I found a marriage that could match in Clemency, 28/08/1810, but I can’t access Family Search, it’s probably too busy. You could check yourself later.
I didn’t wait until later and was able to pull up the record she believed was the marriage of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER.
In 1810 on the 28th of August at 8 in the morning Pierre SCHMITT age 31 born in Bertrange the 3 April 1779, a domestic living in the commune of Fingig, the of age son of Pierre SCHMITT and Rose CLEMMENT, a married couple living in the commune of Bertrange…. and a young woman Anne Margaretha WEICKER age 25 born in Hagen the 7 September 1785, a servant living in the same commune of Fingig, the of age daughter of Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margaretha HARTMANN, a married couple living in the commune of Hagen… all were present and consenting to the marriage for which banns had been read before the entrance of the Clemency civil office.
The paperwork of the bride and groom was presented according to the legal requirements of the time. The bride and groom were declared husband and wife after affirming this was their choice. Four witnesses were present and signed along with the civil officer, the mayor of Clemency. The bride and groom declared not being able to write. The fathers of the bride and groom signed first as seen above.
Five and a half months later, Peter and Margaretha became the parents of their first child Magdalena, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.
One Record Leads to the Next
The marriage record led to the 1785 baptismal record of Anna WEICKERS [sic, Margaretha was not included on this record], daughter of Nicolai WEICKERS and Anna Margaretha HARTMAN. Why didn’t I notice abt. 1795 could not have been her year of birth? She would have been only 16 when her first child was born.
With the names of the parents, I was able to add three generations to the WEICKER line. I had suspected Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margarethe HARTMANN were the bride’s parents because….
The godmother of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER’s first child Magdalena was Magdalena KÜNSCH from Hohen (or Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Anna Margaretha HARTMANN was the widow of Peter KÜNSCH when she married Nicolas WEICKER. Was Magdalena KÜNSCH an older half-sister of Margaretha WEICKER? Further research may tell.
With the names of three new couples in the family tree, I will be busy finding the records to document them and may even be able to add more ancestral names.
Special thanks to my friend Linda for taking the time to read my posts, give me advice, and for telling me where to find the marriage record of Peter SCHMIT and Anne Margaretha WEICKER. *Linda has helped me out several times already. A Latin Rule You May Not Have Known was the result of one of her tips.
Happy Family History Month to all. Wishing you lots of keys to open the doors in your brick walls.
Sources:  Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Clemency > Naissances, mariages, décès 1804-1805 Naissances 1805-1890 Mariages 1796-1885 > image 1034 of 1491. 1810 Marriage Record (bottom left, top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XHPS-511?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-SP8%3A129628001%2C129815201 : accessed 30 September 2017).  Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse de Sterpenich (Luxembourg) now part of Autelbas, Luxembourg, Belgium > Baptêmes, mariages, sepultures 1779-1793 > Film/DGS 1658890 > Film # 008126375 > Item 8 > image 1106 of 1430. 1785 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry > right page, first entry). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVK-Y8VF-9?i=1105&cat=203740 : accessed 1 October 2017).
In 1756 two children were born in Bertrange, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one on September 20th and the other on October 2nd. Their baptismal records are on the same page in the parish register, the second right below the first. The twelve days between no children were born in Bertrange.
A little over twenty years later, on 10 February 1777, the two children were once again seen in the parish register, this time getting married – to each other.
Peter SCHMIT (1756-1816) and Rosa CLEMENS (1756-1815), the children who were baptized in 1756 and the couple who married in 1777, had ten children born between 1778 and 1799. Their second son Peter SCHMIT, my children’s 5th great-grandfather, was born and baptized on 3 April 1779 in Bertrange. His godparents were Petrus KREMER and Catharina SCHMIT. His father was present and signed the record in longhand.
Peter SCHMIT married Margaretha WEICKER before 1811. Their marriage took place before their first child was born however a marriage record has not been found. The couple was always referred to as legally married when their children were born. The marriage record was not found in Bertrange parish records from 1802-1811 or in the tables décennales (10-year lists) for the years 1802-1812 for Bertrange and Steinfort. Records were usually very well kept and I believe one day Peter and Margaretha’s marriage will turn up. Perhaps sooner than later as my genealogy society Luxracines has dedicated members working on a marriage project – indexing all marriages in Luxembourg from 1802 to 1923.
Why is Margaretha WEICKER’s Parentage Unknown?
Margaretha, my children’s 5th great-grandmother, was born about 1795 in Hoën (Hagen), Sterpenich, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The year of birth was estimated from her age at the time of death. Records for Hagen, a village in the Steinfort area, are not in the FamilySearch collection for Luxembourg for this period.
The Grand Duchy was under a double administration for about eight years before the Treaty of London was passed in 1839 when the present borders of Luxembourg were defined. Repatriation of the records (return to the country of origin) was not simple. Records for Steinfort for the period before the borders were changed can be found in Autelbas in the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. Civil records beginning in 1796 for Autelbas are online at FamilySearch.
As Margaretha’s birth may have been earlier I checked the parish records for Sterpenich in the FamilySearch catalog. The parish records of Sterpenich for the years 1779-1793 are conformed copies made from the originals by the Luxembourg authorities and given to the Belgium government in December 1844 per the convention of Utrecht signed in 1843, i.e. repatriation. I have no idea where the records for the years 1794-1795 may be found and am at a standstill on my research for Margaretha, her birth, and parentage.
Not only are the records missing, Margaretha’s name has been found with several variations. Her family name was spelled WEIKER or WEICKER and also seen as WIKERT. Her first name was Margaretha in early documents and Anne Marguerite in later years. These are all things which need to be considered when future research is done on her parentage.
Peter and Margaretha’s Children
Peter and Margaretha were the parents of seven children. Two died before their 2nd birthdays while the five others grew to adulthood, married, and had their own children. These are the SCHMIT children:
Magdalena SCHMIT was born on 10 February 1811 in domo Donnen in Bertrange. She was baptized the same day. Her godfather was Joannes SCHMIDT from Bertrange and her godmother was Magdalena KÜNSCH from Hohen (or Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Was her godmother her grandmother, an aunt, or cousin? This may be a clue to solving the question of her mother’s parentage.
Rosa SCHMIT was born on 7 Feb 1815 in domo Bour in Bertrange and baptized the same day. Her godmother was her paternal grandmother Rosa CLEMENS. Her godfather was Nicolaus WEICKER of Hohen. Could he have been her maternal grandfather or an uncle?
Rosa’s godmother and paternal grandmother Rosa CLEMENS died only a few months later on 22 May 1815. Her paternal grandfather Peter SCHMIT died on 11 February 1816.
Rosa died two weeks later on 26 February 1816 in domo Donnen in Bertrange shortly after her first birthday. She was buried the following day. Her religious death and burial record has her mother’s name as Anna Margaretha Hinnicker instead of Weicker.
Nicolas SCHMIT was born at seven in the morning on 8 April 1817 in Bertrange. His father reported the birth two hours later. As baptismal records for Bertrange are only available online up to 1816 the godparents of Nicolas and his younger siblings were not found as they were for Magdalena and Rosa.
Michel SCHMIT was born at two in the morning on 10 February 1819 in Bertrange. His father reported the birth eight hours later.
