Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER from Gronn to Strassen

Église Saint-Jean-du-Grund. The featured image was taken in December 2008 while walking in Luxembourg City’s Grund. At the time I had no idea I was looking at the church where Margretha BREGER’s parents were married in 1758.

I’m finally at a point where I can write about my 5th great-grandparents Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851). As I mentioned in The Farm Where the Majerus Family Lived in the 1700s I’ve spent a lot of time researching their descendants.

The main objective of the research was to find out how many children Jean and Margretha had and which ones produced families. By the time I had gone through ALL civil birth, marriage, and death records in Strassen as well as census records, I was able to generate a descendants report for the couple in question with nine generations, 74 pages, and over 350 source citations. The number of citations will likely reach 400 by the time I finish adding more census records, recent church records, and newspaper clippings.

After taking the time to evaluate and cite the records found, I now have a clear picture of several generations of descendants of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER.

Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852)

As we learned in How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen! my 5th great-grandfather was born in France. He was born on 2 June 1766 in Boulay-Moselle to the single mother Anne Catherine ALBERT.1 She married Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof (near Medernach in Luxembourg) on 17 August 1767 in Boulay.2 It was at this time that Jean’s birth was legitimized and he became Jean MAJERUS. He was not quite 18 years old when his widowed mother died on 2 January 1784.3 His father had already passed away but when and where this event took place is not known.

Between Jean’s birth in 1766 and his mother’s death in 1784, I found he had two younger brothers, Joannes born in 17694 and Barthélémy who lived only ten days in 1772.5 Joannes was born in Larochette, Luxembourg, while Barthélémy was born in Boulay, France. No trace of Joannes has been found after his baptism.

What brought Jean MAJERUS back to Luxembourg? Did he return to his father’s home place before or after his mother’s death? When did he settle in Luxembourg City where he was found in 1797?

Margretha BREGER (1767-1851)

Margretha BREGER was baptized on 12 January 1767 in the church of Saint Michel in Luxembourg City.6 She was the daughter of Jean Baptiste BREGER (1738-1805) and Susanne MERTENS (1728-bef. 1801). She had one older brother Michel (1760-1810). Margretha’s surname was spelled many different ways in the records found, evolving from BREYER to BREGER during her father’s lifetime and including these spellings: BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, and BREDER.

Interesting details about her father were uncovered while researching the family group. The records connecting Jean Adam BREYER to Jean Baptiste BREGER will be revealed in a later post.

When and where were Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER married?

When I wrote about Jean and Margretha’s son in 52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen I mentioned a marriage record had not been found for his parents. However, they were a legally married couple in 1797 when Jean Baptiste was born. Birth records of the children born after him also indicate they were a married couple.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Jean Baptiste, their oldest son, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn. Witnesses to the birth record were the maternal grandfather Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years, the maternal aunt by marriage.7

As the birth records of their first three children indicate, Jean and Margretha lived their early years of marriage in the Gronn. Elisabeth was the second child, born on 2 April  17998, and their third was a son, Jean born on 10 June 1801.9

In 1797 Jean was a clothier (drapier) but, with the births of the children who followed, his occupation was seen as a wool spinner (fileur de laine). He continued to practice this occupation until he was at least in his mid-sixties as seen in the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Following Jean’s birth in 1801 the family moved to Strassen where their youngest child Marie was born on 19 December 1806.10 The five-year gap between the two children has always made me wonder if the change of residence was direct – from Gronn to Strassen – or if they may have lived somewhere else – a place where another child may have been born. If the move was from Gronn to Strassen, in what year did it take place?

Same place, same surname research

The oldest three children were fairly easy to research. Their marriage records, the birth records for their children, the grandchildren of Jean and Margretha, as well as census records from 1843 to 1900 were found. They lived in Strassen, had their children in Strassen, and died in Strassen. No other families with the MAJERUS name were found living in Strassen before 1923. Their living in one place for a long period of time made the research easier even though in several generations many children did not survive infancy.

A discovery made by error and omission

The youngest child Marie caused difficulties while researching but also helped with a new discovery. Her father Jean MAJERUS, the informant on her birth record dated 19 December 1806, stated she was born the same day at one in the morning. As no marriage record or trace of Marie were found following her birth, I assumed she must have died. FamilySearch has only civil records for this time period and no death record was found.

