Mom’s 80th Birthday Party

A little over two weeks ago the Dempsey family got together at our house to celebrate Mom’s 80th birthday. Normally I don’t blog about living persons but this is a milestone in Mom’s and our lives which deserves to be written about while she is still with us.

We had two family photographers and several others with their cell phones taking pictures but the only way to get a great family group photo is to have someone else do the job. Many thanks to Anne-Ly Mertens-Prott for the wonderful photos and for working over the Luxembourgish translation with her husband Nic for the local online newspaper at

Photo courtesy of Anne-Ly Mertens
Photo courtesy of Anne-Ly Mertens-Prott

80ten Gebuertsdaag vum Josette Sassel-Wildinger

Freides, de 29. Mee 1936 kruten d’Marie Marcelle Fournelle an den Nicolas Wildinger vun Iechternach Nowuess. D’Josette, hirt eenzegt Kand, huet deen Daag zu Iechternach d’Liicht vun der Welt erbléckst. Seng Mamm huet dacks vum spéide Schnéi, deen et um Päischtweekend no senger Gebuert gouf, geschwat. E puer Woche virun sengem véierte Gebuertsdaag huet d’Josette materlieft wéi déi Däitsch Lëtzebuerg besat hunn. D’Joer duerno ass säi Papp un der Tuberkulos gestuerwen. Den 10. Oktober 1944, war hatt eent vu villen déi aus Iechternach evakuéiert goufen. Zu Fouss ass hatt mat senger Mamm an dem 73 Joer ale Grousspapp iwwer Uesweller, Bech, Hielem an d’Luerenzweiler Géigend gaangen, wou si bis an de Mee 1945, bei Frënn ënnerkomm sinn.

Den 2. Mäerz 1957 huet d’Josette en amerikanesche G.I., de Fred Roosevelt Dempsey vu Victor, West Virginia, deen zu Bitburg stationéiert war, bestuet. Si goufen Eltere vu fënnef Kanner, déi si am Laaf vun de Joren am Georgia, Frankräich, Idaho, West Virginia, Spuenien, South Carolina an Texas, opgezunn hunn. 1974 ass säi Mann Freddy gestuerwen, an d’Joer drop koum d’Josette mat de Kanner Cathy, Debby, Marc, Mike an André zréck op Iechternach. Nodeems hatt d’Kanner während méi wéi enger Dose Joer eleng grouss gezunn hat, huet hatt sech den 28. August 1987 mam Francis Sassel bestuet.

Fir dem Josette säin 80. Gebuertsdaag, si seng Kanner fir déi éischte Kéier zanter 1979 nees all zu Iechternach zesummekomm. Et gouf gefeiert mat sengem Mann, de Kanner, den Eedemen a Schnaueren, a véier vun de néng Enkelkanner: Sheila, Brian, Jenny, Duane. Gefehlt hunn fënnef Enkelkanner: Cindy, Erin, Mike, André an Ian, souwéi zwee Urenkel Savannah an Taylor, déi mat engem schéine Video der Bomi gewënscht hunn.

MomBDay180th Birthday for Josette Sassel-Wildinger

On Friday 29 May 1936 Catherine Josette Wildinger was born in Echternach to Marie Marcelle Fournelle and Nicolas Wildinger. She would remain their only child. Her mother often told of the late snow which fell on Pentecost weekend following her birth. A few weeks before her fourth birthday Josette saw the Germans occupy Luxembourg. The following year her father died of tuberculosis. On 10 October 1944 she was one of many who were evacuated from Echternach, going on foot to Osweiler, Bech, Helmdange, and the Lorentzweiler area with her mother and 73 years old Grandpapa, only returning in May 1945.

On 2 March 1957 Josette married an America G.I., Fred Roosevelt Dempsey from Victor, West Virginia, while he was stationed in Bitburg, Germany. They became the parents of five children and raising them in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, and Texas. In 1975 Josette returned to Echternach with her children Cathy, Debby, Marc, Mike, and André following the death of her husband Freddy the previous year. After raising her children on her own for more than a dozen years she married François Sassel on 28 August 1987.

