At the annual Genealogy and Local History day hosted by my genealogy society Luxracines last month, Nicole gave me two old photographs. They were found at the recycling park and passed on to her as she has an interest in genealogy. As I’ve worked with old photographs and have an interest in researching US families, Nicole thought I might be able to research the family and write a post.
In the post, I was able to identify the MAUER family of Koerich in Luxembourg. The brothers Valentin MAUER and Eugène MAUER had emigrated to America in 1906. Prior to their departure, they had their picture taken with their mother, their sister, and her family.
I wrote to several people who had trees on Ancestry® and heard back from three of them. They’ve received good quality digital scans of the photographs. The first two are descendants of Valentin MAUER and the third of his sister Catherine MAUER who married Andrew KUHNEN in California in 1897 the year after she emigrated. I haven’t looked into how she came to emigrate nearly a decade before her brothers.
I still have the originals and would like to send them to two of the descendants of Valentin MAUER if they are interested in owning the original(s).
The reason for this post is that I made a mistake in my write-up on photographs.
My mother inadvertently helped me figure out something about the photos which I didn’t catch when I wrote my post. The photos were on the dining room table when she stopped by a week after my post.
Three months later, I’m getting around to correcting my error.
I was showing Mom the photographs and explaining who I had gotten them from. I told her about the MAUER family and how three of the children went to America. With the photos side by side, I was pointing out who was who.
The photographs are nearly identical. The backdrop of the pictures is likely the family home. The same persons are in both photos except for a baby. The woman holding the baby in this photo was probably the mother.
Do you see the mistake I made when I wrote: “except for the baby?”
Here is a close-up of the first:
And the second:
On the right in the seconded cropped image, the mother is clearly no longer holding the child. However, I noticed her dress wasn’t dark below the knees as in the first. There’s a blur in front of the mother and to the left of the little girl. This must be the baby I thought was missing in the photo.
Jean Baptiste GRETHEN, born 11 January 1905 in Koerich, was in both pictures with his parents, sisters, uncles, and maternal grandmother.
This may seem like a small thing to write a post about but it’s also a reminder to review previous research. You’ll likely turn up something you missed the first time around.
At the annual Genealogy and Local History day hosted by my genealogy society Luxracines last month, Nicole gave me two old photographs. They were found at the recycling park and passed on to her as she has an interest in genealogy. As I’ve worked with old photographs and have an interest in researching US families, Nicole thought I might be able to research the family and write a post.
When you jump to conclusions…
On the back of one of the photographs was enough information to identify the family. At first glance, I thought the name of the family was MAMER. We were at the Luxracines event and, as members of the committee, we were both busy setting up and making sure things were running smoothly.
I was really excited to be able to work with these photographs as I have a connection to a MAMER family and know there are descendants of the line in America. These descendants are half-cousins as they descend from my 6th great-grandmother Anna Catharina RONAS who was first married to a MAMER and then to my 6th great-grandfather Nicolas HEITZ. Anna Catharina is one of my matrilineal ancestors.
However, once I got home and had time to sit down and study the photographs, I realized the family name on the back of the photo is MAUER and not MAMER.
About the photographs…
The photographs are nearly identical. The backdrop of the pictures is likely the family home. The same persons are in both photos except for a baby. The woman holding the baby in this photo was probably the mother.
The cardboard frame of the photo above had been cut away while the second one’s frame (below) is the original size making it too large to lay flat and scan completely on my flatbed scanner. It came out a bit blurry compared to the first.
Written on the back of the photo without the baby is the following information:
Etienne Grethen Marie-Anne Mauer + Kinder Anna + Hélène mit der Mütter v. M.-Anne Mauer + Bruder Eugène Mauer Bruder Valentin Mauer wahrscheinlich vor der Abreise nach America v. Eugène + Valentin Mauer = écriture de Germaine Thill-Steichen de Koerich décédée le 2 octobre 2008
Etienne GRETHEN, Marie-Anne MAUER and her children Anna and Hélène with the mother of Marie-Anne and brother Eugène MAUER and Valentin MAUER probably before the departure for America of Eugène and Valentin.
= handwriting of Germaine THILL-STEICHEN of Koerich who died 2 October 2008.
Also on the back is the photographer’s stamp:
19, rue William Turner
Could Germaine have been the wife of the photographer? Did she include the information for the photographer’s archive? Did she know the family? Was she related to them?
Researching the family in Luxembourg
I started my research into this family with the possible marriage of the mother of the children, Marie-Anne MAUER. She married Etienne GRETHEN on 1 June 1897 in Koerich. Their marriage record included the names of her parents, Jean MAUER and Catherine MERTES.1 Jean and Catherine were married in Hesperange on 21 December 1863.2 As their daughter, Marie-Anne was born in Koerich I checked the Tables Décennales (10-year lists) for births of MAUER children in Koerich for the period 1863-1892. I found a son named Eugène born in 1880 but none named Valentin.
Researching the MAUER brothers who went to America
Before searching for further records for the families in Luxembourg, I checked on Ancestry to see if the two men, Eugène and Valentin, had actually gone to America as noted on the back of the photo.
I found Valentin MAUER in the 1920 census with his wife, a son, a daughter, and a boarder named Eugene MAUER. Both men were listed as born in France as were their parents and both immigrated in 1906. Valentin was a naturalized citizen since 1911 and Eugène was an alien. No mention was made of their being brothers or even related.3
Record hits for Valentin consistently showed he was born in France. The 1910 and 1930 census showed he immigrated in 1906 as seen in 1920. A 1921 US passport application gave his place of birth as Ourscanips, France. Obviously a typing error on the application.4 His US World War I Draft Registration Card had his place of birth as Ourscamp, l’Oise, France.5
At the Oise Archives, I located Valentin’s birth record. He was born on 1 August 1887 in Ourscamp, Chiry-Ourscamp. His parents were Jean MAUER age 52 and Catherine MERTES age 46.6
With confirmation that Valentin was born in France and the son of Jean and Catherine, I continued to search in the US records for the Eugène MAUER seen in the 1920 census listing.
Eugene MAUER also filled out a draft registration card in 1918 when he was living in Cottonwood, Idaho County, Idaho. He declared himself an alien from Luxembourg and named Catherine KUHNEN as his nearest relative.7 Per the 1900 census, Catherine immigrated in 1896. She married Andrew KUHNEN in 1897 in California.
Eugene was found on a manifest of alien passengers for the US. He had sailed on the SS Venezuela from San Francisco to Baltimore, Maryland, in June 1921. The information given confirms he was born in Koerich, Luxembourg. He gave Valentin MAUER of San Francisco as his nearest relative. As he was entering a US port he was asked if he had entered the country before, when, for how long, and where. He replied yes from 1906 to 1921 in various places. His purpose for visiting the US was that he was in transit.8 He was likely traveling home to Luxembourg as the next spring he was found marrying Margaretha CLAREN on 30 April 1922 in Folschette.9 They had at least one child, a daughter born in 1923. Birth records are not available after 1923.
Researching the younger generation in Luxembourg
With confirmation that Valentin MAUER and Eugène MAUER found living in San Francisco and Idaho were brothers and the sons of Jean MAUER and Catherine MERTES, I looked into the children of Etienne GRETHEN and his wife Marie-Anne MAUER, also a daughter of the MAUER-MERTES couple.
Etienne and Marie-Anne had a daughter Anna born 3 February 189910, a daughter Hélène Marie-Anne born 30 December 190011, and a son Jean Baptiste born 11 January 1905.12 With these names, I was able to confirm the identity of the persons in this cropped view of the family in the photo with the baby.
The baby is a blur in the photograph as he was likely not holding still and it’s impossible to tell his age. As he was born in January 1905 I would estimate the photo was taken later in the year. Valentin stated on his US passport application in 1921 that he sailed from Antwerp, Belgium, about 1906. Passenger lists for ships from Antwerp to America in 1905-1906 may show if Valentin emigrated with his brother Eugène.
Valentin’s 1921 application also includes a passport photo which can be compared with the 1905/1906 photo.
Obituaries were found for Marie-Anne MAUER in 194613 and for her widower Etienne in 1950.14 The obituaries show the children Anna, Hélène, and Jean Baptiste all married and had children. The names of the grandchildren were not included in the death notices.
Is there more to the story of this family?
If the MAUER-MERTES family were one of my families I would have so many questions I’d want answered.
Jean MAUER died in 189215 leaving Catherine MERTES with at least seven children between the ages of 5 and 26 years of age. An 8th child likely died young. A little curious, I checked for her household in the Luxembourg census for the years 1895 and 1900.
In 1895 she had Ann-Marie, Eugène, and Valentin living at home. Two daughters, Marie and Catherine, had been working in Paris for 5 years and son Johann had recently gone to unknown parts of France to work.16
In 1900 Valentin was still at home with his mother and his married sister Barbara had come home with her husband and three children. The children were born in California between 1892 and 1896 which would explain Barbara not being on the 1895 census. Daughter Marie was in her 9th year of service as a nurse in Paris. Son Johann was also working in France while Eugène had been working in Esch-sur-Alzette for a year.17 Marie-Anne was married and in her own household.
In both census listings, the mother Catherine was working to support the family as were all children except young Valentin in 1895.
I have not looked into when Barbara went to America and if, after her family returned to Luxembourg, they remained in Koerich. Nor have I checked if Marie who was working in Paris may have married or even returned to Luxembourg.
Catherine MERTES, the mother of the MAUER children, died in 1914 at the age of 72 years.18
Back to the beginning…
Anna GRETHEN married nine days after her uncle Eugène MAUER on 9 May 1922 in Koerich to Pierre STEICHEN.19 Germaine THILL-STEICHEN who wrote on the back of the photograph was their only (known) child.
I found trees maintained on Ancestry by several descendants of Valentin MAUER and Catherine MAUER. I’ll be getting in touch with them to see if any are interested in receiving digital copies of the photographs or the originals which were saved from the recycling park.
