Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

My 5th great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH was widowed on 16 February 1798.1 He was not yet 37 years old and had six children at home in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume. The children were between the ages of 10 years and 1 week. It was not surprising he married again six months after the death of his wife Theresia BRAUN.

Remacle remarries

On the 9th day of the month Fructidor in the year VI (26 August 1798), Remacle married Anne Marie WIROTH, a 32-year-old woman from Vianden.2 She was the daughter of François WIROTH and Anne Marie PETRY. Remacle and Anne Marie were married in the commune of Berg in the canton of Mersch. Colmar, where the groom lived, was part of the commune of Berg. Today the commune is known as Colmar-Berg.

Remacle was a resident of Colmar and worked as a carpenter. Anne Marie was a day laborer and lived with her parents in Vianden on the Our River, in Luxembourg’s Ardennes region.

The children of the second marriage

Their first child was born less than a year later at three in the morning on 21 July 1799 in Colmar, a daughter named Peternelle.3

Vianden – from our collection of ten framed prints of castles in Luxembourg

Less than two years later the family was living in Vianden. No records have been found which would prove Remacle and his second wife were raising his children from his first marriage. I think Remacle, Anne Marie, and their daughter Peternelle resided in Vianden without his children from the previous marriage. It must be remembered that Remacle was his parents’ youngest child. His deceased wife Theresia’s older sister Catharina BRAUN lived with her husband Franz BIVER in the BRAUN family home. Franz BIVER, by marrying into the BRAUN family, had taken over as the head of the family and likely was responsible for Remacle’s children. I will get back to this further on in this post.

“Bernadus” TRAUSCH was seen as the father of Jacob TRAUSCH born on 12 April 1801 at six in the morning to the mother Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden. The name of the father on the record is obviously an error.4 Remacle TRAUSCH was able to sign his name and the signature on this record, as well as on all birth records of his other children, were the same.

On 17 March 1803 at one in the morning a son Pierre was born to Remacle TRAUSCH and his wife Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden.5 Once again he signed with his signature.

Remacle dies in Luxembourg City

The TRAUSCH family’s sojourn in Vianden did not last long. By 21 August 1804, the family was living in Luxembourg City. On this day François WIROTH (spelled VIROTTE on the record) went to the authorities to declare the death of his brother-in-law Remacle TRAUSCH at the age of 43 years.6

Nearly two years later, Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH was still living in Luxembourg City when, on 19 July 1806, Jacob TRAUSCH, her and Remacle’s five-year-old son, died in house number 26 on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City.7

The family council gives consent for Catharina’s marriage

A few months later on 29 November 1806, Remacle’s oldest daughter from his first marriage, Catharina was married. She was only 16 years and 6 months old. The family council appeared before the justice of the peace to give consent to the marriage of the underage and orphaned daughter of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN on the 27th of the month. She married Pierre OLINGER, a 27-year-old man whose parents were also both deceased. Two of the witnesses to the marriage were François (Franz) BIVER, the bride’s maternal uncle (husband of her maternal aunt and godmother Catharina BRAUN), and Nicolas COLLIN, the bride’s maternal uncle (half brother of Theresia and Catharina BRAUN).8 These men were likely part of the “family council” which gave their consent to the marriage.

The reference to the family council at the time of Catharina’s marriage leads me to suspect Remacle’s children from his first marriage were being cared for by their maternal aunt Catharina BRAUN and her husband Franz BIVER (spelled BIWER in earlier records) in the years following his death and perhaps from the time of Theresia’s death.

Remacle’s widow has another child

On 19 September 1809 the widow DESGRANGE, a midwife, reported the birth of Pierre-Louis VIROTTE, the son of Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH (seen as VIROTTE on the record), at house number 2 in the rue St. Esprit in Luxembourg City. A father’s name was not given.9

Remacle’s oldest son marries

On 29 December 1813, Remacle and Theresia’s oldest son François “Franz” TRAUSCH married Eva MERTZ in Ettelbrück. Franz was living in Schieren which lies between Colmar-Berg and Ettelbrück. Eva was also a resident of Schieren which was part of the commune of Ettelbrück before 1850. None of the witnesses to this marriage were relatives of Franz TRAUSCH.10

Before Remacle and Theresia’s next two sons would marry, a horrific crime took place in Luxembourg City.

