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.
Following our visit to the district archive, lunch at the Restaurant Zagreb in the Bitburg Fußgängerzone (pedestrian zone), and a bit of sightseeing we met up at our bus. On the way back to Luxembourg we stopped in Irrel to see the Katzenkopf bunker (Panzerwerk Katzenkopf) which houses the Westwallmuseum.
The Katzenkopf bunker is the second largest of its kind and the northernmost along the former Siegfried Line which can still be visited.
Germany began planning the construction of the Westwall, better known as the Siegfried Line by the Allies, along its western border in 1936. The line stretched from Kleve on the border to the Netherlands to Weil am Rhein on the border to Switzerland. More than 22,000 forts, bunkers, and pillboxes were planned along the 630 km (390 miles) line. From 1937 to 1939 two bunkers were built in Irrel: the Katzenkopf and the Nimsberg. Constructed on hills opposite each other with Irrel lying in the valley below, they guarded the main road from Cologne to the city of Luxembourg.
Following World War II, during the French occupation, the above-ground section of the bunker was blown up and the remains were bulldozed into a heap. In 1976 the volunteer fire department of Irrel began excavation of the site and restoration and preservation of the bunker. To date, the members of the fire department have worked 75,000 hours voluntarily on the site. Work is still being done inside the bunker during the winter months when the museum is closed to visitors.
Opened to visitors in 1979 the fortification is a B-Werke, the only accessible in Germany, with exterior walls of 2-meter thick reinforced concrete (B neu). Originally it had been planned with a B construction thickness of 1.5 meters. Three levels are accessible to visitors on Sundays and public holidays from April until the beginning of October.
Our guided tour began on the outside where our guide Mr. Geisen explained the strategic location of the Katzenkopf and the Nimsberg bunkers. On the upright concrete slab which remains of the former roof is a memorial for the 4,000 dead and missing soldiers of the 39th Fusilier-Regiment of Dusseldorf.
Our guide stressed that the bunker and museum are not meant to glorify the Nazi cause. The motto of the site is:
Once an instrument of war, today a reminder for peace.
The artillery and infantry watch-turrets which can be seen on top of the bunker were used for the all-round observation. The bunker itself and its immediate area could be defended by several firing positions.
After showing us the watch-turrets on the outside our guide took us inside the bunker. Our tour had been arranged by appointment, the ticket office at the entrance was not manned, and our guide was the only responsible person at the location. Therefore as a precaution, he locked us in. This was more of a safety measure for persons using the hiking paths which pass by the bunker. An unlocked door might invite unwanted guests who would inadvertently be locked in at the end of our tour. Following this explanation, Mr. Geisen began telling us about the workings of the complex which housed a crew of 84 men on 4 floors.
The two upper floors were originally divided into 45 rooms of various sizes. They included troop quarters, lavatories, ammunition and gunnery rooms, canteen, kitchen, cold storage chamber, telephone control and radio station, guard rooms, and a first-aid station which was outfitted to perform any type of operation needed.
Electricity was produced by two diesel-engine generators for heating and lighting. Electric motors were also used for the ventilation system.
On the fourth floor, the lowest level, are two large galleries totaling 138 meters in length. Photographs and weapons of the period line the walls of these tunnels. One leads a room with a water pump installed over a 180-meter deep well and the other to the remote gun-turret.
At the end of the tunnel which leads to the room with the water pump, one can see where work had been interrupted. Due to the early outbreak of World War II, the construction of a tunnel between the two bunkers in Irrel as well as an elevator shaft between the tunnel and a railroad tunnel below was not finished. The elevator shaft would have been used to transport provisions into the bunkers and soldiers in and out of them without being seen.
The atmosphere in the bunker was a cool 10° C (50° F) and very damp. Coming back up the four flights of stairs from the lowest level to the entrance, we were relieved to be back on the outside. We’d been in the bunker less than two hours. We’d felt the dampness and were able to imagine the cramped quarters as our group of 18 gathered in a room outfitted for 18 men. With the bed frames down there was standing room only. We saw photos of the streets of Irrel where nearly every house had been seriously damaged or destroyed. We can only hope to never have to live under similar conditions. The members of the Freiwillige Feuerwehr Irrel have succeeded in turning an instrument of war into a reminder for peace.
On Friday I took another one of those wonderful excursions with my genealogy society luxracines. I’d been looking forward to this trip for a long time.
In the morning we visited the District Archive of Bitburg-Prüm or Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm in the city of Bitburg where we were greeted by Tabea SKUBSKI, the district archivist.
She presented the archive to us with great enthusiasm. Inaugurated on 19 April 2007 it is run full-time by Tabea SKUBSKI and her colleague Gaby THOMASER.
It is a joint archive for the Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm, the five Verbandsgemeinden (Arzfeld, Bitburger Land, Prüm, Speicher, and Südeifel), as well as the city of Bitburg. Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm is the district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. A Verbandsgemeinde is a low-level administrative unit typically composed of a small group of villages or towns.
Previously found in Koblenz, the original records of the municipalities of this district were returned to the district archive and are in very good condition. For an annual fee of 15 euros, permission is granted to take photographs of the records without flash. It is advised to use gloves and/or sanitize hands before and after handling records. Gloves and a hand sanitizer are found in the reading room where beverages and food are not allowed. The only writing utensils allowed are pencils. First-time users are required to fill out an application form for the use of the archive and another permission form for photography.
Mrs. SKUBSKI explained the archival content, the geographical boundaries, opening hours, and use and handling of the records before taking us behind the scenes into the actual archival storage area where specific climatic conditions are regulated to best suit the preservation of the records.
Enough time remained after the presentation to browse through the registers, reference material provided, and even to do some serious record searches.
Many Luxembourgers have family roots in the Eifel as it was once part of Luxembourg. In 1815 as a compensation for damages suffered by the French this area became part of Germany (darker green area in the map below).
My main interest is the civil registers of the towns in this region. They are of great importance to my family history research as my maternal grandfather came from Ernzen, Germany. The registers available to the public are available from about 1798 for births, marriages, and deaths. Due to privacy laws, the BMD records are accessible only up to a certain year: for births older than 110 years, marriages older than 80 years and deaths older than 30 years.
After filling out the required forms I asked for the last Bollendorf birth register which would include the year 1906 when my maternal grandfather Nicolas WILDINGER was born in Ernzen. The village of Ernzen had their own records only until 1854 and then it was included in the registers of Bollendorf. Unfortunately, this register had already been requested by someone else in our group. However, on a closer perusal of the list of BMD registers for the Standesämter (civil registration offices) showed that Bollendorf births are only available at the archive up to 1900. Several years before the 110 years cutoff for births have not yet been deposited with the archive as they are included in a register which ends after the cutoff.
