52 Ancestors: #37 The Groelinger-Mergen Family of Holsthum

My 4th great-grandfather Johann GROELINGER (1766-1840), son of Peter MERTSCHERT (c1737- 1768) and Susanna SCHNEIDER (1737-1778), was born in Holsthum on 8 May 1766. He was their fifth and last child. The family lived on the Schneider-Vogtei which had come into their “possession” through Johann’s mother Susanna’s family.

The historical background of the SCHNEIDER family and the Schneider-Vogtei were dealt with in the Prequel to The Groelinger-Mergen Family of Holsthum, Germany in order to make it easier for my readers to understand the confusion of the surnames used by Johann GROELINGER and his parents. To simplify it a bit more I created this mind map with Scapple.

Johann GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN

Johann married Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN (1769-1829) on 24 March 1798 in Schankweiler. At the time Holsthum was part of the Schankweiler parish. In the marriage record, the father of the groom’s surname was given as GROELINGEN alias MERTSCHERT. His father had passed away in 1768 when Johann was 21 months old. His mother Susanna SCHNEIDER remarried within a month and her husband Johann BARTZEN became the holder of the Schneider-Vogtei.

On the road from Ferschweiler to Holsthum, there is a resting/picnic hut for hikers.

Johann’s bride Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN was born on 5 February 1769 in Holsthum. She was the daughter of Gertrud THELEN (1746-1818) and Theodor MERGEN (1746-1817). She was their oldest child. In the Schankweiler family book, her name is given only as Maria. She is referred to as Anna Maria Benedikta in several of the family books which have entries for her and her husband and/or for her children. [see sources 1-9 for the family books of Biersdorf, Edingen, Ernzen, Körperich, Mettendorf, Nusbaum, Schankweiler, Utscheid, and Wissmannsdorf]

Gertrud THELEN and Theodor MERGEN had married on 21 December 1767 in Holsthum. Theodor was a Rinderhirt or cowherd in Holsthum as was his father-in-law. Neither of Anna Maria Benedikta’s parents was found in the 1766 census.

Anna Maria Benedikta had at least three sisters: Anna Maria born in 1771, Anna Maria born in 1781, and Maria Katharina born in 1786. The repeated use of the name Anna Maria may mean one of them did not survive but as seen in other families there is the possibility of names being used for multiple living children. The Familienbuch Schankweiler does not give any further information on these girls. Church records, according to the compiler of the book, are missing for large periods of time. Perhaps when I visit the archives in Bitburg I may be able to pick up the trail of these siblings. For example, if they were godmothers of one or the other child born to Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta. Also, if they married, a husband may have been the informant on the deaths of the parents-in-law. 

Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta named their first two sons after their fathers. Their first son was born on 10 January 1799 and named after Johann’s father Peter and their second son was born on 17 November 1800 and named after the maternal grandfather Theodor.

Johann’s brother who shared the same name died on 11 November 1801 at the age of 39 years. He likely never married.

A view of the town of Holsthum from the resting/picnic hut.

The Napoleonic Wars had been underway five months when Johann and Anna Maria’s first daughter was born on 14 October 1803. Their next daughter Maria Catherina was born on 28 February 1805 followed by Susanna, named after the paternal grandmother, on 1 August 1807.

I find it unusual that neither of the first two daughters nor the three born after Susanna was named Gertrud after the maternal grandmother.  Magdalena was born on 20 August 1809, Elisabeth on 17 April 1812, and Maria Katharina on 2 June 1814.

The Napoleonic Wars came to an end in 1815. Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta were still having children. Their son Wilhelm was born on 3 February 1817. His birth was followed three weeks later by the death of his maternal grandfather Theodor MERGEN on 24 February 1817. The widow Gertrud THELEN died a little over a year later on 2 April 1818. It is the death records of these two individuals which I hope may include the names of one or the other son-in-law who is at this time unknown.

Two more sons were born to Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta. Johann on 18 August 1818 and Gerhard on 2 May 1821. All of the children were born in Holsthum where Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta lived.