Following their youngest child Michel’s first birthday, Peter and Margaretha lost their second child, son Nicolas. He died on 21 February 1820 in Bertrange at the age of nearly three years.
Jean SCHMIT* was born at three in the afternoon on 12 July 1820. His father reported the birth two days later at eight in the morning on the 14th. This child’s birth record was only found after this post was ready to be published. While reading through the final draft I realized something was wrong and checked again on SCHMIT children born in Bertrange.
Maria Catharina SCHMIT was born at two in the morning on 25 February 1822 in Bertrange. Her father reported the birth the same day at nine in the morning.
Jean SCHMIT was born at 9:30 in the morning on 3 September 1825 in Bertrange. His father reported the birth the same day at eleven in the morning. As was the case with all of his children’s births, Peter declared not being able to write. I found this strange, his being the second born of a father who was able to write as seen above at the time of his own baptism in 1779.
Margaretha WEICKER’s Death in 1826
The mother of the five living children, Margaretha WEICKER, died on 17 January 1826 in Bartringen. She was 31 years old at the time of her death. Her youngest child was only four months old and her oldest would shortly be turning fifteen. Her name on the record was Anne Marguerithe WEICKER. The addition of Anne to her name was also seen on the birth records of her two youngest children.
Widowed Peter Remarries
Following the death of his wife, Peter waited two years before taking a second wife. This seems unusual as he had been left with five children, one still a baby. Magdalena, his oldest child, likely took on the responsibilities of a little mother, helping care for her younger siblings.
Peter married Anne Marie SCHOLER, daughter of Jean SCHOLER and Susanne BOURENS, on 22 March 1828 in Bertrange. Anne Marie was born on 4 June 1792 in Obersyren (Schuttrange).
Peter and his second wife Anne Marie had only one child, a daughter, Madelaine born four years into the marriage on 16 July 1832 in Bertrange. Her half-siblings were by this time 7, 10, 12, 13, and 21 years old. She did not, however, grow up without a playmate.
Peter’s oldest daughter Magdalena gave birth to a natural daughter on 7 November 1835. Anne’s father’s name was not on the birth record. Natural was the term used for children born out of wedlock. Anne appears to have been raised in her maternal grandfather’s household as she was listed with Peter and Anne Marie on the 1843 and 1846 census.
Peter’s second wife Anne Marie had a sister Margaretha SCHOLER (1802-1842) who was married to Jacob RUCKERT (1787-1856). Margaretha gave Jacob eight children, six of whom were living when she died after giving birth to the last on 20 March 1842.. Peter’s brother-in-law Jacob became his son-in-law eight months later.
At eleven in the morning of 27 March 1847 Peter SCHMIT age 22 reported the death of his father Peter SCHMIT who had died only two hours earlier at his home in the neighborhood called Eichels in Bertrange.
I have a small problem with this death record as Peter did not have a son named Peter. Both of Peter’s wives are correctly named on the death record. Is the signature of the informant that of Jean SCHMIT the youngest son who was 22 years old at the time? The younger Jean was the only child to remain in his father’s household in 1843 and 1846 and was seen with his step-mother in 1847. Due to the fact that I found another son named Jean born in 1820, I believe the younger son may have been known as Johann Peter (Jean Pierre) to distinguish him from his older brother Jean.
Widow Anne SCHOLER last seen in 1847 census
In the 1847 census, Peter’s widow Anne SCHOLER was the head of household with her stepsons Michel, Jean (26), Jean (22) and stepdaughter Maria Catharina (children from Peter’s first marriage) and her only child, daughter Madelaine from her marriage to Peter. This entry in the census led me to search once again for children of Peter and Margaretha but only after I had finished the research and written this post.
Michel, the elder Jean, and Maria Catharina were not in their father’s household in 1843 or 1846. This was not unusual as they were of an age to be working outside of the home. I had wrongly assumed the elder Jean found in the 1847 census was an error or relative other than child.
Peter’s widow Anne Marie SCHOLER and their daughter Madelaine have not found after the 1847 census.
The SCHMIT children lived in the three districts of Luxembourg
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is divided into three districts: Luxembourg, Diekirch, and Grevenmacher (dark gray areas in the maps below). Each district is divided into cantons (red areas in the maps below) and each canton is divided into communes. Several towns and villages may be part of a commune.
The District of Luxembourg
Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER’s children grew up in the town of Bertrange. Peter had deep roots in the town as his parents and grandparents all came from the town.
Their oldest daughter Magdalena SCHMIT raised her family in Bertrange. She was likely the first of the siblings to pass away.* She died on 30 September 1870 in Bertrange. Other than her natural daughter Anne, she had a son and three daughters with Jacob RUCKERT. The son has not been found after he turned 21 in 1864. One daughter died as an infant. The youngest daughter had a natural son (1867-1868) and it is not known if she ever married or where she lived after her mother’s death. The older daughter Margaretha, my children’s 3rd great-grandmother, married but there is still the mystery of what happened to her and of her family after 1895. It is only through the marriage of her daughter Maria MERTES in 1894 and the census of 1895 that I know that Margaretha and her husband Michel MERTES were still living in 1895.
Peter and Margaretha’s youngest son Jean SCHMIT (b. 1825) also spent his married life in Bertrange. But before this, he was living and working in other places. One residence was Mondercange where he was in May 1852 when his brother Michel married. He was one of the four witnesses and signed “Jang Schmit.” Six years later he was living and working in Noertzange (Bettembourg) when he made plans to marry. Jean married Maria RISCHARD on 20 January 1858 in Schuttrange. Maria was born on 16 March 1827 in Uebersyren (Schuttrange), the same place Jean’s step-mother was born. They lived in Bertrange their entire married life. They were the parents of 6 children, three of whom died at a young age. Of the three living children, a daughter married and had children. The two sons were working in Lothringen (France) in the late 1890s – they have not been traced.
Jean SCHMIT died on 28 November 1892 in Bertrange. His death record has the right wife but the wrong parents. The information was given by his son-in-law Mathias HANSEN. Jean’s wife died six years later on 30 April 1898 in Bertrange.
The District of Diekirch
The second daughter of Peter and Margaretha, Maria Catharina married Joseph POECKER on 20 February 1852 in Bettendorf. Joseph was born on 25 February 1819 in Bettendorf.
How Maria Catharina came to marry in Bettendorf is unknown at this time. She and her husband raised their family on Fooshof. They had seven children, four of whom died in infancy. A daughter who never married died at the age of 38 years. The youngest living son born in 1864 was unmarried at the time of the 1900 census. He was living with his brother Nicolas who had married in 1893 and continued the line.
Maria Catharina died on 1 September 1879 on the family farm, Fooshof in Bettendorf. Her husband Joseph died on 19 January 1895 on Fooshof.
The District of Grevenmacher
Peter and Margaretha’s oldest son Michel married Anna Margretha BRAUN on 5 May 1852 in Waldbillig. Anna was born on 12 May 1826 in Bettange-sur-Mess (Dippach). Michel and Anna Margretha started their family when they were working on the Wolperhof in the commune of Consdorf. Three of their children were born here.
