Prequel to The Groelinger-Mergen Family of Holsthum, Germany

Before I share the story of my 4th great-grandparents Johann GROELINGER (1766-1840) and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN (1769-1829) I need to go into a bit of detail on the life of Johann’s parents and the place they lived and worked.

Peter MERTSCHERT (1732-1768) of Röhl married Susanna “Anna” SCHNEIDER  (1737-1778) on 27 January 1753 in Holsthum. The marriage most likely had to be approved by the Vogt of the Schneiders-Vogtei.

What was a Vogt and a Vogtei?

The Vogt or overlord exerted guardianship or military protection as well as secular justice over a certain territory or area of responsibility called a Vogtei. The Schneiders-Vogtei was one of fifteen smaller farms (Hof=farm, Höfe pl.) of the larger Hof Schankweiler which comprised the present-day villages of Schankweiler and Holsthum. Hof Schankweiler was under the rule of Herschaft Bourscheid (Luxembourg) at the end of the 17th century.

The Vogtei holders (Inhaber) were similar to vassals in feudal service who could use the fief as long as they were loyal to the overlord. They were entitled to a limited use of the property owned by the lord. They were serfs and not allowed to make decisions for themselves and their children without the consent of the lord. They could not leave the fief without consent or marry off their children at their own discretion. But on the other hand, without grave reasons, they could not be deprived of the property they worked and many families were holders of a Vogtei for decades if not for a century or two.

The lease on the land was transferred by legal means to the oldest-born, or to the child married during the lifetime of the parents with the consent of the lord. The younger children, who were actually servants and maids, were only entitled to a kind of apanage. This was determined by the parents, or relatives if the parents were deceased, and came from the furniture and other household goods, excluding the farm equipment and livestock.

This approach, perceived as unfair today, ensured the existence of economically sound farms. The Vogtei holders were able to afford, without any particular difficulty, the taxes on their farms. Despite serfdom, the holders of the property prospered and their coffers were filled not only with linens and other materials but also jewelry and thalers.

Peter’s surname was MERTSCHERT before his marriage. However, with the marriage to Susanna, he became the Inhaber (holder) of the Schneiders-Vogtei and used his wife’s maiden name SCHNEIDER. As the actual records (birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial) for this extended family group have not been viewed, it is at this point difficult to say how their children were named in the records.

Peter and Susanna’s family

Peter and Susanna were the parents of five children. Their first, Gertrud born in 1754, lived less than five months. Margaretha was born in 1757, Peter in 1759, and Johann in 1762. Their youngest child, also named Johann, was born on 8 May 1766 on the Schneiders-Vogtei, as were all his siblings.

The 1766 census is important to the story of the youngest son of Peter and Susanna born on the Schneiders-Vogtei the same year.

1766 Census listing for the Schneider family in Holsthum in the parish of Schankweiler. Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Film/DGS 1781975 > Film # 008198977 > Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K: > Holtzthumb (paroisse de Schouweiler) > Image 599 of 753. Schneider family. ( : accessed 10 November 2017).

Note: The town names in the 1766 census collection do not always match the spelling used today and some names were not indexed correctly. The citation above includes the incorrect spelling of the parish. If the link is changed or broken then to get to the image we need to follow FamilySearch’s incorrect naming of the parish of Schankweiler, i.e. Schouweiler. On the actual pages of the census it is written Schauweiler on images 592 and 593 and Schanckwei…r (missing letters in the gutter) on image 594.

When the census was taken in 1766 Johann’s family was living together with his mother Susanna’s mother Margaretha WAXWEILER and stepfather Matthias KRIPPES who, like Susanna’s husband, was going by the SCHNEIDER surname. Interesting to note here is the occupation of the head of household. Enumerated in French, the occupation was tailleur or tailor which is also the translation of the name and/or occupation Schneider.  Also in the household were a few of Susanna’s half-sisters. Susanna’s step-father may have been a younger brother or cousin of Peter KRIPPES, holder of the Krippes-Vogtei in Schankweiler.

Peter MERTSCHERT died on 20 February 1768 in Holsthum. His widow Susanna remarried only a month after her husband’s death on 24 March 1768 to Johann BARTZEN. With this marriage, Johann BARTZEN became the new holder of the Schneiders-Vogtei. Johann and Susanna had a daughter Eva ten months later. This daughter would also later be found in records with the GROELINGER surname when she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter in 1793.

Susanna SCHNEIDER died in October 1778 and her widower Johann BARTZEN married the following month. This makes me wonder if the owner or the manager of the larger Hof Schankweiler may have been playing matchmaker with the families living on the fifteen smaller farms since the marriages took place so soon after the deaths of the holders of the Schneiders-Vogtei.

There were no other families in the area named GRELINGER or GROELINGER but the Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen (Familienbuch Schankweiler) indicates the family of Peter MERTSCHERT and Susanna SCHNEIDER also went by the name GRELINGER as seen in their son’s marriage record in 1798 where the father of the groom’s surname was given as GROELINGEN alias MERTSCHERT.

Skimming through the Familienbuch Schankweiler, I found at least one mention of a family where a man married into a Vogtei from another village. He went by his wife’s (Vogtei) name and at times by the surname his father was known by in his native village after the marriage.