For Josette’s 80th birthday her children came together for the first time since 1979. She celebrated with her husband, her children and their spouses, and four of her nine grandchildren: Sheila, Brian, Jenny, and Duane. Missing were five grandchildren Cindy, Erin, Mike, André, and Ian, and her two great-grandchildren Savannah and Taylor, who sent a wonderful video with birthday wishes for their grandmother/great-grandmother.

The Day in Retrospect

Following a huge round of applause and a presentation of a large bouquet, a gift from two of her grandchildren, Mom and the rest of us enjoyed watching the video sent by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who could not be here. It was very moving and there was not a dry eye in the room afterwards.

We were able to sit out on the back porch and in the back yard where a tent had been set up to enjoy our plates filled from the cold buffet. After everyone had had their fill and before the cake was brought out, Anne-Ly came by to take the group photos. Mom did not know what was going on when she and her five children were being set up on the steps of the back porch.

Photo on right courtesy of Anne-Ly Mertens-Prott

We reproduced a photo of Mom with the kids taken Easter Sunday in 1969 when Dad was on duty in Thailand. The photo was also used on her cake, a gift from the other two grandchildren who were present.


MomBDay2Mom getting ready to cut the cake with her grown up children.

MomBDayCollagetinyEveryone had a great time, memories were shared and new ones were made. Hopefully it will not be 37 years before we can all get together again.


© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.
















My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2016

This is my third year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day. I’d like to thank Barbara Schmidt who got me started with her post My Ancestor Score – February 4, 2014.

We would not be here without all the Valentine couples who came before us. Most were married, some cut it close, and at least two Doss ladies gave us non-paternity events.

Valentine2My Ancestor Score

Nine new ancestors were added since last year – thanks to the church records in Luxembourg. This is not much compared to the 26 from 2015 but as you can see (in the second spreadsheet) I have also been working on my children’s bloodline.

ancestorscore2016Generation 6 is still hanging in there at 30 of 32 ancestors. I continue to search for the key to the door of my frustrating DEMPSEY brick wall. Who were the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY 1820-1867 of Fayette County, West Virginia?

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s Ancestor Score is looking a lot better than mine due to their paternal ancestry being mostly Luxembourgish. Generations 12 to 22 of their paternal ancestry remains to be researched – the numbers seen reflect the ancestors they share with me on my side of the family tree.ancestorscore2016kidsHave you done your Ancestor Score recently? Post your link in a comment and I’ll have a look.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Sitting like a Statue on Your Sources

This morning “Your Memories on Facebook” reminded me of a FB post I wrote the day before my first blogpost was published here. I’ve had a Facebook page for Opening Doors in Brick Walls since December 2, 2012, over a year before I began blogging. When this memory popped up I realized I haven’t moved all of the things I’ve written over to my blog. This was written January 22, 2014.

statueDon’t just sit there like a statue with your sources lying about.

As many of you know, I accepted the challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small. I’m now working on 52 Ancestors: #4 William Henderson DEMPSEY 1860-1941.

Using the timeline feature of my genealogy program while I write, I find myself asking questions that I never thought of before. I’m taking a second (actually 3rd, 4th, 5th) look at documents and seeing new things. Who was in the household at this or that time? Where is this place? Is he moving around or are the names of the places changing? Why is this information on his death record wrong? Is it wrong? This is turning out to be a really good exercise.

Have you come up against a brick wall? I can recommend writing down everything you know about the person. You can do this for yourself or to share with a relative who might see things from a different angle.

A little warning: you may find yourself taking more time than you planned to do this.
You may also find yourself opening doors in your brick walls!

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Laura’s Relish Dish (2)

Earlier in December I shared my great-grandmother Laura Belle DEMPSEY née INGRAM’s glass relish dish shaped like a leaf and a bunch of grapes.

grapedish2Several readers said they would like to see a photo of it with my homemade Santa Fe Cranberry Sauce.

cranberry1tinySince we are taking it easy after all the feasting I thought this would be a great filler, pun intended, until next week.

cranberry2tinyWishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

52 Ancestors: #50 My Naughty Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY

Week 50 (December 10-16) – Naughty. We all have an ancestor who probably received coal in their stocking.