I’d come well prepared and had a list of more records I wanted to access. I decided to go to the bottom of the list and check on the earliest birth record. I requested the Ernzen birth register (1799-1825) and photographed the entries for two 3rd-great-grandmothers: Elisabeth WELTER 1807 and Catarine SCHRAMEN 1812. I was a bit stumped when I couldn’t find Hubert WEIMANN’s 1805 birth in Ernzen. Either I was too excited and missed it or I have the year and/or place of birth wrong.
Then I asked the archivist to pull the next Ernzen birth register (1826-1854) which is huge. Seeing my surprise she said it is one of the largest books in the archive. In it, I found my great-great-grandparents Bernard WILDINGER 1838 and Maria WEIMANN 1839.
Nearly four years ago Ellen Claytor found James C. CROUSE Sr. (1920-1944) in my online GEDCOM at RootsWeb WorldConnect. Her son had bought a house and found a flat marble marker for James in his garage. Why was the marker in her son’s garage and what could they do to get it back where it belonged?
The first post included a biography of James C. CROUSE Sr. who began his military service at Camp Blanding in Florida and then went to Europe where he served in England, France, Belgium, and Germany. He died serving his country. Four years later his body was returned to West Virginia and buried in Huse Memorial Cemetery in Fayetteville. His father S. J. Crouse applied for a flat marble marker for the unmarked grave.
I found James’ granddaughter Marian Crouse Walraven on Facebook. She was shocked to learn her grandfather’s marker had been found in someone’s garage as she knew there was a marker on his grave.
Was the original marker delivered to the wrong cemetery? Was the family contacted? Did they request a new marker when the one they applied for didn’t show up at the cemetery of burial? Was the home the marker was found in previously owned by a member of the Crouse family?
The 424th Combat Infantry Regiment of the 106th Infantry Division landed in France on 5 December 1944. They crossed into Belgium on 10 December 1944 and were stationed at Winterspelt (Germany). On 16 December 1944, the German Army unleashed its Ardennes Counteroffensive (The Battle of the Bulge). After Action Reports show that the 424th was in Belgium on 18 December 1944. KIA or DOW, whichever is correct, one could place him in Belgium and the other in Germany. His military records may shed light on this question.
James’ story spans two continents; my part in the story also spans two continents. What are the chances a mother in Ohio would contact a genealogist in Luxembourg — one of the countries the Battle of the Bulge took place in?
I sent a private message to the admin of the page requesting a photo of the marker of James CROUSE Sr., block 1, lot 38, grave 4 (the Notes section of their page had a list of burials with location). A few days later I received a message from Sonya of the Huse FB page, “I have placed the picture of the marker along with monument and other markers associated with your request under ‘Various pics requested’. Hope it helps.“
Sonya told me, “Most of the time when a family changes a marker, then they will take the original marker home. Very few say throw it away.”
Markers found in garage (left) and at Huse Memorial Park (right)
After seeing both markers we speculated the marker found in the garage was most likely the one which had been on the grave of James C. CROUSE Sr. from 1949 until the burial of his son in 1997. But the question remained – how did the marker end up in the garage?
On February 8, 2018, I received a message on my Facebook page Opening Doors in Brick Walls from Bill Wise of Oak Hill, West Virginia. He wanted me to give him a call in regards to the marker of James CROUSE. Due to the time difference and my making our traditional Berliner and Verwurelter that day, Bill got back to me with a longer message instead of waiting for me to call.
Long story short. James Crouse [Jr., the son of James CROUSE Sr.] was married to my aunt Eugenia. Her sister Vickie Jane Wise/Wade is my mother. The garage that the marker was found in was their parents’ house. William Ralph and Lucy Lee Wise. The house was left of my mother upon their death. And upon my parents’ deaths…Vicki and Larry Wade…the house was left to me and I sold very soon after that. Believe it was 2013.
When my cousin Jim passed away in 1997 he wanted to be buried with his father James. There was a new stone with both of their names on it put in place of the original. My dad worked for the town of Fayetteville which dug the graves and maintained the cemetery. He brought the stone home. Where it sat in the garage all this time. When I sold the property I had to get out fairly quickly. To be honest with you I had not thought about that stone until I was researching my uncle last night and saw your story. In my haste to get out, I probably left more than just that on the property. So not really what you would call a mystery but it was an interesting read.
Marian, the granddaughter of James Crouse Sr., is Bill’s 1C1R and he wanted to know if he and I were also related. Marian and I are 6C1R – and that five times. Bill is not related to me through any of Marian’s and my common ancestors. I did a quick check of his Wise line and we do not appear to be related.
I’m glad Bill found my blog while researching his uncle James CROUSE. Even more, I am so excited he took the time to get in touch with me and tell me the story of why the marker was found in the garage of the new homeowner. I contacted both Marian and Jaymie to let them know the new development and they read the draft of this post before it was published.
James CROUSE’s body was returned to US soil four years after he was killed. It also took four years to learn why the marker from his grave was stored in a garage. Case SOLVED. Isn’t blogging the best?
The last set of fourth great-grandparents who lived in what is now Germany were Mathias KERSCHT and Anna EWEN. Mathias’ surname was spelled differently in several family books (Familienbücher=FB). As KIRSTEN in the FB Meckel1; KIRST, KIERSCH, and KIERSTEN in the FB Messerich2; and as KERSCH and KIRSCH in the FB Mettendorf3. For Anna’s maiden name EWEN, no variations were found.
Mathias KERSCHT, the son of Peter KERSCHT and Eva SCHMIDS, was born on 28 March 1759 in Meckel, Eifel, Rheinland, Germany, and baptized the same day. His godparents were Matthias BERENS and Anna Maria SCHUL, both of Meckel. His godfather was likely a brother or relative of his mother Eva. Matthias BERENS went by his wife’s maiden name and was known as Matthias SCHMITZ before his marriage. Mathias KERSCHT had only one known sister Luzia who was two years older. It is not known if she married and had descendants.
Mathias married Anna EWEN, daughter of Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THIELEN, on 26 November 1785 in Messerich. Anna was born on 6 June 1766 in Messerich. She was the fourth of ten children.
Mathias worked as a sheepherder (Schäfer) in Messerich until about 1795 and then moved to Mettendorf where he continued to work in the same occupation.
Mathias and Anna had the following children.
1. Margaretha was born on 9 September 1786 in Messerich. She was baptized the same day. Her godparents were Peter KIRST of Meckel and Margaretha BAUER of Messerich. Was the godfather also the child’s grandfather? The FB Meckel in which Mathias’ father was found as Peter KIRSTEN does not include a date of death.
