FOURNEL. Will they take the line back another generation?

The Origin of the Surname

Forneri, Forneris, or Fornero are trade names frequently encountered in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Riviera area. They are of Italian origin, not surprising as, historically, the Comté de Nice (County of Nice) was for a long time Italian rather than French. In short, forni-, forno-, forne- and all their variants originate “in the bakery” as they have a relationship with a “forn” or an oven. This is usually a bread oven but the root word is also seen in Fornès or Fornies, names associated with persons who cared for the lime kilns used to melt metals.

In eastern France, we find Forny and Forney or Fornier working on or having brick ovens. In the Vosges and Ardennes, the Fournaises worked with furnaces or larger ovens. It goes without saying that all “For-” are also found in the form “Four-” as in Fournès, Fourny, Fournier, and in Fournel, Fournelles, Fourniol, for the stove or smaller oven.

Fournillier, Fourniaud, or Fourniaux, depending on the region, include one who comes from the site where there are many furnaces. This would mean that the person may not have directly worked on or with an oven but simply lived in the community.1

A Brief History of Saulnes

The earliest records found for Jean FOURNEL and his wife Catherine SETON show they lived in Saulnes, in today’s Meurthe-et-Moselle department in France. Jean and Catherine, per the age given at the time of their deaths, both were born in the decade following the end of the Thirty Years’ War. This fact, as well as the history of Saulnes, had to be considered in my research.

Saulnes had 29 hearths in 1443, 9 in 1473, 4 in 1495 and 1531, and 12 in 1585. During this early period, households, for the most part, had only one hearth and the numbers likely reflect the number of families living in the village. In 1646 the village of Saulnes was not inhabited. The Thirty Years’ War fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648 resulted in the deaths of over 8 million people.

In 1687, several decades following the war, Saulnes was once again inhabited by 20 people. In 1698, 8 farmers, 13 skilled workers, and 4 widows lived in Saulnes’ 25 houses and 11 hovels. There were 20 households in the village in 1716 and 26 in 1739.

Saulnes, until the last century, was only a modest village of a few houses with no more than 400 inhabitants; the main resources were provided by cultivation, breeding, a few vineyards, and working iron.2

A forge existed in Saulnes in the second half of the 14th century. No records exist to date its erection. However, the forge was enumerated in a census in 1474 with a small blast furnace. It was abandoned in the middle of the 16th century. Did my ancestors live in the area during this period? Did they work the forge and is this how they came to be named FOURNELLE?

Location of the Records

During the years the family of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON lived in Saulnes, the village was identified as Sosnes or Sonne in the church records, and, as seen above, grew from having 20 persons to 26 households.

Nearly all records for this family group were found in the 1668-1773 collection for the commune of Herserange in the Archives of the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle in France. This collection of parish records includes the villages of Herserange, Saulnes, Rodange (today a part of Luxembourg), Mexy, and Longlaville.

The priests who kept the records noted the name of the village the record was created above each entry. This was extremely helpful when skimming through the records. However, I found that due to the newness of the records seven years ago, I missed things that turned up while I was reviewing the records in the last few weeks.

Availability of the Records

In 2013 images from the French archives’ sites were not allowed to be used on the internet or for commercial purposes without written permission. At the time this was not a problem for me as I was using them for my personal research only. I did not know that the following year I would begin blogging and wouldn’t be able to use the images in blog posts.

The visionneuse, or image viewer, didn’t have an option to save a permalink of the image seven years ago. I wrote source citations that included the waypoints (path) to easily locate the record if necessary. This must have been foresight.

The French archives sites have evolved since 2013 and many are now including permalinks. I have over 500 citations for records found in the Meurthe-et-Moselle area that will eventually need to be fixed. In the past few weeks, I’ve been accessing the records, copying the permalinks, and downloading images in JPG format for the FOURNEL-SETON family group. It is slow going as I pay special attention to the other records recorded for the little village of Saulnes – searching for connections missed the first time around. [I’ve acquired new genealogy research skills since 2013 and am still learning.]

Another change on the French archives sites is their terms of use. Before you access the records, you are required to confirm the following:

En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation.

In application of the regulation on the re-use of public data adopted by the departmental council of Meurthe-et-Moselle (deliberation of its permanent commission n ° 17, dated January 16, 2017), I undertake to mention the source of the downloaded document (Arch. Dep. De Meurthe-et-Moselle, [followed by the full path]), in the event of re-use.
[Google Translate]

I can now screenshot a record and use it in a blog post as long as I include the full path to the Archives Départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle. I believe this will be a good learning tool for my readers and a wonderful advertisement for the French archives sites that are more rarely used by non-Europeans.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Jean FOURNEL
Parents: TO BE PROVEN: Nicolas FOURNELLE
Siblings: TO BE PROVEN: Anne and Pierre
Spouse: Catherine SETON
Children: Françoise, Nicolas, Jean, Henri, Jeanne, Sébastienne, Marie Catherine, and Jacques
Whereabouts: Saulnes (Sonne, Sosne), Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 7th great-grandfather

1. Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON
2. Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN
3. Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU
4. Pierre FOURNELLE and Marguerite SCHMIT
5. André FOURNELLE and Marie Catherine PHILIPPART
6. André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
7. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
8. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
9. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
10. Catherine Ann DEMPSEY and Living MEDER

Now that I’ve covered the surname variations, a short history of Saulnes, and where the records were found, I’ll leave you until next week when I’ll begin to share the story of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON’s family.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Étymologique, Le Mot du Jour posted 20 October 2012; online http://www.etymo-logique.com/le-mot-du-jour/personnalites/forneri-pascal/ : accessed 11 Sep 2013. 
  2. Histoire de Saulnes, online https://www.saulnes.fr/saulnes-historique/histoire-de-saulnes/ : accessed 10 July 2020. 

85 Years Ago Today: My Maternal Grandparents Were Married

At 7 o’clock on the evening of 26 July 1935, Mathias SCHAFFNER, mayor of Echternach (Luxembourg), married Nicolas WILDINGER and Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE. The groom was 28 years old and a plumber; the bride was 26 years old and without an occupation.

Nicolas’ mother, Catharina PÖPPELREITER, and Marcelle’s father, Johann Joseph FOURNELLE, were present and agreeable to the marriage.

Johann WILDINGER, the father of the groom,  and Catharina FRANTZ, the mother of the bride, were both deceased at the time of the marriage.

The religious marriage ceremony took place the following day in St. Willibrod Basilica in Echternach in the strictest privacy per an announcement sent out by the parents of the bridal couple. Their only child, my mother, was born ten months later and cannot have been the reason for the church ceremony being performed in privacy.

The marriage lasted only six years. It ended on 24 October 1941 when Nicolas died of tuberculosis. Although Marcelle had at least one suitor who offered marriage, she never remarried. She died in 2005 in her 96th year.

I previously wrote about Nicolas and Marcelle in 2015: 52 Ancestors: #4 The Plumber/Tinsmith and the Seamstress.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Fishing for Cousins: A New Cousin Adds a Twig to the KREMER Branch of the Family Tree

Monday morning I had a comment waiting to be approved on my post 52 Ancestors: #16 A Door Opens in the KREMER-WINANDY Brick Wall written nearly two years ago on 21 April 2017. The post on my husband’s 4th great-grandparents had attracted the interest of another researcher showing me once again that blogging is great cousin bait.

Elodie Kremer is passionate about genealogy and has also researched the KREMER family. In her comment, she said Nicolas KREMER (1797-1867) was her ancestor. I wrote about Nicolas, a son of the KREMER-WINANDY couple, in August 2015 in my post 52 Ancestors: #34 KREMER-FRIEDERICH Family – Using Substitutes to Tell Their Story.

In a follow-up comment, I learned Nicolas’ son Anton KREMER (1836-1918) is the common ancestor Elodie shares with my husband. Anton was her 3rd great-grandfather and my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather making them 3C1R (third cousins once removed). Elodie and my children are fourth cousins; their common ancestors are their 3rd great-grandparents Anton KREMER and Anna Maria MERKES. I wrote about this couple in May 2015 in my post 52 Ancestors: #18 The KREMER-MERKES Family of Bettendorf.

Twelve children were born into the KREMER-MERKES family between 1860 and 1878. Only five of these lived to adulthood. Elodie’s ancestor was their oldest child Nicolas born in 1860 while my husband and children descend from the youngest child who lived, also a Nicolas born in 1875. In between, there was Maria born in 1862, Mathias born in 1865, and Peter born in 1869.

