A Priest Born in the 16th Century Leaves a Key to Open the Door in a Brick Wall

On Sunday I was checking my post, 52 Ancestors: #25 A Family on Two Continents, and doing miscellaneous searches for descendants of this family from Luxembourg when I made a fantastic discovery.

While searching the newspapers and periodicals on eluxemburgensia, part of the National Library of Luxembourg site, I got a surprising hit for Elisabetha HOBSCHEID and Michel GRASSER, my children’s 5th great-grandparents who I wrote about in the above article.

The hit brought up the book Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois, published in 1858. Imagine my surprise. Michel died in 1821, Elisabetha in 1831, and this book was from 1858. A manual of scholarships available to Luxembourgers written by Jean-Pierre Koltz (1804-1880), a teacher.

Unlike the newspapers where you are taken directly to the page the name is found on, this search took me to a chapter in the book. It was not immediately obvious why I was getting a hit in the chapter titled Penninger Foundation. I leafed through until I found Elisabetha and Michel. Their names were on a list of genealogical information. I slowly went back through each generation to find myself at the beginning of the family tree of Pierre PENNINGER.

It took me a few days to get my thoughts together and figure out how to share this discovery. This morning we took a bike ride to Brandenbourg to take pictures which I’ve added throughout this post. I’d like to thank my husband for sharing my enthusiasm through his photography. I hope you enjoy and they don’t distract too much from the rest of the story.

Who was Pierre PENNINGER?

Pierre PENNINGER, a native of Diekirch, took his vows for the priesthood and was the pastor of Brandenbourg at the time of his death.

On 4 June 1632, he donated 2,500 écus to the Jesuit priests. On the 1st of December of the same year, the Conseil provincial (Provincial Council) approved the donation to be used for two scholarships for the seminary in honor of the Holy Trinity.

The road into Brandenbourg with the castle on top of the hill.

In his last will and testament dated 5 January 1636 Father Penninger added the sum of 700 écus for a total of 3,200 écus (7,680 francs in 1848) for the scholarship fund to benefit three students of the Jesuit seminary. Relatives of Pierre PENNINGER, the founder, were the first eligible for the scholarships. If no relatives applied then the scholarships would go to poor young men of the Brandenbourg parish or its environs.

Kapell Brandenbourg (Chapel)

The original capital of the Penninger Foundation was 2,500 écus. The revenue of the capital was enough to fund two students during their stay at the seminary. The wars of the times caused the value of the scholarships to be reduced by nearly half so that only one scholarship for offered.

Inside the Chapel of Brandenbourg

However, through the wise administration of the capital, the fund increased in value to 12,698 francs in 1848. By a royal decree in 1848 it was decided to increase the number of scholarships to two.

Cornerstone of the Chapel of Brandenbourg

As the terms of the will were that the scholarships should go to the priest’s relatives, a family tree, in the possession of the Société Archéologique du Grand-Duché, was kept for consultation by candidates for the scholarships.

Brandenbourg Castle

Why all the excitement?

In my last post about Michel GRASSER and Elisabetha HOSCHEID, I wrote:

Elisabetha’s family lived in Brandenbourg. This parish’s records are lacking and those which are included are out of order. I have not gone through them to find her parents’ family group.

I did not even try to go through the records. The genealogy information in the chapter about the Penninger Foundation in the book mentioned above turned out to be the key I needed to open the door, or maybe a window, in this brick wall.

Stained glass window in the chapel of Brandenbourg

The PENNINGER Family Tree from 1672 and 1705

What follows are extracts of the Penninger family tree pertaining to my children’s direct line from Pierre PENNINGER’s parents to Elisabeth and Michel.

  • All screenshots (below) are from Jean-Pierre Koltz’s Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois. Link to the book (public domain) is found at the end of this article.

The genealogical information for the grandfather of Pierre PENNINGER was certified by the aldermen of the town of Diekirch on 7 April 1672 and 21 April 1705.

The grandfather of the founder, Pierre PENNINGER, had two sons. One of the sons was the father of a son and a daughter: Pierre PENNINGER, a lawyer in Diekirch, who was already deceased at the time his cousin, the pastor of Brandenbourg, made his will on 5 January 1636 and Elisabeth PENNINGER who married Regnard HERMAN.

The other son of the grandfather had three children. 1. Pierre, the pastor of Brandenbourg and founder of the scholarship foundation in his name. 2. Hélène, referred to as Hildegarde in her brother’s will, married Pierre FUNCK of Brandenbourg. 3. Marguerite married Jean KLEIN of Bockoltz who the founder referred to as Mercatoris (merchant) in his will.

The descendency of the two sisters of pastor Penninger of Brandenbourg.

My children’s line goes through the second sister Marguerite PENNINGER who married Jean KLEIN and had the following children:

  1. Jean KLEIN
  2. Dominique KLEIN, who was mentioned in Pierre PENNINGER’s will
  3. Jean KLEIN married Eve FLORENTZ
  4. Nicolas KLEIN married Odile BERNARD of Wiltz

The descendency of the KLEIN-PENNINGER couple was certified on 11 August 1768 by the mayors and aldermen of the high justice of Wiltz. The information was later complemented by information found in the civil records.

