The last set of fourth great-grandparents who lived in what is now Germany were Mathias KERSCHT and Anna EWEN. Mathias’ surname was spelled differently in several family books (Familienbücher=FB). As KIRSTEN in the FB Meckel; KIRST, KIERSCH, and KIERSTEN in the FB Messerich; and as KERSCH and KIRSCH in the FB Mettendorf. For Anna’s maiden name EWEN, no variations were found.
Mathias KERSCHT, the son of Peter KERSCHT and Eva SCHMIDS, was born on 28 March 1759 in Meckel, Eifel, Rheinland, Germany, and baptized the same day. His godparents were Matthias BERENS and Anna Maria SCHUL, both of Meckel. His godfather was likely a brother or relative of his mother Eva. Matthias BERENS went by his wife’s maiden name and was known as Matthias SCHMITZ before his marriage. Mathias KERSCHT had only one known sister Luzia who was two years older. It is not known if she married and had descendants.
Mathias married Anna EWEN, daughter of Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THEILEN, on 26 November 1785 in Messerich. Anna was born on 6 June 1766 in Messerich. She was the fourth of ten children.
Mathias worked as a sheepherder (Schäfer) in Messerich until about 1795 and then moved to Mettendorf where he continued to work in the same occupation.
Mathias and Anna had the following children.
1. Margaretha was born on 9 September 1786 in Messerich. She was baptized the same day. Her godparents were Peter KIRST of Meckel and Margaretha BAUER of Messerich. Was the godfather also the child’s grandfather? The FB Meckel in which Mathias’ father was found as Peter KIRSTEN does not include a date of death.
2. Anna was born on 4 October 1788 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. Her godfather was Theodore EWEN, single, from Messerich, likely her maternal uncle who was 27 years old at the time. Her godmother was likely her paternal grandmother Eva. The entry in the FB Messerich shows Evan KIERSTEN of Meckel. The godmother’s first name may be a typo in the book and the child was not given the name Eva or Evan but Anna. She married Heinrich LUDEWIG on 23 January 1809 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of eleven children. Anna died on 8 January 1843 in Mettendorf.
3. An unnamed child was born on 19 December 1790 in Messerich and died the same day.
4. Catharina was born on 14 December 1791 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. Her godparents were Jakob WEILER, a sheepherder (Schäfer) and Katharina LOCH of Spangdahlem. Catharina married Joannes Friedericus LOCHEMES on 19 September 1811 in Mettendorf. Joannes Friedericus was born about 1784 in Dahlem. From the time of their second child’s birth, her husband was given as Theodore LOCHEMES on all births thereafter. They were the parents of seven children. Catharina died on 9 December 1851 in Mettendorf. Her husband died on 16 January 1864 in Mettendorf.
5. Matthias was born on 19 April 1794 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Mathias SCHMITZ, a pigherder (Sauhirt) of KIRCHWEILER and Luzia BICHELER of Messerich. Matthias married Angela ACHEN on 21 January 1818 in Mettendorf. Angela was born on 11 December 1793 in Mettendorf. She died on 21 December 1870 in Mettendorf and Matthias died on 16 November 1876 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young. Their three youngest children went to America in the 1850s and settled in Wright County, Minnesota. Two were sons and their descendants spelled the surname KIRSCHT.
6. Anna Maria, my third great-grandmother, was born between 1795-1798 in Mettendorf. She is not included in the FB Messerich listing for her parents which suggests she must have been born after her brother Mathias. His birth in Messerich and her birth in Mettendorf places the relocation of the family from Messerich to Mettendorf during this time period. Anna Maria married Johann WAGNER, son of Matthias WAGNER and Maria Katharina HARTERT, on 22 February 1830 in Mettendorf. Johann, my third great-grandfather, was born on 19 June 1804 in Fließem and was baptized the same day. Johann worked as a shepherd. He died on 15 June 1858 in Mettendorf and was buried two days later. Anna Maria died on 21 July 1876 in Mettendorf.
7. Christoph was born on 19 June 1799 in Mettendorf. He married Elisabetha MERTES on 23 February 1824 in Sülm, also in the Eifel. Elisabetha was born in 1804 in Röhl. Christoph died on 30 September 1871 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young.
8. Anna Catharina was born about 1806 in Mettendorf. She died2 on 22 May 1824 in Mettendorf at the age of about 18 years and was buried the following day.
