52 Ancestors: #28 The Mertes-Donnen Family of Bertrange

The Donnen-Christophory Family

Johann DONNEN of Ellingen (Canton Remich) married Barbe CHRISTOPHORY of Bertrange about 1772 or earlier. No marriage record has been found for the couple who were having legitimate children from 1772. Johann was born about 1747, per the age found on his death record, and his wife Barbe was born in 1743.[1] They were the parents of four known children all born in Bertrange. A daughter Barbara was born in 1772[2], twins Nicolas Johann and Catharina in 1775[3], and Maria Catharina in 1783.[4]

Bertrange Water Tank Tower (no longer in use) with its new look including the commune logo, a lion.

The Mertes-Biver Family

During the same time period, another couple was also raising a family in Bertrange. Peter MERTES and Marguerite BIVER were married on 3 December 1771 in Bertrange.[5] They were the parents of Margaretha born in 1772[6], Willibrod 1774[7], Anna Marguerite est. 1775[8], Anna 1776[9], Barbara 1779[10], Nicolas 1781[11], Magdalena 1783[12], and Anna 1786. [Update: Baptismal record of Anna b. 1786 was found on 17 Sep 2017.]

The MERTES-DONNEN Family

The daughter of the DONNEN-CHRISTOPHORY couple, Maria Catharina DONNEN, married the son of the MERTES-BIVER couple, Nicolas MERTES, on 21 February 1803 in Bertrange.[13] Nicolas’ occupation was given on the marriage record as Akersmann or plowman. During the years that followed he was always seen as a day laborer: when his children were born, when they married, and when the census was taken.

From the 2nd to the 26th of August 2017 the Belle Etoile mall in Bertrange and De Lederwon offered the public a time capsule of the countryside of Luxembourg through with exhibition of old tractors.

Two weeks after the marriage the newlyweds were attending the funeral of Johann DONNEN, the bride’s father, who died 9 March 1803.[14] Nicolas, only six days short of his twenty-second birthday, was one of the informants on the death record.

After the torments of the French Revolution (1789-1799), poverty and misery did not disappear. Many left Bertrange for southern Hungary and Transylvania in the years 1723-1726 and for North America from 1853 onward. This was not the case for the MERTES-DONNEN family.

Children’s births and grandparents’ deaths

Following their marriage, Nicolas and Maria Catharina had seven children, all born in Bertrange, during a period of seventeen years. Their first two children were sons, Michel born on 5 May 1804 at 9 in the morning[15] and François, better known as Franz, on 5 April 1806 at 11 in the morning.[16]

Maria Catharina’s mother Barbe CHRISTOPHORY died on 17 December 1807. Her son-in-law Nicolas, the informant, gave her place of death as his home. The occupation of her deceased husband Johann DONNEN was given as charron or wheelright.[17]

A wagon with wooden wheels and a manure pile in the background.

The family increased with the birth of Anne on 24 August 1808 at 8 in the evening[18] and Catherine on 3 March 1811 at 11 in the evening.[19]

Nicolas’ father Peter MERTES died on 15 December 1811 around 8 in the evening at the home of his son-in-law Jean KETTENMEYER, husband of Anne, the only sibling of Nicolas to have married.[20]

Following the death, the pattern of two births and a death continued in the family. Sons, Nicolas, born on 24 August 1814 at 11 in the evening[21], and Jean, born on 24 November 1817 at 4 in the morning[22], brought the number of children up to six.

Marguerite BIVER, the last living grandparent of the MERTES-DONNEN children, died on 20 December 1820 at 9 in the evening in house number 69 in the Oppertergasse. The informant was her son-in-law Jean KETTENMEYER.[23]

Maria Catharina gave birth to her last child a month later on 28 January 1821.[24] They named the child Nicolas although they already had a 6 and a half years old son with this name. Little did they know that three years later the elder son named Nicolas would die on 12 January 1824 at the age of 9 years and 8 months.[25]

Marriages of the children

The next ten years are not documented. No children were born or died. The decade fell before the census of 1843 which is available online. The children grew and by 1834 the first marriage was being celebrated in the MERTES family.

The second son François “Franz” MERTES married on 25 February 1834 to Margaretha ERPELDING.[26] He and his wife, my children’s 4th great-grandparents, had two children before the next marriage took place in the family.

