While searching the newspapers and periodicals on eluxemburgensia, part of the National Library of Luxembourg site, I got a surprising hit for Elisabetha HOBSCHEID and Michel GRASSER, my children’s 5th great-grandparents who I wrote about in the above article.
The hit brought up the book Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois, published in 1858. Imagine my surprise. Michel died in 1821, Elisabetha in 1831, and this book was from 1858. A manual of scholarships available to Luxembourgers written by Jean-Pierre Koltz (1804-1880), a teacher.
Unlike the newspapers where you are taken directly to the page the name is found on, this search took me to a chapter in the book. It was not immediately obvious why I was getting a hit in the chapter titled Penninger Foundation. I leafed through until I found Elisabetha and Michel. Their names were on a list of genealogical information. I slowly went back through each generation to find myself at the beginning of the family tree of Pierre PENNINGER.
It took me a few days to get my thoughts together and figure out how to share this discovery. This morning we took a bike ride to Brandenbourg to take pictures which I’ve added throughout this post. I’d like to thank my husband for sharing my enthusiasm through his photography. I hope you enjoy and they don’t distract too much from the rest of the story.
Who was Pierre PENNINGER?
Pierre PENNINGER, a native of Diekirch, took his vows for the priesthood and was the pastor of Brandenbourg at the time of his death.
On 4 June 1632, he donated 2,500 écus to the Jesuit priests. On the 1st of December of the same year, the Conseil provincial (Provincial Council) approved the donation to be used for two scholarships for the seminary in honor of the Holy Trinity.
In his last will and testament dated 5 January 1636 Father Penninger added the sum of 700 écus for a total of 3,200 écus (7,680 francs in 1848) for the scholarship fund to benefit three students of the Jesuit seminary. Relatives of Pierre PENNINGER, the founder, were the first eligible for the scholarships. If no relatives applied then the scholarships would go to poor young men of the Brandenbourg parish or its environs.
The original capital of the Penninger Foundation was 2,500 écus. The revenue of the capital was enough to fund two students during their stay at the seminary. The wars of the times caused the value of the scholarships to be reduced by nearly half so that only one scholarship for offered.
However, through the wise administration of the capital, the fund increased in value to 12,698 francs in 1848. By a royal decree in 1848 it was decided to increase the number of scholarships to two.
As the terms of the will were that the scholarships should go to the priest’s relatives, a family tree, in the possession of the Société Archéologique du Grand-Duché, was kept for consultation by candidates for the scholarships.
Why all the excitement?
In my last post about Michel GRASSER and Elisabetha HOSCHEID, I wrote:
Elisabetha’s family lived in Brandenbourg. This parish’s records are lacking and those which are included are out of order. I have not gone through them to find her parents’ family group.
I did not even try to go through the records. The genealogy information in the chapter about the Penninger Foundation in the book mentioned above turned out to be the key I needed to open the door, or maybe a window, in this brick wall.
The PENNINGER Family Tree from 1672 and 1705
What follows are extracts of the Penninger family tree pertaining to my children’s direct line from Pierre PENNINGER’s parents to Elisabeth and Michel.
All screenshots (below) are from Jean-Pierre Koltz’s Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois. Link to the book (public domain) is found at the end of this article.
The genealogical information for the grandfather of Pierre PENNINGER was certified by the aldermen of the town of Diekirch on 7 April 1672 and 21 April 1705.
The grandfather of the founder, Pierre PENNINGER, had two sons. One of the sons was the father of a son and a daughter: Pierre PENNINGER, a lawyer in Diekirch, who was already deceased at the time his cousin, the pastor of Brandenbourg, made his will on 5 January 1636 and Elisabeth PENNINGER who married Regnard HERMAN.
The other son of the grandfather had three children. 1. Pierre, the pastor of Brandenbourg and founder of the scholarship foundation in his name. 2. Hélène, referred to as Hildegarde in her brother’s will, married Pierre FUNCK of Brandenbourg. 3. Marguerite married Jean KLEIN of Bockoltz who the founder referred to as Mercatoris (merchant) in his will.