When I wrote about the family in May 2015 I knew the elder Nicolas had worked in the mines and died in Rumelange, in southern Luxembourg on the French border, in 1895 at the age of 35. Per his death record, he was the widower of Margaretha NAU. The informants were Nicolas’ bother Mathias KREMER (1865-1945) and their uncle Mathias MERKES (their mother’s youngest brother).1

The only lead I had on Nicolas’ wife was the name found on his death record. I found no marriage in Luxembourg (using Luxracines‘ marriage database) and no children for Nicolas KREMER and Margaretha NAU born in Rumelange where the father worked and died. Records for Luxembourg are not indexed making it difficult to find births of children when families didn’t stay in one place and when the families have not been researched by others. As far as I could tell the elder Nicolas’ line ended with his death.

Elodie’s reaching out to me has solved the mystery of Nicolas KREMER (1860-1895) and has added a twig to the KREMER branch in our family tree.

Nicolas had a son Mathias born on 4 September 1890 to his wife Catharina NAU in Dudelange.2 The name given on Nicolas’ death record for his deceased wife was a mistake. I had searched for a death record for her with the wrong name. Nicolas’ wife Catharina NAU died 7 February 1892 at the age of 21.3 Her son Mathias was only seventeen months old.

1890 Baptismal Record of Mathias Kremer (here seen as Krämer). Image courtesy of Matricula Online.

Mathias was baptized on 7 September 1890. His godparents were his paternal uncle Mathias KREMER and a maternal aunt Anna NAU.4 His baptismal record is annotated with the date and place of his marriage as well as the name of his bride. Mathias married Catharina EICH on 11 December 1919 in Audun-le-Tiche, Moselle, Lorraine, France. The civil records for the département de la Moselle are not yet online for this period. The tables décennales (ten-year lists for BMD) are online and I found the date on the list to be 1 December 1919.5 (Something to look into…)

Mathias and Catharina were already parents of a son when they married. Their son Nicolas who was born on 19 November 1919 in Audun-le-Tiche and died in 1992 in Loudun, Vienne, Poitou-Charentes, France. Several GEDCOM files were found on Geneanet that include private living persons listed as siblings of this Nicolas. He had at least seven siblings, six of whom are married with children.6 Nicolas was Elodie’s grandfather.

Thanks to Elodie’s getting in touch through my Facebook page and by commenting on my post, another child of Anton KREMER and Anna Maria MERKES is known to have descendants.

At this time, only the fate of Peter born in 1869 is still unknown. Peter had been working in Esch-sur-Alzette for 18 months per his father’s 1890 census record.7 On the 1895 census record, he was found to be working in France – the actual place is not mentioned on the father’s census record.8 Normally only single children working away from home were listed in the parents’ census records in Luxembourg.

Elodie’s ancestor Nicolas (1860) was also listed as working away from home on his father’s 1890 and 1895 census. As I now know, he was not single at the time of either of the enumerations. When the 1890 census was taken on 1 December 1890 Nicolas was not only on his father’s census record but also enumerated in the Italian neighborhood of Dudelange in his own household with his wife and child. Also in Nicolas’ household was his mother-in-law Margaretha TIMMER who was not at home at the time and in Rumelange for the day on a visit.9

1890 Luxembourg Census for the KREMER-NAU family in Dudelange, Luxembourg.

If Nicolas was on his father’s census record when he should not have been, what does this mean for his brother Peter? Was he single in 1890 and/or in 1895? Could Anton have given information on his sons even though they were married and no longer his responsibility?

Serendipity

Hearing from Elodie not only pushed me to do new research on the KREMER family but also led me to another cousin. While checking FamilySearch for the records of Nicolas’ wife and son the site froze up on me. As I clicked around trying to solve the problem, I noticed a little red dot on the messages icon in the upper right corner. A researcher from Brazil had left a message for me on March 22 and I was only now seeing it two weeks later. Another one of my husband’s distant cousins from a line that had not been researched due to an unknown emigration in the 1820s.

Have you been reaching out to distant cousins or have distant cousins been getting in touch with you lately?

© 2020, 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), Rumelange > Décès 1891-1923 > image 83 of 923. 1895 Death Record No. 80. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32036-3166-12?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-L23:130319501,130319502 : accessed 29 April 2015). 
  2. Ibid., Dudelange > Naissances 1888-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1840 > image 166 of 1477. 1890 Birth Record No. 151. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWY9-9ML?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-K68%3A129625901%2C130271901 : accessed 6 April 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Rumelange > Décès 1891-1923 > image 7 of 923. 1892 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-997J-T991?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-L23%3A130319501%2C130319502 : accessed 7 April 2020). 
  4. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 172-285, Dudelange, KB-09, Taufen – 1883 – 1890, page 167, image 85 of 89, right page, 1st entry. 1890 Baptismal Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/duedelingen/KB-09/?pg=85 : accessed 9 April 2020). 
  5. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Document 9NUM/8E38/2, Tables décennales (1873-1952 ) Image 220: FRAD057_8E38_2_0220.jpg. Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. Tables décennales (env 1792 – 1952) : Audun-le-Tiche (Deutschoth) 1 Dec 1919 Document Nr. 43. (http://www.archives57.com/index.php/recherches/archives-en-ligne/tables-decennales-des-departements-de-la-sarre-et-du-palatinat : accessed 7 April 2020). 
  6. Geneanet, several GEDCOM files: https://gw.geneanet.org/sergewendling?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias; https://gw.geneanet.org/john86?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias; https://gw.geneanet.org/fabricekremer?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias 
  7. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bettendorf > 1890 > images 563-565 of 778. Kremer-Merkes household No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32393-3622-67?cc=2037957&wc=M5GC-YWB:346114101,345876401 : accessed 11 February 2015). 
  8. Ibid., Bettendorf > 1895 > images 303-305 of 810. Kremer-Merkes household No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32467-11113-98?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-FM4:346114101,345878001 : accessed 11 February 2015). 
  9. Ibid., Dudelange > 1890 > images 510-512 of 1971. 1890 Nicolas Kremer household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8971-P7GX?cc=2037957&wc=M5G4-3YS%3A345975601%2C345876401 : accessed 7 April 2020). 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Milley, Hetty, Nelson, Ben, Bettie, and Dick

Last month I released the names of five enslaved persons found in the 1834 Last Will and Testament of Thomas Hannan of Mason County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Thomas had several sons who left wills. One of these was his son Charles who wrote his will twenty-two years after his father on 4 October 1856.1

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

In the name God Amen I Charles Hannan of the County of Mason and State of Virginia Being of Sound Mind and disposing Memory Knowing the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. In order to dispose of the worldly goods that I have been blessed with Do Make and publish this my last will and testament.
First I comit my Soul to God who gave it and my body to the earth in hopes of a blessed Imortality on the Reserrection.
I give and bequeath to my wife Ann W. Hannan all my lands in Mason County Virginia to her and her seperate use during her natural life then at her natural death to be disposed of hereafter named all the Negros belonging to wife if she wants them if not to go as hereafter mention. I give and bequeath unto my wife Ann W. Hannan a

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

Negro girl Slave named Milley and her posterity to her and to dispose of as she sees proper allso a Negro girl Slave named Hetty as she might think proper for her use and benefit and her posterity.
I give and beaquath all the balance of my Slaves in Mason County Va. and lands to the use of the Gospel in said County Va. namely my lands after the death of my wife Ann W. Hannan to go to the benefit of any [Baptist and Southern Methodist – these words are struck through] preacher or preachers Baptist and Southern Methodist rent free forever that might preach to the people in this sourrounding county in succession one after the other forever rent free after the death of my wife allso all my property of every description after the death of my wife to go to the same perpose the Gospel in said County Virginia for the benefit and support of the poor Preachers throughought the said County Except the two named Slaves Milley and Hetty I have bequeathed to my wife Ann W. Hannan to her and sole use and benefit forever.
I give and bequeath the named Slaves to the Baptist and Southern Methodist preachers after the natural death of my wife Ann W. Hannan: Nelson Cudyo and Ben Packson and Bity Bill and Peter Dicky Slaves to be hired out to good Masters and proceeds to go for the building of Meeting houses and for the benefit of the Gospel in the lower district Mason County Virginia.
In witness I hereunto set my hand and Seal Oct the 4. 1856
Attest . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Charles Hannan (Seal)
William C (his x mark) Wray
Andrew (his + mark) Meadows
John O. Butler
Timothy S. Butler
A. J. Waren