Seeing this I wonder if Peter MERTSCHERT’s family of Röhl may have later gone by the GRELINGEN name which I have seen in other family books with a slight variation of spelling as coming from Röhl. Richard Schaffner is working on the family book of Sülm including Röhl and Scharfbillig. Once it is available, I may learn more about the MERTSCHERT family and if they also went by the name GRELINGEN, GROELINGEN, KRELINGEN, or KRALINGEN.

Hopefully, this prequel will help clear up any confusion there may be about the surnames used by the family of my 4th great-grandfather Johann GROELINGEN alias MERTSCHERT in my next post.

Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen, p. I-III, Foreword to the book.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #36 Bubelreiter, Boppelreuter, Peppelreuter, Pöppelreiter

What is the most interesting or unusual name in your family tree? Do you have one like PÖPPELREITER? It’s the maiden name of one of my two great-grandmothers named Catherine. For the three generations back to her great-grandfather (my fourth great-grandfather) Johann PÖPPELREITER, the name mostly remained the same. However, during his lifetime it was spelled several different ways, evolving from BUBELREITER to BOPPELREUTER to PEPPELREUTER to PÖPPELREITER.

Some people with this name emigrated from Mürlenbach, Germany, to America and the name lost the umlaut (the double dots over the vowel) and became POPPELREITER. The ones I have found were a father and son who came to America before 1860 and another family group who came in 1893. Further research is needed to prove their connection to my line which also comes out of Mürlenbach.


My fourth great-grandfather Johann PÖPPELREITER was the son of Peter BUBELREITER (abt. 1741-1793) and Gertrud LAMBERTI or BOSEN (abt. 1738?-1807). He was born and baptized on 15 February 1782 in Mürlenbach.[1] The extracted information from his baptismal record does not include his mother’s maiden name. She was seen as LAMBERTI when Johann’s brother Mathias married.[2] Later when she died her surname was given as BOSEN.[3] His father Peter may have been married twice, Gertrud being his second wife. His surname was spelled with B’s instead of P’s.

Johann’s father Peter was a Köhler or charcoal maker.[4] I believe this craft was passed down through the family as several PÖPPELREITER men during his time had the same occupation.

Charcoal kiln or pile photographed in Germany

Charcoal burning is perhaps one of the oldest forms of forest use. The coal plates were roundish pinnacles with a diameter of 6 to 8 meters. During the construction of the kilns, split logs of one to two meters length were set up in several levels into a hemispherical structure and covered with branches, sod, and soil to make it as airtight as possible. After firing, it took two to three weeks for all of the wood to become coal. From a fathom of wood (about three cubic meters) 600 kg of coal could be produced. With the same calorific value, the charcoal was much lighter and smaller than the wood.

Johann married Margaret BOMMES

Johann was 31 years old, could not write, and was living auf der Glasshütte near Utscheid when he married Margaret BOMMES, daughter of Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN, on 28 October 1813 in Utscheid.[5] Margaret was born on 13 July 1791 in Grimbach and was baptized the same day in Neuerburg.[5]

It is quite possible Johann learned the Köhler trade from his father and left Mürlenbach to work in Utscheid auf der Glashütte (glassworks) where charcoal was produced. Johann and Margaret’s first two children were born auf der Glashütte near Utscheid. Lucia PÖPPELREITER was born in 1813[6] and her brother Wilhelm was born in September 1814.[6]

Sometime after the birth of their second child, the little family moved to Brimingen were their son Wilhelm died on 28 June 1815. Less than a month after his death Margaret gave birth to her next child, Nicolas on 23 July 1815 in Brimingen.[7]

A year and two days later my third great-grandfather Theodore PÖPPELREITER was born on 25 July 1816 in Brimingen and was christened the same day in Baustert.[8]

In the following two years, the family moved again to Mettendorf where their next four children were born. Catherine (the elder) was born on 27 December 1818[9], Barbara on 29 September 1821[6], and Matthias on 8 August 1824[6]. Matthias lived only one day. The fourth child born in Mettendorf, and the baby of the family, was Catherine (the younger) who was born on 21 October 1825.[6] The practice of giving the same name to more than one living child is confusing and the reason I distinguish between them with elder and younger.

Johann PÖPPELREITER died on 6 June 1827 in Mettendorf and was buried the following day.[10] He was 45 years old. He left a wife and six children aged between less than two years and 14 years.

The oldest daughter Lucia died on 23 February 1837 in Mettendorf at the age of 24 years. She had not married. Nothing is known of the next oldest child and oldest son Nicolas who would have been 21 years by this time.

Theodore PÖPPELREITER, my 3rd great-grandfather, was the youngest son. He was working as a servant in Nusbaum when he married Maria Katharina GROELINGER, daughter of Johann GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN, on 20 January 1842 in Mettendorf.[11] Maria Katharina was born on 2 June 1814 in Holsthum and was working as a servant in Mettendorf.[12] She was my 3rd great-grandmother. Theodore and Maria Katharina’s story: The PÖPPELREITER-GROELINGER Family

Catherine PÖPPELREITER (the elder), now the oldest daughter of the widowed Margaret BOMMES, was 26 years old when she gave birth to a natural child, a son Theodore, born on 31 August 1844. For new readers, a natural child’s father’s name is not known or given. After his birth, Catherine married the widower Johann WAGNER (b. 1804) on 30 January 1847 in Baustert.[13]

The youngest daughter also named Catherine married Nicolas BLEY, son of André “Andreas” BLEY and Hélène Charlotte MAY, on 13 July 1848 in Echternach.[14] Nicolas was born on 17 November 1813 in Ettelbrück.