The first of these children to marry was the third child Maria. She married Ludwig GERMAN on 23 August 1827 in Schankweiler. Their first child, a son named Johann, was born a month later. The family moved from Holsthum to Ließem were at least two other children were born.

The village of Holsthum

Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN died on 6 February 1829 at the age of 60. Preparations for the marriage of her oldest son Peter may have been underway when she died. Peter married Margaretha PROST on 1 March 1829 in Biersdorf.

The second son Theodor married Margarethe WALLENBORN on 5 June 1831, also in Biersdorf. And the next marriage also took place in the same town when Maria Catherina married Johann Adam ERSFELD on 11 January 1832.

One last marriage took place before Johann GROELINGER passed away. Magdalena married Johann PHILIPP on 19 January 1839 in Schankweiler.

Johann GROELINGER died on 11 December 1840 in Biersdorf. As this record of death has not been viewed I can only assume he was visiting one of his children who had married in Biersdorf or he was living with one of them. Johann lived to the age of 74 years.

The first of his and Anna Maria Benedikta’s eleven children to die was Maria who had been the first to marry. She was living with her husband in Menningen at the time. She died on 30 March 1841. He remarried within two months.

My 3rd great-grandmother Maria Katharina married Theodore PÖPPELREITER (1816-1891) on 20 January 1842 in Mettendorf.

Slowly but surely Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta’s children were setting up their own households.

  • Susanna married Johann JÜNGELS (1805-1862) on 23 October 1843 in Wißmannsdorf
  • Elisabeth married Mathias SCHMITZ (1810-1879) on 13 January 1845 in Altscheid
  • Johann married Catharina BURES on 5 January 1850 in Biersdorf
  • Gerhard married Helena Rosa LUDES on 25 October 1850 on Bickendorf.

Ten of the eleven children were married by 1850. Only son Wilhelm’s marital status is unknown at this time. A family with nearly a dozen children and all (except for Wilhelm whose fate is unknown) married and had children. No infant deaths. This may have something to do with the family coming from the Schneiders-Vogtei and possibly being more prosperous than families who came from manual and domestic laborers.

While up to nine different family books were used to trace the children, the family of the youngest son Gerhard was only traced through Thomas Pick’s Homepage for Eifel Birth and Marriage Data. The extracted information shows he married and had eight children in Bickendorf but does not include the names of the parents of Gerhard. The family book for the town of Bickendorf may be in our Luxracines archives in Walferdange. I was working my way back through the ancestors and had not gotten around to searching for descendants or checking for the Bickendorf book.

DNA Match with a 4C1R in America

Pick’s database shows the surname spelled GRELINGER which had me wondering if this Gerhard was the son of Johan GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN. I didn’t want to be following the wrong family.

After finding a descendant who is a DNA match to my brother on AncestryDNA with one of those shaky leaves which indicate a Shared Ancestor Hint, I am convinced the spelling of the GROELINGER name changed to GRELINGER for youngest son Gerhard when he married and moved to Bickendorf.

Shared Ancestor Hint on AncestryDNA

Gerhard’s son, a farmer, Johann GREHLINGER, born on 20 March 1858, single, requested permission to go to North America on 29 August 1881. He said his parents owned residential and economy buildings, and he had the necessary means to travel.[10]

Records indicate this son who went to America in 1881 was Johann Michael GRELINGER. He bought a farm five miles outside of Beloit, Mitchell County, Kansas, in 1893 and married in 1894. The match my brother has is a descendant of this line and shares 25 cMs across 2 segments.

He had three siblings who also went to America. His oldest brother John arrived in 1871 and his second oldest brother Michael in 1876 per the 1900 and 1910 census when they were living together with their youngest sister Elizabeth who came in 1893. John and Michael both owned farms in Jewell County, Kansas, likely adjoining. The siblings, seen as GRELIER on the 1900 and 1910 census, were and would remain single.