View of the church St. Jean in the Grund (lower part of Luxembourg City) from the guard walk of the Porte de Trèves

Death and burial records hint at a crime

As I searched for records of the children of Remacle’s second marriage I was surprised to find records of four deaths which took place in the night between 6 and 7 April 1816. Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle (now seen as Petronilla) TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH were found dead in their home in house number 23 in the rue de Trèves in Grund, the lower part of Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Michel GENERÉ, appariteur or bailiff. Anne Marie’s occupation was listed as cabarêtière (owner of a cabaret or tavern) in the city. 11

Porte de Trèves with the fortress wall in Luxembourg City

No information on the cause of death was found in the death records. As church records are now available on Matricula Online, I checked for the burial records of the family of four. I found only one sad entry.12

Imagine courtesy of Matricula Online. Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Die Septima Aprilis 1816 Anna Virotte anno aetutis quadragesimo quinto cum filia Petronillae Trausch 20 annos nata et dubbus (dubus) filiis Petro Trausch decimo quarto et Ludovico Virotte Septimo aetatis anno nocte ante Dominicam palmaram horrendo atque hucusque inaudito modo in lectibus trucidati ad supraedati postridie una sepulti fucre.

I took the Latin text apart, translating sections at a time. I then sent the image of the record, my Latin transcript (which included a few incorrect and missing words), and my English translation to my friend Linda who has helped me several times with Latin records. She confirmed my translation (below) was spot on, sent me a corrected Latin transcript (above), and the link to a magazine article which discussed this horrific crime.

On the seventh day of April 1816 Anna Virotte forty-fifth year of age and daughter Petronilla Trausch 20 years old and the victim’s sons Petro Trausch fourteen and Louis Virotte seven years of age the night before Palm Sunday in a horrible and hitherto unheard-of way were slaughtered in their beds and  buried the day following the above mentioned date.

A brief overview of the crime

Michel Engels - 17 Les portes de Trèves et de Mansfeld
Les portes de Trèves et de Mansfeld by Michel Engels [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. The scene of the crime being the building on the left below the gate.
On the night before Palm Sunday, at midnight a guard at the Porte de Trèves heard a woman’s weeping scream. Between one and two o’clock in the morning, one of the guards who were taking turns saw three men pass by. When he shouted, “Who goes there?” they replied with the password “Bourgeois!” which allowed them to pass through the gate.

At six o’clock in the morning, the milkwoman came to deliver milk to the widow TRAUSCH who lived only a few meters from the gate. The house was quiet and the front door open. As she often did, she poured the milk into a stone jar in the kitchen and went on her way.

The widow TRAUSCH was known as the Kränzercher lady. She sold Veianer Kränzercher (pastries in the form of wreaths) at the market. She also had a bad reputation as she sold drink and sexual services in the house known as “A Kränzerches” where she lived. Acquaintances knew she had plans to buy a house as she had proudly shown them the coins she’d saved from her business dealings.

At 11 o’clock the churchgoers were coming home from mass at St. Jean de Grund church. The house where widow TRAUSCH lived with her family was still quiet. This was unusual and neighbors began to gather at her door. The crowd grew. Four men entered the house and soon came out, horrified by what they had found. The widow and her three children were dead, their throats cut through.

By Monday five suspects had been taken into custody. Two were quickly released. The three who were held over for trial were Jews. News of the murders made the rounds and angry crowds insulted and threatened Jews who lived in the city. The intervention of the mayor and law enforcement prevented people from further insulting the Jews.

The trial in early September 1816 lasted several days and about one hundred witnesses were called.  Testimonies soon showed Schwartz, one of the accused, had an alibi. The Hauser brothers, the other two accused, were placed at the scene of the crime by witnesses and fresh blood had been found on the clothing of one of them. An important representative of the Jewish community testified the morality of the Hauser brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely. The anti-Semitic sentiment which prevailed in the city was not mentioned in the court records of the case.

In the end, the court came to the conclusion that Hirsch and Emmanuel Hauser were guilty and were sentenced to death by decapitation. Their appeal to the Cassation Court in Liège was denied. They were executed on a public square of the fortress city on 18 October 1816.

The article in the magazine Ons Stad is in German and gives a bit more detail.13 The court records are available to the public at the National Archives of Luxembourg.14 I have not visited the archives to view this collection of records.

Tony JUNGBLUT, author and publisher, had an interest in the judicial system and gained notoriety as a judicial chronicler. He wrote the short story “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser,” a narrative of the Trausch murders case using testimonies found in the court records. The short story was included in his 1938 book Luxemburger Pitaval, a series of criminal cases that marked the history of Luxembourg.