Catherine MERTES married Johann Wilhelm FEDERSPIEL (1801-1865) on 18 April 1839.[27] Catherine had given birth to a son the previous month[28] and he was legitimized with the marriage.

No trace has been found of the oldest son Michel or the oldest daughter Anne following their births in 1804 and 1808. Their deaths were not recorded in Bertrange. Did they leave Bertrange to find work or marry?

In December of 1843[29], 1846[30], 1847[31], 1849[32], and 1851[33] Nicolas and Maria Catharina were enumerated on the census with their two youngest children, already grown men, Jean and Nicolas. In 1851, Jean (34) and Nicolas (31) were both still single.

Only two of Nicolas MERTES’ six siblings were known to be living at this time. Anne who married Jean KETTENMEYER died on 9 February 1852.[34]

On the December 1852[35] census Nicolas and Maria Catharina had in their household son Jean but the youngest son Nicolas had disappeared. I have not made any effort to locate him as this was a time many were emigrating to North America. Hopefully, if he had descendants, one of them will read this and get in touch.

A little over a year later Nicolas was the informant on the death of his wife Maria Catharina DONNEN. She died on 24 January 1854.[36]

Nicolas and his son Jean were now alone. At the age of 37, Jean married a woman three years his senior, Magdalena WAGENER (1816-1883), on 2 May 1855.[37]

Had he seen his father’s health declining and decided it was time to marry? Or did the men need a woman to care for them? Five months after the marriage the father of the groom, Nicolas MERTES died. His son-in-law Johann Wilhelm FEDERSPIEL reported the death which took place on 19 October 1855. Peter CHRISTNACH, a shoemaker and Nicolas’ neighbor, also witnessed the death record.[38]

As far as I know, Nicolas left three children, eight grandchildren, and a sister, Anne Marguerite who never married. Her death followed a little over six months later on 5 May 1856.[39] It was reported by her nephew Dominique FERDERSPIEL and her niece Catherine MERTES’ husband Johann Wilhelm FEDERSPIEL. The record includes the names of her parents. Her baptismal record has not been found and the death record was the first mention I found for her.

Close up of the water tank tower of the commune of Bertrange

Around 1850 Bertrange was a village of about 200 houses and exceeding 1,000 inhabitants. A poor commune with an economy based on agriculture and small crafts, it underwent economic restructuring in 1859 when the first railway was inaugurated. People took on work as miners and railway workers. Times were changing for the MERTES-DONNEN children who remained.

Nicolas and Maria Catharina’s living children

Franz, my children’s 4th great-grandfather, had spent his entire married life in the neighboring town of Strassen. He died at the age of 57 on 15 March 1864.[40] Catherine and Jean both remained in Bertrange. Catherine died at the age of 69 on 11 March 1880[41] and Jean on 1 September 1888[42] at the age of 70.

It took me longer than usual to research this family. For some reason the subject of maison dite or house names kept coming up everywhere I turned. Maybe the ancestors were trying to tell me something. Or maybe it is time to discuss what I learned while researching this family – something I left out above.

I’ll be at Luxracines’ archives in Walferdange on Wednesday with Rob Deltgen and, hopefully, I’ll learn enough to fill in the spaces in the draft I’ve prepared for my upcoming post.

