On Wednesday, 30 July 1817 my fourth great-grandparents Michel and Catherine met at the city hall in Pétange in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with two other couples. Michel was 39 years old and Catherine was 42 years old. At 8 o’clock the first couple was married, followed by Michel and Catherine at 9 o’clock, and the third couple at 10 o’clock. Michel witnessed the first and third marriage. This in itself is unusual but there is more to the story.
There may be another connection to Elisabeth MAMER as her mother’s parents were a BURKEL and a BERKIN, both surnames shared with my ancestors. But it is not the connections to the first couple which is so interesting. What did else did these couples have in common? The newlyweds – all three couples – had children who were legitimized at the time of marriage.
Michel and Catherine’s Marriage Record
Michel and Catherine’s record marriage record had notes in the margin showing they had children: 1. Marguerite, 2. Catherine, 3. Anne, and 4. Jean Pierre, all born prior to marriage. These were not the only children born to Michel and Catherine. They had had eight children in eighteen years, the last born in 1814. Only four were living at the time of their parents’ marriage in 1817. The marriage must have been blessed by the church in a religious ceremony at least eighteen to nineteen years prior to the civil ceremony in 1817. It must have so been believed to be legal by the civil servants who recorded the births of seven of the children as being born to a lawfully wedded couple.
In 1795 the Duchy of Luxembourg became the Département des Forêts following its surrender after a siege of over seven months by French Revolutionary troops. The anti-religious policy of the new government is one of the reasons a marriage record may not be found for a Luxembourg ancestor during this time period.
The people rebelled against the new laws continuing to be married by their priest, even if it meant having the ceremony performed in the kitchen, and refusing to have a civil record of the marriage recorded. When the Napoleonic Code was introduced in 1804 all persons were required to be married in a civil ceremony. Couples who had only been wedded by a priest since the introduction of civil records around 1796 had to be married in a civil ceremony to legitimize their children’s births. The children’s names were listed on the civil marriage record following the line in which the groom and bride were joined as husband and wife. Often the list was so long that it had to be continued in the margin of the marriage record. (see image above)
Michel PHILIPPART, the son of Jacques PHILIPPART (1749-1823) and Catherine SINGER also known as Catherine KETTER (1743-1835), was born and baptized on 16 October 1777 in Rodange. His godparents were his paternal uncle Michel PHILIPPART of Rodange and Nanette KETTER of Bettingen. His relationship to his godmother is still under investigation. [I couldn’t resist. Bettingen or Bettange-sur-Mess is a new parish for me and so far I have only found one SINGER/KETTER sibling named Barbara.]
Catherine MEUNIER, the daughter of Henri MEUNIER and Margaretha KILBOUR, was born in 1775 in Rodange. A birth/baptismal record has not been located. Catherine’s father was from Rodange and her mother from Esch-sur-Alzette where they married on 21 December 1774. Both Rodange and Esch parish records were checked for Catherine’s birth without results. Her 1775 year of birth was found on her 1817 marriage record without a month or date which suggests the officials also had difficulties finding a record for her. Variations of her year of birth (calculated from age at the time) on the census records in 1843, 1846, 1847, and 1849 and her 1851 death record ran between 1768 and 1780. The 1849 census had her date of birth as 5 June 1774. This is not reliable as the three other persons in the household had dates of birth which did not come close to being correct.
Michel was the oldest of four children while Catherine may have been an only child. Her father died before the 1 December 1793 as her mother remarried on Tuesday, 17 December 1793. The marriage banns were published before the marriage to André DOMANGE on three consecutive Sundays (1st, 8th, 15th) dating the death of the first spouse at before the first bann.
Michel and Catherine’s children
As mentioned Michel and Catherine had all of their children before their legal civil marriage ceremony. Their oldest daughter Marguerite was born about 1800. No record of birth was found for her. When the census was taken in 1849 her birth date was listed as 11 August 1802 which cannot be correct due to the date of birth of the next two children. Marie Catherine, my third great-grandmother, was born on 8 November 1801 and her brother Henri on 1 December 1802.
UPDATE (10 December 2017): My genealogy friend Linda (who has helped me out several other times with my families in Luxembourg) found the birth record of Michel and Catherine’s daughter Marguerite. She was born on 19 Nivôse in the year VIII (9 January 1800) to Catherine Meunier. The birth was reported by the grandmother Margaretha KILBOUR. No mention is made of the father. This helps to date the possible religious marriage of Michel and Catherine at between 9 January 1800 and 8 November 1801 when Marie Catherine was born to a legally married couple.
Daughter Anne was born 17 December 1804, followed by two sons, Jean Pierre on 25 October 1808 and Jean Baptiste on 29 January 1810. Jean Baptiste lived only a little more than a month dying on 2 March 1810. Their seventh child, Catherine was born on 17 April 1812. Before the birth of their last child, their oldest son Henri died on 9 August 1813 at the age of 10.
Michel and Catherine named their youngest child Michel when he was born on 2 June 1814. He lived a little over a month and died on 15 July 1814. His death was followed by the death of young Catherine on 20 November 1814 at the age of two years.
By 1817, when Michel and Catherine were legally married, they had lost four children while Marguerite age 18, Marie Catherine age 16, Anne age 12, and Jean Pierre age 10 were thriving. Michel was supporting his family working as a shoemaker or cordonnier.
The children are grown
Nearly four years later Catherine’s mother Margaretha KILBOUR died on 4 April 1821 at the age of 80.
Jacques PHILIPPART, the father of Michel, died on 23 March 1824 at the age of 75 years.
The second of four marriages took place on 20 September 1826 when Anne, the youngest daughter, married her first cousin once removed Jean Baptiste PHILIPPART (1798-1828). Jean Baptiste died on 6 April 1828 and his widow Anne gave birth to a son she named Joseph on 29 May 1828.
The oldest daughter Marguerite married her first cousin once removed, Joseph PHILIPPART (1801-1864), brother of Jean Baptiste, on 12 September 1828. Jean Baptiste and Joseph were the sons of Joseph PHILIPPART and Susanne SCHMIT. The men’s grandparents Jacques PHILIPPART and Elisabeth BURKEL were the great-grandparents of their wives, Anne and Marguerite.
Catherine’s step-father André DOMANGE died on 17 December 1833 at the age of 69 years.
The last of the children to marry was the youngest and only son Jean Pierre PHILIPPART. Until I began to review and research this family for this post I had no idea if Jean Pierre was still living or had married. I found his marriage in my genealogy society’s database for Luxembourg marriages for the years 1796-1923. It is still a work in progress and not yet online but as a member of the board of Luxracines, I have access to the beta version.
Jean Pierre was working as a border guard in Stadbredimus when he married Barbara GOVERS (also seen as GOUVERS) on 27 February 1834.
A year later Catherine SINGER, mother of Michel PHILIPPART, died on 9 February 1835 at the age of 91.
Michel and Catherine likely did not expect to outlive any of their remaining children. However, their daughter Marie Catherine, wife of André FOURNELLE, died on 20 July 1843 at the age of 41 years. She was the mother of eleven children, the last having been born only nine days earlier. André, my third great-grandfather, was left to raise the children on his own. He never remarried.
Michel PHILIPPART died at the age of 71 on 23 September 1849. His death was reported by Joseph PHILIPPART who was erroneously listed as his son instead of his son-in-law. Three months later Joseph reported the death of his wife Marguerite, daughter of Michel, who died on 31 December 1849 at the age of 50.
Catherine MEUNIER, Michel’s widow, died on 24 May 1851 at the age of 76 years. Once again it was Joseph who reported the death and was seen as her son and not son-in-law. She left two living children, Jean Pierre and Anne.
Jean Pierre and his wife had a daughter born in Osweiler in 1837. This event in the commune of Rosport gave Jean Pierre, his wife, and child an entry in Thomas Webers’ family book for Rosport. The daughter’s marriage was included – an event which took place in Namur, Belgium in 1862. This tiny tidbit along with her date and place of death was enough to trace the family further. The marriage record included the date and place of death of the bride’s father. Jean Pierre died on 21 October 1861 at the age of 52 in Hondelange, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium. He was a Belgian customs employee or employé des douanes belges, sous brigadier. He left a wife and a son who was the informant for his death. With each new record, a new clue was found and I learned he had at least five children and his widow was still living in 1875.
By 1861, after Jean Pierre’s death, the only living child of Michel and Catherine was their daughter Anne who was also known as Nanette. As mentioned earlier her husband died while she was pregnant with their son Joseph who was born nearly two months later. But Anne and her father Michel PHILIPPART left a puzzle I have not been able to figure out.