Jean KLEIN and Eve FLORENTZ had a daughter Hélène KLEIN who married Nicolas BOCK.

Nicolas BOCK and Hélène KLEIN had the following children:

  1. Ludovine BOCK married Jean-Michel REULAND
  2. Marguerite BOCK married Jean KETTELS of Niederwiltz
  3. Jean-Grégoire BOCK married Marie LEMMAER of Brandenbourg
  4. Jean-Nicolas BOCK, a notary from Merzig-sur-la-Sarre, was a Penninger scholar

Jean-Michel REULAND and Ludovine BOCK had the following children:

  1. Marie-Marguerite REULAND married Guillaume FISCHBACH (conflicting information – this daughter is also seen in the line down from the founder’s sister Hélène)
  2. Anne-Marguerite REULAND married N. Fischbach
  3. Jean-Philippe REULAND
  4. Jean-Nicolas REULAND
  5. Marie-Catherine REULAND married Léonard HOSCHEID of Brandenbourg

Léonard HOBSCHEID (sic, HOSCHEID) and Marie-Catherine REULAND of Brandenbourg had the following children:

  1. Marie-Catherine HOBSCHEID (sic) married(1) Philippe FISCHBACH and married(2) Michel LIMES of Brandenbourg
  2. Michel HOBSCHEID (sic) of Brandenbourg married an unknown lady
  3. Elisabeth HOBSCHEID (sic) married Michel GRASSER of Moestroff

Children #1 and #2 continue with another generation while my children’s 5th great-grandparents Elisabeth HOSCHEID and Michael GRASSER of Moestroff do not have children listed.

Have you counted through the generations found for this family? I had the names of Elisabeth HOSCHEID’s parents and, with the above, I have been able to add four more generations back to my children’s 10th great-grandmother Marguerite PENNINGER, sister of Pierre PENNINGER, the pastor who set up the scholarship fund for his relatives or needy young men of the parish of Brandenbourg and environs.

The church of Brandenbourg with the cemetery on the sides and back.

Although the Brandenbourg parish records aren’t complete, I have been able to find baptismal, marriage, and death/burial records for several of the person’s named above as well as for children who were not included in the list. The genealogical information lacks dates and can only be used as a guide until records are found to confirm the line back to the PENNINGER grandfather of Pierre, Hélène, and Marguerite and their cousins Pierre and Elisabeth.

As I began to look for records to support the information found in the published family tree, I learned I was not the first to make this discovery. It kind of burst my bubble but I still feel really good about this since I came across it on my own – even if it was a bit by chance.


Auguste Neÿen, Biographie luxembourgeoise: histoire des hommes distingues …, Volume 2, Luxembourg 1861; pg. 40 and 105; online https://archive.org/stream/biographieluxem00negoog#page/n45/mode/2up/search/Penninger

Koltz, Jean-Pierre, Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois; V. Bück , Luxembourg, 1858; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=2828373&search_terms=Elisabeth%20Hobscheid#panel:pp|issue:2828373|article:DTL3386|page:107|query:Elisabeth Hobscheid

52 Ancestors: #25 A Family on Two Continents

Michael GRASSER (1772-1821)

Michael GRASSER was born on 8 July 1772 in Moestroff, Canton Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS and Elisabetha WINANDY. Michael was the oldest of eight children born as follows: Michael 8 July 1772, Maria Margaretha 3 April 1774, Michael 24 February 1776, Susanna 26 September 1777, Wilhelm 11 February 1780, Joannes 26 October 1782, Mathias 12 November 1784 (d. 5 March 1785), and Philippe 24 July 1786. Baptismal records were found for all of these children. Their father was often referred to as Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS.

1772 Baptismal Record for Michäel GRASSER [1]
Michael’s baptismal record was more revealing. The priest wrote:

Nicolai et Elisabetha Grasser conjugum in aedibus Reuters x Moestroff

This indicated the parents were a married couple who lived in a house known as Reuters in Moestroff. Reuters was their house name but the family would keep the GRASSER surname.

Elisabetha HOSCHEID (1772-1831)

Michael married Elisabetha HOSCHEID, daughter of Léonard HOSCHEID and Marie REULAND, on 20 January 1796 in Bettendorf, Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Elisabetha was born about 1772 in Brandenbourg.

Elisabetha’s family lived in Brandenbourg. This parish’s records are lacking and those which are included are out of order. I have not gone through them to find her parents’ family group. However, it is interesting that both her parents’ surnames are also names of town in Luxembourg. HOSCHEID variations are Hoscheit, Hoschet, Hoschette, Houschette; REULAND variations are Reiland, Reyland. Both names may have originated from town names. Did their families originally come from Hoscheid and Reuland? This thought went through my mind as I was climbing the hill up to Reuland, a village in the commune of Heffingen in central Luxembourg, yesterday on my bike. This was the view we were rewarded with after riding through the village to the top of the hill.