bestwishescathy1

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch< (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 33 of 200. 1743 Baptismal Record No. 562. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8971-1C12?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 16 August 2017).
[2] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 92 of 200. 1772 Baptismal Record No. 777. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-1C27?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 16 August 2017).
[3] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 97 of 200. 1775 Baptismal Records No. 866 and 867. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-1C2P?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : 9 January 2015).
[4] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1781-1797, confirmations 1791, mariages 1781-1797, sépultures 1781-1797 > image 29 of 254. 1783 Baptismal Record (bottom left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-SHYQ?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-3T1%3A1500936901%2C1500936942 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[5] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 147 of 200. 1771 Marriage Record No. 248. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L971-1CL8?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[6] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 91 of 200. 1772 Baptismal Record No. 767. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-1CL2?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[7] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 95 of 200. 1774 Baptismal Reocord No. 831. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-9971-1ZM4?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[8] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1083 of 1416. 1856 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X89-BMN?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[9] Luxembourg Parish Records, Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 99 of 200. 1776 Baptismal Record No. 898. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-1CJV?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[10] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1723-1780, confirmations 1755-1767, mariages 1723-1780, sépultures 1723-1780 > image 106 of 200. 1779 Baptismal Record No. 18. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L971-1CTL?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-92Q%3A1500936901%2C1501072268 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[11] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1781-1797, confirmations 1791, mariages 1781-1797, sépultures 1781-1797 > image 6 of 254. 1781 Baptismal Record No. 10 (right page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-SZHN?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-3T1%3A1500936901%2C1500936942 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[12] Ibid., Bertrange > Baptêmes 1781-1797, confirmations 1791, mariages 1781-1797, sépultures 1781-1797 > image 26 of 254. 1783 Baptismal Record No. 63. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-SCTD?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-3T1%3A1500936901%2C1500936942 : accessed 10 Augut 2017).
[13] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 1329 of 1480. 1803 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-107050-84?cc=1709358 : accessed 5 October 2015).
[14] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 511 of 1416. 1803 Death Record (left, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-37S?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[15] Luxembourg Church Records, Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 25 of 1480. 1804 (15 Florial an 12) Birth Record (part 1, part 2 on next image). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X363-56W?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 11 August 2017).
[16] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 61 of 1480. 1806 Birth Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X36Q-97R?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[17] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 521 of 1416. 1807 Death Record (right page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-3SH?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[18] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 94 of 1480. 1808 Birth Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X363-1J4?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[19] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 127 of 1480. 1811 Birth Record (left, middle). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X363-TY4?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[20] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 558 of 1416. 1811 Death Record (bottom left and top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-SB6?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[21] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 162 of 1480. 1814 Birth Record No. 19. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X363-52M?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[22] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 195 of 1480. 1817 Birth Record No. 34. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-109265-65?cc=1709358 : accessed 4 March 2016).
[23] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 640 of 1416. 1820 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-322?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[24] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 230 of 1480. 1821 Birth Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X36Q-9DJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[25] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 662 of 1416. 1824 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X89-BQK?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 18 August 2017).
[26] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 63 of 1416. 1834 Marriage Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-55620-99?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2DC:725853054 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[27] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 120 of 1416. 1839 Marriage Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X89-1YH?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[28] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 555 of 1480. 1839 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X363-TKY?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL%3A129622901%2C129854201 : accessed 20 August 2017).
[29] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 142 of 407. Mertes-Donnen household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32355-17053-91?cc=2037957 : accessed 4 October 2015).
[30] Ibid., Bertrange > 1846 > image 211 of 431. Nicolas Mertes-Donnen household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G97B-V69B?cc=2037957&wc=M5LT-ZJF%3A346116301%2C345858602 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[31] Ibid., Bertrange > 1847 > image 387 of 448. Mertes-Donnen household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-997B-CY2G?cc=2037957&wc=M5LR-MJG%3A346116301%2C345864101 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[32] Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 78 of 474. Nicolas Mertes-Donnen household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G97B-Z423?cc=2037957&wc=M5LR-7MY%3A346116301%2C345864801 : accessed 15 August 2017).
[33] Ibid., Bertrange > 1851 > image 11 of 215. Mertes-Donnen household No. 23. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32358-23034-28?cc=2037957 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[34] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1047 of 1416. 1852 Death Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X89-YZV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : acccessed 10 August 2017).
[35] Luxembourg Census Records, Bertrange > 1852 > image 136 of 205. Nicolas Mertes-Donnen household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32381-15410-15?cc=2037957 : accessed 8 August 2017).
[36] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1062 of 1416. 1854 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-56882-33?cc=1709358 : accessed 3 April 2010).
[37] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 265 of 1416. 1855 Marriage Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-52019-88?cc=1709358 : accessed 4 March 2016).
[38] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1077 of 1416. 1855 Death Record No. 32. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-54541-99?cc=1709358 : accessed 3 April 2010).
[39] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1083 of 1416. 1856 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X89-BMN?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 10 August 2017).
[40] Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 140 of 446. 1864 Death Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-166420-69?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNG:528766680 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[41] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1305 of 1416. 1880 Death Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X89-18Q?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 11 August 2017).
[42] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1384 of 1416. 1888 Death Record No. 14. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-9NG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 11 August 2017).

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

52 Ancestors: #40 Happy Birthday to Michel of the MERTES-ERPELDING Family

Week 40 (October 1-7) – October: What ancestor has a birthday or anniversary in October?