The District of Diekirch
The third child’s birth at Wolper was followed by a move to the western part of Luxembourg in the commune of Bettborn. Three more children were born in Pratz, part of the commune of Bettborn.
Michel and Anna Margretha lived in Horaz from 1885. Not far from Pratz, Horaz, which is also spelled Horass, only had two households.
Michel SCHMIT was the oldest son and last living child of Peter and Margaretha. He died on 26 December 1898 in Horaz. His wife Anna Margretha predeceased him on 12 November 1890 in Horaz.
Still Not Quite Done
* Due to my only learning of the existence of the elder son Jean born in 1820 after writing this post, I have not had the time to research where he may have lived and worked, if he ever married and had children, and when and where he died. Considering his name Jean SCHMIT – just another John Smith – the search may take a while.
This is the last post on my children’s paternal 5th great-grandparents. I already wrote about half of their maternal 5th great-grandparents (my paternal 4th great-grandparents) in 2014 when I did the first round of Amy Johnson Crow‘s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.
Next up will be 16 sets of my maternal 4th great-grandparents. The first eight being from small towns and villages which are now part of Germany near the Luxembourg border. The last eight will be from Luxembourg. I hope to finish up this series by the end of the year even though there are only 13 weeks left. Wish me luck and lots of free time.
Maps used are in the Public domain (Wikimedia Commons) and were annotated using Evernote.
I have days when I’m ready to finish up researching a family and begin to write their story then something distracts me enough to set them aside for a day or two. When I come back to the research and begin or continue writing about them, I usually find something I’ve missed or was unable to find. Are there angels watching over our genealogy work?
The genealogies of the families of Bertrange in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg have been well researched by René KIRSCH who shares his work La Généalogie de BERTRANGE on his website. Using it as a guide, I was able to quickly find the records for Angelique’s family. However using other people’s work as a guide, even if you are able to confirm the research, may result in your not finding all records. I usually do the research first and then compare with research done by others. This works well for me. I should stick with this modus operandi as I ended up going through the parish records a second time to search for records I needed to prove relationships which were missed in La Généalogie de BERTRANGE.
Angelique MICHELS (1750-1825)
On 15 April 1825 at eight o’clock in the morning Rosa WESTER, 47 years old, was at the records office in Bertrange declaring the death of her mother Angelique MICHELS, the widow of Johann RUCKERT, who had died only an hour earlier at the age of 77 years. Angelique had led a long and interesting life. During her lifetime her first name was also seen as Angelica and Angela. The mother of nine children and grandmother of at least 38 grandchildren was one of my children’s many fifth great-grandmothers.
Angelique’s Parents and Siblings
Over a hundred years earlier her father Petrus MICHELS (1726-1776) was born in Bertrange on 12 September 1726. He married her mother Susanna MARTIN (1727-1775) on 21 January 1750 in Bertrange. Susanna’s maiden name would later be seen as MERTES in records produced when her children were born and when she died. Susanna’s father was living in Buschdorf at the time of the marriage in 1750. At this time, a connection to The Mertes-Donnen Family of Bertrange featured in What’s the secret of “maison dite” or house names in Luxembourg records? has not been found.
Nearly ten months to the day after Petrus and Susanna married they had their first child, Angelique, seen here as Angelica, born on 23 November 1750 in Bertrange. The godparents chosen for this child were Jean MERTES (alias MARTIN) of Buschdorf and Angelica MICHELS of Bertrange. The godfather was her maternal grandfather and the godmother was her paternal grandmother.
Angelique would not grow up as an only child nor would she be the only child with this name. In 1753 when she was nearly 3 years old her sister Rosa was born followed by Nicolas in 1756, Angelica in 1759, Joannatha in 1762, and Susanna in 1768.
Angelique’s First Marriage
Angelique MICHELS married Petrus HANSEN on 5 February 1770 in Bertrange. Petrus, the son of Jean HANSEN and Marie CLAUDT, was born on 21 December 1745 in Bertrange. On the marriage record, her name was listed as Angela MERTES alias MICHELS. The marriage lasted only seven months as Petrus died on 15 September 1770 in Bertrange.
Angelique was expecting her first child when her husband died. Anna Catharina HANSEN was born on 9 November 1770 in Bertrange. Her godfather was her maternal grandfather Petrus MERTES alias MICHELS and her godmother was likely a sister of her deceased father, Anna Catharina HANSEN of Berdorf.
This daughter gained a playmate and uncle a year later when Joannes MICHELS was born on 30 October 1771 to Angelique’s parents Petrus and Susanna.
Angelique’s Second Husband
Angelique was a widow for a little over three years. On 11 January 1774, she married her second husband Willibrordus WESTER. Willibrordus, the son of Willibrord VESTER (also seen as WESTER) and Marie BRIMMEYER, was born on 12 November 1747 in Strassen.
Willibrordus and Angelique’s first child Antonetta was born eleven months later on 4 December 1774. The child was two months old when her maternal grandmother Susanna MARTIN aka MERTES died on 15 February 1775. Her maternal grandfather, Petrus MICHELS, died nearly a year later on 1 February 1776.
Angelique, widowed once, married for the second time, and mother of two young daughters was only 25 years old when her father died and she became the head of household in domo Michels.
Willibrordus and Angelique’s family grew with the birth of Rosa on 1 January 1777 and Joanna on 3 August 1779.
On 6 August 1781, daughter Barbara was born in the Michels house, in domo Michels, in Bertrange. This is the first reference to the home Angelique grew up in and, as the oldest child, now owned. Sadly, the next time the home was mentioned was when baby Barbara died six months later on 12 February 1782.
Willibrordus WESTER was 35 years old when he died on 30 December 1782 in Bertrange. Angelique was 32 years old, widowed twice, mother of four daughters, and expecting another child when her husband died. I found a possible error pertaining to his date of death. The parish records are in chronological order. The death entry is the first for December although he died on the 30th. I believe he may have died in November and the month was written incorrectly in the parish book.
Three to four months later, Willibrordus and Angelique’s son Peter was born on 11 April 1783 in domo Michels in Bertange.
Angelique now had five little children: a newborn son and four daughters between the ages of 12 and nearly 2 years. She was still young. Both her parents had died before they were 50. Did she consider all of these things when she married for the third time?
Angelique’s Third Husband
Angelique MICHELS married Johann RUCKERT on 7 February 1785 in Bertrange. The marriage proclamations were made in Sandweiler and Bertrange. The groom signed his name to the marriage record while the bride declared not being able to write and left her mark.
Before continuing with Angelique and Johann’s life together, let’s take a look at Johann RUCKERT’s parents and childhood as he was my children’s fifth great-grandfather.
Johann, the son of Petrus RUCKERT (1715-1790) and Anna Catharina SPEYER (1718-1793), was born on 10 April 1754 in Sandweiler. He was the seventh of nine children and was honored by having his uncle, Joannes RUCKERT, a Catholic priest, as his godfather.
Johann’s father Petrus was born and baptized on 15 June 1715 in Sandweiler. He married Johann’s mother Anna Catharina on 29 November 1739 in Sandweiler. She was born about 1718 in Burange (Dudelange). Petrus and Anna Catharina had nine children born from 1740-1759.