On 30 September 1832, Anne gave birth to a male child who was given the name Jean HOUTTEN (seen as HOULTEN on the index). Michel PHILIPPART, the grandfather, was the informant and named Jean HOUTTEN of Robelmont in Belgium as the father and his daughter Anne as the mother. They were not married. No trace of this male child has been found after the birth. In the census records, as early as 1843, Anne is seen with her son Joseph and a daughter named Catherine. This daughter married twice and both times she was listed as born on 25 September 1832, five days before the male child. Only her mother Anne PHILIPPART was named on her marriage records. No father’s name was given. Was an error made at the time of birth? Was the child born to Anne in 1832 a daughter and not a son? Are there any other possible scenarios?
Anne died on 24 January 1871 at the age of 66 years. Her death was reported by her son Joseph and her son-in-law André HILBERT, the second husband of her daughter Catherine.
I found many new records for this family group while reviewing my database. I added several generations to the PHILIPPART and MEUNIER branches of the family tree as I discovered marriage records for Catherine MEUNIER’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Nearly all the families who lived in the area during the 1700s appear to be related to each other and to my families of Rodange. Lots of loose ends to tie together. But they will have to wait for now as this ends my visit to Rodange – next stop will be Vianden.
Sources: I’m taking the easy way out this week. I’ll be uploading my updated GEDCOM file to RootsWeb a.s.a.p. All sources have been found and can be referred to by clicking on the names in the box below.
The FOURNELLE family is one of my favorites to research. I spent nearly a year working exclusively on finding the records for every tiny branch of the descendants of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON in 2013.
This set of fourth great-grandparents, Pierre FOURNELLE and Marianne SCHMIT take me back to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
For the time period this couple, their parents, and their children lived, the status and borders of Luxembourg changed. Pierre’s father was born in 1713 when the country was “only” a duchy. Pierre’s last living child died in 1870, fifty-five years after Luxembourg became a grand duchy and lost territory to France, Germany, and Belgium.
A genealogist’s work is never finished
The family group lived in Rodange in Luxembourg on the border to France. For the period before 1767 the parish of Rodange, where this family lived, was attached to Herserange which today lies in France. The baptismal, marriage, and death records for the years up to 1766 were found in the Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle in the collection for the parish of Herserange. Images from the French archives’ sites are not allowed to be used on the internet or for commercial purposes without permission. When I did the research in 2013 the image viewer or visionneuse did not have an option to save the link to the image. My source citations have enough information to quickly locate the record again on the Archives’ site to obtain the permalink which is now available on the visionneuse but the task is huge. I have over 500 citations for records found in the Meurthe-et-Moselle area which need to be re-visited to obtain the links.
My fourth great-grandfather Pierre FOURNELLE was born on 12 December 1748 in Rodange and was christened the following day. He was the third child of Pierre FOURNEL (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1823-1783). They were married in 1743 in Aubange, Belgium, where Jeanne lived with her widowed mother.
Pierre and Jeanne had eight children from 1744-1763, all born in Rodange. All of their children lived to adulthood. Six are known to have married and had children while the two youngest sons have not been traced. They were last seen as godfathers of two children of their brother Pierre when they were still single and in their twenties.
Pierre’s mother died 9 March 1783 less than a month before her son Pierre married. Her death record included interesting information about her occupation.
Jeanne NEW was a fermière (farmer) for the Baron d’HUART. Baron Jean-François-Henri-Gérard d’HUART, known as Baron Henri d’HUART, died 1 January 1781 two years before Jeanne. His son Charles-Elisabeth-François, known as Charles, inherited the forges of Lasauvage and Herserange and was likely the owner of the land in Rodange which were farmed by Pierre’s mother Jeanne NEU.
Young Pierre’s wife was Marianne SCHMIT, daughter of Jean SCHMIT and Eve DECKERS of Niederkorn. The SCHMIT-DECKERS couple has had not been researched. They were seen living in 1783 when Pierre and Marianne married and had died by 1795 when another daughter married – according to index cards with information on the marriages. A brother and a sister of Marianne turned up as godparents for two of Pierre and Marianne’s children. Pierre was the godfather of an illegitimate child born to one of Marianne’s sisters. These are all individuals I hoped would help to open the door in Marianne’s brick wall.
How I opened the door
Pierre FOURNELLE married Marianne SCHMIT on 1 April 1783 in Rodange. For years I have had her birth listed as 1 January 1763 in Rodange. I had found this date in a GEDCOM on Geneanet owned by a descendant of Pierre FOURNEL and Jeanne NEU. However, no sources were given. Over the years I’ve used it as a guide but have found errors which were corrected using the online records for Luxembourg at FamilySearch.
In all this time I never was able to find a record to support the date and place of birth for Marianne SCHMIT. While writing this and reviewing the records I realized there was information in the 1783 marriage record I had overlooked due to the almost impossible handwriting.
Parish marriage records for Luxembourg have been indexed on cards which were microfilmed and accessible on FamilySearch. Two copies are available for the marriage of Pierre FOURNELLE and Marianne SCHMIT. One is for the marriage record I found in Rodange.
The other was for a marriage record which appears to have been included in the Herserange parish records.
I have gone over and over the Herserange collection and cannot find the record on the second index card.
I took yet another look at the marriage record (above) and realized Marianne was 22 years old at the time of marriage. This would place her birth at 1760-1761. Her father is referred to as deceased but not named while her mother is named Eve DECQUESSES. Both of her parents were from Niederkorn in the parish of Oberkorn. If they lived in Niederkorn, could it be that Marianne was born there and not in Rodange?
Armand Logelin-Simon’s family book of Oberkorn compiled from the parish records for the years 1637-1804, a popular publication in the online library of Luxracines, is available as a free pdf download to members of the society. The compilation is handwritten and includes a family which appears to be that of Marianne SCHMIT.
Joes (Joannes) SCHMIT and Eva DICKEN (Dücker, Ducker, Dick) had seven children born between 1756 and 1769 including a daughter Maria born 20 December 1760. There was a second daughter named Maria born in 1765. I am certain this is the right family and the older daughter named Marie is Marianne. I found the baptismal records of the seven children born in Niederkorn in the parish records of Oberkorn. Also included in the entry for the family are the dates of death for the father and mother as well as their date of marriage. Joannes died in 1777 and Eva in 1792. The records of death and marriage need to be looked up.
The children of Pierre and Marianne
With this research problem out of the way, I will give a brief run-down of the children of Pierre and Marianne.
i. Michael FOURNELLE was born on 27 April 1783 in Rodange. Michael was baptized the same day and his godparents were Michael FOURNELLE, his uncle (one of the brothers of Pierre who has not been found after this date), and Marianne NICOLAY. He died on 30 August 1784 in Rodange.
ii. Jean Baptiste FOURNELLE was born on 13 November 1784 in Rodange. Jean was baptized on 13 November 1784 in Rodange; the godparents were Jean Baptiste SCHMITZ, uncle (this brother of Marianne is seen only as Jean in the Oberkorn compilation), and Jeanne FELTEN. He died on 17 January 1864 in Niederkorn.
Jean married Marie Anne HEINRICH on 30 January 1825 in Differdange. Marie was born on 30 September 1795 in Niederkorn. She died on 23 November 1855 in Niederkorn. They were the parents of three children.
iii. Susanne FOURNELLE was born on 14 March 1786 in Rodange. Susanne was baptized on 14 March 1786 in Rodange; the godparents were Christophel FOURNELLE, her uncle (the other brother of Pierre who has not been found after 1792), and Susanne SCHMIT, her aunt. She died on 20 June 1845 in Rodange.
Susanne married Jean Pierre LUCAS, son of Théodore LUCAS and Margueritte MEUNIER, on 27 December 1804 in Pétange. Jean was born about 1773 in Rodange. He died on 18 June 1852 in Rodange. They were the parents of at least six children.
iv. Pierre FOURNELLE was born on 5 May 1787 in Rodange. He was baptized the same day. His godparents were Pierre FOURNELLE, his cousin, and Jeanne LADURELLE. He worked as a stone mason, bricklayer (maçon, Steinmetz). He died on 12 August 1856 in Rodange.
Pierre married Appoline WESTER, daughter of Jean Baptiste WESTER and Anne Catherine HANSEN, on 18 August 1812 in Pétange. Appoline was born on 14 November 1781 on Bouferterhaff (Beaufort farm) near Bertrange. She died on 13 February 1827 in Rodange. They were the parents of five children.