By searching the National Library of Luxembourg’s eluxemburgensia site, I found the story was published earlier in the weekly magazine, A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in four parts in August of 1934. It is an amazing story and worth the read if you are fluent in German.15

Life continues for Remacle’s children from his first marriage

Five months after the trial, Michel TRAUSCH, my fourth great-grandfather and the son of Remacle and his first wife Theresia, married Catharina HAMES on 17 February 1817 in Mamer. Catharina was the daughter of Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ and Johannes HAMES of Mamer and my fourth great-grandmother.16 They made their home in Mamer.

Nearly two years later, Nicolas TRAUSCH who would later be more commonly referred to as Jean Nicolas married Maria Margaritha TONTLING in Tuntange on 21 January 1819.17 They lived in Hollenfels.

I continue to seek any information on the remaining two children of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN. No marriage or death records have been found for the daughters Susanna born in 1796 and Maria born in 1798.

I was a bit uneasy about writing this story of murder, prostitution, and anti-Semitic sentiment. The fortress city of Luxembourg during this time was a multi-cultural place. People of different nationalities came to the city to trade.  The Jewish settlement had only become possible since the French Revolution in 1795. Following Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy and was under the rule of the King of Netherlands and became a member of the German Federation. The Prussia soldiers encamped in the barracks were for the most part Lutherans in a country which was predominantly Catholic.

Next week I will be tying up some of the loose ends, among others,  concerning Theresia BRAUN’s father Martin in my final post in this series.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record (bottom left page and all of right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018) and 1798 Death Record (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-645?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 9-11 of 270. 1798 Marriage Record on four pages. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XCY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 29 of 140. 1799 Birth Record (3 thermidor an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-5FN?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Vianden > Naissances 1793-1828 > image 61 of 484. 1801 Birth Record (22 germinal an IX), right page, bottom. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCWC-DG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-SPD%3A130504801%2C130707001 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  5. Ibd., Vianden > Naissances 1793-1828 > image 74 of 484. 1803 Birth Record (left page, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCWH-88?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-SPD%3A130504801%2C130707001 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1070 of 1420. 1804 (3 Fructidor XII) Death Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-W6S?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  7. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1368 of 1420. 1806 Death Record (right page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-8XD?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 28+29 of 270. 1806 Marriage Record (2 pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-L1X?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Naissances 1800 > image 910 of 1432. 1809 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCMF-NJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-RM9%3A130045801%2C132054501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Ettelbruck > Naissances 1885-1890 Mariages 1796-1844 > image 627 of 1505. 1813 Marriage Record No. 15. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X2S-MB5?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-FM9%3A129625001%2C130529102 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Luxembourg > Décès 1814 > image 274+275 of 1396. 1816 Death Records of Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH (2 pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XK9-7R8?cc=91709358&wc=9RYC-DP8%3A130045801%2C130226501 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  12. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 356-627, Luxembourg-Stadtgrund, KB-02-10, Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1808 – 1817, image 155 of 157, stamped page 26, entry in middle of right page. 1816 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/luxemburg-stadtgrund/KB-02-10/?pg=155 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  13. Renée Wagener, “Mordfall in der Festung Luxemburg ‘Ein entsetzliches Verbrechen?'”, Ons Stad 116/2017 p. 10-12,  Ville de Luxembourg, Service Communications et relations publiques. (https://onsstad.vdl.lu/fileadmin/uploads/media/ons_stad_116-2017_10-12.pdf : accessed 11 July 2019) 
  14. Archives Nationales de Luxembourg, CT-01-02-0090 Hauser Hirsch, Hauser Emmanuel, Schwartz Abraham-Jacques – Accusés de meurtre, 1816 (Dossier). (http://query.an.etat.lu/Query/detail.aspx?ID=390601 : accessed 19 August 2019) 
  15. Tony Jungblut, “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser”, published in four parts in A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte, 5 August 1934 No. 33 p. 4-7, 12 August 1934 No. 34 p. 18-20, 19 August 1934 No. 35 p. 18-19, and 26 August 1934 No. 36 p. 18-19. (https://luxemburgensia.bnl.lu/cgi/luxonline1_2.pl?action=yr&sid=azillust&year=1934 : accessed 21 August 2019). 
  16. Luxembourg Civil Records, Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1283 of 1504. 1817 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12585-51831-91?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9:130065401,130365601 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  17. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 467 of 1488. 1819 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PXQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 

Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER from Gronn to Strassen

Église Saint-Jean-du-Grund. The featured image was taken in December 2008 while walking in Luxembourg City’s Grund. At the time I had no idea I was looking at the church where Margretha BREGER’s parents were married in 1758.