After going through the parish books of Sandweiler, I was able to deduct that Anna Catharina, who was having children with Petrus RUCKERT, was always the same wife. Some records show only her given name while others indicate her maiden name was SPEYER or KNEPPESCH, KNEPCHEN, KNEPGEN. In 1759 her daughter Maria’s godmother’s name was Maria SPEIER dicta KNEITGEN which shows the SPEYER family was also called KNEPPESCH (and several other spellings).
Johann and Angelique became the parents of three children in four years. Their births all took place in domo Michels, the house known as Michels, in Bertrange.
Their first child, Anna Catharina, born and baptized on 30 October 1785, was named after her paternal grandmother who was also her godmother. The godmother was not present at the baptism. The procuratrix AgnèseKIELL widow of Jean SCHINY represented the godmother Anna Catharina RUCKER alias KNEBGEN of Sandweiler per procurationem. The father and the godfather signed the record while the substitute godmother could not write and left her mark.
The second child Jacob was born and baptized on 23 July 1787. The godfather was Jacob RUCKERT, a farmer from Sandweiler and his paternal uncle, and the godmother was Margaretha RUCKERT alias KING from Hoën (Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Her relationship is unknown, however, I suspect she may be a grand-aunt, sister of Petrus RUCKERT. The father and the godfather signed the record and the godmother declared not being able to write and left her mark. The child Jacob was my children’s 4th great-grandfather.
Angelique and Johann’s third and last child was Johann born and baptized on 11 September 1789. His father was a farmer or agricola and, as with his other children, signed the baptismal record.
Following the births of these three children, their paternal grandparents passed away. Their grandfather Petrus RUCKERT died on 13 June 1790 at the age of 74 and was buried the following day in Sandweiler. Their grandmother Anna Catharina SPEYER died on 14 April 1793 at the age of 75 and was buried the following day in Sandweiler.
Angelique’s Children Begin to Marry
Two of Angelique’s daughters from her second marriage married in 1800 and 1801. I stumbled on the marriage records while searching for birth records of the daughters’ children. The marriage records were mixed in with the birth records and out of order. They were included in one of three little notebooks kept by the priest during 1800-1801. Joanna WESTER married Michel KRIER (1778-1851) on 3 May 1800 and Rosa WESTER married Leonard WAGENER (1773-1823) on 3 January 1801, both in Bertrange.
Angelique’s third husband Johann RUCKERT died on 15 February 1803 in domo Michels, Bertrange, at the age of 48. Widowed a third time at the age of 52, Angelique was left with three teenagers and two married daughters. No trace has been found of the daughter from her first marriage or the oldest daughter and the only son from her second marriage. A more thorough search of the parish books for marriages and/or death records is on my to-do list.
The daughter Anna Catharina RUCKERT who was born in 1785 was still living in 1803. She was the godmother of her half-sister Rosa’s daughter Anna KRIER born on 27 November 1803 as well as for her half-sister Joanna’s daughter Anna WAGENER born on 9 May 1801. In both records, she was seen as Anna RUCKERT é domo Michels placing her in the household of Angelique. In future research, I will take into account the fact that her name may have been shortened to Anna.
Angelique’s youngest son Johann RUCKERT married Anna Catharina SCHUHMANN (1794-1862) on 18 December 1817 in Sandweiler. Did he meet her while visiting RUCKERT relatives in Sandweiler? Although the bride was from Sandweiler the couple made their home in Bertrange.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Angelique MICHELS died on 15 April 1825 in Bertrange and her daughter Rosa was the informant. Rosa who had been widowed nearly two years declared she could not write and another witness had to sign for her.
Three years after Angelique’s death, her son Jacob RUCKERT married Margaretha SCHOLER (1802-1842) on 19 February 1828 in Bertrange. The marriage produced eight children, five of whom were living when Jacob was widowed in 1842 shortly after the 14th wedding anniversary. His wife died in childbirth and he likely needed a woman to care for his children as he married within eight months. His bride Magdalena SCHMIT (1811-1870) was 24 years younger and the single mother of a seven-year-old daughter. They were married on 26 November 1842 in Bertrange. Magdalena was my children’s 4th great-grandmother. You can read their story here: How Jacob RUCKERT’s Brother-in-law Peter SCHMIT Became his Father-in-law.
Of the nine children Angelique gave birth to, one died young, four have not been traced, leaving four who married and had children. Joanna WESTER died at the age of 71 on 12 December 1850, Rosa WESTER died at the age of 78 on 6 January 1855, Jacob RUCKERT died at the age of 68 on 24 June 1856, and Johann RUCKERT died at the age of 72 on 27 May 1862. All of these deaths took place in Bertrange.
I would love to hear from Angelique’s descendants. Are there any readers who descend from the children I have not been able to follow or who know more about them?
For some reason, the subject of maison dite or house names kept coming up while I was researching the MERTES-DONNEN family. Not only in my research but in several Facebook groups and pages I follow. Maybe the ancestors were trying to tell me something. Or maybe it’s time to discuss what I learned while researching this family – something I left out in my last post.
Before I share my discovery, let me give you an overview of the history of house names and surnames in Luxembourg.
This past June I attended a conference by Paul ZIMMER, Latein in den Kirchenbüchern korrekt lesen (Reading Latin Correctly in Church Records). His presentation included an explanation of the peculiarities of names found in church records. After the presentation, he kindly sent digital copies to all participants of a dozen articles published under his pseudonym, Victor Racine. I used his introduction to genealogy research adapted to the Luxembourg situation: Petite introduction à la recherche généalogique avec des conseils pratiques adaptés à la situation luxembourgeoise (Victor Racine) as a guide.
House Names and Surnames
Until around 1500 the first name of a person was sufficient enough to identify ordinary people. When pleading someone’s case, it was done orally and normally in the presence of the person eliminating the confusion of identities.
The appearance of the first written documents however required additional distinction. Nicolas, therefore, became known as Nicolas de Steinfort (by his residence), Nicolas le Meunier (by his occupation, i.e. miller), or Nicolas le Petit (by a trait, i.e. small person).
When these extensions to the first names finally became family names transmitted from one generation to the next, they were not, for a long time, patronymic. In about half the cases, the children’s names came from the mother, as the rules of family succession in Luxembourg were based on primogeniture – the right of the oldest child inheriting the parental home without any distinction between males and females.
Luxembourg researchers are confronted with the phenomenon of “house names” shared by all people living under one roof, regardless of their initial name received at birth. At the time of the marriage, the spouse always acquired, whatever his sex, the name of the house into which he entered. Thus, each couple had only one and the same surname which was transmitted to all their children.
In the course of the eighteenth century when Luxembourg was under Austrian rule, the civil authorities imposed a contrary law, that each individual should keep his birth name – it could no longer be changed during the course of his life, notably at the time of marriage. Each legitimate child inherited his father’s surname.
During the long transition, the coexistence of the two rules and practices, totally opposite, constituted a complication which was the source of errors. The children of one and the same couple sometimes obtained different surnames. The second spouse of a widow or widower may have been known by the surname his spouse had previously taken from his first conjugal partner.
