52 Ancestors: #10 The FOURNELLE-FRANTZ Family (1871-2005)

Week 10 (March 5-11) – Stormy Weather. This is the time of year that the northern hemisphere starts to see severe storms. (As if the blizzards in New England this winter haven’t been bad enough!) What ancestor endured a particularly severe storm? It could be something like a tornado or blizzard or it could be a “storm” of bad things.

What storms did the FOURNELLE-FRANTZ family have to weather through? Living in a European country bordering on Germany during two world wars would definitely be conducive to stormy times. Holding fast with that theme, I’m flooding this post with photos from those times before giving the facts! Enjoy!

fournelle1
My great-grandfather Jean Joseph FOURNELLE, Grandpapa, in 1957 at the age of 86.
fournelle2
Grandpapa in 1945 at the age of 74.
fournelle9
Grandpapa, my great-grandfather with Bomi, my grandmother.
fournelle10
Grandmaman, my great-grandmother, with her granddaughter Ginette.
fournelle8
My great-grandmother Catherine FRANTZ, Grandmaman. A portrait made in 1938 after her death in 1934.
fournelle11
Group photo from 1920s that was used as a model for the portrait of Grandmaman.
marriage
In the 1920s son André married Marguerite HUESMANN. Don’t they look young?
fournelle3
Jean Joseph FOURNELLE, 4th from right, at the train station in Echternach.
fournelle4
The FOURNELLE-FRANTZ family ca. 1920 in front of the high school (lycée), formerly the abbey of Echternach. From left to right: Lucie, Joseph, Marcelle (Bomi), Catherine, André
fournelle5
André and Lucie ca. 1906
fournelle6
The FOURNELLE-FRANTZ family (ca. 1906) before my grandmother was born. The children André (left) and Lucie (right) with (from left to right) their father Joseph, mother Catherine and aunt Pauline FRANTZ.
fournelle7
Jean Joseph FOURNELLE ca. 1900

A Little Geography Lesson

Map_Boulaide
Father’s place of birth: Boulaide[Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]
Map_Echternach
Place that the family lived: Echternach [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]
Map_Mamer
Mother’s place of birth: Mamer [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]
 

 

 

 

 

 

Commune: 0range; Canton: red+orange; District: darker grey+red+orange:

My FOURNELLE-FRANTZ couple lived in Echternach from the time they married until their deaths. The husband was born in the commune of Boulaide[1] and the wife was born in the commune of Mamer[3]. Luxembourg is divided into three districts: Boulaide is in the District of Diekirch (toe to throatline of the shoe), Echternach is in the District of Grevenmacher (collar of the shoe), and Mamer is in the District of Luxembourg (heel of the shoe). To do research in Luxembourg you need to know that most towns are known by their French, German, and Luxembourgish names. At FamilySearch when you browse the Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1662-1941 collection you will have to know the French name of the town BUT you will find that most records are in German and the town will have the German name listed on records. The FamilySearch Wiki is very helpful when you need help with the Luxembourgish commune that a town belongs to.

Birth Records of Joseph and Catherine

1871birth
1871 Birth Record No. 6 [1]

Johann Joseph FOURNELLE was born on 20 February 1871 in Syr (Sir, Surré) in the commune of Bauschleiden (Bauschelt, Boulaide) in the canton of Wiltz, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was born at 6 o’clock in the morning to André FOURNELLE (32) and his wife Lucie SCHLOESSER (30). His father’s occupation was Grentzaufseher or border guard.[1]

1871birth
1871 Birth Record No. 6 (conformed copy) [2]
Bauschleiden, as seen on the map above, is in northwestern Luxembourg, on the border with Belgium. Much damage was done in that area during World War II. When I looked into getting a copy of my great-grandfather’s birth record I was told that all records were destroyed during the Battle of the Bulge. The records in the Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1662-1941 collection at FamilySearch are the copies that are in the archives in Luxembourg City. On 20 July 1955, it was decided to make copies of the lost records for the town hall. On 10 January 1956, the birth record of my great-grandfather was typed up and returned to Bauschleiden. I was able to get a copy of it in 2010.[2]

1875birth
1875 Birth Record No. 57 [3]

Catherine FRANTZ was born on 17 November 1872 in Mamer in the canton of Capellen, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. She was born at 4 o’clock in the morning to Johann FRANTZ (34) and his wife Maria MAJERUS (21). Her father was identified as “der Jungere” to distinguish him from another person of the same name in the community, most likely his cousin Johann FRANTZ b. 1836 who was 6 years older. Catherine’s father was Leinenweber or linen weaver.[3]

The Marriage of Joseph and Catherine

On the 9th of July 1900 at 10 o’clock in the morning Joseph age, 29 and Catherine age 27 were married in Mamer. Joseph was a Rosenzüchter, rose culturist, and Catherine did not have an occupation. The parents of the bride and groom were present and consenting to the marriage. On the 24th of June, the marriage banns were read in the churches of Mamer and Echternach. Two of the witnesses, Johann MULLER and Johann JANS, were from Echternach, one from Mamer, and the last, a cousin of the bride, was from Bartringen.[4]

1900fournelle
1900 Signature of the groom [4]
1900frantz
1900 Signature of the bride [4]
 

 

 

Less than three months later on Sunday 23 September, the annual fruit exposition took place in Echternach. It was fairly well attended as the Obstbauverein, fruit growing club, planned it to coincide with the Kirmes, an annual fair, in Echternach. It also helped that they did not charge fees for stalls or for visitors. Joseph FOURNELLE took 2nd place in the category apples, pears, and other fruits for table use and processing.[5]

The Children of Joseph and Catherine

Odilia Luzia was born on 30 March 1902 at 9 in the evening in Echternach at the home of her parents in the Luxemburger street. Her father Johann Joseph was 31 years old and a Rosenzüchter. Her mother Catharina (German and French spelling were often interchanged) was 29 years old. Johann (Jean) JANS, 29, and Jacob MULLER, 26, Schuhmacher or shoemaker, both witnesses at the marriage of the parents of the child, were witnesses for the birth record.[6]

1902signature
1902 Signature of the father [6]
On 15 September 1904 Andreas FOURNELLE was born at 4 in the morning. His father reported the birth the same day at 11 o’clock in the morning. Joseph, Rosenzüchter, was 33 and Catherine was 31. Andreas, later seen as André, was born at home in the Luxemburger street. Johann JANS, 33, Schankwirt or barkeeper, and Jacob MULLER, 28, Schuhmacher or shoemaker, were once again witnesses on the birth record.[7]

1904signature
1904 Signature of the father [7]
Maria Marcelle, my Bomi, 21 March 1909 at 7 o’clock in the morning at the house called Mühlenacht in the Luxemburger street. Joseph (38) reported the birth the same morning at 11 o’clock. He was still working as a Rosenzüchter. The child’s mother Catherine was 36. The witnesses were Peter STEINMETZ and Mathias PRIM.[8]

1909signature
1909 Signature of the father [8]
I love how my great-grandfather’s signature changed over the years. By 1935 the flourish in his signature had once again disappeared.[9]

1935signature
1935 Signature of the father of the bride [9]

The Homes of the Fournelle Family

The home that the FOURNELLE family lived in during these early years in the Luxemburger Strasse was known as Mühlenacht or Millenoacht (in Echternacher Luxembourgish). I don’t know if Joseph’s parents owned the home. His parents lived in Mühlenacht with Joseph and his family until their deaths in 1908 and 1911.[10],[11]

In 1914 Joseph was still seen running the nursery when cholera was raging and his produce was inspected and said to be safe for consummation.[12] My grandmother told me that she was very young when the family moved to house number 26 in the André Duchscher street and that it was just before World War I (1914-1918). It was also about this time that Joseph began working for the railroad.