Following the marriages of Theodore and the two daughters named Catherine, Margaret BOMMES was likely left only with her daughter Barbara living at home as mention earlier, nothing is known of the oldest son Nicolas. On 19 January 1850 twenty-eight-year-old Barbara married Peter SCHNEIDER in Oberweis. Peter, a shoemaker, was born on 23 August 1814 and was seven years older than Barbara.[15]

Johann WAGNER, the husband of the elder Catherine, died on 22 December 1856 in Mülbach (not to be confused with Mürlenbach). They had been married less than ten years. Catherine was left with four children, her son Theodore PÖPPELREITER and two sons and a daughter she had with Johann.

Margaret BOMMES, the widow of Johann PÖPPELREITER, died on 5 February 1860 in Mettendorf. She was 68 years old. She left a son and three daughters.

Following the death of her mother, the elder Catherine lost her two youngest children. Her daughter Anna Maria died at the age of 10 in 1862 and her son Peter died at the age of 11 in 1867. Six years later her son Nicholas WAGNER went to America and she was left only with her son Theodore PÖPPELREITER. He had married the previous year in Baustert and lived in Mülbach where she was living.

My third great-grandparents lived in Mettendorf all of their married life as far as I can tell. However, for some reason, my third great-grandmother Maria Katharina GROELINGER, the wife of my Theodore PÖPPELREITER (not Theodore, son of the elder Catherine), died on 27 January 1877 in Schankweiler.

Catherine PÖPPELREITER (the elder) died on 5 March 1883 in Mülbach. She was buried on 8 March 1883 in Mettendorf. Her son Theodore likely took care of the burial arrangements as her only other living son Nicholas was living in Aurora, Kane County, Illinois with his four children and wife who was expecting their fifth child in less than two months.

Barbara PÖPPELREITER died on 24 March 1886 in Oberweis. She and her deceased husband Peter SCHNEIDER who died on 1 May 1882 were the parents of three children. A daughter died at the age of 5 years. Nothing is known of Maria born in 1858 or Michael born in 1861.

Theodore PÖPPELREITER, my 3rd great-grandfather, died on 2 May 1891 in Mettendorf. He left two sons who are known to have continued the PÖPPELREITER line.

Courtesy of Solange Coussement of Bollendorf from her Old Postcards website Used with permission.

Nicolas BLEY, the husband of the younger Catherine, died on 27 October 1894 in the street called Mussgasse (above) in Echternach.[16] The houses in this street are built against the old wall of the town as can be seen by the tower in the background.

Catherine PÖPPELREITER, the youngest and only living PÖPPELREITER child of Johann and Maria Katharina, died on 18 November 1908 in Echternach.[17] She had given birth to ten children, five of whom died young. Two of her children married in the 1880s. Her oldest son André never married and was a professor at the Athénées Royaux (similar to middle and high school) of Arlon and of Ghent as well as the University of Ghent in Belgium. He died at the age of 87 in Ghent.

Catherine (the younger) would not be the only Pöppelreiter to live and die in Echternach. In July 1914 my great-grandparents Catherine PÖPPELREITER and Johann WILDINGER moved from Mettendorf to Echternach with their three children. Their story is Close to Home and Close to My Heart.

Please come back tomorrow for a little P.S.