I’m finally at a point where I can write about my 5th great-grandparents Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852) and Margretha BREGER (1767-1851). As I mentioned in The Farm Where the Majerus Family Lived in the 1700s I’ve spent a lot of time researching their descendants.

The main objective of the research was to find out how many children Jean and Margretha had and which ones produced families. By the time I had gone through ALL civil birth, marriage, and death records in Strassen as well as census records, I was able to generate a descendants report for the couple in question with nine generations, 74 pages, and over 350 source citations. The number of citations will likely reach 400 by the time I finish adding more census records, recent church records, and newspaper clippings.

After taking the time to evaluate and cite the records found, I now have a clear picture of several generations of descendants of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER.

Jean MAJERUS (1766-1852)

As we learned in How the Jean MAJERUS Brick Wall Crumbled – The Keys and Doors Which Made It Happen! my 5th great-grandfather was born in France. He was born on 2 June 1766 in Boulay-Moselle to the single mother Anne Catherine ALBERT.1 She married Jean MAJERUS of Scherfenhof (near Medernach in Luxembourg) on 17 August 1767 in Boulay.2 It was at this time that Jean’s birth was legitimized and he became Jean MAJERUS. He was not quite 18 years old when his widowed mother died on 2 January 1784.3 His father had already passed away but when and where this event took place is not known.

Between Jean’s birth in 1766 and his mother’s death in 1784, I found he had two younger brothers, Joannes born in 17694 and Barthélémy who lived only ten days in 1772.5 Joannes was born in Larochette, Luxembourg, while Barthélémy was born in Boulay, France. No trace of Joannes has been found after his baptism.

What brought Jean MAJERUS back to Luxembourg? Did he return to his father’s home place before or after his mother’s death? When did he settle in Luxembourg City where he was found in 1797?

Margretha BREGER (1767-1851)

Margretha BREGER was baptized on 12 January 1767 in the church of Saint Michel in Luxembourg City.6 She was the daughter of Jean Baptiste BREGER (1738-1805) and Susanne MERTENS (1728-bef. 1801). She had one older brother Michel (1760-1810). Margretha’s surname was spelled many different ways in the records found, evolving from BREYER to BREGER during her father’s lifetime and including these spellings: BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, and BREDER.

Interesting details about her father were uncovered while researching the family group. The records connecting Jean Adam BREYER to Jean Baptiste BREGER will be revealed in a later post.

When and where were Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER married?

When I wrote about Jean and Margretha’s son in 52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen I mentioned a marriage record had not been found for his parents. However, they were a legally married couple in 1797 when Jean Baptiste was born. Birth records of the children born after him also indicate they were a married couple.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Jean Baptiste, their oldest son, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn. Witnesses to the birth record were the maternal grandfather Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years, the maternal aunt by marriage.7

As the birth records of their first three children indicate, Jean and Margretha lived their early years of marriage in the Gronn. Elisabeth was the second child, born on 2 April  17998, and their third was a son, Jean born on 10 June 1801.9

In 1797 Jean was a clothier (drapier) but, with the births of the children who followed, his occupation was seen as a wool spinner (fileur de laine). He continued to practice this occupation until he was at least in his mid-sixties as seen in the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Following Jean’s birth in 1801 the family moved to Strassen where their youngest child Marie was born on 19 December 1806.10 The five-year gap between the two children has always made me wonder if the change of residence was direct – from Gronn to Strassen – or if they may have lived somewhere else – a place where another child may have been born. If the move was from Gronn to Strassen, in what year did it take place?

Same place, same surname research

The oldest three children were fairly easy to research. Their marriage records, the birth records for their children, the grandchildren of Jean and Margretha, as well as census records from 1843 to 1900 were found. They lived in Strassen, had their children in Strassen, and died in Strassen. No other families with the MAJERUS name were found living in Strassen before 1923. Their living in one place for a long period of time made the research easier even though in several generations many children did not survive infancy.

A discovery made by error and omission

The youngest child Marie caused difficulties while researching but also helped with a new discovery. Her father Jean MAJERUS, the informant on her birth record dated 19 December 1806, stated she was born the same day at one in the morning. As no marriage record or trace of Marie were found following her birth, I assumed she must have died. FamilySearch has only civil records for this time period and no death record was found.

I located her baptismal record on Matricula Online where Catholic church records for Luxembourg are now available. The priest who recorded her baptism gave her date of birth and baptism as 18 December 1806, the day before she was born per the civil birth record.11 The switch from the Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar in January 1806 in the civil records may explain this discrepancy. Generally, the Catholic church didn’t use the Republican calendar during the 13 years it was in use.