1957 002
1957 – The house(s) belonging to Joseph FOURNELLE. Two buildings were combined to make the home. The doorway of the house on the right (middle) was closed up after the war.
1963-07-11 Echternach
1963 – The house owned by Joseph was passed on to his daughter Marcelle.
2015-01-23 13.57.38
2015 – After the death of my grandmother in 2005 the house was sold. The house no longer looks like the home we visited as children.

Joseph and Catherine’s Children Marry

Lucie married Virgile WENDLING before 1921. My mother does not know how it came to be that Lucie met Virgile who lived in Strasbourg, France. I believe that like many young people Lucie went to France to work. No record of marriage was found in Echternach. She had a daughter Yvonne, son René (died in 1944 in Serbia), and daughter Ginette. Since Lucie was working full time in Strasbourg her youngest daughter lived in Echternach with her grandparents and her aunt Marcelle, my Bomi, until she was old enough to go to school. Lucie suffered in later years from diabetes, had to have a leg amputated in the early 1970s and died 9 Apr 1977 in Strasbourg.[13]

Joseph and Catherine’s only son André married Marguerite HUESSMANN in the 1920s. I have not looked for the marriage record in Echternach or Hollerich were the bride’s parents lived. They were married after 1921, the FamilySearch cut-off year for most civil records for Luxembourg. In their wedding portrait (seen above) they appear to be quite young. They did not have children.

Joseph’s wife Catherine only saw her two older children marry. She died on 16 March 1934 in Echternach.[14]

1934obit
1934 Death Notice of Catherine FRANTZ, wife of Joseph FOURNELLE [14]
Following the mother’s death, the youngest daughter Marcelle married Johann WILDINGER on 26 July 1935.[9] Their story continues in The Plumber/Tinsmith and the Seamstress.

After the death of his wife, Joseph lived the rest of his life with his youngest daughter Marcelle who stayed in her parental home after her marriage. Lucie was living in Strasbourg with her family but often visited her father and siblings in Echternach. Before World War II Joseph was known for riding his bike from Echternach to Strasbourg to visit  Lucie and her family. Today this would be a 2 1/2 hours drive by car, how long did it take him to ride the 260 km or 162 miles?

World War II

On 10 May 1940 German troops marched into and occupied Luxembourg. On 6 October 1944, the Germans occupying Echternach announced that all the people of Echternach must leave the town at 11:00 in the morning. Everyone was to take the same route towards Osweiler where they were met by American soldiers waiting to move into Echternach. The people of Echternach continued their journey on foot pulling wagons with their belongings or in wagons pulled by horses to Bech. My mother was traveling with her mother Marcelle WILDINGER-FOURNELLE and her grandfather Joseph FOURNELLE. Grandpapa had his German Shepherd with him as well as his bike with a shopping bag filled with their papers. Gunfire scared the dog as they were walking up a hill and he ran off. Grandpapa dropped his bike and the bag full of papers and ran after the dog. Mom remembers the papers fluttering around but her grandfather was more concerning with the dog. They remained in Bech a week or two. From there, families moved on to places where they had relatives or friends in other parts of Luxembourg. Mom, her mother, and Grandpapa were in Helmdange for a short period of time before they joined a family who had relatives in the Lorentzweiler area. They stayed in Lorentzweiler until May of 1945 when they returned to a town that lay in ruins.[15]

MRIN01117 1945 ca. Nic. Wildinger's atelier - side street
1945 side street that ran along the left side of the Fournelle home in Echternach. The writing on the wall was the advertisement for the workshop of my grandfather Nik. WILDINGER (d. 1941). The woman on the left in front is my grandmother Marcelle FOURNELLE.

1946obit
Necrologie from the Escher Tageblatt dated 4 Dec 1946 [17]
Moni André, as Joseph’s only son was known to his nieces, was a dog trainer and the president of the Hondsportverein Dideleng (dog sports club of Dudelange).[16] I remember stories of his wearing a bite suit to train the dog to attack and also that he trained dogs for the blind. This was his hobby. He worked as a technician for ARBED (Aciéries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange) a major steel and iron producing company created in 1911.[17]

André died of a short and painful disease on 3 December 1946 in Dudelange. He was buried in the cemetery in Hollerich.[17] This makes me wonder if he and Mathilde, as his wife was known by the family, may have had babies buried in that cemetery. Or he was very close to his in-laws and was buried in the HUESSMANN plot. His widow Mathilde outlived him by 25 years and died on 4 April 1971 in Luxembourg-Hamm.[18]

1958obit
1958 Death Notice of Joseph FOURNELLE, widower of Catherine FRANTZ [20]
Fournelle Jean Joseph
N 16          Dcs          Feuille 5
L’an mil neuf cent cinquante-huit, le douze du mois de mars huit heures trente minutes par devant Nous Joseph Relles, bourgmestre, officier de l’état civil de la commune d’Echternach canton d’Echternach, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, a comparu Marie Marcelle Fournelle veuve de Wildinger Nicolas agée de quarante-huit ans, couturière domiciliée à Echternach; fille du défunt.
Laquelle Nous a déclaré que Jean Joseph Fournelle âgé de quatre-vingt-sept ans, employé de chemin de fer en retraite né à Surré commune de Boulaide, domicilié à Echternach; fils des défunts épouse André Fournelle et Lucie Schlechter; veuf de Catherine Frantz; les trois décédés à Echternach; est décécé le onze mars à seize heures quarante-cinq à Echternach à la maison Nr. 26 rue André Duchscher.
Le présent acte a été signé avec Nous par le comparant, après que lecture lui en a été faite.
Marcelle Fournelle             J. Relles

My great-grandfather Johann Joseph FOURNELLE died on 11 March 1958 in Echternach.[19],[20] I was two months old, lived on the other side of the Atlantic, and didn’t get to meet him.

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Boulaide > Naissances 1838-1890 Mariages 1798-1823, 1798-1835 > image 459 of 1498. 1871 Birth Record No. 6; (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12330-116084-50?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-T56:1193074600 : accessed 23 Mar 2010).
[2] 1871 Birth Record No. 6, conformed photocopy obtained 5 August 2010 from the Administration Communale de Boulaide. This is a substitute, produced on 10 January 1956 from the copy held in the archives in Luxembourg, to replace record destroyed during World War II.
[3] 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 746 of 1504. 1871 Birth Record No. 57. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12585-52481-73?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9:130065401,130365601 : accessed 23 March 2010).
[4] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Naissances, mariages 1895-1923 > image 547 of 819. 1900 Marriage Record No. 18. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32045-16170-78?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LQS:415858536 : accessed 6 March 2015).
[5] Luxemburger Wort, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlage der St-Paulus-Druckerei, Luxembourg), Thursday, September 27, 1900, page 2, column 4. (http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=1031961&search_terms=obst#panel:pp|issue:1031961|article:DTL71|query:obst : accessed 29 January 2013).
[6] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1895-1902 > image 179 of 202. 1902 Birth Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32027-19546-87?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-J47:129623201,129766201 : accessed 29 December 2014).
[7] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1903-1923 Mariages 1895-1905 > image 44 of 604. 1904 Birth Record No. 71; online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32040-10861-46?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2V1:n702239153 : accessed 14 Jan 2013.
[8] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1903-1923 Mariages 1895-1905 > image 176 of 604. 1909 Birth Record No. 41. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32040-10270-1?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2V1 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[9] (1) 1935 Marriage Record No. 13, photocopy of original page in the marriage book at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996.
(2) 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 the death of one or the other spouse. Scanned copy of the original, in possession of their daughter.
[10] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 584 of 675. 1908 Death Record 68; online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32043-12126-76?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2VR:n1397300048 : accessed 11 Jan 2013.
[11] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 644 of 675. 1911 Death Record No. 54. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32043-11951-69?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2VR : accessed 12 March 2015)
[12] Luxemburger Wort, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlage der St-Paulus-Druckerei, Luxembourg), Friday 10 April 1914, page 3, column 1.  http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=1114386&search_terms=fournelle#panel:pp|issue:1114386|article:DTL108|query:fournelle : accessed 25 January 2013
[13] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1895-1902 > image 179 of 202. 1902 Birth Record No. 13, includes annotation with date and place of death. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32027-19546-87?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-J47:129623201,129766201 : accessed 29 December 2014).
[14] Lettre de faire-part, Mme. Joseph Fournelle, née Catherine Frantz, 16 March 1934
[15] Narrative written in 1996 from information received during a conversation with my mother.
[16] Escher Tageblatt, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlag Editpress S.A., Esch-sur-Alzette), Wednesday, December 4, 1946, page 6, column 2. Announcement of death of Monsieur André Fournelle, President of the Hondssportverein Dideleng; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=120714&search_terms=#panel:pp|issue:120714|page:6 : accessed 6 March 2015.
[17] Escher Tageblatt, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlag Editpress S.A., Esch-sur-Alzette), Wednesday, December 4, 1946, page 6, column 2. Avis Mortuaire – Monsieur André Fournelle; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=120714&search_terms=#panel:pp|issue:120714|page:6 : accessed 15 Jan 2013.
[18] Luxemburger Wort, newspaper clipping from 5 April 1971
[19] 1958 Death Record No. 16, photocopy of original from records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996
[20] Lettre de faire-part, Monsieur Joseph Fournelle, veuve de Catherine Frantz, 11 March 1958