I’ve made a list, checked it twice, and found who’s been naughty and nice.

If you’ve been following along these past two years you’ll know who’s locked the door to my most frustrating brick wall. Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY, my 3rd great-grandparents!

Genealogy Sketch

Parents: Unknown
Spouse: Mrs. DEMPSEY
Children: Willliam A. W. DEMPSEY (1820-1867)
Whereabouts: Unknown (some say outer space)
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd great-grandparents

1. Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY
2. William A. W. DEMPSEY
3. William Henderson DEMPSEY
4. Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY
5. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

What do I know about Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY? They were the parents of my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY born about 1820 in Virginia per the Fayette County, (West) Virginia census. He was seen as 28 years old in 1850 and 40 years old in 1860. He was also on the 1841 tax list of Rockbridge County which means he had to have been at least 21 yrs old at the time.

The door in this brick all is firmly shut and no one left the key under the mat!

The most likely documents in which I might find the names of the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY would be his birth, marriage and/or death record.

Death Record

Unfortunately, no death record has been found. This means no death record with names of parents or any kind of information to corroborate the family tradition of William’s dying in a logging accident in the late 1860s. This would have been after October 1866 when he was listed as having an account due, owing Joel B. Wills $8.50. By 1870 his children and wife were living (farmed out) in several different households.

Marriage Record

To date, no marriage record has been found for William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD. Their first known child was born about 1846 placing their marriage in the early to mid-1840s. Sarah was from Fayette County and most of her siblings married in Fayette, one in Greenbrier and one in Kanawha.

Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940 at FamilySearch was consulted and the site has been checked repeatedly as they continue to add records.

I put a query to the Fayette County West Virginia Genealogy group on Facebook requesting information on the likelihood of loose marriage papers being in the West Virginia State Archives and/or at the county level.

I also asked the group about the possibility of there being a marriage ledger for Hopewell Baptist Church. This church being a likely place for the couple to marry as Sarah’s great-grandfather Baily WOOD was a founding member. The church burned down in the 1960s and all records in the church were destroyed. There were some records kept at members’ homes and several people offered to ask around.

I’m sure my father’s first cousin Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) searched high and low in the 1970s and 1980s for more information on William’s parents and possible siblings. In 1995 she wrote “We still do not know his parents or family members” in a short summary of her research.

Birth Record

For the time period William was born, ca. 1820-1822 there were no birth records as we know today. A Bible would be a likely alternative but none is known to exist. It is very unlikely one survived, if there was any, as the family did not live together after his death.

Keeping with the Naughty theme, could it be Mrs. DEMPSEY was not a Missus? Should I be looking for a woman with the surname/maiden name DEMPSEY who had a son out of wedlock? This possibility has not been taken into consideration.

Pre-1850 Census Analysis

The lack of birth, marriage and death records with the names of his parents means I need to use a different tactic to find the parents. Regrettably William A. W. DEMPSEY was born and spent his childhood during the pre-1850 census era and cannot be found in a census which included the names of all household members.

I’ve followed the golden rule of genealogy and worked backward from myself to my great-great-grandfather. I’ve also traced his descendants forward to living relatives who may have the key I need to open the door in his brick wall.

After doing traditional and reverse genealogy I analyzed the pre-1850 Virginia census of DEMPSEY families in which William A. W. DEMPSEY may have been born.

1840 Census

There were no DEMPSEYs in Rockbridge in 1840. These are the DEMPSEY households found in what was then Virginia and includes counties which later became part of West Virginia:

  • John DEMPSEY in Fayette
  • Daniel DEMPSEY and sons Thomas, Lewis, and James in Orange
  • Daniel DEMPSEY in Spotsylvania County (son of Daniel of Orange)
  • Seaton and Wilson DEMPSEY in Amherst
  • Absalom DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • William, John, Joseph, James, and Andrew DEMPSEY in Logan (sons of John Sr.)
  • Willis of DEMPSEY in Nansemond (free colored person)
  • Polley DEMCEY or DEMGEY of King William (free colored person)