[1] Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 475030. Joannes Boppelreuter, male, christened 15 Feb 1782 in Mürlenbach, Rheinland, Preussen, Germany; father Peter Boppelreuter; mother Gertrudis. ( : accessed 27 OCtber 2017).
[2] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 546087. Mathiam Poppelreuter and Anna Maria Servatius married 10 Jun 1808 in Mürlenbach, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father of groom Petri Poppelreuter; mother of groom Gertrudis Lamberti; father of bride Mathiae Servatius; mother of bride Catharinae Linden. ( : accessed 30 October 2017).
[3] Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 / Deutschland Tote und Beerdigungen, 1582-1958, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 546087. Gertrudis Bosen Poppelreuter, female, age 69, widowed; died 25 Sep 1807 and buried 26 Sep 1807 in Mürlenbach, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; Spouse’s Name Petri Poppelreuter.
( : accessed 27 October 2017).
[4] Heinrich Theodore Weber (+) / Thomas J. Schmitt, Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrei St. Lucia in Mürlenbach 1803-1899 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V., Bd. 177, Köln 2003), pg. 302, Family #1226. Poppelreiter-Lamberti.
[5] M.E. Hubsch, Heribert Ambros, K.G. Oehms, Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrei Sankt Nikolaus mit ihrem Filialen Neuerburg/Eifel 1700 bis 1899 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V., Köln 2007), page 155, family number 271. Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN, SCHOMERS.
[6] Werner Naumann, comp., Familienbuch der Pfarrei Mettendorf Dekanat Neuerburg, Band 1 A-M Band 2 N-Z (compiled in 1992), p. 38, Family # M1958. Pöppelreiter-Bommes.
[7] Werner Naumann, comp., Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Maximin Baustert (bei Bitburg, Eifel) mit Brimingen, Feilsdorf, Hisel, Hütterscheid, Mülbach, Olsdorf, Family No. Br 830. Poppelreuter-Bommes.
[8] Germany Births and Baptisms, Theodorus Poppelreuter, christened 25 Jul 1816, parents Joannis Poppelreuter and Margarethae Bommes; citing Roemisch-Katholische, Baustert, Rheinland, Prussia.( : accessed 4 November 2015).
[9] Ibid., Catharina Pepelerreuter, female, christened 28 Dec 1818 in Mettendorf, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father Joannis Pepelerreuter; mother Margarita Bommes. ( : accessed 1 November 2017).
[10] Germany Deaths and Burials, Joannes Peppelreuter, male, age 42, burial 7 Jun 1827, born abt 1785, married, spouse Margarita Bommes; citing v. 2 p.227. ( : accessed 27 October 2017).
[11] Germany Marriages, Theodorus Poeppelreiter; spouse Maria Catharina Groelinger; md. 20 Jan 1842 in Mettendorf, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father Joannis Poeppelreiter; mother Margaretha Bommes; spouse’s father Joannis Groelinger; spouse’s mother Maria Mergen; citing Mettendorf, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany. ( : accessed 27 October 2017).
[12] Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen, p. 60, Family # H370. Groelinger-Mergen.
[13] Familienbuch Baustert, Family No. 1225. Wagner-Poppelreiter.
[14] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages 1809 > image 873 of 1462. 1848 Marriage Record No. 20. ( : accessed 4 November 2015).
[15] Alois Schleder, comp., Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Remegius Oberweis Dekanat Bitburg 1744-1899, 1999 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V. (WGfF), Sitz Köln), pg. 132, Family #467. Schneider-Pöppelreiter.
[16] Luxembourg Civil Records, Echternach > Naissances, mariages, décès 1894-1894 > image 17 of 23. 1894 Death Record No. 50. ( : accessed 12 January 2015).
[17] 21. Luxembourg Civil Records, Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 584 of 675. 1908 Death Record No. 66. (,130153902 : accessed 12 January 2015).

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #35 The Welter-Hennes Family of Ernzen, Germany

Anton WELTER (1773-1849)

Anton WELTER, son of Johann Bernard WELTER and Maria BRIMERS, was born on 15 December 1773 on Ernzerhof outside of Ernzen. He was baptized the same day in Ernzen.[1]

1773 Baptismal Record of “Antonius Welter”[1]
Anton was the only son, a middle child, but also the youngest as his two younger sisters died at an early age. His mother Maria died in 1781[2] leaving an 8-year-old Anton and his two older sisters. Her widower Bernard, as he was known, married again six months after her death.[3] He and his second wife Maria BARTZ had a daughter nearly nine months after the marriage.[4] The baby only survived two months.[5] Bernard and Maria did not have any other children. Anton’s step-mother died in 1791.[6] By this time Bernard’s children were nearly all grown. His oldest daughter Elisabeth had been married two years at the time and Catharina would marry in 1800. His only son Anton was nearly 18 years old. Bernard never married again.

Anna Katharina HENNES (1779-1845)

Anna Katharina HENNES, daughter of Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER, was born on 14 May 1779 in Holsthum.[7]

View of the village of Holsthum

Like Anton WELTER, Anna Katharina was a middle child and had two older sisters. Her father Johann died in 1786 when his wife was pregnant with their youngest child.[8] Matthias, their only son, was born two months later. Two months after giving birth to her deceased husband’s child, Magdalena MÜLLER married Johann TRAMPERT.[9] Magdalena was 44 and Johann was 27. With this marriage, her husband took on the responsibility of five step-children between 9 years and 2 months. Magdalena and her second husband did not have children of their own.

Anna Katharina and Anton marry in 1803

Anna Katharina HENNES married Anton WELTER on 23 March 1803 in Ernzen.[10] They had three children during their first seven years of marriage. Their first, Bernard was born in 1805 and named after his paternal grandfather. A record of baptism has not been searched for but it is likely his grandfather was his godfather as was the practice of the times. Their next two children were girls: Elisabeth was born on 31 January 1807[11] and Katharina WELTER on 21 July 1810.

Before they had more children there were several deaths in the family. Anna Katharina’s step-father Johann TRAMPERT died on 19 August 1812 at the age of 55 years.[9] Anton and Anna Katharina youngest daughter Katharina died on 5 December 1812 at the age of nearly two and a half years.[10] Anton’s father Johann Bernard WELTER died on 27 March 1813 at the age of 76 years.[3] Almost a week later the family would be attending another funeral. Anna Katharina’s mother Magdalena MÜLLER died on 2 April 1813 at the age of 70 years.[12] Three deaths in four months make me wonder if they were caused by disease or a hard winter.

A year later Anna Katharina and Anton named their son born on 4 April 1814 Peter. He lived only ten months dying on 6 February 1815. A little more than two years later another son was born and named Peter. He was born on 10 August 1817 and died on 12 May 1819 at the age of twenty months.[10]

Anton and Anna Katharina’s youngest child, Anna Maria was born on 3 April 1822.[10]  Anna Katharina was 43 and Anton was going on 49.