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Johann Joseph (Jean Joseph) FOURNELLE
Parents: André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
Spouse: Catherine FRANTZ
Parents of spouse: Johann FRANTZ and Maria MAJERUS
Children: Lucie, André, Marcelle
Whereabouts: Echternach, Grand Duché de Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: great-grandfather

1. Joseph Johann FOURNELLE
2. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE
3. Living WILDINGER (my Mom)
4. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 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 Thursdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

52 Ancestors: #9 Close to Home and Close to My Heart

Week 9 (Feb 26-Mar 4) – Close to Home. Which ancestor is the closest to where you live? Who has a story that hits “close to home”?

The WILDINGER- PÖPPELREITER Family (1874-1984)

The Wildinger-Pöppelreiter Family (ca. 1909). From left to right: mother Catherine Pöppelreiter, daughter Marie, son Jean-Pierre, and father Johann Wildinger. The little boy in front of Marie and Jean-Pierre is their son Nicolas, my maternal grandfather.

The WILDINGER-PÖPPELREITER family couldn’t get any closer to home. They lived in Echternach, Luxembourg, my hometown, the place I’ve lived for the past 40 years.

My great-grandfather Johann WILDINGER was born on 25 February 1874 in Ernzen, Eifel, Rheinland, Preußen (Germany) to Bernard WILDINGER (1838-1896) and Maria WEIMANN (1839-1915). Johann’s godparents were his maternal uncle Johann WEIMANN and his paternal aunt Elisabeth WILDINGER.[1][2]

My great-grandmother Catherine PÖPPELREITER was born on 16 September 1874 in Mettendorf, Eifel, Rheinland, Preußen (Germany) to Mathias PÖPPELREITER (1843- aft. 1891) and Magdalena WAGENER (1842-1884).[1]

1901marriageJohann WILDINGER and Catherine PÖPPELREITER were married in Ernzen on 4 June 1901.[1] Nine months later their first child, a daughter Marie, was born on 21 March 1902 in Ernzen[3] were the bridal couple lived after their marriage. Almost a year later, on 16 March 1903 Marie’s brother Jean-Pierre was born, also in Ernzen.[4]

The family moved from Ernzen to Mettendorf in 1904.[1] That is where their third child, a son Nicolas, my grandfather, was born on 25 August 1906.[5]

When Nicolas was 8 years old times were getting harder and harder for his father Johann, a mason. In July 1914 the family moved to Echternach, Luxembourg. Johann found a job in Wasserbillig and worked as a mason for ten years in Luxembourg until his death in 1924.

Johann WILDINGER died on 11 January 1924 in Echternach in their house in the Neigass. He was only 49 years old. Two of his neighbors were the informants on his death.[6] His children at the time were 21, 20, and 17 — old enough to support their mother who was also 49.

1924death
Photocopy of original death record in Echternach.

After Johann’s death, life went on and in the 1930s his sons married. Jean-Pierre married Suzanne WAGNER before 1933 and went to live and work in Esch-sur-Alzette and then Schifflange. Nicolas married Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE on 26 July 1935[7] and lived next door to his mother and sister Marie.

Jean-Pierre and Suzanne had a daughter F. in 1933. Nicolas and Marcelle had a daughter J. in 1936. These are the only grandchildren born to this family.

010 Papa (back) et Josette (front)
Nicolas WILDINGER playing with his niece Felicie (middle) and his daughter Josette (front)

Wartime came to Europe and Luxembourg in 1939. In 1940 the Germans occupied Luxembourg.

And while life was getting more and more difficult, Catherine PÖPPELREITER, the mother of this family, watched her youngest son get weaker and weaker from tuberculosis. Nicolas WILINDINGER died on 25 October 1941[8] in the hospital in Echternach leaving his widow Marcelle, their daughter J., his mother Catherine, his sister Marie, his brother Jean-Pierre, his sister-in-law Suzanne, and his only niece F.

MRIN01117 1941 Nicolas Wildinger death
1941 Death Record

 

During World War II Catherine’s oldest child Marie was seriously thinking about renouncing her German citizenship and becoming a Luxembourg citizen. She wrote to family in Germany asking for information on the genealogy of the family and received a reply in July 1942 from her mother’s half-sister Regina. There is one word in the letter that I am not quite sure about and have marked it with question marks in the transcription.

regina1
Photocopy made in 1996. Need to scan the original!

Mettendorf den 17.7.42
Liebe Verwandte!
Euern lb. Brief haben wir dankend und mit Freuden erhalten. Wir hätten Ihnen schon länger geschrieben wir wußten die Adresse nicht richtig. Uns geht es noch sehr gut was wir ja auch von Euch hoffen und auch bestens wünschen. Jetzt will ich Ihnen schnell das schreiben was Sie wissen wollen, von Vater seinen Eltern und Großeltern haben wir gestern noch von ?Steuerbuch? bekommen.
Geburturkunde             Standesamt Körperich
Mathias Pöppelreiter ist am 22 Juni 1843
in Mettendorf geboren.
Vater: Theodor Pöppelreiter, Taglöhner
Mutter: Maria Katharina Groelinger.
Geburturkunde                    Standesamt Körperich
Magdalena Wagener ist am 21 März 1842
geboren in Mettendorf.
Vater: Johann Wagener, Schäfer
Mutter: Anna Maria Kaerscht

regina2
Photocopy made in 1996.

Sonst kann ich Ihnen ja nicht viel schreiben. Hoffentlich ist der Krieg bald zu Ende.
Also seid hiermit recht herzlich gegrüßt von uns allen besonders von Regina.

In the letter, Regina, who was 45 at the time, greets her relatives saying how happy she and the family were to hear from them. She would have written sooner if she had had an address to write to. She says that they are doing very well (which surprised me) and wishes and hopes the same for her relatives in Luxembourg. She gives information on her father and his first wife (Regina was from his marriage to his second wife). She goes on to say that she doesn’t have much to talk about but hopefully the war will soon end. She sends heartfelt greetings from all, especially from Regina. Imagine! Regina wrote to her sister Catherine’s family living in German-occupied Luxembourg and this letter survived the war and was saved by Marie all these years.