Next, I searched for a death and burial record in the church records. As these are browse-only I had to find a point of entry for a death which took place in late 1806 or later. No death record was found for Marie. However as I jumped in a bit early in 1806 I found a death record for a child named Margaretha MAJERUS, daughter of Jean MAJERUS, who died on 9 June 1806.12 I was able to translate most of the record but was stumped at the part which revealed her age at death.

I asked for help with the translation from my friend Linda who has helped me several times after reading one or the other of my posts. She came through with a transcription for the record.

Anno Dni Millesimo octingentisimo sexto die nonae mensis primi horae nonae matutinae in Strassen mortua est Margaretha, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, filia legitima Joannis MAJERUS lanifici et Margarethae BRIGER conjugum hie habitantium.

Linda translated the part I could not read, infans duorum annorum et stat idem mensium, as meaning the child Margaretha was two years and two months old at the time of death.

I went back to the civil records to find the birth of a child in April 1804. The 1804 handwritten index for Luxembourg City had been cut off at the bottom of the page with the M’s and I had to look at every record for the year 1804. There was no MAJERUS child born in the city in 1804. Next, I checked Strassen’s index. Again no MAJERUS birth. There was a Margaretha MEYERS born 16 Germinal in the year XII which computes to 6 April 1804. MEYERS is a variation of MAJERUS. After viewing hundreds of records for this family, this was the first time I’d seen it spelled this way. Jean and Margretha were living in Strassen in April 1804 when their second daughter and fourth child was born.13

Margaretha’s death in 1806 was not found in the civil records. Could Marie’s death also have been omitted?  The first person of the surname to die in Strassen according to the civil records was a granddaughter of Jean and Margretha, Marie Catherine MAJERUS who died in 1823 at the age of three months.14

Three marriages in thirteen years

I now had five children for the MAJERUS couple who moved to Strassen between June 1801 and April 1804. I’m convinced only three of them grew to adulthood, married, and had children. Margaretha was proven to have died at two years and two months. No trace of Marie has been found after her birth.

My 4th great-grandfather Jean Baptiste MAJERUS was the first to marry on 25 April 1817 in Strassen to Catharina CORNELY.15 Of the parties involved, only the father of the groom was able to sign his name. The groom Jean Baptiste was only twenty years old and the bride Catharina was twenty-three and expecting their first child. A month later their son Jean was born.16 The first grandchild of Jean and Margretha and my 3rd great-grandfather.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1817 marriage record of his son Jean Baptiste

The next wedding took place in Dippach on 16 August 1823 when Jean MAJERUS married Josephine HESS of Sprinkange in the commune of Dippach.17 Jean’s brother Jean Baptiste was one of the four witnesses at the marriage. Neither of the brothers nor their mother was able to sign their names but Jean MAJERUS signed as the father of the groom.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1823 marriage record of his son Jean

The third marriage took place on 20 January 1830 in Strassen when Elisabeth MAJERUS, thirty years old, married Jean DAMY, twenty-eight years old.18 Jean MAJERUS, the father of the bride, signed the marriage record while the bride and her mother did not.

Signature of Jean MAJERUS on the 1830 marriage record of his daughter Elisabeth

Twenty-five grandchildren born between 1817 to 1841

Jean and Margretha’s three married children gave them twenty-five grandchildren in fourteen years.

  • Jean Baptiste and his wife Catharina had eleven children from 1817 to 1840 with only one child dying at the age of two months in 1823 (Marie Catherine mentioned earlier). All of their children married with the exception of their son Nicolas (still being researched). Their sons Nicolas (b. 1835) and Michel (b. 1840) went to America in 1853 and 1865. Later three grandsons and a granddaughter would go to America and one granddaughter to England.
  • Elisabeth and her husband Jean DAMY had six sons between 1830 and 1841. Three of these died as babies. The two older sons married and lived in Strassen while their son Jean (b. 1838) went to America likely at the same time as his cousin Michel MAJERUS in 1865. In 1870 they were living next door to each other in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota.
  • Jean and his wife Josephine HESS had five sons and then three daughters. One daughter died as a baby and a son died at the age of 19 years. All of the children except for one daughter married.

Jean and Margretha lived another decade after the last of their grandchildren were born. They were found ont the census of 184319, 184620, 184721, and 184922 in their own household without any other persons. Finally, in 1847 the answer to when they moved to Strassen was found in the census. The census sheet for 1847 included a column with the number of years they had lived in the commune – forty-five years which placed their move to Strassen at during the year 1802.