1830 Census

  • Tandy DEMPSEY of Logan (father of John of Fayette)
  • Daniel DEMPSEY of Orange
  • Martha DEMPSEY of Amherst (mother of Seaton and Wilson)
  • Absalom DEMPSEY of Botetourt
  • Hugh DEMPSEY of Montgomery
  • John DEMPSEY Sr. and sons William, Thomas (dec’d, his widow Dicy), John Jr., and Joseph in Logan (formed from Cabell, Giles, and Kanawha in 1824)

1820 Census

  • Tandy DEMPSEY in Rockbridge
  • Daniel DEMPSEY in Orange
  • Will DEMPSEY in Amherst (husband of Martha)
  • John DEMPSEY and sons William, Thomas, and Joseph in Cabell
  • Absalom and Hugh DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • James DEMPSEY in Caroline

1810 Census

Although 1810 is too early for William A. W. DEMPSEY it is interesting to see if the individuals found in 1820 were also in the same area in 1810. The 1810 census was lost for Orange County and tax lists have been used to reconstruct it.

  • Tandy DEMPSEY in Rockbridge
  • William DEMPSEY in Amherst
  • Mildred DEMPSEY in Botetourt (sister-in-law of John of Giles)
  • John DEMPSEY in Giles
  • James DEMPSEY in Caroline

1810 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • Daniel DEMPSEY in Orange
  • Lewis DEMPSEY in Orange (son of Daniel)

1800 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • 1800 James DEMPSEY in Orange
  • 1799 James DEMPSEY in Caroline
  • 1799 Nathan DEMPSEY in Franklin

1790 Census reconstructed from tax lists

  • 1791 James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier
  • 1789 William DEMPSEY in Botetourt
  • 1789 Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah
Location of misc. DEMPSEY individuals in Virginia and West Virginia in the early 1800s.

Even before doing more serious research on the DEMPSEY lines found in Virginia I gave them names to identify and differentiate between them.

The Rockbridge DEMPSEYs

Tandy did not have a young male in his household in 1820 or 1830. He was the father of John W., William S., Andrew S., Jane, Elizabeth, Mary B., and Margaret. These children are proven as they were mention as the children of Nancy Thompson, wife of Tandy, in chancery and land records in Nelson County.

Tandy married Nancy Thompson in Amherst County on 19 January 1801. He lived in Rockbridge in 1810 and 1820 and moved to Logan County by 1827 where he was on the 1827 tax list and 1830 census. His son William S. was in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia in 1830 and 1840. His son Andrew S. was in Logan in 1830 and in Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1840. William S. and Andrew S. both named sons William but have not been included in the census analysis as their sons were seen with them on the 1850 census.

The known children of John W. do not include a son named William. John W. does not appear to be with his father Tandy in 1820. He married(1) in 1824 in Rockbridge, was not found in the 1830 census, and lived in Fayette County in 1840 through 1870. There are no known children for John W. and his first wife for the time period from their marriage in 1824 and until the birth of son John A. born abt. 1830 in Rockbridge. The 1840 census listing includes 1 male 10 & under 15 yo – this person is unaccounted for.

Was William A. W. DEMPSEY the unaccounted male in John W.’s 1840 census listing and was he:

♦ actually younger than seen on the 1850 and 1860 census?
♦ the son of John W. and his first wife born before or soon after the 1824 marriage?
♦ the son of John W. and a relationship prior to his 1824 marriage?
♦ the son of John W.’s first wife from a previous relationship?

The Amherst DEMPSEYs

This group has also been well researched as William DEMPSEY of Amherst was my 4th great-grandfather. His children are proven to be Wilson M., Seaton Y., Isham Coleman, Wesley G., Louisa J. and Eliza through land and court records produced after his death. In 1830, his wife Martha was listed in Amherst County with their two young daughters. There were no young males in the household.

William at some time went to Ohio and did not return as newspapers in the state of Ohio were requested to publish information on his wife’s death in 1834. On 20 June 1836, a year after the last notice was published, William and Martha’s son Wilson signed an administrator bond for the deceased William.