1950death
1950 Death Record[9]
Johann WILDINGER’s widow Catherine Pöppelreiter died in Echternach in house number 24 in the rue André Duchscher on 4 September 1950 at 6 in the evening after a short and painful illness. She was 76 years old.[9]

MRIN01118 Catherine Wildinger-Pöppelreiter obit
Obituary from the Luxemburger Wort 6 September 1950[10]
The funeral service was held Thursday the 7th  at 9:30 a.m. She was survived by her daughter Marie, her son Jean-Pierre and his wife and daughter, and her widowed daughter-in-law Marcelle Fournelle and daughter. Catherine’s deceased husband’s name is seen as Jean instead of Johann as French names were more commonly used following World War II.

On 17 October 1950, the family placed an announcement in the Luxemburger Wort thanking everyone for the prayers, flowers, and cards of condolence received following her death.[11]

After the death of her mother, Marie continued to take steps to become a naturalized Luxembourg citizen. By the law of 18 December 1950, naturalization was granted to Miss Marie WILDINGER, born on 21 March 1902 in Ernzen, Germany, and a resident of Echternach. The naturalization was accepted on 23 December 1950, as noted in a report drawn up the same day by the mayor of the town Echternach. This became effective three days after publication on 6 January 1951.[3]

In 1962 Marie’s brother Jean-Pierre WILDINGER who was living and working in Schifflange was also naturalized.[4]

In 1957 when my mother married my father Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY she was the first of the grandchildren of Johann and Catherine WILDINGER-PÖPPELREITER to marry. Her cousin F., the older of the two granddaughters, married the following year in 1958 to Jean-Joseph “Ernest” HOFFMANN (1932-2002).

Everyone in the family was now married except Marie, the oldest child and only daughter of Johann and Catherine. Marie or Tata, as we called her, was never married. She was the person in this family who was closest to my heart and close to home as she lived on the same street we lived.

sewing
Tata’s well-used treadle powered Singer sewing machine.

Tata, my mother’s aunt and my grandaunt, became a seamstress and made her living by making, mending, and altering clothes, sheets, tablecloths, napkins, anything made of fabric. She was skilled enough to make coats, suits, and dresses for women from her own patterns. When times were hard she would take apart old pieces of clothing and make a new outfit out of the scraps for clients who needed new clothes but did not have the money to buy new fabric. She had a young woman apprentice, Margarete, who worked for her from a very young age until 1984.

1957 003
Marie WILDINGER standing in the doorway of her home, house number 24 in the Rue André Duchscher in Echternach in 1957.

She turned the living room of her house into her atelier where she sewed for and fitted her clients. It was a long, narrow room with only one window (on the left of Marie in the photo above) which looked out on the street. Two Singer sewing machines with treadle power were set up by the window, facing each other. Near the door that opened into the front hallway was a coal stove that was used to heat the room. Different sized irons used to iron open seams, more fragile fabrics, and press suits and coats were heated up on the top of the stove. Along the opposite wall was a long table that she used as an ironing board as well as a workspace to lay out, pin the patterns, and cut out the material. Against the back wall was a small bench usually filled with bolts of material. In the back corner of the room, she had a little closet to hang the clothes that were being worked on or were finished and waiting to be picked up by their owners.

irons
Irons, scissors, thimbles and darning eggs.

During the many years that Marie worked as a seamstress, there were plenty of people who were happy to pay for her services. Enough for her to support herself and her mother even though her sister-in-law Marcelle, who lived next door, also worked as a seamstress.

From 1962-1966 when my siblings and I were young and living in France we would visit Tata whenever we were in Luxembourg. While she sewed and visited with Mom, she would let us play with her collection of buttons on the floor in front of the oven. Wooden buttons, metal buttons, covered buttons, glass buttons, pearly buttons, sew through buttons, shank buttons, old buttons, plain buttons, pretty buttons, even ugly buttons – none were thrown away. To keep us busy she would also give us a large magnet. We would crawl around her work area picking up pins and needles that had fallen on the wooden floor and into the cracks.

In 1973 Jean-Pierre’s wife Suzanne WAGNER died and was buried in the cemetery of Echternach in the WILDINGER family plot where her parents-in-law and brother-in-law Nicolas were buried.

Tata did not like to have her picture taken. I think this was because she was always working, wearing her apron which was usually covered with pieces of thread, pins and threaded needles, or lint from running the sewing machine. Here she was all dressed up, even wearing a brooch, when she came by for coffee and the traditional Bûche de Noel, at Christmastime in 1978.

1978-12 Tata_edited
Coffee and the traditional Bûche de Noel at Christmastime in 1978
1984-03-22 Marie Wildinger
Clipping from the Luxemburger Wort

My grandaunt Marie WILDINGER died the day after her 82nd birthday. The funeral service was held at the basilica in Echternach on Saturday, 24 March 1984 at 4 in the afternoon. She was buried in the cemetery in Echternach. She was survived by a brother, two nieces, 3 grandnieces and 5 grandnephews.

1984-10 Jean Pierre Wildinger
Clipping from the Luxemburger Wort

The last surviving child of this couple, my granduncle Jean-Pierre WILDINGER died in October 1984. His funeral service was held in the church of Schifflange on Tuesday, 23 October 1984, at 4 in the afternoon. He was survived by his only daughter, his son-in-law, three grandchildren, a niece, 2 grandnieces and 3 grandnephews.

Although his name is on the plaque with the WILDINGER family, he is not buried in Echternach.

MRIN01117 Wildinger grave closeup
Closeup of Wildinger family grave marker.
MRIN01117 Wildinger grave
Wildinger family grave in the cemetery of Echternach, Luxembourg.

Sources:
[1] Richard Schaffner from Kordel, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), page 245-246, family #867. Book viewed and pages photographed in Archiv Peter Daus (Wittlich) on 4 May 2013.
[2] “Deutschland, Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NFD4-6LB : accessed 23 February 2015), Joh. Wildinger, 25 Feb 1874; FHL microfilm 462,714.
[3] Mémorial (Journal Officiel) du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, A N° 1, Samedi, le 6 janvier 1951, online http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1951/0001/a001.pdf
[4] Mémorial (Journal Officiel) du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, A N° 40, 24 juillet 1962, pg. 617, online http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1962/0040/a040.pdf
[5] 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.
[6] 1924 Death Record No. 12, photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.
[7] 1935 Marriage Record No. 13, photocopy of original page in the marriage book at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996.
[8] 1941 Death Record No. 49, photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.
[9] 1950 Death Record No., photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.
[10] Luxembourger Wort, digitized by Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=833934&search_terms=catherine%20wildinger#panel:pp|issue:833934|article:DTL387|query:catherine wildinger
[11] Luxembourger Wort, digitized by Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=835266&search_terms=catherine%20wildinger#panel:pp|issue:835266|article:DTL332|query:catherine wildinger

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Johann WILDINGER
Parents: Bernard WILDINGER and Maria WEIMANN
Spouse: Catherine PÖPPELREITER
Parents of Spouse: Mathias PÖPPELREITER and Magdalena WAGENER
Whereabouts: Ernzen and Mettendorf, Germany, and Echternach, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: Maternal Great-grandparents

1. Johann WILDINGER and Catherine PÖPPELREITER
2. Nicolas WILDINGER
3. Mom
4. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 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.

 

52 Ancestors: #4 The Plumber/Tinsmith and the Seamstress

Week 4, Closest to your birthdayNot too much to think about here. What ancestor has the birthday closest to yours? (I mean in terms of month and day, not the year ;) )

I checked all my ancestors and none were born on the same day as I was. Since name days were at one time more commonly celebrated in Luxembourg than birthdays and I knew that my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE’s name day, January 31, was very close to my birthday, January 14, she fit the bill. If she hadn’t, I still would have written about her and her husband this week!

monogram
Marcelle and Nicolas’ monogram on their wedding announcement.