A field outside of Reuland on the way to Heffingen

Elisabeth and Michael marry in 1796

1796 M;arriage Record of Michael GRASSER and Elisabetha “HOSCHET” or HOSCHEID

Michael married Elisabetha on 20 January 1796 in Bettendorf. The marriage index card gives 2 January 1796 but the record clearly is for the 20th. More interesting is the name of one of the witnesses for this religious marriage. Nicolas MERCKES of Bettendorf signed the entry making it easier for me to prove who he was. The signature matches those found on the baptismal records of his children. Nicolas was the great-great-grandfather of Fritz KREMER (1905-1972) who would marry Suzanne PEFFER (1910-1987), the great-great-granddaughter of Michael and Elisabetha, one hundred and thirty-five years later, on 7 January 1931. They were the parents of my mother-in-law Maisy KREMER (1931-1986).

Pedigree chart of Suzanne PEFFER (1910-1987 )

The children of Michael and Elisabetha

Michael and Elisabetha had the following children:

  1. Nicolas GRASSER was born on 11 November 1796 in Moestroff and died on 18 February 1801 in Moestroff at the age of 4 years.
  2. Margaretha GRASSER was born on 31 December 1797 in Moestroff and died on 24 April 1848 in Moestroff. She married Pierre RAUSCH, son of Mathieu RAUSCH and Marie SCHMIT, on 25 January 1820 in Bettendorf. Pierre was born on 27 July 1796 in Consdorf (Canton Echternach). He died on 17 December 1875 in St. Nicholas, Stearns County, Minnesota. [8 children]
  3. Jean GRASSER was born on 13 February 1799 in Moestroff and died on 19 November 1803 in Moestroff at the age of 4 years.
  4. Anna Catharina GRASSER was born on 15 December 1801 in Moestroff and died on 6 December 1821 in Moestroff, a week before her 20th birthday.
  5. Maria GRASSER was born about 1801 in Moestroff. Her birth record has not been found and when she married her sister Anna Catharina’s date of birth was listed. Maria died on 4 January 1882 in Moestroff. She married Antoin “Anton” PEFFER, son of Adam PEFFER and Marguerite PIERRET, on 17 February 1830 in Bettendorf. Anton was born on 20 May 1803 in Obermertzig (Feulen) and died on 26 December 1858 in Moestroff. Maria and Anton were my children’s 4th great-grandparents. [7 children]
  6. Phillippe GRASSER was born on 26 July 1804 in Moestroff and died on 12 March 1805 in Moestroff at the age of nearly 8 months.
  7. Cathérine GRASSER was born on 12 November 1805 in Moestroff and died on 1 March 1862 in Luxemburg, Stearns County, Minnesota. She married Michel LESCH, son of Jean LESCH and Elisabeth MAJERUS, on 28 March 1832 in Bettendorf. Michel was born on 15 April 1807 in Biesdorf, Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, and died on 27 June 1878 in Rockville, Stearns County, Minnesota. [8 children]
  8. Nicolas GRASSER was born on 4 July 1807 in Moestroff and died on 1 June 1852 in Moestroff. He married Anne Cathérine STAUDT, daughter of Jean STAUDT and Madeleine SCHILTZ, on 2 March 1835 in Bastendorf (Diekirch). Anne Cathérine was born on 16 January 1808 in Brandenbourg and died on 24 November 1859 in Moestroff. [4 children]
  9. Nicolas GRASSER was born on 23 April 1809 in Moestroff and died on 8 May 1867 in Lultzhausen (Neunhausen). He married Madeleine LENTZ, daughter of Jean LENTZ and Anne Marie MARTEN, on 9 June 1832 in Bettendorf. Madeleine was born on 17 February 1814 in Moestroff and died on 7 August 1844 in Moestroff. Following her death, Nicolas married Marguerite FRISCH, daughter of Michel FRISCH and Susanne WEBER, on 11 December 1844 in Bettendorf. Marguerite was born on 2 March 1820 in Beaufort (Echternach) and died on 22 May 181 in Lultzhausen (Neunhausen). [10 children]

This is a long list of children but, sadly, not all survived childhood. Daughters Margaretha, Maria, and Cathérine, and the two sons named Nicolas were the ones who would marry and continue the line.

Michael dies at the age of 48

Michael and Elisabetha would only be present at the marriage of their oldest daughter Margaretha who married in 1820. A little over a year later, on 26 February 1821, Michael GRASSER died at 11 o’clock in the morning. His wife Elisabetha went to the records office in Bettendorf the following afternoon at 2 o’clock to have his death recorded. She was not able to write and left only a mark on the death record. Mathias HESSE, the secretary, was the second witness and Nicolas RECHT, the mayor, was the civil official.

1821 Death Record of Michael GRASSER

How close was the family after Michael’s death?

Elisabetha HOSCHEID lived another ten years. Did all of her unmarried children live with her and support her?

On 17 February 1830 Elisabetha made her last appearance in a legal document when she was present and consenting to the marriage of her her oldest single daughter Maria, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.

1830 Marriage Record of Anton PEFFER and Maria GRASSER

Reviewing the marriage record (once again) I found things I had questioned earlier. Maria’s age was left off and her date of birth was incorrect as mentioned above under #5. Her father was deceased and his date of death on the marriage record was the date for a child of the same name who died in 1809 and not for Michael who died in 1821.