DNA Match with a 5C in America

The GRELINGER cousin was found with a Shared Ancestor Hint. Since there were no other hints I searched for matches with the surname GROELINGER and GRELINGER in their trees. I found GROELINGER in this tree.

Pedigree view of the family tree of a match on Ancestry

The surname GERMANN was a red flag as this was the surname seen in the first marriage to take place for one of the children of Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta. Their daughter Maria married Ludwig GERMAN in 1827. The owner of this tree has not made the connection to the parents. The match is a fifth cousin and shares 11.4 cMs across one segment.

Since the second match is considered a distant match, Ancestry does not show it as a shared match with the first test which is classified as a fourth cousin match. To compare the chromosome segments I need both of these matches to upload their raw DNA to Gedmatch. I sent messages this morning but they only went through after several attempts.

I would like to finally be able to add a maternal segment to the DNA map I am working on – it would be the first.

[1] Lika Hellwig, Ortsfamilienbuch 1 Biersdorf mit Hamm, Wiersdorf, Oberweiler, Nierderweiler, Beifels sowie zeitweise Echtershausen und Ließem 1714 bis 1899 (July 2002).
[2] Bodo Bölkow and Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Lambertus Edingen an der Sauer Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals für Minden und Menningen zuständig) mit Edingerberg, Minden u. Menningen 1680-1899 Edingen selbst ab 1705 (2000).
[3] Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (2000).
[4] Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Hubertus Körperich in der Südeifel mit Körperich, Niedersgegen, Obersgegen, Gentingen, Roth an der Our, Seimerich und Scheuerhof (später Neuscheuerhof) 1689-1899 (2002).
[5] Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Mettendorf Dekanat Neuerburg, Band 1 A-M Band 2 N-Z (1992).
[6] Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Petrus Nusbaum in der Südeifel mit Nusbaum, Nusbaumerhöhe, Freilingen, Freilingerhöhe, Enzen, Silberberg, Stockigt, und Rohrbach 1722-1899, PDF (Kordel bei Trier, 2001).
[7] Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen (Trier, 1990).
[8] Werner Lichter, Familienbuch Utscheid (Outscheid) St. Peter 1728-1899 mit den Ortsteilen Buscht und Rußdorf (2009).
[9] Irmgard Schmitz, Familienchronik der Pfarrei Wissmannsdorf mit ihren Filialen Brecht, Hermesdorf und Koosbüsch (2009).
[10] Josef Mergen (1954) and Heinz Weber (1995), Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Bitburg im 19. Jahrhundert (2009).

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #35 The Welter-Hennes Family of Ernzen, Germany

Anton WELTER (1773-1849)

Anton WELTER, son of Johann Bernard WELTER and Maria BRIMERS, was born on 15 December 1773 on Ernzerhof outside of Ernzen. He was baptized the same day in Ernzen.[1]

1773 Baptismal Record of “Antonius Welter”[1]
Anton was the only son, a middle child, but also the youngest as his two younger sisters died at an early age. His mother Maria died in 1781[2] leaving an 8-year-old Anton and his two older sisters. Her widower Bernard, as he was known, married again six months after her death.[3] He and his second wife Maria BARTZ had a daughter nearly nine months after the marriage.[4] The baby only survived two months.[5] Bernard and Maria did not have any other children. Anton’s step-mother died in 1791.[6] By this time Bernard’s children were nearly all grown. His oldest daughter Elisabeth had been married two years at the time and Catharina would marry in 1800. His only son Anton was nearly 18 years old. Bernard never married again.

Anna Katharina HENNES (1779-1845)

Anna Katharina HENNES, daughter of Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER, was born on 14 May 1779 in Holsthum.[7]

View of the village of Holsthum

Like Anton WELTER, Anna Katharina was a middle child and had two older sisters. Her father Johann died in 1786 when his wife was pregnant with their youngest child.[8] Matthias, their only son, was born two months later. Two months after giving birth to her deceased husband’s child, Magdalena MÜLLER married Johann TRAMPERT.[9] Magdalena was 44 and Johann was 27. With this marriage, her husband took on the responsibility of five step-children between 9 years and 2 months. Magdalena and her second husband did not have children of their own.

