One branch of the family tree has been neglected due to lack of records. Theresia BRAUN’s paternal side seen in pink below.
An aside concerning Martin BRAUN (1695-1766)
Maria Magdalena SCHMIDT (SCHNEIDISCH)’s husband Martin BRAUN was found to be the son of Jean Frédérique BRAUN and Marie KAUFFMAN. His parents were married 16 November 1692 in Bissen, Luxembourg1; Martin was born 4 February 1695 in Colmar.2 He was the oldest of six children born to Jean Frédérique and Marie.
Like Martin, his siblings were all born in Colmar. Johannes was baptized 10 March 16973, Elisabetha Catharina 28 April 16984, Johannes 4 March 17015, Nicolas 20 February 17036, and Johannes Franciscus 10 April 1708.7
A death record was found for a youth named Johannes BRAUNS who died on the same day the first Johannes was baptized.8 The entry doesn’t indicate his age or who his parents were. Elisabetha Catharina died 9 September 1701 in her fourth year.9 No trace of the three youngest brothers was found after their baptisms.
Due to the plague and the wars during the middle ages, the population of Colmar, Berg, and Welsdorf was sparse. There were 17 families in 1540 and 5 in 1641. The inhabitants, with the exception of the nobles, were serfs and exploited the lands belonging to the nobles.
The total number of inhabitants increased from the end of the 17th century when iron forges were installed at Colmar. The first people of this trade came from today’s region of Wallonia in Belgium. The workforce came from the surrounding areas of Colmar.10
Due to the small population in the area, Martin’s three younger brothers may have gone to other parts to find work and to marry. If they produced records in the Bissen parish during the years from 1721 to 1749 these are lost.
In 1761 when Martin married Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH he was a widower and 66 years old.11 No previous marriage record or baptismal records of children born to Martin and his first wife were found in Bissen likely due to the missing records for the years 1721 to 1749.
Other than Martin’s parents, Martin, his widow, and his two daughters there were no other BRAUNS or BRAUN marriages in Bissen from 1610-1797 (with the exception of possible missing records from the years 1721 to 1749).
It seems strange there were no other BRAUN individuals in the area other than Theresia, my 5th great-grandmother, and her older sister Elisabetha. I suspect, if Martin was married a first time, the marriage may have remained childless. Which makes it even harder to believe Martin married a second time at the age of 66 and had two daughters with Magdalena.
As the oldest child of the BRAUN-KAUFFMAN marriage, Martin would have been the child to whom the family home was passed on to. After his death, his widow married Michel COLLING. In later years, Martin’s oldest daughter Elisabetha, as well as her COLLING half-siblings, would be found living in a house called Braumes, the home Martin probably grew up in.
Den BRONGEN von Colmar
While reading old newsletters of the commune of Colmar-Berg, I found an interesting tidbit about Martin BRAUN. An article on the Wilmesvogtei (Welsdorf) included a transcript of the entry for Jean KEYSER of Welsdorf alias WILMES on the 1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse. It mentions the land and buildings he “owned” and worked and the goods and taxes he had to pay.
To Martin BRAUN of Colmar, dem (den) BRONGEN von Colmar, he had to give four sesters or forty-eight bushels of wheat yearly (one sester is equal to 12 bushels). This confirms Martin was also known by the name BRONGEN which is Luxembourgish for brown. A brief mention of my ancestor in an article about a completely different family led to my finding the cadastre sheet with his alternate name.12
The four-part narrative of the criminal case includes the following statement in the introduction (English translation of the German text):
All the details were drawn from the official records*, so we have here not only a captivating criminal case, but also a documentary picture of Luxembourg’s time as a fortress city.
*National Archives of Luxembourg, ANLUX, CT-01-02-0090.
From the witnesses’ testimonies, the court chronicler was able to tell the who, what, when, where, why of the goings-on before, during, and after the trial. Between 80 and 100 witnesses were heard which seems amazing for the time period and for the short five months between the murders and the trial. I hope the men they accused and found guilty were the perpetrators.
Considering Jungblut’s reputation as a court reporter and journalist, I believe he was impartial. Did he include everything in his narrative? Did he omit repetitive testimonials made by persons whose names would be recognized as distant family members by this researcher as he considered them not important to the story? The case file holds the answer.
I look forward to visiting the National Archives of Luxembourg (ANLUX) and viewing the actual documents. This would be my first visit to ANLUX. Will I be allowed to photograph or scan them so I can transcribe them from home? I trust the narrative Jungblut wrote but as a family historian and genealogist, I want to be able to work with the primary documentation.
From JUNGBLUT’s narrative, I learned more of my fifth great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH’s widow.
Anne Marie WIROTH’s tavern was frequented by the military, hunters, Jews, and foreigners. As a result of the diversity of visitors and the constant tension between the citizens and the German military, there were often night-time quarrels. Widow Trausch had regular customers who would come in to drink wine and chat with the daughter of the house. The older woman was known to drink more than her guests and look the other way when her daughter granted favors to clients for a few coins. Instead of being ruinous to her business, the rumors and talk caused more people to visit the establishment.
The mother felt some remorse for taking advantage of her daughter and knew this wasn’t good for the young girl’s reputation. When she failed to convince a young man to marry her daughter, she began to make other plans to save her daughter’s reputation and still fill her purse.
She had previously lived in a house in the Grund which was for sale. She figured she could make good money renting out rooms which were in great demand in the city. On Thursday she negotiated a price in francs with the owner. The same day she approached her deceased husband’s friend for a loan of the amount she was lacking. The next day she asked her cleaning lady if she would come to work for her at her new place. Things were looking up for her. She sent her daughter to the owner of the house to let him know she would have her thalers converted to francs by Palm Sunday. She would then pay him in 5-franc pieces and visit the notary to certify the purchase. By Palm Sunday the entire family was dead.
Was my fifth great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH’s choice of Anne Marie WIROTH for his second wife a mistake? From what we’ve learned of her after his death, she was not the ideal person. However, I wonder if I can pass judgment on her not knowing if my ancestor may have left her with nothing more than mouths to feed.
My 5th great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH was widowed on 16 February 1798.1 He was not yet 37 years old and had six children at home in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume. The children were between the ages of 10 years and 1 week. It was not surprising he married again six months after the death of his wife Theresia BRAUN.
On the 9th day of the month Fructidor in the year VI (26 August 1798), Remacle married Anne Marie WIROTH, a 32-year-old woman from Vianden.2 She was the daughter of François WIROTH and Anne Marie PETRY. Remacle and Anne Marie were married in the commune of Berg in the canton of Mersch. Colmar, where the groom lived, was part of the commune of Berg. Today the commune is known as Colmar-Berg.
Remacle was a resident of Colmar and worked as a carpenter. Anne Marie was a day laborer and lived with her parents in Vianden on the Our River, in Luxembourg’s Ardennes region.
The children of the second marriage
Their first child was born less than a year later at three in the morning on 21 July 1799 in Colmar, a daughter named Peternelle.3
Less than two years later the family was living in Vianden. No records have been found which would prove Remacle and his second wife were raising his children from his first marriage. I think Remacle, Anne Marie, and their daughter Peternelle resided in Vianden without his children from the previous marriage. It must be remembered that Remacle was his parents’ youngest child. His deceased wife Theresia’s older sister Catharina BRAUN lived with her husband Franz BIVER in the BRAUN family home. Franz BIVER, by marrying into the BRAUN family, had taken over as the head of the family and likely was responsible for Remacle’s children. I will get back to this further on in this post.