Priests were aware of the problem of the double and triple surnames of their parishioners. Some were careful to note more than one name. The different surnames of one and the same person were juxtaposed and linked together by Latin words: alias (otherwise called), vulgo (commonly called), modo (otherwise), sive and aut (or), dicta (said). Sometimes the correct connection with previous generations can be determined by useful references such as ex domo … (from the house) or in domo … (in the house). House names were also mentioned in the parish records using the term in aedibus (Latin for in house) followed by the name.
Our genealogical research may suffer from the rivalry of these two incompatible rules but in the following case, I profited from them.
Researching the MERTES-DONNEN Family
It took me longer than usual to research the MERTES-DONNEN family before I wrote about them in my last post. I couldn’t seem to get to the point I wanted to be before beginning to write. I wanted to know as much as possible about both Nicolas MERTES’ family and Maria Catharina DONNEN’s family so their timelines would be as complete as possible.
This led me down a rabbit hole as I also looked into their grandparents. When I finally thought I had the timeline ready, I began writing using information from the documents for each of the events.
As I was composing the post I went off on a tangent taking a new look at the death record of Margaretha BIVER, the mother of Nicolas MERTES. I ended up cutting out a large portion of what I wrote about the death record and my findings as I realized I had gotten sidetracked from the subject of the piece.
However, I saw an opportunity to use the information I had found to help other Luxembourg researchers.
The MERTES Family’s House Name
Marguerite BIVER died on 20 December 1820 at nine in the evening in house number 69 in the Opperter road in Bertrange. The informant for the death was her son-in-law Jean KETTENMEYER. The record (below, top entry) did not indicate the address was also that of the informant.
The next entry in the register (above, bottom entry) was for a baby with the surname CHRISTOPHORY who died in house number 73 of the same street.
The importance of the deaths taking place in the same street, likely only two houses away from each other, can be seen in the pedigree of Franz MERTES, the son of the MERTES-DONNEN couple and grandson of Marguerite BIVER.
I haven’t followed through to see how the baby’s family was related to Barbe CHRISTOPHORY, Maria Catharina’s mother. But it had me wondering if the DONNEN-CHRISTOPHORY and the MERTES-BIVER couples had been neighbors when their daughter and son married. I tried to locate the address in present-day Bertrange but the list of street names on the Luxembourg post office’s site did not turn up any matches.
My next step was to check if perhaps the KETTENMEYER family’s street name may have been mentioned on the census or in a vital record. Jean KETTENMEYER died before the first available census. The two listings I found for his widow Anne MERTES did not include the street name.
Jean’s death record revealed an interesting fact. He died in la maison dite Karpen, an Oppert or a house named Karpen in Oppert.
This was an amazing discovery. When I read maison diteKarpen on the record I knew right away the KETTENMEYER family was living in the home of the MERTES family.
The significance of “la maison dite Karpen”
Peter, the father of Nicolas MERTES and Jean KETTENMEYER’s wife Anne MERTES, was the son of Mathias MERTES and Maria HOLTZEMER of Steinsel. At this time I do not have a baptismal record for Peter. His death record indicates he was born about 1733. I suspect his age was over-estimated at the time of death.
The parents of the groom were married in 1726 at which time their names were given as Mathias MERTENS and Maria HOLTZEMER. The family name had evolved from MERTENS to MERTES by the time Peter married.
Mathias and Maria had six children born in Müllendorf and baptized in Steinsel from 1729 to 1741. The baptismal records have been found. The priest gave the following names for the parents on the children’s records:
Theodore b. 1729: Mathias MARTINI and Maria HOLTZEMER
Magdalena b. 1731: Mathias MARTINI and Maria CARPEN dicta HOLTZEMER
Johann b. 1733: Mathias MARTINI alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
Mathias b. 1736: Mathias MARTINI alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
Anna Maria b. 1737: Mathias MERTENS alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
Johann Peter b. 1741: Mathias MERTENS alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
As mentioned in the explanation of surnames in Luxembourg, the priest gave a Latin twist to the surname and added an alias to Mathias’ surname as well as dicta (said) to Maria’s.
Although I know that Peter MERTES was the son of Mathias MERTES (MERTENS) and Maria HOLZTEMER as these were the names given at the time of his marriage, I still do not know for sure when he was born and baptized. I believe he may have been the youngest son, Johann Peter born in 1741. Further research will have to be done to prove or disprove this assumption.
The alias CARPEN was found to go back further through Maria HOLTZEMER’s line. She was born in 1704 when her parents were listed as Nicolas HOLZEM and Angela PEIFFERS. When Maria’s her sister Angela was born in 1707 the parents’ names were given as Nicolas HOLZEM dicti KARP and his wife Angela.
Digging a bit deeper I learned Angela’s family did not use a surname until their fourth child was born. It would have been very unlikely that I would figure this out on my own. Claude Bettendroffer, vice-president of Luxracines, made the connection and shared it in his database on our society’s website. When the first two children were born the parents were seen Godefridus (also seen as Godfroid and Godart), a sutor or cobbler, and Dorothée. When Angela was born her father was seen with the same occupation, only written in German, Schuhmacher. The father’s occupation was used to distinguish him from other men with the same first name in Steinsel. By the time their fourth child was born the family was using the surname or house name PEIFFERS. The oldest child, a daughter, inherited the home and passed the name on to the children of both of her marriages as her husbands took on her house name PEIFFERS.
It was astonishing to have followed a family line back using surnames, to using a house name, to only being identified by the father’s occupation during a documented period from 1666 back to 1659.
The house name KARPEN was not used by the PEIFFERS family as far as I can tell at this time. It was used by the HOLTZEM family in Müllendorf as early as 1707, by the MERTENS-HOLTZEMER family in 1731-1741 in Müllendorf, and finally by the MERTES family in Bertrange as late as 1837 when the son-in-law died. It appears the house name followed the son when he married and made his home in Bertrange.
Karpen house in Oppert. Where was Oppert?
When I searched for Oppert as seen in the 1837 death record instead of Opperter as seen in the 1820 death record, I found it is now a street in Bertrange called rue des Champs. I know this street. We’ve ridden our bikes on this road which runs from the center of town out of Bertrange into the fields to the west of town where bike paths link it to Mamer in the northwest and Dippach in the southwest.
Zooming in on Google maps street view I found the street sign, a bit above and to the left of the shutter on the left side of the house, for rue des Champs includes the Luxembourgish name Oppert.
What’s the secret?
I don’t believe there is a secret to the maison dite or house names in Luxembourg records. As long as we know how surnames evolved and how house names were used to identify people, we can use the rules to benefit our research.
Even today the older generations can be heard referring to a person by their house name instead of their surname in Luxembourg. But it is a custom which is quickly disappearing.
Johann DONNEN of Ellingen (Canton Remich) married Barbe CHRISTOPHORY of Bertrange about 1772 or earlier. No marriage record has been found for the couple who were having legitimate children from 1772. Johann was born about 1747, per the age found on his death record, and his wife Barbe was born in 1743. They were the parents of four known children all born in Bertrange. A daughter Barbara was born in 1772, twins Nicolas Johann and Catharina in 1775, and Maria Catharina in 1783.