Pierre also married Marie ARENDT, daughter of François ARENDT and Claire SCHILTZ, on 5 December 1827 in Pétange. Marie was born on 23 September 1783 in Pétange. She died on 29 November 1843 in Rodange. They did not have children.
v. Henri FOURNELLE was born on 12 November 1788 in Rodange. Henri was baptized the same day; the godparents were Henri LUCAS and Marie SCHMITZ, his aunt. He worked as day laborer (journalier). He died on 8 October 1861 in Rodange.
Henri married Anna Catherine FEYEREISEN on 22 February 1819 in Pétange. Anna was born on 21 October 1789 in Nobressart (present-day Commune d’Attert, Province de Luxembourg, Belgium). She died on 11 September 1828 in Rodange. They were the parents of five children. She brought a son into the marriage who used the FOURNELLE name when he was in the militia.
Henri also married Marie Jeanne DOMMANGE on 25 February 1829 in Pétange. Marie was born on 10 October 1801 in Sepfontaines. She died on 3 September 1866 in Rodange. They were the parents of four children, two of whom went to America, one before 1885 and the other in 1890.
vi. Jean Baptiste Fournelle was born on 8 November 1791 in Rodange. He was baptized the same day with his godparents being Jean Baptiste FOURNELLE, his uncle, and Marie Julienne MATTHIEU, his aunt. A record of marriage or death has not been located for this child.
vii. Marie FOURNELLE was born on 2 January 1793 in Rodange. She was baptized the same day; the godparents were Nicolas MEUNIER and Marie FREDERIQUE. She died on 15 November 1860 in Sélange, Messancy, Belgium.
Marie married Pierre Joseph MONNET on 2 June 1824 in Villers devant Orval, Belgium. Pierre was born about 1780 in Bastogne, Belgium. He died on 28 December 1854 in Sélange, Messancy, Belgium. They were the parents of one known son.
viii. Philippe FOURNELLE was born on 8 November 1795 in Rodange. Philippe worked as a stone cutter (tailleur de pierres). He died on 17 January 1840 in Rodange, Grand Duché de Luxembourg.
Philippe married Anne-Marie JUNGERS, daughter of Pierre JUNGERS and Gertrude CUIR, on 10 October 1834 in Pétange. Anne-Marie was born on 23 April 1791 in Belvaux, Commune de Sanem. She died on 13 April 1874 in Rodange. Their marriage lasted only a little more than five years ending with the death of Philippe. They had no children.
ix. Jacques FOURNELLE was born on 26 September 1797 in Rodange. Jacques worked as day laborer (journalier). He died on 5 July 1870 in Rodange.
Jacques married Catherine PHILIPPART, daughter of Jacques PHILIPPART and Catherine SINGER, on 9 December 1822 in Pétange. Catherine was born on 23 April 1789 in Rodange. She died on 24 December 1856 in Rodange. They were the parents of two sons.
x. André FOURNELLE, my third great-grandfather, was born on 21 August 1799 in Rodange. He died on 2 August 1866 in Rodange.
Note: Marie Catherine PHILIPPART’s aunt Catherine PHILIPPART was the wife of Jacques FOURNELLE.
They raised their children farming
Both of Pierre FOURNELLE’s parents and his paternal grandfather were farmers. Did Pierre own the land he farmed or did he take over the farming job his mother Jeanne NEU held with the Baron of HUART before her death? Pierre was seen as laboureur (plow man) in the baptismal/birth records of nine of his children, as a cultivateur (farmer) when his son André was born in 1799 and as an Ackersmann (tiller of the soil) when he died in 1816. André, the youngest of the FOURNELLE sons, was the only one to follow in his father’s footsteps. André worked as a farmer while his brothers were laborers, stone mason, and stone cutter.
Marianne SCHMIT was an informant for the death of her husband Pierre FOURNELLE on 17 October 1816 in Rodange. As mentioned above, Pierre and Marianne’s daughter Marie married Pierre Joseph MONNET on 2 June 1824 in Villers devant Orval in Belgium. Marianne may not have been well enough to attend the marriage. She gave permission for her daughter Marie to marry via a document drawn up by a notary. She died twelve days later on 14 June 1824 in Rodange.
Marianne left eight living children and was the grandmother of 37 grandchildren many of whom were born years after her death.
The 1810 census of Greenbrier County was “lost” as were those of the counties of Cabell, Hardy, and Tazewell. [Source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by Wm. Thorndale and Wm Dollarhide]
By 1820 the only Johnston household in Greenbrier County with slaves was that of William & George Johnston. The men were in one household with both names listed together on the census sheet. They were likely the two oldest of the younger sons of William Johnston (see post). Their mother Jane, the widow of William Johnston, appears to be in this household as well as her two youngest sons and another male. There were 5 slaves in the household: 2 males under 14, 1 male 45 and over, and 2 females under 14. Only the male 45 and older would have been living when the 1802 will was written.
On 7 August 1825 Jane Johnston made her last will and testament. She names her sons William and George Johnston with whom she was likely living in 1820, a daughter Polly Feamster, and son Andrew Johnston. She also names two slaves: Aggy and her daughter Nancy.
In the name of God amen I Jane Johnston of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia being of sound & disposing mind and memory but sick in body do make & ordain this my Last will and Testament. In the first place I will and bequeath to my son George and William Johnson (sic) my Negro Woman Aggy to them & their heirs forever. In the second place I bequeath to my daughter Polly the wife of Johan Feamster and to Andrew Johnston my son my Negro Girl Nancydaughter of said Aggyto them & their heirs forever. I do hereby appoint my sons George and William Johnston Executors of this my Last will and Testament & do hereby revoke any and Every former will heretofore made by me In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 7th day of August Eighteen Hundred & Twenty five. Jane X (her mark) Johnson *Seal* Signed Sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us Ballard Smith Polly Smith Greenbrier County Court October Term 1825 This paper purporting to be the Last will and Testament of Jane Johnston decd. was presented in Court & proved by the oath of Ballard Smith and Polly Smith the subscribing Witnesses thereto to have been duly Executed & acknowledged by the within decedent and the same is ordered to be recorded. Teste Lewis Stuart CGC (Clerk Greenbrier County)
Was Aggy one of the two females under 14 years old in the 1820 census listing for Jane’s sons George and William? Was her daughter Nancy born between 1820-1825? Or were they older and living in a different household?
Did any of the Johnston siblings mentioned in Jane Johnston’s will also leave wills or other documents which can be used to trace Aggy and Nancy?
The last set of fourth great-grandparents who lived in what is now Germany were Mathias KERSCHT and Anna EWEN. Mathias’ surname was spelled differently in several family books (Familienbücher=FB). As KIRSTEN in the FB Meckel; KIRST, KIERSCH, and KIERSTEN in the FB Messerich; and as KERSCH and KIRSCH in the FB Mettendorf. For Anna’s maiden name EWEN, no variations were found.
Mathias KERSCHT, the son of Peter KERSCHT and Eva SCHMIDS, was born on 28 March 1759 in Meckel, Eifel, Rheinland, Germany, and baptized the same day. His godparents were Matthias BERENS and Anna Maria SCHUL, both of Meckel. His godfather was likely a brother or relative of his mother Eva. Matthias BERENS went by his wife’s maiden name and was known as Matthias SCHMITZ before his marriage. Mathias KERSCHT had only one known sister Luzia who was two years older. It is not known if she married and had descendants.
Mathias married Anna EWEN, daughter of Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THEILEN, on 26 November 1785 in Messerich. Anna was born on 6 June 1766 in Messerich. She was the fourth of ten children.
Mathias worked as a sheepherder (Schäfer) in Messerich until about 1795 and then moved to Mettendorf where he continued to work in the same occupation.
Mathias and Anna had the following children.
1. Margaretha was born on 9 September 1786 in Messerich. She was baptized the same day. Her godparents were Peter KIRST of Meckel and Margaretha BAUER of Messerich. Was the godfather also the child’s grandfather? The FB Meckel in which Mathias’ father was found as Peter KIRSTEN does not include a date of death.
2. Anna was born on 4 October 1788 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. Her godfather was Theodore EWEN, single, from Messerich, likely her maternal uncle who was 27 years old at the time. Her godmother was likely her paternal grandmother Eva. The entry in the FB Messerich shows Evan KIERSTEN of Meckel. The godmother’s first name may be a typo in the book and the child was not given the name Eva or Evan but Anna. She married Heinrich LUDEWIG on 23 January 1809 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of eleven children. Anna died on 8 January 1843 in Mettendorf.