2. Anna was born on 4 October 1788 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. Her godfather was Theodore EWEN, single, from Messerich, likely her maternal uncle who was 27 years old at the time. Her godmother was likely her paternal grandmother Eva. The entry in the FB Messerich shows Evan KIERSTEN of Meckel. The godmother’s first name may be a typo in the book and the child was not given the name Eva or Evan but Anna. She married Heinrich LUDEWIG on 23 January 1809 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of eleven children. Anna died on 8 January 1843 in Mettendorf.
3. An unnamed child was born on 19 December 1790 in Messerich and died the same day.
4. Catharina was born on 14 December 1791 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. Her godparents were Jakob WEILER, a sheepherder (Schäfer) and Katharina LOCH of Spangdahlem. Catharina married Joannes Friedericus LOCHEMES on 19 September 1811 in Mettendorf. Joannes Friedericus was born about 1784 in Dahlem. From the time of their second child’s birth, her husband was given as Theodore LOCHEMES on all births thereafter. They were the parents of seven children. Catharina died on 9 December 1851 in Mettendorf. Her husband died on 16 January 1864 in Mettendorf.
5. Matthias was born on 19 April 1794 in Messerich and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Mathias SCHMITZ, a pig herder (Sauhirt) of KIRCHWEILER and Luzia BICHELER of Messerich. Matthias married Angela ACHEN on 21 January 1818 in Mettendorf. Angela was born on 11 December 1793 in Mettendorf. She died on 21 December 1870 in Mettendorf and Matthias died on 16 November 1876 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young. Their three youngest children went to America in the 1850s and settled in Wright County, Minnesota. Two were sons and their descendants spelled the surname KIRSCHT.
6. Anna Maria, my third great-grandmother, was born between 1795-1798 in Mettendorf. She is not included in the FB Messerich listing for her parents which suggests she must have been born after her brother Mathias. His birth in Messerich and her birth in Mettendorf places the relocation of the family from Messerich to Mettendorf during this time period. Anna Maria married Johann WAGNER, son of Matthias WAGNER and Maria Katharina HARTERT, on 22 February 1830 in Mettendorf. Johann, my third great-grandfather, was born on 19 June 1804 in Fließem and was baptized the same day. Johann worked as a shepherd. He died on 15 June 1858 in Mettendorf and was buried two days later. Anna Maria died on 21 July 1876 in Mettendorf.
7. Christoph was born on 19 June 1799 in Mettendorf. He married Elisabetha MERTES on 23 February 1824 in Sülm, also in the Eifel. Elisabetha was born in 1804 in Röhl. Christoph died on 30 September 1871 in Mettendorf. They were the parents of seven children, two of whom died young.
8. Anna Catharina was born about 1806 in Mettendorf. She died on 22 May 1824 in Mettendorf at the age of about 18 years and was buried the following day.
9. Heinrich was born on 8 August 1809 in Mettendorf and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Heinrich LUDEWIG, a sheepherder (Schäfer) of Mettendorf, and Margaretha ROCK, a servant (Magd) of Hisel. The godfather was his brother-in-law, newlywed husband of his second oldest sister Anna. He died 10 days later on 18 August 1809 in Mettendorf and was buried the following day.
10. Johann was born on 18 February 1811 in Mettendorf and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Johann WEYERS and Margaretha THEISEN, both of Mettendorf. Johann married Elisabeth ROTH on 7 January 1841 in Nusbaum. The family lived in Sinspelt, part of the Mettendorf parish. They were the parents of two known children, one of whom died young. No entry for his death was given in the FB Mettendorf which may mean he died after 1899.
The mother of these children, Anna EWEN died on 15 November 1828 in Mettendorf and was buried on the same day. Her widower Mathias KERSCHT died on 9 February 1841 in Mettendorf. He was buried on 11 February 1841 in Mettendorf.
As mentioned at the beginning, this is the last of my fourth great-grandparents who lived in the Eifel area of Germany. Next up will be the eight sets of fourth great-grandparents who lived in Rodange, Wiltz, Vianden, Echternach, Mamer, Capellen, and Strassen in Luxembourg. With only five weeks to the end of the year, it looks like I may not be able to get them done on schedule.
Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was born 24 February 1922 in Nallen, Fayette County, West Virginia, to Joseph Elmer ZICKAFOOSE and Eva Myrtle HEDRICK. He was the fourth of eight children.
After graduating from Nuttall High School, Warren was an employee of Ford, Bacon, and Davis in Dunbar. On 7 March 1942, he married Pauline Alice RAMSEY, daughter of Jarrett Theodore RAMSEY and Louie Ann CAVENDISH, in Russell, Greenup County, Kentucky.
On 29 December 1942 he entered the U.S. Army and received his training at Camp Hood, Texas; Camp Carson, Colorado; Camp Gruber, Oklahoma; Camp Livingston, Louisiana; and had desert training in California.
Three weeks after he entered the U.S. Army his wife Pauline gave birth to a baby girl.
Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE was attached to Company C of the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion and was sent to Europe in August 1944 arriving at Cherbourg, France, on 15 September 1944.
The battalion moved to Luxembourg in November and participated in the Battle of the Bulge in December. Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action in December 1944.
Into January 1945 the 811th was widely scattered as it was attached to many divisions. In February and March, they supported operations against the Siegfriedstellung (Siegfried Line).
In late March the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion advanced to the Rhine River crossing it on 30 March.
Every day of World War II, a 3 1/4 by 7-inch Morning Report was issued. These are the events recorded for the first few days of April 1945.
1 April 1945:
Station: WH 2384 Melgerhausen Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn (Battalion) FA (Field Artillery) TD (Tank Destroyer)
No change (in personnel)
Record of Events: Left WH Schwarzenborn, Germany enroute to Wh 2384 Melgerhause, Germany. Arrived destination.
4 officers were present for duty.
118 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA (Warrant Office Junior Grade)
2 April 1945:
Station: WH 2290 Grexhagen, Germany (Guxhagen)
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
No change (in personnel)
Record of Events: Left WH 2384 Melgerhausen, Germany enroute to WH 2290 Grexhagen Guxhagen, Germany. Arrived destination.
4 officers were present for duty.
118 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
3 April 1945:
Station: WH 2290 Guxhagen, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Three men were absent from duty due to sickness: Tec 5 Howard C. Kerns (SN 35692008); Tec 4 Thomas J. Donnelly (SN 32288320), and Pfc Johnny P. Garcia (SN 39286737). All were transferred to Evac Hospital. The first two were non-battle casualties in the line of duty. The third was non-battle casualty, not in the line of duty [acute alcholism (sic)].
4 officers were present for duty.