My children’s line goes through the second sister Marguerite PENNINGER who married Jean KLEIN and had the following children:
Dominique KLEIN, who was mentioned in Pierre PENNINGER’s will
Jean KLEIN married Eve FLORENTZ
Nicolas KLEIN married Odile BERNARD of Wiltz
The descendency of the KLEIN-PENNINGER couple was certified on 11 August 1768 by the mayors and aldermen of the high justice of Wiltz. The information was later complemented by information found in the civil records.
Jean KLEIN and Eve FLORENTZ had a daughter Hélène KLEIN who married Nicolas BOCK.
Nicolas BOCK and Hélène KLEIN had the following children:
Ludovine BOCK married Jean-Michel REULAND
Marguerite BOCK married Jean KETTELS of Niederwiltz
Jean-Grégoire BOCK married Marie LEMMAER of Brandenbourg
Jean-Nicolas BOCK, a notary from Merzig-sur-la-Sarre, was a Penninger scholar
Jean-Michel REULAND and Ludovine BOCK had the following children:
Marie-Marguerite REULAND married Guillaume FISCHBACH (conflicting information – this daughter is also seen in the line down from the founder’s sister Hélène)
Anne-Marguerite REULAND married N. Fischbach
Marie-Catherine REULAND married Léonard HOSCHEID of Brandenbourg
Léonard HOBSCHEID (sic, HOSCHEID) and Marie-Catherine REULAND of Brandenbourg had the following children:
Marie-Catherine HOBSCHEID (sic) married(1) Philippe FISCHBACH and married(2) Michel LIMES of Brandenbourg
Michel HOBSCHEID (sic) of Brandenbourg married an unknown lady
Elisabeth HOBSCHEID (sic) married Michel GRASSER of Moestroff
Children #1 and #2 continue with another generation while my children’s 5th great-grandparents Elisabeth HOSCHEID and Michael GRASSER of Moestroff do not have children listed.
Have you counted through the generations found for this family? I had the names of Elisabeth HOSCHEID’s parents and, with the above, I have been able to add four more generations back to my children’s 10th great-grandmother Marguerite PENNINGER, sister of Pierre PENNINGER, the pastor who set up the scholarship fund for his relatives or needy young men of the parish of Brandenbourg and environs.
Although the Brandenbourg parish records aren’t complete, I have been able to find baptismal, marriage, and death/burial records for several of the person’s named above as well as for children who were not included in the list. The genealogical information lacks dates and can only be used as a guide until records are found to confirm the line back to the PENNINGER grandfather of Pierre, Hélène, and Marguerite and their cousins Pierre and Elisabeth.
As I began to look for records to support the information found in the published family tree, I learned I was not the first to make this discovery. It kind of burst my bubble but I still feel really good about this since I came across it on my own – even if it was a bit by chance.
Michael GRASSER was born on 8 July 1772 in Moestroff, Canton Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.1 He was the son of Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS and Elisabetha WINANDY. Michael was the oldest of eight children born as follows: Michael 8 July 1772, Maria Margaretha 3 April 17742, Michael 24 February 17763, Susanna 26 September 17774, Wilhelm 11 February 17805, Joannes 26 October 17826, Mathias 12 November 17847 (d. 5 March 17858), and Philippe 24 July 17869. Baptismal records were found for all of these children. Their father was often referred to as Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS.
Michael’s baptismal record was more revealing. The priest wrote:
Nicolai et Elisabetha Grasser conjugum in aedibus Reuters x Moestroff
This indicated the parents were a married couple who lived in a house known as Reuters in Moestroff. Reuters was their house name but the family would keep the GRASSER surname.
Elisabetha HOSCHEID (1772-1831)
Michael married Elisabetha HOSCHEID, daughter of Léonard HOSCHEID and Marie REULAND, on 20 January 1796 in Bettendorf, Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.10 Elisabetha was born about 1772 in Brandenbourg.
Elisabetha’s family lived in Brandenbourg. This parish’s records are lacking and those which are included are out of order. I have not gone through them to find her parents’ family group. However, it is interesting that both her parents’ surnames are also names of town in Luxembourg. HOSCHEID variations are Hoscheit, Hoschet, Hoschette, Houschette; REULAND variations are Reiland, Reyland. Both names may have originated from town names. Did their families originally come from Hoscheid and Reuland? This thought went through my mind as I was climbing the hill up to Reuland, a village in the commune of Heffingen in central Luxembourg, yesterday on my bike. This was the view we were rewarded with after riding through the village to the top of the hill.