The WELTER children begin to marry

Their oldest daughter Elisabeth married Hubert WEIMANN, son of Bernard WEYMANN and Susanna MALAMBRÉ, on 11 February 1835 in Ernzen. Hubert was born on 13 July 1805 in Ernzen.[13]

Their oldest son Bernard married Katharina WEBER on 2 April 1837 in Aach (Eifel).[14] Katharina was born on 2 January 1795 in Aach to Peter WEBER und Susanna KREIN.

The mother of this family, Anna Katharina HENNES died on 9 March 1845 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.[10] Her widower Anton was left with three children, two of whom were married.

The youngest daughter Anna Maria married Peter STEIL on 18 February 1846 in Ernzen.[15] Peter was born on 3 January 1810 in Berdorf (Luxembourg).[16]

The father of this family, Anton WELTER died on 26 January 1849 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.

After their parents’ deaths

The oldest of the WELTER children, Bernard died on 1 February 1855 in Ernzen at the age of 55. His widow Katharina WEBER died two decades later on 30 April 1875 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. They may have remained childless.[14]

Anna Maria, the youngest of the WELTER children, died on 9 January 1861 and was buried two days later. She was 38 years old and left a husband and four children.

Elisabeth’s husband Hubert WEIMANN died at the age of 67 on 29 October 1872 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He left her with three children.

Peter STEIL, Anna Maria’s widower, died on 21 December 1872 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He was survived by two daughters and a son. The son emigrated to North America during the year and likely only learning of the death of his father after the new year.

A Peter STEIL, age 18, was found on a passenger list with an arrival in New York on 20 May 1872 via Liverpool, England. A match for Peter STEIL born 12 January 1854 in Ernzen was not found in America. He cannot be the same person as the Peter Steil 1852-1913 who lived in Stearns County, Minnesota, as he came over in 1867. Suggestions on other spelling for the STEIL name would be appreciated.

Elisabeth WELTER, the last living child of Anton and Anna Katharina, died on 24 September 1877 in Ernzen and was buried three days later. Elisabeth, my third great-grandmother, was 70 years old. She left three children who would live to see the outbreak of World War I. Only one of these would live to see the end of it.

How are the DNA matches looking for this branch?

One of the first Shared Ancestor Hints on Ancestry DNA for my brother’s test was for a match who descends from Johann HENNES, the father of Anna Katharina HENNES.


The person who matches was quick to reply to my short message sent in June 2016 and we have not corresponded since then. It’s been over a year since she has signed in. I really need to get in touch with her as I realized while writing this post that we have another set of common ancestors who do not show up as a hint. She does not have the parents of Mathias HENNES’ wife Elisabetha MALAMBRÉ. My 4th great-grandmother Susanna MALAMBRÉ was Elisabetha’s sister. This match is a 6th cousin through Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER and through Gérard MALAMBRÉ and Barbara BIESDORF.

1856 Passenger list for the Peter Hennes family. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Mathias HENNES, the brother of Anna Katharina HENNES, had two sons who went to America. The youngest son Michael went in 1837 at the age of 21. He appears to have not been married and therefore without known descendants. The older son Peter went in 1856 with his wife and their seven children. They had lived in Silberberg/Nusbaum since their marriage in 1836, the year before Michael left.[17] They met up with him in Lemont, Cook County, Illinois, and he was in their household at the time of the 1860 census.

At the time I found this match I did not know so many people with connections in my tree left the Eifel area for America. This gives me another reason which may convince people to upload their raw data to GEDmatch. I haven’t been able to map any of the maternal chromosomes as matches are few and hard to figure out. It would be nice to get this tiny 14 centimorgans segment labeled but with there being two sets of MRCAs I’d need more matches to triangulate.

A few photos to end this post

While I was working a stand at the 12th National Day of Genealogy and Family History in Leudelange on October 15th, my husband took a bike ride especially planned to go through the Nusbaum area so he could get some pictures for this post.

The winding road to Nusbaum
A view of Nusbaum from afar
Willkommen in Nusbaum – Welcome to Nusbaum


[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 66 of 131. 1773 Baptismal Record, right page, 3rd entry. ( : accessed 9 November 2016).
[2] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 102 of 177. 1781 Death Record, right page, bottom. ( : 9 January 2015) and part 2 of 1781 Death Record, left page top. ( : 9 January 2015).
[3] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), p. 237-238, Family #839. Welter-Brimers and Welter-Bartz.
[4] Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 122 of 177. 1782 Baptismal Record, left page. ( : 9 January 2015).
[5] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 140 of 177. 1782 Death Record, right page, 2nd from bottom. ( : 9 January 2015).
[6] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1788-1797 > image 118 of 331. 1791 Death Record, left page. ( : 9 January 2015).
[7] FB Ernzen, p. 234, Family #830. Welter-Hennes.
[8] Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen, pg. 79, Family #485. Hennes-Mühler.
[9] FB Schankweiler, pg. 238, Family #1377. Trampert-Müller.
[10] FB Ernzen, p. 234, Family #830. Welter-Hennes.
[11] Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 462714. Elisabetha Welter, christened 31 Jan 1807 in Sankt Markus Katholisch, Ernzen, Rheinland, Prussia; father Antonii Welter; mother Chatarinae Hennes.( : accessed 15 October 2017).
[12] FB Ernzen, pg. 219, Family #775. Trampert-Müller.
[13] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 462,714. Hubertum Wayman and Elisabetham Welter, married 12 Feb 1835; citing Sankt Markus Katholisch, Ernzen, Rheinland, Prussia. ( : accessed 15 October 2017).
[14] FB Ernzen, p. 235, Family #832. Welter-Weber.
[15] FB Ernzen, pg. 203, Family #719. Steil-Welter.
[16] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berdorf > Naissances 1799-1858 > image 84 of 534. 1810 Birth Record No. 1. ( : accessed 22 October 2017).
[17] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Petrus Nusbaum in der Südeifel mit Nusbaum, Nusbaumerhöhe, Freilingen, Freilingerhöhe, Enzen, Silberberg, Stockigt, und Rohrbach 1722-1899, PDF (Kordel bei Trier, 2001), pg. 113-114, Family #464. Hennes-Hostert.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #23 Antonia, Please Tell Me, Are You a STEFFEN or a GROEBER?