François, the Groom

François “Franz” MERTES (1806-1864) was the son of Nicolas MERTES and Marie Catherine DONNEN (1783-1854). Franz’s parents were married on 21 February 1803[1] in Bertrange (Bartringen). François, the name given to him at birth, is believed to have been their first born child. He was born at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday 5 April 1806[2] in Bertrange. On Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. when Nicolas reported his son’s  birth another father, Martin JUNG was at the city hall to report his daughter’s birth. Martin JUNG witnessed Nicolas’ son’s birth record and Nicolas witnessed JUNG’s daughter’s birth record. Both men did not know how to write and signed with an X.

1806mertesbirth
1806 Birth Record of François MERTES (left) and of the JUNG baby girl (right) with the fathers and witnesses X marks.[2]
François had the following known siblings:  Anne 1808, Catherine 1811, Nicolas 1814, Joannes 1817, and Nicolas 1821. Their marriages and children have not been researched.

While doing François’ census work I saved the links in Evernote of all pages with the MERTES name from 1843 through 1855. “Census work” for families in Luxembourg during this time period means viewing every image in the batches at FamilySearch as they are browse only and don’t have a list or index similar to the later census years. It is very time consuming but usually helpful when developing a timeline for the family.

François marries Margaretha ERPELDING

In the year eighteen hundred thirty-four, the twenty-fifth of the month of February at 9 o’clock in the morning, there came before us, the mayor, civil officer of the commune of Bertrange in the province of Luxembourg, François MERTES, single, age twenty-seven years, born in Bertrange in this commune on the fifth day of April eighteen hundred sixteen (sic, 1806), a civil day laborer, resident of Bertrange, adult son of  Nicolas MERTES and Marie Catherine DONNEN who are both present, consulting to this marriage.

and the demoiselle Marguerithe ERPELDING age thirty-three years born on the Kackerter farm in Oetrange in the commune of Contern on the eleventh day of the month of Nivôse in the ninth year of the French Republic, corresponding to the first of January eighteen hundred and one, without an occupation, resident of Kackerter farm, adult daughter of Nicolas ERPELDING and Madelaine KUNERATH who died at the named Kackerter farm, the mother on the twenty-eighth January eighteen hundred eighteen and the father on the ten May eighteen hundred twenty-nine, during their lifetimes civil day laborers.

Who requested that we procede in the celebration of this marriage planned between them, and banns were published in Contern on Sundays the second and ninth of the month of February and in Bertrange on the ninth and sixteenth of the same month.

No opposition to the marriage was given us, granting them the right of their request, after reading all above mentioned, as well as the title of Chapter Six of the Civil Code entitled the Marriage, we asked the future husband and the future wife if they want to take each other to be husband and wife; each responding separately and affirmatively, we declare, on behalf of the law, that François MERTES and Marguerithe ERPELDING are united by marriage.

All of this took place in the presence of witnesses named below, namely
Mathias Erpelding, age forty years, farmer, resident of the said Kackerter farm, brother of the future bride
Pierre Erpelding, age thirty-five years, residing abroad, weaver, brother of the future bride
Jean Reichling, age twenty-five years, farmer, resident of Bertrange, acting as a friend of the future groom
And Nicolas Goergen, age twenty-five years, farmer, resident of Bertrange, acting as a friend of the future groom
Who after it was read to them, signed with us, with the exception of the groom, the bride, and the mother and father of the groom who declared not knowing how to sign.[3]

marriagesignatures
Signatures from the 1834 Marriage Record No. 9 with translation of French text above.[3]

Margaretha, the Bride

Margaretha, seen above as Marguerithe, was born 10 Nivôse year IX[4] (1 January 1801) on Kackerterhoff (Kackerterhaff) in Oetrange in the commune of Contern to Nicolas ERPELDING (1765-1829)  and Madelaine “Magdalena” KUNERATH (1759-1818). Her date of birth was recorded in the civil records using the French Republican Calendar. Church records were kept using the Gregorian or Christian calendar and her baptismal record shows she was baptized on 16 November 1800[5] – six weeks before her birth! Civil records are the legal records used in Luxembourg. I am not sure how this discrepancy in the church records came about but it was brought to my attention by Cyndi Speltz Gipp.

A dozen years ago Cyndi, my husband’s 7th cousin, got in touch with me about her JEHNEN line. She spent hours at her local Family History Center viewing microfilms she ordered for her research of the JEHNEN descendants, including Nicolas ERPELDING whose mother was a JEHNEN. Cyndi found 5 siblings for Margaretha: Mathias 1791, Catharina 1793, Margaretha 1795, Petrus 1797 and Barbara 1804.