1920 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_141, California, San Francisco County, San Francisco District 28, Enumeration District 3000, Page 2B, Lines 54-58, HH #483-35, Valentine Mauer household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 October 2019). ↩
“U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925” (index and images), Ancestry, citing Selected Passports at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C., Roll #: 1693; Volume #: Roll 1693 – Certificates: 66376-66749, 18 Jul 1921-19 Jul 1921. Passport application of Valentine Mauer issued 19 Jul 1921. ↩
“U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., FHL microfilm M1509, 4,582 rolls, Registration State: California, Registration County: San Francisco, Roll: 1544256, Draft Board: 08, Valentine Mauer. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2019). ↩
World War I Draft Registration Cards, Registration State: Idaho, Registration County: Idaho, Roll: 1452216, Eugene Mauer. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 October 2019). ↩
Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964, Ancestry citing The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C., Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Roll Number: 119. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2019). ↩
Église Saint-Jean-du-Grund. The featured image was taken in December 2008 while walking in Luxembourg City’s Grund. At the time I had no idea I was looking at the church where Margretha BREGER’s parents were married in 1758.
The main objective of the research was to find out how many children Jean and Margretha had and which ones produced families. By the time I had gone through ALL civil birth, marriage, and death records in Strassen as well as census records, I was able to generate a descendants report for the couple in question with nine generations, 74 pages, and over 350 source citations. The number of citations will likely reach 400 by the time I finish adding more census records, recent church records, and newspaper clippings.
After taking the time to evaluate and cite the records found, I now have a clear picture of several generations of descendants of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER.
Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852)
As we learned in How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen! my 5th great-grandfather was born in France. He was born on 2 June 1766 in Boulay-Moselle to the single mother Anne Catherine ALBERT.1 She married Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof (near Medernach in Luxembourg) on 17 August 1767 in Boulay.2 It was at this time that Jean’s birth was legitimized and he became Jean MAJERUS. He was not quite 18 years old when his widowed mother died on 2 January 1784.3 His father had already passed away but when and where this event took place is not known.
Between Jean’s birth in 1766 and his mother’s death in 1784, I found he had two younger brothers, Joannes born in 17694 and Barthélémy who lived only ten days in 1772.5 Joannes was born in Larochette, Luxembourg, while Barthélémy was born in Boulay, France. No trace of Joannes has been found after his baptism.
What brought Jean MAJERUS back to Luxembourg? Did he return to his father’s home place before or after his mother’s death? When did he settle in Luxembourg City where he was found in 1797?
Margretha BREGER (1767-1851)
Margretha BREGER was baptized on 12 January 1767 in the church of Saint Michel in Luxembourg City.6 She was the daughter of Jean Baptiste BREGER (1738-1805) and Susanne MERTENS (1728-bef. 1801). She had one older brother Michel (1760-1810). Margretha’s surname was spelled many different ways in the records found, evolving from BREYER to BREGER during her father’s lifetime and including these spellings: BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, and BREDER.
Interesting details about her father were uncovered while researching the family group. The records connecting Jean Adam BREYER to Jean Baptiste BREGER will be revealed in a later post.
When and where were Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER married?
Jean Baptiste, their oldest son, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn. Witnesses to the birth record were the maternal grandfather Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years, the maternal aunt by marriage.7
As the birth records of their first three children indicate, Jean and Margretha lived their early years of marriage in the Gronn. Elisabeth was the second child, born on 2 April 17998, and their third was a son, Jean born on 10 June 1801.9
In 1797 Jean was a clothier (drapier) but, with the births of the children who followed, his occupation was seen as a wool spinner (fileur de laine). He continued to practice this occupation until he was at least in his mid-sixties as seen in the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth.
Following Jean’s birth in 1801 the family moved to Strassen where their youngest child Marie was born on 19 December 1806.10 The five-year gap between the two children has always made me wonder if the change of residence was direct – from Gronn to Strassen – or if they may have lived somewhere else – a place where another child may have been born. If the move was from Gronn to Strassen, in what year did it take place?
Same place, same surname research
The oldest three children were fairly easy to research. Their marriage records, the birth records for their children, the grandchildren of Jean and Margretha, as well as census records from 1843 to 1900 were found. They lived in Strassen, had their children in Strassen, and died in Strassen. No other families with the MAJERUS name were found living in Strassen before 1923. Their living in one place for a long period of time made the research easier even though in several generations many children did not survive infancy.
A discovery made by error and omission
The youngest child Marie caused difficulties while researching but also helped with a new discovery. Her father Jean MAJERUS, the informant on her birth record dated 19 December 1806, stated she was born the same day at one in the morning. As no marriage record or trace of Marie were found following her birth, I assumed she must have died. FamilySearch has only civil records for this time period and no death record was found.
I located her baptismal record on Matricula Online where Catholic church records for Luxembourg are now available. The priest who recorded her baptism gave her date of birth and baptism as 18 December 1806, the day before she was born per the civil birth record.11 The switch from the Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar in January 1806 in the civil records may explain this discrepancy. Generally, the Catholic church didn’t use the Republican calendar during the 13 years it was in use.
Next, I searched for a death and burial record in the church records. As these are browse-only I had to find a point of entry for a death which took place in late 1806 or later. No death record was found for Marie. However as I jumped in a bit early in 1806 I found a death record for a child named Margaretha MAJERUS, daughter of Jean MAJERUS, who died on 9 June 1806.12 I was able to translate most of the record but was stumped at the part which revealed her age at death.
I asked for help with the translation from my friend Linda who has helped me several times after reading one or the other of my posts. She came through with a transcription for the record.
Anno Dni Millesimo octingentisimo sexto die nonae mensis primi horae nonae matutinae in Strassen mortua est Margaretha, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, filia legitima Joannis MAJERUS lanifici et Margarethae BRIGER conjugum hie habitantium.
Linda translated the part I could not read, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, as meaning the child Margaretha was two years and two months old at the time of death.
I went back to the civil records to find the birth of a child in April 1804. The 1804 handwritten index for Luxembourg City had been cut off at the bottom of the page with the M’s and I had to look at every record for the year 1804. There was no MAJERUS child born in the city in 1804. Next, I checked Strassen’s index. Again no MAJERUS birth. There was a Margaretha MEYERS born 16 Germinal in the year XII which computes to 6 April 1804. MEYERS is a variation of MAJERUS. After viewing hundreds of records for this family, this was the first time I’d seen it spelled this way. Jean and Margretha were living in Strassen in April 1804 when their second daughter and fourth child was born.13
Margaretha’s death in 1806 was not found in the civil records. Could Marie’s death also have been omitted? The first person of the surname to die in Strassen according to the civil records was a granddaughter of Jean and Margretha, Marie Catherine MAJERUS who died in 1823 at the age of three months.14
Three marriages in thirteen years
I now had five children for the MAJERUS couple who moved to Strassen between June 1801 and April 1804. I’m convinced only three of them grew to adulthood, married, and had children. Margaretha was proven to have died at two years and two months. No trace of Marie has been found after her birth.
My 4th great-grandfather Jean Baptiste MAJERUS was the first to marry on 25 April 1817 in Strassen to Catharina CORNELY.15 Of the parties involved, only the father of the groom was able to sign his name. The groom Jean Baptiste was only twenty years old and the bride Catharina was twenty-three and expecting their first child. A month later their son Jean was born.16 The first grandchild of Jean and Margretha and my 3rd great-grandfather.
The next wedding took place in Dippach on 16 August 1823 when Jean MAJERUS married Josephine HESS of Sprinkange in the commune of Dippach.17 Jean’s brother Jean Baptiste was one of the four witnesses at the marriage. Neither of the brothers nor their mother was able to sign their names but Jean MAJERUS signed as the father of the groom.
The third marriage took place on 20 January 1830 in Strassen when Elisabeth MAJERUS, thirty years old, married Jean DAMY, twenty-eight years old.18 Jean MAJERUS, the father of the bride, signed the marriage record while the bride and her mother did not.
Twenty-five grandchildren born between 1817 to 1841
Jean and Margretha’s three married children gave them twenty-five grandchildren in fourteen years.
Jean Baptiste and his wife Catharina had eleven children from 1817 to 1840 with only one child dying at the age of two months in 1823 (Marie Catherine mentioned earlier). All of their children married with the exception of their son Nicolas (still being researched). Their sons Nicolas (b. 1835) and Michel (b. 1840) went to America in 1853 and 1865. Later three grandsons and a granddaughter would go to America and one granddaughter to England.
Elisabeth and her husband Jean DAMY had six sons between 1830 and 1841. Three of these died as babies. The two older sons married and lived in Strassen while their son Jean (b. 1838) went to America likely at the same time as his cousin Michel MAJERUS in 1865. In 1870 they were living next door to each other in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota.
Jean and his wife Josephine HESS had five sons and then three daughters. One daughter died as a baby and a son died at the age of 19 years. All of the children except for one daughter married.
Jean and Margretha lived another decade after the last of their grandchildren were born. They were found ont the census of 184319, 184620, 184721, and 184922 in their own household without any other persons. Finally, in 1847 the answer to when they moved to Strassen was found in the census. The census sheet for 1847 included a column with the number of years they had lived in the commune – forty-five years which placed their move to Strassen at during the year 1802.
Margretha died at the age of 84 years on 1 April 1851.23 Her oldest son Jean Baptiste was the informant on her death record. He had not been able to sign his name when he married in 1817. On the birth records of his first nine children born between 1817 and 1835 he had declared each time that he could not write or sign. In 1837 he had finally learned to sign his name and his signatures were found on the 1837 and 1840 birth records of his two youngest children as well as on his mother’s death record.
Jean appeared on the 1851 census with the family of his oldest son Jean Baptiste.24 His name was added to the top of the list likely after the names of his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were listed.
Jean lived a little over a year longer, dying on 5 July 1852. His death was reported by his grandson Jean Baptiste, 5th son of his son Jean Baptiste. Jean was 86 years old.25
I once compared my second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) to a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). Jean being the first grandchild of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER. On one side of the fence, Marie was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence I found her parents, grandparents, and now at last count 185 relatives with the MAJERUS name.
I still don’t know what Jean MAJERUS’ life was like before he met and married Margretha BREGER nor when or where the marriage took place. However, their marriage produced a large number of descendants in Luxembourg, America, England, and who knows where else….
