Who Was the Ninth Heir of Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793)?

When I wrote about my fourth great-grandmother Kesiah LIVELY in 2014, I relied heavily on information quoted by another researcher from a book published by the National Association of Lively Families in 1971 for her parents and siblings.1

In Livelys of America, 1690-1968, Dr. Vallentine was able to name eight heirs of the estate of Kesiah’s father Joseph LIVELY but the ninth heir remained unknown. As I reviewed and added sources to support the claims in the post, I came across the answer to the question of who the ninth heir was.

Joseph LIVELY Dies Intestate

Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) died intestate in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1793, leaving no instructions for the division of his estate. The letters of administration were granted to his son Mark LIVELY on 22 October 1793. John HILL and William HILL were his bondsmen.2 The bondsmen were likely close relatives of Mark’s wife Mary HILL.

1793 Administrator’s Bond for the estate of Joseph LIVEY (part 1)
1793 Administrator’s Bond for the estate of Joseph LIVEY (part 2)

An inventory of Joseph’s estate was presented on 16 December 1793 by Mark. It included an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George” as well as livestock and household goods.3 The estate sale was held about 23 November 1793 per a notation in the margin of the estate accounts given on 19 August 1797 by Mark LIVELY. The accounts were ordered to be recorded on 16 October 1797.4 Documentation of the estate sale, other than the notation, was not found.

Joseph didn’t leave a will naming his wife or children. However, he owned land at the time of his death and it was dispersed among his heirs. In 1796 and 1797 nine tracts of 44 acres were sold by his heirs with 8 of the 9 heirs being identified.

I gathered the deed records as I suspected Dr. Vallentine’s work, published in 1971, was possibly based on abstracts of the deeds. The deeds may have included key information missed in the abstracts.

Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) and Mary CASH (1740-1793)

To better understand how this puzzle was solved, the backstory of Joseph LIVELY and his wife Mary CASH has to be reviewed.

Joseph LIVELY was born about 1735 likely in Goochland County, Virginia. His father Mark LIVELY was living in Albemarle County (formed in 1744 from Goochland County) in 1749 when he sold land he owned in Goochland County.5 This is the earliest known record for Mark LIVELY who died in 1752 in Albemarle County. In his will, he devised equal divisions of land “I now live on” to sons John, Joseph, and Benjamin after the death of their mother who received a life right in the land.6

Mary CASH was born about 1740 likely in Goochland County. Her father Howard CASH was living in that county in 1735 when he received a land grant in the county.7 Howard CASH left a will written on 8 February 1772 and proven on 6 October 1772. The fourth item of the will, “I give to my daughter, MARY LIVELY, a negro wench named Sarah.” The bequeath likely refers to the same enslaved person as “an old negro woman Sarah” listed in Joseph’s 1793 inventory.8

Historically, Mary and Joseph’s teen and early adult years took place during the French and Indian War (28 May 1754-10 February 1763). They likely married about 1760 or earlier as their oldest son is said to have been born on 16 June 1761.9

Amherst County was formed from Albemarle County in 1761. If a marriage record existed in Albemarle County it was most likely destroyed. All order books except the first and many loose papers for the years 1748 to 1781 were destroyed during the British general Banastre Tarleton’s raid on Charlottesville in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.10

Tax Records

The personal property tax lists for the years from 1782 until 1851 for Amherst can be found in FamilySearch‘s catalog: Personal property tax lists, 1782-1851 for Amherst County, Virginia. These helped to confirm the sons of Joseph LIVELY: Joseph Jr., Mark, John, Robert Cash, and Benjamin.

1782 PPT List for the elder Joseph Lively

In 1782, when the first personal property tax lists were taken in Virginia, Joseph LIVELY and his oldest son Joseph were on the list in Amherst County.11,12 They were not listed as Sr. and Jr. In the years after, from 1783 to 1793, when Joseph and Mary’s sons turned 16 but not yet 21 years of age, they were named in Joseph’s tax assessment.

Joseph paid taxes on land in Amherst County according to research done by Dr. Vallentine.13 The land tax records for Amherst are not available to the public on FamilySearch. According to Vallentine, Joseph paid taxes on three tracts of land: two tracts of 400 acres and a tract of 398 acres. Land deeds were found to confirm this.

Land Records

On 4 August 1777, Joseph bought 400 acres of land on Thesher’s Creek from Wiatt and Sarah POWELL.14 Joseph and his wife Mary deeded the same land to Robert CASH on 5 March 1780.15

Joseph LIVELY was granted 400 acres on both sides of Dutch Creek in Amherst County on 1 September 1782.16. He and his wife Mary sold it to William CABELL on 1 January 178717. This is the last record that mentions Joseph’s wife Mary.

The two tracts of 400 acres were acquired and subsequently sold leaving only 398 acres. There is no entry in the index of deeds for the acquisition of the land. No land grant was found in Joseph’s name. In all likelihood, the tract of 398 acres was land Joseph and Mary lived on since their marriage. A record of the final partition of Joseph LIVELY’s 398 acres of land located on Pucker’s Creek and Babb’s Creek was not found in the probate records. After his death, the land was divided into 9 tracts of circa 44 acres. Eight of Joseph’s heirs were identified by these.

Peter JOHNSON and his wife Nancy (seen as Ann in the record) deeded 44 acres to Matthew HARRIS on 15 February 1796.18 The tract is described as “formerly the property of Joseph Lively.”

Joseph LIVELY Jr. and his wife Sally, John LIVELY and his wife Clarissa, and Robert Cash LIVELY and his wife Elizabeth, all of Amherst County, deeded their (three) land tracts of 44 acres to the same Matthew HARRIS on 18 July 1796.19 The tracts were described as “being part of a larger tract formerly belonging to Joseph Lively.”

William GRIFFIN and his wife Ruth and Zachariah PETERS and his wife Kesiah sold their 44-acre shares of Joseph’s land to the same Matthew HARRIS on 21 November 1796.20 The adjoining tracts of land were described as “part of a larger tract formerly the property of Joseph Lively Decd which said tracts of Land upon an equal division with the rest of the Legatees and representatives of the said Joseph Lively decd by allotment fell to the said Ruth and Keziah containing by late Survey forty four acres each.”  

Benjamin LIVELY deeded his share of the 44 acres to his brother Mark LIVELY on 30 November 1796.21 The parcel being described as a “tract of land is part of a larger tract formerly the property of Joseph Lively Deceased and upon an Equal division with the rest of the Legatees and Representatives of the said Joseph Lively deceased the said Lott of Land No. 1 fell to the said Benjamin as his proportionable part.”

William GRIFFIN and his wife Ruth LIVELY deeded 44 acres to Mark LIVELY on 3 December  1796.22 William and Ruth had already disposed of Ruth’s share of her father’s estate the previous month. The tract going to Mark LIVELY was described as “a certain tract or parcel of Land lying and being in the said County of Amherst and on the south Branch of Ruckers Run and is part of a larger tract formerly the property of Joseph Lively Deceased containing by late Survey forty four acres which said forty four acres was allotted to Mary Lively upon an equal division with the rest of the legatees and representatives of the said Joseph Lively refference being had to a deed said Mary Lively to said Griffin will more fully appear.”

Mark LIVELY and his wife Mary sold 132 acres to William LOVING on 17 July 1797, “being part of a larger tract formerly the property of Joseph Lively deceased.”23 Mark appears to have sold his 44 acres as well as the 88 acres he acquired from siblings Benjamin and Ruth, the last being an intermediary for Mary. 

The above land transactions show that the eight known heirs were Nancy, Joseph, John, Robert Cash, Ruth, Kesiah, Benjamin, and Mark. The ninth heir to the estate of Joseph LIVELY was Mary LIVELY.

The deed for the transfer of the 44 acres from Mary LIVELY to William GRIFFIN was not found in the deed book of Amherst County. Order Books of Amherst County for March 1794 to May 1799 were missing at the time of filming. These would likely mention land deeds presented and ordered to be recorded. References to the records concerning Joseph LIVELY’s estate, the partition of the land, and the possible identity of Mary LIVELY who sold her 44 acres to GRIFFIN may be missing. A dower right was not claimed in the available records. No mention of Joseph’s wife Mary was found from 1 January 1787 when she signed with her mark until his death before 22 October 1793.

The nine heirs are also recorded in an indenture in Albemarle County. On 18 October 1796, an indenture was made and entered into by Benjamin LIVELY of Albemarle of the one part and Joseph LIVELY, Mark LIVELY, John LIVELY, Robert Cash LIVELY, Benjamin LIVELY, Peter JOHNSON, William GRIFFIN, Zachariah PETERS, and Mary LIVELY all of the county of Amherst of the second part. Benjamin LIVELY of Albemarle had paid the sum of ten pounds to Joseph LIVELY in his lifetime for “one certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Albemarle on Buck Island Creek containing by estimation one hundred and twenty six and one half acres of Land be the same more or less it being one third part of that tract of land devised by Mark B LIVELY to be equally divided between John LIVELY, Joseph LIVELY, and he the said Benjamin LIVELY.”24

The married daughters of Joseph LIVELY were not named in the indenture, instead their husbands were named and signed their names. As Mary LIVELY signed for herself, with her mark, she must not have been married.

The indenture of bargain and sale between the nine LIVELY heirs and Benjamin LIVELY was produced into court and proved as to all the said parties except Zachariah PETERS by the oaths of the three witnesses. The deed was unrecorded as a continuation was ordered as further proof was needed for PETERS.25 It was this entry in the order book that led me to find the deed in a collection of unrecorded deeds for future proofs for the years from 1785 to 1896.

Who was Mary LIVELY?

Who was Mary LIVELY? She received the same proportion of the estate of Joseph LIVELY as the other eight heirs, all known to be his children.

Assuming she was a child of Joseph and Mary, she would have been the oldest daughter living at home from the time of her sister Nancy’s marriage in 1784. If her mother died between 2 January 1787 and 22 October 1793, Mary may have been the person taking care of the youngest children of the LIVELY couple. At the time of Joseph’s death in 1793, John (26), Mary (24), Benjamin (21), and Kesiah (19) were not yet married. John and Kesiah married in August and November of 1794, a year after their father’s death. Marriages for Mary and Benjamin were not found in Amherst County, Virginia.

After the estate was settled, in the years between 1797 and 1804, the names of several of the sons and sons-in-law began to disappear from the Amherst County personal property tax lists.

☙ Joseph LIVELY went to Jefferson County, Tennessee. The first reference to him residing there was in 1815 but it is believed he had lived in the county for several years prior to this date.
☙ John LIVELY went to Anderson County, Tennessee before 1802.
☙ Peter JOHNSON (Nancy) was not on the tax lists of Anderson County, Tennessee in 1802 or 1805 but by 1818 he was documented as a resident of the county when he applied for a revolutionary war pension.
☙ William GRIFFIN (Ruth) went to an unknown part of Tennessee and then to Morgan County, Alabama.
Zachariah PETERS (Kesiah) moved to Franklin County, Virginia by 1810.
☙ Mark LIVELY remained in Amherst until about 1815 when he moved his family to Green County, Kentucky.
☙ Robert Cash LIVELY and Benjamin LIVELY have not been traced. Robert was last seen in Amherst on the PPT lists in 1798 and Benjamin in 1796.

The Tennessee counties the children of Joseph LIVELY and Mary CASH went to were searched for traces of Mary. In Jefferson County, Tennessee, a marriage was found for Mary LIVELY and Phillip SEIBER. They were married on 29 January 1802.26 Her husband was a widower with children. Mary and Phillip had three sons, Nimrod, Joseph, and Robert. Did they name their son Joseph after Mary’s father or older brother?

1802 marriage entry for Phillip and Mary

Mary and Phillip didn’t remain in Jefferson County, moving to Anderson County, Tennessee before 1830.27 It is difficult to determine when they moved there. There is no 1810 census for Tennessee and the 1820 census for roughly 20 eastern Tennessee counties supervised by the Federal Court District out of Knoxville is lost.

When Phillip SEIBER wrote his last will and testament on 11 September 1833, one of the witnesses was Peter JOHNSON.28 At the June 1848 session of court in Anderson County, the will of Phillip SEIBER was proven by the oath of Peter JOHNSON.29 Peter JOHNSON could have been Mary’s brother-in-law, husband of Nancy LIVELY.

1850 Anderson County, Tennessee census listing for Mary SEIBER and her son Joseph in a LIVELY household

Mary SEIBER and her son Joseph were living in the household of Joseph LIVELY (b. abt. 1808 TN) and his wife Mary in Anderson County, Tennessee in 1850.30 They were surrounded by other SEIBER families including Mary’s son Robert. Joseph LIVELY was the son of John LIVELY (s/o Joseph and Mary). The families were visited on 27 September 1850. Five months later Mary SEIBER was found in the household of Robert C. G. LIVELY (b. abt. 1806 NC) in Benton County, Alabama.31 The county name was changed to Calhoun in 1858. Robert was the son of Joseph LIVELY Jr. (son of Joseph and Mary). The family was visited on 26 February 1851. In both census listings, Mary was listed as age 81 and born in Virginia.

1850 Benton County, Alabama census listing for Mary SEIBER in a LIVELY household

Although questions asked on the 1850 census were supposed to refer to 1 June 1850, Asst’t Marshall Spartan ALLEN of Benton County, Alabama, may not have followed these instructions. He visited his district from November 1850 until February 1851 and likely named all persons in the household at the time of the visit instead of the enumeration date. He listed his own household last, directly after the household Mary was in.

Mary SEIBER wasn’t in two places at one time. She lived in Tennessee at the time of the census and/or the enumerator’s visit in September 1850. She then went to Alabama by the time Mr. ALLEN visited Robert C. G. LIVELY’s household on 26 February 1851.

Mary SEIBER née LIVELY was found to have close connections with several of Joseph LIVELY’s and Mary CASH’s children. She married in Jefferson County, Tennessee, the place Joseph LIVELY Jr. lived. She went with her husband and family to Anderson County before 1830 where John LIVELY and Peter JOHNSON lived. She was enumerated with two LIVELY nephews in 1850. Further, she was the stepmother-in-law of John LIVELY’s daughter Malinda who married John SEIBER, a son of Mary’s husband Philip and his first wife.

Mary’s husband Phillip was enumerated on the 1830 and 1840 census with his inferred wife Mary listed in the age range that calculates to being born about 1771 to 1780. In 1850/1851 she was listed as age 80 or born about 1769-1770. Born about 1769, Mary fits nicely in the list of the other known children of Joseph and Mary who were born between 1761 and 1774.