9. Heinrich was born on 8 August 1809 in Mettendorf and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Heinrich LUDEWIG, a sheepherder (Schäfer) of Mettendorf, and Margaretha ROCK, a servant (Magd) of Hisel. The godfather was his brother-in-law, newlywed husband of his second oldest sister Anna. He died 10 days later on 18 August 1809 in Mettendorf and was buried the following day.
10. Johann was born on 18 February 1811 in Mettendorf and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Johann WEYERS and Margaretha THEISEN, both of Mettendorf. Johann married Elisabeth ROTH on 7 January 1841 in Nusbaum. The family lived in Sinspelt, part of the Mettendorf parish. They were the parents of two known children, one of which died young. No entry for his death was given in the FB Mettendorf which may mean he died after 1899.
The mother of these children, Anna EWEN died on 15 November 1828 in Mettendorf and was buried on the same day. Her widower Mathias KERSCHT died on 9 February 1841 in Mettendorf. He was buried on 11 February 1841 in Mettendorf.
As mentioned at the beginning, this is the last of my fourth great-grandparents who lived in the Eifel area of Germany. Next up will be the eight sets of fourth great-grandparents who lived in Rodange, Wiltz, Vianden, Echternach, Mamer, Capellen, and Strassen in Luxembourg. With only five weeks to the end of the year, it looks like I may not be able to get them done on schedule.
Sources:  Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Meckel Dekanat Bitburg 1632-1900, (including Meckel, Eßlingen, Hof Badenborn, Kaschenbach) (1992).  Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Messerich Dekanat Bitburg 1720-1900 (1992).  Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Mettendorf Dekanat Neuerburg, Band 1 A-M Band 2 N-Z, (including Mettendorf, Bierendorf, Burg, Halsdorf, Hisel, Lahr, Hüttingen, Nasingen, Niederraden, Niehl, Ober- und Niedergeckler, Sinspelt) (1992).
Michael SCHRAMEN and Elisabetha SCHMITT were my 4th great-grandparents. They lived in Ferschweiler, a small village in the Eifel in Germany.
Elisabetha SCHMITT’s Parents and Siblings
Elisabetha’s mother Maria LORANG (1756-1818) was born in November 1756 in Berdorf, Duchy of Luxembourg. Her father, Sebastian SCHMITT (1764-1825) was born on 7 December 1764 in Hoffmanns Backhaus in Schankweiler in the Eifel (present-day Germany).
Sebastian was with his family in 1766 in Schankweiler (above). His father was a shepherd or berger. Four persons made up the family: father, mother, brother Hubert, and Sebastian. Maria was found on the 1766 census in Berdorf with her family (below). The LORANG family was with a THILL couple and a young DEFRANG man. The men’s occupation was listed as plower or labourent.
Elisabetha’s parents, Sebastian and Maria were married on 27 December 1784 in Echternach. By this time Sebastian’s family had moved from Schankweiler and taken up residence in Ferschweiler where he would also set up his household with Maria. They were the parents of three known children: two daughters named Elisabetha born in 1786 and 1790 and a son Nikolaus born about 1791 and died at age 19 on 9 March 1810. [Note: the burial records from 1786-1790 need to be checked for a possible death of the first daughter named Elisabetha.]
Their second daughter Elisabetha was my 4th great-grandmother. The FB Ferschweiler (Familienbuch or family book) lists her birthday as 4 March 1790 in Ferschweiler and mentions her baptism on 9 April 1790. This is unusual for the time period when children were baptized the same day or at latest the next day. I wonder if the date of birth was recorded or transcribed incorrectly in the source used by the author/compiler of the family book. Her baptismal record clearly states she was born “on the ninth day of the fourth hour of the morning” and baptized the same day.
Michael SCHRAMEN’s Parents and Siblings
Michael’s father Matthias SCHRAMEN (1742-1809) was born and baptized on 10 March 1742 in Ferschweiler. His mother Anna Barbara LEIBRICH also known as BURG (1744-1810) was born and baptized on 21 May 1744 in Menningen.
Mathias’ parents were using his mother’s maiden name SCHMIDT in 1766 when the first census was enumerated. Mathias was working as a weaver or tisserand at the time. Anna Barbara was living with her mother in the household of her brother-in-law Guillaume MOSSAL. They were enumerated as BURG instead of LEIBRICH.