After the 1850 census, Wilson and Seaton moved to Fayette County. Their brother Wesley, who was not found in 1830 and 1840 censuses, was in Botetourt in 1850 and lived in Rockbridge from 1860 until his death in 1890. The children of William of Amherst were too young to be parent candidates for William A. W. DEMPSEY.

I believe Tandy DEMPSEY and William DEMPSEY may have been brothers. Tandy married in Amherst less than a year and a half after William. There was also a Jane DEMPSEY who married Allen CAMERON in 1795 in Amherst. Allen CAMERON went bond with William DEMPSEY when William married which may suggest a close relationship. The CAMERON couple raised their family in Rockbridge. William’s mother Susannah DEMPSEY gave her consent for his marriage. No such record was found for Tandy and Jane.

The Orange DEMPSEYs

Daniel and his wife were past the childbearing years in 1820. His oldest son Thomas Allen was already married and had a son John L. The census numbers in 1820 for Daniel’s household show eight known children as well as his oldest son’s wife, their son, and possibly a daughter. Daniel was seen in Orange County as early as 1810 (tax list) but may have come from Caroline County where his first son was born about 1778 per death record. Could there be a connection between James DEMPSEY of Caroline and Daniel DEMPSEY of Orange?

Daniel’s second son Lewis had a son named William A. born about 1825. This William A. DEMPSEY’s Civil War service was used to obtain a marker for my William A. W. DEMPSEY’s grave. The daughters of Geraldine, who did the paperwork for the marker, are aware of and have thought of rectifying the error.

The Botetourt DEMPSEYs

The next two groups have not been as thoroughly researched as the previous three. There are errors in online databases –  a meshing of two generations and many Dempsey individuals found in Virginia in the early 1800s. I recently found chancery records on the Library of Virginia site which may help correct the errors in this line.

William DEMPSEY Senr. died intestate before 12 February 1798 and his wife Jane died before 1826 (year of chancery case). He left heirs William Jr., John, Mark, and Mary, wife of Joseph Miller. John and Mark were not in the Commonwealth and Mary and Joseph Miller resided in Blackwater in Franklin County in 1826.

William Senr.’s line splits into what I refer to as the Botetourt DEMPSEYs and Logan DEMPSEYs.

William Jr. died before 1806 and left widow Mildred “Milly” who resided in Fincastle; children: Elizabeth Dempsey resided in Fincastle, John and Samuel Dempsey outside of Commonwealth, Joel Dempsey and William Dempsey 3rd both decd/no issue, Absalom Dempsey in Fincastle, Dubartis Dempsey in NC, Judith the wife of Thomas Wilmore residing Giles court house, Susan wife of John Snyder residing in Christianburg, and Milly wife of David Campbell in NC.

For William Jr.’s line there was only one son mentioned in the chancery records who remained in Virginia. Absalom Dempsey was a Baptist preacher; he and his wife did not have any children of their own.

Hugh DEMPSEY seen in Botetourt in 1820 may have been a son of William Jr. and omitted in the chancery records. He was in Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1830 and went to Cooper County, Missouri, abt. 1838 and was seen there in the 1840 and 1850 census. He had a son named William R. b. abt. 1810 and, therefore, was not the father of William A. W. DEMPSEY.

The Logan DEMPSEYs

John was in Giles County in 1810, Cabell County in 1820, and Logan County in 1830 – all due to the changing country lines during the time period. The Logan DEMPSEYs are a complete puzzle to me even though John’s second youngest son Mark left a genealogical note written in 1889 which gives the names and approximate years of birth of eleven children of John DEMPSEY and Rachel SOLOMON. I am not sure how reliable the transcription of the note is as he wrote his mother died about 1849. I found Rachel DEMPSEY age 85 in the household of James DEMPSEY, possibly a 12th child of John and Rachel, in 1850.

I’ve added pre-1850 census records for the Logan DEMPSEYs in my database but have not done extensive census analysis.

Birth, marriage and death records need to be checked at Note: Many Logan County records were destroyed during the Civil War, and records were not kept for several years following the war.