Today is Luxembourg National Day (Celebration publique de l’anniversaire du souverain). Grand Duchess Charlotte who ruled Luxembourg from 1919-1964 was born on 23 January 1896. The day was made a national holiday in 1941. The date of June 23 was set in 1961 by Ducal decree so that the weather would be nicer for celebrations.

During World War II on the evening of January 23 my grandmother’s neighbors met in her house to celebrate the birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The windows were covered so that no light could be seen from the street but the German patrol could hear the celebrating. They knocked on the door and asked what was going on. Bomi, as we called my grandmother, told them they were celebrating her birthday. It’s a good thing they didn’t check her identification as her birthday was not until June 17. She asked the Germans to join them in a glass of wine. She would laugh when she told us how the Germans raised their glasses to the birthday girl, not knowing that they were toasting the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this with you since I’ve been blogging about my children’s fifth great-grandparents, who mostly came from Luxembourg, on Fridays under the theme of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. And, here is today’s post.

Antonia, Please Tell Me, Are You a STEFFEN or a GROEBER?

Antonia, my children’s 5th great-grandmother, is a bit of an enigma. I don’t know if I should list her as Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER in the family tree.

I haven’t found a birth or baptismal record for her. She was born in a time period and place where the church records are lacking. The likely substitute would be a marriage record. Yes! Antonia left more than one marriage record which, instead of simplifying matters, only added a complication.

A marriage took place in 1815

1814 Marriage Publication [1]
On 7 December 1814 Peter BERNARD, son of the deceased Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) and his widow Johanna CAPPUS, and Antonia STEFFEN, daughter of Christina STEFFEN, made their intentions to marry public. The marriage banns were to be announced at the door of the town hall in Hoscheid on two Sundays, the 18th and 25th of December 1814.[1]

The publication was the first entry in the 1815 register, likely filled out after the fact and perhaps at the time they married. Taken out of context, it looks like the publication of the marriage was filled out and signed on 7 December 1815 instead of 1814.

1815 Marriage Record [2]
Peter and Antonia met with Jacob KOENIG at the Hoscheid town hall on 2 January 1815 at 10 o’clock in the morning.[2] The record produced at the time is the first mentioning Antonia’s date of birth. She appears to have been born on 8 March 1790 in Hoscheid to Christina STEFFEN. No father is mentioned. Antonia has the same surname as her mother which could mean she was an illegitimate child. Four witnesses were present for the marriage. One was Franz DUMONG, a twenty-year-old young man whose name would continue to be seen throughout this family’s story.

Another marriage took place in 1823

1822 Marriage Publication [3]
Let’s look at the second marriage of Antonia. Two days before Christmas of 1822 Johan KAUFMAN and Antonia GROEBER made their intentions to marry known. Their banns were read on the 15th and 22nd of December.[3] In this document, I found a new word, Wittib, which means widow. Antonia, the widow of the deceased Peter BERNARD, was the daughter of the widow Christina GROEBER.

How can I be sure this Antonia GROEBER is the same person as Antonia STEFFEN? Hopefully, the pieces will fall into place once all of her records are analyzed.

1823 Marriage Record [4]
Johan and Antonia met at the Hoscheid town hall on 7 January 1823 at 9 o’clock in the morning before Frans AUGUSTIN. This record has the same date and place of birth for Antonia as seen in her previous marriage record — 8 March 1790 in Hoscheid (see box next to first arrow above). The difference from her first marriage record in 1815 is that she is listed as the daughter of the deceased Valentin GROEBER and his widow Christina STEFFEN. This explains why Christina was seen as Christina GROEBER on the 1822 marriage publication. Witnesses of the marriage were two men with the BERNARD surname and Franz DUMONG.[4]

Antonia died in 1843

1843 Death Record of Antoinette STEFFEN [5]
Antonia produced one more record which infers her parentage. Her 1843 death record. On 11 March 1843 Nicolas GROEBER and Franz DUMONG were the informants for the death of Antonia STEFFEN. Her parents are not listed on this record. She died on 9 March 1843, the day after her birthday, at the age of 53 years.[5] By now the name of the second informant, Franz DUMONG, is familiar. More important here is the relationship of the informants to Antonia. Nicolas GROEBER was 43 years old, from Hoscheid, and the brother of the deceased. His 1830 marriage record[6] confirms his parents were Valentin GROEBER and Christina STEFFEN. Both Antonia and Nicolas were children of Christina STEFFEN, but was Valentin GROEBER the father of both of them?