Closing Thoughts

Mary LIVELY who sold land that was part of the estate of Joseph LIVELY to William GRIFFIN and his wife Ruth LIVELY was the ninth heir of Joseph LIVELY as seen in the deeds. She was more likely a child than his widow. As a widow, she would have had a dower’s share of one-third of her husband’s estate and not a share equal to a child. Mary LIVELY, the ninth heir, was in all likelihood the same person as the Virginia-born Mary SEIBER née LIVELY who was closely associated with John, Joseph, and Nancy – the LIVELY siblings who went to Tennessee. Finally, DNA matches through all three of her sons have been found in clusters attributed to the LIVELY ancestral line.

© 2023, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Vallentine, John F., Livelys of America, 1690-1968, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/437427), National Association of Lively Families, 1971. 
  2. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Amherst County, Will Books, Vol 3-4, 1786-1810, Book 3, page 282-283, 22 Oct 1793, Admin Bond by Mark Lively for the estate of Joseph Lively (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007643858_00167 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  3. Ibid., Amherst County, Will Books, Vol 3-4, 1786-1810, Book 3, page 293, 16 Dec 1793, Inventory of the estate of Joseph Lively (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007643858_00172 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  4. Ibid., Amherst County, Will Books, Vol 3-4, 1786-1810, Book 3, page 450, 19 Aug 1797, Administrator’s Accounts for the estate of Joseph Lively  (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007643858_00256 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  5. “Deed books (with wills, inventories, etc.), 1728-1901; general indexes to deeds, wills, etc., 1728-1969,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/406600), citing microfilm of original records at the Goochland County Courthouse in Goochland, Virginia, Film 31655, DGS 7645026, Deed books [with wills, inventories, etc.], v. 6-8 1749-1765, image 24 of 719, Deed Book 6, pages 10-11, 15 Aug 1749 Mark Lively to William Ford Land Deed (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89P6-9K9D?i=23&cat=406600 : accessed 10 November 2022). 
  6. “Virginia, Albemarle County, Wills, 1748-1919; general index, 1748-1930,” browse-only images,  FamilySearch  (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/279536), citing microfilm of original records at the Albemarle County Courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, Film 30211, DGS 7644233, Wills and deeds, v. 1 1748-1752, image 25+27 of 306, Will Book 1, page 32-33, Last Will and Testament of Mark Lifely dated 3 Nov 1750 and proven 11 June 1752 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89PH-Z97J?i=24&cat=279536 : accessed 20 November 2022). 
  7. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Library of Virginia Archives (https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/land-grants), citing Virginia State Land Office, the collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Land Office Patents No. 16, 1735, p. 148 (Reel 14), Land grant 18 August 1735, Howard Cash grantee, 250 acres on both sides Meadow Creek of the south side of the Rivanna River in Goochland County (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990007342630205756 : accessed 12 November 2022). 
  8. “Wills (Amherst County, Virginia); index to wills, 1761-1920, 1761-1870,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/279608), citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia, Film 30274, DGS 7643857, Index to wills 1761-1920 Will books v. 1-2 1761-1786, image 377+378 of 675, Will Book 1, pages 228-231, Last Will and Testament of Howard Cash dated 8 Feb 1772 and proven 6 Oct 1772 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9P7-SGZ?i=376&cat=279608 : accessed 24 November 2022). 
  9. Vallentine, Livelys of America, 1690-1968, p. 6-7, Joseph Lively Jr. line. Sarah Lively, the widow of Joseph Jr., quoted her husband’s birth and death dates from the family Bible on an application for a bounty land warrant based on her husband’s service during the War of 1812. Vallentine’s source was the Veteran’s Pension File No. R 181730. 
  10. “Lost Records Localities: Counties and Cities with Missing Records,”  Library of Virginia (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/rn30_lostrecords.pdf : accessed 22 Nov 2014). 
  11. Virginia. Commissioner of the Revenue (Amherst County), “Personal property tax lists, 1782-1851,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/775689), citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 2024457, DGS 7846299, Personal property tax lists, 1782-1803, image 16 of 615, 1782 PPT List, page 8. line 17, Joseph Lively 1 1 27 12 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQF-23BX?i=15&cat=775689 : accessed 5 November 2022). 
  12. Ibid., image 15 of 615, 1782 PPT List, page 6. last line on the page, Joseph Lively 1 0 3 2 (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQF-232T?i=14&cat=775689 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  13. Vallentine, Livelys of America, 1690-1968
  14. “Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/282807), citing microfilm of original records at the Amherst County Courthouse in Amherst, Virginia, Film 30286, DGS 7893711, Deed books, v. D-E 1773-1785, image 238 of 617, Deed Book D, page 447-448, 4 Aug 1777, Wyatt Powell and wife Sarah to Joseph Lively 400 acres on Thresher’s Creek adjacent lands of James Smith and Pierce Wade (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4C-CNH3?cat=282807 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  15. Ibid., Film 30286, DGS 7893711, Deed books, v. D-E 1773-1785, image 404 of 617, Deed Book D, page 218-219, 6 Mar 1780, Joseph and Mary Lively to Robert Cash, 400 acres (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4C-CFFY?cat=282807 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  16. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants,” Land Office Grants G, 1782-1783, p. 185 (Reel 48), Land grant 1 September 1782, Joseph Lively, grantee. 400 acres on both sides of the Dutch Creek in Amherst County (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990007858520205756 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  17. “Deed books, 1761-1900; general indexes to deed books, 1761-1903,” Film 30287, DGS 7893712, Deed books, v. F-G 1785-1796, image 62 of 702, Deed Book F, pages 110-111, 1 Jan 1787 Joseph Lively and wife Mary to Wm Cabell, 400 acres on both sides of Dutch Creek (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4C-Q97R-K?cat=282807 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  18. Ibid., Film 30287, DGS 7893712, Deed books, v. F-G 1785-1796, image 59 of 669, Deed Book G, pages 676-677, 15 Feb 1796, Peter Johnson and his wife Ann to Matthew Harris (44 acres) (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS4C-Q9W9-R?cat=282807 : accessed 7 November 2022). 
  19. Ibid., Film 30288, DGS 8189992, Deed books, v. H-I 1796-1802 (no v. J), image 59 of 669, Deed Book H, pages 71-72, 18 Jul 1796, Joseph Lively and wife Sally, John Lively and wife Clarissa, and Robert Cash Lively and
    wife Elizabeth to Matthew Harris (3×44 acres) (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLD-13DF-2?cat=282807 : accessed 7 November 2022). 
  20. Ibid., Film 30288, DGS 8189992, Deed books, v. H-I 1796-1802 (no v. J), image 87 of 669, Deed Book H, page 126, Wm. Griffin & wife Ruth and Zach. Peters & wife Keziah to Wm. Loving two tracts of land containing 44 acres each (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLD-13D6-X?i=86&cat=282807 : accessed 4 November 2022). 
  21. Ibid., Film 30288, DGS 8189992, Deed books, v. H-I 1796-1802 (no v. J), image 116 of 669, Deed Book H, pages 185-186, 30 Nov 1796, Benjamin Lively to Mark Lively (44 acres) (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLD-13DX-H?cat=282807 : accessed 7 November 2022). 
  22. Ibid., Film 30288, DGS 8189992, Deed books, v. H-I 1796-1802 (no v. J), image 123 of 669, Deed Book H, page 198, 3 Dec 1796, Wm Griffin and his wife Ruth to Mark Lively 44 acres deeded to them by Mary Lively (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLD-13DF-1?cat=282807 : accessed 7 November 2022). 
  23. Ibid., Film 30288, DGS 8189992, Deed books, v. H-I 1796-1802 (no v. J), image 131-132 of 669, Deed Book H, page 215-216, 17 Jul 1797, Mark Lively and his wife Mary to Wm Loving 132 acres (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLD-13DJ-2?i=130&cat=282807 : accessed 7 November 2022). 
  24. “Unrecorded deeds for future proofs, 1785-1896,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1153965), citing microfilm of original records at the Albemarle County Courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, Film 1892398, DGS 7644129, Unrecorded deeds for future proofs, ca. 1785-1863, surnames K-L, images 220-222 of 1165, 18 Oct 1796, Joseph Lively’s heirs sell 126 1/2 acres of land from Joseph’s father Mark B Lively to Joseph’s brother Benjamin Lively (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99PH-TWJK?i=219&cat=1153965 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  25. “Order books, 1744-1831,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/275687), citing microfilm of original records in the Albemarle County Courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, Film 30257, DGS 8189593, Order books 1795-1801, image 191 of 719, page 331, 5 Jun 1797, an indenture of bargain and sale between (names of 9 Lively heirs) of the one part and Benjamin Lively of the other part (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLZ-P9N6-N?cat=275687 : accessed 6 November 2022). 
  26. “Tennessee, U.S., Marriage Records, 1780-2002,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1169/), citing Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN, Jefferson > 1792 Dec-1881 Jul: Marriages > image 54 of 592, page 40 (stamped), entry 400, 29 Jan 1802, Phillip Sevier and Mary Lively, married by P. Taylor, justice of the peace (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/6197701:1169 : accessed 23 November 2022). 
  27. 1830 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8058/), citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, NARA Roll M19_175, FHL Film: 0024533, Tennessee, Anderson County, page 187 (double-page spread), line 16, Philip Seber (accessed 24 November 2022). 
  28. “Tennessee, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/9176/), citing Tennessee County, District and Probate Courts, Anderson > Wills, 1830-1889 > image 215 of 728 > Will Book Apr 1847 to Dec 1852, page 57, Last Will and Testament of Philip Sieber [Seiber] (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/3563545:9176?ssrc=pt&tid=164805854&pid=102425988203 : accessed 23 November 2022). 
  29. “Court minutes, 1811-1891,” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/198766), citing microfilm of original records at the Anderson County courthouse, Minutes 1831-1856, image 400 of 742, page 255, entry 4, will of Philip Sieber [Seiber] presented, proven, and ordered to be recorded at the June 1848 Session of Court (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSJD-VQQ4?i=399&cat=198766 : accessed 23 November 2022). 
  30. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_869, Tennessee, Anderson County, Subdivision 16, sheet 39A, 27 Sep 1850, household 546-546, lines 24-28, Joseph Lively (accessed 24 November 2022). 
  31. Ibid., Roll: M432_1, Alabama, Benton County, Subdivision 29, sheet 391B, 26 Feb 1851, household 872-873, lines 4-13, R.C.G. Lively (accessed 24 November 2022). 

What’s in a Name? Getting Gordon ROOP’s Name Right

While writing up last week’s post The Roop Boy Who Died Twice, I found another correction that needs to be highlighted.

Some people might consider this nitpicking. However, I would like to get this error corrected. I know that hundreds of family trees on the internet have this error and it is unlikely that it will disappear. But at least I can try to show why I made this minor correction to my database – changing the name of my 3rd great-grandfather from Gordon H. ROOP to Gordon ROOP.

A More Intense Focus on the Sources

Gordon ROOP was born in about 1838. This was before they began recording birth information in Virginia.1 There is no known family Bible.

The 1850 census

The first written document with his name was the 1850 census of Floyd County, Virginia. He was in the household of his parents James ROOP and Elizabeth CARROLL.2

In 1850 Gordon’s name was on the census for the first time.

An 1856 marriage record

On 10 March 1856, Gordon ROOP married Emaline LESTER. My 60-year-old 5th great-grandfather Rev. Owen SUMNER was the person who filled out the blank certificate after performing the marriage ceremony. His handwriting leaves much to be desired. The loop in the letter d is not closed. A comparison with other words on the page show it is a lowercase D. His first name is written Gorden and there is no middle initial.3

Name of the groom on the marriage record of Gorden Roop and Emaline Lester.

His children’s birth records

Gordon and Emaline were the parents of three children. Entries in the county register of births were found for Dollie in 1857 (father Gorden ROOP)4 and for John in 1859 (father Gordon ROOP).5

Name of father on the birth register entry for Dollie E. Roop.
Name of father on the birth register entry for John T. Roop. The first name is Gordon. The clerk ended many words with a swirl up and over the last letter. This is not a lowercase d.

A birth record for the youngest son Gordon Washington ROOP born in 1862 has not been found.

The 1860 census

By 1860 Gordon, Emaline, and their two children were found on the census.6

Gordon Roop on the 1860 census.

The Civil War documents

In 1861 Gordon didn’t wait to be drafted and enlisted in Jacksonville on 10 September 1861. An index card and a bundle of six cards were found. His name was spelled Gordon ROOP or Gorden ROOP and always without an initial.7,8

Index Card
Card 1 of 5
Card 2 of 5
Card 3 of 5
Card 4 of 5
Card 5 of 5

His children’s marriage records

When Dollie married in 1873 Gordon ROOP was listed as her father in the entry in the marriage register.9

Gordon ROOP’s name from the marriage record of Dollie and Giles

In 1876 when John married, his father was listed as Gordon ROOP in the register.10

Gordon ROOP’s name from the marriage record of John and Ardelia

In 1880 Gordon’s youngest son Gordon Washington ROOP married. On the marriage license with the minister’s return, his parents are listed as Gordon & Emaline.11

Gordon ROOP’s name from the marriage record of Gordon W. and Milla

Also in 1880, Gordon’s son John married a second time. The father’s name was spelled Gorden.12

Gorden and E. (Emaline) Roop were listed as the parents of John on his 1880 entry in the marriage register.

John married a third time in Raleigh County, West Virginia, in 1889. The information in the entry didn’t include the names of the parents.13

Gordon W. ROOP married a second time in 1894. The Kanawha County marriage register didn’t include a field for the names of parents.14

His children’s death records

In 1902 when his son John died, the entry in the register of death named Gordon ROOP as his father.15

Gordon Roop’s name on the death register entry of his son John T. Roop

In January 1930 my great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP was the informant for the death of his father Gordon Washington ROOP. Walter gave Ham ROOP as the name of his grandfather.16 This is plainly an error as Hamilton N. “Ham” ROOP (1853-1918) was Gordon W.’s uncle, his father’s younger brother. Hamilton was not yet 9 years old when Gordon W. ROOP was born.

The last surviving child of Gordon ROOP was his daughter Dollie. She died in 1937 in Raleigh County, West Virginia. The names of her parents were not known by the person filling out the certificate of death. No informant’s name was given.17

Obituaries were not found for Gordon’s three children.

