Fishing for Cousins: A New Cousin Adds a Twig to the KREMER Branch of the Family Tree

Monday morning I had a comment waiting to be approved on my post 52 Ancestors: #16 A Door Opens in the KREMER-WINANDY Brick Wall written nearly two years ago on 21 April 2017. The post on my husband’s 4th great-grandparents had attracted the interest of another researcher showing me once again that blogging is great cousin bait.

Elodie Kremer is passionate about genealogy and has also researched the KREMER family. In her comment, she said Nicolas KREMER (1797-1867) was her ancestor. I wrote about Nicolas, a son of the KREMER-WINANDY couple, in August 2015 in my post 52 Ancestors: #34 KREMER-FRIEDERICH Family – Using Substitutes to Tell Their Story.

In a follow-up comment, I learned Nicolas’ son Anton KREMER (1836-1918) is the common ancestor Elodie shares with my husband. Anton was her 3rd great-grandfather and my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather making them 3C1R (third cousins once removed). Elodie and my children are fourth cousins; their common ancestors are their 3rd great-grandparents Anton KREMER and Anna Maria MERKES. I wrote about this couple in May 2015 in my post 52 Ancestors: #18 The KREMER-MERKES Family of Bettendorf.

Twelve children were born into the KREMER-MERKES family between 1860 and 1878. Only five of these lived to adulthood. Elodie’s ancestor was their oldest child Nicolas born in 1860 while my husband and children descend from the youngest child who lived, also a Nicolas born in 1875. In between, there was Maria born in 1862, Mathias born in 1865, and Peter born in 1869.

When I wrote about the family in May 2015 I knew the elder Nicolas had worked in the mines and died in Rumelange, in southern Luxembourg on the French border, in 1895 at the age of 35. Per his death record, he was the widower of Margaretha NAU. The informants were Nicolas’ bother Mathias KREMER (1865-1945) and their uncle Mathias MERKES (their mother’s youngest brother).1

The only lead I had on Nicolas’ wife was the name found on his death record. I found no marriage in Luxembourg (using Luxracines‘ marriage database) and no children for Nicolas KREMER and Margaretha NAU born in Rumelange where the father worked and died. Records for Luxembourg are not indexed making it difficult to find births of children when families didn’t stay in one place and when the families have not been researched by others. As far as I could tell the elder Nicolas’ line ended with his death.

Elodie’s reaching out to me has solved the mystery of Nicolas KREMER (1860-1895) and has added a twig to the KREMER branch in our family tree.

Nicolas had a son Mathias born on 4 September 1890 to his wife Catharina NAU in Dudelange.2 The name given on Nicolas’ death record for his deceased wife was a mistake. I had searched for a death record for her with the wrong name. Nicolas’ wife Catharina NAU died 7 February 1892 at the age of 21.3 Her son Mathias was only seventeen months old.

1890 Baptismal Record of Mathias Kremer (here seen as Krämer). Image courtesy of Matricula Online.

Mathias was baptized on 7 September 1890. His godparents were his paternal uncle Mathias KREMER and a maternal aunt Anna NAU.4 His baptismal record is annotated with the date and place of his marriage as well as the name of his bride. Mathias married Catharina EICH on 11 December 1919 in Audun-le-Tiche, Moselle, Lorraine, France. The civil records for the département de la Moselle are not yet online for this period. The tables décennales (ten-year lists for BMD) are online and I found the date on the list to be 1 December 1919.5 (Something to look into…)

Mathias and Catharina were already parents of a son when they married. Their son Nicolas who was born on 19 November 1919 in Audun-le-Tiche and died in 1992 in Loudun, Vienne, Poitou-Charentes, France. Several GEDCOM files were found on Geneanet that include private living persons listed as siblings of this Nicolas. He had at least seven siblings, six of whom are married with children.6 Nicolas was Elodie’s grandfather.

Thanks to Elodie’s getting in touch through my Facebook page and by commenting on my post, another child of Anton KREMER and Anna Maria MERKES is known to have descendants.

At this time, only the fate of Peter born in 1869 is still unknown. Peter had been working in Esch-sur-Alzette for 18 months per his father’s 1890 census record.7 On the 1895 census record, he was found to be working in France – the actual place is not mentioned on the father’s census record.8 Normally only single children working away from home were listed in the parents’ census records in Luxembourg.

Elodie’s ancestor Nicolas (1860) was also listed as working away from home on his father’s 1890 and 1895 census. As I now know, he was not single at the time of either of the enumerations. When the 1890 census was taken on 1 December 1890 Nicolas was not only on his father’s census record but also enumerated in the Italian neighborhood of Dudelange in his own household with his wife and child. Also in Nicolas’ household was his mother-in-law Margaretha TIMMER who was not at home at the time and in Rumelange for the day on a visit.9

1890 Luxembourg Census for the KREMER-NAU family in Dudelange, Luxembourg.

If Nicolas was on his father’s census record when he should not have been, what does this mean for his brother Peter? Was he single in 1890 and/or in 1895? Could Anton have given information on his sons even though they were married and no longer his responsibility?