115 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
In early April the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion supported the 80th Infantry Division when Kassel was captured. Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was killed in action on 3 April 1945 only a day before Kassel was captured.
4 April 1945:
Station: WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Cpl Ernest A. Corrado (SN 35765502) was reduced to Pvt per Special CMO # 1 Headquarters 811th Tank Destroyer effective 31 March 1945.
Record of Events: Left WH 2290 Guxhagen, Germany enroute to WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany. Arrived destination. Distance traveled 6 miles.
4 officers were present for duty.
115 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
5 April 1945:
Station: WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Pfc Harold W. McNatt (SN 3941540) was promoted to Cpl effective 5 April 1945. Pvt Finis Craft (SN 35426452) was promoted to Tec 5 effective 5 April 1945. Pvt. Thomas J. Heitzman (SN 67134753) change in duty effective 5 April 1945. Pvt. Robert L. Sansbury (SN 35817099) change in duty effective 5 April 1945.
Pvt. Carl W. Rhoades (SN 35240303) and Tec 5 Robert L. Tidwell, both enlisted men, were lightly wounded in action, battle casualties in line of duty on 3 April 1945. The 305th Medical Battalion transferred him to Evac Hospital. He was dropped from assignment effective 27 March 1945.
Pvt. Alex M. Sandler (SN 39422544) was Lightly Injured in Action, battle casualty in line of duty on 3 April 1945. The 305th Med Bn transferred him to Evac Hospital. He was dropped from assignment effective 27 March 1945. Sgt. Warren E. Zickafoose (SN 35645379) was Killed in Action, battle casualty in line of duty on 3 April 1945.
Record of Events: All casualties occurred in Germany.
4 officers were present for duty.
111 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
Mrs. Pauline ZICKAFOOSE was informed by the war department of the death of her husband, Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE in May 1945. She remarried two years later.
Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE’s body was returned to American soil in 1948. He was buried in End of the Trail Cemetery in Clintonville on Sunday, 19 December 1948. The service was held by Rev. M. J. Painter and Rev. John Bragg. Military rites were conducted by the Ansted American Legion Post at the grave.
His father applied for a military marker in a month later, on 18 January 1949.
Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE’s name is engraved on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. As well as the Purple Heart Medal, he received three Battle Stars, a Silver Star (posthumous), and the Presidential Unit Citation.
UPDATE (31 May 2017): More information from the MilitaryTimes Hall of Valor about the Silver Star Medal Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE received posthumously.
General Orders: Headquarters, 80th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 131 (May 20, 1945) Action Date: April 4, 1945 (sic, April 3, 1945) Battalion: 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion Division: 80th Infantry Division
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant Warren E. Zickafoose (ASN: 35645379), United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 80th Infantry Division in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States on 4 April 1945 in Germany. On that date, while supporting infantry troops in holding Vollmarshausen, Germany, Sergeant Zickafoose, a gun commander of a tank destroyer, observed four enemy tanks approaching the town. Realizing that he was outnumbered he nevertheless elected to move into a firing position to prevent the enemy from overrunning the infantry. By taking up an advantageous position he repelled the attack, although his destroyer received a direct hit which mortally wounded him. The courage, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty as displayed by Sergeant Zickafoose was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was my 4th cousin 2 times removed through our common ancestor, James SIMS (1754-1845) and my 5th cousin 1 time removed through our common ancestors, (the same) James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. His daughter, who is still living, is my aunt by marriage and her four sons are my first cousins.
After five weeks of posts on five sets my children’s 5th great-grandparents who lived in what is now Germany, this week’s couple takes me back to research in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. [What can I say, I love Luxembourg research!]
However, before we go to Luxembourg, I’d like to share a little bit about the ancestry of the male actor in this week’s post. Joannes SCHERFF was born in Waldrach, Trier-Saarburg, Rhineland, Germany, abt. 1754 to Nicolaus and Helena SCHERFF. Period.
This was all I knew when I started this post. Now, having access to the German family books at my genealogy society’s library, I was able to add several generations to Joannes’ pedigree. His parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and four of his great-great-grandparents were born, lived, and/or died in Waldrach. They have names. They have dates of birth, marriage, and death. They have descendants. Missing, however, are the records to back all of this up. For now, they are placeholders in the family tree, waiting to be researched., 
Joannes SCHERFF of Waldrach in Germany
Joannes SCHERFF, the son of Nicolaus SCHERFF and Helena OTTO, was born on 20 September 1754 in Waldrach., 
I learned from the family books that Joannes’ mother Helena first married in 1743, at the age of 33, to Nikolaus SCHUH who was only 25. She gave him two children. A son Matthias was born in 1744 and a daughter Margaretha was born in 1745, four months after Nikolaus SCHUH died. A year after her first husband’s death, Helena married Nicolaus SCHERFF. Helena was 36 and Nicolaus was 22. [Note to self: What was going on in the Kingdom of Prussia or in Waldrach that made it necessary for a woman to marry, both times, a man much younger than she was?]
Helena’s son Matthias from her first marriage may have died before age four as she and her second husband named their first child Matthias in 1748. It is unknown if Helena had any other children before Joannes was born six years later. Helena died in 1755 when her youngest son Joannes was only 14 months old. Her widower Nicolaus married again in 1757 to Katharina OTTO, Helena’s first cousin once removed.
Joannes’ father Nicolaus SCHERFF died between 1764 when his last known child was born and 1791 when his son Joannes married.
Anna Maria STEIMETZ of Born in Luxembourg
Anna Maria STEIMETZ, daughter of Dominique STEIMETZ (1737-1799) and Magdalena “Helena” KOCH (1739-aft.1799), was born and baptized on 25 May 1763 in the village of Born in the Duchy of Luxembourg. Her godparents were Anna Maria BERSCHENS and Petro WERNER. On her baptismal record, her name was given as Anna Maria. Later, in other records produced during her lifetime her name seen as Maria without Anna.
The Connection Between Waldrach and Born
We have two people, a young man from Waldrach and a young woman from Born. How they came to meet is unknown. The straight distance between Waldrach, to the east of Trier, and Born which lies to the west of Trier is about 17 km. A short distance in today’s world.
If you zoom out enough on the above map to compare with the one below, you will see that Waldrach belonged to the area of Germany which was not part of Luxembourg during the time period.
Joannes and Maria Marry in Born
Joannes married Maria on Thursday, 5 May 1791 in Born. At the time of their marriage, Joannes’ parents were both deceased. Joannes and Maria signed with a +, Maria’s father Dominique signed with a D, and Joannes’ brother “Niclas SCHERFF” left an F as his mark on the marriage record. The witness Paulus SCHÖLER and the pastor signed the record as they were the only persons able to write. 