Garten H. ROOP in an abstract

“Garten H. ROOP” was found in an abstract from The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, the source for the above collection of Civil War soldiers. It was determined that the information came from Jeffrey C. Weaver’s 54th Virginia Infantry as this book is part of the series and the only one dealing with the regiment named.

Weaver used the service records of the soldiers and supplemented the information with other sources, including family and county histories, cemetery records, county records, pension lists, pension application files, and PWR (post-war rosters or records).18

I didn’t know how the information in the book was presented until I received a photo of the book page with the ROOP entries. The information in the compilation could only be used to help with the search for the actual records.

The entry for “Garten H. ROOP” as seen in Weaver’s 54th Virginia Infantry

Gordon ROOP’s enlistment on 10 September 1861 and his presence on 1 January 1862 are correct and were supported by the carded records. The 1860 Floyd County census information is correct. His date and place of death are partially correct. He died in Cassville in Flewellen Hospital. This is a very important fact that was misconstrued. The name of the hospital was listed as his cause of death.

What about these scenarios?

As seen in all of the above, no record was found with a middle initial or middle name for Gordon ROOP. Only one record was found to have a different name for Gordon ROOP. The name Ham ROOP for Gordon W. ROOP’s father on his death record is obviously a mistake. We have no birth record but his father’s name was seen as Gordon ROOP on his marriage record. Is it possible that someone assumed Gordon ROOP’s middle name was Ham and gave him the middle initial H.?

Or did Mr. Weaver view the 1880 marriage record of Gordon W. ROOP and Milla Susan PETERS and interpret the |& (vertical line and ampersand) as an H.?

Gordon ROOP’s name from the marriage record of Gordon W. and Milla

In Weaver’s compilation, Garten is clearly a mistake. Further, the entry in the book and the abstract cannot be deemed reliable considering all of the records found for Gordon and his children. There are no trees with Garten as his name. The middle initial and not the first name Garten is where my problem lies. Someone’s misinterpretation of the handwriting on a record may have been the culprit that caused my third great-grandfather Gordon ROOP to be named Gordon H. ROOP.

All instances of Gordon H. ROOP have been changed to Gordon ROOP in the posts on this blog (and there were quite a few). While examining the “source of the source” for his name (with a middle initial) and reviewing all known records that he was named in, I found that there were no records to support a middle initial and all records showed that his name was Gordon ROOP.

© 2023, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Virginia passed a law requiring counties to record births in 1853.  Further information on https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/How_to_Find_Virginia_Birth_Records. 
  2. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943, Virginia, Floyd County, sheet 445A, household 938-938, lines 5-16, James Roop (accessed 17 October 2014). 
  3. Rena Worthen & Barbara Reininger (co-project), “Index to Marriages of Floyd County, Virginia 1831-1940 (and few others too),” index and images, part of the Floyd County, Virginia, The USGenWeb Project online https://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/floyd.htm, citing the images of Floyd Co., VA marriages downloaded by Rena Worthen from the Library of Virginia Microform indexed by Barbara Reininger, Marriage License of Gordon Roop age 18 and Emeline Lester age 20 married 10 Mar 1856. (http://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/Mar%20FCVA1856/FCVA1856RoopLester.jpg : accessed 2 March 2020). 
  4. “Virginia, U.S., Birth Registers, 1853-1911,” (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/418338:62153), citing Virginia, Birth Registers, 1853–1911at the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., Floyd County Register of Births 1857, page 49 (stamped), line 34, 24 Feb 1857, Doll__ E. Roop, female, white, Gorden Roop and Emaline Roop, informant E R, mother (image 509 of 599). (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/417852:62153 : accessed 3 January 2023). 
  5. Ibid., Floyd County Register of Births, page 4 (stamped), line 43, 6 Mar 1859, John R. Roop, male, white, Gordon Roop and Emaline Roop, informant E R, mother (image 473 of 599). (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/416365:62153 : accessed 13 October 2022). 
  6. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1345, Family History Library Film: 805345, Virginia, Floyd County, page 101, sheet 535 (handwritten), lines 33-36, household 723-680, Gordon Roop (accessed 26 February 2011). 
  7. “Index to compiled service records of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Virginia,” index and images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/publication/872/civil-war-service-index-cmsr-confederate-virginia), NARA Series M382 (62 rolls), citing United States Adjutant General’s Office, The National Archives, Washington, D.C., General Index Card, Gorden Roop, Company A, Fifty-fourth Infantry, enlistment rank Private, discharge rank Private. (https://www.fold3.com/image/307677383 : accessed 12 February 2014). 
  8. “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia,” database with images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/publication/42/civil-war-service-records-cmsr-confederate-virginia), citing The National Archives, NARA microfilm publication M324, Company A, Fifty-fourth Infantry, Gorden Roop/Gordon Roop, page 1 through 5 (https://www.fold3.com/image/12913722 and 4 subsequent images : accessed 12 February 2014). 
  9. Worthen and Reininger, Index to Marriages of Floyd County, Virginia 1831-1940, FCVA1873_0087, Marriage License and Minister’s Return of Marriage dated 7 Nov 1873 for the marriage of Giles Sumner of Dolly E. Roop. (https://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/Mar%20FCVA1873/FCVA18730087.jpg
    accessed 11 January 2023). 
  10. “Virginia, U.S., Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/62154/), citing Virginia, Marriage Registers, 1853–1935 at the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., Floyd County Register of Marriages 1876, page 119, line 84, 11 November 1876, John T. Roop and Ardelia E. Waitman (accessed 6 June 2022). 
  11. Worthen and Reininger, Index to Marriages of Floyd County, Virginia 1831-1940, FCVA1879_0137, register 3, page 61, Marriage License dated 29 Dec 1879 and Minister’s Return of Marriage dated 1 Jan 1880 for Gordon Washington Roop and Milla Susan Peters (https://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/Mar%20FCVA1879/FCVA18790137.jpg : accessed 11 January 2023). 
  12. “Virginia, U.S., Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” Montgomery County, 1880, Register of Marriages, page 239, line 37, 18 May, Jno Thos Roop, 23, divorced, b. Floyd to Gordon & E Roop, Va. Tomlinson, 24, single b. Rockbridge to Jas. & N. Tomlinson, married by J. L. Weaver. (https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/288387:62154 : accessed 11 January 2023. 
  13. “Marriages, 1890-1969; marriage index, 1850-1969,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/93137), citing microfilm of original records at the Raleigh County courthouse, Film 598428, DGS 7499395, Marriage index, v. 1-2 1850-1937, image 93 of 651, Register of Marriages, page 45, line 11, 9 Mar 1889, Jno T Roop, 30 yrs 3 days, born Floyd, Ellawiser Burgess, 33 yrs, born Roanoke, res. of Raleigh, married by Jas. P. Thompson. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Z5-FP17?i=92&cat=93137 : accessed 13 January 2023). 
  14. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (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 https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 521720, image 432, West Virginia, Kanawha County Register of Marriages 1894, page 350-351 (stamped), line 276, 25 Aug 1894, Gordon W. Roop and Nancy E. Johnson, citing Kanawha County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/521720/00432.jpg : accessed 14 March 2022). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 598425, image 298, West Virginia, Raleigh County Register of Deaths, page 81, entry 56, Jno F Roop (sic), age 46 y 6 m 5 d, 11 Sep 1902, citing Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/598425/00298.jpg : accessed 7 March 2022). Age at death: 46y 6m 5d, calculates to date of birth: 6 March 1856. This is off by exactly 3 years. 
  16. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1953605, image 484, Certificate of Death, State File No. 465, Gordon W. Roop, 30 January 1930, citing Kanawha City, Kanawha County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1953605/0000484.gif: accessed 2 February 2022). 
  17. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1983330, image 883, West Virginia Standard Certificate of Death 18364, Mrs. Dollie Sumner, 14 December 1837, citing Clear Creek, Raleigh County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1983330/0000883.gif : accessed 16 January 2007). 
  18. Weaver Jeffrey C and G. L Sherwood. 54th Virginia Infantry. 2nd ed. H.E. Howard 1993. 

Updates on the Family of William Wood and Mary Ann McGraw

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reviewing the sources for my fourth great-grandparents William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW. The posts written in 2014 were updated with source citations and shared on social media on July 24 and 31. However, readers who follow by email don’t receive notifications of changes to posts.

While reviewing and adding sources, I try not to make significant changes to the original posts. Short update notices were added to correct small mistakes.

Some corrections and additional information need to be discussed in depth for the family of William WOOD (1777-1835) and Mary Ann McGRAW (1781-bet. 1836-1840).

Correcting a death estimate

In many GEDCOM files Mary Ann McGRAW’s date and place of death are seen as about 1845 in Nicholas County. I believe this to be incorrect. Due to changing county lines, the land owned by her deceased husband William WOOD was originally in Monroe County, fell to Nicholas County when it was formed in 1818, and then to Fayette County when formed in 1831.

In my early research into the WOOD-McGRAW couple, I found Ann WOODS (age 40 to 49) in Nicholas County on the 1840 census with a male age under 5 and a female age 5 to 9.1 At the time, I thought this might be Mary Ann with unknown younger children. However, as new records came to light, I dismissed this possibility.

Personal property tax lists (PPT) were searched in Nicholas County for WOOD and WOODS. Two distinct groups were found:

◉ William WOOD and his sons were in Nicholas County until the formation of Fayette County.

◉ Stephen, John, and Zachariah WOODS were in Nicholas County at the same time as the WOOD men and remained in Nicholas County from 1831.

Dates of visits on the PPT list also indicate the men with the surnames WOOD and WOODS didn’t live in the same area. In 1833, and only in 1833, Ann WOODS was listed.2 Would this be the same person as seen in the 1840 census?

From the PPT list, it is clear that William, his brothers Bailey and James, and his sons Enoch and Elijah lived in an area of Nicholas County that became Fayette County in 1831.

All 1840 census records for William and Mary Ann’s children were checked. None of the households include an older woman. Nor was Mary Ann listed as the head of a household in 1840.

Mary Ann McGRAW wasn’t living in Nicholas County when she died. She was not found on tax lists or census in 1840 or later.

I went looking for more records to fill in the timeline…

Court minutes

New collections have been added online in the last two years at FamilySearch including court minutes, land deeds, and tax records.

The will books of West Virginia counties have been online and searchable for quite some time. In this collection, there was no will for William WOOD but his estate was appraised and a bill of sale drawn up. Would the court minutes reveal records ordered to be recorded other than the appraisal and bill of sale?

While searching the index of the court minutes for the administrator’s bond entry for the estate of the deceased William WOOD, I found several other entries of interest.

On 18 August 1835, Elijah WOOD and Amos WOOD, sons of the deceased, entered into a bond for the letters of administration of the estate of William WOOD.3

On 15 September 1835, the appraisement bill of the estate of William WOOD, deceased, was presented in court, inspected, and ordered to be recorded.4 Another entry made the same day was more revealing.5

On motion of Amos Wood it is ordered that Miles Manser, James B. Westlake, Thomas McVay, Jacob Kious, and Joseph Paxton or any two of them do lay off and assign to Mary Wood her dower in the lands of her late husband Wm Wood deceased in this county and make report to this court.

Several months later, at a court held on 19 January 1836 Mary’s dower rights to the land were assigned. The entry included a description of the land tract.6

An assignment of the dower of Mary Wood in the lands of her late husband William Wood was this day returned and is as follows Pursuant to an order of the county court of Fayette made at the Sept Term of said court 1835) We the undersigned did go upon the land of William Wood deceased and at the request of Mary Wood wife of Wm Wood deceased we laid of her right of dower of a tract of land containing fifty acres at the lower end including the house and other buildings which is bounded as follows To wit Beginning at a poplar near the Road corner to the original survey and with a call there of N°45W 100 poles to two white oaks and maple in a flat beginning corner of said survey thence with an other call there of S°1W75 poles to two white oaks corner to same thence through the survey N°87 1/2 E75 poles to the beginning containing 16 acres and 88 poles given under our hands this 19th of November 1835.
Jacob Kious
Thomas McVey
Whereupon the same is established as the dower of the said Mary Wood in the lands of her late husband William Wood decd and it is ordered that the Mary Wood hold the said land assigned her as aforesaid as and for her dower.

At the same session of court, Elijah WOOD was assigned guardianship of his younger siblings Bailey and Mary Ann.7

The court doth assign Elijah Wood Guardian of Bailey Wood and Mary Ann Wood Children of William Wood deceased who together with J B Hamilton & John Young his securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $200 conditioned according to law.

As of 19 January 1836 Mary Ann McGRAW, widow of William WOOD, had the right to occupy the dwelling place and live off the land. While her older children were married and on their own, she cared for two underage children, Bailey and Mary Ann, who were legally under the guardianship of their older brother Elijah.

No mention was found in the court minutes of Mary Ann McGRAW aka Mary WOOD’s death.

Land deeds

Assuming that her children would divide up the land or sell their interests after their mother’s death, I searched the land deeds of Fayette County.

The grantor index of Fayette County was checked for the children’s names for the years from William’s death until the mid-1840s.

On 15 July 1841 Enoch WOOD and his wife Margaret, Elijah WOOD and his wife Rachel, Bailey WOOD and his wife Lucinda, and Martin HESS and his wife Mary sold their interest in the 50 acres tract to their brother Amos WOOD.8

On 12 August 1841 Margaret and her husband Thomas WITHROW sold Margaret’s interest in the 50 acres tract to her brother Amos WOOD.9

Mary Ann McGRAW appears to have died after 19 January 1836 and before 15 July 1841 when the first of her children gave up their interest in their father’s land.

More questions came up

Question #1

The land deeds account for all of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW’s children except for the son Allen. Was Allen WOOD not their child? A quick review of the records showed that Amos WOOD appointed his brothers Elijah and Allen WOOD executors of his last will and testament dated 24 May 1845.10 This doesn’t explain why Allen’s interest in William’s estate isn’t documented but it shows that Allen, Elijah, and Amos were brothers and therefore Allen was a son of William WOOD and his wife Mary Ann McGRAW.

Question #2

The first land deed brings up a discrepancy in the timeline. On 15 July 1841, the date the deed was dated, it was explained to the wives apart from their husbands. They acknowledged that they had signed the deed under their own free will and not by threat or promise of reward. The deed was presented to the court and ordered to be recorded on 11 March 1842.

Martin HESS and Mary Ann WOOD were married by John JOHNSON on 1 October 1841.11 How could they be named as husband and wife in a land deed dated 15 July 1841? Is the date recorded by John JOHNSON not correct? Did they backdate the deeds to the time their mother died?