3. An unnamed child was born on 19 December 1790 in Messerich and died the same day.
4. Catharina was born on 14 December 1791 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. Her godparents were Jakob WEILER, a sheepherder (Schäfer) and Katharina LOCH of Spangdahlem. Catharina married Joannes Friedericus LOCHEMES on 19 September 1811 in Mettendorf. Joannes Friedericus was born about 1784 in Dahlem. From the time of their second child’s birth, her husband was given as Theodore LOCHEMES on all births thereafter. They were the parents of seven children. Catharina died on 9 December 1851 in Mettendorf. Her husband died on 16 January 1864 in Mettendorf.
5. Matthias was born on 19 April 1794 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Mathias SCHMITZ, a pigherder (Sauhirt) of KIRCHWEILER and Luzia BICHELER of Messerich. Matthias married Angela ACHEN on 21 January 1818 in Mettendorf. Angela was born on 11 December 1793 in Mettendorf. She died on 21 December 1870 in Mettendorf and Matthias died on 16 November 1876 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young. Their three youngest children went to America in the 1850s and settled in Wright County, Minnesota. Two were sons and their descendants spelled the surname KIRSCHT.
6. Anna Maria, my third great-grandmother, was born between 1795-1798 in Mettendorf. She is not included in the FB Messerich listing for her parents which suggests she must have been born after her brother Mathias. His birth in Messerich and her birth in Mettendorf places the relocation of the family from Messerich to Mettendorf during this time period. Anna Maria married Johann WAGNER, son of Matthias WAGNER and Maria Katharina HARTERT, on 22 February 1830 in Mettendorf. Johann, my third great-grandfather, was born on 19 June 1804 in Fließem and was baptized the same day. Johann worked as a shepherd. He died on 15 June 1858 in Mettendorf and was buried two days later. Anna Maria died on 21 July 1876 in Mettendorf.
7. Christoph was born on 19 June 1799 in Mettendorf. He married Elisabetha MERTES on 23 February 1824 in Sülm, also in the Eifel. Elisabetha was born in 1804 in Röhl. Christoph died on 30 September 1871 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young.
8. Anna Catharina was born about 1806 in Mettendorf. She died2 on 22 May 1824 in Mettendorf at the age of about 18 years and was buried the following day.
9. Heinrich was born on 8 August 1809 in Mettendorf and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Heinrich LUDEWIG, a sheepherder (Schäfer) of Mettendorf, and Margaretha ROCK, a servant (Magd) of Hisel. The godfather was his brother-in-law, newlywed husband of his second oldest sister Anna. He died 10 days later on 18 August 1809 in Mettendorf and was buried the following day.
10. Johann was born on 18 February 1811 in Mettendorf and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Johann WEYERS and Margaretha THEISEN, both of Mettendorf. Johann married Elisabeth ROTH on 7 January 1841 in Nusbaum. The family lived in Sinspelt, part of the Mettendorf parish. They were the parents of two known children, one of which died young. No entry for his death was given in the FB Mettendorf which may mean he died after 1899.
The mother of these children, Anna EWEN died on 15 November 1828 in Mettendorf and was buried on the same day. Her widower Mathias KERSCHT died on 9 February 1841 in Mettendorf. He was buried on 11 February 1841 in Mettendorf.
As mentioned at the beginning, this is the last of my fourth great-grandparents who lived in the Eifel area of Germany. Next up will be the eight sets of fourth great-grandparents who lived in Rodange, Wiltz, Vianden, Echternach, Mamer, Capellen, and Strassen in Luxembourg. With only five weeks to the end of the year, it looks like I may not be able to get them done on schedule.
Sources:  Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Meckel Dekanat Bitburg 1632-1900, (including Meckel, Eßlingen, Hof Badenborn, Kaschenbach) (1992).  Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Messerich Dekanat Bitburg 1720-1900 (1992).  Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Mettendorf Dekanat Neuerburg, Band 1 A-M Band 2 N-Z, (including Mettendorf, Bierendorf, Burg, Halsdorf, Hisel, Lahr, Hüttingen, Nasingen, Niederraden, Niehl, Ober- und Niedergeckler, Sinspelt) (1992).
There’s no need to wait until you find an ancestor who was a slaveholder to be part of the Slave Name Roll Project.
A distant cousin and descendant of our Johnson common ancestor wondered if the will entered into the Greenbrier County, West Virginia, Will Book 1 in 1803 for one William Johnston was for our 5th great-grandfather. Since our ancestor William Johnson died in 1805 in Nicholas County, I quickly replied it was most likely not the same person.
To be sure I looked up the Last Will and Testament and the Appraisement in the Greenbrier Will Book. The name of the wife of the deceased did not match our ancestor’s wife’s name nor did the children named. However, since the documents included the names of several slaves, I saved the link to share in this post.
Wm Johnston’s Last Will
In the Name of God Amen ~ I William Johnston of Greenbrier County and State of Virginia, being at present in a doubtfull State of health, and well aware of my Mortallity, and the uncertainty of Life, Doin (sic) Duty to my Family and such Creditors as has pleased to indulge me in just Debts, Make ordain and Declare this Instrument of willing to be my last Will and Testatment revolking all other by me before made. 1st Item. To my well beloved wife Jane I give and bequeath the plantation whereon I now live during her natural Life time, on the condition that the profits and Encoluments from the same shall be applied as well to her own use as to the use of my Children; as long as they or such of them as shall continue to live with her, in such manner as she may deem most equitable and necessary to their respective Circumstances, and Conditions; and I also leave to her in the same manner and for the same purpose aforesaid my three Negroes, To wit, Litt, Giles, & Eby. But if my said wife sould (sic) die before the said Negroes, or any of them, then the said Negroes or the Survivors of them shall be sold by my Executors and the money arising from such Sale to be divided between my four oldest Children. To wit James, Polly, Samuel, and Sally. 2d Item. To my son James I bequeath my little negroe Boy Sampson, which I have heretofore disposed of to him in consignance of much Services rendered by him to me this small recompense I hope will be accepted by him as the only reward in my ___fore his many Services. I also bequeath to him the Bay horse now his riding Horse and a sorrel mare which is at present in the possession of my Brother Silas in Kentucky. 3d Item. To my Daughter Polly I Bequeath my little negroe Girl named Bridgett and her bay riding Mare known now to be her claim, and the Panteloon Philly which came of the said mare, & three Cows the Choice of my Stock. 4th Item. To my son Samuel I bequeath a young black horse and dark bay Mare both rising four years old and of the blood of the stud Horse kept by Joseph McNut. Also a sorrel horse of the Bachelor bread now four year old. 5th Item. To my Daughter Sally I bequeath my little negro child named Levill, also a Mare and Colt now at my Brother James Johnstons, and the same that was the claim of my Daughter Rebecka Deceased. 6th Item. To my four youngest sons, to wit, William, George, John & Andrew I bequeath my plantation whereon I now live, after the Decease of their Mother allowing the same to be sold and the money divided equally between them and the Title to be conveyed by my Executors to the purchaseor, or by their legal representatives in case of their Decease. But if my wife should die before my youngest son Andrew should arrive to full age of twenty one years the sale of the said Land to be suspended until he shall be of full age, or the youngest survivor of them shall be of such age, and not before. But the rents and profits of the said place shall be applied while such period as is heretofore directed in the 1st Item in this INstrument. Item 7th. All my household and Kitchen Furniture with plantation Utensils to remain in the use and possession of my wife with my waggon and gears and necessary working Horses such as are no occupied in Labouring the plantation, all which are to be kept by my wife for the use of the plantation and disposed of at her Discression for her use and the use of the Children. 8th Item. To my son William I bequeath a young last spring’s Colt that came of the mare heretofore bequeathed to my son Samuel in the fourth Item of this Instrument. 9th Item. All the rest of my Stock of Horses and Cattle of every kind to be kept on my plantation to be sold annually by my Executors as they may become felt for market, and applied by my said Executors to the use of my
Family in as equal and Just a manner to each of them as they __ convocunity(?) do, so to the discharge of my Just debts. 10th Item. All my Land lying on Anthony’s Creek in this County, and such lands as I hold in partnership with Patrick Boyd in Monroe County or any other Lands whereof I am now possed and not here before mentioned to be sold by my Executors or their legal representatives and the money arising with all Debts due to me by Bond Bill or open accounts to be applied to the discharged of my Just Debts and the overplus if any to be divided equally amongst my four oldest Children or otherwise to Educate my my (sic) son John as in the Judgement of my said Executors shall be thought best. But if applied to the Education of John the same to be reimbursed by him out of his part of the Land Bequeathed in the 6th Item of this Instrument. 11th Item. My panteloon Stud Horse to be sold and the money applied as in the 10th Item next above. And this I do declare to be my last will and for the Due Execution of the same I do hereby appoint my trusty and well blessed Friend Majr. William Renick and my son James Johnston Executors hoping & trusting that all things done by them will oblige the rec___ and reward of the JUst. In Testimoney whereof I have hereonto set my Seal and Subscribed my name this 25th day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight Hundred and two. Wm Johnston *Seal* Signed Sealed & acknowledged in the presence of us Jame Davis Charles Arbuckle James Withrow
At a Court held for Green (sic, Greenbrier) County the 25th day of January 1803 This last will and Testament of William Johnston Deceasd was presented in County & proven by the Oaths of Charles Arbuckle and James Withrow, who also made oath that they seen James Davis the other Witness sign the same in their presence & William Renick and James Johnston the Executors named in the said Will made oath according to Law and thereupon entered into Bond with Joseph Mathews and Christopher Vanhab their Securities in the penal sum of 4000 Dollars with condition as the Law directs. Teste John Stuart C.G.C.