Nicolas was ten years younger than Antonia and he carried the GROEBER surname and not STEFFEN as he claimed was his sister’s surname. Does this mean Antonia’s mother Christina STEFFEN married after Antonia’s birth in 1790 and before Nicolas’ birth abt. 1800?

GROEBER and STEFFEN surnames

I looked into the GROEBER-STEFFEN marriage. I did not find the actual record. It is very likely hidden away in the parish of Brandenbourg as I found a marriage index card citing the marriage.[7]

1794 Marriage Index Card for Valentin GREVES and Christina STEPHEN [7]
The card gives the names of the groom (époux) and bride (épouse) as well as their parents’ names with alternate spellings than were found in later records. The marriage took place on 29 January 1794 in Hoscheid.[7] Missing on the card, at the bottom, are the volume number and page in the Brandenbourg parish register where the record would be located. The date of marriage converts to the 10 pluviôse in the year II of the French Republican calendar. I may be looking in the wrong place for the marriage record as these index cards are known to have been filled out using information found on actual marriage records.

Were Christina STEFFEN and Valentin GREVES (or GROEBER as the name was seen later) a couple when Antonia was born in 1790? Very often in civil records in Luxembourg children born to a couple before their marriage are mentioned in the marriage record to make them legitimate. I have not seen this in church records. Valentin GROEBER died on 1 March 1806, a week before Antonia turned 16 years old. His wife Christina STEFFEN reported the death.[8]

Antonia’s first marriage and children

What other records can be found with Antonia’s full name? Did she have children whose birth or marriage records would include her name?

Following her first marriage to Peter BERNARD in January of 1815 the couple had a daughter Margaretha born on 2 November 1815 in Hoscheid.[9] The birth record shows the mother of the child was Anthonia STEFFEN. The same name was listed at the time of the next child Marie Cathérine’s birth on 12 September 1817.[10]

Who was Peter BERNARD and when did the marriage end?

Antonia’s first husband Peter BERNARD was born on 11 March 1790 in Holzthum.[11] He was the second of seven known children born to Jeanne CAPPUS (1763-1833) and Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) in Buckels bei Hosingen, Bockholtz near Hosingen in the canton of Clervaux (and not Bockholtz near Goesdorf in the canton of Wiltz).

Peter died on 4 June 1820 in Hoscheid in a house called Christen.[12] Jacob KOENIG who officiated at the marriage of Peter and Antonia only five years earlier was one of the informants on the death record and he gave the widow’s name as Antonia STEFFEN.

Antonia’s second marriage and children

Following Peter’s death, Antonia married Jean KAUFMAN on 7 January 1823.[4] An interesting discovery was made when analyzing this marriage record (see image of 1823 Marriage Record above). Antonia’s brothers-in-law from her first marriage, Michel BERNARD and Nicolas BERNARD were two of the four witnesses at the marriage. This would suggest there was a close bond with the BERNARD family who did not live in Hoscheid but in Holzthum. Franz DUMONG was another witness.

Antonia’s second husband Jean KAUFMAN was ten months younger than her having been born on 1 January 1791 in Pettingen (Mersch) to Théodore KAUFMAN and Marguerite SCHILTZ.[13]

Ten months to the day they married Antonia gave birth to twins, Anna Maria and Elisabetha, at four in the morning on 7 November 1823 in Hoscheid. The father Jean went to the town hall the same day, at five in the evening, to report the births. The twins shared a birth record.[14] Their mother was listed as Antonia GROEBER – the same name found on her second marriage record.

Antonia’s first mother-in-law Johanna CAPPUS (1763-1833), paternal grandmother of Margaretha and Marie Cathérine, died on 21 January 1833 in Holzthum.[15]

Jean and Antonia spent 16 years together raising their twin daughters and Antonia’s two daughters from her first marriage.

Three deaths in the family

On 6 June 1839 at eight in the evening Jean died in the house called Christen in Hoscheid.[16] This was the same house where Antonia’s first husband Peter had died. Franz DUMONG and Mathias THIEVES were the informants for Jean’s death. They gave his widow’s name as Antonia STEFFEN. Finally, there is a record showing a relationship to Franz DUMONG. Both of the men listed as informants on this record were neighbors of the family who lived in the house called Christen in Hoscheid.

Later in the year, on 7 November 1839, the day the KAUFMAN twins would celebrate their 16th birthday, their maternal grandmother Christina STEFFEN’s died in the house called Christen. I wonder if she owned the house and this was the reason it was called Christen. Her son Nicolas GROEBER went to the town hall at one in the afternoon to declare the death took place the same day at seven in the morning.[17]

Antonia was now alone with her four daughters: Margaretha (24), Marie Cathérine (22), and the twins Anna Maria (16) and Elisabetha (16). Four years later her brother Nicolas and her neighbor Franz reported her death on 9 March 1843.[5]

What happened to her daughters?

Antonia and Peter’s first child, Margaretha BERNARD was my children’s 4th great-grandmother. She married two months after her mother’s death. On 30 May 1843, Margaretha married Anton WECKERING (1781-1857) in Bourscheid.[18] Anton was 61 years old and had been widowed in 1841.[19] Their marriage record lists the bride’s parents as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN. Their story can be read in this post: Antoine WECKERING Becomes Father of his 13th Child at Age 72!.