Barbara, as she was more commonly known, was found in the FB Edingen. However, the proper connections were not made by the author/compiler of this family book. In fact, there was a glaring error in the book. A second marriage in 1771 for her mother born in 1704 to a 21 years old man already in my database. The marriage was unlikely due to his age and known births of children between 1773-1796 for this man and his wife born in 1750.
Further research to clear up the error led to an amazing discovery.
My husband and I are 8th cousins!
Barbara’s maternal grandparents (my 7th great-grandparents) were Mathias and Katharina FEILEN (FEYLEN). They are also my husband’s 7th great-grandparents. This is the first and only time I have found common ancestors for my husband and myself.
Barbara LEIBRICH and Matthias SCHRAMEN married on 11 January 1770 in Ferschweiler. They were the parents of seven children all born in Ferschweiler: Katharina bp. 22 January 1771; Johann bp. 5 December 1773; Magdalena bp. 18 November 1776; Margaretha bp. 31 March 1780; Jakob bp. 11 July 1783; Michael bp. 5 October 1786; and Nikolaus bp. 4 October 1789.
Matthias saw the marriage of his three oldest children and the death of his youngest before he passed away on 12 May 1809. His widow Barbara followed a little over a year later on 26 September 1810.
Michael and Elisabetha marry and have a family
Michael SCHRAMEN married Elisabetha SCHMITT on 27 November 1811 in Ferschweiler. Michael whose parents were both deceased may have had siblings present while Elisabetha’s parents would have been consenting to the marriage. During the first thirteen years of their union, they became the parents of five children.
Ch 1: Catherine (1812-1869) born on 23 October 1812 and baptized the following day.
Ch 2: Johann (1817-1894) born and baptized on 14 January 1817.
Ch 3: Catharina (1820-1842) born 21 February 1820 and baptized the next day.
Ch 4: Margaret (1821-1822) born and baptized on 7 November 1821. She died nearly a year later on 22 October 1822.
Ch 5: Nicolaus (1824-1875) born and baptized on 31 October 1824.
Elisabetha’s mother Maria LORANG died on 11 February 1818 a little over a year after the birth of the second SCHRAMEN child. The maternal grandfather, Sebastian SCHMITT died after the birth of the last child, on 12 January 1825. Both of these deaths took place in Ferschweiler.
Elisabetha’s husband Michael SCHRAMEN died on 20 September 1833 at the age of 46 years. He left a widow and four children aged between 8 and 20.
Soon after Michael’s death, his oldest child turned 21 and planned to marry. Catherine SCHRAMEN married Nicolas WILDINGER (1798-1874) on 18 January 1834 in Ferschweiler in a civil ceremony and then on 21 January 1834 in a religious ceremony. They were my 3rd great-grandparents.
Michael’s widow Elisabetha may have had her three unmarried children in her household for nearly a decade. Her second daughter Catharina married on 18 January 1842, after turning 21 years, to Johann MARX. Her marriage took place on her sister Catherine’s 8th wedding anniversary. Both girl’s names were found to be Catharina on the German Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 index,  and I am using Catherine for the oldest to keep them apart. Catharina gave birth to a son Theodor on 8 November 1842; she died less than two weeks later on 24 November 1842.
During the next decade, Elisabetha’s two sons Johann and Nicolaus may have still lived at home and cared for their mother. Times were hard for most families in the area and many were emigrating to Luxembourg and America. Elisabeth’s youngest son Nicolaus was 27 years old and unmarried when he went to America in 1852 likely leaving her in the care of his older brother Johann.
Johann, the only unmarried child of Michael and Elisabetha still in Germany, was 35 years old when he finally married. His brother Nicolaus’ departure may have been a deciding factor in his decision to marry. His bride Katharina ADAM was 29 years old when she married Johann on 15 November 1852 in Ernzen. The religious ceremony took place in St. Lucia Catholic church in Ferschweiler two days earlier. Like his older sister Catherine, Johann named his first daughter Elisabetha after his mother.
Further research into census records, etc. needs to be performed to learn where the mother of this family lived. Elisabetha had two married children in the same town, two children were deceased, and her youngest was in America. Did she live with her son Johann following his marriage? Did he remain in the family home? Or did she go to live with daughter Catherine and son-in-law Nicolas WILDINGER? Elisabeth died at the age of 79 years on 20 May 1869 in Ferschweiler and was buried two days later.