Question #3

In January 1836 Bailey WOOD was underage and in need of a guardian. In 1840 he was old enough to have his own household on the census.12 He was enumerated in the 20 thru 29 years range. Also in his household were two young ladies. The elder was in the same age range as Bailey. The younger, age 15 thru 19, could only be his sister Mary Ann who would marry Martin HESS on 1 October 1841.

No trace of Bailey had been found after the 1840 census. As I looked further in the court minutes, I found that Elijah WOOD was appointed administrator of Bailey WOOD Jr.’s estate on 10 November 1842.13 He was considered Jr. as his uncle Bailey WOOD was still living.

With this entry, I learned that Bailey WOOD had died by 10 November 1842. From the land deed dated 15 July 1841, I discovered that he had a wife named Lucinda. This was new information. They likely married before the 1840 census and the woman in the 20 thru 29 years range could be Lucinda.

I searched the West Virginia marriages. No marriage between Bailey WOOD and a lady named Lucinda was found. Marriage records for the 1840s are known to be missing in Fayette County. Could this be one of them?

A marriage between Lucinda WOOD and Archibald PARRISH took place in Fayette County on 4 July 1843. The record is a minister’s entry and includes no further information.14

I have many WOOD individuals from this area in my database. Until now, I had not come across a woman named Lucinda WOOD. Could she have been the widow of Bailey WOOD?

In 1850 A. P. Parrish, a blacksmith, was enumerated with his wife Lucinda and their three children: Median age 5, James age 3, and E. J. (female) 5 months. Lucinda was born in Vermont.15 As none of the WOOD individuals in the area at the time were born in Vermont, I suspect she was a widow, i.e. possibly the widow of Bailey WOOD. The husband and wife were both 33 in 1850, born about 1817. Lucinda’s age would have been 23 in 1840 and a match for the woman in the household of Bailey WOOD.

Interestingly, Archibald and Lucinda were living only two households away from Bailey’s brother Elijah WOOD in 1850.

Rabbit Hole

The marriage of Archibald PARRISH and Lucinda WOOD on 4 July 1843 sent me down a rabbit hole.

To prove/disprove this Lucinda WOOD was the widow of Bailey WOOD, I needed to follow her trail. And what a trail it was.

The PARRISH families have ties to many families in my family tree. I haven’t researched them to the extent that all persons with the surname PARRISH in the Fayette County area have been connected in my database.

I had information on one of the earliest family groups. William PARRISH died about the same time as William WOOD leaving a will that was ordered to be recorded at the September court term of 1835. He named children Joshua, Archibald, William, Nicholas, Rachel (Burton), Susan (Coleman), Polly (Coleman), and Nancy (Arthur).16

A man named Archibald PARRISH lived in Fayette County in 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. He was not, however, listed with a wife named Lucinda. His age during those years places his birth between 1804-1810. He would be the son of William PARRISH.

A. P. PARRISH with a wife named Lucinda on the 1850 census of Fayette County couldn’t be Archibald, son of William. He was likely the son of one of William’s sons. But I will leave it to PARRISH researchers to figure out this relationship.

I followed Lucinda’s family to Linn County, Missouri, in 1860 and to the neighboring Sullivan County, Missouri, in 1870 and 1880.17,18,19

Archibald and Lucinda had two children who survived them. A death record for the son James H. PARRISH was not found. The 1924 death record of daughter Isabelle PARRISH (seen as E. J. in 1850) showed her mother was Lucinda WITHERELL.20

From 1860 to 1880 the census listings indicated that Lucinda was born in Massachusetts. Further, in the 1900 and 1910 censuses, Isabelle’s mother (Lucinda) was noted as being born in Massachusetts.21,22 The place of birth isn’t Vermont as seen on the 1850 census but the names of the husband and children match those in the censuses from 1860 to 1880. Only the 1920 census has the places of birth for Isabelle (Missouri instead of Virginia or West Virginia), her mother Lucinda (Ohio instead of Massachusetts), and her father (Kentucky instead of Virginia or West Virginia) that conflict with the earlier records.23

WITHERELL is not a name found in Fayette County but it is a common surname in Vermont and Massachusetts. How did Lucinda WITHERELL, born in Massachusetts (or Vermont), come to be in Fayette County as early as 1843 when she married Archibald PARRISH?

Bottom Line

Although I was very tempted to burrow deeper into the PARRISH rabbit hole, I forced myself to keep on track with things that need more attention. These are the corrections and additions I’ve made to the family of William WOOD and Mary Ann McGRAW.

William WOOD died shortly before 18 August 1835 when his sons filed an administrator’s bond for his estate. I had previously listed his death at about September 1835 when his estate was appraised.

His widow Mary Ann McGRAW most likely died after 19 January 1836 when her dower right to the land of her deceased husband was assigned and before 15 July 1841 when the first of her children sold their interest in this land. Her place of death was presumably Fayette County. I had previously listed her death as being between 1840 and 1850.

Bailey WOOD, son of William and Mary Ann, married a young woman named Lucinda, likely before the 1840 census. He died shortly before 10 November 1842 when his brother Elijah filed an administrator’s bond for his estate and motioned for the personal estate to be appraised. It had not been known that he was married before finding the land deed mentioning his wife Lucinda.

Looking forward to hearing from descendants…

© 2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 571; Family History Library Film: 0029690; Nicholas, Virginia; Page: 3; Ann Woods. 
  2. “Personal property tax lists, 1818-1850,” (browse-only images), Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue (Nicholas County), FamilySearch, microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia. Personal property tax lists, 1818-1850, 19 March 1833, Ann Woods, 1 0 0 0 tax 0 cents. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKJ-W9JB-P?cat=637422 : accessed 8 August 2022). 
  3. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” browse-only images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County, West Virginia courthouse., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 12 of 470, August Term 1835, 18 Aug 1835, page 11, 3rd entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9J7-H?i=11&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  4. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 17 of 470, September Term 1835, 15 Sep 1835, page 20, first entry, appraisement bill of the estate of William Wood presented and ordered to be recorded. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FQ-Z?i=16&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  5. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 16 of 470, September Term 1835, 15 Sep 1835, page 19, 3rd entry, Amos Wood’s motion to assign Mary Wood her dower in the land of her deceased husband William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FW-X?i=15&cat=100698 : accessed 31 July 2022). 
  6. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 34-35, Mary Wood’s dower rights. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  7. Ibid., Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 24 of 470, January Term 1836, 19 Jan 1836, page 35, Elijah assigned as guardian of young Bailey and Mary Ann Wood, children of William Wood. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9FB-T?i=23&cat=100698 : accessed 23 July 2022). 
  8. Fayette County (West Virginia), Clerk of the County Court, “Deed book, 1831-1902; deed book index, 1831-1951” (database with images), <i>FamilySearch</i>, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1969, citing microfilm of original records at the Fayette County courthouse, Film 583734, DGS 8152866, image141 of 419, Deed book, v. C 1839-1841, pages 255-256, 15 July 1841, Enoch Wood and wife Margaret, Elijah and wife Rachel, Bailey and wife Lucinda, and Martin Hess and wife Mary to Amos Wood, 50 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-FSR4-3?i=140&cat=100754 : accessed 9 August 2022) This is the 50 acres from Mary Ann McGraw’s dower rights. 
  9. Ibid., Film 583734, DGS 8152866, image 150 of 419, Deed book, v. C 1839-1841, page 274, 11 Aug 1841, Thomas Withrow and wife Margaret to Amos Wood, 50 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSKV-FSRN-3?i=149&cat=100754 : accessed 9 August 2022) This is the 50 acres from Mary Ann McGraw’s dower rights. 
  10. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” database with images, FamilySearch, digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia, Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 224 of 292 > page 66-67, Last Will and Testament of Amos Wood dated 24 May 1845, proven June term 1845. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-58322-39?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 9 August 2022). 
  11. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (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 https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 201, page 23, entry 3, Martin Hess and Mary A Wood, 1 Oct 1841, married by John Johnson. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00201.jpg : accessed 30 July 2022). 
  12. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 704_555; FHL Film: 0029685, Virginia, Fayette County, page 149, line 5, Bailey Wood (accessed 30 July 2014). 
  13. “Court minutes and order books, 1837-1928,” Film 585502, DGS 8613652, Minute books, v. 1-2 1837-1848, image 287 of 470, November Term 1842, 10 Nov 1842, page 521, 1st and 2n entry, Amos and Elijah Wood, bond for letters of administration and appraisers of estate of Bailey Wood Jr. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C34C-T9KW-6?i=286&cat=100698 : accessed 31July 2022). 
  14. WVCulture.org, West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584764, image 206, 4 Jul 1843 Archibald Parish and Lucinda Wood married by W. Carnafix. (http://images.wvculture.org/584764/00206.jpg : accessed 10 August 2022). 
  15. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/), citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: 943, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, sheet 337A (stamped), household 92-92, lines 6-10, A.P. Parrish (accessed 3 April 2022). 
  16. “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 33 of 292 > Will Book 1 page 42, 5 Oct 1831 Last Will and Testament of William Parrish, proven Fayette County Court Sept. Term 1835 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-C9SQ-75?cc=1909099&wc=Q816-MG7%3A179689901%2C179689902 : accessed 10 August 2022) 
  17. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7667/), citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_630; Family History Library Film: 803630; Township 57 Range 20, Linn, Missouri; Page: 693; Arch Parish household. 
  18. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7163/), citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_823; Duncan, Sullivan, Missouri; Page: 189A; Archibold Parish household. 
  19. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i> (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6742/), citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 738; Scottsville, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 199; Page: 178B; Archibald Parish household. 
  20. “Missouri Death Certificates, 1910 – 1971,” database with images, Missouri Digital Heritage, citing original data: Missouri Death Certificates, Missouri State Archives; Sullivan, 1924, Certificate of Death 30822, Isabelle Bagwell  (https://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1924/1924_00033784.PDF). 
  21. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7602/), citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, Roll: 905; FHL microfilm: 1240905; Polk, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 0161; Page: 14; Leonard Creason household. 
  22. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7884/), citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_826; FHL microfilm: 1374839; Polk, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 0172; Page: 22A; Leonard Creason household. 
  23. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6061/), citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_964; Milan Ward 3, Sullivan, Missouri; Enumeration District: 175; Page: 20B; Leonard Creason household. 

Susie Ingram vs I. L. Ingram – 1904 Divorce

My 2nd great-grandfather Irvin Lewis INGRAM (1846-1910) was married twice. During his marriages, seven children were born. DNA has proven that his first two daughters from his first marriage to my 2nd great-grandmother Mary M. DEMPSEY were his biological children. Their third daughter’s birth was reported by her father I. L. INGRAM in March 1871.1 She likely died after the 1880 census as no other records were found.

The four other children were born after Mary’s death and during the time Irvin was married to Octavia Susan ALIFF. Irvin married Susie on 11 February 1888.2 Their first daughter was born in 1889, 17 months after the marriage took place.3 Descendants of three of her eight children had their DNA tested and are in common with matches whose MRCA (most recent common ancestors) are Robert INGRAM and Huldah JOHNSON, the parents of Irvin.

The next three children that Susie gave birth to were born in 1897, 1901, and 1904. The son born in 1897 was registered as Irvin’s son.4 Birth records for the daughter born in 1901 and the son in 1904 were not found. When the daughter died in 1918 Samuel Russell WALK was the informant on her certificate of death and gave his own name as her father.5 The delayed birth certificates of the two sons created in 1952 and 1958 both identify their father as Samuel Russell WALK.6,7

While revising my 2014 post on Irvin Lewis INGRAM, I checked it against the information in my GEDCOM file. As I moved old source citations out of his notes into the source citation window, I found a task I had not followed through on.

The divorce of Irvin Lewis INGRAM and Octava Susan ALIFF was recorded at Fayette County courthouse on 15 December 1904. This fact was not supported by a document and I failed to note who gave me this information.

Per the FamilySearch catalog, divorce records for Fayette County, West Virginia, are included in the Chancery orders.  I searched the Chancery orders, 1832-1927 for a record dated 15 December 1904 and found the missing record.8

Susie Ingram vs I. L. Ingram

Chancery orders, 1832-1927, Vol. 8, page 316, 15 December 1904, Susie Ingram vs I L Ingram in chancery

In Chancery
Susie Ingram vs I. L. Ingram
This cause came on this day to be heard when the plaintiff’s bill and its exhibits, upon the answer of the defendant thereto and general replication to said answered when the depositions on behalf of the plaintiff and defendant when consideration of which the court is of the opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief prayed for in her said bill. It is therefore adjudged, ordered, and decreed that the marriage heretofore celebrated between plaintiff Susie Ingram and defendant I. L. Ingram be, and the same is hereby dissolved and the said Susie Ingram and I. L. Ingram, be, and they are hereby divorced from each other from the bonds of matrimony.

I thought the entry for the suit would have more details about the divorce. It seems not. Susie was the plaintiff which means she was the one to file for the divorce.

How long had the divorce proceedings been going on? Are chancery records filed in Fayette County Court? Have they been filmed or digitized? Will they be available online?

By the time the marriage was dissolved on 15 December 1904, Susie’s son Joseph was nearly 8 weeks old, Mary Ann was 3 years old, Julian was 7 years old, and Ocie Ola was 15 years old. Wouldn’t the children be mentioned in records presented in chancery when the suit was filed?

If the records of the children can be believed, Irvin and his second wife Susie were living a troubled marriage long before they were divorced in 1904. Samuel Russell WALKER, the man Susie married after her divorce from Irvin, was documented as the father of Julian, Mary Ann, Joseph, and an unnamed daughter born after they married in 1905.

One record at a time, I’m learning about my ancestors. It’s always been this way but some records tell more and some leave me with more questions.

And, yes, I am still checking DNA matches for the possibility that Susie’s sons may have been INGRAMs and not WALKs.