The FOURNELLE-WILDINGER Family

Nicolas WILDINGER who was born in Mettendorf,  Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, on 25 August 1906, the third and youngest child of Johann WILDINGER and Katharina PÖPPELREITER.[1],[2]

nic
Nicolas ca. 1909

When Nicolas was 8 years old times were getting harder and harder for his father Johann, a builder. In July 1914 the family moved to Echternach and Johann found a job as a builder in Wasserbillig.

1909birth
1909 Birth Record No. 41 [3]
Maria Marcelle FOURNELLE was born at 7 o’clock in the morning on the 17 June 1909 in the house called Mühlenacht (Millenoacht in Luxembourgish) in Echternach. Her father Johann Joseph FOURNELLE, 38, a rose breeder (Rosenzuchter), was the informant for the birth of the child born to his wife Catharina FRANTZ, 36 and without an occupation. Peter STEINMETZ and Mathias PRIM were witnesses and Rudolf BRIMMEYR was the mayor and official who recorded the birth.

Marcelle ca. 1917

 Nicolas and Marcelle Become a Couple and Marry

034
Marcelle and Nicolas in the 1930s.

At 7 o’clock on the evening of 26 July 1935 Mathias SCHAFFNER, the mayor of Echternach, married Nicolas, a plumber (Klempner), and Marcelle, without occupation. Nicolas was 28 and Marcelle was 26. Nicolas’ mother Catharina PÖPPELREITER and Marcelle’s father Johann Joseph FOURNELLE were present and agreeable to the marriage.

Nicolas’ father had been dead 11 years and Marcelle’s mother a little over a year. The marriage banns had been read on Sunday the 7th of July. A marriage contract was signed on the day of the marriage in the presence of the notary Julius REDING in Echternach.

There were no other witnesses present at the marriage and the record was signed by the bride and groom, their parents, and the mayor.

It is interesting to note that Nicolas’ mother signed as Mrs. Wildinger (Frau Wildinger) which is unusual as women in Luxembourg normally sign all legal documents with their maiden name. In the margin, the death of the groom, who predeceased the bride, was recorded. Below this is the official stamp and the date that the copy of this record was obtained from the records office at the city hall.

MRIN01117 1935 Nicolas Wildinger and Maria Marcelle Fournelle marriage 13
1935 Marriage Record No. 13 [4]
As is the case with all bridal couples in Luxembourg, Nicolas and Marcelle were presented with a Family Book.

MRIN01117 1935 Fournelle-Wildinger Family Book 1 MRIN01117 1935 Fournelle-Wildinger Family Book 2 MRIN01117 1935 Fournelle-Wildinger Family Book 3The Couple Marry in a Religious Ceremony

1935 Announcement of Marriage sent out by the parents of the bride and groom.

Nicolas and Marcelle’s parents sent out announcements of the religious marriage of their children who were married in the strictest privacy in the St. Willibrod Basilica Echternach the following day. The witnesses were Nicolas’ brother who signed P. WILDINGER and Marcelle’s father who signed J. FOURNELLE. Jean Pierre KAYSER, the priest, made an entry in the couple’s Family Book to show that the religious ceremony had been performed on 27 July 1935 in Echternach.

Marcelle did not take her husband Nicolas’ German nationality when they married. She made a declaration on 20 August 1935 to conserve her Luxembourg nationality. This was published in the Mémorial du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg No. 48 on 23 June 1936.[5]

Mémorial du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg No. 48.
Mardi, 23 juin 1936.
Page 612
Relevé des Luxembourgeoises de naissance qui ont fait en 1935 la déclaration pour conserver la nationalité luxembourgeoise.
I . Déclaration prévue par l’art. 24 n° 3 de la loi du 23 avril 1934.
Noms et prénoms: Fournelle Marie-Marcelle, épouse Wildinger, Nicolas
Résidence: Echternach
Lieu et date de naissance: Echternach 17. 6. 1909
Date de la déclaration: 20. 8. 1935

Nicolas and Marcelle Become Parents

Ten months later Nicolas and Marcelle’s only daughter was born. Seen here with her father on the front step of their house (left) and playing with her dog on wheels in front of their house (below).

1938 ca. Nic. Wildinger with daughter Josette
Nicolas with his daughter on the front doorstep of their house.
010 Papa (back) et Josette (front)
Nicolas playing with his daughter (front) and another little girl in front of their house.

Nicolas, Plumber and Tinsmith

Nicolas was a master plumber and had his own business. In the 1930s he worked on the gutter of the hospital in Echternach. Little did he know that by the beginning of the next decade he would be a patient in this hospital and it would be the place of his death.

1930s Nicolas Wildinger far right
Nicolas WILDINGER (far right) working as a tinsmith, fixing the gutter of the hospital in Echternach in the 1930s.
2015-01-23hospicecivilechternach
Front view of the “Spidol” or Hospice Civil as it is known today. Photo used with permission © Egon Meder.

Nicolas WILDINGER advertised his plumbing (sanitary installations) and tinsmith business on this Sphinx Sanitary Ware ashtray.

MRIN01117 Nicolas Wildinger de Sphinx collage
Photo used with permission © Egon Meder.

Marcelle Becomes a Widow

Nicolas, diagnosed with tuberculosis, did not have many years to play with his young daughterOn 10 May 1940 German troops marched into and occupied Luxembourg. The Germans insisted on the people of Luxembourg changing their names to the German equivalent of their French-sounding names. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE became Maria Marzella WILDINGER (née FOURNELLE). She signed the death record of her husband Nicolas with this name when she reported his death on 25 October 1941. Nicolas died at 9:40 on the evening of the 24th of October in the Bürgerhospital at Oberhoveleck 2, in Echternach. The civil servant who filled out the death record knew (as noted on the record) Marcelle who said that she was present at the time of her husband’s death. Also seen on the record is the date of marriage of the deceased as well as the number and location of the marriage record. This was cross-referenced in the margin of the marriage record as seen above.

MRIN01117 1941 Nicolas Wildinger death
1941 Death Record No. 49 [6]

Life Continues in German Occupied Luxembourg

Amulette from WWII 1 front
Spéngelskrich or “War of the Pins” amulet

As mentioned earlier, German troops marched into and occupied Luxembourg on 10 May 1940. Nicolas’ widow Marcelle would have been a wonderful subject for last week’s theme – a tough woman. I wrote a short piece on her last year: Fearless Females: Bomi’s Resistance Amulette. This was one of the most interesting times during her life. Please take a few minutes to read more about my grandmother and her Spéngelskrich amulet.

plaque
In memory of the evacuation of the city of Echternach on 6 October 1944. Photo used with permission © Egon Meder.

On 6 October 1944, the Germans occupying Echternach announced that the people of Echternach must leave the town at 11:00 in the morning. Everyone was to take the same route towards Osweiler where they were met by American soldiers waiting to move into Echternach. The people of Echternach continued their journey on foot pulling wagons with their belongings or in wagons pulled by horses to Bech. Marcelle WILDINGER-FOURNELLE was traveling with her 8 years old daughter and her 73 years old father Joseph FOURNELLE. They remained in Bech a week or two. From there, families moved on to places where they had relatives or friends in other parts of Luxembourg. Marcelle, her daughter, and her father were in Helmdange for a short period of time and then joined a family who had relatives in the Lorentzweiler area.

Echternach in Ruins But No Longer Occupied by Germans

“During the Battle of the Bulge Dec. 1944 this place was heroically defended by soldiers of E-Comp. 12th Regt. 4th U.S. Inf. Div. Their sacrifice delayed the enemy advance and contributed to the final victory we shall remember.” Photo used with permission © Egon Meder.

