The Ancestors: Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife (392 & 393)

Once you’ve worked your way back to ancestors who lived in America in the late 18th and early 19th century, it becomes more difficult to gather the records to tell their stories. This is the case with most of my paternal 5th great-grandparents.

Difficult does not mean impossible.

Bailey and Nancy WOOD are a set of these 5th great-grandparents. They lived in the counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, and Nicholas in western Virginia (present-day West Virginia) as early as 1781 and as late as 1826. Neither were ever listed by name on a census. Neither left a known marriage record. Neither left a birth or death record.

They were likely born about 1750 in unknown parts. Bailey as will be seen below, died about 1820 while Nancy lived at least until 1826.

Two important records have been found by previous family researchers that help to tell a part of their story. One of these is from 1781 and gives insight into the religion of the family while the other is from 1826 and concerns land owned by Bailey WOOD.

Original Members of the Old Greenbrier Church

On 24 November 1781, the Baptist faith gained a more permanent footing in the Greenbrier region when Pastor John ALDERSON organized the Old Greenbrier Church at Alderson. It was the first Baptist organization west of the Alleghenies and the oldest of any denomination to be established in this section of the country. Its twelve original members were John ALDERSON, Mary ALDERSON, Thomas ALDERSON, John KIPPERS, John SHEPPERD, John SKAGGS, Katherine SKAGGS, Joseph SKAGGS, Lucy SKAGGS, Bailey WOOD, Ann WOOD, and James WOOD.1

Is has been assumed by many WOOD descendants that Ann WOOD who was a charter member of the church was Bailey’s wife. However, an 1826 record names his wife as Nancy WOOD. Were Ann WOOD and Nancy WOOD the same person? To answer this, the record from 1826 needs to be examined.

1826 Indenture

This 1826 indenture is a deed of bargain and sale by the heirs of Bailey WOOD to John ALDERSON.2 For easier reading commas missing in the original have been added to this transcription in red.

This indenture made the 21st day of September one thousand eight hundred and twenty six between James Wood & Polly his wife, Bailey Wood and Lucretia his wife, William Wood & Mary his wife, Richard Skaggs and Susannah his wife, Martin McGraw & Nancy his wife, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth his wife, Katherine Wood, heirs and legal representatives of Bailey Wood decd and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood decd of the county of Nicholas and state of Virginia of the one part and John Alderson of the County of Monroe and state aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth that the said heirs & widow of Bailey Wood Decd for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have bargained and sold and by these presents do bargain and sell unto the said John Alderson and his heirs a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred acres more or less lying on the south side of the Greenbrier river in Monroe County adjoining the lands of William Johnson and James Graham and bounded as followeth. To wit: Beginning at a popular and beech corner to John Lusk on the south side of the river and with his line S12° E74 poles to 2 Beaches S55° E64 poles to a poplar & sugar tree S22 poles to a poplar and white oak nigh a draugh S75° E38 poles to 2 Buckeye N30° E27 poles to a buckeye and sugar tree N22° W8 poles to 2 Elms N30° E50 poles to 2 hickories N10° E42 poles to 2 Buckeyes N23° W36 poles crossing the river to 2 birches on the river bank and from there to the beginning with all its appurtenances. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of Land with its appurtenances & with all and singular the appurtenances heriditriments thereunto belonging and the said heirs & widow aforesaid do covenant with the said John Alderson the said tract or parcel of Land from themselves & from their heirs Executors & administrators the tract or parcel of land aforesaid from all and every person or persons will warrant and forever defend in witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this day and date first above written.

James Wood (seal)
Polly (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Bailey Wood (seal)
Lucretia (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Wm Wood (seal)
Mary (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Richard (his o mark) Skaggs (seal)
Susannah (her X mark) Skaggs (seal)
Martin Magraw (seal)
Nancy (her X mark) McGraw (seal)
Saml McGraw (seal)
Elizabeth (her X mark) McGraw (seal)
Katherine (her X mark) Wood (seal)
Nancy (her X mark) Wood (seal)

Nicholas County to wit:
We William Carnefix and James Skaggs justice of the Peace of the County of Nicholas and the state of Virginia do hereby certify that James Wood, Bailey Wood, William Wood, Richard Skaggs, Martin McGraw, Samuel McGraw parties to a certain deed bearing date 21st September 1826 and hereunto annexed personally appeared before us in our county aforesaid and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed & desired us to certify the said acknowledgment to the Clerk of the County Court of Monroe in order that the said deed may be recorded. Given under our hands and seals this 21st day of Septr 1826.

W. Carnefix (seal)
James Skaggs (seal)

Nicholas County
We William Carnefix and James Skaggs justices of the peace in the County of Nicholas aforesaid in the state of Virginia do hereby certify the Polly Wood the wife of James Wood Lucretia Wood the wife of Bailey Wood, Mary Wood the wife of William Wood, Susannah Skaggs the wife of Richard Skaggs, Nancy McGraw the wife of Martin McGraw, Elizabeth McGraw the wife of Samuel McGraw, Katherine Wood and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood, decd parties to a certain Deed bearing date the 21st of September 1826 and hereunto annexed personally appeared before us in our county aforesaid and being examined by us privily and apart from their said (said marked out) husbands and having the deed aforesaid fully explained to them they the said Polly Wood, Lucretia Wood, Mary Wood, Susannah Skaggs, Nancy McGraw, Elizabeth McGraw, Katherine Wood and Nancy Wood widow of Bailey Wood decd acknowledge the same to be their act and Deed and declared that they had willingly signed sealed and delivered the same and that they wished not to retract it.
Given under our hands and seals this 21st day of Septr 1826

W. Carnefix (seal)
James Skaggs (seal)

Monroe county clerks office February 10, 1842:
     This deed of bargain & sale from Bailey Woods heirs to John Alderson was acknowledged before two Magestrates in the county of Nicholas & certified and admitted to record.

Teste: Geo. Hutchinson, Jr, CMC

Transcription vs Original Record

Until last week I’d never seen the actual document. On New Year’s Day, I found the original record on FamilySearch. It seemed like a good omen for my genealogy research and a great start for the New Year 2020.

I did my own transcription even though I’ve had a transcript of this indenture for nearly two decades. I received it from a WOOD researcher and descendant, Vernon A. Fox (1924-2002), in an email dated 31 May 2001. My transcription is not 100% the same as the work sent to me by Mr. Fox. Some of the call lines did not match, several words were different, commas had been added, some words were missing, and abbreviated words and symbols had been written out. All of these differences could mean the transcriber was working from a different or less legible copy of the deed.

Narrowing the range for the date of death of Baily WOOD

It has been assumed Bailey WOOD died before 21 September 1826, the date of this indenture. He was not found in the 1810 or 1820 census, i.e. he was not found as a head of household. The 1800 census is lost for Virginia. Bailey did not leave a will in any of the counties he was known to have lived in. No administrative bonds for his estate were found. What other records did he produce which might narrow the range of death?

While checking the catalog at FamilySearch for records in Monroe County, West Virginia, I not only found the above indenture in the Deed Book but also the Land Books, registers in which the tax on land was recorded for each year since Monroe County was formed in 1799.

In the Land Book, I found the 100 acres mentioned in the deed above was taxed from 1810 until 1842. From 1810 to 1819 the owner is listed as Bailey WOOD. From 1821 to 1842 the owner is listed as “Bailey WOOD heirs.” The district in which the land was listed is missing for 1820. How was the landowner listed in 1820? As Bailey WOOD or his heirs? Even with this missing year, the death of Bailey WOOD can be estimated at between 1819-1821 as taxes were paid by him in 1819 and by his heirs in 1821.3

The Heirs and Legal Representatives of Bailey WOOD

Let’s take a look at the heirs and legal representatives. Who were they and when were they married? If their marriage records did not prove Bailey WOOD was their father, would they at least show the individuals were old enough to be children of Bailey and not grandchildren of deceased children?

The indenture shows Bailey WOOD left a widow named Nancy WOOD and the following heirs and legal representatives:

  • James Wood & Polly his wife
  • Bailey Wood & Lucretia his wife
  • William Wood & Mary his wife
  • Richard Skaggs & Susannah his wife
  • Martin McGraw & Nancy his wife
  • Samuel McGraw & Elizabeth his wife
  • Katherine Wood

Of the heirs who were married, records have been found for of all except Bailey WOOD Jr. and his wife Lucretia SKAGGS. All were performed by John ALDERSON – not unusual as the WOOD family were practicing Baptists and members of Alderson’s Old Greenbrier Church.

Susannah WOOD married Richard SKAGGS on 10 March 1789.4 The marriage entry does not name the parents of either the bride or groom.

William WOOD married Mary Ann McGRAW on 18 June 1800.5, 6, 7 Martin and Margaret McGRAW gave permission for their daughter to marry. John WOOD went bond with William WOOD on this marriage. The identity of John WOOD is unknown.

Nancy WOOD married Martin McGRAW Jr. on 3 May 1806.8 The marriage entry does not name parents of either Nancy or Martin.

Bailey WOOD Jr. married Lucretia SKAGGS, likely before 1807. No marriage record has been found. A similar indenture to the 1826 Wood indenture with heirs was found. This 1841 John SKAGGS heirs to Joshua ELLIS deed of bargain and sale includes Bailey WOOD and wife Lucretia as heirs of John SKAGGS who left a widow Catherine SKAGGS. This couple was two of the charter members of the Baptist church formed by John ALDERSON. This record proves Bailey WOOD Jr.’s wife Lucretia was a SKAGGS, daughter of John SKAGGS and Catherine HICKS.9

James WOOD married Mary HALSTEAD on 26 April 1810.10, 11, 12 Neither the marriage entry nor the bond gives information on the parentage of the bride and groom.

Elizabeth WOOD married Samuel McGRAW on 28 May 1812.13, 14 The marriage bond identifies Bailey WOOD as the father of Elizabeth WOOD.

Bailey WOOD was only identified as the father of Elizabeth, the youngest child who was the last to marry. As all of the other heirs married prior to Elizabeth they cannot be grandchildren and therefore must be children of Bailey WOOD.

As Katherine WOOD was named as an heir in 1826 she must have been of age (21 or older) at the time and born 1805 or earlier. An 1850 census listing for Fayette County was found for one Catherine WOOD age 56 (born abt. 1794) living in a SKAGGS household along with a man named James C. WOOD age 27.15 The two WOOD individuals are alone in a household in 1860. The occupation of the woman is governess but crossed out and replaced by wife even though the age of the man is 30 and the woman 60.16 This was done on several other listings on this census and cannot be reliable. I suspect this could be Bailey’s daughter Katherine and that she had a son out of wedlock. Further research is needed as neither were located in the census after 1860.

Who was Bailey WOOD’s wife?

Was Nancy WOOD named as the widow of Bailey WOOD in the indenture the mother of all of the children?

Bailey acquired 450 acres by grant in Greenbrier County in 1788.17 In 1803 he sold 127 acres of the 450 acres land grant to William GRAHAM.18 The other 323 acres were sold to Robert GWINN by Bailey WOOD and his wife Nancy in 1804.19 Nancy was, therefore, his wife as early as 1804.

Ann WOOD, a charter member of the baptist church (1781), was dismissed from the church on 23 April 1825 as was another woman named Polly WOOD.20 Members were dismissed when they left the church for other parts. As both of these women were dismissed on the same date, it would seem probable that they were from the same family. Polly WOOD could be Mary HALSTEAD, wife of James WOOD. If Polly was Mary, could Ann who had been a member for 44 years be her mother-in-law Nancy?

In 1820 Richard SKAGGS (husband of Susannah WOOD)21, William WOOD22, Martin McGRAW (husband of Mary WOOD)23, and Bailey WOOD Jr. were in Nicholas County. They had all moved to Nicholas County before the census.

James WOOD24 and Samuel McGRAW25 (husband of Elizabeth WOOD) were in Monroe County in 1820. James WOOD would move to Nicholas County by 1830. Samuel McGRAW would be in Greenbrier by 1825.

Only James WOOD’s census listing includes an older woman who could be his mother Nancy and a young woman who could be his single sister Katherine.

These census listings account for all of Bailey’s children and his widow in 1820. If my analysis is correct, Bailey WOOD must have died 1819-1820 after the land tax was recorded for 1819 and before the census was taken in 1820. This would support the assumption that the older woman in James’ household was Bailey’s widow Nancy.

Putting the speculation to rest

I strongly believe Ann and Nancy were used interchangeably by Bailey WOOD’s wife. To date, Nancy’s maiden name is unknown. There are hundreds of family trees on Ancestry that have her listed as Nancy HICKS. The maiden name is undocumented.

I found an old post on the Hicks Surname Forum on Genforum by Kitty Steele Barrera dated October 2006 in which she wrote, “I know that the Nancy Hicks/Bailey Wood connection is tentative because I was the first to make the connection. I posted “Bailey Wood married Nancy Hicks?” and before long, it was all over the internet as a fact.26 Kitty mentioned in another message in the same forum that she can be blamed for starting the rumor and the Hicks part is pure speculation.