Looking at the record now, in relation with the GRASSER family, it seems strange that neither of the bride’s brothers named Nicolas GRASSER nor her brother-in-law Pierre RAUSCH were present at the marriage. In the section for the witnesses, there is room for four persons and only three are listed, two PEFFER men – an uncle and a brother of the groom – and an unrelated man. I believe this is the only marriage record I have come across which does not have all four witnesses listed. Further, the marriage record appears to have been prepared in advance or at least by two persons. Notice the light handwriting at the top and bottom, while the middle section is darker and a different handwriting.

Were Maria’s family not happy with her choice? Or, was she in a family way and the rush to get her married caused errors to be made on the marriage record? Maria gave birth to her first child less than eight months after the marriage. Cutting it close or a premature birth, did it really matter as Maria was nearly 30 years old when she married?

Elisabetha dies at the age of 59

Her son-in-law Pierre RAUSCH was the informant of her death on 17 September 1831 in Moestroff. She died at 7 in the morning and Pierre was at the civil records office by 11. The record shows she died at the home of the RAUSCH family which makes me wonder if all of the family was living together at the time – Elisabetha’s unmarried children as well as her married daughter and grandchildren.

1831 Death Record of Elisabetha HOSCHEID

The years after Michael and Elisabetha

Following the death of their mother, Cathérine was the first to marry in March 1832 followed by the younger Nicolas in June 1832. The elder Nicolas married in March 1835.

Two families go to America

In 1848 [many family trees incorrectly list 1840] the oldest child Margaretha died. Her death was followed by the elder Nicolas GRASSER’s death in 1852. This appears to be a turning point in the family history.

Margaretha’s husband Pierre RAUSCH and five of their children emigrated from Luxembourg to Stearns County, Minnesota. Only the oldest daughter remained in Moestroff. A county history places the immigration at the latter part of the 1850s. They may have been the first to go to America but others would follow.

Cathérine and her husband Michael LOESCH (as the name was seen from 1852) also went to Stearns County. The move can be placed at after December 1855 when they were last seen in the Luxembourg census. The LOESCH family also had two sons named Nicolas. The elder was not with his parents in 1855 and likely accompanied Pierre RAUSCH and his children to America. From the History of Stearns County, Minnesota, Volume II by William Bell Mitchell:

Nicholas [Loesch] set out for America in 1854. In 1855 he started for the West with a party of eight young men. They were among the first to pass through the canal at Sault Ste. Marie. Through swamps and woods they pursued their course and finally reached St. Paul. From there Nicholas came to St. Cloud. He first took a homestead in Rockville township, but allowed his right to lapse. His parents obtained a homestead in Rockville township, where they ended their days. Nicholas finally secured a location in section 3, near Pearl lake in Maine Prairie township. Here he erected a log cabin, and with a yoke of oxen and a cow started farming operations.

Two families remain in Luxembourg

While the families of Margaretha and Cathérine went to America, Elisabetha and Michael’s last living son Nicolas remained in Luxembourg but moved away from Moestroff to Lultzhausen. Only Maria, my children’s ancestress, remained in Moestroff as did several generations of her descendants until Suzanne PEFFER died there in 1987.

Genealogical Jackpot!

While checking the National Library of Luxembourg site for newspapers and periodicals for further information on the grandchildren of this couple I made a fantastic discovery concerning Elisabetha HOSCHEID. She and her husband were mentioned in a book written in 1858. I am overwhelmed and will share as soon as I get my thoughts together in a few days.


Sources will be added during the week as the remarkable discovery I made today kept me from adding the footnotes and citations.

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

52 Ancestors: #22 Writing the Weckering Family Story with Missing Pieces

The Short Story

Pierre WECKERING was born on 12 June 1752 in Brandenbourg, Luxembourg.[1] He married Margaretha LASCHEID before 1780. Margaretha was born about 1753 in Niederschlinder. Pierre and Margaretha had the following children.

  1. Antoine “Anton” WECKERING was born on 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder.[2], [3] He married Marguerite MÜLLER (1773-1841), daughter of Nicolas MÜLLER and Marie Cathérine COLLING, on 8 February 1799 in Vianden.[2] Marguerite died on 7 April 1841 in Lipperscheid.[4] She gave him seven children, two are known to have died young. Antoine also married Margaretha BERNARD, daughter of Pierre BERNARD and Antoinette GROEBER, on 30 May 1843 in Bourscheid.[3] She gave birth to six children, only one lived to adulthood (my children’s 3rd great-grandmother). Antoine WECKERING became the father of his 13th child at age 72! He died on 25 March 1857 in Hoscheid.[5] His second wife Margaretha died on 15 April 1878 in Ettelbruck.[6]
  2. Michel WECKERING was born on 7 December 1781 in Schlindermanderscheid. He was baptized on 8 December 1781 in Brandenbourg. His godparents were Michel MERSCH and Maria SERRES. No trace of him has been found after his baptism.[7]
  3. Corneil WECKERING was born abt. 1786 in Niederschlindermanderscheid. He was never married and died on 16 January 1857 in Hoscheid.[8]

Margaretha LASCHEID, the mother of these three children, died in 1792 in Hoscheid.[2]