© 2022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. West Virginia Vital Research Records Project (database and images), West Virginia Division of Culture and History, citing county records in county courthouses, West Virginia (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 https://archive.wvculture.org/vrr), West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584755, image 32, Fayette, West Virginia, Register of Births 1871, line 83, March 1871, Harriet Ingram, citing Loop Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00032.jpg : accessed 25 January 2022). 
  2. Ibid., West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, FHL microfilm 584765, image 166, Fayette County, West Virginia, Clerk’s Certificate and Marriage License, page 288 (stamped), Irvin Lewis Ingram (widower) and Susan Octava Holstin (widow), citing Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Vrginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584765/00166.jpg : accessed 22 January 2022). 
  3. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584755, image 223, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Births, page 208-209 (stamped), line 185, 8 Feb 1889, Ociola Ingram, citing Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/584755/00223.jpg : accessed 5 February 2022). 
  4. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 584761, image 504, West Virginia, Fayette County Register of Births, page 406-407 (stamped), 4th entry, 9 Jul 1897, ___ Ingram (Julian Lee writing in above), citing Star, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=584761&ImageNumber=504 : accessed 10 February 2022). 
  5. Ibid., West Virginia Deaths, 1804-1999, FHL microfilm 1952762, image 175, West Virginia, Standard Certificate of Death, Registered No. 9428, 9 July 1918, Mary Ann Walk, citing Dorothy, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/1952762/0000175.gif : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  6. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 4835009, image 1431, Delayed Certificate of Birth, 47395, Julian Lee Walk, 9 Jul 1898, subscribed 25 January 1952, citing Red Star, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/4835009/01431.jpg : accessed 10 February 2022). 
  7. Ibid., West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, FHL microfilm 4017263, image 272, Delayed Certificate of Birth, 6516, Joseph Walk, 22 Oct 1904, subscribed 12 Aug 1958, citing Coal Run, Fayette County, West Virginia. (http://images.wvculture.org/4017263/00272.jpg : accessed 9 February 2022). 
  8. West Virginia. Circuit Court (Fayette County), Chancery orders, 1832-1927, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of originals at the county courthouse, Fayetteville, Film 1738697, DGS 7617580, Vols. 8-11 1904-1910 (v. 8 from p. 280 & v. 11 to p. 275) > image 23 of 836 > Vol. 8 page 316, 15 December 1904, Susie Ingram vs I L Ingram in chancery. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99V1-FHJC?i=22&cat=441399 : accessed 9 February 2022). 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missing or non-accessible documentation

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

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

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

Bistumarchiv and Kreisarchiv

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

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

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

Moving on to US research

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

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

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

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

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

The Ancestors: Pierre Fournelle of Rodange, Luxembourg, and Jeanne Neu of Athus, Belgium

On 14 February 1743 my sixth great-grandfather Henri NEU died in Athus, today a part of the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. He left a widow, my sixth great-grandmother, Madeleine (Magdelaine) BACLESSE and six known daughters. Three of the daughters were already married and the other three would marry by the next decade.

One marriage documented in four countries

Eleven days later, on 25 February 1743, in Herserange, today a part of the départment Meurthe-et-Moselle in France, lettres de mariage or permission of marriage was given to Pierre FOURNEL (later seen as FOURNELLE), son of Jean FOURNEL, a farmer domiciled in Rodange, and Jeanne BERQUIN, to be married in Aubange to Jeanne NEU, daughter of Henri NEU of Athus and Magdelaine BACLESSE.1:

In the church register of Aubange, the parish to which Athus was attached, we find the death/burial entry for Henri NEU.2, 3 Here is a rough translation of the French record:

The year 1743 on the fourteenth of February died in Athus Henry Neu aged around sixty he was married to Magdalaine Baclesse His body was buried in the cemetery of the place with the ordinary ceremonies. D. Lambinet, parish priest

The marriage entry for Henri’s daughter Jeanne to Pierre FURNEL (a variation of FOURNEL and FOURNELLE) is recorded below the death entry.

The year 1743 the twenty-fifth of February Pierre Furnel son of Jean Furnel and Jeanne Berquin his father and mother of Rodange parish of Herserange and Jeanne Neu daughter of defunct Henry Neu and Magdalaine Baclesse of Athus after the publication of a bann made in the church of Herserange and that of Aubange at the time that they were obtained in the court of Trier, the exemption from the three banns on the date of February 23 before me, not finding any impediment, given the letter of intent of the governor of the said Herserange was solemnized in public in front of the church in the presence of the witnesses who signed or marked with the spouses.

Pierre Fournelle, the groom, signed his name
Jeanne Neu, the bride, left her mark
Jean Fournelle, the father of the groom, left his mark
Nicolas Berquin, the maternal uncle of the groom, left his mark
Henri Reuter, the brother-in-law of the bride, signed his name
Jean Henrion, the brother-in-law of the bride, signed his name
Philippe Seylen signed his name
D. Lambinet, curé or parish priest, signed his name

Usually, banns were read on three Sundays in the parish churches of the bride and groom before the marriage. When Pierre and Jeanne married an exception was made and the banns were read only once, two days before the marriage. This dispense was granted by the diocese of Trier. The records for this marriage are located in places in four different countries: Trier, Germany; Rodange, Luxembourg; Herserange, France; and Aubange, Belgium.

Why the special treatment?

What might be the reason for the accelerated procedure for the marriage of Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU? Could it be the death of Jeanne’s father? Pierre’s father Jean FOURNEL was an elder synodal or member of the church council (ancien sinodal). Did he use his position to hasten the marriage procedure? The bride and groom were likely already well known to each other as Rodange and Athus are today separated only by the border between Luxembourg and Belgium and are a few kilometers from each other. The marriage may have been rushed due to pregnancy but this doesn’t seem too likely as a child was born eleven months into the marriage.

The FOURNELLE family in Rodange

Pierre and Jeanne made their home in Rodange where they earned their livings by farming. They had seven sons and a daughter born between 1744 and 1763, all in Rodange, Luxembourg. The children were baptized in the parish of Herserange, today in France.

After reading the history of the church of Rodange, I believe it’s likely that the children were baptized in the chapel of Rodange by the chaplain of Saulnes who was responsible for both branch villages in the parish of Herserange. The chapel of Rodange was built in 1677, had a consecrated altar in 1714, and was in good condition in 1737. Rodange received their own chaplain by decree in 1766.4

Jacques FOURNELLE (1744-1817)

The first child of Pierre and Jeanne was a son they named Jacques. He was born and baptized on 26 January 1744. His godparents were his paternal uncle Jacques FOURNELLE of Rodange and his maternal aunt Barbe NEU of Athus.5 Jacques married Marguerite SCHMIT (bef. 1747-1797) on 20 February 1770 in Rodange.6 They were the parents of eleven children. Eight of these died as infants between the ages of 0-6 years. Two more may have also died at a young age as no marriage or death records have been found. Only one child, their son Jacques, married and continued the line. Jacques died on 29 January 1817 in an unknown place. He was buried in Rodange the following day.7 He had been a widower for 20 years.

Jean FOURNELLE (1746-1818)

The second child of Pierre and Jeanne was born on 6 January 1746. The child was baptized on 8 January 1746 and named Jean. His godparents were Jean TOQUES and his maternal aunt Catherine NEU, both of Athus.8 At the age of 40, Jean married Agnès ALZIN (abt. 1758-1836) on 5 October 1786 in Rodange.9 They were the parents of 10 children. Five died in infancy, three have not been traced, and two continued the line. Jean died at the age of 72 years in Rodange on 12 April 1818.10 His wife outlived him by 18 years.

Pierre FOURNELLE (1748-1816)

Pierre and Jeanne’s third child was my 4th great-grandfather Pierre. He was born on 12 December 1748 and baptized the following day. His godparents were Pierre FRANCQ and his maternal aunt Elisabeth NEU, both of Athus.11 Pierre was 34 years old when he married Marianne SCHMIT (1760-1824) on 1 April 1783 in Rodange.12 She was a dozen years younger than Pierre. They were the parents of 10 children. Their firstborn died at the age of 16 months. One son has not been traced after his birth. Eight children married and seven continued the line. Pierre died suddenly in Soleuvre about a dozen kilometers from his home in Rodange on 17 October 1816 at the age of 67.13 He was buried on the 19th.14 His wife was the informant on his civil death record. Marianne died nearly eight years later.

Pierre and Marianne’s story can be read here: 52 Ancestors: #40 The Fournelle-Schmit Family of Rodange

Henri FOURNELLE (1751-1837)

The fourth child of Pierre and Jeanne was born on 10 September 1751. He was baptized the following day and named Henri. His godparents were his maternal uncle by marriage, Henri DE CHEVE of Rodange and Jeanne BOULANGER, wife of Joseph KEMP, of Sonne.15 Henri married Catherine GLOUTIN (1757-1923) on 25 November 1779 in Rodange.16 They were the parents of eleven children. No information has been found on three of the children after their baptism. Three children died young. The remaining five children married and four of them continued the line. Henri had been a widower for fourteen years when he died on 8 November 1837 in Rodange.17

Philippe FOURNELLE (1754-1827)

Philippe, the 5th son of Pierre and Jeanne, was born in Rodange and baptized on 22 July 1754. His godparents were his maternal uncle by marriage, Philippe MICHEL, husband of Barbe NEU, and Catherine GRANRY, wife of Dominique FELTEN.18 Philippe married Marie Julienne MATHIEU on 27 December 1787 in Halanzy, Province de Luxembourg, Belgium.19 They were the parents of nine children. Four of these married and continued the line. A son died at the age of one month. Four daughters have not been traced after their baptisms and may have also died young. Philippe died at the age of 73 years on 24 December 1827 in Rodange.20 His widow was still living four years later when their youngest child married.21

Marie Jeanne FOURNELLE (1757-1813)

The sixth child and only daughter of Pierre and Jeanne was Marie Jeanne baptized on 7 March 1757. Her godfather was Pierre FONTAINE of Rodange; her godmother was Jeanne LADURELLE of Rodange.22 Marie Jeanne married Laurent THIRION (1752-1817) in Rodange on 10 February 1782.23 Their first child was born in Rodange and died two and a half months later.24 They lived in Laurent’s birthplace, Mont-Saint-Martin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, from before 1792 until their deaths in 1813 and 1817. Three children born between 1792 and 1799 were found. Gaps between the births of all known children suggest several still need to be found. Marie Jeanne died on 15 April 1813 in Mont-Saint-Martin.25

Michel FOURNELLE (1760-aft. 1788)

Michel the second to last child of Pierre and Jeanne was baptized on 13 October 1760. His godparents were Michel GERVAIS and Marie DOMANGE.26 Michel was the godfather of three of his siblings’ children. On 9 October 1788, a few days before his 28th birthday, Michel signed his name to the baptismal record of Marie, the daughter of his brother Jean.27 No marriage or death record has been found for him after this date.

Philippe Christophe FOURNELLE (1763-aft. 1792)

The youngest child of Pierre and Jeanne was their son Philippe Christophe born and baptized on 21 October 1763. His godfather was a priest named Philippe Christophe SCHMIT and his godmother was Susanne SCHMIT, wife of Nicolas ETTINGER.28 Philippe Christophe was the godfather of two of his siblings’ children. On 20 February 1792 became the godfather of a PHILIPPART child.29 He was 28 years old. No marriage or death record has been found for him after this date.

The death of Pierre Fournelle

Pierre FOURNELLE died less than two years after the birth of his youngest child. Pierre was 45 years old when he died on 23 July 1765. This is not consistent with the age calculated from his 1713 baptismal record. Pierre was nearly 52 years old, 7 years older than stated in his death/burial entry in the church register. A farmer, he died in Rodange and was buried the next day in the Rodange cemetery.30

Jeanne was left with eight children between the ages of 19 months and 21 years. For the next five years, her older sons likely helped her with the farm.

A farmer for Baron d’HUART

In the records of the census of hearths found in dwellings in the Duchy of Luxembourg for taxation purposes, Jeanne NEU, the widow of Pierre FOURNELLE, was enumerated as a farmer in Rodange in 1770.31 The family lived in a house on the farm and cultivated nearly five and a half acres of land.

Our ancestors did not use the same weights and measures as we do today. The measurement on the cadastre for land was 160 verges de 16 pieds de Saint-Lambert or 1 jour. Information on old surface measurements was found online.32 I used them to calculate the amount of land Jeanne farmed in acres.

1 Jour = 160 Verges de 16 pieds de Saint-Lambert (measurement of reference on the cadastre)
1 Verge carrée de 16 pieds de Saint-Lambert=21,80 m²
160 Verges = 3,488 m²
6.25 jour = 21,800 m² = 5.39 acres

The cadastre or land register sheet with the different categories of land and their use. The declarants on the land register were not necessarily the owners.

Jeanne cultivated 5 and a half jour = 19.184 m² = 4.74 acres of arable land planting in three cycles. The first season she planted rye, the second oats, and the third the field lay fallow to allow it to become more fertile. She tended a garden of half a jour = 1,744 m² = 0.43 acres. A meadow of a quarter jour = 872 m² = 0.22 acres produced 750 bales of hay. She also had the use of a communal pasture.

The death of Jeanne NEU

Jeanne died on 9 March 1783 less than a month before her son Pierre married. She was buried the following day in the cemetery of Rodange in the presence of witnesses including her son Henri FOURNELLE and her son-in-law Laurent THIRION who signed her burial record. Per this record, she was 60 years old. This cannot be confirmed as her baptismal record has not been found. The record included interesting information about her occupation. Jeanne was a fermière (farmer) for the Baron d’HUART.33

1783 Death and Burial Record for Jeanne Neu, widow of Pierre Fournelle. Image courtesy of FamilySearch

Baron Jean-François-Henri-Gérard d’HUART, known as Baron Henri d’HUART, died 1 January 1781 two years before Jeanne.34 His son Charles-Elisabeth-François, known as Charles, inherited the forges of Lasauvage and Herserange and was likely the owner of the land in Rodange that was farmed by Jeanne NEU at the time of her death.

My 5th great-grandmother Jeanne NEU worked the land for eighteen years following the death of her husband Pierre FOURNELLE, raising her family of eight to become fine members of the community.