It is pure speculation that Bailey’s wife Nancy was born Nancy HICKS.

Bailey and Nancy’s son William WOOD was my 4th great-grandfather. No record has been found indicating he had a middle initial or a middle name. As with his mother’s maiden name, William has also been given Hicks as a middle name by some unknown person and the mistake has been copied into hundreds of family trees.

The internet is an amazing tool for genealogy research however misinformation grows quickly and is widely spread. In hopes that this post will help clear up some of the misconceptions and encourage descendants of Bailey and Nancy WOOD to find the records to push back another generation.

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


  1. Otis K. Rice, A History of Greenbrier County, Lewisburg, W. Va. : Greenbrier Historical Society, 1986, page 193. 
  2. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969; 34 microfilm reels; 35 mm), Film 589502, DGS 8219401, Deed book, v. N 1840-1846, pages 187-189, image 124+125 of 411. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1826 Bailey Wood heirs to John Alderson deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-491G-C?i=123&cat=98998 : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  3. Monroe County (West Virginia) County Assessor, “Land book, 1799-1900” (manuscript on film, browse-only images), FamilySearch (Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1968; 12 microfilm reels, 35 mm). Citing microfilm of original records at the State Auditor’s Office, Charleston. (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/60462?availability=Family%20History%20Library : accessed 5 January 2020). 
  4. 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 County, 10 March 1789, Susannah Wood and Richard Scags married by John Alderson. 1789 Marriage Record (right page, 7th entry from bottom). Note: bride indexed as Ward and image could be Ward or Wood. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10975982&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  5. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800, William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw, permission slip from her parents. “June /newline/ Sir, this coms (sic) to let you now (sic) that I Marten and Marget Mcgraw is wiling that William Wood should have our daughter Mary Ann /newline/ To John Hutchason (Clerk) /newline/ The above was sworn to by John Wood one of the witnesses present.” 1800 Marriage Permission Slip. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370465&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  6. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, Marriage Bond dated 18 June 1800 for the marriage of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw. “Marriage Bond #39 William Wood and John Wood went bond on the marriage of William Wood and Mary Anne McGraw (both of Monroe) on 18 June 1800 in Monroe County, Virginia.” 1800 Marriage Bond (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11370480&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 18 June 1800 William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw married by John Alderson. 1800 Marriage Record entry (right page, 1st entry under Alderson). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369625&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  8. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 3 May 1806, Nancy Wood and Martin McGraw married by John Alderson, banns were published. 1806 Marriage Record (right page, 4th entry from bottom). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369727&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  9. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969,” Film 589504, DGS 8219402, Deed book, v. P-Q 1846-1852, pages 487-490, image 686+687 of 743. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1841 John Skaggs heirs to Joshua Ellis deed of bargain and sale. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSGX-49SY-L?cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  10. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project, West Virginia, Monroe County, 17 April 1810, James Wood and James M. Condon went bond for the marriage of James Wood to Mary Halstead. 1810 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371453&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  11. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead by John Alderson. 1810 Application for the marriage license. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369951&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  12. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 26 April 1810, James Wood and Mary Halstead married by John Alderson. 1810 Marriage Record entry (right page, last entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369380&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  13. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, marriage bond dated 19 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Bailey Wood went bond on the marriage of Bailey’s daughter Elizabeth Wood and Samuel McGraw. 1812 Marriage Bond. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11371819&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  14. Ibid., West Virginia, Monroe County, 28 May 1812, Samuel McGraw and Elizabeth Wood married by John Alderson. 1812 Marriage Record entry (right page, 6th entry). (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=11369509&Type=Marriage : accessed 2 January 2020). 
  15. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M432_943; Page: 336B; Image: 278. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  16. 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, Year: 1860; Census Place: District 3, Fayette, Virginia; Roll: M653_1344; Page: 373; Family History Library Film: 805344. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  17. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Virginia State Land Office, Grants A-Z, 1-124, reels 42-190; Virginia State Land Office, Grants 125- , reels 369-. The collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Library of Virginia Archives, https://www.lva.virginia.gov/ (Records on Library of Virginia site accessible through the new Collections Discovery System https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/search?vid=01LVA_INST:01LVA&lang=en), Land Office Grants No. 18, 1788-1789, p. 269 (Reel 84). Wood, Bailey Land grant 31 July 1788, 450 acres on the south side of Greenbrier River adjoining the land or James Givin and the land of Mathias Keen.(https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/18mtacj/alma990008443800205756 : accessed 24 April 2013). 
  18. County Clerk of the County Court, Monroe County (West Virginia), “Deed book, 1789-1901” and “Deed index, 1789-1969,” Film 589348, GDS 8152873, Deed book, v. A 1789-1805, pages 280-281, image 369+370 of 463. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1803 Bailey Wood to William Graham 127a. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-23MT-F?i=368&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  19. Ibid., Film 589348, GDS 8152873, Deed book, v. A 1789-1805, pages 330-331, image 394+395 of 463. Citing microfilm of original records at the Monroe County courthouse, Union. 1804 Bailey Wood and Nancy to Robert Gwinn 323a.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-23M5-S?i=393&cat=98998 : accessed 1 January 2020). 
  20. Journal of the Greenbrier Historial Society, page 92. Greenbrier Historical Society, Lewisburg, West Virginia (a yearly publication, year unknown). (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 2 August 2017, courtesy of Kitty Steele Barrera) 
  21. 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, 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 204A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 388. Richard Skaggs household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  22. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 205A; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 389. William Wood and Bailey Wood households (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  23. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 204; NARA Roll: M33_130; Image: 387. Martin McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  24. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Union, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 188; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 227. James Wood household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  25. Ibid., 1820 US Census; Census Place: Peterstown, Monroe, Virginia; Page: 179; NARA Roll: M33_133; Image: 218. Samuel McGraw household (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 8 January 2020). 
  26. Kitty Steele, “Re: Bailey Woods and Nancy Hicks,” Hicks Surname Forum, 29 October 2006, message 9940, Genealogy.com, GenForum (https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/hicks/9940/ : accessed 1/1/2020) 

Walking the Land Back to the Original Grant

A few weeks ago I shared The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805) and followed it up with last week’s post Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on about the land William and Amy sold in 1798 in Greenbrier County before moving to Kanawha County in what is now West Virginia.

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my 5th great-grandparents. From the wording of the two land deeds, they were a part of an original 150 acres land grant. These are the steps I took to show the land they sold was the same land granted to William in 1796.

Plotting the Tracts

Early this year I tried my hand at abstracting call lines from a deed and plotting the tract. I found the tract on a present-day map and wrote about the tools I used in I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia.

As I had been successful with my CLONCH ancestor’s land, I tried the same tactic with William and Amy’s two land tracts. I used the following tools:

Pole to Foot Converter

Tract Plotter

Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run

As I had already transcribed the deeds all I needed to do was to abstract the call lines and convert the poles to feet for the Tract Plotter. For the Johnston to Tennis land deed:

Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole
Call Line: S83E 120 poles (1980 ft)

to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole 
Call line: N36W 168 poles (2772 ft)

to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole
Call line: S70W 44 poles (726 ft)

to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining
Call line: S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)

As can be seen below the call lines for the Johnston to Tennis tract calculate to 59.6 acres while 62 acres were seen in the deed.

Tract Plotter

Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run

The same was done for the Johnston to Kounts land deed:

Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole 
Call line: S38E 40 poles (660 ft)

to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole
Call line: N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)

to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole 
Call line: N83W 120 poles (1980 ft)

to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole 
Call line: S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)

to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole
Call line: S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)

to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole
Call line:  S10W 50 poles (825 ft)

to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning
Call line: N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)

The Johnston to Kounts tract calculates to 81.13 acres while 88 acres seen in the deed.

Tract Plotter (annotated with Evernote)

Merging the two tracts

After plotting the tracts I combined the two. The call lines N83W 1980 ft (Kounts) and S83E 1980 ft (Tennis) are the common boundary mentioned in the deeds. To combine them I used PicMonkey. The Tennis tract was reduced in size to match the scale of the Kounts tract.

Tract Plotter

The original 150 acres land grant

I looked at the original land grant of 150 acres only after I’d plotted the two land tracts side by side. I transcribed the description of the land, plotted the call lines, and came up with the same boundaries seen in the image (above) where the two were attached to each other.

…lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the waters of Indian Creck a branch of New River and adjoining the Land of Patrick Kenan, Edward Fleathers and Samuel Black and bounded as followeth to wit. Beginning at a black and white oak, corner to Kenan and with the same South thirty eight degrees East forty poles two white oaks North fifty two degrees East one hundred and eighty two poles to a red oak and two white oaks on Fleathers’s line and leaving the same, North thirty six degrees West one hundred and sixty eight poles to four Locusts, South seventy degrees West forty four poles to two white oaks, South thirteen degrees East one hundred & fourteen poles to a double white and Chesnut oak, on the top of a hill thence South thirty two degrees West sixty six poles to a Chesnut and black oak, South seventy degrees West ninety poles to two white oaks, South ten degrees West fifty poles to two white oaks corner to Kenan thence North sixty degrees East ninety one poles to the beginning…

Call lines:
S38E 40 poles (660 ft)
N52E 182 poles (3003 ft)
N36W 168 poles (2772 ft
S70W 44 poles (726 ft)
S13E 114 poles (1881 ft)
S32W 66 poles (1089 ft)
S70W 90 poles (1485 ft)
S10W 50 poles (825 ft)
N60E 91 poles (1501.5 ft)

Tract Plotter

Where was the land grant found?

Years ago I discovered The Library of Virginia‘s collection Virginia Land Office Patents and Grants/Northern Neck Grants and Surveys. A search turned up a land grant in Greenbrier County for one William JOHNSTON described as 150 acres on the waters of Indian Creek a branch of New River and adjoining the lands of Patrick Kenan (sic), Edward Heathers (sic), & c.

At the time I knew Patrick KEENAN was a neighbor as my 6th cousin David Fridley had found the records of sale for two tracts of land totaling 150 acres and extracted only the short description of the land. It appeared to be a match but without the 1798 records which I transcribed in my previous post, I couldn’t be 100% certain.

Now with all three deeds “in hand,” I was able to compare and prove the 150 acres granted to William JOHNSON on 10 May 1796 is the same land he sold in two parcels in June 1798 to TENNIS and KOUNTS.

Questions remain

William JOHNSON used the Land Office Treasure Warrant number 12841 issued 2 July 1782 to obtain the grant of 150 acres in 1796.

On the Kentucky.gov Portal, they have a searchable database that includes all Virginia Treasury Warrants. I searched for the warrant number William used and found it was in the name of Edward KENON for 1470 acres.

Why would William JOHNSON use a treasury warrant issued to Edward KENON (KEENAN)?

The Library of Virginia has an interesting guide states, “At any time in the grant process after the treasury warrant was purchased, the purchaser could assign (sell) the right to part or all of the land described in the warrant.”

Apparently, Edward KEENAN assigned or sold the right to 150 acres of the original 1470 acres he purchased to William JOHNSON. Could there be a story behind this? Why did William JOHNSON sell the land only two years after he received the grant?

A complete transcription of the 1796 land grant to William JOHNSON will be share in a later post. Next week I’ll be making an announcement…

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) were my fifth great-grandparents. I wrote about their son William JOHNSON Jr. (1793-1845) and his wife Nancy Ann SIMS (abt. 1793-1860s) in 2014 during my first year blogging.

I’m reviewing William and Amy’s records and looking into opening some doors which have remained closed mainly due to my not having access to Virginia records from their period. Instead of starting with the earliest records, I’m going to move back into time.

A few weeks ago I wrote about The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805). An inventory of his estate has yet to be found. With the Administrator Bond, we learned William died before 9 April 1806 and likely during the winter of 1805. I have not found a primary or secondary source confirming he died 22 December 1805.1

In the General Index to Deeds of Kanawha County William JOHNSON Sr. wasn’t listed as a grantor nor as a grantee. He was not found on the land tax records of the county. Apparently, he did not acquire land during the seven years he lived in Kanawha County.

David Fridley, my double 6th cousin through William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON and through James SIMS and his first wife Phebe _____, has been supportive when it comes to researching our common ancestors over the years. We e-met in the days when mailing lists were active on Rootsweb and still keep up via email and Facebook.

David once mentioned two land records he’d abstracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County. He hadn’t noted the book or page number at the time. The deeds indicated William JOHNSON and his wife Amy deeded a total of 150 acres on Lick Run on 25 and 26 June 1798. As this was the last mention of them in Greenbrier County we believe they must have left for Kanawha County around 1798.

At the end of July, I located the deeds David found many years ago while checking into new collections on FamilySearch. The first thing I did was to send David the citations.