Pierre remarried after his first wife’s death to Margaretha KOENIG before 1797. Margaretha was born about 1767 in Michelau. Her parents are unknown. Pierre and his second wife, Margaretha had the following children

  1. Marguerite WECKERING  was born on 13 January 1796 in Hoscheid.[9] She never married but was the mother of a daughter born in 1819.[10] Marguerite died on 1 June 1864 in Hoscheid.[11]
  2. Theodore WECKERING was born on 27 April 1800 in Hoscheid.[12] He married Catharina HELLES (1802-1864) on 16 January 1826 in Wiltz.[13] They had at least 3 children born between 1827 and 1840 in Wiltz. Catharina died on 23 Mar 1864[14] and Theodore died on 13 June 1881[15], both in Wiltz.
  3. Theodore WECKERING was born on 2 January 1804 in Hoscheid.[16] He married Margaretha DUPONT (1802-1890) on 5 June 1828 in Ermsdorf.[17] They were the parents of at least 2 children born between 1834 and 1837 in Eppeldorf. Theodore died on 20 June 1867[18] and Margaretha died on 27 May 1890[19], both in Eppeldorf
  4. Nicolas WECKERING was born on 12 July 1808 in Hoscheid.[20] Nicolas married Anne Marie THURM (1812-1884) on 23 April 1834 in Hoscheid.[21] They were the parents of at least 9 children born between 1834 and 1854 in Hoscheid. Anne Marie died on 28 May 1884[22] and Nicolas died on 19 Mar 1892[23], both in Hoscheid.
  5. Anne Marie WECKERING was born on 1 January 1811 in Hoscheid.[24] She married Mathias MANGERS (1806-1874) on 20 October 1836 in Wilwerwiltz.[25] They were the parents of at least 8 children born between 1837 and 1853 in Enscherange. Mathias died on 18 February 1874[26] and Anne Marie died on 7 March 1877[27], both in Enscherange.
  6. Mathias WECKERING was born on 23 August 1814 in Hoscheid.[28] He married Marie WEIS (1819-1858)on 13 March 1844 in Wilwerwiltz.[29] They were the parents of at least five children born between 1844 and 1852 in Enscherange. Marie died on 18 May 1858 in Enscherange.[30] Mathias died on 1 December 1891 in Luxembourg City.[31]

Pierre WECKERING died on 17 March 1820 in Hoscheid.[32] His youngest child was only 5 years old when he died. His second wife Margaretha KOENIG died on 3 March 1849 in Hoscheid.[33]

The Longer Story Using Substitute Pieces of the Puzzle

Pierre WECKERING, a 5th great-grandfather of my children, very likely left a lot more records than I was able to find. His parents chose to live in Brandenbourg where his paternal grandparents had also lived. Normally research is simpler when families stayed in one location. However, the Brandenbourg parish records are in a muddle for many of the years Pierre lived there. To be more precise, from the time he was 12 years old until he turned 50. The period of his life when he married, had children, lost his first wife, married again, and had more children.

Cover Sheet of a Brandenbourg parish records collection [34]
Cover Sheet of a Brandenbourg parish records collection [35]

I attended a lecture on Latin in the Luxembourg church records last Thursday. As I have been doing a lot of research in the church records this year, the information the lecturer shared was an eye-opener.

At the lecture I learned two copies were kept of the records by the priests of the parish. Where both copies were available, they were microfilmed by FamilySearch. This is helpful as the handwriting in one copy may be more legible than in the other due to fading or even those pesky mice who ate a whole through the surname of your ancestor.

Over the years, as the borders changed, some of the books were split up between the parishes in Luxembourg and those across the borders in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. During the French Empire parts of Luxembourg belonged to France and church records for the years 1808-1810 may be found in the diocese of Metz, France.

There are also gaps in the record keeping. Some parishes were large and included several towns. The priests did not always carry their registers with them and made the entries later messing up the chronological order.

Other church records are lost forever. Destroyed by natural elements (insects, rats, dampness), hidden by the clergy, or, in some cases, torn out of the ledgers by people who stole the records or by others who had well-meaning reasons for making a record disappear.

No matter what the reason for the missing records, we are still able to write the stories of our ancestors with the remaining records.

The (Documented) Early Years

Pierre WECKERING (1752-1820) was born and baptized on 12 June 1752 in Brandenbourg. His parents were Michel WECKERING and his wife Anna Maria. His godfather was the Reverend Father Petro (Peter) WEISGERBER, a pastor in Aalschett (sic, Alscheid). His godmother was Maria Elisabeth DALEIDEN of Vianden.[1]

1752 Baptismal Record [1]

Some priests wrote short entries while others wrote up documents which filled one, two, and even three pages. Still, the compact and precise entries, when translated correctly, include more information than one sees at first glance.

In the above record, the abbreviation R:D: (reverendi domini) in front of the name of the godfather gives more precise information. Without this, a beginner would automatically translate the word pastore following the godfather’s name to shepherd as his occupation. In this case, Petro WEISGEBER was a Catholic priest in Alscheid. This detail was the key to opening the door in young Peter’s maternal line – to be written about in a future post.