The Mertes-Biver Family
During the same time period, another couple was also raising a family in Bertrange. Peter MERTES and Marguerite BIVER were married on 3 December 1771 in Bertrange. They were the parents of Margaretha born in 1772, Willibrod 1774, Anna Marguerite est. 1775, Anna 1776, Barbara 1779, Nicolas 1781, Magdalena 1783, and Anna 1786. [Update: Baptismal record of Anna b. 1786 was found on 17 Sep 2017.]
The MERTES-DONNEN Family
The daughter of the DONNEN-CHRISTOPHORY couple, Maria Catharina DONNEN, married the son of the MERTES-BIVER couple, Nicolas MERTES, on 21 February 1803 in Bertrange. Nicolas’ occupation was given on the marriage record as Akersmann or plowman. During the years that followed he was always seen as a day laborer: when his children were born, when they married, and when the census was taken.
Two weeks after the marriage the newlyweds were attending the funeral of Johann DONNEN, the bride’s father, who died 9 March 1803. Nicolas, only six days short of his twenty-second birthday, was one of the informants on the death record.
After the torments of the French Revolution (1789-1799), poverty and misery did not disappear. Many left Bertrange for southern Hungary and Transylvania in the years 1723-1726 and for North America from 1853 onward. This was not the case for the MERTES-DONNEN family.
Children’s births and grandparents’ deaths
Following their marriage, Nicolas and Maria Catharina had seven children, all born in Bertrange, during a period of seventeen years. Their first two children were sons, Michel born on 5 May 1804 at 9 in the morning and François, better known as Franz, on 5 April 1806 at 11 in the morning.
Maria Catharina’s mother Barbe CHRISTOPHORY died on 17 December 1807. Her son-in-law Nicolas, the informant, gave her place of death as his home. The occupation of her deceased husband Johann DONNEN was given as charron or wheelright.
The family increased with the birth of Anne on 24 August 1808 at 8 in the evening and Catherine on 3 March 1811 at 11 in the evening.
Nicolas’ father Peter MERTES died on 15 December 1811 around 8 in the evening at the home of his son-in-law Jean KETTENMEYER, husband of Anne, the only sibling of Nicolas to have married.
Following the death, the pattern of two births and a death continued in the family. Sons, Nicolas, born on 24 August 1814 at 11 in the evening, and Jean, born on 24 November 1817 at 4 in the morning, brought the number of children up to six.
Marguerite BIVER, the last living grandparent of the MERTES-DONNEN children, died on 20 December 1820 at 9 in the evening in house number 69 in the Oppertergasse. The informant was her son-in-law Jean KETTENMEYER.
Maria Catharina gave birth to her last child a month later on 28 January 1821. They named the child Nicolas although they already had a 6 and a half years old son with this name. Little did they know that three years later the elder son named Nicolas would die on 12 January 1824 at the age of 9 years and 8 months.
Marriages of the children
The next ten years are not documented. No children were born or died. The decade fell before the census of 1843 which is available online. The children grew and by 1834 the first marriage was being celebrated in the MERTES family.
Catherine MERTES married Johann Wilhelm FEDERSPIEL (1801-1865) on 18 April 1839. Catherine had given birth to a son the previous month and he was legitimized with the marriage.
No trace has been found of the oldest son Michel or the oldest daughter Anne following their births in 1804 and 1808. Their deaths were not recorded in Bertrange. Did they leave Bertrange to find work or marry?
In December of 1843, 1846, 1847, 1849, and 1851 Nicolas and Maria Catharina were enumerated on the census with their two youngest children, already grown men, Jean and Nicolas. In 1851, Jean (34) and Nicolas (31) were both still single.
Only two of Nicolas MERTES’ six siblings were known to be living at this time. Anne who married Jean KETTENMEYER died on 9 February 1852.
On the December 1852 census Nicolas and Maria Catharina had in their household son Jean but the youngest son Nicolas had disappeared. I have not made any effort to locate him as this was a time many were emigrating to North America. Hopefully, if he had descendants, one of them will read this and get in touch.
A little over a year later Nicolas was the informant on the death of his wife Maria Catharina DONNEN. She died on 24 January 1854.
Nicolas and his son Jean were now alone. At the age of 37, Jean married a woman three years his senior, Magdalena WAGENER (1816-1883), on 2 May 1855.
Had he seen his father’s health declining and decided it was time to marry? Or did the men need a woman to care for them? Five months after the marriage the father of the groom, Nicolas MERTES died. His son-in-law Johann Wilhelm FEDERSPIEL reported the death which took place on 19 October 1855. Peter CHRISTNACH, a shoemaker and Nicolas’ neighbor, also witnessed the death record.
As far as I know, Nicolas left three children, eight grandchildren, and a sister, Anne Marguerite who never married. Her death followed a little over six months later on 5 May 1856. It was reported by her nephew Dominique FERDERSPIEL and her niece Catherine MERTES’ husband Johann Wilhelm FEDERSPIEL. The record includes the names of her parents. Her baptismal record has not been found and the death record was the first mention I found for her.
Around 1850 Bertrange was a village of about 200 houses and exceeding 1,000 inhabitants. A poor commune with an economy based on agriculture and small crafts, it underwent economic restructuring in 1859 when the first railway was inaugurated. People took on work as miners and railway workers. Times were changing for the MERTES-DONNEN children who remained.
Nicolas and Maria Catharina’s living children
Franz, my children’s 4th great-grandfather, had spent his entire married life in the neighboring town of Strassen. He died at the age of 57 on 15 March 1864. Catherine and Jean both remained in Bertrange. Catherine died at the age of 69 on 11 March 1880 and Jean on 1 September 1888 at the age of 70.
It took me longer than usual to research this family. For some reason the subject of maison dite or house names kept coming up everywhere I turned. Maybe the ancestors were trying to tell me something. Or maybe it is time to discuss what I learned while researching this family – something I left out above.
I’ll be at Luxracines’ archives in Walferdange on Wednesday with Rob Deltgen and, hopefully, I’ll learn enough to fill in the spaces in the draft I’ve prepared for my upcoming post.
Week 41 (October 8-14) – Colorful.Everyone has at least one “colorful” ancestor. Share the story of one of yours. 🙂
I didn’t expect this story to fit the “colorful” ancestor theme until I discovered an illegitimate child (and then another) in the family. I was not surprised and wondered if this would be colorful enough to fit the theme. Since I’m writing about an ancestral couple two people are involved, six when I add their parents, and the number increases when children (and most families had quite a few) and their spouses are added. What I’m getting at is – when researching a person or a family you need to look at all persons involved. And that is how I discovered my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather Jacob RUCKERT’s brother-in-law became his father-in-law. Colorful enough?
Jacob RUCKERT was born and baptized on 23 July 1787 in Bertrange. His parents were Johann RUCKERT, a farmer, and Angelique MICHELS. Present at his baptism were Jacob RUCKERT, a farmer, from Sandweiler and Margaretha RUCKERT alias KING from Hagen in the parish of Sterpenich (Province of Luxembourg in Belgium). Today Hagen is part of the commune of Schuttrange in the Grand Duché of Luxembourg.