Johnston to Tennis, 62 acres on Lick Run

William JOHNSTON and Amy his wife sold 62 acres on Lick Run to William TENNIS as seen in the following deed.2

This Indenture made this 25 Day of June one Thousand seven Hundred and Ninety eight Between WIlliam Johnston and Amy his wife of the one Part and William Tennis of the other Each of the county of Greenbrier & State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Amey his wife for & in consideration of the some (sic) of Five Shillings Current money of sd [said] State to them in hand Paid on or before the seling and delivering of their presents the Receipt whereof the Dead (sic) Hereby acknowledged have Bargained & sold & by these presents doe Bargain & sell unto the sd William Tennis and his heirs or assigns a certain tract or Percil of Land Containing sixty two acres it being part of a survey of one Hundred & fifty acres Granted to the sd Johnston by paten, lying & being in the county of Greenbrier on the Waters of lick run where sd Tennis now lives & is Bounded as followeth (to wit) Begining at a Double white oak and chesnut corner to the old survey & thence through the survey south Eighty three Degrees East one Hundred & twenty pole to an aposite Corner of the old survey & Flathers & with old line North Thirty six Degrees west one Hundred and sixty eight pole to four Locusts and soth (sic) Seventy Degrees wet forty four Pole to two white oaks & South thirteen Degrees East one Hundred and fourteen pole to the Begining with its appertainances to the sd William Tennis and his Heirs to the sole yeo? & behoof of the sd William Tennis his heirs or assigns forever and the sd William Johnston & Amy his wife for themselves and their Heirs Doth covenant with the said William Tennis and his heirs the said tract or parcel of land from themselves and their heirs to the said William Tennis and his Heirs or assigns against all and every person or persons whatsoever will warrent and will forever Defend in Witness Whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and seals the Day and the year above Written. 

Signed seald & Delivered
In the Presents off………………………..Williams (his mark) Jonston Seal
Edward Keenan
John Johnston………………………………Emey (her mark) Jonston Seal
Michael Kounts

At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798
This Deed from William Johnston to Wm Tennis was prest in Court & provd by the Oaths of Edward Keenan John Johnston & Michl Kounts and ordered to Record.
………………………………………Teste
………………………………………John Stuart C.G.C. (Clerk Greenbrier County)

Johnston to Kounts, 88 acres on Lick Run

William JOHNSTON and his wife Amy sold 88 acres on Lick Run to Michael KOUNTS as seen in the following deed.[^3]

This Indenture maid this Twenty ___ day of June one Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight between William Johnston and Eamy his wife of the one part and Michael Kouns of the other Each of the County of Greenbrier and State of Virginia Witnesseth that the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for and in consideration of the sum of one Dollar current Money of said State to them in hand paid on or before the Sealing and delivering of these presents the receit whereof the do hereby Acknowledge have bargained and sold and by these presents doe bargain and Sell unto the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs and Assigns a Certain Tract or parcell of Land containing Eighty eight Acres & being the Land sd Johnston now lives on Lying and being in the County of Greenbrier on the Lick Run Joining the Land of Edward Keenan Isaac Palton and Kounces own Land Bough of Keenan & being the S.W. End of said Survey of 150 Acres and is bounded as followeth (to Wit) Beginning at a black Oake & White Oake Corner to Kouns and with South thirty Eight Degrees East forty pole to two white oaks and North fifty two Degrees East one Hundred and Eighty two pole to Red Oak & two white oaks Corner to Keenan and the old Survey, thence through the Survey with Tineses line North Eighty three Degrees West one Hundred and twenty pole to the apasite Corner of old Survey and c? to Tennis on a Double White Oak and Chesnutt Oake on a Ridge and with old line South thirty two Degrees West Sixty six pole to Chesnutt Oake and black Oake and South Seventy Degrees West Ninety pole to two white oaks and South ten degrees west fifty pole to two White Oak Corner to Kounses own and with North Sixty Degree East Ninety one pole to the Beginning with all the appertainances thereunto belonging to the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes to the sole use and behoof of the said Michael Kounts and his Heirs and Assignes forever and the said William Johnston and Eamy his Wife for themselves and their Heirs doth Covenant with the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs the said Tract or Parcil of Land from themselves and their Heirs to the said Michael Kouns and his Heirs, against all and every Person or Persons whatsoever will Warrant and will forever defend in Witness whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and Seals the Day and year above Written
Signd, Seald & Acknowledgd
in the Presents off……………………………William (his mark) Jonston Seal
Edward Keenan
John Johnson………………………………….Eamey (her mark) Jonston Seal
Wm Tennis

At a Court held for Greenbrier County June the 26th 1798
This Deed from William Johnston to Michael Kounts was presented in Court and proved by the Oaths of Edwd Keenan John Johnston and William Tennis and the same is order to Record
………………………….Teste
…………………………..John Stuart

Interesting thoughts from David

When I contacted David with the citations he wrote, “Thanks so much for following up with these citations! There’s an awful lot of data I have still from my days decades ago of visiting courthouses that need adequate citation today, and I’m thankful for the increasing amount of digitized records on FamilySearch.

He further wrote, “It’s also useful to revisit the original documents, since there’s more to be learned from a current perspective, for example noticing that “Eamey E. Jonston” included a middle initial, which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

I hadn’t noticed the use of the middle initial. When I transcribed the deeds I saw where David thought a middle initial was used. However, I believe it is a scribble and meant to be her mark.

Here are close-ups of the “signatures” on the recorded deeds. I don’t think these are their actual signatures.

“Signatures” on Johnston to Tennis deed (top) and Johnston to Kounts deed (bottom)

Taking a closer look at the names, on the bottom image, it is clearly noted these are their marks. William appears to have signed with an x. The mark copied into the book by the clerk for the second deed (bottom) looks similar to the E in the first name Eamey and likely why David thought she was using a middle initial. I believe Amy’s mark is two close or consecutive circles. It must be noted that Amy’s name was spelled Amey, Eamy, and Eamey in the records above.

David also considered the price paid for the land and sent me a map with the location of the land. He wrote:

I also looked at the neighbors and grantees to see if there might be a family relationship given the very low price William sold his land for, but I’m not finding any right away. The price is a relative pittance compared to what land in the Shenandoah Valley was going for at the same time, but then, this was fairly remote, and I doubt William had any quantity of good bottom land that would make it more valuable. I’m attaching a map I created showing Lick Run in context of Monroe Co. with an inset showing the specific topography of Lick Run. It is a branch of Indian Creek, so the bottom land was only down by the creek. (There is another Lick Run in the SW portion of the county that emptied into Hans Creek, but looking at the other records of Tennis/Keenan/Counts-Koontz, it is apparent it is the Indian Creek one.)
William Tennis resold this land sometime after 1800 and headed to Adams Co., OH (bordering KY on the Ohio River). A list of his transactions (including the one with William) is compiled at https://www.ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.westvirginia.counties.monroe/439/mb.ashx. In this list are a number of land transactions from 26 June 1798 that involved William Tennis and Edward Keenan, some of which were also witnessed by John Johnson (doesn’t appear as Johnston), and one by a Thos Johnson. I wonder if either is related.

Map courtesy of David Fridley.

David refers to the land being in Monroe County. He is correct in terms of present-day geography. When William and Amy sold it in 1798 it was in the part of Greenbrier which would become Monroe County the following year.

Time to Pull up Stakes and Move on

With the sale of the land in Greenbrier County in 1798, the family of William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON were getting ready for their northwest move to Kanawha County where William died in 1805.
Next week will take us further back when I discuss how William JOHNSON came into the 150 acres he and his wife sold in 1798.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, images 37 of 380 (page 52). Johnston to Tennis deed for 62 acres (25 June 1798, entered 26 June 1798). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V4RY?i=36&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). 
  2. Greenbrier County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Deeds (Greenbrier County, West Virginia), 1780-1901” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Greenbrier County Courthouse in Lewisburg, West Virginia), Film 593545, DGS #7765144, Deeds, v. 2 1798-1803, image 80 of 380 (page 145). Johnston to Kounts deed for 88 acres (__ June 1798, entered 26 June 1798)(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSM7-V45L?i=79&cat=98577 : accessed 31 July 2019). 

The 1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William Johnson Sr. (1755-1805)

Over the years I’ve received several inquiries for help from women wanting to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. Many want to prove lineal, bloodline descent from my fifth great-grandfather William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805), a Revolutionary soldier, who died in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.

I have few records for William JOHNSON Sr. which were created during his lifetime or immediately following his death. While checking into new records available online at FamilySearch, I found a record which has not been alluded to in compilations or family trees I’ve viewed.

Did William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) leave a will?

I recently found the Administrator’s Bond for the estate of the late William JOHNSTON (sic).1 His son John applied for the bond which is dated 9 April 1806 a little over three months after 22 December 1805, the date of death many researchers show for William in their family tree.

1806 Administrator Bond for the Estate of William JOHNSON

The Administrator’s Bond for the estate of William JOHNSTON, p. 122

Know all men by these Presents that we John Johnston Henry Morris & Charles Woodey King are held and firmly bound unto David Ruffner William Morris Henry Brown & Fleming Cotts Gentlemen Justices now setting for the County Kanawha. In the penal sum of one Thousand dollars to be paid to them or their Successors and for the payment we bind ourselves our heirs Executors or Administrators Jointly & severaly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 9th day of April 1806.
The Condition of the above Obligation is such that whereas the Said John Johnston hath Obtained letters of Administration of the Estate of William Johnston Dec out of the County cour (sic) of Kanawha. Now if the said John Johnston Administrator of the goods chattels & credits of the said Deceased do make a True and perfect Inventory of all & singular the Goods Chattels & credits of the Said Deceased which have or shall come into the hands, Possession or Knowledge of him the said John Johnston as in the hands or Possession of any other person or persons for the said John Johnston and the same so made do exhibit unto the County Court of Kanawha when he shall be Thereunto required

The Administrator’s Bond for the estate of William JOHNSTON, p. 123

by the said court and such goods chattels & credits do well and Truly Adminestor according to Law, and further do make a Just and True Account of his actings and doings therein when thereto required by the said Court and all the rest of the said Goods and Chattels & credits which shall be found remaining upon the account of the said Administrator the same being first Examined and allowed by the Justices of the said court for the Time shall Deliver and pay unto such persons respectively az are entitled to the same by Law; and if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the Deceased and the same be Proved in Court and the Executor Obtain a Certificate of the Probit thereof and the Said John Johnston do in such case being required render and deliver up his letters of administration then this obligation to be void else to remain in Force and Virtue.
Acknowledged in Open Court……………………..John Johnston Seal
Teste…………………………………………………………….Henry S. Morris (his mark) Seal
A Donnally Ckl…………………………………………….Chs. W. King Seal

The bond was acknowledged in Open Court however no date was given. The entries before and after the bond were entered during Kanawha County April Court 1806. The bond itself was dated 9 April 1806.

William JOHNSON did not leave a will

The wording of the bond indicates William JOHNSON did not leave a will. This is unfortunate as a will might have included the names of his children. A document desperately sought after by descendants who are trying to prove descent from this Revolutionary War veteran.

John JOHNSON’s obtaining letters of administration of the estate of “William JOHNSTON” is suggestive of a relationship but not proof John was his son.

The consensus is William JOHNSON Sr. died on 22 December 1805. An early source with this date is Ross B. Johnston’s articles on West Virginians in the Revolution2 written between 1939-1947. Per the front matter in the republished work, “the sources of this material are notes from the files of the Pension Office at Washington, from the pension applications in West Virginia counties, and from the minute books of the older West Virginia counties, copied by W. P. A. workers on the project sponsored by the West Virginia Commission on Historic and Scenic Markers; from notes of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of the Revolution, and other patriotic societies; and from a large miscellaneous group of published and private sources.

I placed a query to the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy group on Facebook asking for help with a reliable source for the date of death. Lucy Light Slaich who applied and was accepted to the DAR in 2010 through William JOHNSON did not need to prove his date of death. She indicated Mr. Johnston’s article on William JOHNSON in the 1998 reprint, was originally published in the April 1943 issue of the West Virginia History journal. The compilation which was used by prior applicants is no longer accepted by DAR.

Not satisfied, I continued to sift through information which has been collected over the years and found a 1911 publication which gives the dates of death for William JOHNSON and his wife Amy NELSON.3 Laidley in his compilation of representative citizens of the city of Charleston and Kanawha County wrote an article on Julian M. JOHNSON (1847-1932), a great-grandson of William JOHNSON through his son William JOHNSON Jr. This is the earliest source, although not primary, I have for the dates of death of William and Amy.

Did the estate generate other records?

While the administrator bond was found in the “Record of deeds, 1790-1946” collection, I turned to the “Court record book, 1803-1880” collection in search of entries about William JOHNSON’s estate in Kanawha County.

As William supposedly died on 22 December 1805, I checked entries in 1805 and 1806. The court was held on the 12th and 13th of November 1805; 11th day of February 1806; 11th day of March 1806; 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th day of April 1806; 13th of May; and 10th day of June. Little business was taken care of during the winter months. By April business had picked up and the court was held four days instead of the usual one or two days. It was in April when John JOHNSON made a motion to obtain an administrator bond for the estate of his father.4

Motion granted for administration

County Court record book entry for 9 April 1806
County Court record book entry for 9 April 1806

On the motion of John Johnston who made oath and together with Henry Morris, Charles W. King his securities entered into & acknowledged their bond in the penalty of $1000 conditioned as the law directs certificate of administration of the estate of William Johnston dec’d granted him in due form.