James DEMPSEY of Greenbrier

James DEMPSEY in Greenbrier (1791) was in the county as early as 1782. James Dymsey was seen as a resident of Greenbrier County in 1782 in Mr. Jas. Henderson’s District with 1 tithable, 3 horses and 4 cattle. In Oren F. Morten’s A History of Monroe County, West Virginia James Dempsey and wife Rosey/Rosanna are mentioned as having 375 acres of patented land on Second Creek in Greenbrier County, 180 acres patented by Dempsey and Ralph Gates in 1783 and 195 acres patented by Dempsey in 1787. Ralph Gates bought the 375 acres from James Dempsey and his wife Rosey Dempsey on 28 July 1795. A year later, on 6 January 1796 James and Rosanna Dempsey sold 100 acres to Mathew Lynn on Second Creek / Greenbrier River adj. Thomas Lewis and Ralph Gates, who was a witness. In 1808 David Henderson bought land from John and Agatha Stuart that adjoined land of James Dempsey. The 1810 census for Greenbrier is lost and James DEMPSEY was not found on the 1810 tax lists.

He would have been 21 or older at the time he was first seen on the 1782 tax list. This would put his age in 1820 to over 59 years. It is unknown if they had children. No trace of him was found in Virginia after he and his wife sold land in 1796. UPDATE: The Personal Tax List of Kanawha County was browsed on FamilySearch in January 2018. A James DEMPSEY was seen on the list for the years 1797, 1798, and 1800 suggesting he may have moved from Greenbrier to Kanawha after he sold land in 1796.

Speculation: Could he be the same person as James DEMPSEY convicted in 1772 in London and transported to Virginia in January 1773 on the ship Justitia?


These have not been traced:

♦ Nathan DEMPSEY in Franklin (1799)
♦ Michael DEMPSEY in Shenandoah (1789) – Michael Dimsey md. Eliz. Barnhart in Shenandoah County on 17 Dec 1788. Another marriage seen in the county was Jane Dempsey to Jacob Savage on 1 Dec 1808. Was she a daughter of Michael?

What do you think of my analysis of the census of the DEMPSEY families found in Virginia at the time of my great-great-grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEYs birth and childhood? Have I missed something that caught your eye? What else would you try?

Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY don’t be naughty, please be nice and send some comments my way on how I can find out your names and what happened to you.

© 2015-2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Laura’s Relish Dish

After I graduated from high school in 1976 I went to live with my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP, widow of Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY, while attending West Virginia Tech. Grandma gave me several items including a cardinal feeding her young ones and this glass relish dish shaped like a leaf and a bunch of grapes.

grapedish2It belonged to Grandma’s mother-in-law Laura Belle INGRAM, my great-grandmother and wife of William Henderson DEMPSEY. It’s special to me because of who gave it to me and who it originally belonged to.

I use it for my homemade Santa Fe Cranberry Sauce I serve at Christmas with Yeast Rolls from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book ©1976 and the Traditional Stuffed Turkey with Gravy, Chicago Mashed Potatoes with Onion & Bacon, and Louisiana Maquechoux or Sautéed Yankee Brussels Sprouts. Recipes are from “An All-American Thanksgiving Sampler” found in the November 1996 issue of the Good Housekeeping magazine.grapedish1After I took these photos of the dish I searched the internet for grape bunch shaped glass dish. I was surprised to find photos of exactly the same dish. On Ebay sellers describe it as a relish, nut, fruit, or candy dish. There is no mark on the dish which would identify the glass-maker and some sellers attribute the dish to Anchor Hocking. It may have been sold as a set of five with four small and one larger dish.grapedish3Since it belonged to my great-grandmother Laura she must have bought or received it before her death in 1940. Is this Depression glass – machine-pressed glassware, mass-produced in the US from the late 1920s to the 1940s and often used as giveaways to persuade customers to purchase goods?

It may have been a giveaway at the time but to me it is priceless.

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Cardinal Feeding Little Ones

After I graduated from high school in 1976 I went to live with my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP, widow of Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY, while attending West Virginia Tech. My cousins called her Grandma Dempsey but, to me, she was just plain Grandma as my other grandmother was Bomi.