Margretha died at the age of 84 years on 1 April 1851.23 Her oldest son Jean Baptiste was the informant on her death record. He had not been able to sign his name when he married in 1817. On the birth records of his first nine children born between 1817 and 1835 he had declared each time that he could not write or sign. In 1837 he had finally learned to sign his name and his signatures were found on the 1837 and 1840 birth records of his two youngest children as well as on his mother’s death record.

Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1851 death record of his mother Margretha BREGER
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1837 birth record of his son Jean Pierre MAJERUS
Signature of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS on the 1840 birth record of his son Michel MAJERUS

Jean appeared on the 1851 census with the family of his oldest son Jean Baptiste.24 His name was added to the top of the list likely after the names of his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were listed.

1851 Luxembourg Census sheet No. 48 with the MAJERUS family of Strassen

Jean lived a little over a year longer, dying on 5 July 1852. His death was reported by his grandson Jean Baptiste, 5th son of his son Jean Baptiste. Jean was 86 years old.25

I once compared my second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) to a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). Jean being the first grandchild of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER. On one side of the fence, Marie was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence I found her parents, grandparents, and now at last count 185 relatives with the MAJERUS name.

I still don’t know what Jean MAJERUS’ life was like before he met and married Margretha BREGER nor when or where the marriage took place. However, their marriage produced a large number of descendants in Luxembourg, America, England, and who knows where else….

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772), Image: RAD057_100EDGG8_0028.jpg, image 28 of 193. 1766 Baptismal Record (bottom left and top right).(http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. 
  2. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil : BOULAY et Après 1760 et avant 1770; Description : Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0061.jpg. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY, Document 9NUM/100ED/GG10 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1780-1792), Image: FRAD057_100EDGG10_0108.jpg, image 108 of 307. Death Record No. 1. (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606016/605804:613196:606016/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  4. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Nommern > Baptêmes 1744-1787, confirmations 1750-1789, mariages 1751-1765, 1769-1787, sépultures 1752-1787 > image 45 of 170. 1769 Baptismal Record No. 324. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WS-9SX7?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-L2V%3A1500981117%2C1501018978 : accessed 27 May 2019). 
  5. Archives 57, Registres paroissiaux et d’état civil BOULAY; Document 9NUM/100ED/GG8 Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures (1765-1772); Image: FRAD057_100EDGG8_0173.jpg. 1772 Birth Record (left page, top) and 1772 Death Record (right page, middle). (http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/visualiseur/index.php/docnumViewer/calculHierarchieDocNum/606023/605804:613196:606023/900/1600 : accessed 21 May 2019). 
  6. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1200 of 1504. 1799 Birth Record, right, top (13 germinal an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LF-X1?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : 5 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 1473 of 1504. 1801 Birth Record, right, bottom (21 prairial an IX). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9LD-TK?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 8 January 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 108 of 1464. 1806 Birth Record (lower left). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QK8?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : 17 July 2014),. 
  11. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 16 of 138, left page, 4th entry. 1806 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=16 : accessed 11 June 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 314; GV.MF 349, Strassen, KB-01, Firmungen – Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1799 – 1844, no page number, image 53 of 138, right page, 3rd entry. 1806 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/strassen/KB-01/?pg=53 : accessed 18 June 2019). 
  13. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 55 of 1464. 1804 Birth Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61VS-QZX?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38%3A130458601%2C130573201 : accessed 19 June 2019). 
  14. Ibid., Strassen > Décès 1796-1823 > image 148 of 149. 1823 Death Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-2966-96?cc=1709358 : accessed 5 December 2015). 
  15. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1000 of 1464. 1817 Marriage No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58675-14?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  16. Ibid., Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 214 of 1464. 1817 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61261-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 27 March 2010). Note: mother listed as Maria Cornely. 
  17. Ibid., Dippach > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1386 of 1485. 1823 Marriage Record (right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DT1L-5C?cc=1709358&wc=9RY9-L2S%3A129628301%2C129829701 : accessed 29 August 2017). 
  18. Ibid., Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 23 of 1416. 1830 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X8S-736?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829%3A129622901%2C129640401 : accessed 7 January 2018). 
  19. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > 1843 > image 309 of 407. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32355-17392-51?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  20. Ibid., Bertrange > 1846 > image 324 of 431. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32358-11377-81?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  21. Ibid., Bertrange > 1847 > image 198 of 448. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32349-25407-72?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  22. Ibid., Bertrange > 1849 > image 388 of 474. Majerus-Breger household. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32350-6437-36?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  23. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 8 of 446. 1851 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-163713-71?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  24. Luxembourg Census Records, Strassen > 1851 > image 67 of 222. “Jean Majerus, his son Jean Baptiste Majerus, his daughter-in-law Catherine Cornely, their children Jacques, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie.” Jean Majerus household No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32351-8999-55?cc=2037957 : accessed 2 December 2015). 
  25. Luxembourg Civil Records, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 21 of 446. 1852 Death Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-161808-75?cc=1709358 : accessed 2 December 2015). 