Elisabetha’s daughter Catherine died nearly six months later on 2 November 1869 at the age of 57 years and was buried two days later in Ferschweiler.
The last living child of Michael SCHRAMEN and Elisabetha SCHMITT was their oldest son Johann. He died on 20 January 1894 in Ferschweiler at the age of 77 years.
What became of the son who went to America?
Did Elisabetha, Catherine, and Johann know anything of the youngest son/sibling Nicolaus who went to America? Did they exchange letters? What became of him?
The compiler of the FB Ferschweiler cites Werner Lichter’s work on emigration for at least 5 persons from Ferschweiler who went to America on the ship Clotilde in 1852 including Nicolaus SCHRAMEN. The Clotilde left from Antwerp, Belgium around late May 1852 arriving at the port of New York on 3 June 1852. Nicolaus SCHRAMEN is said to have been on this ship. He likely traveled in steerage, similar to a cargo hold where many passengers were accommodated but with poor conditions. Steerage was the most common class of travel for immigrants.
While doing research on Nicolaus in US records I found there were two men of the same name and close in age. I contacted Aaron D., a great-great-grandson of Nicholas SCHROMEN of Dubuque County, Iowa. While trying to learn the parentage of his immigrant ancestor he had also looked into the other Nicholas SCHROMEN of Dupage County, Illinois, but did not know if there was a family relationship. Aaron had no proof of where in Germany his ancestor came from but had searched for the surname and found a concentration in the Ernzen/Ferschweiler area. He had not connected his Nicholas SCHRAMEN to my Michael SCHRAMEN and Elisabetha SCHMITT. I checked the FB Ferschweiler again and found Michael’s older brother Johann also had a son named Nicolaus born in 1819 and married to Katharina EWEN. His year of birth and the first name of his wife were a match for the man from, Illinois. Apparently, he did not remain in Ferschweiler as no children are listed nor is another family book referenced. It is a possibility the two men living in America were first cousins.
I believe Michael and Elisabetha’s Nicolaus was Nicholas SCHROMEN from Dubuque County, Iowa. He married Elizabeth GROSSBUSCH (1827-1896) on 28 February 1854 in Dubuque. The marriage record found by Aaron does not mention parents. Nicholas died on 13 January 1875 in Dubuque County, Iowa. The photo on FindAGrave for Nicholas’ grave marker is hard to decipher. What I can read is his date of birth was 1 Nov. The date found in the FB Ferschweiler was 31 October 1824. Aaron’s mother and my brother would be 3C2R – can this relationship be proven with their DNA?
I was on duty a week ago Saturday at my genealogy society’s library in Walferdange, Luxembourg. This new library is open to the public on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 5. Three members of the board of Luxracines were present and six visitors dropped in to research and to become familiar with our collections.
As it was not yet too busy, I was able to get some research done while on duty.
I opened up my genealogy software (AQ14), went to my maternal grandfather’s pedigree and checked for the closest unknown sets of ancestors. One by one I pulled the family books of the towns they were from and looked up the families.
I used Evernote’s Scannable app on my iPhone to scan the images of the pages of the German family books concerning the families I was interested in.
I attached the names of 5 sets of NEW ancestors to my family tree, as placeholders. I did not input any further information.
To the Research Manager of AQ14, I added a To Do/Research Item for each placeholder person:
“Check the images from the [name of town] family book taken at Luxracines library on 29 Oct 2016“
I included a red tag for good measure.
At home, I sent the images to Evernote. Each image became a note which I titled with the town name, page number, family number(s), surname. The notes were filed in a temporary notebook.
The next step was to begin inputting the information, citing sources, and adding the cropped images to my database. I began with the Familienbuch der Pfarrei Messerich, Dekanat Bitburg, 1720-1900 compiled by Werner Naumann. It covers the towns of Messerich, Birtlingen, Niederstedem, and Oberstedem.
Last year I wrote 52 Ancestors: #45 The WAGNER-KERSCHT Family. My third great-grandmother Anna Maria KERSCHT, wife of Johann WAGNER, was the daughter of Mathias KERSCHT (1759-1841), a sheep herder, Schäfer, and Anna EVEN (1766-1828) who were married 26 November 1785 in Messerich in the Eifel. Anna Maria’s parents, my 4th great-grandparents, would be the next logical couple to write about. The Mettendorf FB entry M1158 for them indicated that they had not always lived in Mettendorf. Their first six children had only estimated years of birth indicating the information was not to be found in Mettendorf. Their seventh child, born in 1809, was documented as being born in Mettendorf.