In 1795 at the beginning of the French rule in Luxembourg, the church of Rodange was desecrated and closed. An upright man stood up to save what could be saved. Jeanne’s oldest son, Jacques FOURNELLE, bought the church furniture for 6 francs in a public auction on 23 January 1800. He later gave back the altar, communion bench, and pews to the church.35

This article completes the series on the FOURNELLE family from the 1600s to 2005 when my maternal grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE died. The complete list of FOURNELLE articles can be found in The FOURNELLE Book.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Pierre FOURNELLE
Parents: Jean FOURNEL and Jeanne BERKIN
Spouse: Jeanne NEU
Parents of spouse: Henri NEU and Madeleine BACLESSE
Whereabouts: Rodange and Athus
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandparents

1. Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU
2. Pierre FOURNELLE and Marianne SCHMIT
3. André FOURNELLE and Marie Catherine PHILIPPART
4. André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
5. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
6. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
7. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
8. Catherine Ann “Cathy” DEMPSEY and Living MEDER
9. Our children

A change of plans

With this post, I’ve completed half of my maternal fifth great-grandparents. Next week, I’d like to talk to you about why the second half are being put on hold.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archives.cg54.fr/), Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 200 of 328. New terms of use: En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation. 1743 Pierre Fournelle and Jeanne Neu marriage record (left page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f070323 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  2. Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, 1618-1868, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse d’Aubange (Luxembourg) > Film #619924 DGS #007944121 > Baptêmes 1729-1783 Mariages 1729-1776 Sépultures 1729-1776 > Image 342 of 605. 1743 Death Record – age about 60 years (right, middle). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZV-FS5T-F?i=341&cat=74664 : accessed 26 November 2017). 
  3. Ibid., Paroisse d’Aubange (Luxembourg) > Film #619924 DGS #007944121 > Baptêmes 1729-1783 Mariages 1729-1776 Sépultures 1729-1776 > Image 342+343 of 605. 1743 Marriage Record, part 1 (right, bottom). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZV-FS5T-F?i=341&cat=74664 : accessed 26 November 2017) and Marriage Record, part 2 (left, top). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZV-FS55-K?i=342&cat=74664 : accessed 26 November 2017). 
  4. Geschichte. In: T’Hémecht. Die kirchlichen Kunstdenkmäler des Dekanats Esch, 1 April 1957, p. 124. [Digitised by the National Library of Luxembourg, https://persist.lu/ark:70795/cm0nrp2xp/pages/126/articles/DTL1191%5D&#160;
  5. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 187 of 328. 1744 Baptismal Record (left page, 1st full entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f067fe6 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  6. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 6 of 102. 1770 Marriage Record (page 4, bottom entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-3NZG?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W32%3A1501084779%2C1501084780 : accessed 25 December 2019). 
  7. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (citing original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), GV.MF 122; GV.MF 166, Rodange, KB 10, image 61 of 63 . 1817 Death/Burial Entry. (https://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/rodingen/KB-02-10/?pg=61 : accessed 2 November 2021). 
  8. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 491 of 529. 1746 Baptismal Record (left page, 1st entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53808b424f : accessed 3 September 2020). 
  9. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 58 of 108. 1786 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3FYM?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 26 November 2017). 
  10. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1199 of 1497. 1818 Death Record No. 67. Note: His wife was the informant but her name and age were omitted. She did not sign and a remark was included about her not being able to write. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12304-174226-37?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed 22 August 2013). 
  11. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 179 of 328. 1748 Baptismal Record (top, right). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f063157 : accessed 24 November 2017). 
  12. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 35 of 108. 1783 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32463-14058-91?cc=2037955 : accessed 13 November 2015). 
  13. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1190 of 1497. 1816 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-1045-93?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LZB:n289380544 : accessed 23 March 2010). 
  14. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg, GV.MF 122; GV.MF 166, Rodange, KB 10, image 61 of 63. 1816 Death/Burial Entry. (https://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/rodingen/KB-02-10/?pg=61 : accessed 2 November 2021). 
  15. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 154 of 328. 1751 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f050c9d : accessed 3 September 2020). 
  16. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 6 of 108. 1779 Marriage Record (right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-3F56?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 26 November 2017). 
  17. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1343 of 1497. 1837 Death Record No. 24. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-3304-1?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed 30 March 2010). 
  18. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 138 of 328. 1754 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f048b6b : accessed 3 September 2020). 
  19. Belgique, Luxembourg, Church Records, Paroisse de Halanzy (Luxembourg) > Baptêmes 1658-1803 Mariages 1682-1803 Sépultures 1674-1803 > image 317 of 615. “.” 1787 Marriage Record (right page, top).(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLF-KH5B?i=316&cat=80875 : accessed 14 November 2021). 
  20. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1268 of 1497. 1827 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12304-173693-14?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed 30 March 2010). 
  21. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 558 of 1497. 1831 Marriage Record No. 3; online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-3-52?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed ‎29 Mar ‎2010. 
  22. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 115 of 328. 1757 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f03be8d : accessed 5 September 2020). 
  23. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 29 of 108. 1782 Marriage Record (left, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-3NMF?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : 9 January 2015). 
  24. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 37 of 108. 1783 Death Record (4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3F1J?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 26 November 2017). 
  25. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Mont-Saint-Martin > 1793-1832 > 5 Mi 382/R 3 > image 250 of 695. 1813 Death Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10eb9defa/54aebba08fc0f : accessed 4 November 2020). 
  26. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 92 of 328. 1760 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f03087c : accessed 5 September 2020). 
  27. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 54 of 102. 1788 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3FGV?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W32%3A1501084779%2C1501084780 : accessed 5 Novembr 2020). 
  28. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange > 1743-1791 > 5 Mi 259/R 3 > image 74 of 328. 1763 Baptismal Record (left page, bottom entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3ebca/54b536f0278ad : accessed 5 September 2020). 
  29. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 95 of 108. 1792 Baptismal Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-3F68?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : acessed 26 November 2017). 
  30. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle, Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 416 of 529. 1765 Death Record (left page, 1st complete entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538087141a : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  31. Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in Archives de l’Etat, Luxembourg. Censuses of hearths found in dwellings in the Duchy of Luxembourg for taxation purposes), Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, Film 2271568, DGS 8014687, liasse 60 (Rodange, La Madeleine), images 273 and 274 of 689. No. 17 Janne Neye veuve de Pierre Fournelle laboureuse demeurante à Rodange.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSX4-K96W-9?i=273&cat=1152016 : accessed 25 February 2019). 
  32. Ernest Gravy, Comment comptaient nos ancêtres, published in 1989. (http://www.patrimoinepreslois.be/ernest-gravy-et-le-patrimoine-preslois-asbl/dossiers/comment-comptaient-nos-ancetres : accessed 15 November 2021) 
  33. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 37 of 108. 1783 Death Record (right page, first entry). Note: age at death 60 years. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3F1J?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 14 November 2015). 
  34. Jules Mersch, Biographie nationale du pays de Luxembourg Les barons d’Huart, (Biographie nationale du pays de Luxembourg ; vol. 9, fasc. 17), p. 232, 247. 
  35. Gremling, Ferd. “Pfarrei Rodange Im Werden Und Wachsen.” Fête Du 150e Anniversaire De La Paroisse: 1808-1958 / Paroisse Rodange, published 1958, p. 31. 

The Ancestors: Jean Schmit of Hautcharage and Eva Ducker of Differdange

On 6 November 1756 Joannes SCHMIT of Oberkerschen (also known as Hautcharage) married Eva DUCKER of Differdingen (also known as Differdange).1 No other information was given in the three short lines written in the Obercorn parish register. Differdange at the time belonged to the Obercorn parish.

1756 Marriage Entry in the Obercorn parish register. Courtesy of FamilySearch.

Time for a little Latin lesson

The word Octobris (or October) was marked out and corrected with 9bris in the marriage entry above. Nine does not designate the number of the month, but rather the name of the month in Latin when September, October, November, and December were the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months. Nine was novem in Latin, making 9bris the month November, and not September the 9th month as we know it today. The suffix -bris or -ber indicates the number is to be spoken and pronounced as the standard names.

While searching for records, if you are using dates abstracted by someone who unknowingly assumed the number referred to the month as we number them today, this is likely what may be tripping you up. If you cannot find a record abstracted as July, it may be dated 7ber or September.

The children of Jean and Eva

Jean and Eva, my 5th great-grandparents, made their home in Niedercorn, a village in the parish of Obercorn. Their seven known children were born in Niedercorn and baptized in Obercorn.

Nicolaus SCHMIT (1756-?)

Jean and Eva cut it close when they married. Their first child, a son, was born less than a month after their marriage. Nicolaus was born and baptized on 1 December 1756. His godparents were Rdus (Reverendus or reverend) Dominicus SCHMIT of Oberkerschen and Catherine DÜCKER of Rodange, formerly of Differdange.2 No further record was found for this child.

Franciscus SCHMIT (1758-1814)

The second child of Jean and Eva was baptized on 27 September 1758. His godparents were Franciscus SCHMIT and Maria SCHMIT, both of Niedercorn.3 Franciscus was married twice. He married(1) Elisabeth KETTENMEYERS on 8 January 1788.4 Elisabeth gave birth to two children5,6 before dying on New Year’s Eve in 1792.7 Franciscus married(2) Magdalena NOEL on 20 November 1793.8 They had at least two sons, one born in 17959 and a second in 1804.10 Franciscus died on 7 April 1814 at the age of 55.11 Magdalena died on 8 November 1820 at the age of 63.12

Marianne SCHMIT (1760-1824)

The first daughter and third child of Jean and Eva was my 4th great-grandmother Marianne SCHMIT. She was born and baptized on 21 December 1760. Her godparents were Frederico SCHAUS of Niederkorn and Maria DECKEN (a variation of DUCKER) of Differdange. Her baptismal name was Maria.13 Later, when she married, had children, and died her name was seen as Marianne. She married Pierre FOURNELLE (1748-1816) on 1 April 1783.14 Marianne was 22 and Pierre was 34. They were the parents of ten children. Their oldest lived only a little more than a year. Eight of the nine children married. One son has not been traced after his baptism in 1791. Marianne’s husband Pierre died on 17 October 1816 at the age of 67.15 Marianne died on 14 Jun 1824 at the age of 63.16 More about this family can be read here: 52 Ancestors: #40 The Fournelle-Schmit Family of Rodange.

Jean SCHMIT (1762-aft. 1821)

The fourth child of Jean and Eva, Jean was born and baptized on 19 Sep 1762. His godparents were Jean REDING from Reding and Margaritha THILTGES from Niedercorn.17 He married Françoise MARTIN on 6 February 1792 in Rodange.18 Jean was 29 and Françoise, a widow, was 50. Witnesses to the marriage were the bride Françoise’s father Jean TONNELIER (he was her step-father) and her son Pierre VAUDOIS, and the groom Jean’s brother François SCHMIT, and his brother-in-law Pierre FOURNELLE. Jean TONNELIER had married Françoise’s mother Angélique MUSQUIN following the death of his wife Catherine DUCKER. Catherine was the sister of Jean’s mother Eva. Therefore Jean TONNELIER was Jean’s uncle by marriage and became his step-father-in-law. Jean and Françoise likely didn’t have children due to her age at the time of the marriage. Françoise was 79 years old when she died in Thil, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, on 29 October 1821 at the home of her husband Jean SCHMIT.19 A death record after 29 October 1821 was not found in Thil for Jean.

Marie SCHMIT (1765-aft. 29 Nov 1803)

Jean and Eva’s 2nd daughter and 5th child, Marie was born and baptized on 30 March 1765. Her godparents were Peter LIPPERT and Maria SAMPSON, both of Niedercorn.20 Marie married Antoine MAUER on 10 February 1789 in Obercorn.21 They were the parents of five children born between 1789-1803. No trace of this couple or their children was found after the birth of their last known child and only daughter Maria on 29 November 1803.22

Magdalena SCHMIT (1766-1785)

The third daughter and 6th child, Magdalena was born and baptized on 14 October 1766. Her godparents were Michael LORANG and Magdalena DECKES (a variation of DUCKER), both of Niedercorn.23 Magdalena never married. She died on 17 May 1785 at the age of 18 while visiting or living with her sister Marianne in Rodange. Her brother-in-law Pierre FOURNELLE was present at her funeral and signed the burial notice.24

Susanne SCHMIT (1769-1819)

Jean and Eva’s youngest child was a daughter Susanne born and baptized on 5 March 1769. Her godparents were Michael GRUND and Susanna BASSENDORF.25 Susanne was likely the mother of a natural child born and baptized on 22 October 1789 in Rodange. The child was named Angelique SCHMIT. Her godparents were her uncle Pierre FOURNELLE and Angélique MUSQUIN, wife of Jean TONNELIER (her mother Eva’s brother-in-law).26 By elimination, only Susanne could have been the mother. Angelique died at the age of two months on 2 January 1790. The entry in the parish records for her death and burial does not name her parents. The death was witnessed by her godfather/uncle.27 Five years later, Susanne married Joseph PHILIPPART on 23 January 1795 in Rodange.28 Joseph was the brother of my 5th great-grandfather Jacques PHILIPPART. Susanne and Joseph were 25 and 30 when they married. They were the parents of six children born between 1796-1809. Susanne died on 17 September 1819 at the age of 50.29 Her husband Joseph died at the age of 63 on 19 January 1828.30

Death on Wedding Anniversary

The marriage of Jean SCHMIT and Eva DUCKER lasted exactly 21 years. Jean died on their anniversary, 6 November 1777 in Niedercorn. He was buried the following day in the cemetery of Obercorn.31 He was a sexagenarian at the time of his death, i.e. born before 1717.

Eva, 50 years old, was left with two sons and four daughters aged between 9 and 19 years.

Eva died fourteen years later on 18 March 1792 in Niedercorn. She was buried the following day in the cemetery of Niedercorn. Her oldest son Franciscus was a witness who signed the death/burial record. Her funeral was said by J. B. NEUERS of the parish of Obercorn, the same priest who had celebrated her husband’s funeral.32 Eva had lived to see four of her children marry. Two children predeceased her.

Research Manager

Jean SCHMIT and Eva DUCKER’s names were found in the 1783 marriage record of my 4th great-grandparents Marianne SCHMIT and Pierre FOURNELLE. When I wrote about Marianne and Pierre in December 2017, I mentioned the family book for the village of Obercorn.33

Eva’s parents were Peter DUCKER, formerly of Mamer, and Maria SCHMIT of Niedercorn, They raised their family of eight children in Differdange. While Eva’s parents and siblings were found and documented with the help of information found in the family book of Obercorn, a few questions remain.

As Eva’s mother and husband shared the SCHMIT surname, were they related? Who were the parents of Jean SCHMIT from Oberkerschen or Hautcharage?

SCHMIT is the number one most common family name in Luxembourg. Without any finding aids, it’s nearly impossible to research a person named Jean SCHMIT or John SMITH.

Baptismal records for Hautcharage are available from 1713-1793 on FamilySearch and Matricula. Marriages and burials are not available until 1779. Marriages before 1779 can be inferred from the baptismal records of the children of married couples.