The Appraisement of the Estate of the late William Johnston deceased was returned into Court and ordered to be recorded at the Greenbrier June Court 1803. Included in the appraisement were Giles, Litt, Hebe, Sampson, Briget, and Lewisa. The names appear to be the same as those seen in the will except that Ebe is seen here as Hebe and the child named Levill may be Lewisa. Since the will was written by the slaveholder I have used his version of the names for the time of this post.
Following the death of William Johnston, the next census was the 1810. From Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by Wm. Thorndale and Wm Dollarhide, the 1810 censuses for Cabell, Greenbrier, Hardy and Tazewell counties were “lost”–no details as to how.
By 1817 son Samuel had died and left a will naming his sister Mary (seen as Polly in the 1803 will of father) and his brother William. Samuel, who had not received an enslaved person from his father, mentioned only leaving his real and personal property to his sister.
By 1820 the only Johnston household in Greenbrier County with slaves was that of William & George Johnston who were in one household with both names. They were likely the two oldest of the younger sons of William Johnston who died in 1803. Their mother appears to be in this household as well as the two youngest sons and another male. There are 5 slaves in the household.
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Greenbrier County, Virginia
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 18: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 3
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 45 and over: 1
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 2
Total Slaves: 5
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12
Could Giles, Litt, and Eby be three of the five slaves in the household? When did William Johnston’s widow die? Did she leave a will?
Last year my brother had his DNA tested and turned the results over to me. As I write these last articles on my maternal 4th great-grandparents, I will be checking his matches to see if any hold the key to open a door in a brick wall on this side of the family tree. These brick walls being mostly descendants of my maternal ancestors who have not been traced mainly due to emigration.
I have been waiting impatiently to write about this couple, Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER. This is what I know about their lives and where I found information which has not all been documented.
Where the Information Was Found
Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER of Ernzen, Germany, were my 4th great-grandparents. The bits and pieces I have for them come mostly from Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 – such a long title for the family book of the town of Ernzen and environs. I call it simply FB Ernzen.
Church records are available online at FamilySearch for Ernzen up to 1797 as it was then part of the parish of Echternach in Luxembourg. Civil records for births from about 1798 to 1907, marriages from 1798 to 1937, and deaths from 1798 to 1987 are not online. Although a short 20 minutes drive from where I live, the Kreisarchiv in Bitburg, Germany, houses these records. Tentative plans are being made to visit the archives with my genealogy society Luxracines next spring.
From WILTINGER to WILDINGER
Wilhelm WILTINGER was born about 1770 in Ettelbrück, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG of Ettelbrück. These two “facts” were likely taken from his 1849 death record. As he died in Ernzen, this record will have to be obtained from the archives in Bitburg. I am hoping the person who took the information off of the death record may have made an error in noting both parents were from Ettelbrück.
I have tried to shed more light on Wilhelm’s parents. I am inclined to think Margaretha DIESBURG was not originally from Ettelbrück. My guess is she is from the DIESBURG line which originated on Diesburgerhof near Ferschweiler, the next village over from Ernzen. I found a child with the same name born in 1744 who would be a perfect match. Her family group is recorded in the FB Ferschweiler and I found her in the 1766 census living with one of her married sisters. She was not yet married. This leaves me with a four year period from 1766-1770 when Michel and Margaretha could have met and married. But where? Marriages in Luxembourg have been indexed for the time period and I have tried all variations of the names without locating a marriage. It has crossed my mind that a different surname may have been used by the groom, i.e. a house name.
As for Wilhelm’s father I have searched all available GEDCOM files online to find persons with the WILDINGER name – the spelling which has been used in my family from 1798 to present. It is my mother’s maiden name. The only hits I get on the Luxracines website (members only access to GEDCOMs) are my own file. I am beginning to suspect that while my ancestor’s name may have been WILTINGER and changed to WILDINGER, the original surname may have evolved to the more common and widespread WILDANGER. Most were found in the Girst and Dickweiler area and spread out to Echternach. These are all in Luxembourg.
For now Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG, the parents of Wilhelm WILTINGER will remain a brick wall. A more time consuming one-name study of the WILDANGER individuals in Luxembourg and the nearby German area may the only way to solve this brick wall. Or could DNA also be part of the solution.
The WELTER line
Margaretha WELTER was the daughter of Michael WELTER and Katharina KLEIN. Michael and Katharina married in Ernzen on 22 November 1764.
They had not yet had any children when the 1766 census was taken. Their names were spelled Michel and Catherine and they were living in a KLEIN household.
Their first child was born the year the census was enumerated, followed by a set of twins in 1768, a son in 1770, another set of twins in 1773, and finally their youngest in 1777. Both sets of twins were a boy and a girl.
Margaretha was their youngest, born and baptized on 18 April 1777 in Ernzen (present-day Germany). Her godparents were Margaretha KLEIN and Nicolaus HUSS, both of Ernzen.
A Marriage Before 1798?
Margaretha married Wilhelm WILTINGER before 1798. The marriage is estimated from the time their first known child was born. No marriage record has been found. Church and civil records were checked in Ettelbrück and Echternach to no avail.
Wilhelm and Margaretha had the following children, all born in Ernzen:
Nicolas born on 29 September 1798.
Elisabeth born on 21 August 1805.
Franciscus “Franz” born on 6 Aug 1810. He died on 8 December 1812 in Ernzen.
Bernardus born on 12 May 1813.
The only daughter Elisabeth married Dominik WEBER (1803-1840), son of Johann WEBER and Katharina PETRI of Hoesdorf, on 13 December 1831 in Ernzen. Hoesdorf (Luxembourgish: Héischdref) is a village in the commune of Reisdorf, in eastern Luxembourg.
Margaretha WELTER, the mother of Nicolas, Elisabeth, and Bernard, died on 8 January 1833 in Ernzen. Her oldest son Nicolas was 35 years old and still single. Her youngest son Bernard was going on 20. Her daughter Elizabeth had been married a little more than a year.
On 12 October 1833, nine months after the death of her mother, Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, a daughter Maria. She chose her brother Nicolas to be the godfather. Maria THEIS of Hoesdorf was the godmother.
My third great-grandparents, Nicolas WILDINGER and Catherine SCHRAMEN married on 18 January 1834 in Ferschweiler. Catherine was the daughter of Michael SCHRAMEN and Elizabeth SCHMITT. She was born on 23 October 1812 in Ferschweiler and was baptized the next day. Their story can be found here: 52 Ancestors: #42 The WILDINGER-SCHRAMEN Family of Ferschweiler .
Elisabeth’s husband Dominik WEBER died on 9 May 1840 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He left Elisabeth with four children.
Wilhelm WILTINGER, likely now using the WILDINGER spelling, died on 28 September 1849 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.
Where Are the Children?
Wilhelm’s death came at a time when many were thinking about moving across the newly established border to Luxembourg or even further abroad, to America. Elisabeth’s brother-in-law Theodor JARDIN went to America with all of his living children after the death of his wife Katharina WELTER, sister of Dominik, in 1855. Elisabeth and her brother Bernard had been close to the JARDIN family, both being godparents to JARDIN children.
Elisabeth WILDINGER was 53 years old and had been widowed seventeen years when she obtained an Auswanderungsgenehmigung (emigration approval) on 9 October 1857 for herself and her two children, Mathias, born on 10 November 1840, and Maria, born on 12 October 1833. The petition was admitted to the hearing without a stamp due to poverty. Elisabeth made her mark on the petition.
There is no mention of where the family immigrated to or of the other two children, Anna Katharina born 1835 or Theodor born in 1838. However….