Appraisal of personal property ordered

Immediately after the bond of administration motion was granted another entry was made referencing the estate of William JOHNSON. (see image above)

Ordered that Edward Rion, Edward Hughs, James Sims & John Campbell (or any three of them) being first sworn before a Justice of the Peace for said do appraize the Personal property of the said William Johnston decd and return appraisement to the next court.

From entries during the year in the court orders as well as in the land books (which include personal property tax lists of the period), I was able to determine Edward RION should be Edward RYAN.

Interesting was the mention of James SIMS as one of the four men who were ordered to appraise the personal property of the deceased William JOHNSON. James and William were neighbors. Three of the JOHNSON children married three of the SIMS children:  Susannah JOHNSON  and Martin SIMS in 1800, John JOHNSON and Elizabeth SIMS in 1802, and William JOHNSON Jr. and Nancy Ann SIMS in 1814. I was not expecting to find a record for James SIMS who like William JOHNSON was my 5th great-grandfather.

Further searches in the collections available for viewing online on FamilySearch did not turn up the appraisement of the estate.

Finding the bond documents William JOHNSON died before 9 April 1806 and likely during the winter of 1805. Is it possible there is a family Bible in the home of one of his descendants which would prove the dates given in Laidley’s 1911 article?

I have a few more records for William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON which I’ll be sharing. Recent discoveries which I have not had time to evaluate. It would be nice if other descendants would join in on the fun and share records they’ve uncovered. Together we can do a better job researching these ancestors.

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Kanawha County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Record of deeds, 1790-1946” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia.), Film # 008152450, Deed books v. C-D 1805-1817, Deed Book C, page 122-123, image 69 of 582. 9 April 1806 Administrator’s Bond for John Johnson for the estate of William Johnson.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-KSNR-L?i=68&cat=56556 : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  2. Ross B. Johnston, compiler, West Virginians in the American Revolution (Baltimore, MD: Clearfield Publishing Co, 1998 (originally published in the West Virginia Archives and History’s journal West Virginia History from October 1939 to October 1947 as West Virginians in the Revolution)), p. 151. (https://books.google.lu/books/about/West_Virginians_in_the_American_Revoluti.html?id=_mg1bCpc1KAC&redir_esc=y : accessed 8 September 2019) 
  3.  William Sydney Laidley (1839-1917), History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens (Richmond-Arnold Publishing, Chicago, Illinois, 1911), page 979. “William Johnson, Sr. died on Gauley December 22, 1805. His wife lived until December 23, 1837.” Article on Julian M. Johnson, great-grandson of William Johnson and his wife Amy. (https://archive.org/details/historyofcharles00laid/page/978 : accessed 8 Oct 2015). 
  4. Kanawha County (West Virginia) County Clerk, “Court record book, 1803-1880” (non-indexed images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia.), Film #521643, DGS #8613717, Record book v. 3 1803-1819, image 178+179 of 857. Administrator Bond and Order to Appraise estate of William Johnson, dec’d. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34Z-SSJ3-N?i=177&cat=295049 : accessed 8 October 2015). 

Was the Verdict in the 1816 Murder Case a Miscarriage of Justice?

After reading a comment posted yesterday (below) on Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg, I wondered if I had missed something very important in the story of the murders of Anne Marie WIROTH and her children.

A truly horrific story in many ways. A horrible crime, and I suspect a miscarriage of justice in the end. I find the notion of Jews at that time of year putting themselves in jeopardy by a killing like that very suspicious. And the fact that someone with the sayso in the Jewish community corroborated that these two men were suspicious could mean that they were sacrificed so that the Jewish community as a whole wasn’t in danger. Too many stories like that for too many centuries. Your work here is OUTSTANDING, Cathy. You amaze me with the detail you were able to bring into this narrative. ~ Luanne Castle, blogger at The Kalamazoo Family and Entering the Pale

Tony JUNGBLUT (1913-1975) was an author, journalist, court chronicler, and editor.  Although the article he wrote in the A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in 19341 was a narrative of the crime, he used the court records to write the story as he did with his other historical writings.

Historians write about events in for a period by researching and analyzing documentation, similar to genealogists, from the perspective of the time they/we live in. When JUNGBLUT wrote the story, Hitler had recently become the Chancellor of Germany. He could not see into the future and hadn’t yet lived through the years of Nazi persecution of the Jews while we, as the reader today, are influenced by our knowledge of the evil deeds against Jews by Hitler and the Nazis. Did JUNGBLUT only write about what was in the court documents? Did he avoid the trying to read something into the over 100 years old records?

In his narrative, JUNGBLUT did not go into further detail of the situation in the walled city of Luxembourg. Renée WAGENER, the author of the 2017 article in Ons Stad2, mentions a letter written by representatives of the Jewish community to the mayor of Luxembourg City in 1821, four years after the crime. The Jewish community had not forgotten the great danger and terrible aftermath of the cries of vengeance and of blood against them following the crime. She also mentions the anti-Semitic sentiments which prevailed in the city were not found in the court documents.

The fact that this crime happened around Easter (Palm Sunday) leads me to think that the old myth of Jews killing Christian children for their blood had something to do with the convictions. It would be interesting to read the trial transcripts to see what the testimony was. Often these crimes are not random but done by someone in the family. I wonder if the father of Anne Marie’s out-of-wedlock child had something to do with this…. ~ Amy Cohen, blogger at Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

My ignorance of early Jewish history may have kept me from paying closer attention to missing details in the 1934 narrative by JUNGBLUT. Luanne may be correct about the HAUSER brothers being sacrificed so the Jewish community as a whole wouldn’t be in danger.

I was quick to discard Amy’s speculation of the father of Anne Marie’s out-of-wedlock child having something to do with the affair as her reputation suggested she may not have even known who the father was, i.e. the father would not have known of the child. However, I should have listened to the niggling suspicion something may not be right.

Renée WAGENER’s article (based on JUNGBLUT’s narrative, the Luxembourg National Archives’ documentation of the trial, as well as the correspondence with the mayor) mentions names which were not in the 1934 narrative or were spelled differently.

As discussed in the earlier post, five men were arrested for the crime, four of them were Jews. Guetschlick GODCHAUX, a Jewish man who was arrested but later set free, was the nephew of Pinhas GODCHAUX, the official gold examiner or amtlichen Goldprüfer.

This same Pinhas GODCHAUX was also the representative of the Jewish community who testified the morality of the HAUSER brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely.

The seventeen-year-old Pinhas GODCHAUX (of the same name as the man above) implicated the HAUSER brothers in the murders. In the narrative, he appears to have spent a lot of time with the brothers. He, like Guetschlick, was a nephew of the elder Pinhas GODCHAUX. Young Pinhas’ mother was likely the widow Nanette GODCHAUX who also gave testimony but is not mentioned by this name in the narrative.

Why did I not notice the recurring GODCHAUX surname? Probably because the persons were not suspects. When I read Luanne’s comment this morning, I knew I had to write one more post about this horrible crime and possible miscarriage of justice.

Are you convinced that the real murderer(s) were not discovered? – Vera Marie Badertscher, blogger at Ancestors in Aprons

I didn’t want to question the verdict reached by the courts in 1816 as I haven’t consulted the actual court records. Has my discovery of the unusual burial record of the family of four with the mention of this horrific event only complicated things as I’ve attempted to learn more of the story? Will the actual court records or even other records reveal a conspiracy which was meant to be hidden when the last of the people involved died nearly 200 years ago?

After posting the last of the six parts in this series, I realized earlier this week I had not checked for the death records of the HAUSER brothers.

1816 Death Record No. 203 of Hirsch HAUSSER
1816 Death Record No. 204 of Emmanuel HAUSSER

Hirsch (30) and Emmanuel (22) died on 18 October 1816 at 11 o’clock in the morning on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Jean Baptiste Joseph Poison (51), a court clerk or greffier de la cour d’assises and Louis Langers (66), court bailiff or huissier du tribunal.3 From the information Jungblut and Wagener obtained from the court records, they were executed by decapitation.

The case of widow TRAUSCH, as Anne Marie WIROTH was also known,  and her children’s murders will remain an open case until I can visit the National Archives of Luxembourg. I obviously also need to do research on the Jewish community in Luxembourg for this period.

Thank you, Luanne, Amy, and Vera for your comments which helped me to look at this from a different perspective.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Tony Jungblut, “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser”, published in four parts in A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte, 5 August 1934 No. 33 p. 4-7, 12 August 1934 No. 34 p. 18-20, 19 August 1934 No. 35 p. 18-19, and 26 August 1934 No. 36 p. 18-19. (https://luxemburgensia.bnl.lu/cgi/luxonline1_2.pl?action=yr&sid=azillust&year=1934 : accessed 21 August 2019). 
  2. Renée Wagener, “Mordfall in der Festung Luxemburg ‘Ein entsetzliches Verbrechen?'”, Ons Stad 116/2017 p. 10-12,  Ville de Luxembourg, Service Communications et relations publiques. (https://onsstad.vdl.lu/fileadmin/uploads/media/ons_stad_116-2017_10-12.pdf : accessed 11 July 2019) 
  3. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Décès 1814 > image 301 of 1396. 1816 Death Records No. 203 and 204. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XK9-WS4?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-DP8%3A130045801%2C130226501 : accessed 2 September 2019). 

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

I’ve written about my fifth great-grandparents Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar  and solved the question of why Theresia BRAUN was also seen as Theresia COLLING? I also wrote about Theresia’s parents and maternal grandparents (yellow in the screenshot below) in “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782). This was followed up with (blue and green below)  The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804).

One branch of the family tree has been neglected due to lack of records. Theresia BRAUN’s paternal side seen in pink below.

Screenshot of the pedigree of Michel TRAUSCH generated by AncestralQuest

An aside concerning Martin BRAUN (1695-1766)

Maria Magdalena SCHMIDT (SCHNEIDISCH)’s husband Martin BRAUN was found to be the son of Jean Frédérique BRAUN and Marie KAUFFMAN. His parents were married 16 November 1692 in Bissen, Luxembourg1; Martin was born 4 February 1695 in Colmar.2 He was the oldest of six children born to Jean Frédérique and Marie.

Like Martin, his siblings were all born in Colmar. Johannes was baptized 10 March 16973, Elisabetha Catharina 28 April 16984, Johannes 4 March 17015, Nicolas 20 February 17036, and Johannes Franciscus 10 April 1708.7

A death record was found for a youth named Johannes BRAUNS who died on the same day the first Johannes was baptized.8 The entry doesn’t indicate his age or who his parents were. Elisabetha Catharina died 9 September 1701 in her fourth year.9 No trace of the three youngest brothers was found after their baptisms.

Due to the plague and the wars during the middle ages, the population of Colmar, Berg, and Welsdorf was sparse. There were 17 families in 1540 and 5 in 1641. The inhabitants, with the exception of the nobles, were serfs and exploited the lands belonging to the nobles.

The total number of inhabitants increased from the end of the 17th century when iron forges were installed at Colmar. The first people of this trade came from today’s region of Wallonia in Belgium. The workforce came from the surrounding areas of Colmar.10

Due to the small population in the area, Martin’s three younger brothers may have gone to other parts to find work and to marry. If they produced records in the Bissen parish during the years from 1721 to 1749 these are lost.

In 1761 when Martin married Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH he was a widower and 66 years old.11 No previous marriage record or baptismal records of children born to Martin and his first wife were found in Bissen likely due to the missing records for the years 1721 to 1749.

Other than Martin’s parents, Martin, his widow, and his two daughters there were no other BRAUNS or BRAUN marriages in Bissen from 1610-1797 (with the exception of possible missing records from the years 1721 to 1749).

It seems strange there were no other BRAUN individuals in the area other than Theresia, my 5th great-grandmother, and her older sister Elisabetha. I suspect, if Martin was married a first time, the marriage may have remained childless. Which makes it even harder to believe Martin married a second time at the age of 66 and had two daughters with Magdalena.

As the oldest child of the BRAUN-KAUFFMAN marriage, Martin would have been the child to whom the family home was passed on to. After his death, his widow married Michel COLLING. In later years, Martin’s oldest daughter Elisabetha, as well as her COLLING half-siblings, would be found living in a house called Braumes, the home Martin probably grew up in.

Den BRONGEN von Colmar

While reading old newsletters of the commune of Colmar-Berg, I found an interesting tidbit about Martin BRAUN. An article on the Wilmesvogtei (Welsdorf) included a transcript of the entry for Jean KEYSER of Welsdorf alias WILMES on the 1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse. It mentions the land and buildings he “owned” and worked and the goods and taxes he had to pay.