Margaretha’s sister Marie Cathérine BERNARD and her half-sisters, the twins Anna Maria KAUFMAN and Elisabetha KAUFMAN lived together and worked as day laborers in 1843 when the census was taken in Hoscheid.[20]

Marie Cathérine BERNARD married Pierre ROMMES on 12 February 1846 in Hoscheid.[21] Her parents were listed as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN.

Anna Maria KAUFMAN married Johann DUMONG (1824-1892) on 12 July 1849 in Hoscheid.[22] Johann’s father Franz DUMONG, who played a large part in the lives of Antonia and her family, died the previous year. He had been their neighbor as well as an informant and witness to many major events which took place from the time he was old enough to sign until his death. The DUMONG-KAUFMAN marriage record listed Jean KAUFMAN and Antoinette STEFFEN as the bride’s parents. Ten months later, like her mother Antonia, Anna Maria gave birth to twin daughters who shared a birth record.[23] They were not her only children.

Anna Maria KAUFMAN died on 26 April 1865 in Merscheid.[24] Her death record lists her parents as Johann KAUFMAN and Antoinette STEFFEN.

The oldest daughter, Margaretha BERNARD died on 15 April 1878 in the Central Hospiz in Ettelbruck.[25] Only the name of her deceased husband, Antoine WECKERING was noted on her death record.

Marie Cathérine BERNARD died on 17 January 1880 in Hoscheid.[26] Her parents were not mentioned on her death record, only her deceased husband Peter ROMMES.

Anna Maria’s twin, Elisabetha KAUFMAN, never married and worked as a seamstress. After the death of her twin, she took in Catharina DUMONG, one of her sister’s twin daughters. They were found together on the census in 1867, 1871 and 1875. Elisabetha died on 11 April 1880 in Hoscheid.[27] Her death was reported by her niece’s husband, Jean WECKERING. He gave her parents’ names as Johann KAUFMAN and Anna GRÖBER. He was a nephew of Antoine WECKERING who married Margaretha BERNARD.

Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER?

After looking at all of these records I’ve come to this conclusion. Antonia STEFFEN was her maiden name and Antonia GROEBER will be added as an alternate name. Antonia’s father may have been Valentin GROEBER or he may have been a man whose name will remain a mystery.


[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch< (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 490 of 1491. 1814 Marriage Publication. ( : accessed 20 June 2017).
[2] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 493 of 1491. 1815 Marriage Record (left). ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[3] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 534 of 1491. 1822 Marriage Publication (right page, top). ( : accessed 20 June 2017).
[4] ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 544 of 1491. 1823 Marriage Record No. 1. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[5] ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 103 of 162. 1843 Death Record No. 3. (,129896301 : accessed 14 September 2015).
[6] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 713 of 1491. 1830 Marriage Record No. 3. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[7] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Brandenbourg > Tables des mariages 1675-1793 (index organisée par l’épouse) > image 246 of 313. 1794 Marriage Index Card. ( : accessed 20 June 2017).
[8] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1368 of 1491. 1806 Death Record No. 7. ( : accessed 20 June 2017).
[9] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 135 of 459. 1815 Birth Record. (,129804701 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[10] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 148 of 459. 1817 Birth Record (left, top). ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[11] Ibid., Consthum > Naissances, mariages, décès 1779-1793 > image 101 of 145. 1790 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry).( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[12] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1446 of 1491. 1820 Death Record (right, top). ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[13] Ibid., Mersch > Baptêmes 1773-1791 > image 264 of 274. 1791 Baptismal Record (left page, 3rd entry). ( : accessed 23 June 2017).
[14] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 196 of 459. 1823 Birth Record for twins. (,129804701 : accessed 14 September 2015).
[15] Ibid., Consthum > Décès 1797-1890 > image 192 of 520. 1833 Death Record No. 2. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[16] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 76 of 162. 1839 Death Record No. 7. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[17] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1827-1850 > image 77 of 162. 1839 Death Record No. 10. ( : accessed 20 June 2017).
[18] Ibid., Bourscheid > Naissances 1872-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 > image 995 of 1447. 1843 Marriage Record No. 11. (,129997101 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[19] Ibid., Bourscheid > Décès 1797-1890 > image 438 of 1157. 1841 Death Record No. 19. (,129626302 : accessed 11 September 2015).
[20] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Hoscheid > 1843 > image 55 of 137. Bernard household. (,345863501 : accessed 19 June 2017).
[21] Luxembourg Civil Records, Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1080 of 1491. 1846 Marriage Record No. 3. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[22] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1851-1890 Mariages 1800-1890 Décès 1798-1826 > image 1095 of 1491. 1849 Marriage Record No. 7. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[23] Ibid., Hoscheid > Naissances 1798-1850 > image 452 of 459. 1850 Birth Record No. 13. ( : accessed 23 June 2017).
[24] Ibid., Putscheid > Décès 1859-1890 > image 83 of 381. 1865 Death Record No. 22. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[25] Ibid., Ettelbruck > Décès 1814-1881 > image 1356 of 1379. 1878 Death Record No. 36. (,1290913101 : accessed 8 September 2015).
[26] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 230 of 296. 1880 Death Record No. 1. ( : accessed 19 June 2017).
[27] Ibid., Hoscheid > Décès 1851-1890 > image 231 of 296. 1880 Death Record No. 4. ( : accessed 22 June 2017).

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.