Richard Schaffner was not the first to compile a family book for the parish of Ernzen. A copy of Familienbuch Ernzen 1 (1823-1900) is in the parish of Ernzen according to Schaffner. He does not mention the compiler’s name. In the entry for Elisabeth WILDINGER in Schaffner’s version, he notes on page 45 of the first book the following information was found: “Die Witwe Elis. Weber zog im Jahr 1857 mit ihren 4 Kindern und ihrem Bruder Bernard Wildinger nach Nordamerika.” The widow Elisabeth WEBER moved in the year 1857 with her four children and her brother Bernard Wildinger to North America.
Early on I searched for Elisabeth and her brother Bernard WILDINGER in the USA but never found either of them or her WEBER children. Perhaps they went to Canada or Mexico. Not having experience with these countries I left this research problem for another day.
My third great-grandparents Catherine SCHRAMEN and Nicolas WILDINGER had five children born between 1835 and 1852. Catherine died on 2 November 1869 in Ferschweiler and was buried on 4 November 1869. Four and a half years later Nicolas, the only child of Wilhem WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER to remain in Germany, died on 3 June 1874 in Ferschweiler. They left three living children, two of whom have been traced. All that was known of their youngest son Peter is that he fled from military service – “militärflüchtig laut Anzeiger z. Amtsbl. Trier 1873, Seite 243.”
Let’s Talk About DNA
As mentioned earlier I now manage my brother’s DNA. As our mother is from Luxembourg (and all of her ancestry is centered in this tiny area) the DNA we share with her is either not getting many matches or is difficult to find within the thousands of matches showing on AncestryDNA.
There are several ways to sort matches on AncestryDNA. The most obvious (easiest) are those who have matching ancestors in their trees followed by matching surnames. Many users have private trees. When you search for a surname, matches with private trees will turn up in the list but you cannot access to the information and therefore do not know who their ancestor is with the surname.
Even today searching for the WILDINGER surname on AncestryDNA turns up zero hits. Checking the box to Include similar surnames is not helpful as it turns up too many matches. I tried the known spellings and still had no results.
Then in April 2017, a match was found which looked promising.
This predicted 4th cousin match showed PETERS as a shared surname. My Peters line is not a German line. There were no Shared matches with this person. Shared matches are only listed up to 4th cousins.
Clicking on Location I found he had a WEBER ancestor from Ernzen. This is not one of my ancestral surnames and at the time I was not expecting a match to a family on our maternal side. Taking a closer look at the attached tree I realized the connection could be WELDINGER on his tree. A spelling I had not tried.
Predicted 4th cousin is a 4C1R
The year of birth for the daughter of the WEBER-WELDINGER couple in the pedigree chart above is 1818. My 3rd great-grand aunt Elisabeth WILDINGER was born in 1805 and would have been only 13 when this child was born. Even with this error, it looked promising as the husband’s name matched that of Elisabeth’s husband and the location fit.
I got to do US research – checking census, BMD, etc. – and found Elisabeth WILDINGER had emigrated to America before 1860. She was living in Berwick in Seneca County, Ohio, with her married daughter Catherine in 1860. She was listed with the surname WEAVER. Her daughter was only 24, born abt. 1835, and a good match for the child seen in the pedigree chart above with year of birth being 1818. Although she was still living, I have not found Elisabeth in the 1870 or 1880 census. She died on 10 March 1891 in Big Spring, Seneca County, Ohio, at the age of 86 years.
Two of her children were also found. Catherine, who was the ancestor of the match with my brother, and her younger brother Mathias. I have not found the older daughter Maria or the son Theodor nor have I found the immigration records. I entered this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor into the tree I have attached to my brother’s DNA.
This was done only after confirming this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor. The tree has only the direct ancestors – no siblings, children, etc. I am considering the pros and cons of adding each confirmed match’s line back to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor). This tree includes sources but I have not attached records from Ancestry. I don’t usually work with it and have not considered the hints (shaky leaves) that are showing up.
2nd Great-Grand Uncle Discovered
However while entering this match’s line, I took the time to check the hints for Ancestry Member Trees. I was surprised to find Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER’s grandson Peter WILDINGER through their son Nicolas (my third great-grandfather) in four trees. All four had my Nicolas as the earliest known ancestor. No mention of Wilhelm and Margaretha. One member tree has for Peter: “Killed in WWI Action on the German Lines” in 1873. That is not what I would call a reliable statement.
The other three member trees are for a Peter WELDINGER who married in Illinois, had children there, and later moved to Iowa. The 1900, 1910, and 1920 census show he came to America in 1870 and was naturalized in 1880 (U.S. Naturalization Record confirms 30 October 1880). If this Peter WELDINGER is my second great-granduncle (there is presently no match or the owner/descendant has not done a test) then he must have fled from military service by emigrating to America.
Another DNA discovery was made as several new matches showed up when I did a new search for the locations Ernzen and Ferschweiler while writing this. I will have to work through these first but it looks promising as one of them may be the key to unlock the door in the DIESBURG brick wall.
Sources:  Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.  Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Sancta Lucia Ferschweiler mit: Diesburgerhof (ab 1803) und L(a)eisenhof (ab1830) 1680-1899, PDF (Kordel, 1999), p. 43-44, Family #193. Diesburg-Schmitt.  Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Feischveiler (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 250 of 753. Household Nr. 13, Mathias Petri. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DK-Y?i=249&cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).  Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 145 of 293. 1764 Marriage Record, right page, 1st entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32399-12418-50?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).  Luxembourg 1766 Census, Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Erntzen (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 245 of 753. Household Nr. 7, Jean Klein (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DL-W?cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).  FB Ernzen, p. 240, Family #846. Welter-Klein.  Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 83 of 131. 1777 Baptismal Record, left page, 7th entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32399-12819-27?cc=2037955 : accessed 9 November 2016).  FB Ernzen, p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.  Ibid., p. 225, Family #800. Weber-Wildinger.  FB Ferschweiler, p. 349, Family #1625. Wildinger-Schramen.  Ibid., p. 295, Family #1378. Schramen-Schmitt.  FB Ernzen, p. 117-118, Family #380. Jardin-Welter.  Josef Mergen, Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Bitburg im 19.-Jahrhundert  “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6CM-WJX : accessed 5 October 2017), Elizabeth Weaver, 10 Mar 1891; citing Death, Big Spring, Seneca, Ohio, United States, source ID v 4 p 216, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 388,771.
I found a marriage that could match in Clemency, 28/08/1810, but I can’t access Family Search, it’s probably too busy. You could check yourself later.
I didn’t wait until later and was able to pull up the record she believed was the marriage of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER.
In 1810 on the 28th of August at 8 in the morning Pierre SCHMITT age 31 born in Bertrange the 3 April 1779, a domestic living in the commune of Fingig, the of age son of Pierre SCHMITT and Rose CLEMMENT, a married couple living in the commune of Bertrange…. and a young woman Anne Margaretha WEICKER age 25 born in Hagen the 7 September 1785, a servant living in the same commune of Fingig, the of age daughter of Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margaretha HARTMANN, a married couple living in the commune of Hagen… all were present and consenting to the marriage for which banns had been read before the entrance of the Clemency civil office.
The paperwork of the bride and groom was presented according to the legal requirements of the time. The bride and groom were declared husband and wife after affirming this was their choice. Four witnesses were present and signed along with the civil officer, the mayor of Clemency. The bride and groom declared not being able to write. The fathers of the bride and groom signed first as seen above.
Five and a half months later, Peter and Margaretha became the parents of their first child Magdalena, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.
One Record Leads to the Next
The marriage record led to the 1785 baptismal record of Anna WEICKERS [sic, Margaretha was not included on this record], daughter of Nicolai WEICKERS and Anna Margaretha HARTMAN. Why didn’t I notice abt. 1795 could not have been her year of birth? She would have been only 16 when her first child was born.
With the names of the parents, I was able to add three generations to the WEICKER line. I had suspected Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margarethe HARTMANN were the bride’s parents because….
The godmother of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER’s first child Magdalena was Magdalena KÜNSCH from Hohen (or Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Anna Margaretha HARTMANN was the widow of Peter KÜNSCH when she married Nicolas WEICKER. Was Magdalena KÜNSCH an older half-sister of Margaretha WEICKER? Further research may tell.
With the names of three new couples in the family tree, I will be busy finding the records to document them and may even be able to add more ancestral names.
Special thanks to my friend Linda for taking the time to read my posts, give me advice, and for telling me where to find the marriage record of Peter SCHMIT and Anne Margaretha WEICKER. *Linda has helped me out several times already. A Latin Rule You May Not Have Known was the result of one of her tips.