Elisabeth and Michael marry in 1796
Michael married Elisabetha on 20 January 1796 in Bettendorf. The marriage index card11 gives 2 January 1796 but the record clearly is for the 20th. More interesting is the name of one of the witnesses for this religious marriage. Nicolas MERCKES of Bettendorf signed the entry making it easier for me to prove who he was. The signature matches those found on the baptismal records of his children. Nicolas was the great-great-grandfather of Fritz KREMER (1905-1972) who would marry Suzanne PEFFER (1910-1987), the great-great-granddaughter of Michael and Elisabetha, one hundred and thirty-five years later, on 7 January 1931. They were the parents of my mother-in-law Maisy KREMER (1931-1986).
The children of Michael and Elisabetha
Michael and Elisabetha had the following children:
Nicolas GRASSER was born on 11 November 179612 in Moestroff and died on 18 February 180113 in Moestroff at the age of 4 years.
2. Margaretha GRASSER was born on 31 December 179714 in Moestroff and died on 24 April 184815 in Moestroff. She married Pierre RAUSCH, son of Mathieu RAUSCH and Marie SCHMIT, on 25 January 182016 in Bettendorf. Pierre was born on 27 July 1796 in Consdorf (Canton Echternach). He died on 17 December 1875 in St. Nicholas, Stearns County, Minnesota. [8 children]
Jean GRASSER was born on 13 February 179917 in Moestroff and died on 19 November 180318 in Moestroff at the age of 4 years.
Anna Catharina GRASSER was born on 15 December 180119 in Moestroff and died on 6 December 182120 in Moestroff, a week before her 20th birthday.
5. Maria GRASSER was born about 1801 in Moestroff. Her birth record has not been found and when she married her sister Anna Catharina’s date of birth was listed. Maria died on 4 January 188221 in Moestroff. She married Antoin “Anton” PEFFER, son of Adam PEFFER and Marguerite PIERRET, on 17 February 183022 in Bettendorf. Anton was born on 20 May 180323 in Obermertzig (Feulen) and died on 26 December 185824 in Moestroff. Maria and Anton were my children’s 4th great-grandparents. [7 children]
Phillippe GRASSER was born on 26 July 180425 in Moestroff and died on 12 March 180526 in Moestroff at the age of nearly 8 months.
Cathérine GRASSER was born on 12 November 180527 in Moestroff and died on 1 March 1862 in Luxemburg, Stearns County, Minnesota. She married Michel LESCH, son of Jean LESCH and Elisabeth MAJERUS, on 28 March 183228 in Bettendorf. Michel was born on 15 April 1807 in Biesdorf, Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, and died on 27 June 1878 in Rockville, Stearns County, Minnesota. [8 children]
Nicolas GRASSER was born on 4 July 180729 in Moestroff and died on 1 June 185230 in Moestroff. He married Anne Cathérine STAUDT, daughter of Jean STAUDT and Madeleine SCHILTZ, on 2 March 183531 in Bastendorf (Diekirch). Anne Cathérine was born on 16 January 180832 in Brandenbourg and died on 24 November 185933 in Moestroff. [4 children]
Nicolas GRASSER was born on 23 April 180934 in Moestroff and died on 8 May 186735 in Lultzhausen (Neunhausen). He married Madeleine LENTZ, daughter of Jean LENTZ and Anne Marie MARTEN, on 9 June 183236 in Bettendorf. Madeleine was born on 17 February 1814 in Moestroff and died on 7 August 1844 in Moestroff. Following her death, Nicolas married Marguerite FRISCH, daughter of Michel FRISCH and Susanne WEBER, on 11 December 184437 in Bettendorf. Marguerite was born on 2 March 1820 in Beaufort (Echternach) and died on 22 May 189138 in Lultzhausen (Neunhausen). [10 children]
This is a long list of children but, sadly, not all survived childhood. Daughters Margaretha, Maria, and Cathérine, and the two sons named Nicolas were the ones who would marry and continue the line.