They stayed in Lorentzweiler until May of 1945 when they returned to Echternach, a town that lay in ruins. The living room of Marcelle’s home became a reading room for the American officer in Echternach. Diagonally across the street is a plaque commemorating the soldiers.

May 20th was Pentecost and on May 22nd, the following Tuesday, the famous annual religious procession through the streets of Echternach took place. The basilica had been destroyed by the Germans on the 26th of December 1944 so the procession ended in the Peter and Paul Church (alten Pfarrkirche). Marcelle’s daughter and the other children her age had missed making their First Communion on the Sunday after Easter as they had not yet returned to Echternach on the 8th of April. They had to wait until 22 July 1945 to receive the sacrament in the Peter and Paul Church instead of in the basilica which had to be rebuilt. The rebuilding was finally finished on 20 September 1953.

Marcelle, Works as a Seamstress and Runs a B & B

Marcelle with her daughter, ca. 1942.

Life continued after the war. Marcelle worked from home as a seamstress. Later she supplemented her tiny income by taking in tourists. When her husband was still living he had installed sinks in every one of the 6 bedrooms in the house. She would serve breakfast in the living room that had once served as a meeting place for neighbors during the German occupation and later as the reading room for the American officers.

In  1957 her daughter married an American G.I. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY stationed at Bitburg A.F.B. in Germany. Marcelle had only her elderly father living with her when the young couple moved to the United States. Although she was only 31 years old at the time of her husband’s death she had never remarried. In 1958, a month after the birth of her first grandchild, her father died. She saw her daughter only when her son-in-law was stationed in Europe.

1975-01-21 Granddaddy, Grandma, Mom, Bomi
Fred and Myrtle DEMPSEY, the day after their 52nd wedding anniversary, with Marcelle FOURNELLE and her daughter at the construction site of the New River Bridge in West Virginia.

Marcelle made one trip to America to visit her recently widowed daughter and her son-in-law’s parents, Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY and Myrtle Hazel ROOP. Her daughter returned to Echternach with her children to be near her mother that year.

1971-05-020 Luxembourg
Marcelle Fournelle in 1971.

Twenty-five Lost Years

And this is where the story becomes difficult and maybe biased as it is from my point of view. Marcelle, my Bomi, had become a very independent woman and had always been set in her ways. It was not easy for her to have her widowed daughter and five children in her home. And it was not easy for her daughter and her children to live with a woman who was used to getting her own way. Although there was plenty of room in the house her daughter made the decision to move into a home of her own.

Bomi cut ties between us, my mother and I, because we had met men we were interested in. I wonder if she may have regretted never having remarried. Bomi, my grandmother and godmother, was a very stubborn woman. My mother and I had no contact with her for 25 years. And we married the men who were indirectly the reason for her refusing to speak to us.

One of my brothers, who had remained in contact with Bomi, was in the military and stationed in Germany in the late 1990s. When he knew that he was to be transferred Stateside he sat down with Bomi. He explained that since she was now over 90 she would have to forget her pride and, after he left, accept help from her daughter and grandchildren who lived in Echternach. She loved him dearly, her favorite grandchild. She said that she would if her daughter would.

Making Up For Lost Time

On Thursdays, my mother and I met at the supermarket while doing our shopping. One day Bomi was with her. I came in through the back, they came in through the front, and we met inside. I had been expecting this meeting and my heart was pounding. And what does she say to me after 25 years? “Cathy, I see you won the supermarket contest, 121 bottles of wine. Congratulations!”

What? She had seen a sign in the supermarket with a list of winners when they came in. I had no idea that I had won but it broke the ice. We would meet like this every Thursday, sometimes going back to her house for a few minutes.

Christmas Eve 2001
Christmas Eve 2001

But she did not come to our house until my husband got up the courage to visit her on his own. And he did a good job of pulling her into a plot – removing most of the animosity between them. She loved playing jokes on people. They plotted on surprising us, my Mom and I, by Bomi’s coming to dinner on Christmas Eve at our house. It worked and I believe my husband earned her respect, the respect she should have shown him when they first met.

My children got to know their great-grandmother who they called Bomi-Bomi since my mother was already their Bomi. They loved listening to her tell the stories from the “old days.”

In 2004 Bomi was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. When she had to be hospitalized the headstrong woman did not make it easy for the nurses caring for her. As she needed full-time care she was put on the waiting list of the nursing home  “Am Schleeschen” in Echternach. It is interesting to note how the home got its name – since it is part of her past. During World War II when the Germans occupied Echternach they had their offices in the old building of the present complex. Christian Stock who performed the duties of mayor (Amtsbürgermeister) proudly said “Das ist mein Schlösschen” or This is my castle.” This reminded me of a story Bomi told us. One night she helped three men hang the Luxembourgish flag on the gates of Stock’s Schlösschen during the German occupation – a grave offense if they had been caught. She would never divulge the men’s names even after they had all passed away.

Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE died in her sleep on 24 January 2005 in the nursing home “Am Schleeschen” in Echternach, where she had been a resident for only a few days, at the age of 95 years, 7 months, 10 days.

MRIN01117 Fournelle grave
FOURNELLE family grave
MRIN01117 Wildinger grave
WILDINGER family grave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
[1] 1935 Marriage Record No. 13, photocopy of original page in the marriage book at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996.
[2] 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 the death of one or the other spouse. Scanned copy of the original, in possession of their daughter.
[3] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch, Echternach > Naissances 1903-1923 Mariages 1895-1905 > image 176 of 604. “1909 Birth Record No. 41.” (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32040-10270-1?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2V1 : accessed 15 January 2015), (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg).
[4] 1935 Marriage Record No. 13, photocopy of original page in the marriage book at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996.
[5] Mémorial du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, No. 48, pg. 260, 23 June 1936. Online http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1936/0048/a048.pdf : accessed 23 Jan 2015.
[6] 1941 Death Record No. 49, photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE
Parents: Jean Joseph FOURNELLE and Catharina FRANTZ
Spouse: Nicolas WILDINGER
Parents of spouse: Johann WILDINGER and Katharina Pöppelreiter
Children: Living (one)
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: Maternal Grandmother

1. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE
2. Mom
3. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 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.

The Very Last Signature of André FOURNELLE

signature
“Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32043-12154-39?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2VR : accessed 13 Jan 2013), Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 44 of 675; citing Archives Nationales.

On the morning of 21 November 1908 at 11 a.m. my great-great-grandfather André FOURNELLE (age 70) was one of four witnesses at the marriage of his niece
Maria-Josephine MAAS and her groom Johann MISCHAUX. That evening at 6 p.m. he died at his home. It is hard to believe that this (see arrow) was his last signature as it looked very strong! The FOURNELLE signature below his, was his son Johann (or Jean) Joseph FOURNELLE, my great-grandfather, who was the informant on the death of his father. He signed the 1908 death record (below) with his full name as opposed to only his surname as seen (above) on the marriage record. Johann MAAS, father of the bride, was the second informant on André’s death record.

fournelledeath
“Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32043-12126-76?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2VR : accessed 11 Jan 2013), Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 584 of 675; citing Archives Nationales.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

A Visit to the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp

logo_klengAre you curious about what your immigrant ancestors had to endure to come to America? Last May 24th I got a glimpse of what it was like. I participated in a day trip with my genealogy society Luxracines to Antwerp (Belgium) with a visit of the Red Star Line Museum. As always the trip was well planned with enjoyable transportation. Everyone had a good time visiting the sights in the city of Antwerp before going on the guided tour scheduled at the museum.

group
The Luxracines group. © Romain Krier, used with permission.

We were divided up into three groups, two guides spoke French and the third English. Of course I chose to go with the English group. Our storyteller Lien Vloeberghs gave us a wonderfully informative tour of the museum. I mentioned to her that I wanted to write a blog post about the visit and she offered to send me the museum’s press kit and answer any questions I would have.