Happy Family History Month to all. Wishing you lots of keys to open the doors in your brick walls.
Sources:  Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Clemency > Naissances, mariages, décès 1804-1805 Naissances 1805-1890 Mariages 1796-1885 > image 1034 of 1491. 1810 Marriage Record (bottom left, top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XHPS-511?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-SP8%3A129628001%2C129815201 : accessed 30 September 2017).  Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse de Sterpenich (Luxembourg) now part of Autelbas, Luxembourg, Belgium > Baptêmes, mariages, sepultures 1779-1793 > Film/DGS 1658890 > Film # 008126375 > Item 8 > image 1106 of 1430. 1785 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry > right page, first entry). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVK-Y8VF-9?i=1105&cat=203740 : accessed 1 October 2017).
Today, I’m especially pleased to bring to you a guest article written by Susan Speers. She reached out to me by sending a message to my Facebook page Opening Doors in Brick Walls. She’d found the image of the last will and testament of an ancestor in Georgia which included names of slaves and thought I would be interested in using it. I doubt I could bring across the connectivity I feel when writing about the names I find in West Virginia and Virginia as I have no experience researching families in Georgia. I believe the post will be much more powerful coming from a descendant of the slaveholder. Susan was a bit “blown away” when I asked her to be my first guest writer. After taking a day to consider, she came back thanking me “for offering the space and platform.”
Take it away, Susan…..
The Slaves of John Nicholson, Scriven County, Georgia, 1817
In searching for my maternal ancestors on Ancestry.com, I came across the last will and testament of John Nicholson, Jr. (born about 1768, South Carolina – died after 12 March 1817) of Screven County, Georgia. Nicholson’s will lists the names of nine enslaved people which may be of interest to anyone looking for enslaved ancestors in this part of Georgia.
Screven County (formerly called “Scriven” County) is on the Savannah River; the first county seat was Jacksonboro but it was moved to Sylvania in about 1847. German immigrants who arrived on the coast in the 1740s pushed inland to establish farms along the Savannah River in the second half of the 18th Century. Nicholson’s family was originally from Scotland.
From his will and a later deed, it appears that John Nicholson and his heirs were working several hundred acres in Scriven County, but I am not yet sure where his home farm was located. According to Wikipedia and local sources, cotton was the main crop by the turn of the century. For those searching for their ancestors in this part of Georgia, there are apparently additional wills on record in the Screven County Courthouse which may be helpful to search.
I have attempted to transcribe the will to make reading easier.
Will of John Nicholson
In the name of God, Amen. I, John Nicholson, of the state of Georgia & County of Scriven, Planter, being very sick & weak in body but of perfect mind & memory thanks be given unto God, calling into mind the mortality of my body & knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last will & Testament; That is to say principally & first of all, I Give & recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it & my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian Burial at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Almighty power of God; and as touching such worldly state wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner & form. First I give & bequeath to Elizabeth my dearly beloved wife during her natural life_ the following property namely one hundred acres more or less lying & being in the state & County aforesaid, bounded by Sarah Nicholson’s land on the south & Thomas Nicholson’s land on the north_ Also five negroes namely Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia & Nan, to have & to hold the said property during her natural life, at the expiration of which the aforesaid property shall be equally divided betwixt my three beloved children, Sarah, Thomas & Mary for their individual & particular use severally forever__ I also order & ordain that the present negroes which are deeded off say York, Tom, Jack & Jenny do remain in the present situation they are now in until the Debts are paid off__
I also demise & bequeath unto my daughter in law Margaret Streigle one hundred Dollars__ Also to her daughter Mary Streigle fifty_Dollars_ I also bequeath unto Sarah Streigle daughter to Martha Herrington fifty dollars _ Also to my Grandson John Sewall [Sowell] fifty dollars___ I Do hereby utterly disallow revoke & disannul all & every other former Testaments, Wills, Legacies, bequests & so forth, by me in any wise before named willed & bequeathed, ratifying & confirming this & no other to be my last will & testament, In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & Seventeen__ Signed, Sealed published pronounced & declared by the said John Nicholson as his last will & testament in the presence of us – who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed our names. __
Nicholas Streigle Joby Herrington John his mark Nicholson Georgia Scriven County Personally appeared in open Court Nicholas Streigle, who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth & saith that he was present & saw John Nicholson Dec.d acknowledge & make his mark to the within written will & T. [the] deponent further saith that he saw Job Herrington together with himself subscribe the same as witness thereto Sworn to in open Court of 7th July 1817. Nicholas Streigle.
Seaborn Goodall Cl’k, Recorded this 8th day of July 1817 by me S. Goodall, CCOSC
[Transcribed by Susan Speers]
Nicholson named five men and women who would remain with his widow Elizabeth Streigle (originally Streagle) Nicholson after his death and four others who were working out in 1817 but may have been sold as soon as his debts were paid.
The people listed to remain with Elizabeth Nicholson were: “Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia and Nan.” Nicholson stated that after his widow passed, these people were to be included in the division of the rest of his estate and divided among his three children: Thomas Nicholson, Sarah Nicholson, and Mary Nicholson, who later married James Gamble.
The people who were deeded out at the time Nicholson wrote his will in March of 1817 were: “York, Tom, Jack & Jenny.” It is not clear where they were working out or what would have happened to these people when Nicholson’s debts were paid.
In the 1830 U.S. Federal Census, Thomas Nicholson appears in “District 37” Scriven County with a total of 7 enslaved people and 11 free colored people. The ages range from children under 10 to adults. Other property owners on the same page include John Meades, who did not own slaves; James Gamble (2 female slaves and 9 free colored); and Robert M. Williamson (21 enslaved boys and men; 11 enslaved girls and women.)
In 1836, John Nicholson’s heirs Sarah Nicholson and James Gamble, who had married Mary Nicholson about 1816 and thus owns the land she inherited, sold three parcels of land totaling 375 acres to Thomas Nicholson. The deed description includes the names of adjacent owners which may be helpful to note: Thomas Green, James Meades, Alexander Herrington and Richard Herrington, Sr. The Herringtons were related by marriage to the Nicholsons; public trees on Ancestry indicate that Martha Striggles/Streagle Nicholson, born in 1787, had married Richard Herrington, Sr. in 1807. I have found no record that Sarah Nicholson ever married and no record for her past 1840.
Sarah Nicholson had a total household of 25 people, including of whom 21 were slaves. At this time, Sarah’s age is reported to be between 20 and 30 years old.
Thomas Nicholson had a larger immediate family of 10 with 6 slaves.
Richard M. Herrington reported a family of 4 with one slave. Richard M. would die before the end of the year.
Martha Herrington, between 30 and 40 years old, had a household of 23 people, including 15 slaves. This Martha could be the daughter of Richard M. and Martha, born about 1806.
This one page of Scriven County lists 31 households with a total of 503 people on these 31 farms, of whom 310 were slaves. 61% of the area residents were enslaved, and 108 of those people were children under age 10, fully 21% of the overall population and 34% of the enslaved population.
I come into this tree because my mother was a descendant of Martha Gamble Carter, who I believe was a daughter of James Gamble and Mary Nicholson, although the records are not clear. I continue to research this line and would be interested in hearing from anyone in the Gamble, Carter, Streagle/Strigle or Nicholson families.
 Nicholson was a Revolutionary War soldier and his service is the basis for several membership applications to The Sons of the Revolution society.
 In 1840, in contrast to the 1830 census for members of the Nicholson family, there were no free blacks listed.
 The 1840 census form had different age brackets for white and slaves: white children were counted in columns for under 5, 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20 while enslaved children were counted as under 10, 10-24, on up. The census taker was asked to report how many individuals were actively working in agriculture or a trade. In Scriven County, anyone who worked worked in agriculture. These property owners did not report (or the taker did not enumerate) that the enslaved children were working in the fields.
Thank you, Susan, for releasing the names of Tom or McKinney, Larry, Ame, Silvia, Nan, York, Tom, Jack, and Jenny. If you are interested in getting in touch with Susan, please leave a comment for her below.
What do you do when you make one of those monumental discoveries about a genealogy collection you have been waiting and waiting and waiting to get access to?
Do you keep it a secret? Or do you shout it out for all to know?
This year I’ve been concentrating on the Luxembourg families in my family tree, specifically the fifth-great-grandparents of my children. Three more posts and I will finish their paternal side. Only half of their maternal side is Luxembourgish, or coming from villages on the other side of the border in Germany and France, and will hopefully be completed by the end of the year.