At a Court Continued and held for Mason County in the court house thereof on Tuesday February the 8th 1861.
A writing purporting to be the last will and Testament of Charles Hannan deceased was this day produced in Court by Ann W. Hannan principal devisee therein, and John O. Butler and of the subscribing witnesses thereto Stated on oath that he was acquainted with the hand writing of Charles Hannan deceased and that he believed said writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Charles Hannan decd was entirely written and signed by said Charles Hannan decd. and that he at the request of said Charles Hannan decd subscribed his name to said will as an attesting witness in the presence of said Charles Hannan deceased and in the presence of Timothy S. Butler another subscribing witness thereto, and that he believed that said Charles Hannan deceased was at that time of sound mind and disposing memory and the probate of this will is continued for further proof until the first day of the next term of this court and on motion of the propounder it is ordered that Timothy S. Butler and A. J. Warren be summoned to attend at the next term of

1856 Last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

this Court to complete the proof of said Will.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.
At a Court held for Mason County, at the Courthouse thereof on Monday February the 4th 1861.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan deceased bearing date on the 4th day of October 1856 was this day produced in Court by Ann W. Hannan, in order to be further proved, whereupon Timothy S. Butler one of the subscribing witnesses thereto stated on oath that he subscribed his name as an attesting witness to said writing at the request of said Charles Hannan decd in his presence and in the presence of John O. Butler another subscribing witness to said writing and that the said Charles Hannan decd acknowledged the same to be his last will & Testament in his presence and in the presence of John O. Butler who were present at the same time, and that he believed said Charles Hannan deceased was at that time of sound mind and disposing memory. It is therefore ordered that said writing of the 4th day of October 1856 be recorded as the last Will and Testament of Charles Hannan deceased.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.
At a Court continued and held for Mason County, at the Courthouse thereof on Thursday February the 7th 1861.
On the Motion of A. L. Knight who made oath, and together with A. M. Causland, J. V. Newman, W. O. Roseberry and George R. Knight his Securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in open Court in the penalty of $2000 conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted the said A. L. Knight for obtaining letters of Administration of the Estate of Charles Hannan deceased with his Will annexed in due form. Whereupon on the further motion of the said A. L. Knight it is ordered that David George, John A. Hunter, Jesse Waugh, Augustus Cobb, and Robert M.Hereford or any three of whom, being first duly sworn before a Justice of the peace for that purpose do truly and justly appraise in current money the personal estate of the said Charles Hannan deceased and return the appraisement under their hands to the Court.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.

Charles Hannan was “killed by crews” on 24 November 1860 in Mason County.2 His will was proven and recorded as noted in the transcript above in February 1861. This is the first record I have found which identifies enslaved persons with what appear to be surnames: Nelson Cudyo and Ben Packson and Bity Bill and Peter Dicky. Only Milley and Hetty were named without surnames.

1861 Inventory of the Estate of Charles Hannan

The personal estate of Charles Hannan was appraised the 20th day of February 1861.3 The following list of the property was made and each item valued. At the top of the list are:

one Negro man named Nelson $800
one Negro woman named Milie $650
one Negro girl named Bettie $450
one Negro boy named Ben $500
one Negro boy named Dick $500
one Negro girl named Hettie $300

The appraisement and inventory of the personal estate of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.
The appraisement and inventory of the personal estate of Charles Hannan of Mason County, Virginia. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

1867 Settlement of the Estate of Charles Hannan

The estate of Charles Hannan was not settled until 15 July 1867. The settlement was confirmed and ordered to be recorded on 9 September 1867.4 It included $3,200, the appraised value of six Negroes.

The settlement of the estate of Charles Hannan. Image courtesy of FamilySearch.

Charles Hannan and his wife Ann W. Fox were not located in the 1850 or 1860 census nor was Charles on the slave schedule of Mason County, Virginia. Charles’ wife Ann died in 1879 and left a will mentioning her former slave. His name will be featured in next month’s post.

I hope one or the other descendant will recognize his/her ancestor’s name and be able to open the door in their brick wall.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HN9X-K6?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1YL%3A179687901%2C179729801 : accessed 29 March 2020), Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 93+94 of 165; pages 146-148, citing Mason County Clerk, West Virginia. 
  2. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), Virginia, Mason County, 24 November 1860, Charles Hannan, age 54 years 20 days, son of Thomas and Mary, consort Ann Hannan, informant George W. Grobe, nephew. 1860 Death Record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=5269843&Type=Death : accessed 29 March 2020). 
  3. West Virginia County Court (Mason County), “Appraisement and settlement, 1854-1927,” database with images, FamilySearch, Film 567424 Item 2, DGS 7618497, pages 136-137 (bottom) 138-139 (top), images 328-329 of 423. The entry in this register is recorded across two pages. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99K9-3G5V?i=327&cat=66225 : accessed 29 March 2020) 
  4. Ibid., pages 294-295, image 407 of 423. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99K9-3G2K?i=406&cat=66225 : accessed 29 March 2020) 

Strong Women: Mary, wife of Isaac WISEMAN († 1779)

Two weeks ago I wrote The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807), a piece that took a month to research and write. The Ancestors series is reserved for my 5th great-grandparents and/or my children’s 6th great-grandparents. There are no plans at this time to further research Isaac or Elizabeth’s parents. But questions can still be asked and already discovered records shared.

Isaac’s parents moved from Berks County, Pennsylvania, to Rowan County, North Carolina, around 1768. They both left wills in that county at the time of their deaths in 1779 and 1791.

As this is Women’s History Month, I would like to share the records left by Isaac’s mother Mary. She outlived her husband Isaac by twelve years. On 28 December 1790, she wrote her last will and testament.1

The Last Will and Testament of Mary Wiseman written 28 December 1790

1790 Last Will and Testament of Mary Wiseman, courtesy of Ancestry.com

In The name of God Amen
I Mary Wiseman of the state of North Carolina and County of Rowan, being sickly and weake in body but through Goods of God of a Good and Sound memory and in my senses and Considering my own mortality Do make this my last will and testament
and first I will that my body be buried after a Deasent Christen manner after my Decese at the Discresin of my Executors hearafter named and my soul to God that give it in the faith and Certin hope of the Reserection at the Last day
and what worldly goods it hath pleased God to bless me with I bestow in the following manner I give and bequath to my beloved Daughter Mary Marrell my fether bed. I give and bequeth to my beloved son James Wiseman my Cow and my big bible and the new Coverled. I give and bequeth to Elizabeth Marrell my grand Daughter my pided hifer. I give and bequath to my son James above named my big pott. I give and bequath Ann Wiseman my Daughter in law one of my big shifts. I give and bequath to Elizabeth Wiseman other one of my big Shifts. I give and bequeth to Elizabeth Marrell above named one of my smaller Shifts. I give and bequath to Lyde Wiseman my Daughter in law the other one of my small Shifts. I give and bequath to Rachell Marrell my beloved Daughter two Sheets, one blancket and one Coverled and four pewter plates, one qurt, one tea pott and tea kettle and one grid iron, one fier Shovel and tongs. I give and bequeth to my son James above named one pewter Dish and one pair Stilliards. I give and bequath to my beloved son William Wiseman one iron trammil. I give and bequath to Jane Wiseman my grand Daughter one box iron and one (?)atters. I give and bequath to my son James above named one pine Chest and one bull and the big pillow and bolster to his wife Lyda and one striped patecot. I give and bequeth to my Daughter Rachal above named two patet coats, one Cloak and one silk bonnet. I give and bequath to my son James one short gown, one peir speckticles, and I hearby nominete and appoint my sone James Wiseman and Andrew Marrell my son in law, Executors of this my Last will and testament and I Do hearby Deney all other wills and testaments whatsever in witness hear I the Sd Mary Wiseman have set my hand and seal this twenty Eight day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninty.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Her
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mary X Wiseman
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . Mark <Seal>
Signed, Sealed and
pronounced in presents of
Jacob Wiseman
Mary X (her mark) Paterson

Notes concerning the will transcription:

The transcription above includes spelling errors or spelling of the time found in the record. No corrections were made. The surname Marrell in the document is more commonly seen as MERRILL.