Anna Katharina and Anton marry in 1803

Anna Katharina HENNES married Anton WELTER on 23 March 1803 in Ernzen.[10] They had three children during their first seven years of marriage. Their first, Bernard was born in 1805 and named after his paternal grandfather. A record of baptism has not been searched for but it is likely his grandfather was his godfather as was the practice of the times. Their next two children were girls: Elisabeth was born on 31 January 1807[11] and Katharina WELTER on 21 July 1810.

Before they had more children there were several deaths in the family. Anna Katharina’s step-father Johann TRAMPERT died on 19 August 1812 at the age of 55 years.[9] Anton and Anna Katharina youngest daughter Katharina died on 5 December 1812 at the age of nearly two and a half years.[10] Anton’s father Johann Bernard WELTER died on 27 March 1813 at the age of 76 years.[3] Almost a week later the family would be attending another funeral. Anna Katharina’s mother Magdalena MÜLLER died on 2 April 1813 at the age of 70 years.[12] Three deaths in four months make me wonder if they were caused by disease or a hard winter.

A year later Anna Katharina and Anton named their son born on 4 April 1814 Peter. He lived only ten months dying on 6 February 1815. A little more than two years later another son was born and named Peter. He was born on 10 August 1817 and died on 12 May 1819 at the age of twenty months.[10]

Anton and Anna Katharina’s youngest child, Anna Maria was born on 3 April 1822.[10]  Anna Katharina was 43 and Anton was going on 49.

The WELTER children begin to marry

Their oldest daughter Elisabeth married Hubert WEIMANN, son of Bernard WEYMANN and Susanna MALAMBRÉ, on 11 February 1835 in Ernzen. Hubert was born on 13 July 1805 in Ernzen.[13]

Their oldest son Bernard married Katharina WEBER on 2 April 1837 in Aach (Eifel).[14] Katharina was born on 2 January 1795 in Aach to Peter WEBER und Susanna KREIN.

The mother of this family, Anna Katharina HENNES died on 9 March 1845 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.[10] Her widower Anton was left with three children, two of whom were married.

The youngest daughter Anna Maria married Peter STEIL on 18 February 1846 in Ernzen.[15] Peter was born on 3 January 1810 in Berdorf (Luxembourg).[16]

The father of this family, Anton WELTER died on 26 January 1849 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.

After their parents’ deaths

The oldest of the WELTER children, Bernard died on 1 February 1855 in Ernzen at the age of 55. His widow Katharina WEBER died two decades later on 30 April 1875 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. They may have remained childless.[14]

Anna Maria, the youngest of the WELTER children, died on 9 January 1861 and was buried two days later. She was 38 years old and left a husband and four children.

Elisabeth’s husband Hubert WEIMANN died at the age of 67 on 29 October 1872 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He left her with three children.

Peter STEIL, Anna Maria’s widower, died on 21 December 1872 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He was survived by two daughters and a son. The son emigrated to North America during the year and likely only learning of the death of his father after the new year.

A Peter STEIL, age 18, was found on a passenger list with an arrival in New York on 20 May 1872 via Liverpool, England. A match for Peter STEIL born 12 January 1854 in Ernzen was not found in America. He cannot be the same person as the Peter Steil 1852-1913 who lived in Stearns County, Minnesota, as he came over in 1867. Suggestions on other spelling for the STEIL name would be appreciated.

Elisabeth WELTER, the last living child of Anton and Anna Katharina, died on 24 September 1877 in Ernzen and was buried three days later. Elisabeth, my third great-grandmother, was 70 years old. She left three children who would live to see the outbreak of World War I. Only one of these would live to see the end of it.

How are the DNA matches looking for this branch?

One of the first Shared Ancestor Hints on Ancestry DNA for my brother’s test was for a match who descends from Johann HENNES, the father of Anna Katharina HENNES.