Angelique (1748-1825) of Bertrange and Johann (?-1803) of Sandweiler married two years before Jacob’s birth on 7 February 1785 in Bertrange. This was Angelique’s third marriage. I found the marriages on marriage index cards and need to locate the actual documents in the parish records which are online at FamilySearch. As the first two marriages are new to me I haven’t had time to work through possible siblings of Jacob RUCKERT. While searching through the census I found his brother Johann RUCKERT (1789-1862) who was born 2 years, 1 month, and 18 days after him. Jacob and his brother Johann may have had full siblings and half-siblings with different surnames as their mother was married to Petrus HANSEN on 5 February 1770 and to Willibrordus WESTER on 11 January 1774.
These index cards are a treasure trove of information. By following the names of the parents listed for Angelique MICHELS I discovered the names of her paternal grandparents and great-grandparents giving me three new generations to research. Also I see an unexpected MERTES connection which needs to be looked into.
Jacob’s father Johann died on 15 February 1803 and his mother Angelique died 15 April 1825, both in Bartringen. It was only after the death of his mother that Jacob at the age of 40 years married Margaretha SCHOLER (1802-1842) on 19 February 1828 in Bertrange. Margaretha was born on 15 September 1802 in Obersyren in the commune of Schuttrange per the marriage record.
Margaretha’s sister Anne Marie SCHOLER married a month after Jacob and Margaretha on 22 March 1828 in Bertrange to Peter SCHMIT. Peter had become a widower in 1826. This is when Jacob RUCKERT and Peter SCHMIT became brothers-in-law.
Jacob and Margaretha were the parents of at least eight children:
Ch 1: Heinricus “Henri” RUCKERT (1830-1863) born 8 February 1830 in Bertrange. He died on 15 March 1863 in Luxembourg City.
Ch 2: Johann RUCKERT (1832-1835) born 9 January 1832 in Bertrange. He died 20 September 1835 in Bertrange.
Ch 3: Elisabeth RUCKERT (1833-?) born 12 August 1833 in Bertrange.
Ch 4: [–?–] RUCKERT (1835-1835) born 5 December 1835 in Bertrange. He died 5 December 1835 in Bertrange.
Ch 5: Jean RUCKERT (1836-?) born 9 December 1836 in Bertrange. He may have died in Luxembourg City in 1865.
Ch 6: Catherine RUCKERT (1839-?) born 12 May 1839 in Bertrange.
Ch 7: Franciscus RUCKERT (1840-1842) born 5 October 1840 in Bertrange. He died 10 August 1842 in Bertrange.
Ch 8: Catharina RUCKERT (1842-?) born 20 March 1842 in Bertrange.
Margaretha SCHOLER died giving birth to her eighth child on 20 March 1842 in Bertrange. Jacob was left with Henri, Elisabeth, Jean, Catherine and newborn baby Catharina.
As mentioned earlier Peter SCHMIT,a widower, married Jacob RUCKERT’s sister-in-law. Peter had first married Anne Marguerithe WEICKER (date and place unknown at this time) and they had one known child, Magdalena SCHMIT born 10 February 1811 in Bertrange. Her birth record, being in French, has Madelaine as her name.
Her mother Anne Marguerithe died shortly before Magdalena’s 15th birthday, on 17 January 1826 in Bertrange. Two years later Peter SCHMIT remarried and became the brother-in-law of Jacob RUCKERT.
At the age of 24 Magdalena SCHMIT had a daughter born out of wedlock. Anne SCHMIT was born on 7 November 1835 in Bertrange. A midwife reported her birth and only gave the name of the mother. There was no mention of the father, known or unknown.
When Magdalena was 31 years old she married the widowed Jacob RUCKERT. The wedding took place on 26 November 1842 in Bertrange, eight months after the death of Jacob’s first wife. None of the four witnesses present were related to the bride and groom. The bride’s father Peter SCHMIT was present at the marriage and became his brother-in-law Jacob’s father-in-law.
Jacob and Magdalena had four children:
Ch 9: Franciscus “François” RUCKERT (1843-?) born 10 July 1843 in Bertrange.
Ch 10: Catharina RUCKERT (1845-1845) born 7 September 1845 in Bertrange. She died 25 December 1845 in Bertrange.
Ch 11: Margaretha RUCKERT (1847-1895) born 4 May 1847 in Bertrange.
Ch 12: Maria RUCKERT (1850-?) born 17 February 1850 in Bertrange.
Although I was able to find the birth records of the children of Jacob RUCKERT and his two wives, I had a difficult time with the census. Browsing the images at FamilySearch is tedious and time consuming. I didn’t have the time to go through the 1843, 1846, 1847, and 1849 census images especially after viewing ALL images for 1852 and not finding the family in Bertrange. I did find them in the 1851 and 1855 census. The 1851 was surprising and brought to light one “family secret” I may not have found otherwise.
As SCHMIT is such a commmon surname I have not even begun to look at the SCHMIT births, marriages, and deaths in Bertrange. But the 1851 census had a 16 years old girl Anne SCHMIT listed in the household of Jacob RUCKERT and Magdalena SCHMIT. The relationship was not listed so I checked for her birth record and found she was the daughter of Magdalena.
By 1855 Jacob and Magdalena’s three children Franciscus, Margaretha and Maria were still at home as well as both of Jacob’s two daughters, both named Catherine from his first marriage.
Jacob RUCKERT died on 24 June 1856 in Bertrange. A neighbor reported his death.
Marriages for two of Jacob’s children from his first marriage were found. Elisabeth married on 26 November 1857 in Bertrange and Henri married on 6 May 1859 in Luxembourg City.
Jacob’s widow Magdalena raised their children as well as Jacob’s two youngest daughters at least until the end of 1858 when they were with her on the census. By 1861, 1864, and 1867 only Magdalena’s two youngest daughters were at home.
Magdalena and Jacob’s son François was mentioned on the 1864 census as being in Leudelange and I was able to locate him with a family in Leudelange and working as as servant (domestique).
Marie, the youngest daughter, had an illegitimate son Mathias two months before the 1867 census on 2 October 1867 in Bertrange.
Events in the life of Jacob and Magdalena’s daughter Margaretha, my husband’s 2nd great-grandmother and the only child I found marriage records for, took a fast pace before and after the death of Magdalena SCHMIT.
Margaretha married Jacob ANTON (1822-1871) on 22 September 1870 in Bertrange. Eight days later her mother Magdalena died on 30 September 1870 in Bertrange. Margaretha’s husband Jacob died on 2 April 1871 and she gave birth to their daughter Susanne ANTON nearly four months later on 28 July 1871 in Bertrange.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.
Week 40 (October 1-7) – October:What ancestor has a birthday or anniversary in October?
François, the Groom
François “Franz” MERTES (1806-1864) was the son of Nicolas MERTES and Marie Catherine DONNEN (1783-1854). Franz’s parents were married on 21 February 1803 in Bertrange (Bartringen). François, the name given to him at birth, is believed to have been their first born child. He was born at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday 5 April 1806 in Bertrange. On Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. when Nicolas reported his son’s birth another father, Martin JUNG was at the city hall to report his daughter’s birth. Martin JUNG witnessed Nicolas’ son’s birth record and Nicolas witnessed JUNG’s daughter’s birth record. Both men did not know how to write and signed with an X.