52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen

My second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) is like a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of her parents Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). On one side of the fence, she was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence, are her parents, grandparents, and other ancestors. Marie is a mitochondrial ancestress whose direct line goes back to my 6th great-grandmother Anna Catharina RONAS (b. abt. 1710).

When I re-visited my research this week for Marie’s paternal grandparents, Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1797-1868) and  Catharina CORNELY (1794-1871), I realized how much information was hidden behind the fence. She had many aunts and uncles and cousins.

Nearly all of my maternal fourth great-grandparents were born in the 1760s or 1770s. Jean Baptiste and Catharina were much younger being born in the 1790s.  In turn, their children were born after civil records became required in Luxembourg. They lived long lives and were found on eleven censuses taken between 1843 and 1867.

Jean Baptiste MAJERUS

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Jean Baptiste, son of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn.

At the time of his birth, his parents were a legally married couple. The informants who accompanied the father to report the birth were Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years.

A marriage record for the couple has not yet been located. I suspect Jean Baptiste was their first child and the informants who accompanied the father were the child’s maternal grandfather and maternal uncle’s wife.

Faubourg de Grund, Luxembourg City

Jean and Margaretha had two more children born in the Gronn in 1799 and 1801 before moving their family to Strassen where their last known child was born in 1806. Jean MAJERUS was a draper in 1797, a wool spinner or fileur de laine in 1799 and 1801 as well as in 1823 and 1830 when two children married. He was no longer working by 1843 when the census was taken.

Catharina CORNELY

Catharina, daughter of Hubert CORNELY  and Margaretha EVEN, was born on 24 April 1794 in Wickrange in the commune of Reckange-sur-Mess. She was baptized on 25 June 1794 in Reckange-sur-Mess. It is unusual, for this time period, for a baptism to take place two months after the birth. Normally the rite was performed the same or following day. Other baptismal entries on the same page of the register show delays. The priest may have had more than one parish under his jurisdiction and did not travel on a daily or weekly basis.

Catharina was the second youngest of nine known children. Her parents were married in 1779. When their first child was born on 17 June 1780 they chose a maternal uncle by marriage to be the godfather. Joannes ERPELDING of Kackerterhof, the husband of Catherine EVEN.

Kackerterhof was the ancestral home of my husband’s 5th great-grandparents Caspar ERPELDING (d. 1779) and Gertrudes JEHNEN (1724-1774). Joannes, the godfather mentioned above, was an older brother of my husband’s 4th great-grandfather Nicolas ERPELDING. When I worked on the ERPELDING line I wondered if the EVEN lady who married into the family could be related to my Margaretha EVEN. The marriage records of both EVEN ladies show their parents were Léonard EVEN and Marie IRY, my 6th great-grandparents.

Hubert CORNELY died on 29 August 1816 in Wickrange. Of his nine children, only his oldest son Jean and his two youngest daughters Catharina and Catherine have been researched. It is not known, at this time, if the six children born between 1782 and 1793 survived, married, or had lines which continue.

Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s Marry Young

My fourth great-grandparents, Catharina, 22 years old, and Jean Baptiste, 20 years old, were married on Friday, 25 April 1817. The bride and groom could not write but the father of the groom, Jean MAJERUS signed his name to the marriage record. The record officialized just in the nick of time as a month later their first child Jean, my third great-grandfather, was born on 24 May 1817 in Strassen.

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 an error made by the clerk? 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 who were present.