To Martin BRAUN of Colmar, dem (den) BRONGEN von Colmar, he had to give four sesters or forty-eight bushels of wheat yearly (one sester is equal to 12 bushels). This confirms Martin was also known by the name BRONGEN which is Luxembourgish for brown. A brief mention of my ancestor in an article about a completely different family led to my finding the cadastre sheet with his alternate name.12

1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse for Jean KEYSER of Welsdorf alias Wilmes mentioning Martin BRAUN or dem Brongen von Colmar.

The spectacular fourfold murder case of 1816

In my last post A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg I gave only a brief overview of the crime. I’d found the narrative written by Tony JUNGBLUT after the post was ready to publish.13

The four-part narrative of the criminal case includes the following statement in the introduction (English translation of the German text):

All the details were drawn from the official records*, so we have here not only a captivating criminal case, but also a documentary picture of Luxembourg’s time as a fortress city.

*National Archives of Luxembourg, ANLUX, CT-01-02-0090.

From the witnesses’ testimonies, the court chronicler was able to tell the who, what, when, where, why of the goings-on before, during, and after the trial. Between 80 and 100 witnesses were heard which seems amazing for the time period and for the short five months between the murders and the trial. I hope the men they accused and found guilty were the perpetrators.

Considering Jungblut’s reputation as a court reporter and journalist, I believe he was impartial. Did he include everything in his narrative? Did he omit repetitive testimonials made by persons whose names would be recognized as distant family members by this researcher as he considered them not important to the story? The case file holds the answer.

I look forward to visiting the National Archives of Luxembourg (ANLUX) and viewing the actual documents. This would be my first visit to ANLUX. Will I be allowed to photograph or scan them so I can transcribe them from home? I trust the narrative Jungblut wrote but as a family historian and genealogist, I want to be able to work with the primary documentation.

From JUNGBLUT’s narrative, I learned more of my fifth great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH’s widow.

Anne Marie WIROTH’s tavern was frequented by the military, hunters, Jews, and foreigners. As a result of the diversity of visitors and the constant tension between the citizens and the German military, there were often night-time quarrels. Widow Trausch had regular customers who would come in to drink wine and chat with the daughter of the house. The older woman was known to drink more than her guests and look the other way when her daughter granted favors to clients for a few coins. Instead of being ruinous to her business, the rumors and talk caused more people to visit the establishment.

The mother felt some remorse for taking advantage of her daughter and knew this wasn’t good for the young girl’s reputation. When she failed to convince a young man to marry her daughter, she began to make other plans to save her daughter’s reputation and still fill her purse.

She had previously lived in a house in the Grund which was for sale. She figured she could make good money renting out rooms which were in great demand in the city. On Thursday she negotiated a price in francs with the owner. The same day she approached her deceased husband’s friend for a loan of the amount she was lacking. The next day she asked her cleaning lady if she would come to work for her at her new place. Things were looking up for her. She sent her daughter to the owner of the house to let him know she would have her thalers converted to francs by Palm Sunday. She would then pay him in 5-franc pieces and visit the notary to certify the purchase. By Palm Sunday the entire family was dead.

Was my fifth great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH’s choice of Anne Marie WIROTH for his second wife a mistake? From what we’ve learned of her after his death, she was not the ideal person. However, I wonder if I can pass judgment on her not knowing if my ancestor may have left her with nothing more than mouths to feed.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 151 of 162. 1692 Marriage Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-QQHT?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 10 of 162. 1695 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQ5R?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  3.   Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 16 of 162. 1697 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQY4?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 19 of 162. 1698 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-QQGV?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 23 of 162. 1701 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-QQTX?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 26 of 162. 1703 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q7DN?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  7. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 35 of 162. 1708 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-Q79L?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 138 of 162. 1697 Death Record (right page, 4th entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQSV?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 24 August 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 140 of 162. 1701 Deth Record (right page, 3rd entry from bottom).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQ7Y?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  10. “Histoire de la Commune,” Administration communale de Colmar-Berg, (https://www.colmar-berg.lu/fr/Pages/Chiffres-et-Hitoire-de-la-commune.aspx : accessed 21 August 2019) 
  11. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 13 of 34. 1761 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  12. Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014724, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 175 (Berg, Colmar), image 301 of 676, Sheet No. 46, Jean Keyser von Welsdorf alias Wilmes. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSX4-B3T4-3?i=300&cat=1152016 : accessed 30 August 2019). 
  13. Tony Jungblut, “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser”, published in four parts in A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte, 5 August 1934 No. 33 p. 4-7, 12 August 1934 No. 34 p. 18-20, 19 August 1934 No. 35 p. 18-19, and 26 August 1934 No. 36 p. 18-19. (https://luxemburgensia.bnl.lu/cgi/luxonline1_2.pl?action=yr&sid=azillust&year=1934 : accessed 21 August 2019). 

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Since I’ve spent so much time on Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia BRAUN, her parents, and her maternal grandparents, I thought it only fair to write about Remacle and his parents.

Remacle was the youngest child of Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784) and his second wife Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (1728-1786) of Mersch in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg’s Signature – “Let’s make it happen”

Part IV: Remacle TRAUSCH, the youngest son of the oldest child

Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784)

Pierre TRAUSCH, my 6th great-grandfather, was born about 1714 in Mersch. Baptismal records are not available for Mersch for the years 1696 to 1716. Pierre was the oldest known child of Martin TRAUSCH (abt. 1682-1762) and Susanna SEYWERT sive JOSTEN domo PETERS (1693-1780). [The Latin descriptives mean Susanna SEYWERT was also known as Susanna JOSTEN and came from a house called PETERS.] Baptismal records were found for seven of Pierre’s siblings born between 1718 and 1736.

1739 Marriage entry in the church register of Mersch, Luxembourg

Pierre was the first of Martin and Susanna’s children to marry in 1739. The entry in the church record for the marriage includes the names of his parents. As no baptismal record is available for Pierre, this is the first record which confirms his parents were Martin and Susanna.

Pierre married Anna Maria ADAM, the daughter of the deceased Carolus ADAM of Ansembourg, on 9 August 1739.1 The married couple would live in a house called Peters in Mersch. As I’ve determined Pierre was the oldest child of Martin and Susanna, he would inherit the family home after his parents’ death and therefore his living in the home with his parents is logical.

Pierre and Anna Maria had three children born in 17402, 17443, and 17514. No marriages or death records have been found for these children in Luxembourg. Sadly, I suspected they may have died young. Their mother Anna Maria died on 19 February 1751, three weeks after giving birth to her third child.5

Pierre was now widowed and had Jean Pierre (11), Anna Maria (7), and Jean (newborn) to care for.

Very little information has been found for these three children. I suspected they may have died young however quick online searches when this post was nearly ready to publish turned up a few interesting facts which need to be looked into.

The oldest son Jean Pierre was a priest from 26 February 1763 until 27 November 1813 (possibly his date of death). This was not sourced and needs to be researched.

The GEDCOM on Geneanet of a descendant of the second child Anna Maria TRAUSCH indicates Anna Maria married Louis ANCELON on 19 January 1769 in Habergy, today in the commune of Messancy in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium. An index to church records in Habergy includes an entry for Louis ANSLO and Anne Marie TRAUSCHT who married on the said day. The actual record, which would possibly include the names of her parents, is not online. 

Seven months after the death of his wife Anna Maria, Pierre TRAUSCH married again.

Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (c1723-1786), a bride with unknown parents

1751 Marriage Record of Pierre TRAUSCH married Maria Elisabetha WANTZ

On 28 September 1751, Pierre TRAUSCH married my 6th great-grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ.6 The parents of the bride and groom are not named in the record. It’s in Latin and needs to be translated by someone fluent in the language. My interpretation may not be correct. It would appear the couple was given a dispensation to marry as they may have been closely related, possibly first cousins. I cannot confirm they were related as the parents of the bride are unknown.

I have seen conflicting information concerning who her parents may have been in GEDCOM files of members of Luxracines on GeneaLux.Net.

Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER were having children in Ettelbrück from 1708 to 1728 with a daughter named Elisabeth born on 19 January 1723.7 I have not found a GEDCOM file which shows this young lady married.

Another couple from Reckange, Jean WANTZ and Marie Catherine MOLITOR alias ENTGES, were having children from 1724 to 1741 and had a daughter named Maria Elisabetha born 6 July 1728.8 This young lady has been seen in GEDCOM files as the wife of Pierre WEYDERT (married 29 February 1756 )9, Nicolas WELBES10, and my Pierre TRAUSCH. Pierre Weydert was probably her first husband and Nicolas Welbes her second husband however there is a conflict with the same lady also marrying Pierre Trausch. Maria Elisabetha WANTZ who married Pierre TRAUSCH in 1751 was having children (as will be seen below) from 1753 to 1761.

This is where my problem lies. I need to go through all the records of both of these WANTZ families to compare the names of godparents of the children’s children to see if any connection can be made to Pierre TRAUSCH and his wife Maria Elisabeth WANTZ.

As the marriage record indicates she was originally from Ettelbrück, I sway toward one set of parents being correct: Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER. This research and write-up will be saved for another day.

Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s children

Pierre TRAUSCH and Maria Elisabetha WANTZ had four sons all baptized in Mersch.

Their oldest son Nicolas was baptized on 27 December 175311, their second son Clemens on 16 July 175512, their third son Wilhelm on 27 March 175913, and their fourth and youngest son Remacle on 6 April 1761.14

Pierre and Maria Elisabeth also had a daughter Maria who died on 28 January 1758 at the age of one year.15 No baptismal record had been found for this child. She would have been their third born.

Interesting to note are the names of two of the godparents of the sons. Nicolas’ godfather was Nicolas WANS (sic, Nicolas’ mother’s name was spelled the same in the record) from Ettelbrück. Remacle’s godmother was Magdalena WANTZ of Reckange. Quick searches show Nicolas was the oldest son of the couple from Ettelbrück and Magdalena was the daughter of the couple from Reckange. This will be taken into consideration when the WANTZ research is done. At this time I can only speculate the two men, Jean WANTZ and Michel WANTZ, may have been closely related, possibly brothers, and one of them could have been Maria Elisabetha’s father.

Pierre TRAUSCH in the cadastre and the census

Section of the 1766 Cadastre sheet with information on the buildings of Pierre TRAUSCH

In 1766 when the cadastre and census were taken the TRAUSCH family was living in a house called Peters which included a small barn and a courtyard.16

1766 Census of the village of Mersch in the Parish of the same name with the Pierre TRAUSCH family in household 45.

Pierre TRAUSCH (about 52), a carpenter or menusier, was with his family in household number 45 in Mersch. His second wife Maria Elisabetha (in her 40s) and their sons Clemens (11), Wilhelm (7), and Remacle (5) were at home. Their son Nicolas (nearly 13) was either omitted or enumerated in another household, possibly in another village where he may have been working. The children of Pierre’s first marriage were not in the household. A manual laborer named Michel GEDERT likely was helping Pierre with the carpentry. Also in the household was Pierre’s widowed mother Susanna (73) and his youngest brother Philippe (30).17  Pierre’s father Martin had died on 22 June 1762.18 The six siblings who were born between Pierre and Philippe were not on this census. No marriages have been found for them. Their whereabouts remain a mystery.

The second son marries

Clemens was the first of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s sons to marry. He married Marie Catherine SCHMIT of Colmar on 1 March 1778.19 Her parents were not mentioned on the marriage record. However, as the SCHMIDT family of Colmar for this period has been researched, I was able to deduct who her parents were. Marie Catherine was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDISCH. She was seen with her parents on the 1766 census20 however no baptismal record has been found for her.

Clemens and Marie Catherine’s first child, Pierre TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1779 and baptized the following day. His godfather was his grandfather of the same name, Pierre TRAUSCH. His godmother was his maternal uncle Philipp SCHMIDT’s second wife Maria.21 Their second child, Maria Elisabetha was born on 25 October  1780 and baptized the following day. Her godmother was her grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ and her godfather was her grandfather Nicolas SCHMIDT.22 Two more sons were born in 178223 and 1785.24

Pierre TRAUSCH and his mother die within four years of each other

Pierre TRAUSCH, the husband of Maria Elisabeth WANTZ, died on 26 March 1784. Per the entry in the death register, he was about seventy and several years.25 Four years earlier his mother Susanna, widow of Martin TRAUSCH, had died in Mersch on 5 December 1780 supposedly at the age of 92 years.26 She was in fact only 87 years old as she was born in the Castle of Mersch on 7 February 1693.27

Two marriages within a month

Nearly two years after Pierre’s death, two of his three unmarried sons were married within a month of each other. Wilhelm married Susanne RONES on 12 December 1785 in Tuntange28 and Nicolas married Anna Maria STOLTZ on 9 January 1786 in Mersch.29

Pierre’s widow dies

Pierre’s widow and the mother of the four TRAUSCH brothers, Maria Elisabeth WANTZ died several months later on 23 April 1786.30

The youngest son marries

Remacle’s brothers were all married and both of his parents deceased when he, the youngest son of the family, married on 24 July 1787 to Theresia BRAUN.31 Remacle and Theresia were my 5th great-grandparents and the main characters in this research project.