Most of these ancestors from this generation were living, or their parents were living, when Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in 1766 in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg. This included Luxembourg, along with Belgium, a part of the Netherlands.
The census of 1766 for Luxembourg has only been available through FamilySearch’s microfilm circulation service which as we all know is being discontinued.
Thursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. ~ FamilySearch blog
Amberly Beck who blogs at The Genealogy Girl has made several comments on my posts about the collections available online at FamilySearch.
FamilySearch is working at the fastest pace I have ever seen. I can’t keep up with the new records coming available that I am interested in. It’s a great time to be a genealogist! ~ thegenealogygirl
It’s a great time to be a genealogist!
On the FamilySearch blog, I learned that all microfilm which has been rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch.
While researching my upcoming post, I checked on the 1766 census availability and found a little camera icon next to the films for the Decanat of Mersch, Remich, Bitburg, and Stavelot.
In 2003, with a very slow internet modem, my husband’s 7th cousin Cyndi sent me the 1766 census listing I used for the featured image of this post. Now, fourteen years later, I was able to access the digital image online and download a much clearer copy of the over 250 years old document.
Click this link to see the list of films available online for the 1766 census of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg researchers, we have a new key to open the doors in our brick walls!
Amberly, thank you for telling me to check the FamilySearch catalog more often. It really paid off this time!
What? You aren’t checking the catalog at FamilySearch? Take a moment to read these articles:
About the time Nathaniel Landcraft died, his daughter Adaline, widow of John S. Roberts, married the Baptist minister Edwin W. Woodson. They made their home in Monroe County, (West) Virginia. In 1840 Woodson had two slaves in his household, a male and a female, both were 10 thru 23 years old. Could either of them be one of the slaves mentioned in the Landcraft appraisement?
In 1850 E W Woodson owned one female slave age 20. In 1860 Adaline Woodson owned one female slave age 30. Who was this female slave?
Edwin W. Woodson died on 14 May 1853 leaving a will and an appraisement which named the enslaved person, Evaline.
Last Will and Testament of Edwin W. Woodson of Monroe County, (West) Virginia
In the name of God Amen. I Edwin W. Woodson of the County of Monroe and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit Item 1st. I desire that after my death my representatives may sell all of my personal property that can be spared from the support of my family my library and Tobacco excepted, the latter of which is to remain in a partnership concern with N. H. Roberts and Andrew Campbell and myself for twelve months as per partnership agreement, at the expiration of which time, my interest in the Tobacco concern the amount of sale for my personal property and amt. from any debts due me is to be appropriated to my debts. Item 2d. Any deficit in the payment of my debts after the appropriation of the above funds as above named is to be made up out of my negro gril & her increase & my tract of Land on on (sic) which Nehemiah Bonham now lives, or either as my representatives may deem most expedient. Item 3d. In the event that the funds already named above & set apart for the payment of my debts should not be sufficient to pay the same, in that event I desire my home tract of land to be sold on a reasonable credit & the whole of my debts to be paid out of the same, & the residue if any remaining together with that arising or remaining from any other portion of my estate to be divided as follows, one third to my wife Adaline and the ballance equaly amongst my children. Item 4th. Any of my lands that may be left after the payment of my debts, I give to my wife Adaline until the youngest child has arrived at the age of twenty one years at which time it is to be equally divided amongst my children subject to the dower of my wife Adaline. Item 5th. In the event that my negro girl Evaline and her increase in part or whole should not be appropriated to the payment of my debts in that case, I give the same to my wife Adaline so long as she may live and at her death to be equally divided amongst my children. Item 6th. I desire that my Library shall not be sold, but equally apportioned between my children
the oldest to have choice of lots. Item 7th. I do hereby appoint my dearly beloved wife Adaline to be my Executrix and Grandison C. Landcraft my Executor of this my last will & testament. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the 12th day of May 1853. Edwin W. Woodson *seal* Teste Boswell Vass John Woodram N.H. Roberts At Monroe June Court 1853. The Last Will and Testament of Edwin W. Woodson decd was presented in Court by Grandison C. Landcraft one of the Executors therein named and was proved by the oaths of John Woodram and Nathaniel H. Roberts two of the subscribing witneses thereto and the same is ordered to be recorded and thereupon the said Landcraft together with Rufus Pack, Robert L. Shanklin, Mathew Campbell and Nathaniel H. Roberts his securities entered into & acknowledged his bond in the penalty of $5000 with condition according to the law, probate of the said will in due form is granted him, reserving the liverty to Mrs. Woodson the Executrix named in said will to join in the probate hereafter if she choose. A Copy Teste Geo W. Hutchinson CMC (Clerk, Monroe County)
Appraisement of the Estate of Edwin W. Woodson
In Obedience to an order made at the June term to us directed John Vass, Boswell Vass and Nathaniel H. Roberts who were appointed to appraise the personal Estate of Edwin W. Woodson decd do now proceed as follows after being duly sworn
1 Negro Girl named Evaline $ 600.00 1 White Mare 50.00 1 Brown Horse 65.00 1 Grey Yearling Colt 45.00 1 Iron Gray Mare 85.00 1 Black Cow 12.00 1 Spotted Do. 12.00 1 Mewly Heifer 10.00 1 White face Do. 10.00 1 Speckled Cow 15.00 (subtotal 904.00) 20 head of Sheep at $1 20.00 2 Calves at $4 8.00 15 Hogs at $2 30.00 5 shrats at $1 5.00 1 wheat Fan 22.00 1 Scythe & Cradle 1.50 1 mowing sythe & snaith 0.75 2 Sets Plow Gears at $1.37 1/2 2.75 1 two Horse Wagon & 3 Bodys 65.00 (subtotal 155.00) 2 Single Trees & 1 Double do 1.00 1 Sog chain 1.50 1 Big Plow 5.00 1 shovel Plow, clevis do. 1.25 1 Bull Tounge Do. 0.75 1 Coalter Plow & Clevis 1.25 1 Plow shovel 0.37 1 Choping Axe 1.25 1 mattock 2.75 1 Iron Tooth Harrow 3.00 (subtotal 18.12) $1077.12 Amount brot. over $1,077.12 2 Hilling Hoes 1.50 1 Weeding do 0.25 1 Bee stand 1.50 1 Brass Clock 4.00 5 feather Beds & Bedding 50.00 2 New Bed steads at $5.00 Ea. 10.00 2 old do at $2.00 Ea 4.00 2 old do at $1.00 Ea 2.00 1 shot gun 2.50 (subtotal 75.75) 1 Jack Reel 0.75 1 Flax spinning wheel 3.00
1 big wheel 1.50 1 man’s saddle & 2 riding bridles 12.00 1 Cupboard & contents 16.00 1 Beauro & Book Case 8.00 1 small table with drawer 1.00 1 Cooking glass 0.50 (subtotal 42.75) 1 Dining Table 2.50 10 Chairs 5.00 1 pr. small steelyears 0.34 1 old Hand saw 0.25 1 drawing Knife 0.25 2 Iron Wedges 0.50 Kitchen furniture including Pots, Ovens, Skillets Kettles, Buckets, Pans & & & 5.00 (subtotal 13.84) July 29th 1853 $1,209.46 Boswell Vass John Vass N.H. Roberts Boswell Vass, John Vass, N. H. Roberts appeared before me and was duly sworn by me a justice of the peace for said County. Given under my hand. Joseph Ellis J.O. At Monroe County Court Octo. Tm. 1853 An appraisment of the Estate of E. W. Woodson decd was returned & ordered to be recorded A Copy Teste Geo W. Hutchinson CMC
I do not normally go to Ancestry to check on wills etc. for West Virginia as they are on FamilySearch. In this case I discoved fiduciary records for the estate of Edwin W. Woodson which included 200 images in the West Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1724-1985 database.
I only skimmed through the images until I found this record which shows Evaline was included in the personal property which went to the widow Adaline B. Woodson.
Received from G. C. Landcraft Exr. of E. W. Woodson decd., as of the 29th day of July 1853, nine hundred and forty one dollars & 46 cents, in personal property belonging to the estate of said E. W. Woodson decd. at its appreaised value. The above includes one negro girl named Evaline, appraised at $600.00. Given under my hand this 25 day of April 1873 A.B. Woodson Widow of E. W. Woodson decd.
Evaline was most likely the young girl Evoline mentioned in Landcraft’s appraisement in 1835. By 1870 she would have been about 40 years old (1850 age 20 and 1860 age 30 as seen in the slave schedules). I was not able to locate her in the 1870 census but hope that by releasing her name a descendant may recognize her, make the connection, and leave a comment.