Luxembourg Census Records, Strassen > 1851 > image 67 of 222. “Jean Majerus, his son Jean Baptiste Majerus, his daughter-in-law Catherine Cornely, their children Jacques, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie.” Jean Majerus household No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32351-8999-55?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). ↩
In the land deed index for grantor and grantee, I could not find an entry for my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH even with different spellings of the name, i.e. CLAUNCH, CLOUNCH. Neither his father Dennis CLAUNCH nor his mother Nancy BEASLEY owned land per the deed books. Neither left a will conveying land to William and/or to of his siblings: Elizabeth, John, and Sarah.
► Was it possible William CLONCH did not legally own land when he made his last will and testament on 17 January 1863?1
► If he didn’t own land, how could he will his land to Mary DOSS and her DOSS children?
► How could his heirs later convey land as a group to three of the DOSS siblings, also known as CLONCH, in 1892 allowing it to remain in the family?
A Tract of Land Containing 148 Acres
Once I had the deeds concerning the heirs of William CLONCH transcribed and written up, I took a closer look at two deeds I found for my 2nd great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH, also known as Alexander DOSS. The first land deed was dated 27 June 1866, over three years after the death of William CLONCH. Alexander was the grantee of a tract of land containing 148 acres.2 In 1885 Alexander was the grantor and sold the same piece of land to Mary DOSS and all of her DOSS children named in the will of William CLONCH.3
William CLONCH lived with Mary DOSS from sometime before 1840 until his death in 1863. They were not married. Eight children were born between 1840 and 1855 during the years William and Mary were together. William left a last will and testament naming Mary DOSS and her seven living children as his heirs. These children later went by the CLONCH surname. DNA results show descendants of these children carry Clonch/Claunch and Doss DNA.
The 148 acres sold in 1885 had similar call lines as the three tracts of land which were sold in April 1892 by the heirs of William CLONCH.4 I had been able to plot two of the tracts but the third had a problem call and I could not plot it. I thought by plotting the three tracts I would be able to put the pieces together to form the original 148 acres.
Was it only a coincidence William’s and Alex’s lands contained the same amount of acreage?
The 1866 Land Deed
Reading and transcribing the land deeds of Alexander CLONCH brought to light some thought-provoking information. The grantor of the land sold in 1866 was a group of persons, children and their spouses of the deceased Richard GERNON, who were being represented by their attorney’s representatives through a power of attorney.
This deed made on the 27th day of June A.D. 1866 between John Jaques Richard Gernon and Claire Paule Anna Gernon his wife (born Davies) Joseph Edward Gernon and Catherine Tolsey Gernon his wife (born Toussat) Louis Loreal & Emilie Antoinette Loreal his wife late Reneufoe daughter of Jeane E. Reneufoe who was daughter of Richard Gernon deceased; Jean Louis Culon and Emilie Culon his wife late Gernon, daughter of the said Gernon (Richard) deceased by Edward Naret their attorney in fact who is substituted as such by Power of Attorney from John Keating & William V. Keating dated 27th April 1850 of the first part and Alexander Clonch of Mason County and State of West Virginia of the other part witnesseth: that in consideration of One hundred & eighty Eight dollars to him in hand paid the said Edward Naret attorney in fact as aforesaid doth grant unto the said Alexander Clonch The following tract of land Situate in the County of Mason and State of West Virginia being part of a large Survey Known as the Gernon Tract below the Great Kanawha bounded as follows: Beginning at a Small white oak corder to a Survey of 91 acres (Clarks) Thence with Beal’s line S 5° E crossing Bryants fork at 71 poles, 124 poles to an ash Tree on a South hill side. Thence leaving Beals S 63° E 120 poles to a Stake on a run bottom Dogwood and Hickory pointers. Thence N 34 1/2° E crossing the right hand fork of Bryans Run at 6 poles & the left hand fork of the same at 26 poles, 116 poles in all to a small white oak N 44° W 52 P to a white oak. Thence N 17° W 84 poles to a stone in Patterson’s line, Thence with his line S 65° W 94 poles to a small white oak corner to Clarks 91 acres. Thence with a line of the same N 85° W 33 poles to the beginning containing One hundred & forty eight acres be the same more or less. To have & to hold The Said Tract of land to him The said Alexander Clonch his heirs & assigns forever & The said Grantors by their attorney in fact as aforesaid do covenant with the said Alexander Clonch that they will warrant generally the land & premises hereby conveyed. Witness the following Signature & Seals ……………………………………..John Jaques Richard Gernon seal ……………………………………..Claire Paule Anna Gernon seal ……………………………………..Joseph Edward Gernon seal ……………………………………..Catherine Tolsey Gernon seal ……………………………………..Louis Loreal seal ……………………………………..Emilie Antoinette Loreial seal ……………………………………..Jean Lewis Culon seal ……………………………………..Emilie Culon seal ……………………………………..by Edward Naret Their attorney in fact
The State of West (sic, Virginia missing) Putnam County ss Before me Allen J. Holstein a Justice of the Peace in & for the said County of Putnam appraisal
the within named John Jaques Richard Gernon and Clair Paule Ann Gernon his wife Joseph Edward Gernon and Catherine Tolsey Gernon his wife, Amelie Antoinett Loreal & Louis Loreal her husband, Emilie Culon & Jean Louis Culon her husband by Edward Naret their within named Attorney in fact & acknowledged the signing and Sealing of the within conveyance to be their voluntary act & Deed. In witness Whereof I have signed my name and affixed my seal this 27th day of June A. D. 1866. ……………………………………..A. J. Holstein J.P. seal
West Virginia Mason County Recorders Office December 3rd 1866 The annexed Deed with U.S. Internal Revenue Stamp thereon for fifty cents was this day exhibited in said office and together with the Certificate thereon admitted to Record. ………………………………….Teste ……………………………………..James H. Holloway ………………………………………………..Recorder
The Gernon Tract
As seen in the above deed, the land was part of a larger survey known as the Gernon Tract. I checked the index again to see if others had been granted land from this tract.
The first mention of the Gernon Tract was found in a deed dated 1821. The deed is a history lesson in itself. It mentions acts of Congress which allowed direct taxes to be collected from landowners.
On 9 January 1815 Congress passed “an act to provide additional revenues for defraying the expenses of government and maintaining the public credit, by laying a direct tax upon the United States, and to provide for assessing and collecting the same.”5 On 5 March 1816, this was repealed by Congress reverting back to an act passed in 1813.6 Both of these acts are mentioned in the 1821 deed.
Taxes were due on the Gernon Tract and the whereabouts of the owner were unknown. In fact, the tax collector did not mention the name of the owner, Richard GERNON, in the 1821 deed. Under an act of Congress to lay and collect a direct tax (July 14, 1798), before the collector could sell the land for non-payment of tax, he was required to advertise a copy of the list of lands and the statement of the amount due for the tax along with the notification to pay in sixty days. The tax due on the Gernon property was advertised in the Richmond Enquirer. John L. MERTENS of Hanover County paid the tax and acquired the three tracts of land containing 4,375 acres, 1,500 acres, and 200 acres for a total of 6,075 acres.7
In 1823 MERTENS sold the land back to the owner who had been delinquent on his tax payments, Richard GERNON, formerly a U.S. citizen living in Philadelphia, now residing in Paris, France. Was GERNON’s non-residence in America the reason he did not pay his taxes?
As later deeds were consulted, I learned the tract was being reduced by surveys as pieces were sold, apparently, to the persons who had been living on and working the land. The original tract situated (per 1834 deed) in Mason County originally containing twenty one thousand five hundred Acres, Patented to Richard Smyth assignee of Henry Banks the Sixth day of December one thousand Seven hundred and Ninety four & conveyed by the said Patentee to the above named Richard Gernon, by deed dated 29 August 1795 Recorded in the clerks office of the General Court of Virginia at Richmond 16 Novr. 1795.
The land deeds for the Gernon Tract are a genealogical find for those interested in the family of Richard GERNON and his wife Antoinette GAUSE whose name was mentioned in the 1834 deed.8 I was intrigued when I found his wife’s maiden name was GAUSE as, after separating from William CLONCH, his ex-wife Ann Eliza HILL married a man named Andrew J. GAUSE, later seen as GAUZE. It was one of her GAUZE descendants’ fault I’ve been writing about the land deeds since my post, I No Longer Need that Lookup, Folks!
Following the Land Records
As I perused each of the land records for Gernon land being sold, I found the descriptions of the land changing as the land was being divided up into lots. New proprietors of the adjoining land were mentioned. Also, lots adjoining the land would be described as land on which certain persons lived – not land owned by that person. Later the individuals living on the land were found buying the lot. For example, in 1861 John SHELINE bought a tract of land comprising 442 acres which had been surveyed in 1856 by John J. POLSEY:
Beginning at a small ash corner made for Wm Clonch on Beale’s line; Thence with Beals line S 5° E 83 poles to two black oaks on the west side of the hill, Thence S 35 1/2° W 24 poles to a white oak, Thence with the Gratz line S 50° E crossing the Road fork of Horselick Branch at 214 poles, 272 poles in all to a Stake & pointer corner to the Madden Survey, Thence with a line of the same N 61° E 168 poles to a poplar, Thence leaving the Madden Tract N 28° W 420 poles to a Stake Corner to Patterson, Thence with his line S 65° W 53 poles to a Stone Corner to Clounch, Thence with the lines run for Clounch S 17° E 84 poles to a white oak S 44° E 52 poles to a white oak, S 34 1/2° W 116 poles to a Stake and run Bottom, Thence N 63° W 120 poles to the beginning, containing 442 acres more or less.9
It would appear that William CLONCH was living on land which had been surveyed for him as late as 1856. At the time of his death, he was likely expecting to buy the land but the deeds had not been drawn up and recorded.
The 1885 Land Deed
In 1885 Alexander Clonch and his wife Tobitha deeded land to his mother Mary DOSS and ALL of her DOSS children, including himself. There is no mention in the following deed that Alexander CLONCH is the same person as Alexander DOSS but the deeds discussed in the previous posts show the sons of William CLONCH went by CLONCH and DOSS.
In the margin: Delivered to C. W. Messick May 2nd ’85
This Deed made this 9th day of April 1885 between Alexander Clonch and Tobitha Clonch his wife of the County of Mason and State of West Virginia of the first part and Mary Doss, John Wm Doss, Alexander Doss, Lavinia N. Doss, Betsy Jane Doss, Thomas E. Doss, Joel Doss, and Charles H. Doss, of the second part. Witnesseth: That the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.°°) the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged Do grant unto the parties of the second part, all that certain tract or parcel of land situate lying and being in the County of Mason and State of West Virginia and in the District of Clendenin bounded and described as follows, To wit: Beginning at a small white oak corner to a survey of 91 acres (Clark’s) Thence with Beal’s line S 5° E crossing Bryants fork at 71 poles, 124 poles to an ash tree on a south hill side, thence leaving Beal’s S 63° E 120 poles to a stake in a run bottom dogwood and hickory pointers, thence N 34 1/2° E crossing the right hand fork of Bryants run at 6 poles and the left hand fork of the same at 26 poles 116 poles in all to a small white oak N 44° W 52 poles to a white oak then N 17° W 84 poles to a stone in Patterson’s line, thence with his line, S 65° W 94 poles to a small white oak corner to Clark’s 91 acres, thence with a line of the same N 85° W 33 poles to the beginning containing One hundred and forty eight acres, be the same more or less, being the same tract or parcel of land conveyed to the said Alexander Clonch by John Jaques Richard Gernon, and others by deed dated the 27th day of June 1866, and duly of record in the Mason County Court Clerk’s Office in Deed Book No. 20 folio 256 & 7. To have and to hold to the said Mary Doss for and during her natural life and at her death to the said John W. Doss, Alexander Doss, Lavinia N. Doss, Betsy Jane Doss, Thomas E. Doss, Joel Doss and Charles H. Doss and their heirs
and assigns forever, and the said parties of the first part do hereby covenant with the parties of the second part, that they will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed. Witness the following signatures and seals. Test John R. Dabucy ……………………………………..Alexander Clonch Seal ……………………………………..Tobitha Clonch x her mark Seal
State of West Virginia Mason County. ss: I D. S. Van Matre a Notary Public in and for the County and State aforesaid do certify that Alexander Clonch whose name is signed to the writing above bearing date of the 9th day of April 1885 had this day acknowledged the same before me in my said County. Given under my hand this 9th day of April 1885. ……………………………………..D. S. Van Matre …………………………………………………..Notary Public
State of West Virginia, Mason County ss: I John R. Dabucy a Justice of the Peace in and for the County and State aforesaid, do certify that Tobitha Clonch the wife of Alexander Clonch whose names are signed to the writing above bearing date on the 9th day of April 1885 personally appeared before me in the County aforesaid and being examined by me privily and apart from her husband and having the said writing fully explained to her she the said Tabitha Clonch acknowledged the said writing to be her act and declared that she had willingly executed the same and does not wish to retract it. Given under my hand this 13th day of April 1885. ……………………………………..John R. Dabucy J.P.
West Virginia, Mason County Court Clerk’s Office April 14th 1885. This Deed was this day presented in my office and thereupon, together with the certificates thereto annexed, is admitted to Record. Teste: ……………………………………..J P R B Smith Clerk
What I Learned While Doing the Research
I think it’s possible my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was living on the land for several decades before he died in 1863 and he intended to pass it on to his DOSS children and their mother Mary E. “Polly” DOSS. In 1860 when the census was enumerated his Value of Estate Owned was $444 for Value of Real Estate and $120 for Value of Personal Estate. Why would he have real estate valued when he did not legally own it? I am not aware of the practices of the time. Did William CLONCH have the land he was living on and working surveyed? And did he consider it his land after the survey? I checked the index to surveys and his name was not listed.
While searching the deeds index I found my great-great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) obtained land in 1866 and sold the same in 1885. It was interesting to find Alex owned land in Mason County, West Virginia, from 1866 until 1885. The sale of the land fit into the time period when he was known to be moving to Fayette County as well as applying for his Civil War pension.
From the above, would you also say the land Alexander CLONCH bought in 1866 and sold to his mother and siblings in 1885 was the same piece of land William CLONCH lived on during his later years and willed to Mary DOSS and her children? Or do I have to do more work and plot all of the lots from the Gernon tract and fit the pieces of the land puzzle together to prove the three lots sold by the heirs in 1892 were the land Alexander bought in 1866 and sold in 1885?
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971” (database with images), FamilySearch (digital images of originals housed at local county courthouse in West Virginia), FHL Film #567420, Item 2; DGS 4715359; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875, image 104 of 165, page 166-167. Last will and testament of William Clonch. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722 : accessed 12 January 2019). ↩
“Mason County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Deed books, 1803-1901” (database with images), FamilySearch (Microfilm of original records at the Mason County Courthouse), Film 567257, DGS 8292937, Deed book, v. 20-21 1866-1868, image 163 of 694, folio 256+257. 1866 Land Deed Gernon to Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSRQ-DSRL-9?i=162&cat=76718 : accessed 12 January 2019). ↩
Saturday my husband and I joined other members of my genealogy society luxracines on a trip to Verdun, France.
This year marks the centennial of the end of World War I. The deadliest conflict in the history of man. The human loss was great. Casualties for military personnel numbered at about eight million disabled and about ten million deaths, an average of 6,000 deaths per day. France had the greatest loss. The number of wounded, missing, and killed made up 30% of the active male population (18-65 years), for the most part, men between the ages of 17 and 45 who would never have children.
Battle of Verdun
The longest battle of the Great War, as World War I was known before World War II, was fought on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France from 21 February to 18 December 1916 and is known as the Battle of Verdun. Today the scars of the millions of shells fired and lethal fragments of shrapnel that marked the area during the Battle of 300 Days and Nights are hidden by the forested land. Nature has been allowed to cover the destruction of man in an area of 20,000 hectares (nearly 50,000 acres). After signing the armistice on 11 November 1918, France decided no one would be allowed to live in the devastated area and declared it a “Zone Rouge”.
The forest has become a sanctuary. Buried in the earth are the remains of 80,000 soldiers, a world heritage dating from the days of the Great War.
The Douaumont Ossuary contains the skeletal remains of at least 130,000 unidentified German and French soldiers on the lower level. They can be viewed through low windows on the outside of the building.
Inside, the stained glass windows cast a reddish glow in the 137 meters (449 feet) long cloister. The walls are covered with the names of French soldiers who died during the Battle of Verdun. Photography is not allowed in this sanctuary.
After a short visit to the chapel, we descended to the lower level to view a 20 minutes film about the ossuary.
Unidentified bones are still being found in the area and added to the remains in the ossuary. Of the 300,000 who died during the Battle of Verdun, it is believed that about 80,000 are still buried in the fields and forest where the battle took place. Our guide explained the medical examiner of Verdun has to test all remains found to determine they are from the time period of the battle. He also shared the following anecdote.
In May 2015 three nearly perfectly preserved skeletons were found during the construction work on the new museum but with only one set of dog tags. Which of the three soldiers did the tags belong too? This is where GENEALOGY came into play as a direct descendant of the soldier named on the tags and a woman believed to be related to him were found. DNA samples yielded matches between the soldier, his grandson, and the woman. Read the entire story here: French WWI soldier identified by DNA and laid to rest.
Visitors are invited to enter the exhibit and walk in the footprints of the soldiers and cross the wooden boards which feel as if they are sinking in the mud.
Communicating At All Costs
Fernand Marche (1888-1916) was a runner in the 130th infantry regiment. On 1 August 1916, he volunteered to carry a message to his colonel near Fort Thiaumont but he was killed on the way. The next runner found his body, with his arm in the air and his fingers grasping the message. The messenger took the note and reached the colonel. A memorial to Private Marche was erected in 1925 in Bully-les-Mines, in front of the mining company in which he had worked before the war. ~ Text from the plaque
The City of Verdun
Following our visit to the museum, we were back in Verdun for a short walk through the streets and to have a drink on one of the many terraces on the banks of the Meuse River.
Verdun is also well known for its sugared almonds known as dragées de Verdun. The almond, a symbol of fertility, was originally coated with honey. When medieval crusaders brought sugar to Europe in the 13th century it replaced the honey coating. White sugar coated dragées are gifted to guests at weddings (favors) as are blue or pink dragées at baptisms and to thank friends for baby gifts.
And finally, before boarding our bus to return to Luxembourg, we had our traditional group picture taken by our driver.
The day was well organized by our president Rob DELTGEN. Everyone had a wonderful time. I for one learned more about World War I and the Battle of Verdun from our very capable guide, Monsieur Ivan PARIS. We, my husband and I, plan to go back for a longer visit as there is so much more to learn and see in the beautiful city of Verdun and the surrounding area.
As I’m coming closer to the end of this project of writing about my children’s 5th great-grandparents, I’ve started missing the days when I spent weeks and months working on the all descendants of a brick wall ancestor. The focus on one family a week is taking its toll.
As I write these posts I find myself wanting to go back one generation and then another searching for a common thread which ran through the families. The thrill of adding a new most distant ancestor is still great but I find myself having to set aside the research before I am ready to quit.
With Eva LANSER and Henri CONSBRÜCK, my fourth great-grandparents, I tried to keep from working further however relationships mentioned in records made me seek the answers to questions I had. This led to new ancestor discoveries and several new names in the family tree.
Eva LANSER (1777-1862)
My fourth great-grandmother Eva LANSER was born and baptized on 13 May 1777 in Echternach. She was the daughter of Sébastian LANSER (1732-1804) and Maria Catharina HASTERT (1743-1808).
Eva’s parents were married in 1760 and were found on the 1766 census in Echternach with their second son Henri. Their first son named after the paternal grandfather Johann Adam HASTERT had likely died between the time of his birth in 1762 and the 1766 census. After the census six daughters were born, Eva being the 5th, and then finally two more sons. All of these children grew to adulthood except for one daughter who has not been traced. As with the oldest son Johann Adam, her death may not have been recorded in the church register. I have found this to be the case in some parishes where mostly only adult deaths were recorded. Eva’s father worked as a cloth maker (draper) or drapier. None of his sons followed in his steps.
On 20 September 1791, a double marriage took place in the LANSER family. The oldest son Henri and his sister Catherine married the HERR siblings, Anne-Marie and Johann. Their children would later be close to Eva’s small family.
Eva’s father Sébastian LANSER died on 13 June 1804. His oldest son Henri was the informant on his death. Henri was working as a messenger or messager. I suspect this may have been military-related as the Napoleonic Wars were going on at this time. With the death of the father Sébastian the family’s livelihood may have been in jeopardy.
Eight months later Eva married Henri CONSBRÜCK, son of Johann CONSBRÜCK and Barbara SCHMIDT, on 10 February 1805 in Echternach.
Henri CONSBRÜCK (1775-1850)
Henri was a cloth maker and I suspect the trade he was proficient in was one of the reasons he and Eva married. Had he been working in Sébastian’s atelier before his death or did he take over the looms only when he married Eva?
Henri CONSBRÜCK was born and baptized on 5 April 1775 in Echternach. He was the oldest of three children born to Johann and Barbara after their marriage in 1773. His sister Anna Maria was born in 1779 and lived only 8 years. He also had a brother Matthias who was born in 1782 and moved away from Echternach to the Trier, Germany, area when he married sometime before 1816.
Eva and Henri’s Marriage Record
Present at the marriage of Eva and Henri were both of their mothers as well as four witnesses who were relatives. Eva’s brother Henri LANSER, her brother-in-law Johann HERR, as well as Bernard and Mathias WAMPACH, both “uncles” of the groom.
The relationship of the last two witnesses is still under investigation. Bernard was married to Maria CONSBRÜCK (daughter of Johann Wilhelm CONSBRÜCK and Anna Maria PROMMENSCHENKEL) however her relationship to Henri has not been established. I suspect the relationship given in the marriage record was not that of an uncle as we define it today. This might be a blessing in disguise as so far no connection has been made between my CONSBRÜCK line and the parents of Maria. Further confusion has been caused by my Henri’s grandfather also being a Johann Wilhelm. His grandfather was about the same age, married about the same time, and lived about as long as the other man with the same name and in the same location.
The years after their marriage
Henri and Eva’s first child Barbara was born on 21 February 1806. Two years later Eva’s mother Maria Catharina HASTERT died on 10 March 1808. Her death was reported by her oldest son Henri LANSER who was still working as a messenger.
Eva was pregnant with twins when her mother died. Bernard and Marguerite were born on 2 September 1808. They survived only seven months. Marguerite died on 5 April 1809 and Bernard less than a week later on 11 April 1809.
Little Barbara was nearly four years old when Anna Maria, my third great-grandmother, was born on 4 February 1810 to Eva and Henri. Anna Maria went by Maria to distinguish her from a sister with the same name who would be born later.
Eva’s younger sister Margaretha LANSER was 31 years old when she married the 25 years old Johann SELM (1786-1846) on 9 June 1811. None of the witnesses to the marriage were relatives.
Henri and Eva’s next child was born on 3 July 1812. She lived five months, dying on 8 December 1812. They named her Odile.
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)
War had overshadowed the CONSBRÜCK and LANSER families since before Eva and Henri’s marriage. The wars may not have been raging in Echternach but the people were still affected. Eva’s youngest brother Peter LANSER joined the corps on 27 frimaire in the year XIV or 18 December 1805.
Peter was presumed to be a prisoner of war in Russia as of 11 October 1812. He was in 108e régiment d’infanterie de ligne with his 1C1R Sébastian LANSER (whose godfather in 1784 had been Peter’s father) and several other young men from the Echternach area. The presumption of his being a prisoner of war probably came about when Napoleon’s army was evacuating Moscow in October following the Battle of Borodino on 7 September 1812, the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. The information on Peter’s being in the military and a possible POW came from the Matricules Napoléoniens 1802-1815 database.
Eva’s second youngest brother Nicolas LANSER was 30 years old when he married Catharina Magdalena JOERG (1790-1847) in September 1813. A date is missing on the marriage record however it must have taken place between the 7th and the 20th as these are the dates on the previous and next records.
Two years later another daughter was named Anna Maria and would be known as Anna. She was born on 8 January 1814.
Eva’s brother Peter had returned from Russia and was living in Echternach on 3 February 1815 when he, a former soldier for the French army, died at the age of 29 years (31 years on the death record). The Napoleonic Wars ended later in the year on 13 September 1815.
Years after the wars
Henri was still working as a cloth maker and was likely hoping to have a son to teach the cloth-making trade to. On 31 March 1816, Eva gave him a son they named Jean. He lived only a few days and died on 3 April 1816.
Henri and Eva named their last child, a daughter born on 4 July 1817, Odile. I suspect the name was important to Eva and the LANSER family members as Eva’s maternal grandmother was named Odilia FUNCK (abt. 1715-1778) and the name continued to be used in the family for several more generations.
Eva and Henri’s family was now made up of four daughters. Not having any sons to pass the trade on to, did his daughters help him with the wool weaving as they grew older? What I do know is that all of the daughters worked as seamstresses, maybe even sewing the cloth made by their father.
Ten years after the birth of the last daughter, Eva would be attending several funerals as she lost two brothers and a sister: Henri (63) died on 19 November 1827, Nicolas (45) died on 23 October 1828, and Odile (58) died on 24 December 1828.
Henri’s mother Barbara SCHMIDT, the only living grandparent of the four CONSBRÜCK girls, died on 10 May 1829 at the age of 81. She died in house number 360 in the rue de Luxembourg in Echternach. Henri and Eva also lived in the rue de Luxembourg, however, their house number at that time is not known. Had Barbara been living with her daughter Eva and her family?
Eva’s sister Catherine LANSER died on 15 January 1833 at the age of 60. Her death was reported by her husband Johann HERR.
Sometime before 1835 my third great-grandmother, the daughter known as Maria, went to the city of Metz in France to work. While there she may have met Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER (1807-1841) of Vianden. He was the son of Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER and Margaretha TRAUDT. The young couple married in Metz on 17 November 1835. During the next six years, Maria gave birth to four daughters, the only grandchildren of Eva and Henri. Maria’s husband Jean Joseph died in Metz on 25 November 1841. Their oldest daughter likely died before 1843 as she was not found in the census with her three sisters. A death record for Madelaine was not found in Metz or in Echternach. This makes me wonder if she may have died while the family was traveling from Metz back to Echternach.
The extended family in the census
In 1843 Henri was the head of a household with his wife, his daughter Barbara and his three SCHLOESSER granddaughters. His daughters Maria, Odile, and Anna are missing and were likely working someplace other than Echternach. Henri’s occupation on the 1843 census was wool weaver (fileur de laine).
In 1846 he was again seen as a cloth maker (drapier). As in 1843 his daughter Barbara and the grandchildren were with Henri and Eva in 1846. Maria, the mother of the grandchildren, may be in the household but listed as single. It is also possible that the entry is her sister Anna Maria who usually went by Anna. Using their full names on official documents caused problems like this.
In 1847 the entire family group is listed: Henri and Eva with their four daughters and three granddaughters. The two younger daughters Anna Maria (Anna) and Odile are listed as absent and working as servants in France. Henri was now seen as a laborer and his daughters Barbara and Maria did not appear to be working.
In 1849 Henri may have not been well or had given up his cloth making. He was listed as having no occupation. However, his three single daughters are listed as seamstresses. Along with his wife Eva, there were two more young ladies in the household. They were Eva’s nieces Eve and Catherine HERR who were also working as seamstresses. His widowed daughter Maria and her three daughters were living in their own household.
More deaths in the family
Henri CONSBRÜCK died on 22 May 1850 in Echternach at the age of 75. His death was reported by his nephew Johann HERR, the youngest son of Eva’s sister Catherine.
Eva’s only living sibling Margaretha LANSER died on 9 March 1852 at the age of 71. Eva LANSER was now the only person left from her generation. She lived a decade longer.
Shortly before her death all of her daughters and granddaughters were living with her when the census was taken on 3 December 1861. Eva LANSER died three months later on 19 March 1862 at the age of 84 years. Her death was reported by her nephews Peter LANSER and Johann HERR.
The four seamstresses
Eva’s three single daughters Barbara, Anne, and Odile continued to work as seamstresses as did her widowed daughter Maria. The four sisters continued to live and most likely work together in their home in the rue de Luxembourg.
Eight years after the death of their mother Eva, the sisters lost their oldest sibling Barbara. She died on 2 November 1870 at the age of 64. Johann HERR, her cousin, and Heinrich DIESCHBOURG, a neighbor and tailor, were the informants for her death.
The remaining three sisters lived two more decades. Odile, the youngest, died on 17 July 1890 at the age of 73. Two years later Anna died on 2 March 1892 at the age of 78. Both of their deaths were reported by their sister Maria’s son-in-law Dyonisius Johann Peter MAAS.
My third great-grandmother Anna Maria “Maria” CONSBRÜCK was the last of the seamstress sisters. She died on 29 September 1897 at the age of 87 years. Her death was also reported by her son-in-law. Maria born in 1810 left a mystery which took me two decades to solve.
Henri CONSBRÜCK and Eva LANSER came from large families but only one of their daughters married and had children. Of the four grandchildren, three grew to adulthood but only two married. The name Odile was passed on to this generation to my 2nd great-grandmother Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER and to her granddaughter, my grand-aunt, Odile Lucie FOURNELLE.
A statue from about 1740 of Saint Jean-Népomucène can be found in the interior of the Saint-Nicolas church in Vianden, Luxembourg. A copy of the statue has been on the picturesque bridge over the Our River in Vianden since 1865. The people of Vianden have given him a bizarre but kind name, a phonetic deformation of “pomucène” – Bommenzënnes. In Echternach, he watched over the banks of the Sauer River until the bridge and his statue were destroyed in 1944 during World War II.
After the new bridge was built the statue was replaced by a replica as seen in my title photo which shows the Sauer River flooding its banks this week.
Saint John of Nepomuk
Saint John of Nepomuk (c. 1345 – March 20, 1393) is the saint of Bohemia (Czech Republic) who was drowned in the Vltava (Moldau) River at the command of King Wenzel IV (Wenceslaus), King of the Romans and King of Bohemia. Historically John of Pomuk, a small market town later renamed Nepomuk, was drowned in 1393 on the orders of King Wenzel because of disagreements over church politics. Later accounts state that he was the confessor of Queen Johanna of Bohemia and refused to divulge the secrets of the confessional despite threats and torture. On the basis of this account, John of Nepomuk is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, a patron against slander and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods and drowning. He was canonized in 1729 by Pope Benedict XII.
I found it interesting that my fourth great-grandfather Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER had the same first name as the saint who shares the honor of being the protector from floods and drowning with Saint Nicolas in Vianden. He was born and raised in Wiltz but Vianden was the town where he later married and raised his family.
Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER, the son of Joseph SCHLOESSER (1729-1800) and Catherine ARENDT (1730-1796), was born on 18 March 1764 in Wiltz. He was the sixth of ten children. Three of his siblings, the oldest and two youngest, died within a few days or months of their births. All others lived into their sixties and seventies except for one brother who died at the age of 44. His parents were both still living when Jean-Népomucène married Margaretha TRAUDT on 26 April 1790 in Vianden.
Margaretha TRAUDT, the daughter of Nicolas TRAUDT and Barbe BILL, was born on 8 August 1766 in Vianden. She was the youngest of nine children. Several of her siblings are known to have lived to adulthood and marry. They may have grown up with a step-mother as Barbe BILL died on 18 May 1769 in Vianden when her youngest was only a little over two and a half years old. A widower named Nicolas TRAUDT married Barbara KÖNY on 1 October 1769 in Vianden. More research is needed to determine if this marriage was the second marriage for Margaretha’s father.
Jean-Népomucène and Margaretha
Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER and Margaretha TRAUDT were the parents of a dozen children born between 1791 and 1809 in Vianden. The father of these children worked as a nailsmith or Nagelschmied to support his family.
His wife Margaretha died 30 November 1809 at the age of 43 years, the day after giving birth to her last child. The children were:
Maria Catharina born 11 February 1791 and died 11 March 1791 at the age of 1 month
Joseph born 3 February 1792 and died 27 February 1811 at the age of 19 years
Maria Magdalena born 11 May 1793 and died 3 September 1859 at the age of 66 years
Johann born 9 November 1794, death unknown (may have died before 1799 when another child was named Johann)
Gregorius born 16 September 1796 and died 20 December 1847 at the age of 51 years
Catharina born 21 September 1798, death unknown
Johann born 7 August 1799 and died 6 April 1864 at the age of 64 years
Johann Peter born 19 July 1801, death unknown. He was living in 1825.
Peter born 29 June 1803 and died 8 June 1818 at the age of 14 years
Joseph Jacob born 30 March 1805 and died 10 February 1807 at the age of nearly 2 years
Jean Joseph born 29 March 1807 and died 25 November 1841 at the age of 34.
Maria Catharina born 29 November 1809 and died 5 August 1810 at the age of eight months. Her name was seen as Anna Catharina on her death record.
Jean-Népomucène’s second marriage
Jean-Népomucène waited a full year before he remarried. The bride, Elisabetha HAMELING, was fifteen years younger than the groom when they married on Christmas Eve in 1810. She gave him two children. Laurent was born on 12 August 1812 and Gregorius on 9 February 1815. The second son lived only a little more than six weeks dying on 27 March 1815.
The children marry
Ten years after his marriage to Elisabetha the SCHLOESSER children were growing and the banns were being published for the first marriages.
Gregorius SCHLOESSER, likely the oldest living son at the time, married Marguerite HACK (1794-1821) on 11 April 1820 in Clervaux. His younger brother Johann was one of the witnesses to his marriage.
Maria Magdalena SCHLOESSER, the oldest daughter, married Mathias COLLING (1793-1846) on 24 February 1824 in Vianden. Her brother Johann Peter SCHLOESSER was a witness to her marriage.
Gregorius’ wife died on 5 September 1821 and he waited four years before he married again. Marguerite ALFF (1797-1853) was his bride and they married on 21 December 1825 in Clervaux. His brother Johann Peter of Vianden was a witness.
Jean-Népomucène causes problems at my 3rd great-grandfather’s wedding
Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER died on 29 July 1833 in Vianden. He was 69 years old and still working as a nailsmith or cloutier as this old profession was known in French. The informant on his death record was his youngest son Laurent from his second marriage who was 21 years old.
Jean-Népomucène’s death left my third great-grandfather without parents to give consent to the marriage he planned two years later. Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER was 28 years old when he married my third great-grandmother Anna Maria CONSBRÜCK (1810-1897) on 17 November 1835 in Metz, Department Moselle, in France. She was 25 and from Echternach.
When I wrote 52 Ancestors: #47 The SCHLOESSER-CONSBRÜCK Family the civil records for the city of Metz were not available online. I had found their date of marriage and the dates of birth of their four daughters in the 10-year lists (Tables décennales) but did not have copies of the records. While writing this I realized it had been two years and the archives for the municipality should by now have the civil records online. [insert Happy Dance here]
I now have the digital copies of all five records but, due to terms and conditions, I cannot share images of them on my blog without getting special permission. What I can do is share the link to the Schloesser-Consbruèck marriage record for viewing:
From the record I learned, when presenting his paperwork to marry, Jean Joseph gave the name of his father as Jean SCHLOESSER. A copy of the death record of the father of the groom was presented as evidence. This caused a problem as the name on the death record was Jean-Népomucène and not Jean. Jean Joseph was then required to present the death records of his grandparents since his parents were deceased and there was a doubt the death record was for the correct person. Jean Joseph swore under oath that he did not know the dates of death or place of death for his grandparents and would not be able to obtain the records. He also presented a certificate from the commune of Vianden which stated he was able to enter into a contract of marriage with the person he had chosen according to the law.
His bride Anna Maria presented a notarized document giving parental permission to marry. Her parents were not present at the marriage as they were living in Echternach. On the marriage record as well as on the birth records the first three daughters, Anna Maria’s place of birth was seen as Etternach (Belgium). On the birth record of the youngest daughter, the mother Anna Maria’s place of birth was correctly given as Echternach in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It shows the importance of finding all records to document a family group. Without all information, I may have disregarded the documents with the incorrect place of birth for Anna Maria.
Two more marriages take place
Johann SCHLOESSER, the second oldest son and 38 years old, married Anne Catherine Margaretha de THIERRY (1792-1862) on 13 September 1837 in Mompach, near Echternach. His bride was 45 years old.
The youngest son and only living child from Jean-Népomucène’s second marriage, Laurent married Anne-Marie FRIEDERICH (1812-1867) on 10 July 1838 in Beaufort, near Echternach. Laurent’s mother Elisabetha HAMELING was present and consenting to the marriage.
Deaths in the family
Five months after she attended the wedding of her only living child, Elisabeth HAMELING, the widow of Jean-Népomucène SCHLOESSER, died in Beaufort on 14 December 1838. She had been living with her son Laurent and his wife following their marriage.
My third great-grandfather Jean Joseph SCHLOESSER died on 25 November 1841 in Metz. He was only 34 years old and had worked as a locksmith or serrurier. In German, this occupation is Schlosser with Schlösser or Schloesser being the plural form. Schlösser also translates to castles. Jean Joseph’s widow and daughters returned to Echternach where Anna Maria continued to make a living as a seamstress.
It is not known when Johann Peter, who was last seen in 1825 at the marriage of his brother Gregorius’ marriage, died. Gregorius died at the age of 51 on 20 December 1847 in Clervaux. Maria Magdalena died at the age of 66 on 3 September 1859 in Vianden.
In 1864 the last two known living SCHLOESSER children were Johann and his half-brother Laurent. Johann died at the age of 64 in Echternach on 6 April 1864; his deceased wife’s nephew was the informant. They likely did not have children as his wife had been 45 years old when they married. The baby of the family, Laurent died at the age of 51 in Beaufort on 31 May 1864; his son-in-law was the informant.
Jean-Népomucène’s SCHLOESSER family was large and he came from at least two generations of large families. Documenting these families was made a lot easier by using the research of my 6C1R Joseph SCHLOESSER, a direct male descendant of Nicolas SCHLOESSER and Jeanette GASPERSCH, the grandparents of my Jean-Népomucène, as a guide. Villmols merci, Jos.
Sources: I’m taking the easy way out again this week. I’ll be uploading my updated GEDCOM file to RootsWeb. All sources have been found and can be referred to by clicking on the names in the box below.
On Wednesday, 30 July 1817 my fourth great-grandparents Michel and Catherine met at the city hall in Pétange in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with two other couples. Michel was 39 years old and Catherine was 42 years old. At 8 o’clock the first couple was married, followed by Michel and Catherine at 9 o’clock, and the third couple at 10 o’clock. Michel witnessed the first and third marriage. This in itself is unusual but there is more to the story.
There may be another connection to Elisabeth MAMER as her mother’s parents were a BURKEL and a BERKIN, both surnames shared with my ancestors. But it is not the connections to the first couple which is so interesting. What did else did these couples have in common? The newlyweds – all three couples – had children who were legitimized at the time of marriage.
Michel and Catherine’s Marriage Record
Michel and Catherine’s record marriage record had notes in the margin showing they had children: 1. Marguerite, 2. Catherine, 3. Anne, and 4. Jean Pierre, all born prior to marriage. These were not the only children born to Michel and Catherine. They had had eight children in eighteen years, the last born in 1814. Only four were living at the time of their parents’ marriage in 1817. The marriage must have been blessed by the church in a religious ceremony at least eighteen to nineteen years prior to the civil ceremony in 1817. It must have so been believed to be legal by the civil servants who recorded the births of seven of the children as being born to a lawfully wedded couple.
In 1795 the Duchy of Luxembourg became the Département des Forêts following its surrender after a siege of over seven months by French Revolutionary troops. The anti-religious policy of the new government is one of the reasons a marriage record may not be found for a Luxembourg ancestor during this time period.
The people rebelled against the new laws continuing to be married by their priest, even if it meant having the ceremony performed in the kitchen, and refusing to have a civil record of the marriage recorded. When the Napoleonic Code was introduced in 1804 all persons were required to be married in a civil ceremony. Couples who had only been wedded by a priest since the introduction of civil records around 1796 had to be married in a civil ceremony to legitimize their children’s births. The children’s names were listed on the civil marriage record following the line in which the groom and bride were joined as husband and wife. Often the list was so long that it had to be continued in the margin of the marriage record. (see image above)
Michel PHILIPPART, the son of Jacques PHILIPPART (1749-1823) and Catherine SINGER also known as Catherine KETTER (1743-1835), was born and baptized on 16 October 1777 in Rodange. His godparents were his paternal uncle Michel PHILIPPART of Rodange and Nanette KETTER of Bettingen. His relationship to his godmother is still under investigation. [I couldn’t resist. Bettingen or Bettange-sur-Mess is a new parish for me and so far I have only found one SINGER/KETTER sibling named Barbara.]
Catherine MEUNIER, the daughter of Henri MEUNIER and Margaretha KILBOUR, was born in 1775 in Rodange. A birth/baptismal record has not been located. Catherine’s father was from Rodange and her mother from Esch-sur-Alzette where they married on 21 December 1774. Both Rodange and Esch parish records were checked for Catherine’s birth without results. Her 1775 year of birth was found on her 1817 marriage record without a month or date which suggests the officials also had difficulties finding a record for her. Variations of her year of birth (calculated from age at the time) on the census records in 1843, 1846, 1847, and 1849 and her 1851 death record ran between 1768 and 1780. The 1849 census had her date of birth as 5 June 1774. This is not reliable as the three other persons in the household had dates of birth which did not come close to being correct.
Michel was the oldest of four children while Catherine may have been an only child. Her father died before the 1 December 1793 as her mother remarried on Tuesday, 17 December 1793. The marriage banns were published before the marriage to André DOMANGE on three consecutive Sundays (1st, 8th, 15th) dating the death of the first spouse at before the first bann.
Michel and Catherine’s children
As mentioned Michel and Catherine had all of their children before their legal civil marriage ceremony. Their oldest daughter Marguerite was born about 1800. No record of birth was found for her. When the census was taken in 1849 her birth date was listed as 11 August 1802 which cannot be correct due to the date of birth of the next two children. Marie Catherine, my third great-grandmother, was born on 8 November 1801 and her brother Henri on 1 December 1802.
UPDATE (10 December 2017): My genealogy friend Linda (who has helped me out several other times with my families in Luxembourg) found the birth record of Michel and Catherine’s daughter Marguerite. She was born on 19 Nivôse in the year VIII (9 January 1800) to Catherine Meunier. The birth was reported by the grandmother Margaretha KILBOUR. No mention is made of the father. This helps to date the possible religious marriage of Michel and Catherine at between 9 January 1800 and 8 November 1801 when Marie Catherine was born to a legally married couple.
Daughter Anne was born 17 December 1804, followed by two sons, Jean Pierre on 25 October 1808 and Jean Baptiste on 29 January 1810. Jean Baptiste lived only a little more than a month dying on 2 March 1810. Their seventh child, Catherine was born on 17 April 1812. Before the birth of their last child, their oldest son Henri died on 9 August 1813 at the age of 10.
Michel and Catherine named their youngest child Michel when he was born on 2 June 1814. He lived a little over a month and died on 15 July 1814. His death was followed by the death of young Catherine on 20 November 1814 at the age of two years.
By 1817, when Michel and Catherine were legally married, they had lost four children while Marguerite age 18, Marie Catherine age 16, Anne age 12, and Jean Pierre age 10 were thriving. Michel was supporting his family working as a shoemaker or cordonnier.
The children are grown
Nearly four years later Catherine’s mother Margaretha KILBOUR died on 4 April 1821 at the age of 80.
Jacques PHILIPPART, the father of Michel, died on 23 March 1824 at the age of 75 years.
The second of four marriages took place on 20 September 1826 when Anne, the youngest daughter, married her first cousin once removed Jean Baptiste PHILIPPART (1798-1828). Jean Baptiste died on 6 April 1828 and his widow Anne gave birth to a son she named Joseph on 29 May 1828.
The oldest daughter Marguerite married her first cousin once removed, Joseph PHILIPPART (1801-1864), brother of Jean Baptiste, on 12 September 1828. Jean Baptiste and Joseph were the sons of Joseph PHILIPPART and Susanne SCHMIT. The men’s grandparents Jacques PHILIPPART and Elisabeth BURKEL were the great-grandparents of their wives, Anne and Marguerite.
Catherine’s step-father André DOMANGE died on 17 December 1833 at the age of 69 years.
The last of the children to marry was the youngest and only son Jean Pierre PHILIPPART. Until I began to review and research this family for this post I had no idea if Jean Pierre was still living or had married. I found his marriage in my genealogy society’s database for Luxembourg marriages for the years 1796-1923. It is still a work in progress and not yet online but as a member of the board of Luxracines, I have access to the beta version.
Jean Pierre was working as a border guard in Stadbredimus when he married Barbara GOVERS (also seen as GOUVERS) on 27 February 1834.
A year later Catherine SINGER, mother of Michel PHILIPPART, died on 9 February 1835 at the age of 91.
Michel and Catherine likely did not expect to outlive any of their remaining children. However, their daughter Marie Catherine, wife of André FOURNELLE, died on 20 July 1843 at the age of 41 years. She was the mother of eleven children, the last having been born only nine days earlier. André, my third great-grandfather, was left to raise the children on his own. He never remarried.
Michel PHILIPPART died at the age of 71 on 23 September 1849. His death was reported by Joseph PHILIPPART who was erroneously listed as his son instead of his son-in-law. Three months later Joseph reported the death of his wife Marguerite, daughter of Michel, who died on 31 December 1849 at the age of 50.
Catherine MEUNIER, Michel’s widow, died on 24 May 1851 at the age of 76 years. Once again it was Joseph who reported the death and was seen as her son and not son-in-law. She left two living children, Jean Pierre and Anne.
Jean Pierre and his wife had a daughter born in Osweiler in 1837. This event in the commune of Rosport gave Jean Pierre, his wife, and child an entry in Thomas Webers’ family book for Rosport. The daughter’s marriage was included – an event which took place in Namur, Belgium in 1862. This tiny tidbit along with her date and place of death was enough to trace the family further. The marriage record included the date and place of death of the bride’s father. Jean Pierre died on 21 October 1861 at the age of 52 in Hondelange, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium. He was a Belgian customs employee or employé des douanes belges, sous brigadier. He left a wife and a son who was the informant for his death. With each new record, a new clue was found and I learned he had at least five children and his widow was still living in 1875.
By 1861, after Jean Pierre’s death, the only living child of Michel and Catherine was their daughter Anne who was also known as Nanette. As mentioned earlier her husband died while she was pregnant with their son Joseph who was born nearly two months later. But Anne and her father Michel PHILIPPART left a puzzle I have not been able to figure out.
On 30 September 1832, Anne gave birth to a male child who was given the name Jean HOUTTEN (seen as HOULTEN on the index). Michel PHILIPPART, the grandfather, was the informant and named Jean HOUTTEN of Robelmont in Belgium as the father and his daughter Anne as the mother. They were not married. No trace of this male child has been found after the birth. In the census records, as early as 1843, Anne is seen with her son Joseph and a daughter named Catherine. This daughter married twice and both times she was listed as born on 25 September 1832, five days before the male child. Only her mother Anne PHILIPPART was named on her marriage records. No father’s name was given. Was an error made at the time of birth? Was the child born to Anne in 1832 a daughter and not a son? Are there any other possible scenarios?
Anne died on 24 January 1871 at the age of 66 years. Her death was reported by her son Joseph and her son-in-law André HILBERT, the second husband of her daughter Catherine.
I found many new records for this family group while reviewing my database. I added several generations to the PHILIPPART and MEUNIER branches of the family tree as I discovered marriage records for Catherine MEUNIER’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Nearly all the families who lived in the area during the 1700s appear to be related to each other and to my families of Rodange. Lots of loose ends to tie together. But they will have to wait for now as this ends my visit to Rodange – next stop will be Vianden.
Sources: I’m taking the easy way out this week. I’ll be uploading my updated GEDCOM file to RootsWeb a.s.a.p. All sources have been found and can be referred to by clicking on the names in the box below.
I love it when I’m speculating about a relationship, searching for records to back it up, and end up finding the one document that brings it all together!
Remember doing jigsaw puzzles as a child? Did you try to connect the pieces even when they didn’t fit? The pieces of my puzzle were all spread out and I was sure they would come together into one picture.
Clara WELTER and Franz ZWANCK are another set of my children’s 5th great-grandparents in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Clara and Franz lived in the town my husband often visited while growing up. Being the oldest grandchild of Suzanne PEFFER and Fritz KREMER he would spend his summer vacation with his grandparents, running around the little village, and playing with the children there. Little did he know, his friends were most likely distantly related to him as many families have deep roots in the little hamlet.
Moestroff is a village which is on one of our main bike routes when riding north of Echternach and we stopped there to take a few photos this week.
Franz ZWANCK (1750-1820)
Franciscus “Franz” ZWANCK was born about 1750 in Moestroff, commune of Bettendorf, district of Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. His estimated date of birth was calculated from the age at death seen in his death record. I believe he may have been born several years after 1750. He was the son of Pierre ZWANG (d. aft. 1789) and Anne Marie HUSCHET (d. bef. 1789) per Franz’s 1789 marriage record. He died on 3 June 1820 in Moestroff.
Clara WELTER (1766-1826)
Franciscus married Maria Clara WELTER, daughter of Johann WELTER and Anna Maria FELTES, on 26 October 1789 in Bettendorf. Clara, as she was known, was born on 4 July 1766 in Reisdorf, the fifth of seven children. She died on 25 January 1826 in Moestroff.
Franz and Clara’s children
Catherine ZWANK was born on 2 August 1790 and died on 29 March 1852. (more below)
Peter ZWANK § was born on 19 August 1793 in Moestroff and was baptized the same day in Bettendorf. He died at the age of 3 years on 8 September 1796 in Moestroff.
Jacques “Jacob” ZWANK was born on 17 May 1795 and died on 15 February 1858. (more below)
Johann ZWANCK was born on 26 April 1797. He died on 28 February 1832. (more below)
Margreta ZWANG § was born on 22 April 1799 in Moestroff. She lived only eight days dying on 29 April 1799.
Maria ZWANG § was born 26 May 1800 and died on 26 January 1815 at the age of 14 years in Moestroff.
Franciscus ZWANCK § was born on 28 April 1804  and died on 18 July 1804 at the age of nearly three months. Both events took place in Moestroff.
§ is the symbol I use for children who are the end of the line. The additions of Margreta and Maria were only made today. I had found the death record of Maria who died in 1815 and was searching for her birth record when I found Margreta’s birth record. So close in age, I thought they may have been the same person. I continued to search and found the birth record of Maria and the death record of Margaretha proving they were two.
The children who survived to adulthood
Catherine ZWANK was born and baptized on 2 August 1790 in Moestroff. Catherine married Matthias ABENS, son of Théodore ABENS and Susanne HASTERT, on 29 May 1811 in Bettendorf. Matthias was born on 2 January 1785 in Ralingen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. He died on 3 August 1819 in Moestroff. Catherine and Matthias had two children: Christophe (1816-1880) who remained in Moestroff and Anna Maria (1819-aft. 1889) who moved to the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium.
Catherine also married Nicolas WEYLAND, son of Hubert WEYLAND and Marguerite ÖRNTZEN (I believe this name may have later been ERNZEN), on 22 January 1828 in Bettendorf. Nicolas was born on 29 January 1779 in Örntzheim (Nommern). He died on 25 June 1859 in Moestroff. Catherine and Nicolas also had two children: Catharina (1830-1900) who went to live in Paris, France, with her husband and family and Jacques Hubert (1833-aft. 1909) who went to live in the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium with his family.
Catherine died on 29 March 1852 in Moestroff.
UPDATE: My friend Linda, a researcher in Luxembourg, confirmed: Örntzheim (Nommern) is in fact Ernzen, part of Larochette (also called Feels or in Latin Rupe, all meaning -Little-Rock). Larochette was in the parish of Nommern before the French Revolution.
Jacques “Jacob” ZWANK was born on 17 May 1795 in Moestroff and baptized the same day in Bettendorf. Jacques married Maria DAHM, daughter of Pierre “Peter” DAHM and Anne Cathérine KIMMES, on 22 October 1823 in Bettendorf. Maria was born on 10 July 1797 in Moestroff and christened the same day in Bettendorf. Jacob died on 15 February 1858 in Moestroff and Maria died on 28 November 1859 in Moestroff. Their story was told in 52 Ancestors: #39 The ZWANK-DAHM Family of Moestroff. Jacob and Maria’s children remained in Moestroff.
Johann ZWANCK was born on 26 April 1797 in Moestroff. He died on 28 February 1832 in Vianden. Johann married Cathérine HIERTZ, daughter of Jean HIERTZ and Barbe WEYRICH, on 17 January 1826 in Vianden. Cathérine was born on 2 October 1804 in Vianden Her death record has not been located. Johann and Cathérine had four children: Johann (1826-aft. 1886), Jacob (1828-1898), Wilhelm (1828-1832), Agathe (1831-?).
Getting back to the jigsaw puzzle
What I do when I have a genealogy puzzle is to add assumed children with TEMPORARILY ATTACHED typed in at the top of their notes to a set of parents in my database. These parents may already have proven children whose timelines are helpful in determining if I am on the right track. I work through each “child” adding information as it is found. If they end up not being connected I can easily detach the child leaving all of the information in my database. I don’t delete the information because, even if it is not useful to me, it may help someone else with their research.
The puzzle the ZWANG family presented was partly solved in this way. As you can see in the genealogical information above, the family name was seen with several different spellings: ZWANG, ZWANK, and ZWANCK. I had to be careful that all of these spellings were variations of the same name and not another family name.
Before I found the one document that brings it all together! this was what I knew. Pierre ZWANG and Anne Marie HUSCHET may have had at least 4 children. This was speculation on my part. Records were found for a possible son Ludovicus (1748-1776), a possible daughter Irmina Catharina (b. 1750), and sons Franz (b. abt. 1750) and Nicolas (b. 1764). The baptismal records of the first two children DID NOT have the maiden name of the mother – HUSCHET. For Franz, the subject of this post, no baptismal record was found however his marriage record gave the maiden name of his mother as HUSCHET. Nicolas’ baptismal record only had Anne Marie as his mother’s name.
It must be mentioned here that early parish records for Moestroff were found in Reisdorf and later parish records were found in Bettendorf. Unfortunately, there is a period between the two where records are missing. Notably for Bettendorf before 1763.
Further speculation on my part was that Irmina Catharina went by Catharina and married Johann KELSCH on 9 March 1777 in Bettendorf. The marriage record does not list parents. Johann KELSCH was the godfather of Franz’s son Johann in 1797. As no age was listed, this Johann KELSCH could have been either the husband of Catharina ZWANG or her son. I found two researchers who list a date of death for Catharina’s husband. The date was 6 March 1798.
While searching for the death record of Johann KELSCH (I still have not found it!) I found a death record I had not expected to find.
The early civil records for Luxembourg begin in 1796. This is the period in which the Republican Calendar was being used. The date I was searching for, 6 March 1798, would have been 16 Ventôse in the year VI. I found records dated the 3rd and the 20th of the month of Ventôse in the year VI but none in between.
One of the death records for the 3rd included the name KELSCH but it was the name of one of the informants and not the person who had died. The civil servant who was likely not very well educated in French made many spellings errors. They were errors he repeated in other entries and therefore likely how he thought they were written.
The handwriting and the spelling made it difficult to decipher the document, a death record for Pierre ZWANG, the father of Franz ZWANG. The record clearly states Franz was the son of Pierre but the relationship of Johann KELSCH who was the second informant is not given. However, his age was given as 21 which could only mean he was the son of Catharian ZWANG and Johann KELSCH.
From this record, I now know Pierre ZWANG was born about 1728 as his age was 70 years at the time of death on 21 February 1798.
The family name ZWANG is a German word which means force. In the end, I did not need to use force to piece the puzzle together. The pieces fell into place although it did take hours of looking through the Luxembourg records, adding the records to my database, and citing the sources.
Do you have a similar way of solving the problems you run into in your genealogy research? I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Moestroff with the ZWANCK-WELTER family.
Luxracines, my genealogy society in Luxembourg, organized a field trip to the State Archives in Arlon, Belgium, and the archives of the Cercle Généalogique du Pays de Longwy in Mont-Saint-Martin, France, yesterday.
We departed from Luxembourg by bus for the Archives de l’État in Arlon in the Province of Luxembourg, Belgium. Greeted by the director of the archives, Mr. Michel TRIGALET, we were served coffee and cookies while he gave us an overview.
He explained how the archives were busy preparing to move the 18 kilometers of documents found in the present building as well as more kept in storage in different locations for a move into the new annex they are building. They have a small team of five persons and part-time personnel will be coming in to help. After completion of the new building, all collections will be moved there. They will have about 32 kilometers of archives in one place. The present home of the archives will be renovated to allow for better storage and preservation of the archives.
Following our short coffee break, Mr. TRIGALET took us to the reading room where he held a conference on the separation of the two Luxembourg(s). Instead of a slide presentation, Mr. TRIGALET had pulled records from the archives, laid them out on the two large tables, using them to supplement his presentation while explaining the intricacies of the historical period and showing us documents and maps relating to the subject.
Over time the borders of the Luxembourg went through various changes as seen in the above map. Although familiar with the events of the times, I did not know the effect it had on the countries involved or the people and the records they produced. Have you wondered why records are found in a specific archive and not where you would assume them to be?
The archives have records which pertain to Luxembourg but are kept in Arlon as they are included in collections which could not be separated. The history of Luxembourg explains the reason for this.
The Duchy of Luxembourg was annexed to France as a part of the département of Forêts (Forest Department) in 1795 during the French Revolution.
Luxembourg was liberated from French rule under the Treaty of Paris in 1814, following the defeat of Napoleon. The dark green area on the map (above), a part of the Duchy of Luxembourg, went to Prussia. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815 the Duchy became a Grand Duchy. The House of Orange received all of the Low Countries: Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was made up of the dark pink and the blue area on the map and came under the rule of Guillaume I (William I) of the Kingdom of Netherlands.
Following the Belgian Revolution of September 1830, most of the area was administered by the Belgian authorities while the capital, Luxembourg City, remained under Dutch control. A large part of the area around today’s western border of Luxembourg was administered by the two governments during the period 1831-1839. In 1833 a convention was concluded which simplified the lives of the people under the double rule.
Following the Treaty of London in 1839 which recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Belgium and Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the partition between the two countries was established using mainly two criteria: linguistics and military reasons. All French-speaking territories went to Belgium. The Arlon region although German-speaking was given to neutral Belgium to remove the Athus-Arlon road which joined the road leading to Brussels from Arlon from the influence of the German Confederation.
The boundaries were vague and more precise limitations were set in 1843. Landmarks were set and the inventory of these can be found in the archives in Arlon.
These historical events led to inventories being made of the archives of Luxembourg and Belgium in preparation for moving them to the country of origin. The archivists worked on the inventories from 1840 to 1847 with the Luxembourg side taking more time as 1. the main archives of the times had been kept in Luxembourg and in Maastricht and 2. the number of archivists had decreased with the partition of the two countries.
The repatriation of archives was made more difficult by the fact that the collections of some institutions could not be separated as entries had been made in chronological order instead of by place (for ex. military and mortgage). This is one of the reasons Luxembourg researchers should consult the State Archives in Arlon when searching for information on their ancestors who were in the military or owned land during the time period before this final partition of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Repatriation continues even today as archivists are finding documents in their vast collections and return them to their country of origin. One example is this book of atlases for the Canton of Arlon from 1808. It was in such a bad condition that it had to be completely taken apart and restored. The double-sided cadastre plans now fill a box instead of being in book form (see box on the back table in the group photo below).
Following the conference, Mr. Trigalet took us into the area not normally open to the public.
He proudly showed us the oldest document in the archives, a charter of the Orval Abbey from 1163.
After a wonderful lunch at De Bouches à Oreilles Restaurant, we were back on the bus for a very short ride to the archives of the Cercle Généalogique du Pays de Longwy in Mont-Saint-Martin, France. We were received by their president Bernard BARTHELEMY and vice-president Aimé TARNUS, as well as, a few members eager to serve us. They have published an amazing amount of family books for the towns in the Longwy district which Luxracines has acquired for its library in Walferdange.
Our little trip which took us through three European countries was very enjoyable. It was a fascinating day with other genealogists, persons interested in the two Luxembourg(s) as it concerns their family and/or town histories.
I would like to thank Rob Deltgen, president of Luxracines, for sharing his photos and allowing me to use them.