1959 025 2In her living room Grandma had an alcove with shelves on the right side of the closed off fireplace where she kept her knick-knacks, souvenirs, pictures, and books. I believe the recessed bookshelves hid the door to the adjacent bedroom but that is a story for a later post. The shelves can be seen in this photo of my parents and me when we were visiting my grandparents in 1959.

Getting back to the time I lived with my Grandma, when I left to go home she took this figurine of a cardinal feeding two little ones off a shelf in her alcove and gave it to me as a gift to remember her and West Virginia by.

007 HeirloomThe Northern Cardinal is the state bird of West Virginia. This is not a valuable piece. On the underside of the figurine is a little gold-colored sticker which reads “Original Artmark” and “Made in Taiwan.”

Grandma may have bought it at a local souvenir shop or received it as a gift. She did not say it had belonged to anyone else before it came into her possession. I would have remembered this as she also gave me two heirlooms which had belonged to her mother-in-law, my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM, which I will share in future posts.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: My Dad’s Photography

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Doesn’t everyone have family heirlooms? Furniture, jewelry, clothes, painting, letters or postcards, books, recipes, collections (tools, cameras, cooking utensils) or other keepsakes? Do you have an inventory of your heirlooms? I don’t and I plan on fixing that. I want to photograph my keepsakes to share them on a weekly basis with short descriptions and why they are important to me.

What better day to start a new series of posts than on my Dad’s birthday and featuring one of the heirlooms he left for all of his family to treasure! My being a Tuesday’s child was a second thought….

My Dad, Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY, would have turned 80 years old today. Sadly he left us at the young age of only 38 years, over 41 years ago.

Dad enjoyed trying out new crafts and left several “masterpieces” with the greatest being his photography. From 1957 until his death in 1974 he took pictures of the family at Christmas, birthdays, special occasions, daily life, on trips. While looking at them for this post I realized he was telling the story of our family in pictures.

He was a mechanic and crew chief fascinated with planes and loved to photograph airshows, planes on the flightline, and his colleagues at work.

He also experimented with taking nature photos. He didn’t live long enough to know one day there would be digital photography. He had to be set up his camera for the perfect, or not so perfect, picture. The subjects of the photos were chosen carefully as the film for slides was not cheap for a GI with five children and a wife.

These are some of my favorite non-family pictures he took in 1963-1967.

1963-11-06 Beaufort

1964-05-19 Aulnois

1964-05-20 Aulnois

1964-06-125 Aulnois

1964-08-03 Aulnois

1965-09-021 Aulnois

1967-10-010 Airplanes02

1965-11-022 AirplanesHappy Birthday Dad. We love and miss you. Thank you for the memories.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Happy Mother’s Day – My Mitochondrial DNA Line

Yes, where I live this Sunday is Mother’s Day. Luxembourg is the only country to celebrate Mother’s Day on the 2nd Sunday in June. What better day to honor my direct matrilineal line since it goes back 10 generations in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Anna Catharina RONAS alias BOUR
Parents: Unknown
Spouse: Dominique MAMER and Nicolai HERTZ(*) (also seen as HEITZ, HEURTZ)
Children: (*)twins: Agnes and Maria Catharina HERTZ
Whereabouts: Septfontaines, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 6th great-grandmother

1. Anna Catharina RONAS ca.1710-aft. 1785
2. Agnes HERTZ 1755-1836
3. Catharina HAMES 1789-1864
4. Maria TRAUSCH 1820-1875
5. Maria MAJERUS 1850-1931
6. Catharina FRANTZ 1872-1934
7. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE 1909-2005
9. Catherine Ann DEMPSEY
10. Living MEDER

As you can see in the Genealogy Sketch box my given name is nearly the same as my 6th great-grandmother’s, only reversed. Catherine (and other spellings) is a name I share with at least 27 ancestors. Fearless Females: 27 Female Ancestors Share My First Name!

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mother’s in Luxembourg!

Generation 1:

My 6th great-grandmother Anna Catharina RONAS (Ronnas, Rones) is my oldest known direct matrilineal ancestor. She was born around 1710 to unknown parents. She gave birth to ten children between 1741-1755, all in Septfontaines or Siebenbüren. This village name translates to Seven Fountains or Seven Wells. Since all modern Europeans are classified into seven mitochondrial haplogroups it seems fitting that my mitochondrial line goes back to a place with SEVEN in the name.