“Bernadus” TRAUSCH was seen as the father of Jacob TRAUSCH born on 12 April 1801 at six in the morning to the mother Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden. The name of the father on the record is obviously an error.4 Remacle TRAUSCH was able to sign his name and the signature on this record, as well as on all birth records of his other children, were the same.
On 17 March 1803 at one in the morning a son Pierre was born to Remacle TRAUSCH and his wife Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden.5 Once again he signed with his signature.
Remacle dies in Luxembourg City
The TRAUSCH family’s sojourn in Vianden did not last long. By 21 August 1804, the family was living in Luxembourg City. On this day François WIROTH (spelled VIROTTE on the record) went to the authorities to declare the death of his brother-in-law Remacle TRAUSCH at the age of 43 years.6
Nearly two years later, Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH was still living in Luxembourg City when, on 19 July 1806, Jacob TRAUSCH, her and Remacle’s five-year-old son, died in house number 26 on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City.7
The family council gives consent for Catharina’s marriage
A few months later on 29 November 1806, Remacle’s oldest daughter from his first marriage, Catharina was married. She was only 16 years and 6 months old. The family council appeared before the justice of the peace to give consent to the marriage of the underage and orphaned daughter of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN on the 27th of the month. She married Pierre OLINGER, a 27-year-old man whose parents were also both deceased. Two of the witnesses to the marriage were François (Franz) BIVER, the bride’s maternal uncle (husband of her maternal aunt and godmother Catharina BRAUN), and Nicolas COLLIN, the bride’s maternal uncle (half brother of Theresia and Catharina BRAUN).8 These men were likely part of the “family council” which gave their consent to the marriage.
The reference to the family council at the time of Catharina’s marriage leads me to suspect Remacle’s children from his first marriage were being cared for by their maternal aunt Catharina BRAUN and her husband Franz BIVER (spelled BIWER in earlier records) in the years following his death and perhaps from the time of Theresia’s death.
Remacle’s widow has another child
On 19 September 1809 the widow DESGRANGE, a midwife, reported the birth of Pierre-Louis VIROTTE, the son of Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH (seen as VIROTTE on the record), at house number 2 in the rue St. Esprit in Luxembourg City. A father’s name was not given.9
Remacle’s oldest son marries
On 29 December 1813, Remacle and Theresia’s oldest son François “Franz” TRAUSCH married Eva MERTZ in Ettelbrück. Franz was living in Schieren which lies between Colmar-Berg and Ettelbrück. Eva was also a resident of Schieren which was part of the commune of Ettelbrück before 1850. None of the witnesses to this marriage were relatives of Franz TRAUSCH.10
Before Remacle and Theresia’s next two sons would marry, a horrific crime took place in Luxembourg City.
Death and burial records hint at a crime
As I searched for records of the children of Remacle’s second marriage I was surprised to find records of four deaths which took place in the night between 6 and 7 April 1816. Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle (now seen as Petronilla) TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH were found dead in their home in house number 23 in the rue de Trèves in Grund, the lower part of Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Michel GENERÉ, appariteur or bailiff. Anne Marie’s occupation was listed as cabarêtière (owner of a cabaret or tavern) in the city. 11
No information on the cause of death was found in the death records. As church records are now available on Matricula Online, I checked for the burial records of the family of four. I found only one sad entry.12
Die Septima Aprilis 1816 Anna Virotte anno aetutis quadragesimo quinto cum filia Petronillae Trausch 20 annos nata et dubbus (dubus) filiis Petro Trausch decimo quarto et Ludovico Virotte Septimo aetatis anno nocte ante Dominicam palmaram horrendo atque hucusque inaudito modo in lectibus trucidati ad supraedati postridie una sepulti fucre.
I took the Latin text apart, translating sections at a time. I then sent the image of the record, my Latin transcript (which included a few incorrect and missing words), and my English translation to my friend Linda who has helped me several times with Latin records. She confirmed my translation (below) was spot on, sent me a corrected Latin transcript (above), and the link to a magazine article which discussed this horrific crime.
On the seventh day of April 1816 Anna Virotte forty-fifth year of age and daughter Petronilla Trausch 20 years old and the victim’s sons Petro Trausch fourteen and Louis Virotte seven years of age the night before Palm Sunday in a horrible and hitherto unheard-of way were slaughtered in their beds and buried the day following the above mentioned date.
A brief overview of the crime
On the night before Palm Sunday, at midnight a guard at the Porte de Trèves heard a woman’s weeping scream. Between one and two o’clock in the morning, one of the guards who were taking turns saw three men pass by. When he shouted, “Who goes there?” they replied with the password “Bourgeois!” which allowed them to pass through the gate.
At six o’clock in the morning, the milkwoman came to deliver milk to the widow TRAUSCH who lived only a few meters from the gate. The house was quiet and the front door open. As she often did, she poured the milk into a stone jar in the kitchen and went on her way.
The widow TRAUSCH was known as the Kränzercher lady. She sold Veianer Kränzercher (pastries in the form of wreaths) at the market. She also had a bad reputation as she sold drink and sexual services in the house known as “A Kränzerches” where she lived. Acquaintances knew she had plans to buy a house as she had proudly shown them the coins she’d saved from her business dealings.
At 11 o’clock the churchgoers were coming home from mass at St. Jean de Grund church. The house where widow TRAUSCH lived with her family was still quiet. This was unusual and neighbors began to gather at her door. The crowd grew. Four men entered the house and soon came out, horrified by what they had found. The widow and her three children were dead, their throats cut through.
By Monday five suspects had been taken into custody. Two were quickly released. The three who were held over for trial were Jews. News of the murders made the rounds and angry crowds insulted and threatened Jews who lived in the city. The intervention of the mayor and law enforcement prevented people from further insulting the Jews.
The trial in early September 1816 lasted several days and about one hundred witnesses were called. Testimonies soon showed Schwartz, one of the accused, had an alibi. The Hauser brothers, the other two accused, were placed at the scene of the crime by witnesses and fresh blood had been found on the clothing of one of them. An important representative of the Jewish community testified the morality of the Hauser brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely. The anti-Semitic sentiment which prevailed in the city was not mentioned in the court records of the case.
In the end, the court came to the conclusion that Hirsch and Emmanuel Hauser were guilty and were sentenced to death by decapitation. Their appeal to the Cassation Court in Liège was denied. They were executed on a public square of the fortress city on 18 October 1816.
Tony JUNGBLUT, author and publisher, had an interest in the judicial system and gained notoriety as a judicial chronicler. He wrote the short story “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser,” a narrative of the Trausch murders case using testimonies found in the court records. The short story was included in his 1938 book Luxemburger Pitaval, a series of criminal cases that marked the history of Luxembourg.
By searching the National Library of Luxembourg’s eluxemburgensia site, I found the story was published earlier in the weekly magazine, A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in four parts in August of 1934. It is an amazing story and worth the read if you are fluent in German.15
Life continues for Remacle’s children from his first marriage
Nearly two years later, Nicolas TRAUSCH who would later be more commonly referred to as Jean Nicolas married Maria Margaritha TONTLING in Tuntange on 21 January 1819.17 They lived in Hollenfels.