A more legible copy of the will was found on FamilySearch. Several of the spelling errors were corrected in the copy, for example, bequeath and petticoat.2 I feel the document I transcribed with all its misspellings is much more original than the copy found in Will Book B of Rowan County.

Mary Wiseman’s will is proven

Mary WISEMAN was getting on in age but was likely not so sickly and weak that her death was imminent. Her will was proven eleven months later on 10 November 1791.3

County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions minutes (Rowan County, North Carolina), 1753-1868, courtesy of FamilySearch

The last Will of Mary Wiseman deceased proved by Mary Patterson. Letters with a copy to issue to James Wiseman and Andrew Merrill Executors.

Inventory of the estate of Mary Wiseman dated 9 February 1792

Nearly three months later, on 9 February 1792, a true inventory of the estate of Mary Wiseman was made.4

1792 Inventory of the estate of Mary Wiseman, FamilySearch

February the 9th 1792
a true inventory of Mary Wiseman’s Estate.

[left column]
one hackel
one wheell
one pillow
three plains Irons
two pales
one Earthan pot & pan
five pewter plates &
one bason four Spoons
three augers & two chisels
one hand Saw
one drawing nife
one foot adz
one grubing how
two Cleavises and Link
one table & bedsteds
one bottle & one jug
one Cag & one flower barrel
one meat tub & one hammer
one pittch fork one steal
for a Cuting —– cup
one broad ax & one Square
two trammels & two Shovel
one tea cup & Saucer
one pare of Sheaves
two small tubs
one feather bed

[right column]
two sheats & 1 blanket
two Coverlids
one tea pot
one fier tongs
one grid iron
and hur? Cloe?
one Cow
one heffer
one bull
one bible
two boks
one bolster
two pillows
two iron pots
one puter dish [pewter]
one box iron &
heater
one tea kettle
one Chist
two knives
one pare of ___ [crossed out]
Stilyeards
one iron wedg
one tray
one funnell

Is there any hope of finding the family Bible?

Mary left her big Bible to her son James. Did he pass it on to one of his children? Has anyone heard of its existence other than the mention in Mary’s last will and testament and in the inventory of her estate?

My wish is, if a direct descendant now owns the Bible of my 6th great-grandmother Mary WISEMAN, that he/she would be kind enough to let us know if there is any useful information recorded in the Bible. Is there proof written in her hand or the hand of another person that she was the daughter of a man surnamed MARSHALL?

Update (25 March 2020): Following a conversation today with another member of the Wiseman Family Association group on Facebook, I have removed “the immigrant” from the title of this blogpost. The person I conversed with helped compile the research records of the association prior to 2000. He questioned the use of the term as no proof has to date been found to substantiate the family lore that Isaac WISEMAN was born aboard a ship on the way to America.

#StayHome

In a few days, we’ll be entering our third week of self-imposed confinement. It’s been twelve days of ups and downs. We had to cancel our 42nd wedding anniversary dinner reservations last week. Mom’s AncestryDNA test results came in and she’s her parents’ daughter. I caught my husband’s cold but neither of us had a fever. It’s taking me longer than normal to get well. It must be the stress we’re all under. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything for a long amount of time. The sun has been shining a lot and the birds are singing. Mom’s using the cell phone we got her last month to make and receive calls. I had to snooze several of my Facebook friends. Our son’s cat is going to have kittens. It’ll be at least another week before Luxembourg is expected to hit the peak of the crisis. Personally, I think we are in for at least six weeks of #bleiftdoheem (Luxembourgish for #stayathome). Stay at home and stay safe.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” (index and images), Ancestry, North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts, North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file with the will of Mary Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  2. “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch, citing county courthouses, North Carolina, Rowan > Wills, 1781-1791, Vol. B > image 94 of 230, Will of Mary Wiseman, pages 179-181. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S7WF-3Q9C-79?cc=1867501&wc=32LR-7M3%3A169928201%2C170967101 : accessed 15 March 2020). 
  3. North Carolina. County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Rowan County) (Main Author), “County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions minutes (Rowan County, North Carolina), 1753-1868”, FamilySearch, Raleigh, North Carolina : Filmed by North Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1962, Film 313776, GGS 7640159, Minutes, Vol. 4-6 1773-1800, page 399, entries dated 10 November 1791.  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89G4-QSWV-Q?i=556&cat=353264 : accessed 15 March 2020). 
  4. “North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch, Microfilm of originals in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, North Carolina., Wills and estate papers (Rowan County), 1663-1978 > Rowan County > W > Wiseman, Mary (1792) > image 2 of 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PPC-9MZF?cc=1911121&wc=Q6W1-9GT%3A184173301%2C183410401%2C198415701 : accessed 6 March 2020). 

The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

This was a hard piece to write. A month ago, after spending weeks gathering and reviewing all the information I had on these ancestors, I began writing this post. While drafting the post I kept finding other things to do. I went back and forth considering how I should write it. I’m now at the point that I just want to get it out of the way by publishing it as is.

Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807) were my 5th great-grandparents and the parents of my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN (1769-bet. 1821-1824) who married Frederick HONAKER (1757-1824).

When I was new to genealogy research, I trusted the information I found and did not challenge it. As I began to do my own research, I questioned work done by others. In some cases, I made an effort to prove or disprove their research. I’m especially fond of working on my female lines but the WISEMAN family has always been put on the back burner.

For the WISEMAN line, I  attempted to locate evidence of the parents, siblings, husband, and children of my 4th great-grandmother Rachel WISEMAN and wrote about my findings in my 2014 post 52 Ancestors: #33 Rachel WISEMAN 1769-bet. 1821-1824.

The post was written during my first year of blogging. I didn’t include source citations. Links to online documents were used throughout the post but I doubt many readers clicked on them to view the records.  When I revisited my post and research I added 28 citations to make it easier for the reader or researcher to review the sources. [Did I mention the other things I’ve been doing?] 

Rachel’s story includes the names of all of her siblings as well as their spouses’ names and their dates of marriage. I’ve pondered how to write about Rachel’s parents Isaac and Elizabeth. Should I start from scratch or should I build on what has already been published?

Taking the middle road

I’ve decided to take the middle road which led me to work done by dedicated historians and genealogists of the WISEMAN family.

The Wiseman Family Association was first organized in 1908 by Dr. B. W. S. WISEMAN, compiler and author of a WISEMAN genealogy.1 Benjamin Winfield Scott WISEMAN was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Samuel (1771-1861). WISEMAN descendants and members of the association have continued to update the WISEMAN family tree originally created from information in B.W.S.’s book. Their website was initiated on 22 August 2003 and appears to have been last updated in 2017, likely before Ancestry took down the RootsWeb site. I don’t know if more recent additions to the family tree are available online.

B.W.S. WISEMAN, in his 1908 publication, acknowledged the work of his second cousin C.M.L. WISEMAN who published in 1902. B.W.S. gives a more detailed genealogy of most of the sons of Isaac WISEMAN 1738. Neither of the authors had any biographical information on the four daughters of Isaac other than their married names.

Charles Milton Lewis WISEMAN of the 1902 publication was a great-grandson of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 through his son Rev. John WISEMAN (1760-1842). He wrote the following:

Brief Sketch of the Wiseman Family

My grandfather, Rev. John Wiseman was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, before the War of the Revolution; indeed, was old enough and served in that war, and was in the memorable winter quarters at Valley Forge with Washington. His father, Isaac Wiseman, moved from Berks county, Pennsylvania, with a large family of sons and daughters to Rockingham county, Virginia, soon after the war, and there my grandfather married Sarah Green, one of another large family. From that county they moved to Monroe county, Virginia, where my father, Philip S. Wiseman, was born. Of the descendants of Isaac Wiseman and James Green some few remained in Virginia, others moved to Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. The greater number moved to Ohio and Kentucky. The descendants of Isaac Wiseman alone must exceed 1,000 persons in number. The names of father’s uncles were William, Joseph, Isaac, Abner, Jacob and Samuel. Samuel died near New Salem at 90 years of age; Jacob and Abner in Kentucky, William and Joseph in Virginia, and Isaac near Gallipolis, Ohio. One of his aunts married a Blanton, who moved to Kentucky, and one a Honiker, who died in Virginia. I have been in the graveyard in Virginia, near Union, Monroe county, where Isaac Wiseman and wife are buried, and where father’s sister and brother are buried, and I have also been in the church near by, where they all attended Methodist church, and where my grandfather often preached. It is a lovely spot, with a hight range of mountains in full view for more than twenty miles.2

A bit further into the sketch of his family, C.M.L. wrote:

Rev. John Wiseman was commissioned a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1785, by the first American Bishop of that church, Francis Asbury. The commission, in the Bishop’s own writing, is in the possession of the late Judge Wiseman’s widow at New Salem.3

I used the document he mentioned as the background of the featured image of this post. Immediately following this statement, the author listed names and dates for his line down from Isaac beginning with this list of the children of Isaac WISEMAN 1738:

FAMILY RECORD OF ISAAC WISEMAN, OF VIRGINIA.