Two sons are widowed and remarry

Clemens’ wife Maria Catherine SCHMIT died on 17 March 1792. Her age was recorded in the death register as being 43 years old and therefore born about 1749.32 Clemens remarried a short three months later on 25 June 1792 to Magdalena WALSDORF, the widow of Guillaume MAY.33 It is not known if Clemens and Magdalena had children or when and where they died.

Wilhelm’s wife Susanne RONES died 4 November 1805 at the age of 46 years.34 The marriage was childless. On 14 April 1806, Wilhelm married a second time to Barbara WALSDORF in Tuntange.35 The relation to his brother Clemens’ wife Magdalena WALSDORF is at this time unknown. Wilhelm was 47 years old and Barbara was 32 years old when they married. She gave him fours sons from 1807-1813. Wilhelm died in Hollenfels on 21 January 183136 and Barbara died almost exactly 15 years later on 22 January 1846 in Bissen.37

It is not known if Nicolas, the oldest son of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha, and his wife Anna Maria STOLTZ had children or when and where they died. If anyone has followed this family, I would appreciate hearing about them.

As previously mentioned in Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar, Remacle was widowed on 16 February 1798.38 He was left with six motherless children: Franz (10), Catharina (7), Michel (5), Nicolas (3), Susanna (1), and Maria (1 week).

What would become of Remacle and his children? The answer will have to wait until next week.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mersch > Mariages 1717-1749 > image 36 of 58. 1739 Marriage Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9SVW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQ9%3A1500963301%2C1501079882 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 76 of 280. 1740 Baptismal Record No. 39. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9SDN?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 88 of 280. 1744 Baptismal Record No. 48 (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SKD?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 114 of 280. 1751 Baptismal Record No. 43 (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9SZM?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1749-1772 > image 7 of 100. 1751 Death Record (right page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-93ML?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQW%3A1500963301%2C1500982636 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Mersch > Mariages 1749-1772 > image 8 of 88. 1751 Marriage Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-934R?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-168%3A1500963301%2C1500969860 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  7. Ibid., Ettelbruck > Baptêmes 1640-1724 > image 225 of 229. 1723 Baptismal Record (left page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-SS65?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-YWG%3A1500939401%2C1500972808 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 41 of 280. 1728 Baptismal Record (right page, first entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SLF?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Hostert > Baptêmes 1716-1778, mariages 1728-1763, 1771-1778, sépultures 1735-1760 > image 133 of 138. 1756 Marriage Record (right page, third entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-HCZY?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-T3G%3A1501211301%2C1501309062 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  10. Maria Elisabetha WANTZ and Nicolas WELBES were married before 1768 during a period where marriages for Hostert are missing. Their first known child was on 25 February 1768.
    Ibid., Hostert > Baptêmes 1716-1778, mariages 1728-1763, 1771-1778, sépultures 1735-1760 > image 88 of 138. 1768 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-HCGT?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-T3G%3A1501211301%2C1501309062 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  11. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 134 of 280. 1753 Baptismal Record No. 320 (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SDJ?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 145 of 280. 1755 Baptismal Record No. 751. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9SZ3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  13. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 175 of 280. 1759 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-93FQ?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  14. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 195 of 280. 1761 Baptismal Record (left, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-93N1?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  15. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1717-1772 > image 174 of 280. 1758 Death Record (right page, second to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-936G?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-T38%3A1500963301%2C1500963302 : accessed 6 August 2019). 
  16. Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014692, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 75 (Mersch), image 417 of 637, No. 93, Pierre Trausch. “.” 1766 cadastre sheet of Pierre Trausch of the house called Peters. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXW-1WJR-5?i=416&cat=1152016 : accessed 16 July 2019). 
  17. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film/DGS 1781981 > Film # 8182018 > Decanat de Mersch v. 2-3 > Mersch > Image 82 of 556. Pierre Trausch household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS21-FQ86-V?i=81&cat=1184675 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  18. Luxembourg Church Records, Mersch > Sépultures 1749-1772 > image 49 of 100. 1762 Death Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-933R?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQW%3A1500963301%2C1500982636 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  19. Ibid., Mersch > Mariages 1773-1797 > image 19 of 133. 1778 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-97VW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQW%3A1500963301%2C1501025684 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  20. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement, Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 152 of 618, page 143, household no. 2. Nicolas Schmid household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-9932-S?i=151&cat=1184675 : accessed 20 July 2019). 
  21. Luxembourg Church Records, Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 42 of 274. 1779 Baptismal Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9QH3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  22. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 70 of 274. 1780 Baptismal Record (right page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9Q4F?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  23. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 97 of 274. 1782 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9Q91?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  24. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 168 of 274. 1785 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9WS4?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-W3J%3A1500963301%2C1500995236 : accessed 25 July 2019). 
  25. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 80 of 183. 1784 Death Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9QBK?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  26. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 45 of 183. 1780 Death Record (left page 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-97S2?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  27. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1675-1795 > image 53 of 61. 1693 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SBM?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-TQS%3A1500963301%2C1501073940 : accessed 11 July 2019). 
  28. Ibid., Tuntange > Mariages 1783-1796, 1808-1817 > image 7 of 30. 1785 Marriage Record (right page, top entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9WCN?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3YZ%3A1501171879%2C1501338700 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  29. Ibid., Mersch > Mariages 1773-1797 > image 69 of 133. 1786 Marriage Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-97ZM?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQW%3A1500963301%2C1501025684 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  30. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 101 of 183. 1786 Death Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9QZ5?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  31. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 52+53 of 186. 1789 Marriage Record part 1 (lower left and right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9WH2?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : 9 January 2018) and 1789 Marriage Record part 2 (upper left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9W2D?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  32. Ibid., Mersch > Sépultures 1773-1797 > image 140 of 183. 1792 Death Record (left page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-9Q2G?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-WQS%3A1500963301%2C1501042450 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  33. Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1789-1793 > image 196 of 245. 1792 Marriage Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S7C?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-C6X%3A1500963301%2C1501002482 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  34. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 978 of 1488. 1805 Death Record (13 Brumaire an XIV). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-GDV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 12 July 2019). 
  35. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 369+370 of 1488. 1806 Marriage Record part 1 (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-GJB?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 9 July 2019) and 1806 Marriage Record part 2 (both pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PMX?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  36. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 1152 of 1488. 1831 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-GYS?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 11 July 2019). 
  37. Ibid., Bissen > Naissances 1883-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1879 > image 1078 of 1490. 1846 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DR4S-7BV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-VZ9%3A129623501%2C129770001 : accessed 12 July 2019). 
  38. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record part 1 (bottom left page and right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018) and 1798 Death Record part 2 (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-645?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018). 

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

When my sixth great-grandmother Magdalena married Martin BRAUN on 19 April 1761 in the Capella of Berg in central Luxembourg she was seen as Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH. One of the two witnesses was Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH, likely her father.1 The ending of the surname was a red flag and suggested it may have been a maison dite or house name.

House Names and Surnames

What follows in this section is an extract from my blog post What’s the secret of “maison dite” or house names in Luxembourg records? published on 26 August 2017.

Until around 1500 the first name of a person was sufficient enough to identify ordinary people. When pleading someone’s case, it was done orally and normally in the presence of the person eliminating the confusion of identities.

The appearance of the first written documents however required additional distinction. Nicolas, therefore, became known as Nicolas de Steinfort (by his residence), Nicolas le Meunier (by his occupation, i.e. miller), or Nicolas le Petit (by a trait, i.e. small person).

When these extensions to the first names finally became family names transmitted from one generation to the next, they were not, for a long time, patronymic. In about half the cases, the children’s names came from the mother, as the rules of family succession in Luxembourg were based on primogeniture – the right of the oldest child inheriting the parental home without any distinction between males and females.

Luxembourg researchers are confronted with the phenomenon of maison dite or house names shared by all people living under one roof, regardless of their initial name received at birth.  At the time of the marriage, the spouse always acquired, whatever his sex, the name of the house into which he entered. Thus, each couple had only one and the same surname which was transmitted to all their children.

In the course of the eighteenth century when Luxembourg was under Austrian rule, the civil authorities imposed a contrary law, that each individual should keep his birth name – it could no longer be changed during the course of his life, notably at the time of marriage. Each legitimate child inherited his father’s surname.

During the long transition, the coexistence of the two rules and practices, totally opposite, constituted a complication which was the source of errors. The children of one and the same couple sometimes obtained different surnames. The second spouse of a widow or widower may have been known by the surname his spouse had previously taken from his first conjugal partner.

Priests were aware of the problem of the double and triple surnames of their parishioners. Some were careful to note more than one name. The different surnames of one and the same person were juxtaposed and linked together by Latin words: alias (otherwise called), vulgo (commonly called), modo (otherwise), sive and aut (or), dicta (said). Sometimes the correct connection with previous generations can be determined by useful references such as ex domo (from the house) or in domo (in the house). House names were also mentioned in the parish records using the term in aedibus (in house) followed by the name.

Our genealogical research may suffer from the rivalry of these two incompatible rules but I’m finding them very useful.

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

When her daughters Catharina BRAUN and Therese BRAUN were born in 1765 and 1766 Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH (the surname seen on her marriage record) was seen as SCHMIDT on their baptismal records. After losing her first husband Martin BRAUN in 1766, she married Michel COLLING a month later. When she had children with Michel from 1768 to 1775 she was still seen as Magdalena SCHMIDT even though their marriage record had Magdalena BRAUN as her name. The records for these events were cited in my previous post.

My theory at this point was:

  • SCHNEIDISCH, used at the time of Magdalena’s first marriage, was a maison dite or house name
  • her father must have been a SCHMIDT as she used this name when having children
  • her mother was possibly a SCHNEIDERS and likely the oldest child of a couple who went by the name SCHNEIDERS or lived in a house known as Schneidisch or Schneidesch.

Searching for records to prove the theory

Colmar was a part of the parish of Bissen in Luxembourg. As Magdalena lived in Colmar, I checked for marriages in the parish of Bissen for SCHMIDT, SCHNEIDERS, and variations of these names. This was an easy task as I have access to Luxracines‘ database (members only) for marriages prior to 1800 in Luxembourg.

The database was populated using the  Tables des mariages 1700-1798 (index organisée par l’époux/l’épouse), a card index of marriages performed in parishes of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg before 1800. The microfilm images of these cards are available on FamilySearch in their catalog. I would have had to browse the images of the index cards for Bissen if I weren’t a member of Luxracines. If you are interested in why these marriage index cards were created and by whom, please check out this post: Using the Back Door at FamilySearch for Missing Records.

I did not find a marriage for a SCHMIDT groom and a SCHNEIDERS bride. I searched for marriages in Bissen without a surname which generated a complete list of all marriages in the parish. There are no marriage records for the period from 1721 to 1749. On FamilySearch, I found marriages and deaths for the years 1721-1749 are missing for Bissen as well as baptisms from 1723 to July 1738. It is important to know when records are missing and how to find substitutes for them.

Baptismal records were used as substitutes for a marriage record

Magdalena married Martin BRAUN in 1761 which would indicate she was born 1743 or earlier, assuming she was 18 years of age or older. As a substitute for the missing marriage record for a SCHMIDT groom and a SCHNEIDERS bride, I searched for any children born to a couple with the SCHMIDT and/or SCHNEIDERS surnames. Magdalena’s estimated year of birth was used as a starting point.

As I searched the baptismal records I found there were three couples using these surnames and having children around the time Magdalena may have been born. The couples found were:

  • Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and wife Catharina
  • Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina
  • Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS

Taken out of context this would look like three couples but I will show they were only one couple.

These are the baptismal records found:

25 January 1741: Joes son of Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and his wife Catharina2
4 September 1743: Maria Magdalena daughter of Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and his wife Catharina3
23 January 1746: Henricus son of Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina4
25 July 1748: Martinus son of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS5

The children were born between 1741 and 1748. No children were found prior to 1741. As noted previously, baptismal records are only available from July 1738 for Bissen.

As seen in my previous post, Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN (daughter of Magdalena) and gave his consent to her marriage in 1786. As he was taking care of family business in 1786, I assumed he was the oldest son of the SCHMIDT-SCHNEIDERS couple I was interested in.

Proof: Philipp SCHMIDT was a son of Nicolas SCHMIDT

The 1766 census and cadastre de Marie-Thérèse confirmed my assumption. On the census, Nicolas SCHMIT, a farrier (maréchal), is seen with the following household.

1766 Luxembourg Census of Colmar in the parish of Bissen for the household of Nicolas Schmid or Schmit

In the column on the far right, there is a 2 indicating there were two married couples in the household. The couples were: Nicolas SCHMID and his wife Catherine as well as Philipp SCHMID and his wife Therese. The three young boys (all under 14 years of age) in the household were children of the second couple (baptismal records were found). Mathias WAGNER, Jean MARX, and Elisabeth FRABRITIUS were also in the household and possibly servants as the men were listed as domestics.6

One more person was in the household. Marie Catherine SCHMID, in the 14 years or older category, was born before 1752 (1766 age 14+). She was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS and would marry Clemens TRAUSCH in 1778. No baptismal record was found for her. The marriage record does not mention the names of her parents. However, baptismal records of her first two children will show the connection in my next post. (Marie Catherine was my 6th great-grandaunt and Clemens was my 5th great-granduncle.)