I continue to seek any information on the remaining two children of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN. No marriage or death records have been found for the daughters Susanna born in 1796 and Maria born in 1798.
I was a bit uneasy about writing this story of murder, prostitution, and anti-Semitic sentiment. The fortress city of Luxembourg during this time was a multi-cultural place. People of different nationalities came to the city to trade. The Jewish settlement had only become possible since the French Revolution in 1795. Following Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy and was under the rule of the King of Netherlands and became a member of the German Federation. The Prussia soldiers encamped in the barracks were for the most part Lutherans in a country which was predominantly Catholic.
Next week I will be tying up some of the loose ends, among others, concerning Theresia BRAUN’s father Martin in my final post in this series.
Since I’ve spent so much time on Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia BRAUN, her parents, and her maternal grandparents, I thought it only fair to write about Remacle and his parents.
Remacle was the youngest child of Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784) and his second wife Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (1728-1786) of Mersch in Luxembourg.
Part IV: Remacle TRAUSCH, the youngest son of the oldest child
Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784)
Pierre TRAUSCH, my 6th great-grandfather, was born about 1714 in Mersch. Baptismal records are not available for Mersch for the years 1696 to 1716. Pierre was the oldest known child of Martin TRAUSCH (abt. 1682-1762) and Susanna SEYWERT sive JOSTEN domo PETERS (1693-1780). [The Latin descriptives mean Susanna SEYWERT was also known as Susanna JOSTEN and came from a house called PETERS.] Baptismal records were found for seven of Pierre’s siblings born between 1718 and 1736.
Pierre was the first of Martin and Susanna’s children to marry in 1739. The entry in the church record for the marriage includes the names of his parents. As no baptismal record is available for Pierre, this is the first record which confirms his parents were Martin and Susanna.
Pierre married Anna Maria ADAM, the daughter of the deceased Carolus ADAM of Ansembourg, on 9 August 1739.1 The married couple would live in a house called Peters in Mersch. As I’ve determined Pierre was the oldest child of Martin and Susanna, he would inherit the family home after his parents’ death and therefore his living in the home with his parents is logical.
Pierre and Anna Maria had three children born in 17402, 17443, and 17514. No marriages or death records have been found for these children in Luxembourg. Sadly, I suspected they may have died young. Their mother Anna Maria died on 19 February 1751, three weeks after giving birth to her third child.5
Pierre was now widowed and had Jean Pierre (11), Anna Maria (7), and Jean (newborn) to care for.
Very little information has been found for these three children. I suspected they may have died young however quick online searches when this post was nearly ready to publish turned up a few interesting facts which need to be looked into.
The oldest son Jean Pierre was a priest from 26 February 1763 until 27 November 1813 (possibly his date of death). This was not sourced and needs to be researched.
The GEDCOM on Geneanet of a descendant of the second child Anna Maria TRAUSCH indicates Anna Maria married Louis ANCELON on 19 January 1769 in Habergy, today in the commune of Messancy in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium. An index to church records in Habergy includes an entry for Louis ANSLO and Anne Marie TRAUSCHT who married on the said day. The actual record, which would possibly include the names of her parents, is not online.
Seven months after the death of his wife Anna Maria, Pierre TRAUSCH married again.
Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (c1723-1786), a bride with unknown parents
On 28 September 1751, Pierre TRAUSCH married my 6th great-grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ.6 The parents of the bride and groom are not named in the record. It’s in Latin and needs to be translated by someone fluent in the language. My interpretation may not be correct. It would appear the couple was given a dispensation to marry as they may have been closely related, possibly first cousins. I cannot confirm they were related as the parents of the bride are unknown.
I have seen conflicting information concerning who her parents may have been in GEDCOM files of members of Luxracines on GeneaLux.Net.
Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER were having children in Ettelbrück from 1708 to 1728 with a daughter named Elisabeth born on 19 January 1723.7 I have not found a GEDCOM file which shows this young lady married.
Another couple from Reckange, Jean WANTZ and Marie Catherine MOLITOR alias ENTGES, were having children from 1724 to 1741 and had a daughter named Maria Elisabetha born 6 July 1728.8 This young lady has been seen in GEDCOM files as the wife of Pierre WEYDERT (married 29 February 1756 )9, Nicolas WELBES10, and my Pierre TRAUSCH. Pierre Weydert was probably her first husband and Nicolas Welbes her second husband however there is a conflict with the same lady also marrying Pierre Trausch. Maria Elisabetha WANTZ who married Pierre TRAUSCH in 1751 was having children (as will be seen below) from 1753 to 1761.
This is where my problem lies. I need to go through all the records of both of these WANTZ families to compare the names of godparents of the children’s children to see if any connection can be made to Pierre TRAUSCH and his wife Maria Elisabeth WANTZ.
As the marriage record indicates she was originally from Ettelbrück, I sway toward one set of parents being correct: Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER. This research and write-up will be saved for another day.
Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s children
Pierre TRAUSCH and Maria Elisabetha WANTZ had four sons all baptized in Mersch.
Their oldest son Nicolas was baptized on 27 December 175311, their second son Clemens on 16 July 175512, their third son Wilhelm on 27 March 175913, and their fourth and youngest son Remacle on 6 April 1761.14
Pierre and Maria Elisabeth also had a daughter Maria who died on 28 January 1758 at the age of one year.15 No baptismal record had been found for this child. She would have been their third born.
Interesting to note are the names of two of the godparents of the sons. Nicolas’ godfather was Nicolas WANS (sic, Nicolas’ mother’s name was spelled the same in the record) from Ettelbrück. Remacle’s godmother was Magdalena WANTZ of Reckange. Quick searches show Nicolas was the oldest son of the couple from Ettelbrück and Magdalena was the daughter of the couple from Reckange. This will be taken into consideration when the WANTZ research is done. At this time I can only speculate the two men, Jean WANTZ and Michel WANTZ, may have been closely related, possibly brothers, and one of them could have been Maria Elisabetha’s father.
Pierre TRAUSCH in the cadastre and the census
In 1766 when the cadastre and census were taken the TRAUSCH family was living in a house called Peters which included a small barn and a courtyard.16
Pierre TRAUSCH (about 52), a carpenter or menusier, was with his family in household number 45 in Mersch. His second wife Maria Elisabetha (in her 40s) and their sons Clemens (11), Wilhelm (7), and Remacle (5) were at home. Their son Nicolas (nearly 13) was either omitted or enumerated in another household, possibly in another village where he may have been working. The children of Pierre’s first marriage were not in the household. A manual laborer named Michel GEDERT likely was helping Pierre with the carpentry. Also in the household was Pierre’s widowed mother Susanna (73) and his youngest brother Philippe (30).17 Pierre’s father Martin had died on 22 June 1762.18 The six siblings who were born between Pierre and Philippe were not on this census. No marriages have been found for them. Their whereabouts remain a mystery.
The second son marries
Clemens was the first of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s sons to marry. He married Marie Catherine SCHMIT of Colmar on 1 March 1778.19 Her parents were not mentioned on the marriage record. However, as the SCHMIDT family of Colmar for this period has been researched, I was able to deduct who her parents were. Marie Catherine was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDISCH. She was seen with her parents on the 1766 census20 however no baptismal record has been found for her.
Clemens and Marie Catherine’s first child, Pierre TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1779 and baptized the following day. His godfather was his grandfather of the same name, Pierre TRAUSCH. His godmother was his maternal uncle Philipp SCHMIDT’s second wife Maria.21 Their second child, Maria Elisabetha was born on 25 October 1780 and baptized the following day. Her godmother was her grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ and her godfather was her grandfather Nicolas SCHMIDT.22 Two more sons were born in 178223 and 1785.24
Pierre TRAUSCH and his mother die within four years of each other
Pierre TRAUSCH, the husband of Maria Elisabeth WANTZ, died on 26 March 1784. Per the entry in the death register, he was about seventy and several years.25 Four years earlier his mother Susanna, widow of Martin TRAUSCH, had died in Mersch on 5 December 1780 supposedly at the age of 92 years.26 She was in fact only 87 years old as she was born in the Castle of Mersch on 7 February 1693.27
Two marriages within a month
Nearly two years after Pierre’s death, two of his three unmarried sons were married within a month of each other. Wilhelm married Susanne RONES on 12 December 1785 in Tuntange28 and Nicolas married Anna Maria STOLTZ on 9 January 1786 in Mersch.29
Pierre’s widow dies
Pierre’s widow and the mother of the four TRAUSCH brothers, Maria Elisabeth WANTZ died several months later on 23 April 1786.30
The youngest son marries
Remacle’s brothers were all married and both of his parents deceased when he, the youngest son of the family, married on 24 July 1787 to Theresia BRAUN.31 Remacle and Theresia were my 5th great-grandparents and the main characters in this research project.
Two sons are widowed and remarry
Clemens’ wife Maria Catherine SCHMIT died on 17 March 1792. Her age was recorded in the death register as being 43 years old and therefore born about 1749.32 Clemens remarried a short three months later on 25 June 1792 to Magdalena WALSDORF, the widow of Guillaume MAY.33 It is not known if Clemens and Magdalena had children or when and where they died.
Wilhelm’s wife Susanne RONES died 4 November 1805 at the age of 46 years.34 The marriage was childless. On 14 April 1806, Wilhelm married a second time to Barbara WALSDORF in Tuntange.35 The relation to his brother Clemens’ wife Magdalena WALSDORF is at this time unknown. Wilhelm was 47 years old and Barbara was 32 years old when they married. She gave him fours sons from 1807-1813. Wilhelm died in Hollenfels on 21 January 183136 and Barbara died almost exactly 15 years later on 22 January 1846 in Bissen.37
It is not known if Nicolas, the oldest son of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha, and his wife Anna Maria STOLTZ had children or when and where they died. If anyone has followed this family, I would appreciate hearing about them.
Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014692, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 75 (Mersch), image 417 of 637, No. 93, Pierre Trausch. “.” 1766 cadastre sheet of Pierre Trausch of the house called Peters. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXW-1WJR-5?i=416&cat=1152016 : accessed 16 July 2019). ↩
Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film/DGS 1781981 > Film # 8182018 > Decanat de Mersch v. 2-3 > Mersch > Image 82 of 556. Pierre Trausch household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS21-FQ86-V?i=81&cat=1184675 : accessed 9 July 2019). ↩
When my sixth great-grandmother Magdalena married Martin BRAUN on 19 April 1761 in the Capella of Berg in central Luxembourg she was seen as Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH. One of the two witnesses was Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH, likely her father.1 The ending of the surname was a red flag and suggested it may have been a maison dite or house name.
Until around 1500 the first name of a person was sufficient enough to identify ordinary people. When pleading someone’s case, it was done orally and normally in the presence of the person eliminating the confusion of identities.
The appearance of the first written documents however required additional distinction. Nicolas, therefore, became known as Nicolas de Steinfort (by his residence), Nicolas le Meunier (by his occupation, i.e. miller), or Nicolas le Petit (by a trait, i.e. small person).
When these extensions to the first names finally became family names transmitted from one generation to the next, they were not, for a long time, patronymic. In about half the cases, the children’s names came from the mother, as the rules of family succession in Luxembourg were based on primogeniture – the right of the oldest child inheriting the parental home without any distinction between males and females.
Luxembourg researchers are confronted with the phenomenon of maison dite or house names shared by all people living under one roof, regardless of their initial name received at birth. At the time of the marriage, the spouse always acquired, whatever his sex, the name of the house into which he entered. Thus, each couple had only one and the same surname which was transmitted to all their children.
In the course of the eighteenth century when Luxembourg was under Austrian rule, the civil authorities imposed a contrary law, that each individual should keep his birth name – it could no longer be changed during the course of his life, notably at the time of marriage. Each legitimate child inherited his father’s surname.
During the long transition, the coexistence of the two rules and practices, totally opposite, constituted a complication which was the source of errors. The children of one and the same couple sometimes obtained different surnames. The second spouse of a widow or widower may have been known by the surname his spouse had previously taken from his first conjugal partner.
Priests were aware of the problem of the double and triple surnames of their parishioners. Some were careful to note more than one name. The different surnames of one and the same person were juxtaposed and linked together by Latin words: alias (otherwise called), vulgo (commonly called), modo (otherwise), sive and aut (or), dicta (said). Sometimes the correct connection with previous generations can be determined by useful references such as ex domo (from the house) or in domo (in the house). House names were also mentioned in the parish records using the term in aedibus (in house) followed by the name.
Our genealogical research may suffer from the rivalry of these two incompatible rules but I’m finding them very useful.
Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)
When her daughters Catharina BRAUN and Therese BRAUN were born in 1765 and 1766 Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH (the surname seen on her marriage record) was seen as SCHMIDT on their baptismal records. After losing her first husband Martin BRAUN in 1766, she married Michel COLLING a month later. When she had children with Michel from 1768 to 1775 she was still seen as Magdalena SCHMIDT even though their marriage record had Magdalena BRAUN as her name. The records for these events were cited in my previous post.
My theory at this point was:
SCHNEIDISCH, used at the time of Magdalena’s first marriage, was a maison dite or house name
her father must have been a SCHMIDT as she used this name when having children
her mother was possibly a SCHNEIDERS and likely the oldest child of a couple who went by the name SCHNEIDERS or lived in a house known as Schneidisch or Schneidesch.
Searching for records to prove the theory
Colmar was a part of the parish of Bissen in Luxembourg. As Magdalena lived in Colmar, I checked for marriages in the parish of Bissen for SCHMIDT, SCHNEIDERS, and variations of these names. This was an easy task as I have access to Luxracines‘ database (members only) for marriages prior to 1800 in Luxembourg.
The database was populated using the Tables des mariages 1700-1798 (index organisée par l’époux/l’épouse), a card index of marriages performed in parishes of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg before 1800. The microfilm images of these cards are available on FamilySearch in their catalog. I would have had to browse the images of the index cards for Bissen if I weren’t a member of Luxracines. If you are interested in why these marriage index cards were created and by whom, please check out this post: Using the Back Door at FamilySearch for Missing Records.
I did not find a marriage for a SCHMIDT groom and a SCHNEIDERS bride. I searched for marriages in Bissen without a surname which generated a complete list of all marriages in the parish. There are no marriage records for the period from 1721 to 1749. On FamilySearch, I found marriages and deaths for the years 1721-1749 are missing for Bissen as well as baptisms from 1723 to July 1738. It is important to know when records are missing and how to find substitutes for them.
Baptismal records were used as substitutes for a marriage record
Magdalena married Martin BRAUN in 1761 which would indicate she was born 1743 or earlier, assuming she was 18 years of age or older. As a substitute for the missing marriage record for a SCHMIDT groom and a SCHNEIDERS bride, I searched for any children born to a couple with the SCHMIDT and/or SCHNEIDERS surnames. Magdalena’s estimated year of birth was used as a starting point.
As I searched the baptismal records I found there were three couples using these surnames and having children around the time Magdalena may have been born. The couples found were:
Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and wife Catharina
Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina
Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS
Taken out of context this would look like three couples but I will show they were only one couple.
These are the baptismal records found:
‣ 25 January 1741: Joes son of Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and his wife Catharina2
‣ 4 September 1743: Maria Magdalena daughter of Nicolas SCHNEIDERS and his wife Catharina3
‣ 23 January 1746: Henricus son of Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina4
‣ 25 July 1748: Martinus son of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS5
The children were born between 1741 and 1748. No children were found prior to 1741. As noted previously, baptismal records are only available from July 1738 for Bissen.
As seen in my previous post, Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN (daughter of Magdalena) and gave his consent to her marriage in 1786. As he was taking care of family business in 1786, I assumed he was the oldest son of the SCHMIDT-SCHNEIDERS couple I was interested in.
Proof: Philipp SCHMIDT was a son of Nicolas SCHMIDT
The 1766 census and cadastre de Marie-Thérèse confirmed my assumption. On the census, Nicolas SCHMIT, a farrier (maréchal), is seen with the following household.
In the column on the far right, there is a 2 indicating there were two married couples in the household. The couples were: Nicolas SCHMID and his wife Catherine as well as Philipp SCHMID and his wife Therese. The three young boys (all under 14 years of age) in the household were children of the second couple (baptismal records were found). Mathias WAGNER, Jean MARX, and Elisabeth FRABRITIUS were also in the household and possibly servants as the men were listed as domestics.6
One more person was in the household. Marie Catherine SCHMID, in the 14 years or older category, was born before 1752 (1766 age 14+). She was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIT and Catharina SCHNEIDERS and would marry Clemens TRAUSCH in 1778. No baptismal record was found for her. The marriage record does not mention the names of her parents. However, baptismal records of her first two children will show the connection in my next post. (Marie Catherine was my 6th great-grandaunt and Clemens was my 5th great-granduncle.)
A second record was found connecting Philipp and Nicolas. Although the handwriting on the document (click on link to see the entire sheet) is hard to read, the cadastre of Marie-Thérèse dated 31 July 1766, includes the land worked by Philipp SCHMIT and mentions he lived in a building with his father Nicolas SCHMIT.7
I believe my 6th great-grandmother Magdalena was Maria Magdalena SCHNEIDERS born in 1743 to Nicolas SCHMIDT and his wife Catharina SCHNEIDERS. First, this daughter was born in 1743 making her 18 years old in 1861 when Magdalena married Martin BRAUN. Second, Philipp SCHMID(T) who was found to be the son of the same couple would later be named as the guardian of Magdalena’s daughter Catherine when she married in 1786. Thirdly, there were no other SCHMIDT or SCHNEIDERS families in the area during this time period.
Going back another generation
I also searched the marriage database for SCHNEIDERS’ marriages which would point to Magdalena’s maternal grandparents, parents of Catharina SCHNEIDERS. Five marriages for persons with the SCHNEIDERS surname were found in Bissen. A groom in 1695 (from Colmar) as well as four brides: 1699 (from Bövingen), 1704 (from Colmar), 1706 (from Wiltz), and 1717 (from Colmar). The groom and the two brides from Colmar looked promising.
I first looked into the 1695 marriage of Johann Adam SCHNEIDERS and Margarita EICHHORNS. They were the parents of two children: Catherine born 13 April 1697 and Johann born 29 November 1701. At first, I thought Catherine would be a good candidate for the wife of Nicolas SCHMIDT. However she would have been 51 years old by the time the last SCHMIDT child was born in 1748 which seemed very unlikely.
I then searched for children of the two SCHNEIDERS brides who married in 1704 and 1717.
Elisabeth SCHNEIDERS married Nicolas HANSEN on 9 November 1717; a son Johann HANSEN was baptized on 21 June 1719 in Berg, a neighboring village of Colmar. No other children were found as the baptismal records are missing from 1723 to July 1738. As the couple lived in Berg and not Colmar, I considered the possibility of the Elisabeth being related but likely not the mother of Catherine who married Nicolas SCHMIDT.
On 16 November 1704, Marie SCHNEIDERS married Philipp HIRTZ.8 Baptisms were found for two children. A daughter Catharina SCHNEIDERS was born on 24 March 17119 to Philipp SCHNEIDERS and his wife Maria. A son Johann Conrad HIRTZ was born on 27 April 171710 to Philipp HIRTZ and wife Maria both of Colmar. The godmother of this child was Elisabeth SCHNEIDERS of Colmar, likely the woman who would marry Nicolas HANSEN later in the same year.
In 1719 Philipp HIRTZ was a witness at a marriage in Bissen.11 His name was written Phil. HIRTZ sive SCHNEIDISCH – his surname was linked to his house name by the Latin term sive meaning or. This shows Philipp was known by both names and most likely the father of both Catharina SCHNEIDERS and Johann Conrad HIRTZ, i.e. their parents were Philipp and Maria with the surname SCHNEIDERS being used in 1711 and HIRTZ in 1717.
The son Johann Conrad married on 10 January 1741 in Belgium.12 His marriage record indicates his father Philipp HIRTZ was deceased at the time of the marriage. Philipp died before 1741. He may have been living when his daughter Catherine named her first known child Philipp. If a baptismal record had survived for this child, I would not be surprised to see Philipp HIRTZ listed as the godfather of Philipp SCHMIDT.
A final record confirms the HIRTZ-SCHNEIDERS connection
While writing this post and reviewing the records, I noticed I’d overlooked something when reading the baptismal record of Henricus, the child of Catherine and Nicolas SCHMIDT, who was born in 1746.
When I first read the record above, I thought the mother’s first name was at the end of the second line and continued on the third line. The priest appears to have run out of ink while making this entry. What I didn’t notice was the name in the third line was HIRTZ and not the ending of Catharine (-rine with a squiggle).
I did not plan on proving the maternal grandparents of my fifth great-grandmother Theresia BRAUN (aka COLLING) when I began to write about her and her husband Remacle TRAUSCH. The research took on a life of its own as I went through the church records of Bissen – several times!
In the fourth post of this series, Remacle TRAUSCH’s parents and siblings will be discussed.
Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 152 of 618, page 143, household no. 2. “.” Nicolas Schmid household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-9932-S?i=151&cat=1184675 : accessed 20 July 2019). ↩
Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014724, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 175 (Berg, Colmar), 276 image of 676, Sheet No. 34, Philipus Schmit. 1766 cadastre sheet of Philipus Schmit with mention of father Nicolas Schmit.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSX4-B3T8-C?i=275&cat=1152016 : accessed 21 July 2019). ↩
As seen in my previous post, my fifth great-grandparents Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798) were married in the church of Bissen in Luxembourg on 4 July 1787. They had six children before Theresia died in 1798 at the age of 31 years. The youngest of the six motherless children was only 8 days old and the oldest 10 years old.
When Remacle and Theresia married, Theresia’s parents were seen as Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.
When her children were baptized her name was listed as Theresia COLLING (or variations of this name) on four of the church records. One child’s record had BRONGERS, a variation of BRAUNERS, and another had BRAUN. At the time of death, her name was given as Theresia BRAUN.
Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also known as Theresia COLLING?
To answer this question I paid close attention to all names mentioned in birth, marriage, and death records of persons associated with Theresia and her family. For easier reading, I’ve used the COLLING spelling throughout this post except for one instance in which it was spelled COLLIN.
A thread woven through the records
A guardian, Franz BIWER, had signed the 1787 marriage record of Remacle and Theresia as discussed in the previous post. Franz was the godfather of Theresia and Remacle’s first child François TRAUSCH. Franz was also described as her brother-in-law when her death was reported by him, her husband Remacle, and a neighbor in 1798.
Who was Franz BIWER?
A marriage was found for Franz BIWER and Catharina BRAUN, daughter of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.1 They were married on 11 December 1786 in Bissen about seven months before Remacle and Theresia were married. Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN and gave his consent to the marriage. Witnesses to the marriage were Clemens TRAUSCH and Peter COLLING, both married. Clemens TRAUSCH, the brother of Remacle, was married to Catharina SCHMIT of Colmar. Philippe SCHMIT was likely a relative of the deceased mother of the bride. This will be discussed further in my next post.
Catharina and Theresia were sisters as Franz BIWER had been named as the brother-in-law of Theresia BRAUN when she died and the names of the parents of both girls on their marriage records were the same.
The parents of Catharina and Theresia
A marriage record was found for the widower Martin BRAUN of Berg and Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar. They married 19 April 1761 in the Berg chapel in the parish of Bissen. Witnesses were Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar and Joannes CONRATH of Berg.2 The possibility of Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH being the father of the bride will be discussed in a later post.
Baptismal records of the parish of Bissen were searched. Only two children were found to have a father named Martin BRAUN after the marriage date in 1761. Catharina was born 11 April 17653 and Theresia was born 3 August 17664, both in Colmar. The mother on both records was listed as Magdalena SCHMIDT (spelled SCHMIT on the records).
As no other children were found, the death entries were searched. Martin BRAUN of Colmar died 17 February 1766.5 This was six months before the birth of Theresia.
Magdalena SCHMIDT, the widow remarries
A death record for Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a married woman about 40 years old, was found. She died on 22 January 1782 and was buried the following day.6 If this lady was the widow of Martin BRAUN, she must have married again.
No marriage was found for Magdalena SCHMIDT or Magdalena SCHNEIDERS in the marriage records of Bissen between 1766 and 1782.
A marriage was found on 19 March 1766, only a month after the death of Martin BRAUN, for Magdalena BRAUN and Michel COLLIN(G). Witnesses to the marriage were Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar and Franz FRISCH of Leydenbach.7 Could the witness Philippe SCHMIDT likely be the same person as the guardian seen at the time of Catharina’s marriage?
The children from the second marriage
Baptismal records were found for four children born to Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT – not Magdalena BRAUN. A son Michel was born 15 February 17688, a son Nicolas on 5 November 17699, a daughter Catharina on 18 June 177210, and a daughter Elisabetha on 20 January 1775.11 The mother’s surname was spelled SCHMIT, SCHMITT, and SCHMIDT on these records.
Michel COLLING died on 8 October 1782 in Colmar.12 This was nine months after Magdalena SCHMIDT. He was in his fifties. Baptismal records are missing in Bissen for the years 1721 to 1733. His parents are at this time unknown.
Records were found for three of the four children of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT after their baptisms. Michel their first child died at the age of 23 years in 1792. His parents were listed as Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT.13
Their second son Nicolas was living in the Franz BIWER home on 25 February 1807 when Franz and Catharina’s youngest child was born. Nicolas witnessed her birth record. His age was given as 33 years although he would have been 37 at the time.14 A few months earlier he had been named as a 37 years old witness and the uncle of the bride when Catharina TRAUSCH married on 29 November 1806.15 The bride was the daughter of Theresia BRAUN and Remacle TRAUSCH. No further record has been found for Nicolas.
Their daughter Catharina who was born in 1772 produced a few more records. She had an illegitimate daughter named Maria in 1797. Maria’s birth took place in the family home and was reported by the midwife as well as Franz BIWER and a neighbor. Catharina, the mother of the child, was described as being the daughter of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a deceased married couple who had resided in a house called Braumes.16
Five years later Catharina married. There are discrepancies in the marriage record. Marie Catherine COLLING, daughter of Michel COLLING and Catherine SCHMITT, born on 18 June 1772 in Colmar married Nicolas DIDESCH, son of Philippe DIDESCH and Marie WEBER. The date of birth is a match for Catharina COLLING but this is the first time she was seen as Marie Catherine. Another error is her mother’s name which should have been Magdalena and not Catherine. Franz BIWER was one of the four witnesses on the marriage record.17 No known children were born to this marriage.
Franz BIWER, the husband of Catharina BRAUN, died in 1808 in Colmar in his residence, a house called Braumes.18 This confirms the family home was passed on to Catharina BRAUN, the oldest child of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.
Catharina COLLING’s illegitimate daughter Maria died at the age of 19 on 14 June 1817 in Colmar. The informant for her death was Nicolas DIDESCH, described as the father of the deceased. The deceased’s name was listed only as Maria, without a surname. Infant naturel (child born out of wedlock) was written just above her name.19
Nicolas DIDESCH died in 1844 and was identified as the husband of Catharina COLLING.20 Catharina died in 1853. Her death was reported by Mathias BIWER, the youngest son of FRANZ BIWER and Catharina BRAUN.21
Reviewing the findings
The noticeable reoccurrence of Franz BIWER‘s name, a thread woven through the records, led me to a hypothesis of why Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING.
Magdalena SCHMIDT (also known as SCHNEIDISCH) was a young girl, barely 18 years old when she married the older widowed Martin BRAUN in 1761.
She gave him a daughter Catharina in 1765 and was pregnant with Theresia when he died in 1766.
She then married Michel COLLING a month later. Catharina was only 11 months old and Theresia was born five months after her mother remarried. Michel was their step-father and only father they knew.
Magdalena had four children with Michel between 1768 and 1775.
Both Magdalena and Michel died in 1782 leaving these orphans: Catharina BRAUN (16), Theresa BRAUN (15), and their half-siblings Michel (13), Nicolas (12), and Catharina COLLING (9). No trace of the youngest half-sibling Elisabeth COLLING (7) has been found and it is possible she died before her parents.
The guardian of the orphans was likely Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar who was seen as the tutor or guardian of Catharina BRAUN in 1786 when she married.
After Catharina married, her husband Franz BIWER became the head of the family and guardian of his wife’s sister and half-siblings.
As the oldest child of Magdalena SCHMIDT and Martin BRAUN, Catharina and her husband lived in the house known as Braumes.
Nicolas COLLING, the second son of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT, was named in the 1806 marriage record of Catharina TRAUSCH as her uncle, i.e. brother of her mother Theresia BRAUN.
At this point, I was convinced Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING as she was the step-daughter of Michel COLLING and raised by him and her mother from birth.
The pieces of the puzzle fit and Franz BIWER‘s presence in the records is the glue which holds it together. Missing is a record which would prove Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH who married Martin BRAUN is the same person as Magdalena BRAUN who married Michel COLLING. Or a record showing the BRAUN girls were raised by Michel COLLING.
Proof for the hypothesis
Michel and Magdalena chose the perfect time in the history of Luxembourg to marry. In 1766 Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg including Luxembourg, Belgium, and part of the Netherlands.
Michel COLLING was found in the village of Colmar in the Parish of Bissen as the head of household #7. He was a farmer. A total of eight persons were in his household including his wife Magdalena seen here with his surname COLLING and two young girls named Catherine and Therese BRAUN.22 It must be noted that on this census the married women, for the most part, were enumerated with their husband’s surname.
This 1766 census listing and the records previously mentioned are proof the daughters Magdalena SCHMIDT (also seen as SCHNEIDISCH) had with Martin BRAUN were raised by her and Michel COLLING and could explain Theresia’s using both surnames: BRAUN and COLLING.
A final piece of evidence
Theresia’s sister Catharina BRAUN was also seen with the COLLING surname when several of her children were born. As I cast the net out further, I found the 1811 marriage record23 of Catharina’s second daughter Susanna (b. 1789) which includes this statement: “le nom de Collin ayant été changé et rectifié en celui de Braun par jugement du tribunal de premier instance de l’arrondisement de Luxembourg en date du 31 January 1809“.
( the name of Collin having been changed and rectified in that of Braun by judgment of the court of first instance of the district of Luxembourg on January 31, 1809 )
Either after the death of Catharina’s husband Franz BIWER in 1808 or when their oldest daughter Marie gathered supporting documentation for her marriage in March 1809, the discrepancy in the name of the mother was noticed and had to be rectified by court order. When Susanna married in 1811 this was mentioned in the marriage record (above).
Any more questions?
At this point, I’d like to answer a question I’m sure many of you had while reading this post. Why would a widow who was three months pregnant marry so soon after the death of her husband?
When a man with small children was widowed he would usually have a relative come into the home to help with the children. If there were no relatives available he would need to have a woman live in the home. As this would not be proper, a marriage took place soon after the man was widowed.
I have always thought women did not remarry in the first year of widowhood to avoid any paternity issues in case the widow was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death. In Magdalena’s case, I believe her first husband farmed leased land of the lord of Berg in the village of Colmar. To keep the family income she married Michel COLLING who took over this lease. Evidence of this was found in the 1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse and will be discussed in a later post.
In the next post, I will explain why Theresia’s mother Magdalena was also using two surnames, SCHNEIDISCH and SCHMIDT, and how this helped me to determine who her parents and grandparents were.
Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 153 of 618, page 144, household no. 7. Michel Colling household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-993P-7?i=152&cat=1184675 : accessed 15 July 2019). ↩
Remacle and Theresia, my fifth great-grandparents and my children’s sixth, were ancestors who lived in Luxembourg. As I reviewed the records I’d found prior to writing about their son, I thought this would be straightforward. However, inconsistencies were found in the story I was seeing in their records and timeline. This led to further research. With each new record, I found myself asking more questions.
I believe I am now at a point where I can tell their story – in several parts.
Part I: The marriage of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN
On 23 July 1787 the banns were published in Colmar and Mersch for the marriage between Remacle TRAUSCH, son of Peter TRAUSCH and Elisabeth CARMES, both deceased and from Mersch, and Theresia BRAUNERS, daughter of Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.
The following day Remacle and Theresia were married in Bissen. Present as witnesses were Johann SCHILTZ and Remacle’s brother Nicolas TRAUSCH. The marriage record was signed by the groom, the two witnesses, and Franz BIWERtutor. The bride could not write and left her mark.1
I would like to make four points concerning the information found in this marriage record:
The name of the mother of the groom was not correct. A record will be presented to prove this in part IV.
The surname of the bride and her father was a variation of the name BRAUN.
Franz BIWER was not mentioned in the record, however, he signed as a guardian. He was the brother-in-law of the bride, Theresia.
The groom signed his name. This will be important in later years.
The children of Remacle and Theresia
Remacle was 26 years old when he married Theresia who was only 20. She was with child when they married. Less than six months later, on 3 January 1788 around noon, Theresia gave birth to their son Franz TRAUSCH. He was baptized the same day in the church of Bissen with Franz BIWER of Colmar and Susanna KLEIN of Hollenfels as his godparents. His mother’s name on the record was Theresia COLLING.2
On 29 May 1790 at ten in the evening, Catharina TRAUSCH was born in Colmar. She was baptized the following day in Bissen. Her godparents were Catharina SCHMIT, wife of Clemens TRAUSCH of Mersch, and Nicolas SCHMIT of Colmar. Once again the mother of the child was recorded as Theresia COLLING.3
My fourth great-grandfather Michel TRAUSCH was born on 9 May 1792 at ten in the evening in Colmar. He was baptized the following day in the church in Bissen with godparents being Michel WALZING of Hollenfels and Anna Maria STOLZ, wife of Nicolas TRAUSCH of Mersch. His mother’s name was written, Theresia COLLIN.4
In May 1794 Nicolas TRAUSCH was born to Remacle and Theresia in Colmar. He was baptized in Bissen. His godparents were Nicolas MORBUS and Catharina COLLIN, both single and from Colmar. The corners of the register may have been eaten by mice and parts of the entry for this child are missing.5 In 1813-1814 when Nicolas later served in Napoleon’s army6 and in 1819 when he married his date of birth would be seen as 11 May 1794.7 The mother’s name was seen as Theresa BRONGERS. Braun is German for brown and in Luxembourgish this is brong. As the surname BRAUN was also seen as BRAUNERS, BRONGERS is likely another variation of the name.
Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 13 April 1796 at six in the evening. She was baptized the following day in the church of Bissen. Her godparents were Susanna SINNER of Berg and Matthias SCHMIT of Colmar, both single. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia CHOLLINGE.8
On 8 February 1798 at one in the afternoon the last child of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN was born in Colmar. Their daughter Maria was baptized in Bissen the following day. Her godparents were Maria NEU and Dominique MEDER were both from Ettelbrück. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia BRAUN.9
The death of Theresia BRAUN
On 16 February 1798, eight days after the birth of Maria, Theresia died at ten in the evening. Her husband Remacle TRAUSCH, her brother-in-law Franz BIWER, and a neighbor named Mathieu NICKELS reported the death of Theresia BRAUN. Remacle and Theresia were living in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume, were she died. The civil servant went with the three witnesses to the home to confirm the death of the deceased. The witnesses and the civil servant signed the death record.10
On all of the above mentioned baptismal records, Remacle TRAUSCH signed his name. The same signature as seen on his marriage record and the death record of Theresia BRAUN, further evidence his wife Theresia was known as BRAUN as well as COLLING.
I will discuss the mystery of Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia’s use of the COLLING name in my next post.
With this post, all of my children’s known ancestors from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents have been featured since I began blogging four years ago. I actually did it in three years as I took a break from the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in 2016.
Michel and Catharina
Michel TRAUSCH (1792-1869) and Catharina HAMES (1789-1864) married in Mamer, Luxembourg, on 18 February 1817.1 Their marriage record included the groom and bride’s dates and places of birth. His parents were both deceased; their names and dates and places of death were included. Her parents were living, present and consenting to the marriage. Also present were four witnesses. Michel KOLBACH, the bride’s brother-in-law, and three unrelated persons.
Michel was born on 9 May 1792 in Colmar-Berg, Mersch, Luxembourg, to Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (COLLING) (1766-1798).2 Catharina was born on 17 May 1789 in Mamer to Johannes HAMES (~1758-1826) and Agnes HERTZ (1755-1836).3 I will come back to the parents and siblings of Michel and Catharina after I have discussed their children.
Michel and Catharina had the following children:
1. Anna Catharina TRAUSCH was born the day after her parents’ first wedding anniversary on 19 February 1818 in Mamer.4 She died on 26 February 1819 in Mamer at the age of a year and a week.5 2. Maria TRAUSCH was born exactly two years after Anna Catharina, on 19 February 1820.6 She married and had one daughter. She died on 13 May 1875. She was my 3rd great-grandmother and her daughter was my 2nd great-granddaughter. 3. Peter TRAUSCH was born on 3 October 1821 in Mamer.7 He was last seen at the age of 34 years in Mamer with his parents in 1855. At this time it is unknown if he married or had children. 4. Elisabeth TRAUSCH was born on 23 July 1823.8 She married and had three sons. She died on 7 March 1877. 5. Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 23 September 1825.9 She married and had three sons. She died on 29 August 1903. 6. Catherine TRAUSCH was born on 13 March 1827 in Mamer.10 She died on 4 April 1900 in Mamer. Catherine never married. 7. Marie Catherine TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1829 in Mamer.11 She died on 13 May 1832 in Mamer at the age of three years.12
As can be seen above Michel and Catharina had seven children, two of whom died young, one who never married, three who married and gave them seven grandchildren, and one son who has not been traced after 1855. Of the grandchildren, only one was a girl – an important fact as will be seen at the end of this post.
Soon after the birth of their first grandchild, Michel and Catharina saw their daughter Elisabeth marry in Kehlen. She married Jean Henri KLEIN (1811-1866) on 15 December 1852.15 A year later, she gave birth to the second grandchild Johann KLEIN on 7 December 1853 in Nospelt.16
The third daughter to marry was Susanna. She married Pierre KLEES (1823-1903) on 14 February 1855 in Kehlen where her sister Elisabeth had married.17
These marriages in Kehlen were only found with the help of the Marriage Database dedicated members of my genealogy association Luxracines are working on. As a member of the board, I have access to the database which will soon be made available on our website. It will be a real time-saver for all researchers who have ancestors who married in Luxembourg between 1797-1923 as marriage records include so much genealogical information. Lëtz Play! Can You Top This? A Marriage Record With 15 Events
Following Susanna’s marriage five more grandsons were born into the family:
It is unknown if Nicolas, the only son of Catharina and Michel, ever married and had children. Perhaps when the Marriage Database 1797-1923 is finished he will be found. Without this information, it is at this time only possible to note that all known grandchildren of Catharina and Michel were born before their deaths.
Catharina and Michel die in a three-generation house
Catharina HAMES died on 22 November 1864 at the age of 75 years.23 Her husband Michel TRAUSCH died five years later on 28 December 1869 at the age of 77 years.24 They both died in Mamer in the house called Schreinesch where they had raised their family. It had been a three-generation home as their son-in-law Jean MAJERUS, who was the informant at the time of both deaths, lived there with his wife Maria and their only daughter Marie.
Marie would marry Jean FRANTZ (1837-1929) in 1870.25 Her mother Maria TRAUSCH died on 13 May 1875.26 The oldest of the grown siblings, she was the first to die. She was followed by her sisters Elisabeth who died on 7 March 1877 in Goeblange27, Catherine, an old maid, on 4 April 1900 in Mamer28, and Susanna on 29 August 1903 in Kehlen.29
The Parents and Siblings of Michel TRAUSCH
Michel’s parents Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN (also seen as COLLING) were married on 24 July 1787 in Bissen.30 The marriage index cards for marriages in the parish records incorrectly listed the year as 1789. I was searching for a marriage in 1789 and wondering why a child was born in 1788. After not finding the marriage in 1789, I continued back until it was located in 1787. The marriage was recorded twice, by two different persons, first on the 23rd of July and then on the 24th. The later was complete and included signatures.
Remacle and Theresia had six children all born in Colmar-Berg. The oldest three grew to adulthood, married and had children. Franz born in 1788 was the father of 10 children; Catherine born in 1790 was the mother of 14 children; and Michel, as was seen above, was born in 1792 and was the father of 7 children. The three youngest have not been traced past their baptisms: Nicolas b. 1794, Susanna b. 1796, and Maria b. 1798. The mother Theresia died on 16 February 1798 in Berg, a week after the birth of her last child.31 Michel was not yet six years old when he lost his mother. Four of the six children’s baptismal records had their mother’s maiden name listed as COLLING instead of BRAUN(ERS). The different names will hopefully lead to more information on Theresia’s ancestors.
Remacle remarried six months later on 26 August 1798 in Berg to Anne Marie WIROTH.32 They had one known daughter, Peternelle born in 1799. Remacle and Anne Marie had removed to Luxembourg City from Colmar-Berg sometime after the birth of their daughter and before Remacle’s death on 31 August 1804.33
Two years later Catherine, sixteen years and six months, was in a family way and the conseil de famille, or family counsel, gave their permission for her to marry Peter OLINGER. This was necessary as she was under age and both parents were deceased. Catherine’s uncle Nicolas COLLING, a witness to the marriage, was likely one of the family counsel. It was not mentioned in the marriage record dated 29 November 180634 that she was expecting but four months later on 2 April 1807 she gave birth to a son François.35
By 1813 Franz, the oldest of Remacle and Theresia’s children, was living in Schieren near Ettelbrück where he would marry Eva MERTZ and raise a large family.36 His brother Michel remained in Colmar-Berg until 1817 when he married Catharina HAMES of Mamer.
The Parents and Siblings of Catharina HAMES
Catharina’s parents, Johannes HAMES and Agnes HERTZ were married in Mamer on 18 January 1785.37 They were the parents of six known children. Three sons died as infants, one son died at the age of 18, leaving only two daughters who would marry and raise families. Catharina was the younger of the two. Her sister Susanne was the first to marry. She married Michel KOLBACH, son of Michel KOLBACH and Susanne KIEFFER, on 11 January 1815 in Mamer.38 Her mother-in-law Susanne KIEFFER was one of my 4th great-grandmothers. She had married Paulus FRANTZ after the death of the elder Michel KOLBACH. Susanne and Michel (the younger couple) were the parents of six, two of whom died in infancy. Their four children married and had children.
Agnes HERTZ, her daughter Catharina HAMES, her granddaughter Maria TRAUSCH, and her great-granddaughter Marie MAJERUS are my mitochondrial line down from Agnes’ mother Anna Catharina RONAS. The parents of Anna Catharina are at this time unknown to me. A couple of years ago I talked to a person who appears to have been “on to something” concerning the RONAS family but did not want to make the research public at the time.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
P.S. A special thank you to Amberly Peterson Beck, The Genealogy Girl, for letting me know I can enable Markdown in WordPress.com posts, pages, and comments for easier styling, including footnotes – see below, aren’t they beautiful? Note: Footnotes in numbered and bulleted lists did not seem to work until I tricked the editor into not using html formatting for the lists.
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.