Joseph Wiseman, born March 29th 1759.
John Wiseman, born August 18th, 1760.
Sarah Wiseman, born July 17th, 1762.
Isaac Wiseman, born June 19th, 1764.
Jacob Wiseman, born January 12th, 1767.
Rachael Wiseman, born March 1st, 1769.
Samuel Wiseman, born February 15th, 1771.
Abner Wiseman, born 1772.
Betsey Wiseman, born 1774.
Peggy Wiseman, born 1777.
William Wiseman, born 1779.

Rachael is my 4th great-grandmother and all the rest are my 4th great-grand uncles and 4th great-grand aunts. Does a WISEMAN family Bible still exist today with the dates found in this derivative source?

The many men named Isaac WISEMAN

According to Robert N. WISEMAN, a historian of the Wiseman Family Association, the Isaac WISEMAN situation gets a bit confusing when it comes to how Isaac WISEMAN’s name is seen in family genealogies. Shortly after B.W.S. published his book in 1908 he discovered that Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) who he considered “Isaac I” had a father whose name was also Isaac. [I believe I’ve found how he made the discovery and will discuss this in a moment.] The Wiseman Family Association decided to dub the father “Isaac Sr.”4 One of Robert’s lines goes through Isaac Sr., Isaac I, Isaac II, Isaac III.

Personally, I believe it would be more helpful to consider the men by the year they were born as no records are to be found with the suffixes I, II, or III. I’ve opted to refer to my 5th great-grandfather as Isaac WISEMAN 1738 instead of Isaac I. His father will be considered Isaac the elder or Isaac Sr. as no year of birth is known.

As noted previously, historians of the Wiseman Family Association have been researching the family and sharing their information. The research notes and part of The Story of a Wiseman by Robert Dean WISEMAN (1933-2015) can be found here: Bob Wiseman Research. He included different steps taken to gather information and prove events as well as marking unproven or questionable information as such. Mr. Wiseman and the researchers he worked with spent years putting the information together. It would take a lifetime to check and follow-up on the research.

Many entries on tax lists for Berks County for Isaac Wiseman are listed by year and township in Bob’s research. I recently found the Tax Lists, 1752-1856 for Berks County, Pennsylvania are available online at FamilySearch. They are not indexed and browse-only. With the years and townships given in Robert D. Wiseman’s research notes, I may be able to locate some of these. A to-do item for a later date as it should be thorough and not restricted to locating the records already found. What if something important to the timeline has been missed?

Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

Isaac’s oldest son Joseph (1759-1836) applied for a pension in 1832 for his service during the Revolutionary War.5 He stated he “was born in the year 1759 in the County of Berks and State of Pennsylvania, as he has read the record of it in his Father’s bible, from which he recorded it in his own bible which is now in his possession.” After his death in 1836 and his widow’s death in 1842, his son Samuel applied for pension money on behalf of himself and his surviving siblings in 1847. He submitted his father’s family record with the dates of birth and date for my 5th great-grandparents Elizabeth DAVIS and Isaac WISEMAN.

In Joseph’s hand, as copied from his father Isaac’s Bible, “Elisabeth Wiseman daughter to Samuel Davis was born August 26th 1738 and Decst (deceased) July 19th 1807.

Pages of Joseph Wiseman’s family Bible found in his Revolutionary War Pension Application file.

Also, “Isaac Wiseman son to Isaac and Marey Wiseman was born August 18, 1738 and Decest (deceased) May the 3 in 1818.

Pages of Joseph Wiseman’s family Bible found in his Revolutionary War Pension Application file.

The above images are only two of the five images from the family Bible included in the file. The pension file also includes correspondence dated 1911 from B.W.S. WISEMAN requesting copies of the entire file. As Joseph’s family record gives the names of the parents of Elizabeth and Isaac, I believe this is the source that led to B.W.S.’s discovery that Isaac WISEMAN 1738’s father was also an Isaac.

Samuel DAVIS, father-in-law of Isaac 1738

Only the name of Elizabeth’s father is known from the family record submitted by his grandson Samuel (son of Joseph). Even with the maiden name, a marriage record of Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS has not been found. It is assumed they married before the birth of their oldest child in 1759.

Isaac and Mary WISEMAN, parents of Isaac 1738

The maiden name of Isaac 1738’s mother Mary is unproven although some genealogists report it to be MARSHALL. While writing this, I have pruned the tree, removing John MARSHALL as the father of Mary and now showing her name as Mary _____.

Isaac 1738’s father Isaac, according to an old family traditional story, was born aboard a ship en route to America. Two dates are often noted: 1699 and about 1706. The first – 1699 – is from the theory that the father of Isaac the elder came over with William Penn on the Canterbury Merchant in 1699. No known passenger list exists for the ship. The second – about 1706 – is from the theory that Isaac the elder was the son of Thomas WISEMAN first seen in Germantown, Philadelphia County in 1706 when he purchased land from Matthias Van Bebber. Professional genealogists were hired by the Wiseman Family Association to obtain records but neither theory has been proven.

Isaac WISEMAN, the father of Isaac 1738, left Berks County around 1768 and was first seen on a tax list in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1772.6 He bought land in Rowan County in 1778 and left it to his heirs in his will in 1779.7,8 His widow Mary left a will written 28 December 1790 and proven 10 November 17919,10 as well as an inventory dated February 1792.11 Although Isaac and Mary named some of their children in their wills, they did not mention Isaac.

The daughters of Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS

Isaac and Elizabeth were the parents of eleven children born between 1759 and 1779. Much is known of their seven sons’ lines as they were looked into by the great-grandsons. Neither of the authors of the early genealogies of the WISEMAN family knew much of the four daughters.

From the brief sketch of the WISEMAN family it is knows that the family was in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia. Sarah, the oldest, married in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1782 where she and her husband James BARLEY raised their children.12

The next oldest daughter, Rachel also married in Rockbridge County. She married Frederick HONAKER in 1795.13 It was a second marriage for Frederick and Rachel brought a 10-year-old daughter into the marriage. Rachel and Frederick went with her parents and siblings to Greenbrier County around 1797-1798. They settled in the area that would become Monroe County in 1799. Rachel and Frederick raised their family in Monroe and are buried in the Rehoboth Church Cemetery where her parents are also said to be buried.

Elizabeth married John BLANTON in 1798 in Greenbrier County.14 They went to Kentucky where her brothers Abner and Jacob had also gone.

The youngest daughter Margaret, also known as Peggy, married Bartholomew RAMSEY in 1799 in Monroe County.15,16 They raised their family in Nicholas County and Fayette County when it was formed in 1831.

Now that I know where the information found in so many family trees is coming from, I have a better feel of what I can work on to leave a documented history of my 5th great-grandparents Isaac WISEMAN 1738 and Elizabeth DAVIS.