François and Margaretha’s Little Family

Ten months after their marriage, at 6 o’clock in the evening of Christmas Eve, François and Margaretha welcomed their first child into the family. François reported the birth of his daughter Marie Catherine MERTES[6] on Christmas Day 1834 in Bartringen. As was the case at the time of his marriage, he was not able to sign the record.

Their second child and only son, Michel MERTES was born on 6 October 1837[7] at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in the commune of Bertrange. His father reported the birth two hours later. The place of birth is not specifically stated. Later when Michel married in 1861 his place of birth on his marriage record was Bertrange but when he married a second time in 1874 his place of birth on the marriage record was Strassen.

Happy Birthday Michel MERTES

Tomorrow is the 178th anniversary of the birth of Michel, François and Margaretha’s only son, and only child to live to adulthood and marry.

Census Records Help to Fill in the Timeline

Census records were found for the little family. On 23 December 1843[8] they were living next door to François’ parents[9] in Bertrange. Following this census, the only one with the entire family listed, Marie Catherine died at the age of eleven years on 6 July 1846[10] in Strassen.

1843censusmertes
1843 Luxembourg Census for the MERTES-ERPELDING family.[8]
The family of three, father, mother and son Michel, was seen in Strassen for the censuses taken on 20 December 1846[11], 31 December 1847[12], 7 December 1849[13], 31 December 1851[14], and 6 December 1852[15].

François’ parents were still living in Bartringen when his mother Marie Catherine DONNEN died on 24 January 1854[16] and his father Nicolas MERTES died on 19 October 1855.[17]

The MERTES-ERPELDING family was seen in Strassen on 3 December 1855[18] and 3 December 1858[19] when the census was enumerated.

Their only living child Michel MERTES married(1) Catharina HEIN (1834-1874) on 10 January 1861[20] in Strassen. When the census was taken in December 1861[21] Michel and his wife were living with his parents.

François and Margaretha’s first granddaughter Maria lived only 5 days, born 1 February[22] and died 6 February 1862[23] in Strassen. Their second granddaugher Margaretha was born in 1863[24] about a year before François “Franz” MERTES died on 15 March 1864[25] in Strassen.

Margaretha ERPELDING was seen as the head of household on 3 December 1864.[26] Her son Michel, daughter-in-law Catharina, and granddaughter Margaretha were in her household. On 3 December 1867[27] Michel MERTES was the head of household in Strassen. His mother Margaretha was in his household and died less than a year later in Strassen on 1 November 1868.[28]

Michel MERTES, widowed with three children in February 1874[29], married Margaretha RUCKERT (1847-1895) on 22 April 1874[30] in Strassen. Their story can be read here.

New Connections Found in the Census

While researching this small family I found two ladies with the maiden name ERPELDING and Oetrange as their place of birth in the Bertrange and Strassen census. They were both married to older men and did not have children. Their marriage records were found and proved they were sisters of Margaretha:

  • Catharina ERPELDING (b. 15 Oct 1793) married Jean BOUR (b. 1772) on 26 February 1831[31] in Bertrange
  • Margaretha ERPELDING (b. 15 Dec 1795) married Jean SCHMIT (b. 1780) on 10 April 1839[32] in Bertrange.

These marriages were unknown to Cyndi who concentrated her search in the Oetrange, Contern area. Finding these records however brings up new questions. The birth dates above were found in the marriage records and match dates of birth found by Cyndi. Unfortunately not only were there two sisters named Margaretha, there was a second sister named Catharina b. abt. 1793 who married in 1814 and died in 1848. Both Cyndi and I have her listed with the birth date 15 October 1793. But which of the two Catharina’s was born on this date? I’ll have to add this research question and all it entails to my to-do list.