I located her baptismal record on Matricula Online where Catholic church records for Luxembourg are now available. The priest who recorded her baptism gave her date of birth and baptism as 18 December 1806, the day before she was born per the civil birth record.11 The switch from the Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar in January 1806 in the civil records may explain this discrepancy. Generally, the Catholic church didn’t use the Republican calendar during the 13 years it was in use.

Next, I searched for a death and burial record in the church records. As these are browse-only I had to find a point of entry for a death which took place in late 1806 or later. No death record was found for Marie. However as I jumped in a bit early in 1806 I found a death record for a child named Margaretha MAJERUS, daughter of Jean MAJERUS, who died on 9 June 1806.12 I was able to translate most of the record but was stumped at the part which revealed her age at death.

I asked for help with the translation from my friend Linda who has helped me several times after reading one or the other of my posts. She came through with a transcription for the record.

Anno Dni Millesimo octingentisimo sexto die nonae mensis primi horae nonae matutinae in Strassen mortua est Margaretha, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, filia legitima Joannis MAJERUS lanifici et Margarethae BRIGER conjugum hie habitantium.

Linda translated the part I could not read, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, as meaning the child Margaretha was two years and two months old at the time of death.

I went back to the civil records to find the birth of a child in April 1804. The 1804 handwritten index for Luxembourg City had been cut off at the bottom of the page with the M’s and I had to look at every record for the year 1804. There was no MAJERUS child born in the city in 1804. Next, I checked Strassen’s index. Again no MAJERUS birth. There was a Margaretha MEYERS born 16 Germinal in the year XII which computes to 6 April 1804. MEYERS is a variation of MAJERUS. After viewing hundreds of records for this family, this was the first time I’d seen it spelled this way. Jean and Margretha were living in Strassen in April 1804 when their second daughter and fourth child was born.13

Margaretha’s death in 1806 was not found in the civil records. Could Marie’s death also have been omitted?  The first person of the surname to die in Strassen according to the civil records was a granddaughter of Jean and Margretha, Marie Catherine MAJERUS who died in 1823 at the age of three months.14

Three marriages in thirteen years

I now had five children for the MAJERUS couple who moved to Strassen between June 1801 and April 1804. I’m convinced only three of them grew to adulthood, married, and had children. Margaretha was proven to have died at two years and two months. No trace of Marie has been found after her birth.

My 4th great-grandfather Jean Baptiste MAJERUS was the first to marry on 25 April 1817 in Strassen to Catharina CORNELY.15 Of the parties involved, only the father of the groom was able to sign his name. The groom Jean Baptiste was only twenty years old and the bride Catharina was twenty-three and expecting their first child. A month later their son Jean was born.16 The first grandchild of Jean and Margretha and my 3rd great-grandfather.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1817 marriage record of his son Jean Baptiste

The next wedding took place in Dippach on 16 August 1823 when Jean MAJERUS married Josephine HESS of Sprinkange in the commune of Dippach.17 Jean’s brother Jean Baptiste was one of the four witnesses at the marriage. Neither of the brothers nor their mother was able to sign their names but Jean MAJERUS signed as the father of the groom.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1823 marriage record of his son Jean

The third marriage took place on 20 January 1830 in Strassen when Elisabeth MAJERUS, thirty years old, married Jean DAMY, twenty-eight years old.18 Jean MAJERUS, the father of the bride, signed the marriage record while the bride and her mother did not.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth

Twenty-five grandchildren born between 1817 to 1841

Jean and Margretha’s three married children gave them twenty-five grandchildren in fourteen years.

  • Jean Baptiste and his wife Catharina had eleven children from 1817 to 1840 with only one child dying at the age of two months in 1823 (Marie Catherine mentioned earlier). All of their children married with the exception of their son Nicolas (still being researched). Their sons Nicolas (b. 1835) and Michel (b. 1840) went to America in 1853 and 1865. Later three grandsons and a granddaughter would go to America and one granddaughter to England.
  • Elisabeth and her husband Jean DAMY had six sons between 1830 and 1841. Three of these died as babies. The two older sons married and lived in Strassen while their son Jean (b. 1838) went to America likely at the same time as his cousin Michel MAJERUS in 1865. In 1870 they were living next door to each other in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota.
  • Jean and his wife Josephine HESS had five sons and then three daughters. One daughter died as a baby and a son died at the age of 19 years. All of the children except for one daughter married.

Jean and Margretha lived another decade after the last of their grandchildren were born. They were found ont the census of 184319, 184620, 184721, and 184922 in their own household without any other persons. Finally, in 1847 the answer to when they moved to Strassen was found in the census. The census sheet for 1847 included a column with the number of years they had lived in the commune – forty-five years which placed their move to Strassen at during the year 1802.

Margretha died at the age of 84 years on 1 April 1851.23 Her oldest son Jean Baptiste was the informant on her death record. He had not been able to sign his name when he married in 1817. On the birth records of his first nine children born between 1817 and 1835 he had declared each time that he could not write or sign. In 1837 he had finally learned to sign his name and his signatures were found on the 1837 and 1840 birth records of his two youngest children as well as on his mother’s death record.

Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1851 death record of his mother Margretha BREGER
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1837 birth record of his son Jean Pierre MAJERUS
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1840 birth record of his son Michel MAJERUS

Jean appeared on the 1851 census with the family of his oldest son Jean Baptiste.24 His name was added to the top of the list likely after the names of his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were listed.

1851 Luxembourg Census sheet No. 48 with the MAJERUS family of Strassen

Jean lived a little over a year longer, dying on 5 July 1852. His death was reported by his grandson Jean Baptiste, 5th son of his son Jean Baptiste. Jean was 86 years old.25

I once compared my second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) to a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). Jean being the first grandchild of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER. On one side of the fence, Marie was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence I found her parents, grandparents, and now at last count 185 relatives with the MAJERUS name.

I still don’t know what Jean MAJERUS’ life was like before he met and married Margretha BREGER nor when or where the marriage took place. However, their marriage produced a large number of descendants in Luxembourg, America, England, and who knows where else….

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image: RAD057_100EDGG8_0028.jpg, image 28 of 193. 1766 Baptismal Record (bottom left and top right).(http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. 
  2. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil : BOULAY et Après 1760 et avant 1770; Description : Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0061.jpg. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG10 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1780-1792), Image: FRAD057_100EDGG10_0108.jpg, image 108 of 307. Death Record No. 1. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606016/605804:613196:606016/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  4. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Nommern > Baptêmes 1744-1787, confirmations 1750-1789, mariages 1751-1765, 1769-1787, sépultures 1752-1787 > image 45 of 170. 1769 Baptismal Record No. 324. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-L2V%3A1500981117%2C1501018978 : accessed 27 May 2019). 
  5. Archives 57, Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY; Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0173.jpg. 1772 Birth Record (left page, top) and 1772 Death Record (right page, middle). (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  6. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1200 of 1504. 1799 Birth Record, right, top (13 germinal an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LF-X1?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : 5 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1473 of 1504. 1801 Birth Record, right, bottom (21 prairial an IX). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LD-TK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 8 January 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 108 of 1464. 1806 Birth Record (lower left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QK8?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : 17 July 2014),. 
  11. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 16 of 138, left page, 4th entry. 1806 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=16 : accessed 11 June 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 53 of 138, right page, 3rd entry. 1806 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=53 : accessed 18 June 2019). 
  13. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 55 of 1464. 1804 Birth Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QZX?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : accessed 19 June 2019). 
  14. Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1796-1823 > image 148 of 149. 1823 Death Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-2966-96?cc=1709358 : accessed 5 December 2015). 
  15. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1000 of 1464. 1817 Marriage No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58675-14?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  16. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 214 of 1464. 1817 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61261-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 27 March 2010). Note: mother listed as Maria Cornely. 
  17. Ibid., Dippach > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1386 of 1485. 1823 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DT1L-5C?cc=1709358&wc=9RY9-L2S%3A129628301%2C129829701 : accessed 29 August 2017). 
  18. Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 23 of 1416. 1830 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-736?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 7 January 2018). 
  19. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 309 of 407. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32355-17392-51?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  20. Ibid., Bertrange > 1846 > image 324 of 431. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32358-11377-81?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Bertrange > 1847 > image 198 of 448. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32349-25407-72?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  22. Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 388 of 474. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32350-6437-36?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  23. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 8 of 446. 1851 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-163713-71?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  24. Luxembourg Census Records, Strassen > 1851 > image 67 of 222. “Jean Majerus, his son Jean Baptiste Majerus, his daughter-in-law Catherine Cornely, their children Jacques, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie.” Jean Majerus household No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32351-8999-55?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  25. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 21 of 446. 1852 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-161808-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015).