It would be awesome if someone reading this post would reach out to me with more information, especially on Elizabeth DAVIS during Women’s History Month.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Dr. Benjamin Winfield Scott Wiseman, Wiseman genealogy and biography, digital images of original, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/163120-wiseman-genealogy-and-biography : accessed 12 February 2020), FL52150_TN-1474326, digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2008 [originally published: Culver, Indiana, 1910] 
  2. C. M. L. Wiseman, The Wiseman Family and the Old Church at New Salem : a brief sketch, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/57919-the-wiseman-family-and-the-old-church-at-new-salem-a-brief-sketch : accessed 12 February 2020), FL1103481_TN-76231, digitized by FamilySearch International, 2013, [originally published: Columbus, Ohio : Fred J. Heer, 1902], p. 7-8. 
  3. Ibid., p. 23-24. 
  4. Robert N. Wiseman, Senior Historian of the Wiseman Family Association, comment posted 3 February 2020 in the Nicholas County WV Genealogy group on Facebook and personal message conversation between Robert and Cathy on 24-25 February 2020. 
  5. “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900,” database and images, Ancestry.com, citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Images of the papers in the Revolutionary War file of Joseph Wiseman including images of family bible pages with the names and dates of birth and death of his parents. 
  6. Bob Wiseman Research
  7. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” index and images, Ancestry, North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts, Wills and estate papers (Rowan County), 1663-1978, North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Isaac Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  8. Ibid., North Carolina, Rowan County, Wills, Vol A-F, 1757-1807, Isaac Wiseman, page 184. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  9. “North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998,” North Carolina, Rowan County, Original wills, Verble, Daniel – Zimmerman, Christian, file of Mary Wiseman. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  10. “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” Rowan > Wills, 1781-1791, Vol. B > image 94+95 of 230, Will of Mary Wiseman, pages 179-181. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S7WF-3Q9C-79?cc=1867501&wc=32LR-7M3%3A169928201%2C170967101 : accessed 6 March 2020). 
  11. “North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing State Archives, Raleigh., Rowan County > W > Wiseman, Mary (1792) > image 2 of 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PPC-9MZF?cc=1911121&wc=Q6W1-9GT%3A184173301%2C183410401%2C198415701 : accessed 6 March 2020). 
  12. Dodd,Jordan,  Virginia, Marriages, 1660-1800, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Virginia. 
  13. Ibid. 
  14. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History (A collaborative venture between the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah to place vital records online via the West Virginia Archives and History Web site accessible at http://www.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia, Greenbrier, Jno. Blanton and Eliza. 1797/9 (1798), left page, last entry. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10970066&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 
  15. Ibid., Monroe County, 1799, Margaret Wiseman and Bartholomey Ramsey. 1799 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370451&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 
  16. Ibid., Monroe County, 22 October 1799, Margaret Wiseman and Bartholomey Ramsey. 1799 Marriage Record. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369649&Type=Marriage : accessed 12 August 2014). 

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING: Silah, Jane, Melacy, Daphney, Agness

While researching my families who lived in Mason County, West Virginia, I came across the last will and testament of Thomas Hannan (1757-1835).

In the will he mentions: a Negro Girl Slave named Silah, one Negro Girl Slave Jane, one Negro girl Slave Melacy, and three Negro children, one girl the child of Daphney, two boys Sons of Agness. The names of the three children are not given.1

1834 Last Will and Testament of Thomas Hannan

Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 27 of 165 courtesy of FamilySearch

In the name of God Amen, I Thomas Hannan of the County of Mason & State of Virginia, being weak in body from advanced age, but of sound mind disposing memory Knowing the uncertainty of life & the certainty of death, in order to dispose of the worldly goods that I have been blessed with, do make and publish this my last will and testament – first I commit my soul to God who gave it, and my body to the earth, in hopes of a blessed immortality in the resurrection – and desire that after my death, my body may be directly interred by my Executors, & the funeral expenses and all my Just debts be fully paid & satisfied. I give and bequeath to my Sons John Hannan, Esom Hannan & Henry Hannan, or the Survivors of them the home tract of land situate on the Ohio river at and above the mouth of little Guyandotte Creek containing five hundred acres, with all and singular its appertenences (sic) but upon this trust & use nevertheless that they or the Survivors of them Shall annually account & pay over the rents & profits of Said land unto my Son Charles Hannan, or in their discretion to permit him to use occupy and enjoy the Same during his life – and at the death of the Said Charles, I then give the Said land to his children if he should have any, if not to be disposed of in the manner hereinafter provided for the distribution of my property generally:
I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Whitten a Negro Girl Slave named Silah
I give and bequeath unto my daughter Susannah Shelton the wife of James Shelton one Negro Girl Slave Jane
I give and bequeath unto my Grand daughter Mahala Maxwell one Negro girl Slave Melacy
I desire that the three Negro children, one girl the child of Daphney, two boys Sons of Agness, which I have Sent over the River for their liberty, I desire Shall remain free forever.
My Son Henry owes me Seventy five Dollars & Jesse thirty Dollars, which is to be taken as part of my Estate
I then desire that all my estate not hereby specially bequeathed whether real or personal Shall be equally divided among my children, or the heirs of them that may not be living
Lastly I appoint my two sons John Hannan & Esom Hannan or the Survivor of them the Executors of this my last will & testament. Hereby revoking all other wills heretofore made.
In Testimony whereof I have hereunto Set my hand & Seal this 24th day of September 1834.
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Hannan (x his mark)
Attest
John Lendley
Geo W. Shelton
Thomas M. Shelton

Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 27 of 165 courtesy of FamilySearch

At a court held for Mason County April 27th 1835
a writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Thomas Hannan decd. was this day presented in open court and was proven in part, by the oath of Thomas M. Shelton one of the Subscribing witnesses thereto and continued for further proof teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Lewis clerk

At a court held for Mason County May 4th 1835
The last will and testament of Thomas Hanna decd which was in part proved by the oath of Thomas M. Shelton a Subscribing witness thereto at April term last past, now this day further proved by the oath of George W. Shelton also a Subscribing witness thereto and the same is ordered to be Recorded And on the Motion of John Hannan & Esom Hannan Executors named in the Said will who made oath thereto and together with Charles Clendinen William A. McMullin & Robt. A. Hereford their Securities entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of $8,000 conditioned as the law directs certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate of the Said will in due form of Law.
. . . . . . . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Lewis clerk

At a Court held for Mason County, November 2nd 1835
The last will and testament of Thomas Hannan decd which was proved at former terms of this court, by two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to record was this day further proved by the oath of John Lendley who is also a Subscribing witness thereto.
. . . . . . . . . . . . Teste
. . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Lewis clerk

Thomas Hannan in the U.S. Federal Census

In 1820 Thomas Hannan was enumerated in Mason County, Virginia.2 In his household there were 7 enslaved persons:

Slaves – Males – Under 14 : 2
Slaves- Females – Under 14: 4
Slaves – Females – 26 thru 44: 1

In 1830 the number had gone up to 9 and were in the following age groups:3

Slaves – Males – Under 10: 2
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 3
Slaves – Females – Under 10: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1

Several of the sons of Thomas Hannan left wills: Charles in 1860, John in 1861, and Esom in 1867. The wills of the first two included names of enslaved persons and will be shared next time.

True's statementFollowing my three-part series on the slaves of my 5th great grandfather James Sims during Black History Month in February 2015 I made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors or owned by persons I’ve researched who were relatives or neighbors of my ancestors.

These posts are part of the Slave Name Roll Project (About the Project) administered by Schalene Jennings Dagutis who also blogs at Tangled Roots and Trees.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-HN9X-P7?cc=1909099&wc=Q8B7-1YL%3A179687901%2C179729801 : accessed 26 January 2019), Mason > Will book, v. 001A 1833-1875 > image 27 of 165; citing Mason County Clerk, West Virginia. 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_138, Virginia, Mason, image 137, Thomas Hannan entry. The official enumeration day of the 1820 census was the 1st Monday in August. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 28 February 2020). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, NARA microfilm publication M19, Roll 198, Family History Library Film 0029677, Virginia, Mason County, Page: 146, Thomas Hannan entry. The official enumeration day of the 1830 census was 1 June 1830. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 28 February 2020). 

From Luxembourg to America – The Tempestuous Voyage of the Cornely Family

Have you ever wondered how fragile life was for our ancestors? How close they came to not making it? How close we came to not existing?

Yesterday while checking for possible DNA matches with connections in Luxembourg, I worked out a match’s tree to our most recent common ancestor. I had been putting off figuring out our connection as the match is for only one segment of 11 cMs. However, the surname CORNELY found in J.D.’s tree was of interest to me. I had made a note of it in 2018 when I first found him in my brother’s match list on Ancestry.

I wrote about my 5th great-grandparents Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN of Wickrange, Luxembourg in May 2019. It was the first post in my ongoing series on my children’s 6th great-grandparents.

J.D. has a 2nd great-grandmother named Catherine CORNELY born in November 1838 in Germany. No parents are listed for her. J.D. has a list of sources several sources including this reference to an 1854 passenger list.1

I viewed the image and found she came with what appears to be her family – a father, a mother, and six siblings.

Screen clip of passenger list courtesy of Ancestry.