On the marriage index card an obvious transcription error was made, given her first name as Margaretha.
Joannes and Maria had four children during their first eight years of marriage.
Michel SCHERFF was born on 2 July 1792 in Born at two in the morning and was baptized seven hours later. His godparents were Michael BRAUN of Givenich and Catharina STEIMETZ, his maternal aunt from Born. Michel was my children’s 4th great-grandfather.
Nicolaus SCHERFF was born on 6 December 1794 in Born at three in the morning and baptized in the afternoon. His godfather came from Waldrach and was his paternal uncle Niclas SCHERFF, half-brother of his father who had also been a witness at the 1791 marriage. His godmother was his maternal grandmother Helena STEIMETZ. Helena would normally have been seen with her maiden name KOCH however in this case she was named with her husband’s surname. Nicolaus was the last child baptized in the year 1794. Directly below his entry, we see the pastor has likely transcribed births for the year to the parish register after the fact and makes note that this is a conformed copy.
Anna SCHERFF was born on 18 September 1797 in Born at three in the morning and was baptized the same afternoon. Her godparents were her paternal uncle Peter SCHERFF from Waldrach and Anna TRIERWEILER from Born. Peter was not a name found in the family books for Waldrach. Is there an error on Anna’s baptismal record? Was Peter a full sibling or only half-sibling of the father of the child?
Dominique SCHERFF was born on 15 Thermidor in the 8th year of the Republic or 6 December 1799 in Born. His birth was recorded in the civil register by the acting mayor of Born, Michel KINN who lived in Girst where the register entry was made. The child’s father, in the record written in French, was listed as Jean SCHERFF. He was an ouvrier de la commune de Born meaning he was likely working for the town in some capacity.
This last child was very likely named after his maternal grandfather Dominique STEIMETZ who died earlier in the year, on 9 April 1799 at his own home. He was in his sixties. His death was reported by his widow Helena KOCH.
Six years after the loss of her father, Maria was widowed and left with four children between the ages of six and twelve. Her husband Joannes SCHERFF died on 20 January 1805 in Born. He was fifty-one years old.
It is not known how long Maria may have had the support of her mother Helena as no death record has been found for her. Helena was the mother of eleven children: seven died young, one son has not been traced, a son married and went to live in Dahnen (Germany), leaving Maria and her sister Catharina who has not been traced after the birth of an illegitimate child in 1796.
On 2 October 1818 Maria’s daughter Anna died at the age of twenty-one. Her death was reported by two of their neighbors. Census records are only available online from 1843 making it difficult to determine where her two older brothers were and why they didn’t report her death. It is possible they were working away from home. No trace of Nicolaus, the younger of the two, who would have been 24 by this time, has been found. No marriage record. No death record.
Maria STEIMETZ died on 12 January 1833 in Born at the age of sixty-nine. She lived long enough to see her first grandchild Johann celebrate his fourth birthday, having been born on 8 April 1828. She must have known her daughter-in-law Elisabetha was pregnant with her second child who would be born on 24 June 1833, a son Peter. Later census records indicate Michel and Elisabetha lived in the STEIMETZ family home, a home which would remain in the family for several generations.
Michel and Elisabetha had a third and last child, Catharina SCHERFF (1836-1908) born on 25 October 1836 in Born.
The youngest child of Joannes and Maria SCHERFF-STEIMETZ, Dominique married Anne WEISEN (1804-1885), daughter of Michael WEISEN, on 13 January 1846 in Mompach. They were both in their forties when they married. The marriage lasted only a little over five years as Dominique died on 12 August 1851 in Born.
The oldest son, and only known living child at the time, Michel SCHERFF died on 2 January 1865 in Born at the age of 72. His widow Elisabetha CLEMENS died five years later on 17 June 1870 in Born.
Dominique’s widow Anne outlived him by 34 years dying on 11 November 1885 in Born. As they did not have any children, her only survivors on her husband’s side of the family were the three children of her brother-in-law Michel SCHERFF.
Pushing Back Another Generation
Not only did I look into Joannes SCHERFF’s ancestry, as seen in the beginning of this post, but also into Maria STEIMETZ’s. Hers was not as simple. I had the years of birth for all of her siblings as well as the links to their baptismal records but needed to download the documents, add the information, and cite the sources.
While doing this I noticed an annotation in the margin of the baptismal record of the youngest child Henricus born to Dominique STEIMETZ and Magdalena KOCH. It read, Submersus Surlippe Mesenich. At first, I could not read the first two words but I knew Mesenich was a location. Submersus means drowned. This annotation may mean Henricus died by drowning possibly in the Sauer River in Mesenich, today a part of Langsur.
I have a few digital copies of German family books and Mesenich is one of them. I checked for Steimetz in the book as I thought I might find information on the child named Henri/Heinrich. What I found was an entry for his parents: Dominic STEINMETZ of Born and Helena KOCH of Mertert married on 4 March 1759 in Mesenich. There is no further information concerning their children. However, now knowing where they were from, at the time of their marriage, may help to push back yet another generation.
While I was at home finishing up this post, my husband went on a 100 km bike ride through the Luxembourg and German countryside and came back with this photograph.
Yes, he listens when I ask about places (even when I really mess up the pronounciation) and surprises me with new photo content for my blog.
My children’s 5th great-grandparents Johann Adam GORGES and Eva Clara RODENS were both born in the 1760s in the small town of Fell. Eva Clara was 14 months older than Johann Adam. Living in such a small town, they must have known each other from a young age. Fell is today part of the municipality of Schweich an der Römischen Weinstraße (Schweich on the Roman wine road) in the district of Trier-Saar in the west of the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.
The first child of the newlyweds Nikolaus RODENS (1744-1795) and Anna SCHUE (d. 1805), Eva Clara was born on 28 November 1764 in Fell. She was baptized the following day in the Catholic church Sankt Martinus in the town of Fell. The parish church is no longer standing today. In it’s place is a church built from 1865 to 1868. The new church was built crosswise on the same spot as the old church.
Eva Clara was the first of ten children. Her siblings were Barbara 1767, Nikolaus 1770, Nikolaus 1774, Philipp 1775, Matthias d. 1776, two stillborn children in 1778 and 1779, Anna 1781, and Maria Margaretha d. 1784.
By the time Eva Clara was 24 years old and ready to marry she had only two siblings still living, her 13 years old brother Philipp and her 7 years old sister Anna.
Johann Peter GORGES (1718-1784) and Anna Maria HORSCH had four children before their son Johann Adam was born and baptized on 28 January 1766 in Fell. Like all of his siblings, he was baptized in the Sankt Martinus church in Fell.
His older siblings were Anna Maria 1758, Elisabeth 1760, Maria Angela 1762, and Barbara 1763. His younger siblings were Maximin 1767, Johann Peter 1769, and Maria Angela 1771. Johann Adam also had four older half-siblings as his father was previously married and widowed. They were Anna Maria 1752, Johann 1753, Johann Joseph 1755, and Katharina 1757.
Johann Adam was 14 years old when his mother Anna Maria HORSCH died on 17 October 1780. He was 18 when his father Johann Peter GORGES died on 31 January 1784.
Couplehood and Parenthood
Johann Adam GORGES was 23 years old when he married Eva Clara RODENS on 11 February 1789 in Fell. They would make their home in Oberfell (Upper Fell).
The young couple was married five months when the French Revolution erupted on 14 July 1789 with the storming of the Bastille in Paris. Three years later when French troops invaded Germany they were at first pushed back. But the German imperial army was defeated in late 1792 in Valmy. In August 1794, French Republican troops took Trier. All German territories on the left bank of the Rhine River were ceded to France in 1797 at the peace treaties of Basel and Campo Formio making Trier a French city. Control of the Rhineland was secured by France who would occupy the area for twenty years.
During the years France was in control of the Rhineland Johann Adam and Eva Clara raised their family of ten children. The first children born were Nikolaus on 15 March 1790, Barbara on 25 March 1792 and Anton on 12 April 1794.
Only these first three children would know their maternal grandfather Nikolaus RODENS who died two days after the youngest son Anton celebrated his first birthday. Nikolaus was buried on 15 April 1795, a day after his death.
The next two children, Matthias born 26 April 1796 and Ann born 3 July 1798 both died in 1799 within a month of each other. Matthias died on 18 February and Anna on 18 March. There was, however, a more joyful event during the year with the marriage of Eva Clara’s only brother Philipp RODENS to Gertrud HOFFRANZEN.
The French Revolution ended with the coup of 18/19 Brumaire in the Year VIII of the Republican Calendar. This was the 9th to 10th of November 1799 when Napoleon Bonaparte’s dictatorship began.
Unbeknownst to Johann Adam and Eva Clara over a decade of constant warfare was on the horizon but they continued to grow their family with the births of Johann on 21 January 1800, Katharina on 11 September 1801, and Anna on 17 May 1803.
The Napoleonic Wars began 18 May 1803, the day after their 8th child was born. The following year Eva Clara’s only sister Anna married Johann Adam SPIELES.
The family continued to increase with the birth of another son, Matthias on 8 July 1805.
The children lost their only living grandmother, Anna SCHUE, on 1 December 1805, the day before the Battle of Austerlitz. This historical event brought about the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine. A year and a half later the last child of Johann Adam and Eva Clara was born on 2 May 1807. He would live only nine months, dying on 21 February 1807.
Did not return!
Seven of the ten children born to Johann Adam and Eva Clara were living when they bade farewell to their oldest brother Nikolaus when he went off to serve in the French army. Little did they know their son Nikolaus would not return. As with many German families who received news of their sons who were fighting in foreign parts, they learned of his death. According to the Extrait Mortuaire (death notice) recorded in the Fell death register for 1812, he died on 27 November 1811 in Dax, France. He was a soldier and a chasseur. This designation is given to certain regiments of French light infantry or light cavalry to denote troops trained for rapid action.
I checked the death records for Dax, Landes, France, and did not find a death record for Nicolas GORGES dying on 27 November 1811. However, on 30 December 1811 Joseph BERNARD and Fabian SIEULANNE, an employee of the military hospital established in Dax, informed civil authorities of the deaths of fifteen men, one of them being Georges NICOLAS of the 20e Régiment de Chasseurs à Chevals. (20th Regiment of Light Cavalry). He was admitted to the hospital at Dax on 15 September 1811 and died on 27 December 1811. Could this be Nikolaus, and his first and last names were switched? There is a discrepancy in the month of death compared to the entry in the Fell death register.
In 1814 Prussian troops took Trier ending the French rule. After Napoleon’s defeat, the Franco-German borders of 1792 were restored during the Paris peace treaties of 1814 and 1815. Trier was proclaimed part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815. With the new political situation and taxes on goods crossing the western border, Trier’s economy began to steadily decline.
The End of French Influence
Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars on 13 Sep 1815, the GORGES-RODENS family would soon lose their patriarch. Anton, the now oldest son, was the informant for the death of Johann Adam GORGES who died on 5 May 1816.
Eva Clara was now a widow with six children, the youngest being only nine years old. Over the next half a dozen years she saw four of them marry. Anton married Anna Maria LEHNEN (1799-1864) on 15 February 1817 in Longuich and the religious ceremony took place two days later in Fell. Barbara married Matthias SCHMITT (18200-1828) on 30 January 1823 in Longuich and the religious ceremony took place the same day in Fell. Johann married his first wife Anna Maria GRACH (1798-1832) on 26 February 1824 in Longuich. Anna married Johann ASEM (1801-1853) on 28 February 1824 in Ruwer where the religious ceremony took place the next day.
The oldest daughter Barbara was widowed when she had been married only 5 years. Three months later, on 5 April 1728, her brother Johann GORGES was the informant on her death. Who would raise the little two boys who were four and less than a year old?
The youngest son Matthias married Anna Maria FELTES (1798-1875) on 19 February 1830 in Longuich. And finally, the last of the children to marry was Katharina who married Johann DIER on 3 January 1832 in Trier. The religious ceremony took place two days later at St. Matthias, in Trier.
Johann GORGES first wife Anna Maria GRACH died on 7 November 1832 in Fell. Two months later he was marrying his second wife, Anna Maria BOTZ (1808-1863) on 10 January 1833 in Fell. Johann and Anna Maria were my children’s 4th great-grandparents.
On 22 January 1836 Anton GORGES, the oldest son, was the informant for the death of his mother Eva Clara RODENS. She left five children, all married, whose situations may have become better from 1840 due to the improving economic climate in the area.
Name: Johann Adam GORGES Parents: Johann Peter GORGES and Anna Maria HORSCH Spouse: Eva Clara RODENS Parents of Spouse: Nikolaus RODENS and Anna SCHUE Whereabouts: Fell, Longuich, Trier, Germany Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: children’s 5th great-grandfather
Thomas Schmitt and Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Klemens Ruwer mit den Orten, Ortsteilen. Höfen und Muhlen Mertesdorf (1083-1850), Eitelsback ab 1803, sowie Duisburgerhof, Grünhaus, Karthäuserhof, Koxmühle, Reisenmühle, Grünhäusermühle, Karlsmühle und Schippenmühle 1672-1905 (2007)
Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), FamilySearch
My 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts this year center around families in Luxembourg and Germany. Unlike my U.S. research, there are very few Facebook groups I feel I can share my posts with. Rob Deltgen, president of my genealogy society Luxracines, has a Facebook group for his genealogy website Deltgen.com and this is where I’ve been sharing my weekly posts.
Hi, Cathy. I follow your research now every week and enjoy them a lot. I noticed you sometimes use the first names as they are used in the parish books such as Joannis, Caspari, Jacobi but these are the genitive forms of the names. In Latin, first names decline according to their role in the sentence. So the names in the example would be Joannes, Casparus, and Jacobus.
I had to read this twice before I replied. I may have been one of the best in my class while in school but sometimes I feel really dumb.
Well, Linda, as you can tell I’ve never learned Latin and this is new to me. I wondered why it was not always the same but didn’t think it had something to do with the grammar. Thank you so much for pointing this out to me. Now I may have a lot of correcting to do.
After sleeping on it, I checked online to see what Linda meant by genitive and decline in relation to the Latin language. As genealogists, we are always learning new things. I’m fluent in four languages but write only in English. For the generation I am presently working on, the records are mostly from church registers in Latin or indexed from the same. I thought I could get by without studying Latin. But, as I learned from Linda, it’s important to know at least some of the elementary rules of this dead language.
This is not a lesson in Latin
Linda’s well-intended comment showed me an error I’ve been making and, perhaps, you have too.
In grammar, genitive (abbreviated gen; also called the possessive case or second case) is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun. ~ Wikipedia
Genitive refers to possession and decline or declension are the set of endings of words depending on their use in a sentence.
When I wrote the above sentence in my post yesterday, I included “Jacobus” and “Jacobi” in quotes as these were variations of his name I was seeing in indexed records. If I’d have paid a bit more attention I might have seen a pattern and realized my mistake.
Jacobus was the name seen on his death/burial record:
While Jacobi was found in records in which Jacob was seen as the father.
In the above example, Maria Anna was the daughter of Jacob Wolschett and Catharina Barthelmes. Maria Anna filia Jacobi et Catharinae. Or in the example of Jacob’s death, Jacob’s wife Catharina is seen as Catharinae (possessive). Wikibooks has a Latin lesson I plan to use for further reference.
Of course, I asked Linda’s permission to use her comment and after thanking her she sent this very enlightening comment:
It is sometimes quite useful when you read the parish books to be aware of the genitive, because in Latin all the words are just one after the other. In some cases you will have for example … baptisatus est Joannes Adamus Jacobi MULLER … Now you know that the child’s name is Joannes Adamus, and the father’s name Jacobus (and not child Joannes and father Adamus Jacobus).
If you are seeing several spellings of a name in Latin records or indexed information from Latin records, the difference is likely due to the rules which show who is being named: the child, parent, or spouse.
If you plan on checking out my last post, I’ve already fixed the error. From now on I will know the difference. I’ll also be making corrections in older posts, all thanks to Linda’s informative comments.
Longuich-Kirsch is situated on the Moselle River, one of Germany’s most beautiful river landscapes. No less than nine roads lead from the old Roman road to this place founded around 100 A.D. Later, the village was governed for over 1200 years by the Trier Abbey of St. Maximin.
Longuich and Kirsch, the second being where the WOLLSCHEID-BARTHELMES family lived, are two places of Roman and Celtic origin which have grown together to form a place now known as Longuich-Kirsch. Longuich comes from the Latin longus vicus meaning long village; Kirsch, the German word for cherry, was formerly cressiacum, a Latinized Celtic word. Another interpretation of the name Longuich says it is of Celtic origin and derived from lunc-wich meaning crooked creek. The Mosel River actually curves and bends around the piece of land Longuich-Kirsch lies on.
The two yellow icons on the map above show the location of Kirsch and Longuich in relation with the Kalberger Hof (green icon) featured last week.
The WOLLSCHEID-BARTHELMES family lived in Kirsch before the two places grew together and formed what in German is known as a Doppelort, a double place or location.
Johann WOLLSCHEID (1725-1773) married Anna Maria WILLWERT (1728-1789) on 10 January 1747 in the Catholic Church St. Michael in Trier, Germany. Trier, or Treves as it is known by the French and English, claims to be the oldest city in Germany.
Johann and Anna Maria had only two known children. Both were born in Tarforst on the outskirts of Trier. Johann Peter was born in 1748 and nearly 18 years later his brother Jacob was born on 13 March 1766. I suspect more children were born to the couple. Family books for the towns in the area need to be consulted.
Little Jacob was barely eight years old when his father died on 24 April 1773. His mother died when he was 23 years old on 27 October 1789.
Johann BARTHELMES (1728-1802) married Eva BARZEN (1729-1789) before 1758. They had two sons and a daughter in 1758, 1760, and 1762 before their daughter Katharina was born on 12 July 1763 in Kirsch. Her godparents were Peter GEIBEN and Katharina BARTZEN of Kirsch, a maternal aunt. Katharina’s birth was followed by two more sons and a daughter born in 1765, 1769, and 1771. Katharina was 25 years old when her mother died on 13 February 1789.
Jacob and Katharina Marry
Jacob “Jacobus” WOLLSCHEID married Katharina BARTHELMES on 25 January 1797 in Longuich, Rheinland, Germany. Jacob was 30 and Katharina was 33. Their religious ceremony may have taken place in one of two churches. In the Kirsch Chapel, the succursal church of St. Sebastian, built in 1781 on the site of a former church built nearly 200 years before, or the St. Laurentius Parish Church built in 1771, also on the site of a former church. Both churches still stand today in [Zoom in on the yellow icons on map above for the locations of the churches.]
A little more than two years later they started their family with a son Johann Peter who was born on 7 April 1799 in Kirsch and was baptized the next day in Longuich. The father was 33 years old and the mother was going on 36.
The following year their next child, a daughter, was born in Kirsch on Christmas Eve, in a new century. Anna Maria was baptized on Christmas Day 1800 in Longuich.
A year later their second daughter Christina was born in Kirsch on 5 January 1802 and was baptized the next day in Longuich.
Katharina’s father Johann BARTHELMES was about 74 years old when Christina was born. He’d outlived his wife by more than a dozen years. But by the time winter came around that year his death was being reported by his son-in-law Jacob on 15 November 1802.
Seven months later death visited the little family once again. Their youngest, Christina, died on 2 June 1803 in Kirsch at the age of 17 months. She was buried the following day in Longuich.
For two years Johann Peter and Anna Maria were the only children of Jacob and Katharina. Then on 24 November 1805, their last child, a daughter, Katharina was born in Kirsch and baptized the following day in Longuich. Jacob was 39 years old and his wife Katharina was 42 years old.
Jacob’s only known brother Johann Peter WOLLSCHIED died 16 December 1821 in Morscheid. He left a widow and one son. Like his brother Jacob, he had also had three daughters but they all died when still young.
Exactly one year later Jacob’s wife Katharina BARTHELMES died on 16 December 1822 in Kirsch. Jacob followed her three years later on 5 January 1826. He was buried two days later on 7 January 1826. He left a son and two daughters.
The WOLLSCHEID Children
A double wedding took place on 17 January 1827, a year after the death of Jacob WOLLSCHEID. His first daughter Anna Maria married Nicolaus SCHMITT and his youngest daughter Katharina married Caspari FERGER. Both marriages took place at the church in Longuich. Katharina’s civil marriage took place the previous day. A mention of Anna Maria’s civil marriage was not found in the family books which were viewed.
After the girls’ marriages, their brother Johann Peter waited another year before marrying Angela KOCH on 7 February 1828 in Longuich.
Katharina, the youngest of the WOLLSCHEID children, gave birth to six children in ten years. Three months after giving birth to her last child she died at the age of 34 years on 23 December 1839 in Kirsch.
The only son, Johann Peter, died on 16 December 1854 in Longuich. He was the father of seven children, two of whom died young. His wife outlived him by nearly 17 years.
My children’s fourth great-grandmother Anna Maria, also known as Marianna, was the last living WOLLSCHEID child. After living with her husband Nicolaus SCHMITT on the Kalberger Hof and raising a family, she died in Osweiler, Luxembourg, at the home of her son-in-law Johann SCHWARTZ on 3 November 1857.
Two Grandsons Go to America
Jacob and Katharina’s only son Johann Peter had five children who grew to adulthood. The two youngest sons went to America a little more than a decade after their father died. Nicholas was the first to go after requesting permission to emigrate on 18 July 1865. His younger brother Paul applied on 29 May 1867 saying he would be able to live with his brother who was already in America. Paul was underage and had to have permission from three persons from his paternal and three persons from his maternal family. His application to emigrate was approved however, I have found no evidence he went or lived in America.
His older brother Nicholas who came to America a few months after the end of the Civil War enlisted in the U.S. Army in Petersburg, Virginia, with Capt. Nicodemus on Valentine’s Day 1866. He was 24 years old, a 5-foot 4-inch wagon maker with brown eyes, light hair. He was discharged three years later in Winchester, Virginia when his service expired. Less than two weeks later, on 27 February 1869, he married Johanna C. Schroeder, a widow with a six years old daughter. Nicholas, his wife, and step-daughter lived in Bloomery, Hampshire County, West Virginia in 1870. By 1880 they had settled in Dunbar, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. There were no children in their household, the 16 years old step-daughter was married and living in the area. Nicholas died in 1899 leaving his widow Johanna who lived with her daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. Johanna died in 1909.
When Nicholas died the connection to America for this family ended. There may be some who would question this as the step-daughter’s death certificate suggests Nicholas Walsche was her father. Her mother is listed as Joana Roth which would have been her first married name and the surname of Ernestine’s father, John P. Roth.
Ernestine’s death certificate shows she was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Her obituary, below, gives White Front, Virginia. In the 1870 to 1940 census listings found for her, she was born in Maryland except in 1940 which has Pennsylvania. It is not the place of her birth which is important. She was born in 1863 in America and Nicholas did not apply to emigrate to America until 1865.
With this aside on the grandsons of Jacob WOLLSCHEID and Katharina BARTHELMES, I would like to end this post. It was fun getting into the U.S. records and following up on the possibility of there being WOLLSCHEID descendants of this couple still in America but the search was to no avail.
Sources:  Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 530,205. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4DM-CJD : accessed 12 March 2017), Joannes Wolschie… and Anna Maria Wilwerts, married 10 Jan 1747; citing Waldrach, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father of bride Petri Wilwerts.  Armin Giebel, compiler, Familienbuch Standesamt Ruwer-Waldrach, (Stand: Sept. 2016), page 3991, family 20387. Wollscheid-Willwertz family group.  Ibid., page 83, family 310. Barthelmes-Barzen family group.  Ibid., page 3996, family 20406. Wollscheid-Barthelmes family group.  Ibid., page 3994-3995, family 20400. Wollscheid-Dehen family group.  Germany Marriages, 1558-1929, FHL microfilm 469,141. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4FC-TYK : accessed 1 August 2015), Nicolaus Schmidt and Maria Anna Wolschett, married 17 Jan 1827, parents of groom Friderici Schmidt and Elisabethae Plein, parents of bride Jacobi Wolschett and Catharinae Barthelmaes; citing Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany.  Ibid., (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4FC-TY6 : accessed 10 March 2017), Casparus Ferger and Catharina Wolschet, married 17 Jan 1827 in Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; parents of groom Matthiae Ferger and Gertrudis Biver; parents of bride Jacobi Wolschet and Catharinae Barthelmaes.  Ibid., (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4FC-TBT : accessed 10 March 2017), Joannes Wollscheid and Angela Koch, married 07 Feb 1828; parents of groom Jacobi Wollscheid and Cath. Barthelmes; parents of bride Joannis Petri Koch and Barbarae Horsch.  Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 / Deutschland Tote und Beerdigungen, 1582-1958, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 469,141. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4MS-JPY : 28 November 2014), Catharina Wolscheid Ferger; age 44; died 23 Dec 1839 in Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; buried 26 Dec 1839; marital status married; spouse Caspari Ferger.  Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4MS-VJ4 : accessed 15 March 2017), Petrus Wollscheid; died 16 Dec 1854 in Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; age 55; marital status married; spouse Angelae Coch.  Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Rosport > Décès 1853-1891 > image 52 of 510. 1857 Death Record No. 24. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYJ3-VZ7?cc=1709358&wc=9RY9-16X%3A130314401%2C130472201 : accessed 13 March 2017).  Armin Giebel, Ortsfamilienbuch des StA Longuich bis Okt. 1931 (June 2013), page 2378-2379, family 11530. Wollscheid-Koch family group.  Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls); Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Ancestry.com : accessed 15 March 2017  Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X51K-SYN : accessed 16 March 2017), Jno. P. Wollscheid in entry for …id…olar Wollscheid and Johanna Schraider, 27 Feb 1869; citing Winchester, Frederick, Virginia, reference 106; FHL microfilm 2,048,496.  Find A Grave Memorial# 100851368, Find A Grave (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=100851368 : accessed 16 March 2017)  Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964, database, Ancestry.com : accessed 17 March 2017.