Serendipity

Hearing from Elodie not only pushed me to do new research on the KREMER family but also led me to another cousin. While checking FamilySearch for the records of Nicolas’ wife and son the site froze up on me. As I clicked around trying to solve the problem, I noticed a little red dot on the messages icon in the upper right corner. A researcher from Brazil had left a message for me on March 22 and I was only now seeing it two weeks later. Another one of my husband’s distant cousins from a line that had not been researched due to an unknown emigration in the 1820s.

Have you been reaching out to distant cousins or have distant cousins been getting in touch with you lately?

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Rumelange > Décès 1891-1923 > image 83 of 923. 1895 Death Record No. 80. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32036-3166-12?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-L23:130319501,130319502 : accessed 29 April 2015). 
  2. Ibid., Dudelange > Naissances 1888-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1840 > image 166 of 1477. 1890 Birth Record No. 151. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWY9-9ML?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-K68%3A129625901%2C130271901 : accessed 6 April 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Rumelange > Décès 1891-1923 > image 7 of 923. 1892 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-997J-T991?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-L23%3A130319501%2C130319502 : accessed 7 April 2020). 
  4. 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 172-285, Dudelange, KB-09, Taufen – 1883 – 1890, page 167, image 85 of 89, right page, 1st entry. 1890 Baptismal Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/duedelingen/KB-09/?pg=85 : accessed 9 April 2020). 
  5. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Document 9NUM/8E38/2, Tables décennales (1873-1952 ) Image 220: FRAD057_8E38_2_0220.jpg. Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. Tables décennales (env 1792 – 1952) : Audun-le-Tiche (Deutschoth) 1 Dec 1919 Document Nr. 43. (http://www.archives57.com/index.php/recherches/archives-en-ligne/tables-decennales-des-departements-de-la-sarre-et-du-palatinat : accessed 7 April 2020). 
  6. Geneanet, several GEDCOM files: https://gw.geneanet.org/sergewendling?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias; https://gw.geneanet.org/john86?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias; https://gw.geneanet.org/fabricekremer?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias 
  7. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bettendorf > 1890 > images 563-565 of 778. Kremer-Merkes household No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32393-3622-67?cc=2037957&wc=M5GC-YWB:346114101,345876401 : accessed 11 February 2015). 
  8. Ibid., Bettendorf > 1895 > images 303-305 of 810. Kremer-Merkes household No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32467-11113-98?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-FM4:346114101,345878001 : accessed 11 February 2015). 
  9. Ibid., Dudelange > 1890 > images 510-512 of 1971. 1890 Nicolas Kremer household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8971-P7GX?cc=2037957&wc=M5G4-3YS%3A345975601%2C345876401 : accessed 7 April 2020). 

Gathering Records to Tell the Story – An Update

Less than two hours after I posted Gathering Records to Tell the Story in late February my fourth cousin Ralph L. Hayes sent emails with images of the Chancery records for the 1864 divorce of John William CLONCH and Sarah Jane FOSTER – records which are not online.

Cousin Bait!

I was surprised and happy to finally see the records he had discovered years ago when he searched through old dusty unindexed boxes at the courthouse in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

In Gathering Records to Tell the Story, I shared the entry in the court records concerning the divorce of my 2nd great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH from his first wife Mary Ellen LEMASTER. I’d only recently found this record and could not wait to share with my cousins who descend from the CLONCH line.

By sharing what I’d found I may have been subconsciously baiting cousins. Don’t we do this all the time? Sharing bits and pieces in hopes of a relative coming forward with new information. I wasn’t expecting Ralph to message me via Facebook so soon after I’d published the post. We hadn’t done email in 15 years but have been keeping up with each other via Facebook for 10 years.

It’s a complicated story

John W. CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio. Many residents of Mason County crossed the Ohio River and state line to marry in Gallia. If Sarah Jane carried her first child to full term, she may have been with child when they married. Their son William Alexander was born on 2 October 1862. A year and a half later, about April 1864, a daughter was born to John and Sarah. By this time the marriage was already in trouble and divorce was the next step for Sarah.

I found a couple of entries in the Chancery orders and in a fee book concerning the divorce in 1864 when I located my ancestor Alex’s 1880 divorce records. My mentioning the 1864 documents in Ralph’s possession were not yet online pushed him to get in touch and email them to me.

In the meantime…

I’ve been a bit slow working on the documents as other things have kept me busy during the past few weeks.

I watched several of the 2019 RootsTech live sessions and got caught up in the DNA whirlwind caused by Ancestry and MyHeritage’s new tools. I’ve used up all 24 of the colors offered for grouping matches in the New & Improved DNA Matches (Beta). I’ve played with MyTreeTags on the small tree linked to the test I manage on Ancestry and found they are an excellent new tool for tree management. ThruLines™ is still aggravating me. They have a known problem with step-parents being considered as the ancestor. MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity did not take long to look at as only 29 matches were offered. Several were spot-on. Several were not. Their AutoClustering was a bit disappointing as I was already spoiled by Jonathan Brecher and his Shared Clustering tool.

Ralph said, “Go for it!” In the days to come, I’ll share the transcriptions of the records he sent from the chancery case Sarah Jane Clonch vs John W. Clonch.

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