I checked my database and found I had a Jacques CORNELY born 1800 (1854 age 54) and his wife Madelaine KUNNERT born 1807 (1854 age 47). These looked like a possible match but I only had their 1831 marriage record.2 I had not yet gotten around to checking on children. As I searched the commune of Differdange where Jacques and Madelaine married, I found they had Henri 18323, Nicolas 18344, Jean 18365, Catherine 18386, Michel 18417, Heinrich 18438, Nicolas 18459, Maria 184910, and Johann 1851.11 These were all matches except for the younger Nicolas and Maria who were missing.

Convinced I had the correct family, I calculated that J.D. and I are 6th cousins once removed as Jacques was the son of Michel, brother of my Hubert CORNELY. Our common ancestors are my 6th great-grandparents Pierre CORNELY (1720-1793) and Marie SCHINTGEN (1725-bef. 1793).

The most amazing part of this research came when I began to write the citation for the passenger list and downloaded the image(s). The page the family is on is not enough. I always go back to the beginning of the list for the information on the ship. Imagine my surprise when I found this at the top of the page where the first passengers were listed:

Screen clip of passenger list courtesy of Ancestry.

Additional passengers taken from the Wreck of Ship Black Hawk bound to New York from Liverpool

I continued to go back to find the front page of the ship list for the ship that had taken the shipwrecked passengers.

Screen clip of passenger list courtesy of Ancestry.

Captain Seth Foster of the ship Currituck had taken on the passengers of the fated Black Hawk. Catherine and her family had arrived in New York on the Currituck but they had left Europe via Liverpool on the Black Hawk.

What had happened during the Cornely family’s voyage to America?

The Black Hawk never completed her maiden voyage.

Image of a ship in a hurricane. Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.), 10 Aug. 1930. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1930-08-10/ed-1/seq-77/&gt;
My search for the ships’ names led me to an article in The New York Herald dated 18 May 1854.12

Screen clip of The New York Herald title page courtesy of Chronicling America.

Loss of Ship Black Hawk at Sea-Fortunate Rescue of Her Passengers and Crew

The ship Currituck, of Norfolk, Captain Foster, from Antwerp, arrived at this port yesterday, having on board Captain Bunker, his crew, and 356 passengers, rescued from the ship Black Hawk, from Liverpool for New York, lost at sea on the 23rd of April.

The following is the report of Captain Foster, of the Currituck:-

April 21st, at 5 P.M., lat 47 30, long 33 24, came up with the wreck of ship Black Hawk, Capt. Bunker, from Liverpool for New York, dismasted and leaking badly. The ship Dirigo and British bark Caroline were laying by her taking off passengers; having more than they could take, my assistance was required. Shortened sail and lay by the wreck until morning. April 22d–All the boats belonging to the different ships were employed transporting passengers on board of our ship until four P.M., by which time we had 250 souls on board, the wind now blowing so strong as to render any farther communication with the ship exceedingly dangerous. During the night the wind blew a strong gale. At 11 P.M. lost sight of the wreck. 23d– At 8 A.M. it fell calm, with thick hazy weather. At 12 midday it cleared up a little, and we discovered the wreck bearing S.S.E. and at 11:20 P.M. came up to her and hove to until the morning of the 24th, when we found that the gale had caused her leak to increase so that all hopes of saving her had vanished. The Caroline had parted from us during the gale, and the English bark Good Intent had come up and took some of the passengers and crew, we having taken the second time 108 passengers, Captain Bunker, the doctor, the second mate and eighteen of the crew. We had our full share of the passengers previously. Of the passengers taken from the wreck by us, 198 were English and Irish, and 158 Germans–making in all 356. At 9 P.M. of the 24th, while taking in our boats, a brig came up and hove to close by the Dirigo, and we supposed took some of her passengers. The brig was hence bound to Glasgow.

The following is Capt. Bunker’s report:–

Left Liverpool April 4, at 4 P.M., with a crew, including captain and officers, of thirty-five men, and seven hundred and ninety adult passengers and two in cabin, making altogether, including infants, eight hundred and fifty-eight. Nothing of note until April 15, when we observed the barometer falling. Wind increasing. 16th–Glass still falling, and the wind veering around to N.E., and then to N.W. Sea running in all directions. Concluded we were going to have very bad weather. Kept the ship under very short sail. Lat. 48 20 N., long 36 2. Monday, 17th–Glass down to 28 deg., and falling. Wind, after backing to N.W. around to about N., blew a perfect hurricane. Took in fore and mizzen topsail. At 9 P.M. wind increasing. the topgallant masts went, carrying away head of fore-topmast. Soon the fore and mainmast fell and at midnight lost the mizzenmast; all close to the deck. The mainmast fell inboard, and smashed the cabin, the topsail yard going through the main deck without injuring any person but ripping up the deck so as to cause the water to flow down a perfect avalanche. The half of the main-mast fell on the pumps, smashing them down to the deck. The mizzenmast swept off all the skylights and broke in the leeside of the cabin, causing the water to flow down there very freely. The fore-mast went under the ship’s bottom, and we were fortunate to get clear of it, but not till it had thumped so long there as to make the ship leak badly. Cut away a portion of main-mast and got a temporary break rigged to one pump, and got the steerage passengers to work bailing and pumping while the crew were clearing the wreck. Found 6 feet water in the hold. Tuesday, 18th–Pumping, bailing, and clearing the wreck, and throwing cargo overboard. Wednesday, 19th–Lat. 47, N., long. 35.30, W.; at 6 A.M. a large ship passed so near we could see six feet below her waist from her deck. At 11 A.M. the bark Caroline, of Poole, (Eng.,) came in sight, and at 12, median, she answered our signal and came to our relief. We were employed as usual, heaving cargo overboard, pumping and baling, and the crew getting up spars to rig a jury mast. Began transporting the women passengers into the bark. Our long boat had been stove too bad to repair, but the other boats we could repair sufficient to use them. The captain of the bark sent his boat, and we got about one hundred and forty passengers on board in safety; but a man who attempted in the night to go on board the back by the hawser that we had fast to her fell and was downed. Thursday, 20th–Light airs and baffling; a ship labored incessantly, so as to make it dangerous to stand on deck. The ship Dirigo, Capt. Young, came along and offered every assistance in his power and it was deemed advisable to get the passengers out as soon as possible, as it was evident the ship could not survive. All the boats employed in getting out passengers, provisions and water, and the pumps going. Friday morning–the ship Currituck of Norfolk, Capt. Foster, came up, and the next day all the boats of all the ships were employed till the wind came on to blow too hard to pass any more. All hope of saving the ship was now abandoned, as passengers and crew were worn down with fatigue, and the carpenter reported water up over the cargo in the hold, which was seven and a half feet. Saturday night was a gloomy night; pumps kept going, sent up rockets and burnt blue lights all night, in order that the ships might not lose sight of us. 23d–Thick weather; when it cleared saw Dirigo and a strange bark; they came up in the evening and took some passengers. 24th–The Currituck got back, and these gentlemen (to whom I am under the greatest obligations for their untiring exertions, together with their mates and crew) effected, without loss of an individual, the transportation of the rest of the passengers from the wreck; and we left her, her lower hold half full of water, ad she a perfectly hopeless wreck.

The Black Hawk was a fine vessel of 1,600 tons, and valued at $100,000.

UPDATE (28 February 2020): As I learned from my faithful reader Kathy Brochman Merchant in her comment below, there is more to the story. The log of Captain Harris of the barque Caroline, the first to chance on the floundering ship and render assistance, can be read here: The Wreck of the Black Hawk, Emigrant Ship. Please take the time to read Kathy’s very informative comment.

According to the passenger list, 23 passengers from the Black Hawk died between the time of the rescue and the arrival in New York. All were young children and infants except for a 60-year-old man.

The captain of the Currituck was praised in this short article in The New York Herald dated 8 June 1854.13

Capt. Foster’s fine ship, the Currituck, is to sail to-day or to-morrow for City Point, Virginia, where she has engaged to load with tobacco for Bordeaux, France. The noble conduct of Captain Foster will be long remembered. He was on his way at the time in the Currituck, of 600 tons, with 250 passengers for New York, notwithstanding which he took off 359 souls from the Black Hawk. So great was the crowd that he had to knock in the heads of the water casks to make sleeping places for women and children. After getting 250 on board he parted with the Black Hawk, and lost sight of her. He then put back in search of her, and took off to the number stated. So crowded was his vessel that they all could not stand on deck at the same time, and the captain had to divide them, and give them the temporary use of his deck by turns to get fresh air. Notwithstanding this he was enabled to land them all sound and well. Such conduct deserves all praise.