We don’t do research in chronological order. We work backward, forward, and sideways to find the relevant information for each individual. In Pierre’s case, I knew the names of his parents as other researchers had made the connection. To confirm them, I searched for his baptismal record (above) and found it did not include his mother’s maiden name. The next step was to locate the baptismal records of his five known siblings, names and dates being provided by researchers who have their GEDCOM files online. [The names and dates found in other people’s files are used as clues and to assist in finding the records to prove the connection.]

After locating all of the baptismal records in Vianden, I took a closer look at each. Pierre’s three youngest siblings’ baptismal records included their mother’s maiden name: DALEYDEN. This was important as no marriage record was found for Michel WECKERING and Anna Maria DALEYDEN. The date of marriage is presently being estimated at before 1751, the birth year of the oldest known child.

It was interesting to hear the lecturer mention things I had already noticed. For example, the importance of the godfather and godmother in the baptismal record. A male child always received the name of the godfather and a female child that of the godmother. This rule is very useful when the priest omitted the name of the child on the baptismal record.

A closer look at the baptismal records of all six children of Michel and Anna Maria showed DALEYDEN/DALEIDEN individuals were acting as godparents for some of the children.

The (Undocumented) Middle Years

Pierre WECKERING was married twice. No marriage records were found. However, the records of his children have been helpful in proving his first wife was Margaretha LASCHEID (d. 1792) and his second wife was Margaretha KOENIG (1767-1849).

First Marriage and the Children

To prove the first marriage I searched for records documenting children born about 1780 to 1792. Important information was gleaned from the 1843 marriage record of my children’s 4th great-grandparents Antoine WECKERING and (his second wife) Margaretha BERNARD.

From the 1843 marriage record I learned:
1) Antoine was born 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder.
2) Antoine’s mother was Margaretha LASCHEID who died in the year 1792.
3) Antoine’s father was Pierre WECKERING who died 17 March 1820.

To date, no death or burial entry has been found for the 1792 death of Margaretha LASCHEID. Only one baptismal record was found for a child born to Pierre and Margaretha. It, however, caused a conflict with the date of birth found for Antoine on both of his marriage records.

Michel WECKERING’s baptismal record [7]
At eight in the evening of 7 December 1781 Michel was born to Pierre WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHET (variation of the spelling of the maiden name) and was baptized the following day. His godparents were Michel MERSCH of Schlindermanderscheid and Maria SERRES of Hoscheid. One would imagine with the length of this baptismal record there would be many more details which could be used. The priest who entered the information was very specific about the places the parents were from including the town name, parish, Duchy of Luxembourg in the Archdiocese of Trier.[7]

The clergymen who wrote in the parish registers were not all accomplished Latinists and there is a marked difference between classical Latin and medieval Latin found in the church records of the 17th to 19th century.

Michel’s brother Antoine was born on 1 July 1781 per both of his marriage records. This was only five months before Michel was born. Antoine was underage when he married in 1799. Is it possible he was even younger? Was his birth date seen in the 1843 marriage record copied from the 1799 marriage record?

Corneil WECKERING, the third child of Pierre and his first wife, showed up in the Luxembourg census for the years 1843, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1851, 1852, and 1855 with his half-sister Margaretha. The age range seen for Corneil on the census suggested he was born before Margaretha LASCHEID died. Although I searched and searched through the Brandenbourg church records, I did not find a baptismal record for Corneil. His death in 1857 was reported by his half-sister Margaretha’s son-in-law and included the names of his parents: Peter WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHEND, a variation on the spelling of LASCHEID or LASCHET.

Second Marriage and the Children

Pierre’s marriage to Margaretha KOENIG is well documented even without a record of marriage. The marriage records of four sons and a daughter all include the names of both parents, Pierre WECKERING and his wife Margaretha KOENIG. They also document the dates of birth for these five children.

Birth or baptismal records were not found for all of the children. Their oldest daughter Margaretha and first son Theodore were born during the time period the Brandenbourg church records are deficient. Their son Nicolas and daughter Anne Marie were born during the years for which the church records ended up in Metz and the civil records are also lacking. Only their second son Theodore and youngest son Mathias had civil birth records.

The date of birth of the oldest daughter Margaretha, who never married, cannot be documented with a reliable record. The census records found for her show she was born 13 January 1796 (1843), 3 November 1802 (1846), or 6 January 1800 (1849). The first appears to be the most likely as her siblings were born with 3-4 years between each. In 1851 she was seen as 52 years old when her illegitimate daughter married. At the time of death in 1864 her age was 58 which would place her birth at abt. 1806. Although I don’t trust the age to be correct on the record, the informant, her son-in-law, knew her parents were Peter WECKERING and Margaretha KOENIG.

I am comfortable with the research done to prove the mothers of the children of Pierre WECKERING. I still need to investigate the parentage of his first wife Margaretha LASCHEID who was the 5th great-grandmother of my children. Preliminary searches for the surname LASCHEID did not turn up any other persons with the name. However, I have a tiny hope of perhaps finding her parents as a baptismal record turned up for Maria Catharina LASCHET, daughter of Nicolas LASCHET and Catharina MEYERS, born 22 February 1753 in Schlinder(manderscheid) with godparents Joannes MERSCH of Schlinder and Maria Catharina BINSFELD of Hoscheid. I may be analyzing godparents as Michel MERSCH was the godfather of Michel WECKERING, the only child of Pierre WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHEID for whom a record was found. Coincidence?