My 6th great-grandmother Anna Catharina RONAS’ marriage record shows her with her deceased husband’s house name, BOUR. Her parents are not listed.[1]
When Anna Catharina married my 6th great-grandfather Nicolaus HEITZ in 1755 she was the widow of Dominique MAMER alias BOUR alias FRIDGES and mother of 8 children. With her second husband she had twin daughters, my 5th great-grandmother Agnes and her sister.

1755 baptismal records of Maria Catharina and Agnes. Even the person who record the baptisms was confused about which surname or house name was used for the daughters of Nicolai Bour alias Heitz and Anna Catharina Bour alias Ronas.[2]
She was living in Koerich in January 1785 when her daughter Agnes HERTZ married in Mamer.

Generation 2:

My 5th great-grandmother Agnes HERTZ’s marriage record show’s her mother’s name: Catharina RONAS

1785 Marriage Record of Agnes Hertz and Joannes Hames [3]

Generation 3:

My 4th great-grandmother Catharina HAMES’ marriage record show’s her mother’s name: Agnes HERTZ

1817 Marriage Reocrd of Michel Trausch and Catharina Hames [4]

Generation 4:

My 3rd great-grandmother Maria TRAUSCH’s marriage record shows her mother’s name: Catharina HAMES

1749 Marriage Record of Johann Majerus and Maria Trausch [5]

Generation 5:

My 2nd great-grandmother Maria MAJERUS’ marriage record shows her mother’s name: Maria TRAUSCH

1870 Marriage Record of Johann Frantz and Maria Majerus [6]

Generation 6:

My great-grandmother Catherine FRANTZ’s marriage record shows her mother’s name: Maria MAJERUS

1900 Marriage Record of Johann Joseph Fournelle and Catharina Frantz ¨[7]
My great-grandmother Catherine FRANTZ

Generation 7:

My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE’s marriage record shows her mother’s name: Catherine FRANTZ

1935 Marriage of Nicolas WIldinger and Marie Marcelle Fournelle noted in the Wildinger-Fournelle Family Book, Commune d’Echternach Nr. 13/1935 [8]

Generation 8:

My mother’s marriage record to my father Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY shows her mother’s name: Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE. I have a copy of the record but will not share as she is still living.

Mom with her mother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE

Generation 9:

My marriage record lists my mother’s name.

Yours truly!

Generation 10: 

Through my daughter, the matrilineal line continues.

Our daughter

[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Septfontaines > Baptêmes 1735-1797, confirmations 1774-1791, mariages 1738-1797, sépultures 1738-1788 > image 155 of 208. 1755 Marriage Record, 1st entry on left page. (,1501459884 : accessed 7 June 2015).
[2] Ibid., Septfontaines > Baptêmes 1735-1797, confirmations 1774-1791, mariages 1738-1797, sépultures 1738-1788 > image 34 of 208. 1755 baptismal records for twins Agnes and Maria Catharina, 3rd and 4th entries on left page. (,1501459884 : accessed 7 June 2015).
[3] Ibid., Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 65 of 168. 1785 Marriage Record. (,1500913302 : accessed 6 June 2015).
[4] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1283 of 1504. 1817 Marriage Record No. 3. (,130365601 : accessed 22 August 2011).
[5] Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 114 of 1497. 1849 Marriage Record No. 19. (,130130201 : accessed 6 September 2014).
[6] Ibid., Mamer > Mariages 1838-1890 Décès 1796-1880 > image 310 of 1497. 1870 Marriage Record No. 5. (,130130201 : accessed 6 September 2014).
[7] Ibid., Mamer > Naissances, mariages 1895-1923 > image 547 of 819. 1900 Marriage Record No. 18. ( : accessed 6 March 2015).
[8] Commune d’Echternach Nr. 13/1935, Wildinger-Fournelle Family Book. This is an official document given to the bride and groom at the time of their civil marriage. It is used to record births, christenings, and deaths of children as well as death of one or the other spouse. Scanned copy of the original, in possession of their daughter.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey