While researching for the post, I was in touch with the compiler of Les Familles de Rodemack et ses annexes Semming, Faulbach, Esing de 1682 à 1904 (Cercle Généalogique du Pays des Trois Frontières, 2004) about some of the dates for the FRANTZ individuals in the book. Jean-Marie offered to go to the Archives Municipales de Rodemack to look up several records.
I was particularly interested in the entry I found on the Tables Décennales for Semming:
Angélique BARTHEL died on 30 Brumaire an XI or 21 November 1802 per the entry in this list of death records for the decade 1802-1812.1 If possible, I wanted the information verified as the death record is not available online. On the Archives Départementales de la Moselle site, Semming is listed – à numériser, voir RODEMACK- indicating not all records have been digitized and those available are under Rodemack.
This morning I received digital copies of three records courtesy of the municipal archives of Rodemack. Anyone can visit the office but copies are not normally made due to the fragile state of the old documents.
The Death Record of Angélique BARTEL
The death record of my 5th great-grandmother was not recorded on 30 Brumaire XI nor did her death take place on that date as indicated on the tables décennales seen above.
The death record is dated 28 Nivôse XI (in the 11th year of the Republic) or 18 January 1803. Angélique BARTEL died on 27 Nivôse XI or 17 January 1803 at 3 heures du soir. This translates to 3 o’clock in the evening which is not correct and doesn’t make sense. The term du soir is still used by the older generation of French speakers and is similar to our use of p.m. Therefore, Angélique died at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Her occupation was sage-femme or midwife. She was 65 years old at the time of death placing her birth at about 1738. Michel BARTEL her son-in-law was the informant and gave Elling as her place of birth. The second informant or witness to the record was Michel BAUER, a friend of the deceased. Angélique lived in Simming and both of the witnesses were residents of the commune of Simming and Faulbach. Michel BARTEL could not write and signed with an X. The mayor of the commune, François ERNST signed his name Frantz Ernst, mayor.
Elling was also the place of birth of Angélique’s son-in-law Michel who shared the surname BARTEL or BARTHEL with her. As canon law forbade the marriage of close relatives, it might be assumed that the two were distantly related as they came from the same town. Baptismal records for Ellange (Elling) are on FamilySearch under Elling, Ellange, and Dalheim. They are lacking for the years 1716-1739 when Angélique’s baptismal record would be expected.
It is possible that Michel confused his birthplace with his mother-in-law’s when reporting her death. Michel’s baptismal record was found in the Dalheim collection and notes his birth in Ellange. The research will have to be broadened to include all towns between Ellange and Rodemack. Sierck-les-Bains which is halfway between the two but more to the east has several BARTHEL couples having children at the time Angélique was born but she was not one of them.
The Baptismal Record of Paul FRANTZ
The records for Semming on the departmental archives site for the Moselle are labeled as being available for the years 1682-an X. I found that they are missing from mid-1745 to 1802 (an X). Therefore I requested Paul’s baptismal record and the death record of his sister Marie Marguerite or Maria Margareta as seen in the Latin entry.
My 4th great-grandfather Paul FRANTZ was baptized on 11 August 1765. He was the son of Nicolai FRANTZ, bubulci or a farm laborer, and Ang… a married couple from Faulbach. His godfather was Paulus STROPPERS from Luxembourg and Margarita PIRMES of Faulbach. The godfather signed his surname: STROPERS. An unusual surname that hopefully will lead to a family connection. Note: The left side of the record including the date and the mother’s full name was not captured in the scan by the archivist. Jean-Marie only noticed this after he had arrived back home.
Eight months later, on 9 April 1766 Maria Margareta FRANTZ, daughter of Nicolai FRANTZ, bubulci, and Angelica BARTEL, a married couple from Faulbach, died. The interment was in the Summingen or Simming cemetery. Maria Margareta’s age is not mentioned but as this was only eight months after Paul’s birth she was likely born before the end of 1765 and at least 17 months old. Her date of birth is not cited in the Rodemack family book. Either the records are missing or she wasn’t born in Faulbach or Simmingen where the FRANTZ family lived in 1765-1766.
Geographical area to be researched
The distance between Ellange and Simming (Semming on the Google map) is a short drive of fewer than 20 minutes. Nicolas and Angélique’s older daughter Marie, the wife of Michel BARTHEL, was born in Beyren-lès-Sierck, a village that lies between Ellange and Simming, according to information furnished at the time of their civil marriage ceremony in 1816.
Although the distance is small, all villages in the area will have to be researched to learn more about the FRANTZ and BARTHEL connections in the area. Research for another day…
Special thanks to Jean-Marie and the secretary at the Archives Municipales de Rodemack for looking up and scanning the records I was most interested in.
As all genealogists know, there aren’t really brick walls in our research or our family tree. Still, I call my blog Opening Doors in Brick Walls as there’s always a way around or through the “I’mstuck!” point in our family tree research.
When I began working on this post I had very little information about the parents of Paul FRANTZ. They were names extracted from a marriage record I had not been able to access. What I did not know was that I had two records that could have opened the door in this brick wall if only I had paid closer attention.
A Contrived Brick Wall: when we build our own brick walls
The parents of my fourth great-grandfather Paul FRANTZ were named in his 1794 marriage record.
I knew the marriage record existed by searching the Tables des mariages 1700-1798 (index organisée par l’époux/l’épouse).1 The Luxembourg Association of Genealogy and Heraldry (ALGH) founded in 1984 launched a huge project when the association was still young. A team of volunteers extracted all marriage information from the 156 old parish registers from before 1800 onto index cards. The project took years to finish. FamilySearch microfilmed the marriage index cards in 1995 and included them in the church records collection for Luxembourg when they were digitized in 2012 and finally went online in 2015. The cards included the name of the parish, the register, and the page number the marriage entry was found.
The marriage of Paul FRANTZ and Susanne KEIFFER was recorded in Volume 1 of the Mamer parish records. This volume was not part of the collection filmed by FamilySearch.
I knew who the parents of Paul FRANTZ were from the information on the index card. I did not know if they were from the residence given for Paul or from the town he was born in or from a different place. Since their location was unknown, it was impossible to search for them.
The digital version of the register in the archives of the Catholic church archives is now available on MatriculaOnline.
The handwriting on the marriage record on Matricula is legible but in Latin.2 I was able to translate most of the words in the record. However, not being a Latin scholar, I had problems with the meaning of some phrases in the record.
I posted to the Luxembourg Genealogy group on Facebook asking for help. Was only his father deceased as indicated on the index card or both of his parents? What did “ratione decennis commorationis in Bergem, parochianum de Schifflingen” mean? Who was it referring to? The parents or to the groom?
Kevin, the moderator in the group, told me to pay attention to the parentheticals. By removing the part about Paul being the son of the late Nicolas and Angela, I was left with: Paul FRANZ, linen weaver, by reason of a ten years’ residence in Bergem, a parishioner of Schifflingen… Accordingly, Paul had been living in Bergem since about 1784.
Linda has helped me several times with Latin translations. I’d tagged her in the Facebook query in the group. She sent me a short email pointing out an error I made reading the marriage record. Paul’s parents were from Semmingen and not Senningen as I had thought.
I had read Senningen as the place of birth for Paul FRANTZ on the 1843 census.3 Linda removed my blinders and I was able to get past this brick wall.
Even more embarrassing is that Paul’s death record included his town of birth as well as the country!4
Paul FRANTZ was born in Semming now part of the municipality of Rodemack in the Moselle department of France. Ancient forms of the village name Semming: Suningen (750), Sunungen (768), Sumungen (907), Sommange (14th century), Sinningen (1572), Simmingen (1685), Zinimgen (17th century), Sinumingen (1749), Simingen (1756), Simming (1793), Seming (1801).5
Over the years I had looked for the parents of Paul FRANTZ in all the wrong places: in Senningen and the parish of Schuttrange and in Bergem and the parish of Schifflange, both in Luxembourg.
A Visit to Rodemack
My husband and I visited Rodemack in October 2014, not knowing that my FRANTZ ancestors hailed from the area.
After the Emancipation Charter of 1236, the village residents of Rodemack erected the city walls to protect themselves. Today, 700 meters of walls and various towers remain.
The Sierck Gate, formerly called The Franchise Gate, was built in the XIVth century. The gate was defended by two round towers. In 1944 the Americans destroyed the upper part of the gate consisting of a covered way and loopholes to make passage for their tanks when Rodemack was liberated. It was rebuilt in 1989 to its original state.
The Medieval Garden is made up of seasoning and medical plants, fruit, vegetables, and flowers. The garden met the daily requirements of the people of the village: to feed, cure, and entertain themselves.
Lavoir, a public place set aside for the washing of clothes. These communal wash-houses were common in Europe until people were introduced to domestic washing machines. I remember going to the local lavoir with my mother when we lived in Aulnois-sur-Seille, only 80 kilometers south of Rodemack, from 1962 to 1966.
As early as 1745 there were several mills in use in Rodemack for grinding wheat, walnut oil, and bark. Oak and birch bark was ground to obtain tanning bark. The mills functioned up until 1920.
Listed among the most beautiful villages in France, Rodemack showcases a typical medieval atmosphere. It was difficult to choose only a few of the 238 photos we took while walking around and through the village.
Nicolas FRANTZ and Angélique BARTEL of Semming, an annexe of Rodemack
Nicolas FRANTZ and Angélique BARTEL were shepherds or bergers in Semming. They were the parents of three known children. Marie was baptized 26 February 1762, Paul was baptized 11 August 1765, and Marie Marguerite died 9 April 1766.6
Records for Semming for the years that children would have been born to Nicolas and Angélique were not found online. On the Archives Départementales de la Moselle site, Semming is listed – à numériser, voir RODEMACK- indicating not all records have been digitized and those available are under Rodemack. The records for Semming are labeled as being available for the years 1682-an X. I found that they are missing from mid-1745 to 1802 (an X).
Marie first married Jean ERNST on 5 January 1779 in Semming. They had several children before Jean died in 1795.7
Paul went to live and work as a linen weaver in Bergem in the parish of Schifflange in Luxembourg about 1784. After living there for about a decade, he married Susanne KIEFFER in Mamer on 7 January 1794. At the time of the marriage, Paul and Marie’s father Nicolas FRANTZ was deceased.
On 20 November 1796, Marie FRANTZ married Michel BARTHEL in a religious marriage ceremony in Semming. Two and a half months later their only known son, Michel was born.
Marie and Paul’s mother, Angélique BARTHEL died on 30 Brumaire an XI or 21 November 1802. The death record is not available online and was only referenced in the Tables Décennales of Semming.8
In 1816 Marie FRANTZ and Michel BARTHEL’s son Michel was planning to marry. As the records needed for the marriage were gathered, the civil servants did not find a civil birth record for Michel nor a civil marriage record for his parents. Their religious union that took place during the French Revolutionary period was considered invalid by the state. His parents were not legally married. This was not unusual for the times. Many couples dealt with the problem by marrying in a civil ceremony many years later when absent civil records were needed.
Marie, 62 years old, and Michel, 48 years old, were married in a civil ceremony on 30 January 1816 in Rodemack.9
Dame Marie Frantz agée de soixante deux ans native de Beyren, domiciliée au dit Simmingen, veuve de defunt Jean Ernst, laboureur au dit lieu, fille legitime des defuns Nicolas Frantz et d’Angelique Bartel, vivans bergers au dit Simming y décédés
Dame Marie Frantz aged sixty-two, a native of Beyren, domiciled in said Simmingen, widow of the deceased Jean Ernst, plowman at the said place, legitimate daughter of the deceased Nicolas Frantz and Angelique Bartel, shepherds in said Simming before their death.
The marriage record proved Marie was the daughter of Nicolas FRANTZ and Angélique BARTEL, both of Semming and deceased at the time of the 1816 marriage.
…Michel Bartel et dame Marie Frantz sont unis par the mariage et aussitot les dits époux ont declaré qu’il y a vingt ans qu’ils se sont marié de bonne foi devant un pretre et qui’il est né d’eux un enfant mâl qui ne se trouve pas inscrit sur les Registre de l’État Civil, né le cinq fevrier l’an mil sept cent quatre vingt dix sept, tenu sur les fons de baptieme par le Sr. Michel Ernst, laboureur à Faulbach, qui lui donne le nom de Michel, le quel ils reconnaissent pour leur fils…
As soon as they were united in marriage, Marie and Michel declared that twenty years earlier they had married in good faith before a priest and that a male child had been born to them and was not recorded in the civil register. The child born on 5 February 1797 was baptized Michel as witnessed by his godfather Michel ERNST, a farmer from Faulbach, who was present at the 1816 marriage. This act legitimized their son Michel’s birth.
Following his parents’ marriage, the younger Michel’s banns were read on the 11th and 18th of February. He married Elisabeth DREES on 22 February 1816 in Rodemack.10
Marie FRANTZ died on 16 August 1821 in Semming at the age of 66 years. Her husband was the main informant on the death record.11 Her age at death places her birth at about 1755.
At the time of her marriage in 1816, Marie was 62 years old or born about 1754. Marie’s place of birth was noted as Beyren on the 1816 marriage record. Is it possible that Marie is not the same child of Nicolas and Angélique who was baptized on 26 February 1762? Could this mean the FRANTZ-BARTEL family lived in Beyren prior to coming to Semming? Beyren-les-Sierck is part of Gandren and there are no records at the departmental archives (pas d’actes aux archives départementales).
Michel BARTHEL died on 2 April 1837 in Faulbach, the neighboring village of Semming. He was described as the widower of the deceased Marie FRANTZ.12
As well as his sister Marie and her husband, Paul FRANTZ outlived his wife Susanne KIEFFER (1754-1808) who died on 9 October 1808 in Mamer.13 He died on 27 July 1847 in Mamer at the age of 81 years or 83 years per his step-grandson who reported the death. He left twin sons Nicolas and Johann, two stepchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting Rodemack and reading about how I finally was able to open the door in my FRANTZ-BARTEL brick wall.
Wikipedia, “Semmingen,” rev. 03:03, 12 juin 2020 (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semming : accessed 5 May 2021). Contributor’s sources: Bouteiller – Dictionnaire topographique de l’ancien département de la Moselle, rédigé en 1868 and Memoires de L’Academie Imperiale de Metz XLV (1865) ↩
Jean-Marie Neiers and Jacques Watrin, Les Familles de Rodemack et ses annexes Semming, Faulbach, Esing de 1682 à 1904 (Cercle Généalogique du Pays des Trois Frontières, 2004). Note: Not having access to this book, I emailed the author to confirm the dates. ↩
My 5th great-grandparents Nicolaus KÜFFER (1734-1796) and Susanna SCHILTZ (ca. 1737-1807) were likely not married in Mamer where they lived and raised their family. The baptisms of their children were found in Baptêmes 1718-1940, familles alphabétique. This compilation of all baptisms in Mamer from 1718 to 1940 by family groups was filmed in 1962. The records of baptism from 1779-1793 are available on FamilySearch while the same and those from 1790-1804 and 1817-1911 are available on Matricula. I have had to rely on this Family Register of the Parish of Mamer for all children born to the KÜFFER families before 1779.
As the records are not available, I can only assume the compiler of the register used KÜFFER as the spelling of the surname as this is how it was written in the church records he consulted. Five of the eight children born to Nicolaus and Susanna were found in later records. The records show the surname’s various spellings, including Küffer, Küfers, Kiefer, Kieffer, Kifers, and Kiffer. The house they lived in was known as Kiefers house or Kéfisch in Luxembourgish.
The home, as well as the house name, was passed down several generations. In 1842 the King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, William II owned land in Mamer. In 1849, when some of the lands were sold, the king’s administrator Baron Ziegesar donated a piece of land to Pierre REDLINGER of Kéfesch for his faithful services.1 Pierre was a great-grandson of the KÜFFER couple. As the oldest living child of Margaretha KOLBACH he had inherited the homeplace from her. It had been passed on to Margaretha from her mother Susanne KIEFFER who’d taken it over from her parents Nicolaus KÜFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ.
The parents of Nicolaus KÜFFER
Christophorus KÜFFER and Angelica PROBST, the parents of Nicolaus, were married on 7 November 1731 in Mamer. They were the parents of five children baptized in Mamer. Caecelia was baptized on 24 October 1732, Nicolaus on 31 March 1734, Theodorus on 24 September 1736, Petrus on 21 January 1739, and Martinus on 16 October 1742.2
Three months after the birth of Martinus, Angelica, mother of five, married Michael GOERGEN on 21 January 1743. It can only be assumed that her first husband Christophorus died after Martinus was conceived and before Angelica remarried. With her second husband, she had three children: Wilhelmus in 1744, Margaretha in 1747, and Joannes in 1753.3
Of the eight children born to Angelica, only my ancestor Nicolaus was found to have married and had children in Mamer. His brother Petrus is noted as having gone to Monnerich (Mondercange, Luxembourg) and married however no record has been found of such or of children. When Nicolaus’ fourth child was baptized in 1760, Petrus KÜFFER was named as the godfather. No other KÜFFER or GOERGEN children were godparents of Nicolaus’ children. Could this mean none other than Nicolaus and Petrus survived to adulthood? Deaths and burials were not considered when the family register was compiled. Annotations were made concerning some persons who did not remain in the parish of Mamer but not all.
Angelica PROBST died on 29 April 1786 in Mamer.4 She was widowed for the second time. As her second husband’s death was not found in the deaths/burials from 1779-1786, it is assumed that he died before 1779.
The parents of Susanna SCHILTZ
Susanna SCHILTZ’s parentage is not mentioned in the family register of Mamer. There is no annotation concerning her former place of residence.
Susanna died in the house called Kéfisch in Mamer on 4 August 1807. Her civil death record includes the names of her parents as well as their residence. They were Johannes SCHILTZ and Anna Maria SIMON of Menster (Mensdorf, Luxembourg).5 No records have been found for this couple.
Nicolas KÜFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ become parents
Nicolaus and Susanna were the parents of eight children all baptized in Mamer. They are assumed to have married before the birth of their first child Susanne baptized on 25 March 1754. Their second child and first son, Joannes was baptized on 24 July 1756. His godparents were Joannes SCHILTZ and Anna Elisabeth SIMON. They could have been the maternal grandfather and a maternal aunt but without the record that may give their residence or relationship to the child, this cannot be determined.
The third child of Nicolaus and Susanna was also named Joannes and baptized on 2 October 1757. He was followed by Elisabeth baptized on 25 June 1760. Her godfather was Peter KÜFFER, likely her paternal uncle who went to Monnerich. The fifth child, Peter Nicolas was baptized on 4 August 1763.
In 1766-1767 when the census and cadaster of Marie-Thérèse were taken, Nicolaus and Susanna had five children. The census for Mamer is lost. It would have been a good source for this couple’s living children as all household members were named and placed in age categories. As far as can be determined, from later records, the first four children were likely living in 1766.
The cadaster of Marie-Thérèse for Mamer from 1767 survived and “Nicolas Kiefers” is enumerated as Hirt or a shepherd in Mamer. The acreage and value of the land he used and its income were calculated on the sheet. The handwriting is hard to read. It may include interesting information on how the family lived. I don’t have the patience needed at this time to sit down and decipher all of the details. What I have been able to figure out is that Nicolaus was using or owned 9 Morgens of farmland, some fallow farmland, a garden and fruit tree orchard, and 3 1/2 Morgens of meadows. I wasn’t able to decipher what he was cultivating and the reason for a deduction made to the total payable tax.6
A gap of nearly 8 years followed the birth of the fifth child. On 5 February 1771, a daughter Margaretha was baptized. Maria was baptized on 22 November 1772 and finally Nicolas on 26 December 1775.
The children begin to marry and start their own families
Of the eight children of Nicolaus and Susanna, three have been found to have married. […the 3rd marriage and family only as I was writing this post!]
Susanne KIEFFER (1754-1808) of Kéfesch house in Mamer, Luxembourg, was my 4th great-grandmother. I wrote about her, both of her husbands, and her children in my post, 52 Ancestors: #44 Legendary Two-Time Tour de France Winner’s Second Great-Grandparents. In January 2018 I was very busy and had little time for format citations for the post. Now over three years later, I noticed this omission and will try to get to the source list when I publish this post. [4 May 2021 Update: Done!]
Susanne KIEFFER married Michel KOLBACH (1784-1838) on 17 February 1783.7 Susanne’s father Nicolaus KÜFFER served as the godfather of their first child Margaretha born and baptized on 4 January 1784.8 With the birth of her daughter Margaretha, they were living in a four-generation house. As the oldest child, Susanne would take over the family home after the deaths of her parents.
Joannes KIEFFER married Barbara THIES on 21 January 1785 in Schoenberg.9 The marriage was witnessed by Joannes KIEFFER of Mamer who, if it is not an error in name, was his brother of the same name. Without any further information, it is impossible to tell which Joannes was the groom and which was the witness: Joannes b. 1756 or Joannes b. 1757. This marriage was only discovered when I looked more closely at the godparents of the KOLBACH children and found Barbara THIES wife of Joannes KIEFFER serving as the godmother of a child in 1789.
On 31 March 1785, Elisabeth KIEFFER served as godmother for her nephew Michel KOLBACH, son of her sister Susanne.10
Angelica PROBST, the mother of Nicolaus KÜFFER, died on 29 April 1786 in Mamer and was buried in the town cemetery the following day.11 The Kéfesch house now had only three generations living in it.
Nicolas KÜFFER again served as a godfather for his grandson Nicolaus KIEFFER, son of Joannes and Barbara, born and baptized on 17 September 1786 in Kehlen.12 Young Nicolas was the first of three known children of Joannes and Barbara. Michael KIEFFER was born and baptized on 13 July 1788 in Kehlen. His uncle Michel KOLBACH, husband of Susanne, was his godfather.13 Peter KIEFFER (1789-1849) was born and baptized on 29 December 1789.14
During this time, Susanna was still having children with Michel KOLBACH. Catherine was born and baptized on 29 Nov 1786 in Mamer15 and Petrus was born and baptized on 9 January 1789 in Mamer.16 His godmother was Barbara THIES of Kehlen. It was this record that added an entire branch to the KIEFFER family tree.
Elisabeth was the last of the three KIEFFER children to marry. She married Nicolas CHRISTOPHORY (1743-1803) on 11 May 1789 in Mamer.17 Their first child Michael CHRISTOPHORY (1790-1856) was born on 2 October 1790 in Mamer. His godfather was his uncle by marriage, Michel KOLBACH.18
Anna Maria, the youngest child of Susanne KIEFFER and Michel KOLBACH, was born on 14 May 1791 and baptized the same day.19
Joannes KIEFFER, the only known son of Nicolaus KIEFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ to marry, died in Kehlen on 26 January 1793.20 Four months later their son-in-law Michel KOLBACH died on 30 May 1793 in Mamer leaving his wife Susanne KIEFFER with 5 small children.21 Less than a year later, Susanne married Paul FRANTZ (1763-1847) on 7 January 1794 in Mamer.22
On 18 April 1794 Elisabeth gave birth to her second son Jean CHRISTOPHORY and named her younger sister Maria KIEFFER his godmother.23 Maria was 21 years old at the time. Neither marriage nor a death record has been found for her. However, the baptismal record was a good clue that she was still living in 1794.
Susanne KIEFFER and her new husband Paulus FRANTZ became the parents of twin boys, Nicolas and Johann, on 21 November 1794. The maternal grandfather Nicolaus KÜFFER was chosen to be the godfather of Nicolas.24 The second twin Johann was my 3rd great-grandfather.
A year and a half after the birth of the twins, their maternal grandfather Nicolaus KÜFFER died on 1 May 1796 and was buried the following day. He left a widow, Susanna SCHILTZ.25
The following year brought two births but also two deaths. Susanne and Paul’s son Henri was born on 10 January 1797.26 Less than two months later, Anna Maria KOLBACH, Susanne’s youngest daughter from her first marriage, died on 6 March 1797 at the age of 5.27 Three months later baby Henri died on 6 June 1797 at the age of 5 months.28 Two days later, Susanne’s sister Elisabeth gave birth to her third child, Mathias CHRISTOPHORY.29
Following the turn of the century, the first of the grandchildren married. Margaretha KOLBACH the oldest child of Susanne who would later take over the house Kéfesch married Leonard RÖELINGER on 18 November 1802 in Mamer.30
The last grandchild was born on 31 March 1803 in Mamer when Elisabeth gave birth to Catharina CHRISTOPHORY.31 The child would not grow up knowing her father as Nicolas CHRISTOPHORY died nine months later on 16 December 1803.32 His widow Elisabeth married again on 7 May 1806 to Theodore HELLESCH (1756-?).33
Susanna SCHILTZ, the widow of Nicolaus KÜFFER, died in Kéfesch house on 4 August 1807. Her death was reported by her son-in-law Paul FRANTZ. Her death record, as noted earlier in this post, included the names of her parents. A little over a year later, Paul was back at the city hall reporting the death of his wife Susanne KIEFFER who died on 9 October 1808.34
Two grandsons fought at Waterloo
My 3rd great-grandfather Johann and his twin brother Nicolas FRANTZ joined the 6th Infantry Regiment in Phalsbourg, France on 5 November 1813 and served alongside each other in the regiment. They participated in campaigns of 1814 and 1815 in France and Belgium. Nicolas was wounded in the shoulder by a gunshot received on 10 February 1814 in Montmirail. Johann was wounded in the right arm by a saber cut received on 18 June 1815 at Waterloo.35 After the final fall of the Empire, the brothers returned to Luxembourg. They would marry and have children as did their four KOLBACH half-siblings.
Elisabeth, the last living child of the KÜFFER-SCHILTZ couple
Elisabeth KIEFFER was the only child of Nicolaus KÜFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ still living when her FRANTZ nephews returned from the Battle of Waterloo. Three of her four children married. Her second son, Jean became a Catholic priest serving the parish of Steinheim from 1830 to 184436 and the parish of Bous from 1844 to 1863.37 On 5 July 1872, he was granted honorary dismissal and retirement at his request and because of old age.38 He passed away on 16 November 1873 in Reckange where his older brother Michael had married and raised his family.39
Elisabeth was living in the parsonage in Steinheim with her son Jean when she died on 28 April 1838.40 She had been living there since at least 1830 when her oldest son Michael married. She was not present at the marriage in Hesperange but her permission was given by letter from a notary of Echternach.41
A decade after Elisabeth’s death her youngest child and only daughter Catharina went to America with her husband Theodore SAUBER and their seven children. They departed from Antwerp, Belgium on the John Holland and arrived in the port of New Orleans on 18 May 1848.42 They settled in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, where Catharina was last seen in the 1880 census.43
Who said family history has to be boring?
Nicolaus KÜFFER (1734-1796) and Susanna SCHILTZ (ca. 1737-1807) were the parents of eight children. Only three are known to have married and had children. Their grandchildren led interesting lives. Twin grandsons fought at the Battle of Waterloo, a grandson was a Catholic priest, a granddaughter emigrated to America, and their grandson Nicolas FRANTZ (1794-1879) was the great-grandfather of the legendary two-time Tour de France winner Nicolas FRANTZ (1899-1985).
What of the two children who were mentioned in records, Joannes and Maria? Did they marry and have families? Do they have stories left to be told?
Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Baptêmes 1718-1940, familles alphabétique > image 135 of 375. Family register entries for Küffer-Probst and Küffer-Schiltz. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32402-77-6?cc=2037955 : accessed 28 November 2015). ↩
Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film 2271574 DGS 8014693, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 77 (Mamer), image 506+507 of 657, sheet no. 136. 1767 cadastre sheet of Nicolas Kuffers in Mamer.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXW-1WK7-P?i=506&cat=1152016 : accessed 26 April 2021). ↩
“New Orleans, Passenger List Quarterly Abstracts, 1820-1875” Ancestry.com, citing Quarterly Abstracts of Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820–1875. M272, 17 rolls. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. ↩
1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1431, Wisconsin, Kenosha, Kenosha, Enumeration District 76, page 23A, HH#6-6, lines 19-27, Paul Sauber household. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6742/images/4244754-00239 : accessed 26 April 2021). ↩
At 7 o’clock on the evening of 26 July 1935, Mathias SCHAFFNER, mayor of Echternach (Luxembourg), married Nicolas WILDINGER and Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE. The groom was 28 years old and a plumber; the bride was 26 years old and without an occupation.
Nicolas’ mother, Catharina PÖPPELREITER, and Marcelle’s father, Johann Joseph FOURNELLE, were present and agreeable to the marriage.
Johann WILDINGER, the father of the groom, and Catharina FRANTZ, the mother of the bride, were both deceased at the time of the marriage.
The religious marriage ceremony took place the following day in St. Willibrod Basilica in Echternach in the strictest privacy per an announcement sent out by the parents of the bridal couple. Their only child, my mother, was born ten months later and cannot have been the reason for the church ceremony being performed in privacy.
The marriage lasted only six years. It ended on 24 October 1941 when Nicolas died of tuberculosis. Although Marcelle had at least one suitor who offered marriage, she never remarried. She died in 2005 in her 96th year.
Since first hearing this family tradition I’ve thought there was a murder mystery in my maternal family tree. And I’ve wanted to get to the bottom of it for the longest time. Records are not publicly available for the recent time period the supposed crime was committed. This post is meant to clear the name of my first cousin twice removed Maisy VESQUE.
Jean and Marie were the parents of ten children, two of whom died as babies. Their sixth child, daughter Paulina FRANTZ (1880-1966) married Johann Peter François VESQUE in 1910. They had only one known child, a daughter named Maisy who was born about 1913.
I have not been able to locate a birth record for her. Mamer where her mother was from, Contern where her father was from, and Rumelange where her father was living in 1910 when they married were searched to no avail. [Any help would be appreciated!]
UPDATE (26 September 2018): My friend Linda K. who has helped me out several times with finding records in Luxembourg, found Maisy’s birth record. She was born on 7 August 1912 in Rumelange. Her birth name was Maria Margaretha.1 Why I missed this record will be shared in my next post.
A family tradition told by my grandmother was that Maisy served time in prison for killing a man.
I believed the story must be true since it was told by my grandmother who was her first cousin and four years older than Maisy. However each time I searched the newspapers on eluxemburgensia, the Luxembourg National Library’s portal for their project to digitize Luxembourg periodicals, I came up empty. I had no idea when this event took place. I assumed Maisy would have to be an adult to serve time, i.e. between 1931-1969: from the age of 18 to the time of her death.
Recently I found a DNA match on MyHeritage whose most recent common ancestors (MRCA) to with my brother whose test I manage are Jean Baptiste MAJERUS and Catharina CORNELY, the grandparents of Marie MAJERUS, Maisy’s maternal grandmother.
In my first message to the match, I included the link to my article on the CORNELY-MAJERUS couple. Maisy’s story, although only a one-liner in another post, attracted the match’s attention since she has a family tradition that her great-grandfather may have been murdered while on a trip to Luxembourg. Neither of us had further information.
Maisy and the match’s great-grandfather’s wife were first cousins twice removed but Maisy was born after the husband’s death. The timeline doesn’t match up. Still, my curiosity was piqued. Once again I searched for any mention of Maisy VESQUE in the Luxembourg newspapers. An article, in a newspaper which was only recently added to the eluxemburgensia collection, was found about an incident which likely started the embellished family tradition.2
Translation of the French text:
Publication: L’indépendance luxembourgeoise Published: 30 December 1933 Title: Chronique Locale Towards the health home. – Yesterday, around 16 hours, a young person, named Maisy Vesque, 21, of Oetrange, came to the home of Mr. Robert Leesch, dentist, in Liberty Avenue. Without saying a word, she shot twice at the dentist’s assistant who opened the door. However, he was not hit. The municipal police were immediately requested, and the strange visitor took two more shots, which also failed. Since she was obviously a madwoman, the police immediately directed her to the health center in Ettelbruck.
Maisy was about twenty years old at the time. Whatever led her to take a gun to the dentist’s home and fire four shots is not mentioned in the article. I was relieved to learn she did not harm or kill anyone. The health center she was taken to in Ettelbruck was the neuro-psychiatric hospital. How long she remained there as an inmate or if she stood trial for her acts is not known.
Maisy never married and had no children. At the time of her death, she was a resident of Oetrange where her parents had made their home since their marriage and where she had been living at the time of the event. Her mother had been deceased a little over two years and her father five years when she passed away.
UPDATE (26 September 2018): The birth record found by Linda K. included the date and place of death in the margin. Maisy died on 24 April 1969 in Ettelbruck.
Pauline and Franz had one daughter Maisy who served time in prison for killing a man and never married.
I wrote this line in June 2015 and it is now time to retract the statement. There is no evidence to date which shows Maisy served time or killed a man. She attempted to do harm to the dentist or his assistant and then the police for an unknown reason. She may have been an inmate of the psychiatric ward but there is no proof she was in prison.
As genealogists and family historians, we can pass on the family traditions but whenever possible they should be proven when records are available. In this case, my grandmother is no longer alive to give me more information. I should have questioned her when she casually told me Maisy had been locked up for killing a man. Maybe she hadn’t meant prison and I was the one who unknowingly touched up the story.
With this post, all of my children’s known ancestors from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents have been featured since I began blogging four years ago. I actually did it in three years as I took a break from the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in 2016.
Michel and Catharina
Michel TRAUSCH (1792-1869) and Catharina HAMES (1789-1864) married in Mamer, Luxembourg, on 18 February 1817.1 Their marriage record included the groom and bride’s dates and places of birth. His parents were both deceased; their names and dates and places of death were included. Her parents were living, present and consenting to the marriage. Also present were four witnesses. Michel KOLBACH, the bride’s brother-in-law, and three unrelated persons.
Michel was born on 9 May 1792 in Colmar-Berg, Mersch, Luxembourg, to Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (COLLING) (1766-1798).2 Catharina was born on 17 May 1789 in Mamer to Johannes HAMES (~1758-1826) and Agnes HERTZ (1755-1836).3 I will come back to the parents and siblings of Michel and Catharina after I have discussed their children.
Michel and Catharina had the following children:
1. Anna Catharina TRAUSCH was born the day after her parents’ first wedding anniversary on 19 February 1818 in Mamer.4 She died on 26 February 1819 in Mamer at the age of a year and a week.5 2. Maria TRAUSCH was born exactly two years after Anna Catharina, on 19 February 1820.6 She married and had one daughter. She died on 13 May 1875. She was my 3rd great-grandmother and her daughter was my 2nd great-granddaughter. 3. Peter TRAUSCH was born on 3 October 1821 in Mamer.7 He was last seen at the age of 34 years in Mamer with his parents in 1855. At this time it is unknown if he married or had children. 4. Elisabeth TRAUSCH was born on 23 July 1823.8 She married and had three sons. She died on 7 March 1877. 5. Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 23 September 1825.9 She married and had three sons. She died on 29 August 1903. 6. Catherine TRAUSCH was born on 13 March 1827 in Mamer.10 She died on 4 April 1900 in Mamer. Catherine never married. 7. Marie Catherine TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1829 in Mamer.11 She died on 13 May 1832 in Mamer at the age of three years.12
As can be seen above Michel and Catharina had seven children, two of whom died young, one who never married, three who married and gave them seven grandchildren, and one son who has not been traced after 1855. Of the grandchildren, only one was a girl – an important fact as will be seen at the end of this post.
Soon after the birth of their first grandchild, Michel and Catharina saw their daughter Elisabeth marry in Kehlen. She married Jean Henri KLEIN (1811-1866) on 15 December 1852.15 A year later, she gave birth to the second grandchild Johann KLEIN on 7 December 1853 in Nospelt.16
The third daughter to marry was Susanna. She married Pierre KLEES (1823-1903) on 14 February 1855 in Kehlen where her sister Elisabeth had married.17
These marriages in Kehlen were only found with the help of the Marriage Database dedicated members of my genealogy association Luxracines are working on. As a member of the board, I have access to the database which will soon be made available on our website. It will be a real time-saver for all researchers who have ancestors who married in Luxembourg between 1797-1923 as marriage records include so much genealogical information. Lëtz Play! Can You Top This? A Marriage Record With 15 Events
Following Susanna’s marriage five more grandsons were born into the family:
It is unknown if Nicolas, the only son of Catharina and Michel, ever married and had children. Perhaps when the Marriage Database 1797-1923 is finished he will be found. Without this information, it is at this time only possible to note that all known grandchildren of Catharina and Michel were born before their deaths.
Catharina and Michel die in a three-generation house
Catharina HAMES died on 22 November 1864 at the age of 75 years.23 Her husband Michel TRAUSCH died five years later on 28 December 1869 at the age of 77 years.24 They both died in Mamer in the house called Schreinesch where they had raised their family. It had been a three-generation home as their son-in-law Jean MAJERUS, who was the informant at the time of both deaths, lived there with his wife Maria and their only daughter Marie.
Marie would marry Jean FRANTZ (1837-1929) in 1870.25 Her mother Maria TRAUSCH died on 13 May 1875.26 The oldest of the grown siblings, she was the first to die. She was followed by her sisters Elisabeth who died on 7 March 1877 in Goeblange27, Catherine, an old maid, on 4 April 1900 in Mamer28, and Susanna on 29 August 1903 in Kehlen.29
The Parents and Siblings of Michel TRAUSCH
Michel’s parents Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN (also seen as COLLING) were married on 24 July 1787 in Bissen.30 The marriage index cards for marriages in the parish records incorrectly listed the year as 1789. I was searching for a marriage in 1789 and wondering why a child was born in 1788. After not finding the marriage in 1789, I continued back until it was located in 1787. The marriage was recorded twice, by two different persons, first on the 23rd of July and then on the 24th. The later was complete and included signatures.
Remacle and Theresia had six children all born in Colmar-Berg. The oldest three grew to adulthood, married and had children. Franz born in 1788 was the father of 10 children; Catherine born in 1790 was the mother of 14 children; and Michel, as was seen above, was born in 1792 and was the father of 7 children. The three youngest have not been traced past their baptisms: Nicolas b. 1794, Susanna b. 1796, and Maria b. 1798. The mother Theresia died on 16 February 1798 in Berg, a week after the birth of her last child.31 Michel was not yet six years old when he lost his mother. Four of the six children’s baptismal records had their mother’s maiden name listed as COLLING instead of BRAUN(ERS). The different names will hopefully lead to more information on Theresia’s ancestors.
Remacle remarried six months later on 26 August 1798 in Berg to Anne Marie WIROTH.32 They had one known daughter, Peternelle born in 1799. Remacle and Anne Marie had removed to Luxembourg City from Colmar-Berg sometime after the birth of their daughter and before Remacle’s death on 31 August 1804.33
Two years later Catherine, sixteen years and six months, was in a family way and the conseil de famille, or family counsel, gave their permission for her to marry Peter OLINGER. This was necessary as she was under age and both parents were deceased. Catherine’s uncle Nicolas COLLING, a witness to the marriage, was likely one of the family counsel. It was not mentioned in the marriage record dated 29 November 180634 that she was expecting but four months later on 2 April 1807 she gave birth to a son François.35
By 1813 Franz, the oldest of Remacle and Theresia’s children, was living in Schieren near Ettelbrück where he would marry Eva MERTZ and raise a large family.36 His brother Michel remained in Colmar-Berg until 1817 when he married Catharina HAMES of Mamer.
The Parents and Siblings of Catharina HAMES
Catharina’s parents, Johannes HAMES and Agnes HERTZ were married in Mamer on 18 January 1785.37 They were the parents of six known children. Three sons died as infants, one son died at the age of 18, leaving only two daughters who would marry and raise families. Catharina was the younger of the two. Her sister Susanne was the first to marry. She married Michel KOLBACH, son of Michel KOLBACH and Susanne KIEFFER, on 11 January 1815 in Mamer.38 Her mother-in-law Susanne KIEFFER was one of my 4th great-grandmothers. She had married Paulus FRANTZ after the death of the elder Michel KOLBACH. Susanne and Michel (the younger couple) were the parents of six, two of whom died in infancy. Their four children married and had children.
Agnes HERTZ, her daughter Catharina HAMES, her granddaughter Maria TRAUSCH, and her great-granddaughter Marie MAJERUS are my mitochondrial line down from Agnes’ mother Anna Catharina RONAS. The parents of Anna Catharina are at this time unknown to me. A couple of years ago I talked to a person who appears to have been “on to something” concerning the RONAS family but did not want to make the research public at the time.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
P.S. A special thank you to Amberly Peterson Beck, The Genealogy Girl, for letting me know I can enable Markdown in WordPress.com posts, pages, and comments for easier styling, including footnotes – see below, aren’t they beautiful? Note: Footnotes in numbered and bulleted lists did not seem to work until I tricked the editor into not using html formatting for the lists.
Many genealogists are joining Amy Johnson Crow’s new 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge this week. While they are beginning, I am coming to the end of my own version which I began in 2017 (as seen in my feature image).
This set of fourth great-grandparents from Capellen in the parish of Mamer left me with more questions than answers.
Regina HUBERTY, my fourth great-grandmother, was born on 2 March 1764 in Capellen, Luxembourg.
The register (mentioned in the box above) includes two family groups for Regina HUBERTY. The first family group is from her first marriage and includes the names of her parents – Petri HUBERTY and Anna LENNERT.
On the 3rd of March 1789, there being no impediment to the marriage, the priest of Mamer and two witnesses were present when Jacob FRISCH, son of the deceased Joannis FRISCH and Margaretha ZEIMET of Huncherange, was united with Regina HUBERTY, daughter of Petri HUBERTY and the deceased Anna LENNERT. The bride and groom were both of age to marry. The names of the parents match those in the register above as the information was collected from parish records at the time.
Jacob’s parents were from Huncherange and I am not quite sure of the wording in the marriage record (above) concerning his parents. Defuncti Joannis Frisch et Margaretha Zeimet olim Conjugum ex Hunichringen parochia Noertzingen. Am I reading/translating this correctly – both of his parents were deceased?
I have no idea of Jacob’s age or if he actually was born in the village his parents were from. I searched in the records of the parish of Noertzange to which Huncherange belonged for the years 1760 to 1770 without success. Could he have been much older than Regina?
Usually, when I have this kind of predicament I search for baptismal, marriage, or death records of the siblings as well as records created when they were mentioned as godparents. The godparents of the children of Jacob and Regina are listed in the family register, however, none have the FRISCH or ZEIMET surnames. At this time I have no idea if Jacob had siblings.
Regina and Jacob had the following children.
1. Susanna FRISCH was born on 26 June 1792 in Capellen. She married Petrus KOLBACH, son of Michel KOLBACH and Susanne KIEFFER, on 14 January 1818 in Mamer. Petrus was born on 9 January 1789 in Mamer. He died on 23 April 1837 in Mamer. Susanna died on 20 October 1885 in Capellen. They were the parents of three sons.
2. Margaretha FRISCH was born on 24 April 1794 in Capellen. She died on 2 August 1828 in Capellen. She never married.
3. Franciscus “Franz” FRISCH was born on 30 August 1796 in Capellen. He married Magdalena MORRET on 22 January 1823 in Mamer. Magdalena was born about 1796. Franz was enumerated in Mamer the 1843 and 1849 census with his wife and three sons. The years 1846, 1847, and those after 1849 have not been checked. Death records have not been located for either Franz or his wife Magdalena. Their son Peter John FRISCH immigrated to America in 1854. He was married twice and lived in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. He is well documented in Sandra L. Hammes’ From Luxembourg to La Crosse And Beyond 1851-1910, however, I am still searching for his birth record to connect him to Franz and Magdalena. All of his siblings’ birth records were found. A date of birth (30 May 1830) was found on the 1849 census but does not match the date given (29 October 1832) in From Luxembourg to La Crosse. And neither of these dates match that (25 March 1830) found in the family register of Mamer.
4. Nicolaus FRISCH was born on 13 July 1798 in Capellen. He has not been found later.
5. Elisabeta FRISCH was born on 5 April 1800 in Capellen. She was baptized the following day. She married Johannes FRANTZ, son of Paulus FRANTZ and Susanne KIEFFER, on 18 January 1827 in Holzem. Johannes was born on 21 November 1794 in Mamer. He died on 24 January 1880 in Mamer and his widow Elisabeta died ten months later on 15 November 1880 in Mamer. Elisabeta and Johannes were my 3rd great-grandparents.
Regina’s husband Jacob FRISCH, the father of the above children, died on 11 March 1800 in Capellen. Regina was the informant and pregnant with her fifth child, my 3rd great-grandmother Elisabeta.
A second family group was found for Regina in the family register. It included the name of her deceased husband and their five children as well as her second husband and their children.
Nearly two years after the death of Jacob FRISCH, Regina HUBERTY married Peter KALMES on 21 December 1801 in Mamer. Peter was born on 22 November 1760 in Nospelt, Luxembourg, to Peter KALMES and Catharina SCHANTZ.
The marriage record of Regina and Peter is the source for Regina’s date of birth. In this record, her parents are listed as Peter HUBERTY and Johannata BEREND. Which of the two marriage records for Regina give the correct name for her mother? Were Anna LENNERT and Johannata BEREND the same person? Is the L in the early marriage record a B as I thought when I first saw it? Did the person who compiled the information in the family register mistake the B for an L? But still, BENNERT and BEREND may be close but are they the same? What other sources can I check to solve these questions?
Regina and Peter had the following children.
Petrus KALMES was born on 24 March 1803 in Capellen. He died a few weeks later on 12 April 1803 in Capellen.
2. Peter KALMES was born on 3 October 1804 in Capellen. He married Maria BOSSELER on 8 February 1844 in Mamer. He died on 18 December 1863 in Capellen. Note: The date of birth for Peter KALMES on his marriage record is that of his brother who was born and died before his birth.
3. Jean KALMES was born on 2 February 1808 in Capellen. He died a little over a month later on 12 March 1808 in Capellen.
Peter KALMES died on 12 November 1833 in Capellen leaving a wife, a son, and at least three step-children. His widow Regina HUBERTY died on 19 January 1840 in Capellen. She left four living children: Susanne, Franz, Elisabeta, and Peter. She may have left another child, the son Nicolas who has not been found after his birth in 1798.
Do any of my readers know where I may find the answers to the many unanswered questions?
Susanne KIEFFER was born on 25 March 1754 in Mamer to Nicolaus KÜFFER (1734-1796) and Susanna SCHILTZ (1737-1807). Earlier variations of the surname were KIEFER and KÜFFER. Susanne was the oldest of eight known children. The only reference available online is an alphabetical family group register of births/baptisms and marriages for the town of Mamer. Actual parish records for baptisms, marriages, and burials in Mamer are only available on FamilySearch for the years 1779-1793.
Susanne was my fourth great-grandmother. She married Michel KOLBACH on 17 February 1783.1 Michel was born about 1748 in Kehlen to Francisci KOLBACH and Maria KAYSER. His parents were deceased at the time of his marriage. Michel and his parents were not my ancestors.
Susanne and Michel were the parents of five children.
Margaretha born on 4 January 17842
Michel born on 31 March 17853
Catherine born on 29 November 17864
Peter born on 9 January 17895
Anna Maria born on 14 May 17916
These children are documented as they were born during the period in which actual parish records are available on FamilySearch for baptisms, marriages, and burials during the years 1779-1793.
When their youngest child had just turned two years old, Susanne was widowed when Michel KOLBACH died on 30 May 1793. He had been a linen weaver or linitextor and was about 45 years old.8
A little over seven months later Susanne remarried. On 7 January 1794, she married Paul FRANTZ. Paul was the son of Nicolaus FRANTZ and Angela BARTEL of Senningen.9
No marriage record has been found for Susanne and Paul. Their marriage is recorded on a marriage index card. The information on the card points to Paul being from Bergem in the parish of Schifflingen. Per the 1843 census, Paul was born on 10 August 1763 in Senningen.10 On the 1846 census, the day and month were the same but the year was 1764.11 The place of birth on the 1846 census was blank. Although their names are known, his parents and siblings are at this time a brick wall.
Paul was my fourth great-grandfather. When he married Susanne he took on a family of five children between the ages of 3 and 10 years. Like Susanne’s first husband Michel, Paul was a linen weaver.
Susanne was soon expecting twins. Nicolas and Johannes were born on 21 November 1794. As no birth records are available for the twins it is not known who was the oldest. Nicolas or my third great-grandfather Johannes.
When the twins were seventeen months old their grandfather, Susanne’s father, Nicolaus KEIFFER died on 1 May 1796.12
Susanne gave birth to another son on 10 January 1797. He was named Henri.13 Less than two months later Susanne’s youngest daughter from her first marriage, Anna Maria, died at the age of five years on 6 March 1797.14 The family may have been battling some kind of disease or the baby was not strong enough to survive as little Henri died on 6 June 1797 at the age of five months.15
The children grew and by 1802 Susanne’s oldest daughter was courting and the results were soon to be seen. Margaretha was 17 years old when she married Leonardus RÖELINGER on 18 November 1802.16 Three and a half months later, on 9 March 1803, she gave birth to a boy she named after her father Michel.17
Susanne’s brother-in-law Nicolas CHRISTOPHORY died on 16 December 1803.18 His widow Elisabeth was 46 years old when she married Theodore HELLESCH on 7 May 1806.19 It was on this marriage record that the 1796 date of death for Nicolaus KIEFFER, the bride’s father, was found.
Susanne’s mother Susanna SCHILTZ died on 4 August 1807. Her son-in-law Paul FRANTZ was the informant on her death record.20 A little over a year later, on 9 October 1808, he was once again at the city hall reporting a death. This time it was his wife Susanne KIEFFER who died at the age of 54 years.21 She left 4 KOLBACH children and the FRANTZ twins.
My 4th great-grandfather was now alone and caring for his 13-year-old twin boys and three unmarried step-children who were in their twenties. Only his step-daughter Marguerite was married with two little boys but likely also living in the household as was her right as the oldest.
Five years after the death of Susanne, her daughter Catherine KOLBACH married Jacques HENTGES in Mondercange on 29 December 1813.22 This marriage was only found in the last few days.
Her brothers Michel and Peter KOLBACH would add some very interesting branches to my family tree.
Michel KOLBACH married Susanne HAMES (1786-1855) on 11 January 1815 in Mamer.23 Susanne was the sister of my 4th great-grandmother Catherine HAMES (1789-1864), my direct matrilineal line.
Petrus KOLBACH married Susanna FRISCH, daughter of Jacob FRISCH and Regina HUBERTY, on 14 January 1818 in Mamer.24 Jacob and Regina are also my fourth great-grandparents.
Confused? I hope this will help.
Less than three weeks later Nicolas FRANTZ, one of the twins, married Anna KÜNSCH (1795-1875) on 3 February 1818 in Mamer.25
It would be another nine years before the other twin, my fourth great-grandfather, would marry Elisabeta FRISCH (1800-1880), daughter of the above-mentioned Jacob FRISCH and Regina HUBERTY. They were married on 18 January 1827 in Holzem.26
All of Paul FRANTZ’s children, biological and step, were now married. I believe Paul was living in the home he had shared with his wife Susanne with her oldest daughter Margaretha and her family. This is supported by the census taken in 1843 and 1846. But before the census was enumerated there were several deaths in the family.
Petrus KOLBACH, a father of three sons, died on 23 April 1837 in Mamer at the age of 48.27 His widow Susan FRISCH would live to the age of 93 dying on 20 October 1885.28
The oldest of the bunch, Margaretha KOLBACH had given birth to ten children. She died on 16 December 1838 in Mamer.29 She left a widower and six children. During the years the family had changed the spelling of RÖELINGER to RELINGER and finally REDLINGER, the version seen when Margaretha’s widower Leonardus die on 20 March 1843.30
In 1843 when the census was taken, Paul FRANTZ was the head of a household in Mamer. Living with him was his step-grandson Peter REDLINGER, his wife Susana WAGNER, and their four children. Both of Peter’s parents were deceased and he was likely the oldest of the REDLINGER children. The family home may have been passed on to him. In 1846 Peter REDLINGER was the head of household and Paul FRANTZ, as well as three of Peter’s single brothers, was living with the family.
Paul died at 8 in the morning on 27 July 1847 in Mamer at the age of 83. His death was reported by his step-grandson Peter REDLINGER.31
Michel KOLBACH died on 18 April 1855 in Mamer at the age of 70.32 He had fathered six children, two of whom died at a young age. His widow Susanna HAMES died exactly a month later on 18 May 1855 at the age of 68.33
The only living KOLBACH child, Catherine died on 30 October 1869 in Bergem.34 Until a few days ago I thought she may have died as a child. However, after finding her marriage record, I learned she was the mother of at least six children. Her husband Jacques died on the oldest son’s 15th birthday in 1830 leaving her widowed with children between the ages of 2 and 15.35
Susanne KIEFFER’s KOLBACH children were now all deceased. Her twins, the sons she bore Paul FRANTZ, lived into their eighties. Nicolas FRANTZ, father of seven children (at least two died young), died on 8 August 187936 at the age of 84 and my fourth great-grandfather Johannes FRANTZ, father of five children (one died young) died on 24 January 188037 at the age of 85.
One final note of interest and the reason for the peculiar title for this article. My 4th great-grandparents Paul FRANTZ and Susanne KIEFFER were the 2nd great-grandparents of the famous Nicolas “Nic” FRANTZ, winner of the 1927 and 1928 Tour de France. He was not the first Luxembourger to win the Tour but he was the only one to win it twice and twice in a row.
P.S. Things are always busy this time of the year and I have not had the time to include the sources at the end of my last few articles. I relied on being able to point my readers to my online GEDCOM file, however, Rootsweb is currently unavailable and it is not known how long the downtime will last. Three more sets of 4th great-grandparents to go and then I will come back and add the sources later in January 2018. [Sources on this post were finally added 4 May 2021.]
Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 46 of 168. 1783 Marriage Record (top of left page). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32401-17711-69?cc=2037955 : accessed 29 November 2015). ↩
Week 49 (December 3-9) – Holidays. What ancestor do the holidays put you in mind of?
Every St. Nicholas Day I am reminded of the day I uploaded my first GEDCOM file to Rootsweb’s WorldConnect Project thirteen years ago, on 6 December 2002. I remember the day so well because it was my St. Nick’s gift to friends and family who had helped me get started. To answer the question, all of my ancestors and their descendants put the holidays in my mind.
Since 2002 my family tree has grown, my research habits have changed. I’ve continued to share my GEDCOM file and have been writing posts for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for the past two years. Today’s post features the last of my known third great-grandparents and the last of my children’s known fourth great-grandparents.
Jean MAJERUS of Strassen and Maria TRAUSCH of Mamer
My 3rd great-grandfather Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) was born Saturday, 24 May 1817 in Strassen in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Catharina CORNELY (1794-1871) and Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1797-1868).
Catharina, 22 years old, and Jean Baptiste, 20 years old, had gotten married just in the nick of time on Friday, 25 April 1817, a month before their first child Jean was born.
The newlywed father Jean Baptiste complicated things a bit when he reported the birth of his first son. He may have been a bit nervous when he went to the city hall at four in the afternoon. The mother of the child on the birth record was seen as Maria CORNELY instead of Catharina – was it the father’s nervousness or a error made by the clerk? In any case, Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s son Jean was born at 11 o’clock in the morning. His father could not read and write and did not sign the record which was witnessed by two other persons present.
Jean lived with his parents and younger siblings in Strassen at the time of the 1843, 1846, and 1847 census.
The 1843 MAJERUS household included Baptiste Majerus, Catherine Cornely, and children Jean, Mathias, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, Marie. The head of the household and his two oldest sons were masons.
The 1846 MAJERUS household included Jean Baptiste Majerus, Catherine Cornely, and children Jean, Jean, Baptiste, Marie, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, and Michel. The head of household and his three oldest sons were masons.
The 1847 MAJERUS household included Jean Baptiste Majerus, Catherine Cornely, children Jean, Jean, Jacques, Jean Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie. Only the occupation of the head of household was given, a mason.
Jean MAJERUS married Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875) on Thursday, 31 May 1849 in Mamer.
Jean and Marie met with Nicolas BORNONG, the mayor of Mamer, at 9 o’clock Thursday morning. The groom Jean was 32 years old and a mason, Maurer. His parents Jean Baptiste MAJERUS and Catherine CORNELY, both from Strassen, were present and consented to the marriage.
The bride Marie was 30 years old. Her parents Michel TRAUSCH and Catherine HAMES, both of Mamer, were present and consenting to the marriage. The banns had been published on Sunday the 13th and 20th of the month in Mamer and in Bertrange, the commune Strassen belonged to at that time.
The marriage was witnessed by the mayor’s son Nicolas BORNONG, Jean REDLINGER, Michel PESCH, and Paul OLINGER, all of Mamer. The witnesses, mayor, and groom signed the marriage record. The parents of both the groom and bride and the bride declared not being able to write.
Jean’s bride Maria TRAUSCH was born Saturday, 19 February 1820 in Mamer to Michel TRAUSCH (1792-1869) and Catharina HAMES (1789-1864). At the time of her birth, the mayor of Mamer was Jacob BORNONG, the father of Nicolas BORNONG who would perform the marriage ceremony in 1849, and the grandfather of Nicolas BORNONG who would witness the marriage. Maria’s father, after reporting the birth to Jacob BORNONG, declared not being able to write and the birth record was signed by the mayor and two witnesses. Maria was their second child but grew up as the oldest of six as the first born daughter died a week after her first birthday.
At the time of his marriage to Maria TRAUSCH, Jean MAJERUS moved permanently from Strassen to Mamer. The entry in the parish register of families in Mamer shows in the far right column that he came from Strassen.
In 1849 when the census was enumerated Jean and Maria were living with her parents in Mamer. The household included Michel TRAUSCH, wife Catherine HAMES, daughter Marie TRAUSCH, son-in-law Jean MAJERUS, son Peter TRAUSCH, and daughter Susanne TRAUSCH.
Jean and Maria welcomed their first and only child Marie “Maria” MAJERUS (1850-1931) into the little family on Wednesday, 19 June 1850 in Mamer.
It was two o’clock in the afternoon when Jean, age 32, reported the birth of his daughter Marie to the mayor Nicolas BORNONG. Marie was born at noon the same day to Jean’s wife Maria TRAUSCH, age 30. Nicolas BORNONG, the son of the mayor, and Peter GOUDEN were witnesses to the birth report.
Jean, Maria, and their daughter Marie continued to live with Maria’s parents in the TRAUSCH-HAMES household in 1851, 1852, 1855, 1858, and 1861. The Michel TRAUSCH home was given the house name Schreinisch as his occupation was carpenter or Schreiner.
Maria’s mother Catharina HAMES died Tuesday, 22 November 1864 in Mamer. The widower Michel TRAUSCH was seen as the head of household in 1864 with Jean, Maria, and Marie and then as part of the MAJERUS-TRAUSCH household in 1867. They were still living in the house named Schreinisch.
Jean ‘s father Jean Baptiste MAJERUS died Tuesday, 7 July 1868 in Strassen. A year later, Maria’s father Michel TRAUSCH died Tuesday, 28 December 1869 in Mamer .
Jean’s mother Catharina CORNELY died Saturday, 10 June 1871 in Strassen. At the end of the year when the 1871 census was taken Jean MAJERUS, wife Maria TRAUSCH, daughter Marie MAJERUS, son-in-law Jean FRANTZ, and first grandchild Maria FRANTZ were living together in one household. The name of the house was no longer given but they were still living in the same house as seen in the death record below.
Maria TRAUSCH died at 10 o’clock the morning of Thursday, 13 May 1875 in her home, in a house named Schreinesch in Mamer. This was the home she shared with her parents while growing up and with her husband and daughter Marie.
Her widower was listed as the head of household in 1875 with his daughter, her husband, and three granddaughters. Jean MAJERUS most likely did not move out of the home he lived in since his marriage. He remained with his daughter and her family in what was now known as the FRANTZ-MAJERUS household in 1880, 1885, and 1887.
Jean MAJERUS died at 6 o’clock the morning of Saturday, 15 October 1887 in Mamer. His son-in-law Johann FRANTZ reported the death three hours later. He left his only daughter Marie, her husband and seven grandchildren. Eleven months later the last grandchild was born.
Did the TRAUSCH-HAMES, MAJERUS-TRAUSCH, and FRANTZ-TRAUSCH families live in the same home, a house named Schreinisch, from 1817 when the first couple married until 1931 when Marie MAJERUS died? It would be interesting to learn how to find the answer to this question.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.
Week 48 (November 26-December 2) – Thankful. November 26 is Thanksgiving in the U.S. Interpret the “thankful” theme however you’d like.
The FRANTZ-FRISCH Family of Mamer
I found a neat family register book dated 1718-1940 and notebooks with lists of all baptisms, marriages, and deaths for 1790-1804 in Mamer which I can use as a guide. Church records are available for baptisms, marriages, and death for 1779-1793 but not from 1794-1804 – the time period I need for my Jean and Elise.
I discovered these the day before Thanksgiving while plowing FamilySearch in search of baptismal records of the mother and father of my FRANTZ-FRISCH family. I have the civil records for most of my Mamer family groups however things get complicated for the era before civil records were recorded. For FRANTZ-FRISCH both the mother and father of this family came from parents who had two marriages and children from all four marriages. Sound complicated? The register puts it all in perspective.
How to Start?
My third great-grandparents were Johannes “Jean” FRANTZ (1794-1880) and Elisabeta “Elise” FRISCH (1800-1880). Jean’s mother Susanne was previously married and widowed before marrying Jean’s father Paulus. Elise’s father Jacob died before her birth and her mother remarried.
17 Feb 1783 ~ Susanne KIEFER md. Peter KOLBACH
My fourth great-grandmother Susanne KIEFER was first married to Peter KOLBACH. They were the parents of five children., ,,,  Peter died 30 May 1793.
3 March 1789 ~ Jacob FRISCH md. Regina HUBERTY
My fourth great-grandfather Jacobus “Jacob” FRISCH (1764-1800) married my fourth great-grandmother Regina HUBERTY (1764-1840) on 3 March 1789 in Mamer. Jacob was from Huncherange and Regina was from Capellen. Jacob died on 11 March 1800 in Capellen. His wife Regina was eight months pregnant with my third great-grandmother, the fifth of five children:
Susanna born 6 Jun 1792 in Capellen. She married Petrus KOLBACH (1789-1837) on 14 January 1818 in Mamer. Susanna died 20 October 1885 in Capellen. Note: Her husband Peter KOLBACH was the half-brother of her sister Elise’s husband Jean FRANTZ.
Margaretha born 24 Apr 1794 in Capellen. She never married and died 2 Aug 1828 at the age of 34 years.
Franciscus “Franz” born 30 Aug 1796 in Capellen. He married Magdalena MORRETTE (also seen as MORRET) (1796- ) on 22 January 1823 in Mamer.
Elisabeta “Elise” born 5 April 1800 in Capellen and baptized on 6 April 1800 in Mamer. On her marriage record her date of birth was given as 13 prairial year VIII which calculates to 2 June 1800. Which should I trust? The date of birth on the marriage record had to have come from the church or civil records in Mamer or the dates of birth and baptism found in the list in the notebook of events which took place in 1779-1804?
7 January 1794 ~ Paulus FRANTZ md. Susanne KIEFER
My fourth great-grandfather Paulus FRANTZ (1763-1847) married my fourth great-grandmother Susanne KIEFER (1754-1808) on 7 January 1794 in Mamer. Susanne was 40 years old and widowed the previous year. She was the mother of five KOLBACH children between the ages of 3 and 10. Paulus was 30 years old, 10 years her junior.
Susanne gave Paulus twin sons, Nicolas and Jean, who continued the FRANTZ line in Mamer. The twins were born on 21 November 1794 in Mamer. The next and last child, a son named Henri, born to her three days after her third wedding anniversary survived only five months., 
Susanne KIEFER died on 9 October 1808 in Mamer when her FRANTZ twins were 13 years old. At the time of her death her maiden name was spelled KEIFFER. The maiden name was seen as KÜFFER, KIEFER, and KEIFFER over the years.
21 December 1801 ~ Regina HUBERTY md. Peter KALMES
The year after Jacob FRISCH died his widow Regina HUBERTY married Peter KALMES on 21 December 1801 in Mamer. Regina and Peter had three sons, two died soon after birth, leaving only son Peter KALMES (1805-1863). Note: I found the birth and death records for the three sons. The dates of birth on the image above for the first two sons do not match the conversion of the French Republican dates found on the records. This should be considered when searching for records with dates seen in this register. The marriage record of son Peter KALMES has the date of birth of his brother of the same name who was born and died before Peter was born.
Jean FRANTZ marries Elise FRISCH
Nicolas FRANTZ was the first of the FRANTZ twins to marry at the age of 23 years. He married Anna “Jeanne” “Johanna” KÜNSCH (1795-1875) on 3 February 1818 in Mamer. Their children are listed above in the FRANTZ image. His twin brother Jean waited until he was 32 years old to marry. Johannes “Jean” FRANTZ married Elisabeta “Elise” FRISCH on 18 January 1827 in Holzem.
Jean and Elise FRANTZ-FRISCH were my third great-grandparents. They had five children in Mamer in a ten year period. Jean was a farmer (cultivateur) and a weaver (tisserand).
They named their first child Regina born on 9 June 1827 after Elise’s mother and their second child Susanna born on 8 September 1829 after Jean’s mother. Susanna’s godparents were Michel Kolbach, her father’s half-brother) and A. Frisch (I suspect the initial may be incorrect and this could have been Elise’s sister Susanna). Their third child François lived less than three months, born on 25 August 1832 and died 15 November 1832. His godparents were François Frisch, Elise’s brother, and Susanne Keunsch (This may have been Jean’s brother Nicolas’ wife).
Elise’s step-father Peter KALMES died 12 Nov 1833 in Capellen. This was a little over a month before the birth of her fourth child Peter born on 24 December 1833. Was he named after her step-father? His godparents were Peter Kalmes, Elise’s half-brother, and Margaretha Reif.
Elise and Jean’s fifth and youngest child was my second great-grandfather Jean born on 3 December 1837. His godparents were his cousins, Johann Redlinger and Catharina Kolbach.
Little Jean was only two years old when his maternal grandmother Regina HUBERTY died 19 January 1840 in Capellen. I wonder what stories his paternal grandfather Paulus FRANTZ told him before he died on 27 July 1847 in Mamer when little Jean was 9 1/2 years old.
Jean and Elise’s children marry
The oldest of Jean and Elise’s children, Regina FRANTZ married Peter MÜLLER (1830-1863) on 13 December 1855 in Mamer.
Their son Pierre married a young lady from Hagen in the commune of Steinfort and his family groups are not included in the Mamer register. Pierre FRANTZ married Maria BIREN (1835-1873) on 20 February 1860 in Steinfort. She died in 1873 after giving him eight children and he married her sister Marianna BIREN (1835-1900) on 22 April 1874 in Steinfort. He raised the family he had with his first wife in Hagen. His second wife did not give him any children. His wives must have been twins, Maria born on 28 August 1835 and Marianna on 29 August 1835. The records of Hagen and Steinfort for the time period were kept in Autelbas in the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. Although the Autelbas records for 1835 are online at FamilySearch they do not include the births in Hagen which would help me prove the BIREN sisters were twins.
The end of a generation
Jean’s twin brother Nicolas FRANTZ died on 8 Aug 1879 at the age of 84 years in Mamer. Five months later Johannes “Jean” FRANTZ died on 24 Jan 1880 in Mamer. He was 85 years old. His wife Elisabeta “Elise” FRISCH followed him ten months later on 15 November 1880 in Mamer. She was 80 years old. They left three known living children: Pierre, Regina and Jean.
Pierre FRANTZ died 22 December 1907 in Hagen in the commune of Steinfort, Regina FRANTZ died 9 January 1909 in Mamer, and Jean “Johann” FRANTZ died 23 February 1929 in Mamer.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.