A section of the 1766 cadastre sheet found for Philipus Schmit mentions he was the son of his father Nicolas Schmit.

A second record was found connecting Philipp and Nicolas. Although the handwriting on the document (click on link to see the entire sheet) is hard to read, the cadastre of Marie-Thérèse dated 31 July 1766, includes the land worked by Philipp SCHMIT and mentions he lived in a building with his father Nicolas SCHMIT.7

I believe my 6th great-grandmother Magdalena was Maria Magdalena SCHNEIDERS born in 1743 to Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina SCHNEIDERS. First, this daughter was born in 1743 making her  18 years old in 1861 when Magdalena married Martin BRAUN. Second, Philipp SCHMID(T) who was found to be the son of the same couple would later be named as the guardian of Magdalena’s daughter Catherine when she married in 1786. Thirdly, there were no other SCHMIDT or SCHNEIDERS families in the area during this time period.

Going back another generation

I also searched the marriage database for SCHNEIDERS’ marriages which would point to Magdalena’s maternal grandparents, parents of Catharina SCHNEIDERS. Five marriages for persons with the SCHNEIDERS surname were found in Bissen. A groom in 1695 (from Colmar) as well as four brides: 1699 (from Bövingen), 1704 (from Colmar), 1706 (from Wiltz), and 1717 (from Colmar). The groom and the two brides from Colmar looked promising.

I first looked into the 1695 marriage of Johann Adam SCHNEIDERS and Margarita EICHHORNS. They were the parents of two children: Catherine born 13 April 1697 and Johann born 29 November 1701. At first, I thought Catherine would be a good candidate for the wife of Nicolas SCHMIDT. However she would have been 51 years old by the time the last SCHMIDT child was born in 1748 which seemed very unlikely.

I then searched for children of the two SCHNEIDERS brides who married in 1704 and 1717.

Elisabeth SCHNEIDERS married Nicolas HANSEN on 9 November 1717; a son Johann HANSEN was baptized on 21 June 1719 in Berg, a neighboring village of Colmar. No other children were found as the baptismal records are missing from 1723 to July 1738. As the couple lived in Berg and not Colmar, I considered the possibility of the Elisabeth being related but likely not the mother of Catherine who married Nicolas SCHMIDT.

On 16 November 1704, Marie SCHNEIDERS married Philipp HIRTZ.8 Baptisms were found for two children. A daughter Catharina SCHNEIDERS was born on 24 March 17119 to Philipp SCHNEIDERS and his wife Maria. A son Johann Conrad HIRTZ was born on 27 April 171710 to Philipp HIRTZ and wife Maria both of Colmar. The godmother of this child was Elisabeth SCHNEIDERS of Colmar, likely the woman who would marry Nicolas HANSEN later in the same year.

In 1719 Philipp HIRTZ was a witness at a marriage in Bissen.11 His name was written Phil. HIRTZ sive SCHNEIDISCH – his surname was linked to his house name by the Latin term sive meaning or. This shows Philipp was known by both names and most likely the father of both Catharina SCHNEIDERS and Johann Conrad HIRTZ, i.e. their parents were Philipp and Maria with the surname SCHNEIDERS being used in 1711 and HIRTZ in 1717.

The son Johann Conrad married on 10 January 1741 in Belgium.12 His marriage record indicates his father Philipp HIRTZ was deceased at the time of the marriage. Philipp died before 1741. He may have been living when his daughter Catherine named her first known child Philipp. If a baptismal record had survived for this child, I would not be surprised to see Philipp HIRTZ listed as the godfather of Philipp SCHMIDT.

A final record confirms the HIRTZ-SCHNEIDERS connection

While writing this post and reviewing the records, I noticed I’d overlooked something when reading the baptismal record of Henricus, the child of Catherine and Nicolas SCHMIDT, who was born in 1746.

1746 Baptismal Record of Henricus a son of Nicolas Schmit and Catharine Hirtz, a legitimate married couple of Colmar.

When I first read the record above, I thought the mother’s first name was at the end of the second line and continued on the third line. The priest appears to have run out of ink while making this entry. What I didn’t notice was the name in the third line was HIRTZ and not the ending of Catharine (-rine with a squiggle).

I did not plan on proving the maternal grandparents of my fifth great-grandmother Theresia BRAUN (aka COLLING) when I began to write about her and her husband Remacle TRAUSCH. The research took on a life of its own as I went through the church records of Bissen – several times!

In the fourth post of this series, Remacle TRAUSCH’s parents and siblings will be discussed.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 13 of 34. 1761 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 68 of 162. 1741 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQ52?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 79 of 162. 1743 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd enry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 93 of 162. 1746 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQZX?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 19 July 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 106 of 162. 1748 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQCT?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : 19 July 2019). 
  6. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 152 of 618, page 143, household no. 2. “.” Nicolas Schmid household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-9932-S?i=151&cat=1184675 : accessed 20 July 2019). 
  7. Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014724, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 175 (Berg, Colmar), 276 image of 676, Sheet No. 34, Philipus Schmit. 1766 cadastre sheet of Philipus Schmit with mention of father Nicolas Schmit.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSX4-B3T8-C?i=275&cat=1152016 : accessed 21 July 2019). 
  8. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 156 of 162. 1704 Marriage Record (right page, last entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQQ1?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 23 July 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 40 of 162. 1711 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQXR?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 23 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 54 of 162. 1717 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQV2?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 23 July 2019). 
  11. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Baptêmes 1685-1722, 1734-1756, confirmations 1691-1704, mariages 1692-1720, sépultures 1692-1702, 1709-1721 > image 162 of 162. 1719 Marriage Record (left page, 4th entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQ9L?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPF%3A1500938201%2C1501084258 : accessed 21 July 2019). 
  12. Paroisse de Selange, Province de Luxembourg, Belgique, Registres paroissiaux, 1665-1807 (images), FamilySearch (Microfilm produit de l’original dans Archives de l’Etat, Arlon.), Film #616783, DGS #8190977, image 273 of 396. 1741 Marriage Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSL6-HSZZ-S?i=272&cat=93009 : accessed 21 July 2019). 

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

As seen in my previous post, my fifth great-grandparents Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798) were married in the church of Bissen in Luxembourg on 4 July 1787. They had six children before Theresia died in 1798 at the age of 31 years. The youngest of the six motherless children was only 8 days old and the oldest 10 years old.

When Remacle and Theresia married, Theresia’s parents were seen as Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.

When her children were baptized her name was listed as Theresia COLLING (or variations of this name) on four of the church records. One child’s record had BRONGERS, a variation of BRAUNERS, and another had BRAUN. At the time of death, her name was given as Theresia BRAUN.

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also known as Theresia COLLING?

To answer this question I paid close attention to all names mentioned in birth, marriage, and death records of persons associated with Theresia and her family. For easier reading, I’ve used the COLLING spelling throughout this post except for one instance in which it was spelled COLLIN.

A thread woven through the records

A guardian, Franz BIWER, had signed the 1787 marriage record of Remacle and Theresia as discussed in the previous post. Franz was the godfather of Theresia and Remacle’s first child François TRAUSCH.  Franz was also described as her brother-in-law when her death was reported by him, her husband Remacle, and a neighbor in 1798.

Who was Franz BIWER?

1786 Marriage Index Card with parish register number and pages the record can be found.

A marriage was found for Franz BIWER and Catharina BRAUN, daughter of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.1 They were married on 11 December 1786 in Bissen about seven months before Remacle and Theresia were married. Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN and gave his consent to the marriage. Witnesses to the marriage were Clemens TRAUSCH and Peter COLLING, both married. Clemens TRAUSCH, the brother of Remacle, was married to Catharina SCHMIT of Colmar. Philippe SCHMIT was likely a relative of the deceased mother of the bride. This will be discussed further in my next post.

Catharina and Theresia were sisters as Franz BIWER had been named as the brother-in-law of Theresia BRAUN when she died and the names of the parents of both girls on their marriage records were the same.

The parents of Catharina and Theresia

A marriage record was found for the widower Martin BRAUN of Berg and Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar. They married 19 April 1761 in the Berg chapel in the parish of Bissen. Witnesses were Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar and Joannes CONRATH of Berg.2 The possibility of Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH being the father of the bride will be discussed in a later post.

1761 Marriage Index Card with parish register number and pages the record can be found.

Baptismal records of the parish of Bissen were searched. Only two children were found to have a father named Martin BRAUN after the marriage date in 1761. Catharina was born 11 April 17653 and Theresia was born 3 August 17664, both in Colmar. The mother on both records was listed as Magdalena SCHMIDT (spelled SCHMIT on the records).

As no other children were found, the death entries were searched. Martin BRAUN of Colmar died 17 February 1766.5 This was six months before the birth of Theresia.

Magdalena SCHMIDT, the widow remarries

A death record for Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a married woman about 40 years old, was found. She died on 22 January 1782 and was buried the following day.6 If this lady was the widow of Martin BRAUN, she must have married again.

No marriage was found for Magdalena SCHMIDT or Magdalena SCHNEIDERS in the marriage records of Bissen between 1766 and 1782.

1766 Marriage Index Card with parish register number and pages the record can be found.

A marriage was found on 19 March 1766, only a month after the death of Martin BRAUN, for Magdalena BRAUN and Michel COLLIN(G).  Witnesses to the marriage were Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar and Franz FRISCH of Leydenbach.7 Could the witness Philippe SCHMIDT likely be the same person as the guardian seen at the time of Catharina’s marriage?

The children from the second marriage

Baptismal records were found for four children born to Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT – not Magdalena BRAUN. A son Michel was born 15 February 17688, a son Nicolas on 5 November 17699, a daughter Catharina on 18 June 177210, and a daughter Elisabetha on 20 January 1775.11 The mother’s surname was spelled SCHMIT, SCHMITT, and SCHMIDT on these records.

Michel COLLING died on 8 October 1782 in Colmar.12 This was nine months after Magdalena SCHMIDT. He was in his fifties. Baptismal records are missing in Bissen for the years 1721 to 1733. His parents are at this time unknown.

Records were found for three of the four children of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT after their baptisms. Michel their first child died at the age of 23 years in 1792. His parents were listed as Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT.13

Their second son Nicolas was living in the Franz BIWER home on 25 February 1807 when Franz and Catharina’s youngest child was born. Nicolas witnessed her birth record. His age was given as 33 years although he would have been 37 at the time.14 A few months earlier he had been named as a 37 years old witness and the uncle of the bride when Catharina TRAUSCH married on 29 November 1806.15 The bride was the daughter of Theresia BRAUN and Remacle TRAUSCH. No further record has been found for Nicolas.

Their daughter Catharina who was born in 1772 produced a few more records. She had an illegitimate daughter named Maria in 1797. Maria’s birth took place in the family home and was reported by the midwife as well as Franz BIWER and a neighbor. Catharina, the mother of the child, was described as being the daughter of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a deceased married couple who had resided in a house called Braumes.16

Five years later Catharina married. There are discrepancies in the marriage record. Marie Catherine COLLING, daughter of Michel COLLING and Catherine SCHMITT, born on 18 June 1772 in Colmar married Nicolas DIDESCH, son of Philippe DIDESCH and Marie WEBER. The date of birth is a match for Catharina COLLING but this is the first time she was seen as Marie Catherine. Another error is her mother’s name which should have been Magdalena and not Catherine. Franz BIWER was one of the four witnesses on the marriage record.17 No known children were born to this marriage.

Franz BIWER, the husband of Catharina BRAUN, died in 1808 in Colmar in his residence, a house called Braumes.18 This confirms the family home was passed on to Catharina BRAUN, the oldest child of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.

Catharina COLLING’s illegitimate daughter Maria died at the age of 19 on 14 June 1817 in Colmar. The informant for her death was Nicolas DIDESCH, described as the father of the deceased. The deceased’s name was listed only as Maria, without a surname. Infant naturel (child born out of wedlock) was written just above her name.19

Nicolas DIDESCH died in 1844 and was identified as the husband of Catharina COLLING.20 Catharina died in 1853. Her death was reported by Mathias BIWER, the youngest son of FRANZ BIWER and Catharina BRAUN.21

Reviewing the findings

The noticeable reoccurrence of Franz BIWER‘s name, a thread woven through the records, led me to a hypothesis of why Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING.