After finding the articles I wanted to share them here. I continued to search for the family in America after their arrival. By 1860, Jacob had died and left Magdalena (German version of Madelaine) with the seven children living in Big Spring Township in Seneca County, Ohio.14

In 187015 and 188016 only two sons were still living with their mother: Nicolas and the younger John. All of the CORNELY family’s burials were found on Find A Grave. Further research into the rest of the children still needs to be carried out.

A quick search this morning for Catherine CORNELY (1838-1912) turned up the image of her obituary originally shared on 11 June 2018 by Ancestry user (name omitted for privacy) and published in the New Washington Herald (Ohio) on 26 July 1912. I don’t have access to the newspaper and will only quote a short part as I have not contacted the user who shared it on Ancestry. The obituary of Mrs. Catherine DONNERSBACH names her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Jacob CORNELY (née KUNNERT) confirming the family group in my database.

…after a stormy and tempestuous voyage, their ship being wrecked in mid ocean. The deceased and a brother escaping death by drowning after being pushed overboard in the rush on deck, by being picked up by other boats. 

I was happy to learn the entire family picked up by Capt. Foster and the crew of the Currituck survived the journey to New York and to Ohio where the family bought a small farm. However, I was left with a question. Why were young Nicolas and his sister Marie not mentioned on the passenger list? Had they died in Luxembourg or did they perish during the days the passengers were stranded on a sinking ship?

I searched the death record of Differdange and found Marie died at the age of 11 months in 1849.17 Nicolas died at the age of 9 years in February 185418 only a few months before the family began their voyage to America. Although the deaths at a young age are sad, I was relieved to learn they did not perish in the sinking of the Black Hawk.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” index and images, Ancestry, citing Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897, Roll 139, Arrival: 1854 New York, New York, List number 496, Line 304-312, Cornely family. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020) 
  2. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Differdange > Naissances 1881-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1812 > image 678 of 1487. 1831 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6PWS-M8Z?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-JWL%3A129627401%2C130296101 : accessed 28 April 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 446 of 1492. 1832 Birth Record No. 26. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-H37?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  4. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 478 of 1492. 1834 Birth Record No. 27. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-7KQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  5. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 507 of 1492. 1836 Birth Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-QZV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  6. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 548 of 1492. 1838 Birth Record No. 52. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-CNH?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  7. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 588 of 1492. 1841 Birth Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRNS-TYS?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  8. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 635 of 1492. 1843 Birth Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRNS-R4Z?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  9. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 690 of 1492. 1845 Birth Record No. 59. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRNS-RSY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  10. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 773 of 1492. 1849 Birth Record No. 42. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-QF4?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  11. Ibid., Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 817 of 1492. 1851 Birth Record No. 37. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-WV2?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  12. The New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 18 May 1854. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1854-05-18/ed-1/seq-1/ : accessed 27 February 2020) 
  13. The New York herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 08 June 1854. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. (https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1854-06-08/ed-1/seq-4/ : accessed 27 February 2020) 
  14. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1034, Family History Library Film: 805034, Ohio, Seneca County, Big Spring, sheet 42 (stamped) back (42B), page 84, lines 11-18, HH #594-574, Magdalena Cornelia. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  15. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1284, Family History Library Film: 552783, Ohio, Wyandot County, Salem, page 810B, lines 9-11, HH #27-27, Magdaline Cornelius. The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870.  (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  16. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1079, Ohio, Wyandot County, Salem, Enumeration District 163, page 467B, lines 10-12, HH #193, Magdalena Cornely. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  17. Luxembourg Civil Records, Differdange > Décès 1813-1858 > image 431 of 591. 1849 Death Record No. 25.(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X11-MR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-GP6%3A129627401%2C129627402 : accessed 27 February 2020). 
  18. Ibid., Differdange > Décès 1813-1858 > image 498 of 591. 1854 Death Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X15-X8?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-GP6%3A129627401%2C129627402 : accessed 27 February 2020). 

Update: Cupid has been having a busy time…

During the FREE ACCESS weekend of Newspaper.com, I found this article and wrote about it in my last post.

Clipping courtesy of Newspaper.com

Cupid has been having a busy time of it the past eight months in the family of Mrs. Nick Poppelreiter, who resides on a hundred-acre farm in the southern part of Downer’s Grove township. One year ago a family of six children, four sons and two daughters, made their home with their other. One by one they married until only one son was left, Peter Poppelreiter, and during the past week he, too, led his affinity to the altar, making six marriages inside of eight months, or an average of one marriage every forty days.1

I shared the post in the private Poppelreiter Family group on Facebook. Many US descendants of the PÖPPELREITERs of Mürlenbach, Germany, are members of the group as well as Werner LICHTER, my distant PÖPPELREITER cousin who reached out to me after reading my post 52 Ancestors: #36 Bubelreiter, Boppelreuter, Peppelreuter, Pöppelreiter.

Jennifer Spirik, an administrator of the group, quickly caught a mistake I’d made in the post.

She wrote:

Great post! I do have a question. For John A. Poppelreiter you have his wife listed as Gussie Jane Wilson. I have him being married to Elizabeth Seiler. I have no marriage source only that there are two census records on which John is listed with wife Elizabeth. Do you have anything at all to prove this? I certainly don’t want to have my tree incorrect. 

I had mentioned in my post that the marriage date was found on the FamilySearch Family Tree and not sourced. I followed the link I’d saved and found the marriage date was for Elizabeth SEILER. I corrected the error without mentioning the update as Jennifer had caught it within minutes of my posting. Here is the corrected paragraph:

John Aloysius POPPELREITER (1883-1955) married Elizabeth M. SEILER (1881-1958) on 18 June 1902. The marriage date was found on the FamilySearch Family Tree and not sourced. In 1910 the couple is listed as having been married 7 years.

John did not marry Gussie until sometime between 1930 and 1940. This second marriage has not been documented. John, for some reason, dropped the POPPEL from his name and went by John A. REITER from the time of the 1940 census until his death. To further confuse researchers, he had a son who used POPPELREITER and then changed his name to POTTER. Both of these men’s Social Security Applications (per index) indicate the different names they used.2

Some discussions went on in the group about the marriage dates and where the information was found. Several members were looking through their information and sharing.

Today, Carlene Marie Mogavero, another member of the Poppelreiter Family group, shared an image and wrote:

The following is a single page from the church books of St. Alphonsus in Lemont. I’m calling it the Alphonsus Poppelreiter Marriage Extravaganza!

St. Alphonsus marriage register 1902-1903 page 183 courtesy of FamilySearch

Five of the six marriages of the POPPELREITER siblings were recorded on one page! 

The religious marriages that took place on 18 June 1902 (John to Elisabeth M. SEILER), 3 September 1902 (Mary Elizabeth to Charles Paul FINLEY), 1 October 1902 (Katherine Magdalena to Peter Jensen RICKEN), 14 January 1903 (Peter N. to Mary Louise SEILER), and 10 February 1903 (Frank to Margaret HEINZ) are listed above.3

Only William Henry who married Mary P. ZINK on 2 September 1902 was missing as they married in Barton County, Kansas.

The Alphonsus Poppelreiter Marriage Extravaganza! also solves the problem I had concerning who was the last to marry. The marriage records clearly show Frank was the last of the six to marry and not Peter as the writer reported in the article. 

I’d like to thank the members of the Poppelreiter Family group for inviting me to join them, for taking the time to read my posts on the family, and for jumping in and helping with the corrections.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Newspapers.com, database with images, Palatine Enterprise (Palatine, Illinois), Saturday, February 28, 1903, Page 1. (https://www.newspapers.com/image/81730064 : accessed 16 February 2020). 
  2. “U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” (index only), Ancestry, citing original data: Social Security Applications and Claims. 
  3. “Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925,” database with images, FamilySearch, St. Alphonsus Parish (Lemont) > Baptisms, marriages, deaths, communions, confirmations 1879-1912 > image 96 of 142. Page 183 with entries for five Poppelreiter marriages that took place in 1902 and 1903. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DY27-FMC?cc=1452409&wc=M66L-6WL%3A39668701%2C39688101 : accessed 22 February 2020).