Further reading material:
Latin Genealogical Word List
The National Archives’ (UK) Beginners’ Latin
The category Languages & Translations » Latin on Cyndi’s List

[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Brandenbourg > Baptêmes 1749-1765, mariages 1746-1764, sépultures 1746-1763 > image 9 of 87. 1752 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-S74?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-HZP%3A1500940601%2C1501091800 : accessed 12 June 2017).
[2] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Vianden > Naissances 1829-1890 Mariages 1797-1833 > image 1010 of 1493;. 1799 Marriage Record (page 1 of 3). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11589-60838-94?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-929:130504801,130760501 : accessed 11 September 2015) and 1799 Marriage Record (page 2 and 3 of 3). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11589-63329-38?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-929:130504801,130760501 : accessed 11 September 2015).
[3] Ibid., Bourscheid > Naissances 1872-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 > image 995 of 1447. 1843 Marriage Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11561-51550-20?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-C68:129628601,129997101 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[4] Ibid., Bourscheid > Décès 1797-1890 > image 438 of 1157. 1841 Death Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12650-33893-10?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-N38:129628601,129626302 : accessed 11 September 2015).
[5] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 47 of 296. 1857 Death Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12341-67708-27?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2B8:n401754830 : accessed 09 Apr 2013).
[6] Ibid., Ettelbruck > Décès 1814-1881 > image 1356 of 1379. 1878 Death Record No. 36. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11675-61468-76?cc=1709358&wc=9RYS-FM9:129625001,1290913101 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[7] Luxembourg Parish Records, Brandenbourg > Baptêmes 1781-1782, mariages 1781-1782 > image 31 of 101. 1781 Baptismal Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-S9WP?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-CX9%3A1500940601%2C1500940632 : accessed 12 June 2017).
[8] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 45 of 296. 1857 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-XRP?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WP%3A129844501%2C129625502 : 17 July 2014).
[9] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Hoscheid > 1843 > image 60 of 137. Corneil Weckering household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32359-9396-97?cc=2037957&wc=M5LT-ZV3:345858701,345863501 : accessed 15 June 2017).
[10] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 158 of 459. 1819 Birth Record No.7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DB1Q-SYW?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-6TR%3A129844501%2C129804701 : accessed 15 June 2017).
[11] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 103 of 296. 1864 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-JRM?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WP%3A129844501%2C129625502 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[12] Ibid., Wiltz > Mariages 1797-1885 > image 569 of 1502. 1826 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DRZQ-C8T?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-HZ9%3A130592301%2C130729201 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[13] Idem
[14] Luxembourg Civil Records, Wiltz > Décès 1863-1890 > image 37 of 784. 1864 Death Record No. 27. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D447-SHJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-YWL%3A130592301%2C130592302 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[15] Ibid., Wiltz > Décès 1863-1890 > image 570 of 784. 1881 Death Record No. 63. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D447-SB3?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-YWL%3A130592301%2C130592302 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[16] Ibid., Wiltz > Décès 1863-1890 > image 570 of 784. 1881 Death Record No. 63. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D447-SB3?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-YWL%3A130592301%2C130592302 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[17] Ibid.,, Ermsdorf > Naissances 1813-1823, 1792-1823, 1824-1890 Mariages 1797-1823, 1824-1836 > image 1185 of 1453. 1828 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DBR3-F59?cc=1709358&wc=9RYS-4WL%3A129624501%2C129785801 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[18] Ibid., Ermsdorf > Décès 1882-1890 > image 54 of 57. 1890 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-65QS-S52?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-RM9%3A129624501%2C129706801 : 17 July 2014).
[19] Ibid., Ermsdorf > Décès 1863-1871 > image 39 of 80. 1867 Death Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-65QS-MPZ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-RMD%3A129624501%2C129664401 : accessded 17 June 2017).
[20] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 875 of 1491. 1834 Marriage Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1SS-833?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL%3A129844501%2C129973001 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[21] Idem
[22] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 58 of 77. 1892 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DR7Q-XQJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-N38%3A129844501%2C129717601 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[23] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 260 of 296. 1884 Death Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-JBW?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WP%3A129844501%2C129625502 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[24] Ibid., Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 592 of 1495. 1836 Marriage Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC47-152?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 17 June 2016).
[25] Ibid., Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 592 of 1495. 1836 Marriage Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC47-152?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 17 June 2016).
[26] Ibid., Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 1448 of 1495. 1874 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC47-1FD?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 18 June 2017).
[27] Ibid., Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 1478 of 1495. 1877 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC4W-3FT?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 15 June 2017).
[28] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 127 of 459. 1814 Birth Record (left page, bottom). “Luxembourg Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DB13-KGD?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-6TR%3A129844501%2C129804701 : accessed 12 June 2017).
[29] Ibid., Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 666 of 1495. 1844 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC4W-SVY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[30] Ibid., Wilwerwiltz > Naissances 1866-1890 Mariages 1797, 1800-1890 Décès 1797-1878 > image 1316 of 1495. 1858 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XC47-YBX?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-7M9%3A130594601%2C130709301 : accessed 17 June 2017).
[31] Ibid., Luxembourg > Naissances, mariages, décès 1892-1894 > image 988 of 1349. 1891 Death Record No. 380. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6P89-C71?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-K68%3A130045801%2C130969201 : accessed 17 June 2017),.
[32] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1445 of 1491. 1820 Death Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11672-59000-89?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-JWL:129844501,129973001 : accessed 14 September 2015).
[33] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 150 of 162. 1849 Death Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6L8S-67J?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-4WR%3A129844501%2C129896301 : accessed 15 June 2017).
[34] Luxembourg Parish Records, Brandenbourg > Baptêmes 1764-1784, mariages 1764-1784, sépultures 1764-1784 > image 1 of 128 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-92FS?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-HZ8%3A1500940601%2C1500940602 : accessed 16 June 2017).
[35] Ibid., Brandenbourg > Baptêmes 1764-1784, mariages 1764-1784, sépultures 1764-1784 > image 1 of 128 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-92FS?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-HZ8%3A1500940601%2C1500940602 : accessed 16 June 2017).