Jean SCHMIT died in 1777 and was a sexagenarian, i.e. born before 1717. There were two SCHMITT men in Hautcharage having children with their wives around the time Jean SCHMIT was born: Henricus and Jacobus. A third man Joannes who used the surnames MERCIENIUS, SCHMITT, and MORITZ at the time of three daughters’ baptisms is also a candidate.34 More records than the baptismal entries of the children of these three SCHMITT men will be needed to prove if any of them were the father of Jean SCHMIT of Oberkerschen.

This research will be saved for another day. The subjects of my next post will be Marianne SCHMIT’s parents-in-law Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Jean SCHMIT of Hautcharage
Parents: Unknown at this time
Spouse: Eva DUCKER of Differdange
Parents of spouse: Peter DUCKER and Marie SCHMIT
Whereabouts: Niedercorn, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandparents

1. Jean SCHMIT and Eva DUCKER
2. Marianne SCHMIT and Pierre FOURNELLE
3. André FOURNELLE and Marie Catherine PHILIPPART
4. André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
5. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
6. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
7. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
8. Catherine Ann “Cathy” DEMPSEY and Living MEDER
9. Our children

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Obercorn > Mariages 1727-1770, sépultures 1727-1737, 1740-1778 > image 68 of 96. 1756 Marriage Record (left page, 7th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9T2?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-44M%3A1500974001%2C1501083590 : accessed 9 July 2021). 
  2. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 45 of 103. 1756 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9ZCS?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 48 of 103. 1758 Baptismal Record (left page, 9th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9ZRD?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  4. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 240 of 407. 1788 Marriage Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9HYH?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  5. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 257 of 407. 1789 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9HR1?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  6. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 324 of 407. 1791 Baptismal Record (left page, entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9H2Z?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  7. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 371 of 407. 1792 Death Record (left page, first entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9ZFG?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  8. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 385 of 407. 1793 Marriage Record (left page and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9894?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  9. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 110 of 296. 1795 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SCB?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  10. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Differdange > Naissances 1796-1806 > image 37 of 166. 1804 (12 Prairial An XII) Birth Record (right page).
    (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6LVQ-XRG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-JWG%3A129627401%2C130102702 : accessed 5 November 2021). 
  11. Ibid., Differdange > Décès 1813-1858 > image 29 of 591. 1814 Death Record No. 46. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X1T-D6?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-GP6%3A129627401%2C129627402 : accessed 5 November 2021). 
  12. Ibid., Differdange > Décès 1813-1858 > image 103 of 591. 1820 Death Record No. 31. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X19-9PY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-GP6%3A129627401%2C129627402 : accessed 5 November 2021). 
  13. Luxembourg Parish Records, Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 51 of 103. 1760 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9Z4Y?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  14. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 35 of 108. 1783 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32463-14058-91?cc=2037955 : accessed 13 November 2015). 
  15. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1190 of 1497. 1816 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-1045-93?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LZB:n289380544 : accessed 23 March 2010). 
  16. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1246 of 1497. 1824 Death Record No. 14. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-1419-81?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LZB:n289380544 : accessed 23 Mar 2010). 
  17. Luxembourg Parish Records, Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 57 of 103. 1762 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9ZPG?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  18. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 98 of 108. 1792 Marriage Record (top, left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-3FF3?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 5 November 2021). 
  19. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archives.cg54.fr/), Villerupt 1799-18475 > Mi 579/R 2 > image 310 of 935. New terms of use: En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation. 1821 Death Record (bottom left, and middle right page).
    http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ede2e95/54aeac3faff03 : accessed 12 November 2021). 
  20. Luxembourg Parish Records, Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 61 of 103. 1765 Baptismal Record (right page, 6th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9ZZJ?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  21. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 267 of 407. 1789 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9HFM?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  22. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 179 of 296. 1803 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9S7Y?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 4 November 2021). 
  23. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 64 of 103. 1766 Baptismal Record (right page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9CKY?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  24. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 55 of 108. 1785 Death Record (left page, 1st entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32463-14223-8?cc=2037955 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  25. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1728-1778 > image 69 of 103. 1769 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9CK4?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-HZW%3A1500974001%2C1501099482 : accessed 18 June 2020). 
  26. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 78 of 108. 1789 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3FB3?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 7 November 2021). 
  27. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 75 of 108. 1790 Death Record (right page, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-3N6S?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 7 November 2021). 
  28. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 83 of 102. 1795 Marriage Record (left, bottom and right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-3NFN?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W32%3A1501084779%2C1501084780 : 9 January 2015). 
  29. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1210 of 1497. 1819 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62QW-J5N?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-168%3A130201201%2C130563401 : accessed 30 June 2011). 
  30. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1270 of 1497. 1828 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-6384-83?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed 30 Jun 2011). 
  31. Luxembourg Parish Records, Obercorn > Mariages 1727-1770, sépultures 1727-1737, 1740-1778 > image 55 of 96. 1777 Death Record (right page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-99S9?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-44M%3A1500974001%2C1501083590 : accessed 3 November 2021). 
  32. Ibid., Obercorn > Baptêmes 1779-1793, 1797, mariages 1790-1793, 1796-1797, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 367 of 407
    . 1792 Death Record, part 2 (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9Z8P?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-4W1%3A1500974001%2C1500974002 : accessed 3 November 2021). 
  33. Armand Logelin-Simon, Livre de famille de Obercorn, Tables familiales manuscrites de la localité de Obercorn d’après les registres paroissiaux. Période: 1637-1804 – Pages: 278 – Langue: Français/Latin (Digitized by Luxracines asbl), page 201, family 81. 
  34. Robert Wagner, Dépouillement de Hautcharage, Dépouillement des naissances, mariages et décès à partir des registres de la paroisse de Hautcharage. Inclut la filiale de Linger. Période: 1713-1797 – Pages: 48 – Langue: Français (Digitized by Luxracines asbl). 

The Ancestors: Jacques Philippart (1749-1824) of Rodange and Catherine Singer (1743-1835) of Bettange-sur-Messe

My fifth great-grandparents Jacques PHILIPPART (1749-1824) and Catherine SINGER aka KETTER (1743-1835) made their home in Rodange (Luxembourg) following their marriage in 1777. Their records were found in three European countries.

A quick geography lesson

Rodange is in a tri-border area – the geographical point at which the boundaries of three countries meet – Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. The tripoint is located between the localities of Athus (municipality of Aubange, province of Luxembourg, Belgium), Mont-Saint-Martin (department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, France) and Rodange (municipality of Pétange, canton of Esch-sur-Alzette, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg).

Where are the records located?

Although the geographical location is important, to find the records we also need to be aware of the repository of the different records.

The three partitions of Luxembourg reduced Luxembourg’s area substantially, to the advantage of the three surrounding countries. Media file courtesy of Spanish_Inquisition, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Consequently, records for this family were found in three countries in Europe even though they lived in the same village the entire time.

The 1777 marriage record was found in Belgium

The marriage entry for my fifth great-grandparents’ marriage was recorded in the Roman Catholic parish registers of Aubange, Belgium. The entry includes the reason the marriage was performed in the village of Lamadelaine, Luxembourg.1

1777 Marriage Record of Jacques Philippart and Catherine Singer (bottom of page 28)

After the banns were read three times, no impediment was found, and consent was given by their relatives for Jacques PHILIPPART to marry Catherine SINGER. Jacques, son of Jacques PHILIPPART and Elisabeth BURQUELLE of Rodange and Catherine, daughter of Jean SINGER and Barbara KETTER of Bettange-sur-Messe, were joined in marriage on 8 January 1777. The nuptial benediction was given by the priest of the parish of Lamadelaine as the parents of the bride had been living there for several years. The marriage took place in the presence of the undersigned.

1777 Marriage Record of Jacques Philippart and Catherine Singer (top of page 29)

Unfortunately, only Father Kerschen, the priest in Lamadelaine signed the marriage record on the top of page 29 in the register. No signatures or marks of the bride, groom, or their parents were included.

The children of Jacques and Catherine

Jacques and Catherine were the parents of four known children. In 1777, 1780, 1784, and 1789 when the children were baptized their mother Catherine was identified with the surname KETTER(S), her mother’s maiden name.

Michel PHILIPPART (1777-1849)

Their firstborn was my fourth great-grandfather. Michel was born and baptized on 16 October 1777 in Rodange. His godfather was his father’s brother Michel PHILIPPART of Rodange. His godmother was a maternal relative Nannette KETTER of Bettange.2 The identity of Nannette may one day help to take the SINGER-KETTER line back further than Catherine SINGER’s parents.

Michel married Catherine MEUNIER (1775-1851),  daughter of Henri MUNIER and Margaretha KILBORN, on 30 July 1817 in Pétange in a civil ceremony.3 They were likely married by the church about 1800 but no record survives. They were the parents of 8 children; 4 lived to adulthood, married, and continued the line.

Jean PHILIPPART (1780-?)

Their second child, a son named Jean was born and baptized on 10 November 1780. His godparents were Jean FOURNELLE and Elisabeth FELTEN, both of Rodange.4 The godfather’s signature was compared to signatures on other records signed by Jean FOURNELLE (1746-1818) to confirm he was my 4th great-granduncle, the son Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU.

No marriage or death record has been found for Jean.

Philippe PHILIPPART (1784-1874)

Their third son, Philippe was born and baptized on 25 January 1784. His godparents were Philippe FOURNELLE of Rodange and Marie Catherine DIXQUES of Pétange.5 The godfather was another son of my FOURNELLE-NEU ancestors.

Philippe at the age of 31 married Anne COLLINET (1775-1848) on 9 January 1816 in Saulnes, France. She was a 40-year-old widow with six children.6 They had only one son who died at the age of two and a half years.

Catherine PHILIPPART (1789-1856)

Their fourth child and only daughter Catherine was born and baptized on 23 April 1789. Pierre ALZIN and Catherine MUNIER, both of Rodange, were the godparents.7 The godmother was described as a young girl. She was likely the father’s second cousin and daughter of Simon MUNIER and Marie Jeanne BURKEL.

Catherine married Jacques FOURNELLE (1797-1870), son of Pierre FOURNELLE and Marianne SCHMIT (my 4th great-grandparents), on 9 December 1822 in Pétange.8 They were the parents of two sons.

Jacques PHILIPPART’s occupation

The baptismal records of Jean, Philippe, and Catherine listed Jacques PHLIPPART’s occupation as charpentier or carpenter.

The deaths of Jacques and Catherine

Jacques died on 23 March 1824 in Rodange at the age of 75. His death was reported by Jacques FOURNELLE. The informant, his son-in-law, was mistakenly listed as his son.9 Jacques’s wife Catherine SINGER died at the age of 91 on 9 February 1835 in Rodange. Her death was reported by her oldest son Michel.10

Research Manager

Was there a connection between the PHILIPPART and FOURNELLE families? In later years the families would be joined in marriage. In 1823, Jacques’ granddaughter Marie Catherine PHILIPPART would marry André FOURNELLE, grandson of Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU. But the families had a bond as early as 1744 and 1749.

Jacques PHILIPPART’s father Jacques (1714-1783) was widowed in 1744 when he was living in Doncourt-lès-Longuyon, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. His wife likely died in childbirth or soon after. He married Elisabeth BURKEL two months after the birth. One of the witnesses to the marriage was Jean FOURNEL (1686-1749), father of Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765). Jacques PHILIPPART (1714-1783), Elisabeth BURKEL (1720-bef 1782), and Jean FOURNEL (1686-1749) were my 6th great-grandparents.

When Jacques PHILIPPART was baptized on 18 March 1749, his godmother was Jeanne NEU (1723-1783), wife of Pierre FOURNELLE whose father had been a witness to Jacques’s parents’ marriage.

DNA

Most of the DNA matches on my maternal side are very small segments indicating distant connections. Mom and I have one match with the PHILIPPART surname. The match has no tree and has not replied to a message I sent two years ago. The match is on two segments totaling 34 cMs with the largest segment being 24.4 cMs. As I was checking these details I realized that I might NOW be able to work out the match’s tree with only his name, country of residence, and approximate age.

Why now? The National Library of Luxembourg has recently added the daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort for the years 1951-1980 to their subsite eLuxembourgensia.

With the details I knew about the match, I searched the obituaries (avis mortuaires) and found the 1973 and 1978 death notices of the match’s paternal grandparents in the Luxemburger Wort. From there I was able to connect the match to my family tree by researching only one generation. Over the years I’ve done a lot of descendant research and it is now paying off. The match and I are related in at least six different ways through ancestors from the Rodange area:

5C Michel PHILIPPART and Catherine MEUNIER
6C1R Jacques PHILIPPART and Elisabeth BURKEL
6C Jean SCHMIT and Eve DUCKER
6C Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU
6C1R Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU
8C1R Pierre LADURELLE and Jeanne SALIN

With so many common ancestors, figuring out which of the above couples might have passed their DNA down to both the match and myself (or my Mom) will be difficult.

In the next two posts, I will be writing about the last of my mother’s maternal 4th great-grandparents. The first couple will be Jean SCHMIT and Eve DUCKER and the second, Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Jacques PHILIPPART (1749-1824)
Parents: Jacques PHILIPPART and Elisabeth BURKEL
Spouse: Catherine SINGER aka KETTER (1743-1835)
Parents of spouse: Jean SINGER and Barbara KETTER
Whereabouts: Rodange, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandparents

1. Jacques PHILIPPART and Catherine SINGER aka KETTER
2. Michel PHILIPPART and Catherine MEUNIER
3. Marie Catherine PHILIPPART and André FOURNELLE
4. André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
5. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
6. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
7. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
8. Catherine Ann “Cathy” DEMPSEY and Living MEDER
9. Our children

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, 1618-1868, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse d’Aubange (Luxembourg) > Film 619924 DGS 7944121 > Baptêmes 1729-1783 Mariages 1729-1776 Sépultures 1729-1776 > image 15 of 605. 1777 Marriage Record on page 18 of register, 3rd entry with the signature of the priest on top of page 19. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZV-FSPR-C?i=14&cat=74664 : accessed 5 December 2017). 
  2. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes 1767-1777, 1779-1796, confirmations 1791, mariages 1767-1777, 1779-1795, sépultures 1767-1777, 1779-1797 > image 21 of 102. 1777 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32463-14845-34?cc=2037955 : accessed 15 November 2015). 
  3. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 475 of 1497. 1817 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12305-1956-61?cc=1709358 : accessed 17 November 2015). 
  4. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 14 of 108. 1780 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32463-14938-83?cc=2037955 : accessed 5 December 2017). 
  5. Ibid., Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 46 of 108. 1784 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-3N72?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : accessed 5 December 2017). 
  6. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archives.cg54.fr/), Saulnes B., M., S. (1782-1792), N., M., D. (1793-1822) image 303 of 376. 1816 Marriage Record. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ed0f349/54ae6cf6dfbe1 : accessed 5 December 2017). New terms of use: En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation. 
  7. Luxembourg Church Records, Rodange > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 77 of 108. 1789 Baptismal Record (right, middle).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-3N6H?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-W3G%3A1501084779%2C1500913302 : 5 December 2017). 
  8. Luxembourg Civil Records, Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 508 of 1497. 1822 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12304-172549-93?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed 29 March 2010). 
  9. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1244 of 1497. 1824 Death Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12304-172478-93?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-BMX:n289380544 : accessed 1 Jul 2011). 
  10. Ibid., Pétange > Naissances 1878-1886 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1858 > image 1325 of 1497. 1835 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62QW-F2K?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-168%3A130201201%2C130563401 : accessed 1 July 2011). 