  • Magdalena SCHMIDT (also known as SCHNEIDISCH) was a young girl, barely 18 years old when she married the older widowed Martin BRAUN in 1761.
  • She gave him a daughter Catharina in 1765 and was pregnant with Theresia when he died in 1766.
  • She then married Michel COLLING a month later. Catharina was only 11 months old and Theresia was born five months after her mother remarried. Michel was their step-father and only father they knew.
  • Magdalena had four children with Michel between 1768 and 1775.
  • Both Magdalena and Michel died in 1782 leaving these orphans: Catharina BRAUN (16), Theresa BRAUN (15), and their half-siblings Michel (13), Nicolas (12), and Catharina COLLING (9). No trace of the youngest half-sibling Elisabeth COLLING (7) has been found and it is possible she died before her parents.
  • The guardian of the orphans was likely Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar who was seen as the tutor or guardian of Catharina BRAUN in 1786 when she married.
  • After Catharina married, her husband Franz BIWER became the head of the family and guardian of his wife’s sister and half-siblings.
  • As the oldest child of Magdalena SCHMIDT and Martin BRAUN, Catharina and her husband lived in the house known as Braumes.
  • Nicolas COLLING, the second son of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT, was named in the 1806 marriage record of Catharina TRAUSCH as her uncle, i.e. brother of her mother Theresia BRAUN.

At this point, I was convinced Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING as she was the step-daughter of Michel COLLING and raised by him and her mother from birth.

The pieces of the puzzle fit and Franz BIWER‘s presence in the records is the glue which holds it together. Missing is a record which would prove Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH who married Martin BRAUN is the same person as Magdalena BRAUN who married Michel COLLING. Or a record showing the BRAUN girls were raised by Michel COLLING.

Proof for the hypothesis

Michel and Magdalena chose the perfect time in the history of Luxembourg to marry. In 1766 Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg including Luxembourg, Belgium, and part of the Netherlands.

1766 Census of the Village of Colmar in the Parish of Bissen with the household of Michel Colling

Michel COLLING was found in the village of Colmar in the Parish of Bissen as the head of household #7. He was a farmer. A total of eight persons were in his household including his wife Magdalena seen here with his surname COLLING and two young girls named Catherine and Therese BRAUN.22 It must be noted that on this census the married women, for the most part, were enumerated with their husband’s surname.

This 1766 census listing and the records previously mentioned are proof the daughters Magdalena SCHMIDT (also seen as SCHNEIDISCH) had with Martin BRAUN were raised by her and Michel COLLING and could explain Theresia’s using both surnames: BRAUN and COLLING.

A final piece of evidence

1811 Marriage Record of Pierre Matter and Suzanne Biwer

Theresia’s sister Catharina BRAUN was also seen with the COLLING surname when several of her children were born. As I cast the net out further, I found the 1811 marriage record23 of Catharina’s second daughter Susanna (b. 1789) which includes this statement: “le nom de Collin ayant été changé et rectifié en celui de Braun par jugement du tribunal de premier instance de l’arrondisement de Luxembourg en date du 31 January 1809“.

( the name of Collin having been changed and rectified in that of Braun by judgment of the court of first instance of the district of Luxembourg on January 31, 1809 )

Either after the death of Catharina’s husband Franz BIWER in 1808 or when their oldest daughter Marie gathered supporting documentation for her marriage in March 1809, the discrepancy in the name of the mother was noticed and had to be rectified by court order. When Susanna married in 1811 this was mentioned in the marriage record (above).

Any more questions?

At this point, I’d like to answer a question I’m sure many of you had while reading this post. Why would a widow who was three months pregnant marry so soon after the death of her husband?

When a man with small children was widowed he would usually have a relative come into the home to help with the children. If there were no relatives available he would need to have a woman live in the home. As this would not be proper, a marriage took place soon after the man was widowed.

I have always thought women did not remarry in the first year of widowhood to avoid any paternity issues in case the widow was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death. In Magdalena’s case, I believe her first husband farmed leased land of the lord of Berg in the village of Colmar. To keep the family income she married Michel COLLING who took over this lease. Evidence of this was found in the 1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse and will be discussed in a later post.

In the next post, I will explain why Theresia’s mother Magdalena was also using two surnames, SCHNEIDISCH and SCHMIDT, and how this helped me to determine who her parents and grandparents were.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Mariages 1779-1791, sépultures 1779-1791 > image 61 of 91. 1786 Marriage Record (bottom left and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q7SM?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPJ%3A1500938201%2C1501129408 : accessed 16 July 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 13 of 34. 1761 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 42 of 79. 1765 Baptismal Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-Q3K8?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 44 of 79. 1766 Baptismal Record (right, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQ3G?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 29 of 34. 1766 Death Record (right page, 7th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-QQ4S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1779-1784, mariages 1779-1784, sépultures 1779-1784 > image 43 of 68. 1782 Death Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-QQJ6?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPN%3A1500938201%2C1500938202 : 9 January 2015),. 
  7. Ibid., Bissen > Mariages 1750-1757, 1760-1778, sépultures 1751-1754, 1760-1778 > image 15 of 34. 1766 Marriage Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-QQ9S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPX%3A1500938201%2C1501112182 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 48 of 79; paroisses, Luxembourg (parishes, Luxembourg).
    . 1768 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-QQ97?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 51 of 79. 1769 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q323?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 58 of 79. 1772 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-Q35S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  11. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1756-1778, confirmations 1767, 1789 > image 63 of 79. 1775 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-Q3BH?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DP6%3A1500938201%2C1501120050 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes 1779-1784, mariages 1779-1784, sépultures 1779-1784 > image 44 of 68. 1782 Death Record (right page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-Q79W?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPN%3A1500938201%2C1500938202 : 9 January 2015). 
  13. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 159 of 186. 1792 Death Record (right page, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9457?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 20 July 2019). 
  14. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 92 of 140. 1807 Birth Record (lower left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-V5Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 26 July 2019). 
  15. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 28 of 270. 1806 Marriage Record (lower right and next page upper left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-L1X?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  16. Ibid., Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 9+10 of 140. 1797 Birth Record (3 brumaire an VI). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-JCQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  17. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 20 of 270. 1803 (19 nivôse an XI) Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-5L8?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  18. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 54 of 167. 1808 Death Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XHD?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 18 July 2019). 
  19. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 105 of 167. 1817 Death Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-5J6?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 July 2019). 
  20. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1831-1858 > image 73 of 160. 1844 Death Record No. 12. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-X23?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6F%3A129623401%2C129651101 : accessed 18 July 2019). 
  21. Ibid., Berg > Décès 1831-1858 > image 112 of 160. 1851 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XG8?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6F%3A129623401%2C129651101 : accessed 18 July 2019). 
  22. Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 153 of 618, page 144, household no. 7. Michel Colling household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-993P-7?i=152&cat=1184675 : accessed 15 July 2019). 
  23. Luxembourg Civil Records, Bourscheid > Naissances 1872-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 > image 523 of 1447. 1811 Marriage Record No. 1 (part 1) and (part 2). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR89-YH7?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-C68%3A129628601%2C129997101 and https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR8S-M5Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-C68%3A129628601%2C129997101 : accessed 28 July 2019) 

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798) were a challenge to research. When I wrote about their son Michel in 52 Ancestors: #47 Michel Trausch and Catharina Hames of Mamer, I didn’t know anything about Michel and Catharina’s parents other than the names found in their 1787 marriage record.

Remacle and Theresia, my fifth great-grandparents and my children’s sixth, were ancestors who lived in Luxembourg. As I reviewed the records I’d found prior to writing about their son, I thought this would be straightforward. However, inconsistencies were found in the story I was seeing in their records and timeline. This led to further research. With each new record, I found myself asking more questions.

I believe I am now at a point where I can tell their story – in several parts.

Part I: The marriage of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN

On  23 July 1787 the banns were published in Colmar and Mersch for the marriage between Remacle TRAUSCH, son of Peter TRAUSCH and Elisabeth CARMES, both deceased and from Mersch, and Theresia BRAUNERS, daughter of Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.

1787 Marriage Publication and Record of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUNERS

The following day Remacle and Theresia were married in Bissen. Present as witnesses were Johann SCHILTZ and Remacle’s brother Nicolas TRAUSCH. The marriage record was signed by the groom, the two witnesses, and Franz BIWER tutor. The bride could not write and left her mark.1

I would like to make four points concerning the information found in this marriage record:

  1. The name of the mother of the groom was not correct. A record will be presented to prove this in part IV.
  2. The surname of the bride and her father was a variation of the name BRAUN.
  3. Franz BIWER was not mentioned in the record, however, he signed as a guardian. He was the brother-in-law of the bride, Theresia.
  4. The groom signed his name. This will be important in later years.

The children of Remacle and Theresia

Remacle was 26 years old when he married Theresia who was only 20. She was with child when they married. Less than six months later, on 3 January 1788 around noon, Theresia gave birth to their son Franz TRAUSCH. He was baptized the same day in the church of Bissen with Franz BIWER of Colmar and Susanna KLEIN of Hollenfels as his godparents. His mother’s name on the record was Theresia COLLING.2

On 29 May 1790 at ten in the evening, Catharina TRAUSCH was born in Colmar. She was baptized the following day in Bissen. Her godparents were Catharina SCHMIT, wife of Clemens TRAUSCH of Mersch, and Nicolas SCHMIT of Colmar. Once again the mother of the child was recorded as Theresia COLLING.3

My fourth great-grandfather Michel TRAUSCH was born on 9 May 1792 at ten in the evening in Colmar. He was baptized the following day in the church in Bissen with godparents being Michel WALZING of Hollenfels and Anna Maria STOLZ, wife of Nicolas TRAUSCH of Mersch. His mother’s name was written, Theresia COLLIN.4

In May 1794 Nicolas TRAUSCH was born to Remacle and Theresia in Colmar. He was baptized in Bissen. His godparents were Nicolas MORBUS and Catharina COLLIN, both single and from Colmar. The corners of the register may have been eaten by mice and parts of the entry for this child are missing.5 In 1813-1814 when Nicolas later served in Napoleon’s army6 and in 1819 when he married his date of birth would be seen as 11 May 1794.7 The mother’s name was seen as Theresa BRONGERS. Braun is German for brown and in Luxembourgish this is brong. As the surname BRAUN was also seen as BRAUNERS, BRONGERS is likely another variation of the name.

1794 Baptismal Record of Nicolas Trausch with partly missing text.

Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 13 April 1796 at six in the evening. She was baptized the following day in the church of Bissen. Her godparents were Susanna SINNER of Berg and Matthias SCHMIT of Colmar, both single. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia CHOLLINGE.8

On 8 February 1798 at one in the afternoon the last child of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN was born in Colmar. Their daughter Maria was baptized in Bissen the following day. Her godparents were Maria NEU and Dominique MEDER were both from Ettelbrück. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia BRAUN.9

The death of Theresia BRAUN

On 16 February 1798, eight days after the birth of Maria, Theresia died at ten in the evening. Her husband Remacle TRAUSCH, her brother-in-law Franz BIWER, and a neighbor named Mathieu NICKELS reported the death of Theresia BRAUN. Remacle and Theresia were living in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume, were she died. The civil servant went with the three witnesses to the home to confirm the death of the deceased. The witnesses and the civil servant signed the death record.10

On all of the above mentioned baptismal records, Remacle TRAUSCH signed his name. The same signature as seen on his marriage record and the death record of Theresia BRAUN, further evidence his wife Theresia was known as BRAUN as well as COLLING.

I will discuss the mystery of Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia’s use of the COLLING name in my next post.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bissen > Mariages 1779-1791, sépultures 1779-1791 > image 65 of 91. 1787 Marriage Record (p.120+121). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-Q784?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-DPJ%3A1500938201%2C1501129408 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 60 of 186. 1788 Baptismal Record (right, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9WZ9?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 105 of 186. 1790 Baptismal Record (left, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9W9Z?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1785-1793 > image 146 of 186. 1792 Baptismal Record part 1 (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-94K3?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMS%3A1500938201%2C1500938228 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1794-1805, confirmations 1803 > image 6 of 219. 1794 Baptismal Record (lower left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-94PN?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMQ%3A1500938201%2C1500969294 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  6. Matricules Napoléoniens 1802-1815 (index and images), Mémoire des hommes, Registres de matricules de l’armée Napoléonienne (garde impériale et de l’infanterie de ligne) pour la période 1802-1815. (Entry point for database https://fr.geneawiki.com/index.php/Matricules_Napol%C3%A9oniens_1802-1815/Mode_op%C3%A9ratoire), Number/Source: GR 21 YC 755, 103e regiment d’infanterie de ligne,28 juillet 1813-8 janvier 1814 (matricules 9594 à 11388), Page: 128, Matricule: 10341. (https://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/fr/ark:/40699/e0052ab334d79f0f/52ab334f4505b : accessed 2019). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 467 of 1488. 1819 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PXQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  8. Luxembourg Church Records, Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1794-1805, confirmations 1803 > image 43 of 219. 1796 Baptismal Record (right bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-94ZM?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMQ%3A1500938201%2C1500969294 : 15 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Bissen > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1794-1805, confirmations 1803 > image 90 of 219. 1798 Baptismal Record (lower left and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9WRS?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-FMQ%3A1500938201%2C1500969294 : accessed 15 January 2018). 
  10. Luxembourg Civil Records, Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record part 1 (bottom left page and all of right page) and 1798 Death Record part 2 (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018).