François had the following known siblings: Anne 1808, Catherine 1811, Nicolas 1814, Joannes 1817, and Nicolas 1821. Their marriages and children have not been researched.
While doing François’ census work I saved the links in Evernote of all pages with the MERTES name from 1843 through 1855. “Census work” for families in Luxembourg during this time period means viewing every image in the batches at FamilySearch as they are browse only and don’t have a list or index similar to the later census years. It is very time consuming but usually helpful when developing a timeline for the family.
François marries Margaretha ERPELDING
In the year eighteen hundred thirty-four, the twenty-fifth of the month of February at 9 o’clock in the morning, there came before us, the mayor, civil officer of the commune of Bertrange in the province of Luxembourg, François MERTES, single, age twenty-seven years, born in Bertrange in this commune on the fifth day of April eighteen hundred sixteen (sic, 1806), a civil day laborer, resident of Bertrange, adult son of Nicolas MERTES and Marie Catherine DONNEN who are both present, consulting to this marriage.
and the demoiselle Marguerithe ERPELDING age thirty-three years born on the Kackerter farm in Oetrange in the commune of Contern on the eleventh day of the month of Nivôse in the ninth year of the French Republic, corresponding to the first of January eighteen hundred and one, without an occupation, resident of Kackerter farm, adult daughter of Nicolas ERPELDING and Madelaine KUNERATH who died at the named Kackerter farm, the mother on the twenty-eighth January eighteen hundred eighteen and the father on the ten May eighteen hundred twenty-nine, during their lifetimes civil day laborers.
Who requested that we procede in the celebration of this marriage planned between them, and banns were published in Contern on Sundays the second and ninth of the month of February and in Bertrange on the ninth and sixteenth of the same month.
No opposition to the marriage was given us,granting them the right of their request, after readingallabove mentioned, as well asthe titleof ChapterSixof the CivilCode entitledthe Marriage,we asked thefuture husbandand the futurewife if they want totake each other to be husbandandwife; eachresponding separately andaffirmatively, we declare, on behalf of the law,that François MERTES and Marguerithe ERPELDING are united by marriage.
All of this took place inthe presence of witnessesnamedbelow, namely Mathias Erpelding, age forty years, farmer, resident of the said Kackerter farm, brother of the future bride Pierre Erpelding, age thirty-five years, residing abroad, weaver, brother of the future bride Jean Reichling, age twenty-five years, farmer, resident of Bertrange, acting as a friend of the future groom And Nicolas Goergen, age twenty-five years, farmer, resident of Bertrange, acting as a friend of the future groom
Who after it was read to them,signedwith us, with the exception of the groom, the bride, and the mother and father of the groom who declared not knowing how to sign.
Margaretha, the Bride
Margaretha, seen above as Marguerithe, was born 10 Nivôse year IX (1 January 1801) on Kackerterhoff (Kackerterhaff) in Oetrange in the commune of Contern to Nicolas ERPELDING (1765-1829) and Madelaine “Magdalena” KUNERATH (1759-1818). Her date of birth was recorded in the civil records using the French Republican Calendar. Church records were kept using the Gregorian or Christian calendar and her baptismal record shows she was baptized on 16 November 1800 – six weeks before her birth! Civil records are the legal records used in Luxembourg. I am not sure how this discrepancy in the church records came about but it was brought to my attention by Cyndi Speltz Gipp.
A dozen years ago Cyndi, my husband’s 7th cousin, got in touch with me about her JEHNEN line. She spent hours at her local Family History Center viewing microfilms she ordered for her research of the JEHNEN descendants, including Nicolas ERPELDING whose mother was a JEHNEN. Cyndi found 5 siblings for Margaretha: Mathias 1791, Catharina 1793, Margaretha 1795, Petrus 1797 and Barbara 1804.
François and Margaretha’s Little Family
Ten months after their marriage, at 6 o’clock in the evening of Christmas Eve, François and Margaretha welcomed their first child into the family. François reported the birth of his daughter Marie Catherine MERTES on Christmas Day 1834 in Bartringen. As was the case at the time of his marriage, he was not able to sign the record.
Their second child and only son, Michel MERTES was born on 6 October 1837 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in the commune of Bertrange. His father reported the birth two hours later. The place of birth is not specifically stated. Later when Michel married in 1861 his place of birth on his marriage record was Bertrange but when he married a second time in 1874 his place of birth on the marriage record was Strassen.
Happy Birthday Michel MERTES
Tomorrow is the 178th anniversary of the birth of Michel, François and Margaretha’s only son, and only child to live to adulthood and marry.
Census Records Help to Fill in the Timeline
Census records were found for the little family. On 23 December 1843 they were living next door to François’ parents in Bertrange. Following this census, the only one with the entire family listed, Marie Catherine died at the age of eleven years on 6 July 1846 in Strassen.
The family of three, father, mother and son Michel, was seen in Strassen for the censuses taken on 20 December 1846, 31 December 1847, 7 December 1849, 31 December 1851, and 6 December 1852.
François’ parents were still living in Bartringen when his mother Marie Catherine DONNEN died on 24 January 1854 and his father Nicolas MERTES died on 19 October 1855.
The MERTES-ERPELDING family was seen in Strassen on 3 December 1855 and 3 December 1858 when the census was enumerated.
Their only living child Michel MERTES married(1) Catharina HEIN (1834-1874) on 10 January 1861 in Strassen. When the census was taken in December 1861 Michel and his wife were living with his parents.
François and Margaretha’s first granddaughter Maria lived only 5 days, born 1 February and died 6 February 1862 in Strassen. Their second granddaugher Margaretha was born in 1863 about a year before François “Franz” MERTES died on 15 March 1864 in Strassen.
Margaretha ERPELDING was seen as the head of household on 3 December 1864. Her son Michel, daughter-in-law Catharina, and granddaughter Margaretha were in her household. On 3 December 1867 Michel MERTES was the head of household in Strassen. His mother Margaretha was in his household and died less than a year later in Strassen on 1 November 1868.
Michel MERTES, widowed with three children in February 1874, married Margaretha RUCKERT (1847-1895) on 22 April 1874 in Strassen. Their story can be read here.
New Connections Found in the Census
While researching this small family I found two ladies with the maiden name ERPELDING and Oetrange as their place of birth in the Bertrange and Strassen census. They were both married to older men and did not have children. Their marriage records were found and proved they were sisters of Margaretha:
Catharina ERPELDING (b. 15 Oct 1793) married Jean BOUR (b. 1772) on 26 February 1831 in Bertrange
Margaretha ERPELDING (b. 15 Dec 1795) married Jean SCHMIT (b. 1780) on 10 April 1839 in Bertrange.
These marriages were unknown to Cyndi who concentrated her search in the Oetrange, Contern area. Finding these records however brings up new questions. The birth dates above were found in the marriage records and match dates of birth found by Cyndi. Unfortunately not only were there two sisters named Margaretha, there was a second sister named Catharina b. abt. 1793 who married in 1814 and died in 1848. Both Cyndi and I have her listed with the birth date 15 October 1793. But which of the two Catharina’s was born on this date? I’ll have to add this research question and all it entails to my to-do list.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.