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

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

Luxembourg History

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

The kitchen at the Castle of Vianden in Luxembourg

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

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

Civil marriage records

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

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

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

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

1774 Marriage of the parents of Catherine MEUNIER

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

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

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

Baptismal record of their only known child

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did Henri MUNIER die?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Sketch

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

1. Henri MUNIER and Margaretha KILBORN
2. Catherine MEUNIER and Michel PHILIPPART
3. Marie Catherine PHILIPPART and André FOURNELLE
4. André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
5. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
6. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
7. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
8. Catherine Ann “Cathy” DEMPSEY and Living MEDER
9. Our children

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


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

The Ancestors: Joseph SCHLOESSER of Wiltz and Catherine ARENT of Warken

Father’s Day in Luxembourg and Four Catholic Priests

Research on the featured couple brought to light more than I expected. What I learned fits in nicely, I think, with the holiday we are celebrating in Luxembourg today: Father’s Day.

The Marriage Record

1754 Marriage Record courtesy of FamilySearch

On Sunday, 3 February 1754, a Catholic priest named Nicolas KNEIP married my 5th great-grandparents in Ettelbrück. The 24-year-old groom was Joseph SCHLOESSER of Wiltz and his 23-year-old bride was Catherine ARENT of Warken. Joseph was the son of Nicolas SCHLOESSER and Johanna GASPERSCH (also seen as CASPER). Catherine was the daughter of Michel ARENT, deceased, and Anna Margaretha KNEIP.1

The Wark River near Warken, Luxembourg, in the winter.

Before I tell you about the rabbit hole the priest took me down, here is a list of the children of this set of 5th great-grandparents.

The children of Catherine and Joseph

Catherine and Joseph made their home in Wiltz where their 10 known children were born and baptized. Unless noted otherwise all events took place in Wiltz or Wooltz as it is known in Luxembourgish.

Anna Margareta was baptized on 30 December 1754.2 She died on 25 December 1755, days before her first birthday.3

Laurent was baptized on 12 June 1756.4 He married(1) Marie-Elisabeth DUHR (1744-1789) on 28 December 1778.5 They had 4 children. He married(2) Anne-Marguerite SCHAUL (1774-1817) on 4 August 1794.6 They had 10 children. He died on 17 September 1823 at the age of 67.7

Maria Catharina was baptized on 31 May 1759.8 She married Jean-Baptiste Jean BARNICH (1756-1811) on 19 May 1791.9 They were the parents of 5 children. She died on 22 December 1821 at the age of 62.10

Nicolas was baptized on 29 December 1760.11 He married Marie SCHMAL (1752-aft. 1824) on 20 June 1779.12 They had 9 children. He died on 22 January 1805 at the age of 44.13

Valentin was baptized on 1 August 1762.14 He married(1) Elisabeth THIES (1765-1802) on 15 April 1787.15 They had 8 children. He married(2) Marie Elisabeth DECKER (1775-1837) on 17 August 1804.16 They had 9 children. He died on 27 March 1832 in Lutremange, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, Province de Luxembourg, Belgium at the age of 69.17

Jean-Népomucène was baptized on 18 March 1764.18 He married(1) Margaretha TRAUDT (1766-1809) on 26 Apr 1790 in Vianden.19 They were the parents of a dozen children. He married(2) Elisabeth HAMELING (1779-1838) on 24 Dec 1810 in Vianden.20 They had two sons, one of whom died before the age of two months.  He died on 29 July 1833 in Vianden at the age of 69.21 Jean-Népomucène and his first wife Margaretha were my 4th great-grandparents.

Nicolas Joseph was baptized on 18 November 1766.22 He married(1) Elisabeth METZ (1766-1816) on 3 June 1787.23 They were the parents of 13 children. He married(2) the widow Marie-Catherine SCHNEIDER (1769-?) on 30 December 1818.24 He died on 29 January 1839 in Eschweiler at the age of 72.25

Elisabeth was baptized on 15 September 1770.26 She married André SPEDENER (1768-1828) on 6 May 1791.27 They had 7 children. She died on 11 July 1844 at the age of 73.28

Marie was baptized on 11 March 177329 and died two days later.30

Jean was baptized on 30 November 1775.31 He died a little over seven months later, on 16 July 1776.32

The deaths of Catherine and Joseph

Catherine ARENT did not live to see the 19th century but she saw the seven children who lived to adulthood marry. She died at the age of 65 years on 21 Apr 1796.33 Her husband Joseph SCHLOESSER died on 31 March 1800 at the age of 71 at the home of his daughter. His son Valentin and a neighbor reported the death. Which of his daughters it was, the oldest or the youngest was not mentioned.34

Research Manager(1)

Catherine and Joseph had 79 grandchildren per research done by my 6th cousin once removed, Joseph SCHLOESSER, a descendant of my Joseph’s oldest brother Jean SCHLOESSER (1719-1789). I’ve documented 14 grandchildren by their son Jean-Népomucène who is my direct ancestor. The remaining 65 still need to be looked into.

DNA Match adds a couple of generations to the tree

Anna Margaretha KNEIP, my 6th great-grandmother and the mother of Catherine ARENT of this post, showed up in the tree of one of my mother’s DNA matches. That’s seven generations back in Mom’s tree. The match shares only 14 cMs on one segment with Mom. Seven of the match’s eight great-grandparents were born in Luxembourg making researching and finding the MRCA time-consuming. Ancestry, however, found Anna Margaretha KNEIP to be a common ancestor of the match and my Mom. ThruLines suggested the match came through a descendant of Anna Margaretha and her second husband. At the time I didn’t have a second marriage for Anna Margaretha. In fact, I didn’t even have other children.

Instead of working out the match’s line, I looked into Anna Margaretha KNEIP. Searching for the ARENT children, the death of her husband Michel ARENT, the second marriage to Bernard AUDRIT, and the AUDRIT children took me further back. These gave me the names of her parents and I was able to locate baptismal records for 14 KNEIP siblings of Anna Margaretha KNEIP, all born in Bissen. Although many children had been born to André KNEIP and his wife Catherine FABER vulgo GOEDERT, I found no marriages in that town. That’s where I left off the research.

Rabbit Hole

Coming back to the marriage entry for Joseph SCHLOESSER and Catherine ARENT, I asked myself if the mother of the bride, Anna Margaretha KNEIP, and the priest Nicolas KNEIP might have been related. This sent me down a rabbit hole where I made several discoveries.

An online search for the reverend father Nicolas KNEIP who was a priest in Ettelbück turned up a hit for the genealogy research of Charles THIELEN last updated 18 December 2004.

Mr. Thielen is a descendant of the most distant known KNEIP ancestor through the daughter Susanne, sister of my André KNEIP. He lists 17 children for André KNEIP. I had missed one child in the baptismal records. Another child, a son, was included although only mentioned in a publication by a catholic priest.

Mr. Theilen’s work traced the ARENT and KNEIP lines a further generation than I had. He cited notary records he used to make the connections in the families.

The most amazing information in his database was the fact that six of the nine sons of André KNEIP and Catherine FABER vulgo GOEDERT studied theology and that four of them became Catholic priests. Nicolas KNEIP (1697-1768) of the parish of Ettelbrück was their oldest son and the priest who performed the marriage ceremony between his niece Catherine ARENT and Joseph SCHLOESSER.

No wonder I couldn’t find marriages for the KNEIP children when six of the sons never married. Several of the children who did marry didn’t produce entries in the church marriage records. This seems unusual when four of the siblings were priests – persons responsible for keeping the church records. Mr. Theilen used the notary records to work around these missing records. I was able to locate some of the records he cited. I even found some that he didn’t cite including two marriage contracts. One proved a second marriage for Marie Josephine, a sister of the four priests. The religious marriage record did not include her widower’s name or her parents’ names.

Research Manager(2)

Before finding these records, with the help of Mr. Thielen’s citation, I had only seen one notary record produced by an ancestor – again a record that had been referenced by another researcher. Now that I have figured out how to use these records and where to look for the notary’s index to the records, I will be checking the Luxembourg Notarial Records, 1621-1821 more often.

The handwriting from the 1700s is very hard to read and it will take some time to decipher the records. I am especially interested in the four-page record I found dated 7 February 1734, the day Anna Marguerite KNEIP married her second husband Bernard AUDRIT. Signed by several of her clergy brothers as well as a priest with the surname ARENT (her deceased husband’s surname), it appears to be a marriage contract between the two.

I still cannot believe that my 7th great-grandparents André and Catherine had so many sons who became priests but am pleased to see all the records this particular family left.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joseph SCHLOESSER
Occupation: Labourer or farmer
Parents: Nicolas SCHLOESSER and Johanna GASPERSCH
Spouse: Catherine ARENT
Parents of spouse: Michel ARENT and Anna Margaretha KNEIP
Whereabouts: Wiltz, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 5th great-grandparents

1. Joseph SCHLOESSER and Catherine ARENT
2. Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER and Margaretha TRAUDT
3. Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER and Anna Maria “Maria” CONSBRÜCK
4. Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER and André FOURNELLE
5. Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
6. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE and Nicolas WILDINGER
7. Living WILDINGER and Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
8. Catherine Ann “Cathy” DEMPSEY and Living MEDER
9. Our children

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Ettelbruck > Mariages 1732-1778, sépultures 1732-1782 > image 21 of 95. 1754 Marriage Record. (right, 2nd to last). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-S9T8?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-JWT%3A1500939401%2C1501027722 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  2. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 324 of 464. 1754 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5958-59?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  3. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 19 of 244. 1755 Death Record (left, left column, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9WXK?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  4. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 332 of 464. 1756 Baptismal Record (right page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32461-6112-36?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  5. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 187 of 244. 1778 Marriage Record (right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-97Y4?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  6. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 210 of 244. 1794 Marriage Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9722?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 478 of 1390. 1823 Death Record No. 38. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62T4-7R?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  8. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 347 of 464. 1759 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32461-6016-35?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  9. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 241 of 356. 1791 Marriage Record (right, last). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-97B5?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  10. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 446 of 1390. 1821 Death Record No. 55. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62TV-X7?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  11. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 354 of 464. 1760 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-6386-77?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  12. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779 > image 31+32 of 43. 1779 Marriage Record part 1 (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-942C?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-W38%3A1501203801%2C1501078090 : accessed 13 December 2017) and 1779 Marriage Record part 2 (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9HZK?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-W38%3A1501203801%2C1501078090 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  13. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 137 of 1390. 1805 Death Record (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62TF-9Q?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  14. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 362 of 464. 1762 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32461-6407-23?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  15. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 160 of 356. 1787 Marriage Record (right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9WS1?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  16. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1797-1885 > image 194 of 1502. 1804 Marriage Record (part 1). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DRZQ-WRJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-HZ9%3A130592301%2C130729201 : accessed 26 September 2021). 
  17. Belgique, Luxembourg, registres d’état civil, 1580-1920, (images), FamilySearch (België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Villers-la-Bonne-Eau > Décès 1821-1840 > image 59 of 120. 1832 Death Record. No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RX1-QC6?cc=2138510&wc=S51W-2NR%3A368383201%2C368159701 : accessed 15 December 2017). 
  18. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 370 of 464. 1764 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32461-6061-12?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  19. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Vianden > Naissances, mariages, décès 1779-1793 > image 184 of 241. 1790 Marriage Record, top of left page. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12876-10821-89?cc=1709358 : accessed 18 November 2015). 
  20. Ibid., Vianden > Naissances 1829-1890 Mariages 1797-1833 > image 1250 of 1493. 1810 Marriage Record (published twice). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11589-70344-54?cc=1709358 : accessed 20 November 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Vianden > Mariages 1834-1890 Décès 1797-1866 > image 932 of 1406. 1833 Death Record No. 18. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11584-68567-78?cc=1709358 : accessed 22 January 2013). 
  22. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 384 of 464. 1766 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32461-6039-18?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  23. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 161 of 356. 1787 Marriage Record (left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9WFQ?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  24. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 450 of 1495. 1818 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC47-1NR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 10 October 2021). 
  25. Ibid., Eschweiler > Décès 1800-1850 > image 225 of 309. 1839 Death Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-65G9-638?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-SP6%3A129626801%2C129626802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  26. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 413 of 464. 1770 Baptismal Record (right page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5666-66?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  27. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1797 > image 241 of 356. 1791 Marriage Record (left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-97B5?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3TR%3A1501203801%2C1501203802 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  28. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 910 of 1390. 1844 Death Record No. 47. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62T6-DG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  29. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 428 of 464. 1773 Baptismal Record (left page, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5745-76?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  30. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 47 of 244. 1773 Death Record (right, 8th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-9WWF?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  31. Ibid., Wiltz > Baptêmes 1666-1723, confirmations 1714, mariages 1675-1695 > image 442 of 464. 1775 Baptismal Record (right page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32461-5759-66?cc=2037955 : accessed 21 November 2015). 
  32. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 54 of 244. 1776 Death Record (left, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9WKV?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  33. Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages, sépultures 1743-1778, 1785-1797, sépultures 1785-1797 > image 92 of 244. 1796 Death Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-9W9N?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-3Y3%3A1501203801%2C1501291264 : accessed 13 December 2017). 
  34. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, Wiltz > Mariages 1886-1890 Décès 1797-1862 > image 90 of 1390. 1800 Death Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62T6-VB?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-4WL%3A130592301%2C130900801 : accessed 13 December 2017).