The Red Star Line Museum tells the story of millions of people and the quest for happiness. It is a story we can all relate to.
~
Red Star Line Museum press kit

The Red Star Line Museum on the Rijnkaai in Antwerp, Belgium, opened it’s doors to the public in September 2013. The museum is in the restored departure warehouses for third-class passengers. It is full of remarkable exhibits documenting the history of the shipping line and the more than two million passengers who left through this port between 1873 and 1934. Did one of your ancestors arrive in America on a ship whose name ended with land? Then the ship was most likely one of the Red Star Line fleet.

Between 1815 and 1940, about 60 million migrants left Europe in hope of a better life.

Visitors follow in the footsteps of emigrants and experience their enthusiasm and anxiety, their tension and uncertainty; they experience the farewells and obstacles as well as the adventure, the discoveries and the hope for a new life on the other side of the ocean.
~ Red Star Line Museum press kit

poster
Red Star Line Museum exhibit, photographed during visit 24 May 2014.

In the late 19th and early 20th century the Red Star Line provided direct passage across the Atlantic to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston to migrants. Their journey began in their country of origin, usually Germany and Eastern Europe. The emigrants frequently left their countries because of poverty.

Several of my relatives from Luxembourg immigrated to the United States on a Red Star Line ship. A cousin of my great-great-grandfather André FOURNELLE (1838-1908) took this big step with his family.

Nicolas FOURNELLE (1830-1913) made the trip across the Atlantic on the Friesland in 1890 at the age of 59 with his wife Margaret HUBERTY 49, their children J. Baptist 17, Anna Maria 10, and Pierre 5, as well as, their son-in-law Frederick BROEDER 32, his wife Marie FOURNELLE 28, and their children Joh. Herm. 4 and Josephine 2. The group of nine went to join up with Nicolas’ son Jean Pierre and daughter Marie Catherine who had made the same trip on the Belgenland in 1887.

Let us join the Fournelle family on their journey

The Departure

The FOURNELLE and BROEDER families of Rodange most likely bought their tickets from the Red Star Line travel agency Derulle-Wigreux und Sohn in Luxembourg City. The travel agency advertised in local newspapers for all classes of passengers.

Ad
Luxemburger Wort Nr. 245, 2 Sep 1885, page 4; digitized by Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg [online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu : accessed 26 May 2014]
The Train Journey

station
Gare Centrale in Antwerp. Red Star Line Museum collection. Photo taken during visit.

The ocean crossing itself was only part of the voyage. Migrants first had to leave their country and take a long train trip to Antwerp arriving at the Gare Centrale which can be compared to Grand Central Station in New York.

For the families coming from Luxembourg the train trip was short compared to those travelling from Eastern Europe. These people may have had to make stops along the way to work and replenishing their money pouches. For some the trip lasted up to several years as they moved from one location to the next. The gaps between leaving the homeland and arriving in America should be taken into consideration when researching your families.

Staying in Antwerp

The migrants arrived in the dynamic city of Antwerp. Imagine these impoverished people walking to their lodgings and seeing the bustling shopping streets and luxurious buildings of the city. They often stayed in filthy hotels with swindlers waiting to cheat them out of their money or ticket. For most the stay in Antwerp was short but for others, who did not pass the controls or needed to earn more money for passage, their time in the city was longer than planned.

Entering the Museum (today)

Crossing the threshold of the “Shed” we entered the world of the European migrants who left their native countries in search of a better life. We were able to touch the walls that our immigrants touched while they endured the required procedures to allow them to travel to America.

building
The Red Star Museum in Antwerp.

Showers and Disinfection

Passengers handed over their luggage to Red Star Line employees. Men and women where separated and took off their clothes to shower. Their clothes were put in a bag and with the luggage were placed in the large chambers which were hermetically sealed to be disinfected under high pressure steam.

chambers
Red Star Line Museum exhibit, photographed during visit 24 May 2014.

While their clothes and belongings were chemically treated the passengers were cleaned of lice by taking an hour long shower with hot vinegar and benzene.

Passengers recall that their clothes were damp when returned to them. It is unknown what chemicals may have been used to disinfect the clothes and baggage as no records have been found about the procedure. The chambers used to disinfect the belonging are long gone however a photo of the room with the disinfection kettles survives.

The Doctor’s Visit

Following the shower the migrants climbed the stairs that led to the doctors’ area
and the final judgment.

The Red Star Line enforced the rules of the American authorities as anyone who was refused entry in the United States would be sent back at the expense of the shipping line. The hygienic procedures were insisted upon by the American authorities to avoid bringing infectious diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and trachoma into the county. Migrants were put in quarantine if they came from an area known to have had an epidemic.

Doctors checked the passengers for lice running their hands through hair, lifting or pulling down eyelids to inspect for eye disease (trachoma), using instruments to press down the tongue to check for disease in the mouth. All examinations were done without the precautions that we are used to today.

Travelling Steerage

entry
Red Star Line Museum exhibit, photographed during visit 24 May 2014.

After the extensive checks in the building the migrants could finally embark and begin the ocean journey.

For the Fournelle family this meant that they would live together with other migrants in large dormitories for the circa ten day (to three week) trip.

Later, in the 20th century, crossing on ocean steamers was much more comfortable for passengers as companies began paying more attention to the comfort of third-class traveller.

In the museum’s exhibits the stark difference between the luxury of first class and the scarcity of third class can be seen.

Stories collected from former passengers tell of upper class passengers throwing food down to third class or of the migrants sneaking up to second class for scraps of food as there was no access to first class.

Frieslandsm
Passenger Ships and Images [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]
What happened to the migrants during their journey? Who did they meet, what did they see and feel, why did they leave? The collection of stories allow visitors of the meusum to learn more about the people who crossed the Atlantic.

header
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]

Steerages
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]

Broder-Fournell
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]

Arriving in America

The Fournelle party arrived in New York on 12 March 1890. Tension was high as the crucial, last examination awaited third-class passengers. Crowd control barricades
lead them through the examination station.

Nicolas and his family finally passed through all controls and were able to continue their journey to Pawnee County, Nebraska, where they were reunited with 24 year old son John Peter FOURNELL (as he was now called) and 20 year old daughter Catherine. Not only were they reunited with these children but also with Nicolas’ sister Margaret (1833-1910) who immigrated about 1881 with her second husband Nicolas le jeune BOUCHÉ (aka Nicholas BOUCHE).

The Guided Tour Comes to an End

Our visit to the museum came to an end after climbing the observation tower which offers a 360° view of Antwerp. This showpiece, shaped like the bow of a steamer, was built on the new building between the corner building and the main building to replace a high chimney that was dismantled in 1936.

panoramasm
Panorama view from the observation tower of the Red Star Line Museum.

A heartfelt thank you to Lien Vloeberghs and the rest of the staff at the Red Star Line Museum for making this a memorial journey.

★★★★★★★

From the Red Star Line Museum press kit, two famous passengers:

Albert Einstein made two historic journeys with the Red Star Line: the first time the Belgenland brought him from the United States to Antwerp, where he announced that he would not return to Nazi Germany.
His second journey, on the Westernland, brought Einstein and his wife to America for good.

★ Israel Isidore Baline, later known as Irving Berlin, the composer of ‘White Christmas’, travelled on the SS Rhynland as a 5-year-old boy.

The Red Star Line Trailer – English Subtitles  

★★★★★★★

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Fearless Females: Bomi’s Resistance Amulette

This is my entry for Day 6:  Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE married Nicolas WILDINGER, a German whose family had been living in Luxembourg since the first World War, on the 26th of July 1935. A month later she made a declaration to preserve her Luxembourgish nationality. In May 1936 her only child was born. When her daughter was five years old Marcelle’s husband died of tuberculosis. She had at least one offer of marriage but remained a widow from 1941 until her death in 2005 at the age of 95 years, 7 months, 10 days.