These were the children born to Catharina and Jean Baptiste:

  • Ch 1: Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) born 24 May 1817
  • Ch 2: Mathias MAJERUS (1819-1895) born 29 Jan 1819
  • Ch 3: Jean MAJERUS (1821-1880) born 6 Aug 1821
  • Ch 4: Maria Catharina MAJERUS (1823-1823) born 27 Sep 1823. She died at the age of two months on 6 December 1823.
  • Ch 5: Jacques MAJERUS (1825-1900) born 12 Apr 1825
  • Ch 6: Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1827-1893) born 8 Aug 1827
  • Ch 7: Marie MAJERUS (1830-?) born 12 May 1830
  • Ch 8: Peter MAJERUS (1832-1884) born 25 Dec 1832
  • Ch 9: Nicolas MAJERUS (1835-?) born 27 May 1835
  • Ch 10: Jean Pierre  MAJERUS (1837- ) born 25 Sep 1837
  • Ch 11: Michel MAJERUS (1840-1906) born 14 Dec 1840

The maternal grandmother of the children, Margaretha EVEN died on 14 September 1839 in Wickrange before the youngest grandchild was born. Her death was reported by her oldest son who lived in the village. Her youngest daughter Catherine had married in 1824 and was raising a small family in Bertrange. Sadly, six of Catherine’s known eight children died infancy, unlike Catharina’s children who were strong and lived to adulthood. All except for one daughter who died at the age of two months.

A little over a half a dozen years later Catharina and Jean Baptiste’s nine sons and a daughter began to marry.

  • Ch 2: Mathias married Barbara SCHMIT (1819- ) on 6 May 1846 in Strassen.
  • Ch 1: Jean married Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875) on 31 May 1849 in Mamer. They were my third great-grandparents and the only couple to not raise a family in Strassen.
  • Ch 3: Jean married Anna Maria HENGEN (1819-1881) on 24 Apr 1850 in Strassen.

Jean Baptiste’s parents died before the rest of the children married. His mother Margretha BREGER died on 1 April 1851 and his father Jean MAJERUS died on 5 July 1852, both in Strassen where they had lived since 1802. This census listing for 1847 shows they had been living in the commune for 45 years.

This census record, as well as the preceding and following ones, give Jean MAJERUS’s place of birth as France while the last he was seen on indicates he was born in Larochette (Felz). This same place was seen on his death record. Was he born in Boulay-Moselle in France (the only place I could find which sounded like Boulé seen on the 1846 and 1849 census) or in Larochette? Will this lead to his parents?

The children continued to marry:

  • Ch 7: Marie married Théodore JOST (1834- ) on 6 November 1855 in Strassen.
  • Ch 5: Jacques married Catharina GOFFINET (1826-1898) on 18 February 1857 in Luxembourg City.
  • Ch 8: Peter married Madelaine HOFFMANN (1827-1884) on 30 November 1857 in Strassen.
  • Ch 6: Jean Baptiste married Elisabeth HUBERT (1832- ) on 28 December  1858 in Strassen.
  • Ch 10: Jean Pierre married Anne KLEIN (1840- ) on 28 May 1862 in Strassen.

In 1865 Michel, the youngest of the children went to America. All of his living siblings [except perhaps Nicolas who has not been traced after the 1855 census] were now married and raising families. Birth records for 40 grandchildren of Jean Baptiste and Catharina were found – all except for one, my Maria MAJERUS, were born in Strassen. During some years there were between three to five MAJERUS grandchildren born within months of each other.

Due to the amount of time it took to look up, download, and correctly cite the birth records,  I have not even begun to look for the death records of the spouses and children of the MAJERUS children of Jean Baptiste and Catharina. [Note: RootsWeb WorldConnect where I keep my GEDCOM is supposed to be back online within the next few weeks.]

Jean Baptiste MAJERUS died on 7 July 1868 in Strassen at the age of 71 years. His two youngest sons Peter and Jean Pierre were the informants on his death record.

Michel, the youngest of the bunch who had gone to America in 1865, married Mary MAUS about 1870 in Minnesota. Did he write to his mother, letting her know he was doing well, married, and living in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota?

Catharina CORNELY was 77 years old when she died on 10 June 1871 in Strassen. Her oldest and youngest sons who lived in Strassen, Jean and Jean Pierre were the informants for her death.

All of Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s children who married had children except for their youngest son Michel. He and his wife raised two of her MAUS nieces. Michel died in 1906 and his widow Mary died in 1923. She was a very religious woman who left bequeaths in her will for masses to be read for the soul of her husband, herself, and other poor souls. She also left bequeaths to a Catholic church, for an orphanage to be built ($5000), to a nephew who was studying for the priesthood, to the children of several of her deceased siblings as well as two godchildren. To her niece Mary A. MAJERUS (a MAUS niece she raised who took the MAJERUS name) she left $10,000, all real estate, and the residue and remainder of all property. Mary A. MAJERUS never married and died in 1960.

Until next week, when I will be writing about the last set of 4th great-grandparents, Michel TRAUSCH and Catharina HAMES of Mamer.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.