The person who matches was quick to reply to my short message sent in June 2016 and we have not corresponded since then. It’s been over a year since she has signed in. I really need to get in touch with her as I realized while writing this post that we have another set of common ancestors who do not show up as a hint. She does not have the parents of Mathias HENNES’ wife Elisabetha MALAMBRÉ. My 4th great-grandmother Susanna MALAMBRÉ was Elisabetha’s sister. This match is a 6th cousin through Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER and through Gérard MALAMBRÉ and Barbara BIESDORF.

1856 Passenger list for the Peter Hennes family. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Mathias HENNES, the brother of Anna Katharina HENNES, had two sons who went to America. The youngest son Michael went in 1837 at the age of 21. He appears to have not been married and therefore without known descendants. The older son Peter went in 1856 with his wife and their seven children. They had lived in Silberberg/Nusbaum since their marriage in 1836, the year before Michael left.[17] They met up with him in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois, and he was in their household at the time of the 1860 census.

At the time I found this match I did not know so many people with connections in my tree left the Eifel area for America. This gives me another reason which may convince people to upload their raw data to GEDmatch. I haven’t been able to map any of the maternal chromosomes as matches are few and hard to figure out. It would be nice to get this tiny 14 centimorgans segment labeled but with there being two sets of MRCAs I’d need more matches to triangulate.

A few photos to end this post

While I was working a stand at the 12th National Day of Genealogy and Family History in Leudelange on October 15th, my husband took a bike ride especially planned to go through the Nusbaum area so he could get some pictures for this post.

The winding road to Nusbaum
A view of Nusbaum from afar
Willkommen in Nusbaum – Welcome to Nusbaum


[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 66 of 131. 1773 Baptismal Record, right page, 3rd entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32399-12771-29?cc=2037955 : accessed 9 November 2016).
[2] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 102 of 177. 1781 Death Record, right page, bottom. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32400-11740-46?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015) and part 2 of 1781 Death Record, left page top. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32400-11629-47?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[3] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), p. 237-238, Family #839. Welter-Brimers and Welter-Bartz.
[4] Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 122 of 177. 1782 Baptismal Record, left page. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32400-11658-39?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[5] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 140 of 177. 1782 Death Record, right page, 2nd from bottom. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32400-11497-19?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[6] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1788-1797 > image 118 of 331. 1791 Death Record, left page. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32401-8336-15?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[7] FB Ernzen, p. 234, Family #830. Welter-Hennes.
[8] Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen, pg. 79, Family #485. Hennes-Mühler.
[9] FB Schankweiler, pg. 238, Family #1377. Trampert-Müller.
[10] FB Ernzen, p. 234, Family #830. Welter-Hennes.
[11] Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 462714. Elisabetha Welter, christened 31 Jan 1807 in Sankt Markus Katholisch, Ernzen, Rheinland, Prussia; father Antonii Welter; mother Chatarinae Hennes.(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NTJ5-T7S : accessed 15 October 2017).
[12] FB Ernzen, pg. 219, Family #775. Trampert-Müller.
[13] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 462,714. Hubertum Wayman and Elisabetham Welter, married 12 Feb 1835; citing Sankt Markus Katholisch, Ernzen, Rheinland, Prussia. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JH8P-DBZ : accessed 15 October 2017).
[14] FB Ernzen, p. 235, Family #832. Welter-Weber.
[15] FB Ernzen, pg. 203, Family #719. Steil-Welter.
[16] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berdorf > Naissances 1799-1858 > image 84 of 534. 1810 Birth Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6S5H-ND?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-HZ9%3A129626101%2C129760301 : accessed 22 October 2017).
[17] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Petrus Nusbaum in der Südeifel mit Nusbaum, Nusbaumerhöhe, Freilingen, Freilingerhöhe, Enzen, Silberberg, Stockigt, und Rohrbach 1722-1899, PDF (Kordel bei Trier, 2001), pg. 113-114, Family #464. Hennes-Hostert.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.