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

52 Ancestors: #2 den Här an d’Madame REIFFER, a Brick Wall

Last week I introduced you to my 2017 New Season of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge with 52 Ancestors: #1 The WILMES-SCHOOD Family of Diekirch 1739-1825. As in 2014 and 2015, I have a plan for my posts in 2017. I will be writing about all of my children’s 5th great-grandparents who have not yet been featured. In 2014 their American ancestors in this generation were spotlighted.

We have 64 sets of 5th great-grandparents. In this pedigree chart, on the right, are the first 8 sets of my children’s 5ggp. The MEDER-LAMBERT family was featured in several posts last year so I began with the next couple, WILMES-SCHOOD.

Pedigree chart generated using Ancestral Quest 15

I had planned to skip Théodore REIFFER‘s parents as they are unknown (as seen in the green boxes above) and continue with the parents of his wife Elisabetha CLOS. I even “announced” in the last post that Elisabeth’s parents would be up next. But one of the nice things about blogging is you can change your mind and re-schedule posts. 🙂

I didn’t expect to find a key to open a door in the REIFFER brick wall in the near future. However, why should I skip this set of 5th great-grandparents? By writing all I know and don’t know, I may find someone who’s already knocked down the brick wall or who may be able to help me open the door.

1831 Death Record Nr. 23 [1]
Théodore REIFFER was born about 1771 in Gilsdorf in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.[1] His age and place of birth were listed on his death record. I suspect he was not born in Gilsdorf and it was an error made by his son-in-law who was the informant for this death.

I searched page by page through the church records of Diekirch from 1768 to 1776. In later times the civil records for Gilsdorf would be found in Bettendorf. However, the church records for the village were recorded in Diekirch during the time period I am interested in.

I reviewed the records found for his children. None of the records included information on Théodore’s place of birth. His age was consistent with the estimated 1771 birth year in all records except for one where he was seen a little younger, born about 1774.

On all records found for Théodore, he was seen as a sheep herder which explains his moving around so much. Records were found starting in Landscheid and going to Wahlhausen, Tandel, Fouhren, Bastendorf, and Gilsdorf. His wife was from Körperich.

Google map

I consulted the Körperich Family Book[2] to see if there were any REIFFER connections in the villages of the area. A few REIFFER families were in the area for a later time period. One man, Johann REIFFER, born abt. 1767 in Gralingen to parents from Pütscheid seemed interesting.  If you look at the map these places are to the left and right of the arrow pointing from Landscheid to Wahlhausen.

I searched Rob Deltgen’s site for the parents, Nicolas REIFFER and Margaretha SCHMITZ. He has the couple with the son, found above in the Körperich FB, and several daughters. No other sons. What caught my attention was the place of birth of two of the daughters: Nachtmanderscheid. This lies between Landscheid and Wahlhausen. A coincidence, or could this REIFFER family be Théodore’s family?

I searched for the marriage record of the couple and found they may have married in Brandenbourg in 1759. The groom was named Nicolas REIFFER and was from Nachtmanderscheid. The entry for the marriage in the church records has only the groom’s name. It looks like the person writing the information was interrupted and never went back to write the name of the bride.

My next step is to search through the church records of Brandenbourg for baptisms from 1759 to 1780 for the children of this couple. I hope to find those mentioned on Rob’s site and perhaps some he has not found. Will Théodore be one of them?

If the children of this family are found in the Brandenbourg church records, I plan to check the same for the deaths of the parents.

For the time being, all I know is that den Här an d’Madame REIFFER, parents of Théodore, died before 31 January 1833. This is known as they were mentioned although not named in the 1833 marriage record of Théodore’s daughter Susanna. She married after the death of her parents and confirmed, along with a witness, that her grandparents were also deceased.

den Här an d’Madame = Mr. and Mrs.

[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bettendorf > Mariages 1817-1890 Décès 1800-1859 > image 1109 of 1494. 1831 Death Record No. 23. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12456-41136-19?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2ZY:2071013250 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[2] Richard Schaffner, comp., 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).

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