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 1329 of 1480. 1803 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-107050-84?cc=1709358 : accessed 5 October 2015).
[2] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 61 of 1480. 1806 Birth Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-109075-23?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2DX:1319414221 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[3] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 63 of 1416. 1834 Marriage Record No. 9.  (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-55620-99?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2DC:725853054 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[4] Ibid., Contern > Naissances 1796-1835 > image 49 of 484. 1800 Birth Record (10 Nivose IX). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12325-25034-93?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 October 2015).
[5] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Oetrange > Baptêmes 1797-1836, 1741-1761, mariages 1797-1836, sépultures 1797-1835 > image 4 of 91. Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32461-8208-27?cc=2037955 : accessed 2 October 2015).
[6]  Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 459 of 1480. 1834 Birth Record No. 58. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-105648-16?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 October 2015).
[7] Ibid., Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 520 of 1480. 1837 Birth Record No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-102810-32?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2DX:1319414221 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[8] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 141 of 407. Mertes-Erpelding household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32355-16960-73?cc=2037957 : accessed 4 October 2015).
[9] Ibid., Bertrange > 1843 > image 142 of 407. Mertes-Donnen household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32355-17053-91?cc=2037957 : accessed 4 October 2015).
[10] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 976 of 1416. 1846 Death Record No. 29. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-52441-82?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 October 2015).
[11] Luxembourg Census, Bertrange > 1846 > image 383 of 431. Mertes-Erpelding household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32358-11205-4?cc=2037957 : accessed 4 October 2015).
[12] 4. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), <i>FamilySearch</i> (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1847 > image 230 of 448. Mertes-Erpelding household No.13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32349-25713-78?cc=2037957 : accessed 4 October 2015).
[13] Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 326 of 474. Mertes-Erpelding household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32350-6186-25?cc=2037957&wc=M5LR-7MY:346116301,345864801 : accessed 3 October 2015).
[14] Ibid., Strassen > 1851 > image 112 of 222. Mertes-Erpelding household No. 93. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32351-8545-20?cc=2037957 : accessed 3 October 2015).
[15] Ibid., Strassen > 1852 > image 72 of 259. Mertes-Erpelding household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32368-16226-41?cc=2037957 : accessed 3 October 2015).
[16] Luxembourg Civil Records, Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1062 of 1416. 1854 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-56882-33?cc=1709358 : accessed 3 April 2010).
[17] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1077 of 1416. 1855 Death Record No. 32. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-54541-99?cc=1709358 : accessed 3 April 2010).
[18] Luxembourg Census42-32375-912-15?cc=2037957 : accessed 3 October 2015).
[19] Ibid., Strassen > 1858 > image 239 of 297. Mertes household no. 57.  (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32372-17028-75?cc=2037957&wc=M5LY-R97:346409101,345867601 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[20] Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1221 of 1464. 1861 Marriage Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-59528-4?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNP:1592332876 : accessed 03 Apr 2013).
[21] Luxembourg Census, Strassen > 1861 > image 227 of 297. Mertes household no. 126. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32371-8385-74?cc=2037957&wc=M5LY-Y4G:346409101,345867101 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[22] Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 450 of 1464. 1862 Birth Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61420-66?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 20 May 2015).
[23] Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 120 of 446. 1862 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-160448-65?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[24] Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 466 of 1464. 1863 Birth Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-57722-32?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 2 April 2010).
[25] Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 140 of 446. 1864 Death Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-166420-69?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNG:528766680 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[26] Luxembourg Census, Strassen > 1864 > image 210 of 293. Mertes-Erpelding houshold no. 152. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32569-16533-34?cc=2037957&wc=M5G9-FMT:346409101,345868401 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[27] Ibid., Strassen > 1867 > image 31 of 312. Mertes household no. 15. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32380-28790-79?cc=2037957&wc=M5GS-SPL:346409101,345869101 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[28] Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 189 of 446. 1868 Death Record No. 26. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-165726-80?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNG:528766680 : accessed 10 Apr 2013).
[29] Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 251 of 446. 1874 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-487-59?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 17 May 2015).
[30] Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1336 of 1464. 1874 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-60372-57?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNP:1592332876 : accessed 03 Apr 2013).
[31] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 33 of 1416. 1831 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-52218-77?cc=1709358 : accessed 4 October 2015).
[32] Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 119 of 1416. 1839 Marriage Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-51841-94?cc=1709358 : accessed 4 October 2015).

Genealogy Sketch

Name: François “Franz” MERTES
Parents: Nicolas MERTES and Marie Catherine DONNEN
Spouse: Margaretha ERPELDING
Parents of Spouse: Nicolas ERPELDING and Madelaine “Magdalena” KUNERATH
Whereabouts: Kackerterhaff, Bertrange, and Strassen
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: husband’s 3rd great-grandfather

1. François “Franz” MERTES
2. Michel MERTES
3. Maria MERTES
4. Suzanne PEFFER
5. Marie Françoise “Maisy” KREMER
6. Cathy Meder-Dempsey’s husband

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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.