My fourth great-grandmother’s name was seen as Anna EVEN in the Mettendorf FB (Family Book). Since Anna and Mathias married in Messerich this was the logical place to look further for this family line.
The first thing I noticed when I looked up EVEN, the name found in the Mettendorf FB, was that the name was spelled EWEN in the Messerich FB. I had suspected this may be the case as I had found Anna’s parents listed as Gerardus EWEN and Barbara THILIEN on Thomas A. Pick’s Homepage for Eifel Birth and Marriage Data. The data was transcribed from an unknown source and the town of Messerich is seen as Mefserich (clearly a transcription error). This made me question the correctness of Pick’s use of the names EWEN and THILIEN.
In the Messerich FB, Mr. Naumann included the book number, page number, and record number of the church records he viewed. He also mentions other spellings of names or name changes. Although records will have to be obtained as proof, I will, for now, go with the spelling found by Mr. Naumann.
The parents of Anna EWEN (1766-1828) were Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THIL, also seen as THIELEN. Anna had nine siblings born between 1761 and 1780. Not only did I find her parents but also her paternal grandparents, maternal grandfather, and both sets of paternal great-grandparents. The new names in the family tree are seen below in generations 8 and 9 in white.
When I finish all of the towns scanned, I will go into AQ14 and re-set the standard ancestral colors so that these new ancestors on my mother’s paternal line will also be pink.
An interesting name change was seen for Anna EWEN’s parents. Her father Remigius was born EUPERS. At the time of his marriage to Margaretha EWEN in 1733 he lost his surname as they lived in the EWEN home and their children were all baptized EWEN. He was known as Remigius EUPERS vulgo EWEN. Vulgo means “alias” or “also known as” and shows his association to the EWEN family and property.
The Mathias KERSCHT and Anna EWEN family group were included in the Messerich FB. However, there are still discrepancies. My Anna Maria KERSCHT is in the Mettendorf FB with birth being circa 1793. She had five siblings born between 1786 and 1794 in Messerich but she was not in the Messerich FB.
When I wrote 52 Ancestors: #45 The WAGNER-KERSCHT Family I discussed my doubts about Anna Maria being born abt. 1793 which would mean she was nearly 50 when her last child, my 2nd great-grandmother Magdalena WAGNER, was born. I didn’t have the WAGNER-KERSCHT family’s entry from the Mettendorf FB when I wrote the post a year ago. At the time the theme of the post was “nur nicht verzweifeln” or don’t despair due to all the missing information. I still don’t have the entry and have added it to the Research Manager as a To Do/Research Item for my next visit to the library.
The first documented mention of the town Messerich, Miezriche, was in the year 1066. In 1852 remains of Roman settlements were found thus proving that the place existed nearly one thousand years before it was first mentioned. In 1473 Messerich had 15 Feuerstellen, or houses which were lived in; in 1525 there were 12; in 1541 there were 14; and in 1624 there were only 5. The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), one of the deadliest conflicts in European history, and the Black Death, which repeatedly struck the Nimstal area in 1620-1633, were the cause for the decline in population. Today there are over 400 residents and 100 houses in Messerich.
On the map above Messerich is a bit south of Bitburg. The closest towns to Messerich are Masholder, Birtlingen, Oberstedem, and Bitburg. Echternach, Luxembourg, the town where I live, lies 17.5 km or 10 miles to the south.
Until the end of the 18th century, Messerich belonged to the Bitburg Provost District of the Duchy of Luxembourg. The borders of Luxembourg, before 1659, are seen above as black lines including areas of present-day France, Belgium, and Germany. The area where Messerich lies belonged to the Duchy of Luxembourg until the dark green area went to Prussia in 1815.
Although Messerich today lies in Germany, during the time my ancestors lived there it was part of the Duchy of Luxembourg. Now I am curious to find out which of my other “German” ancestors were actually Luxembourgers.
The entries from the Messerich FB have all been inputted and cited in my family tree. Schankweiler, Mettendorf, Neuerburg/Eifel, Mürlenbach, and Fliessem family books remain to be done. Hopefully I will have finished them by November 26th when it is once again my turn to be on library duty.