1942 ca. Mom+Bomi 1
Mom and Bomi in the 1940’s

Bomi, as her grandchildren called her, was a fearless female during World War II (1939-1945). On May 10th, 1940, the German Wehrmacht invaded Luxembourg. On the eve of this invasion the Prime Minister of Luxembourg and his government decided to go into exile. From abroad, they lead the resistance against the Nazi regime in Luxembourg. Grand Duchess Charlotte followed the government and eventually moved to London, the headquarters of the allies. Thanks to her, the resistance movement in Luxembourg developed strongly.

Amulette from WWII 1 front
Bomi’s Spéngelskrich or
“War of the Pins” amulette
(front view)
Amulette from WWII 2 back
Bomi’s Spéngelskrich or
“War of the Pins” amulette
(back view)

The people of Luxembourg had their own ways to resist the German occupation of their country during World War II. They used passive resistance. They refused to speak German and participated in the Spéngelskrich [see page 14] or “War of the Pins.” The people wore badges, pinned to their coats or jackets, which bore patriotic emblems such as the Red Lion or the head of Grand Duchess Charlotte, cut from a coin. My Bomi, Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE, wore this amulette, a profile of the Grand Duchesse with the initial C for Charlotte, on a chain around her neck until her death in 2005.

Bomi told us several stories about her life during this time. Once on the evening of January 23rd all of the neighbors met in her house to celebrate the birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The windows were covered so that no light could be seen from the street but the German patrol could hear the celebrating. They knocked on the door and asked what was going on. Bomi told them that they were celebrating her birthday. It’s a good thing they didn’t check her identification as her birthday was June 17th. She asked the Germans to join them in a glass of wine. She would laugh when she told us how the Germans raised their glasses to the birthday girl, not knowing that they were toasting the Grand Duchess.

Bomi was a seamstress and during the war the German officers’ wives would come to her to have their clothes made or altered. Once shellfire had caused damage to the roof of her house and she needed roofing material to have it fixed. She went to the Germans to apply for aid. The officer in charge wasn’t very forthcoming. My fearless Bomi “threatened” him saying that the next time his wife needed a new dress she wouldn’t be able to help her unless he helped her now. The officer’s wife must have also been a fearless female because he handed over the papers Bomi needed to pick up the supplies.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

DE FOY > PHILIPPART DE FOY > PHILIPPART

Door27PHILIPPART

One of my 15 known (of 16) great-great-great-grandmothers was a PHILIPPART from Rodange in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. I have her line documented back through 5 generations in Villers la Chèvre, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, between the 1660s until 1744 and Rodange, Pétange, Luxembourg, from 1744 until her death in 1843 and her parents’ deaths in 1849 and 1851:
Marie Catherine Philippart 1801-1843 (3ggm)
Michel Philippart 1777-1849 (4ggf) md. Catherine Meunier
Jacques Philippart 1749-1824 (5ggf) md. Catherine Singer
Jacques Philippart 1714-aft 1764 (6ggf) md. Elisabeth Burkel
Jean Philippart 1678-1755 (7ggf) md. Jeanne Dorion
I have birth, baptismal, marriage, and death records from France and Luxembourg for the 1600s to 1800s to document these five ancestors.

The PHILIPPART line goes back further with the name changing to PHILIPPART DE FOY and earlier to DE FOY. At this point, I have names and approximate dates for 11 generations back to the 1300s (18ggf) but have not been able to document the information which was found on the website of Dr. Robert L. Philippart. I share with him PHILIPPART, MEUNIER, BURKEL, FOURNELLE, and NEU ancestors (4C1R, 5C2R, and 5C1R). It is not known if Dr. Philippart is the person who researched the earlier generations or if it was done by another researcher. Unfortunately, the genealogy information has been removed from Dr. Philippart’s site http://robertphilippart.eu/accueil.htm.
[To-do list: contact Dr. Philippart to determine the source of his information]

The surnames PHILIPPART DE FOY and DE FOY are Belgian nobility according to the list found on the Europedia website. The giveaway, when looking at surnames, is that families issued from the old nobility typically have a particle, such as de, de la, du or le in French. The PHILIPPART DE FOY and DE FOY lines are at the bottom of the nobility totem pole being esquires and preceded by knights, barons, viscounts, marquises, princes, and dukes. Does this mean that I can trace my ancestry, like other families of nobility, back to Charlemagne (742-814), and by doing so also to Clovis (466-511) and older Merovingian kings?
[Europedia, online http://www.eupedia.com/belgium/belgian_nobility.shtml#Esquire]

“The idea that virtually anyone with a European ancestor descends from English royalty seems bizarre, but it accords perfectly with some recent research done by Joseph Chang, a statistician at Yale University. The mathematics of our ancestry is exceedingly complex, because the number of our ancestors increases exponentially, not linearly. These numbers are manageable in the first few generations—two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents—but they quickly spiral out of control. Go back forty generations, or about a thousand years, and each of us theoretically has more than a trillion direct ancestors—a figure that far exceeds the total number of human beings who have ever lived.”
~ Steve Olson, “The Royal We”, Atlantic Magazine published May 2002, online http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/05/the-royal-we/302497/ : accessed 9 Dec 2013.

You can ask whether everyone in the Western world is descended from Charlemagne, and the answer is yes, we’re all descended from Charlemagne. But can you prove it? That’s the game of genealogy.” ~ Mark Humphrys, a computer scientist at Dublin City University

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON

Door21Jean FOURNEL (b. abt. 1655 d. 1721) and Catherine SETON (b. abt. 1657 d. 1702)
Place of death: Saulnes, Département Meurthe-et-Moselle, Region Lorraine, France

Jean and Catherine are the oldest known ancestors in my FOURNELLE line. In 2003 André Hennico sent me a descendancy report on this couple. Over the years I have been able to find the documents to prove the dates and places he lists for the families who stayed in Luxembourg. I have also been able to fill in the branches and correct some erroneous information found in other databases.

A recent search on the internet turned up transcriptions (dépouillement) of birth, marriage, and death records (late 1600s-early 1700s) in Herserange (France) which match some of Hennico’s information. A couple of these, although recorded in Herserange (France), show that the place of the event was Rodange (Luxembourg).

A direct descendant of this couple, Gaston Naux in his database on geneanet.org lists Nicolas FOURNEL as the father of Jean FOURNEL. This is not sourced and needs to be researched.

My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE always spoke of the house in Rodange where she visited relatives being half in Luxembourg and half in France. The house may have passed through several generations as her grandfather André FOURNELLE was the last of her direct line to be born and raised in Rodange (Luxembourg). Census records show that his father André Sr. had his oldest daughter and her husband and children living with him in 1855 and 1858 and later, in 1861 and 1864, the head of household was the son-in-law and the father-in-law was part of the household. Most likely they remained in the same house. Satellite images of the area show that Saulnes and Rodange form the border between France and Luxembourg with most of the land along the borderline being woods and fields. The house may have been on the Route de Longwy where a parking lot (half in France and half in Luxembourg) can now be found. My mother remembers their visits but does not know for sure where the house was. This is one mystery that I would like to solve.

This Sunday my 5th cousin 1st removed, John Fournelle will be visiting so that we can discuss our FOURNELLE family and our common ancestors Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU, his 4th and my 5th great-grandparents. John’s great-grandfather Nicolas FOURNELLE emigrated in 1882 from Luxembourg to Ramsey County, Minnesota, while my line remained in Luxembourg. Nicolas FOURNELLE’s second cousin Nicholas FOURNELL emigrated in 1890 from Luxembourg to Pawnee County, Nebraska. There may be more family in America as one in five of the inhabitants of Luxembourg emigrated to the United States between 1841 and 1891.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.