Michael dies at the age of 48
Michael and Elisabetha would only be present at the marriage of their oldest daughter Margaretha who married in 1820. A little over a year later, on 26 February 1821, Michael GRASSER died at 11 o’clock in the morning.39 His wife Elisabetha went to the records office in Bettendorf the following afternoon at 2 o’clock to have his death recorded. She was not able to write and left only a mark on the death record. Mathias HESSE, the secretary, was the second witness and Nicolas RECHT, the mayor, was the civil official.
How close was the family after Michael’s death?
Elisabetha HOSCHEID lived another ten years. Did all of her unmarried children live with her and support her?
On 17 February 1830 Elisabetha made her last appearance in a legal document when she was present and consenting to the marriage of her oldest single daughter Maria, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.
Reviewing the marriage record (once again) I found things I had questioned earlier. Maria’s age was left off and her date of birth was incorrect as mentioned above under #5. Her father was deceased and his date of death on the marriage record was the date for a child of the same name who died in 1809 and not for Michael who died in 1821.
Looking at the record now, in relation with the GRASSER family, it seems strange that neither of the bride’s brothers named Nicolas GRASSER nor her brother-in-law Pierre RAUSCH were present at the marriage. In the section for the witnesses, there is room for four persons and only three are listed, two PEFFER men – an uncle and a brother of the groom – and an unrelated man. I believe this is the only marriage record I have come across which does not have all four witnesses listed. Further, the marriage record appears to have been prepared in advance or at least by two persons. Notice the light handwriting at the top and bottom, while the middle section is darker and a different handwriting.
Were Maria’s family not happy with her choice? Or, was she in a family way and the rush to get her married caused errors to be made on the marriage record? Maria gave birth to her first child less than eight months after the marriage. Cutting it close or a premature birth, did it really matter as Maria was nearly 30 years old when she married?
Elisabetha dies at the age of 59
Elisabetha HOSCHEID’s son-in-law Pierre RAUSCH was the informant of her death on 17 September 1831 in Moestroff.40 She died at 7 in the morning and Pierre was at the civil records office by 11. The record shows she died at the home of the RAUSCH family which makes me wonder if all of the family was living together at the time – Elisabetha’s unmarried children as well as her married daughter and grandchildren.
The years after Michael and Elisabetha
Following the death of their mother, Cathérine was the first to marry in March 1832 followed by the younger Nicolas in June 1832. The elder Nicolas married in March 1835.
Two families go to America
In 1848 [many family trees incorrectly list 1840] the oldest child Margaretha died. Her death was followed by the elder Nicolas GRASSER’s death in 1852. This appears to be a turning point in the family history.
Margaretha’s husband Pierre RAUSCH and five of their children emigrated from Luxembourg to Stearns County, Minnesota. Only the oldest daughter remained in Moestroff. A county history places the immigration at the latter part of the 1850s. They may have been the first to go to America but others would follow.
Cathérine and her husband Michael LOESCH (as the name was seen from 1852) also went to Stearns County. The move can be placed at after December 1855 when they were last seen in the Luxembourg census. The LOESCH family also had two sons named Nicolas. The elder was not with his parents in 1855 and likely accompanied Pierre RAUSCH and his children to America. From the History of Stearns County, Minnesota, Volume II by William Bell Mitchell:
Nicholas [Loesch] set out for America in 1854. In 1855 he started for the West with a party of eight young men. They were among the first to pass through the canal at Sault Ste. Marie. Through swamps and woods they pursued their course and finally reached St. Paul. From there Nicholas came to St. Cloud. He first took a homestead in Rockville township, but allowed his right to lapse. His parents obtained a homestead in Rockville township, where they ended their days. Nicholas finally secured a location in section 3, near Pearl lake in Maine Prairie township. Here he erected a log cabin, and with a yoke of oxen and a cow started farming operations.
Two families remain in Luxembourg
While the families of Margaretha and Cathérine went to America, Elisabetha and Michael’s last living son Nicolas remained in Luxembourg but moved away from Moestroff to Lultzhausen. Only Maria, my children’s ancestress, remained in Moestroff as did several generations of her descendants until Suzanne PEFFER died there in 1987.
While checking the National Library of Luxembourg site for newspapers and periodicals for further information on the grandchildren of this couple I made a fantastic discovery concerning Elisabetha HOSCHEID. She and her husband were mentioned in a book written in 1858. I am overwhelmed and will share as soon as I get my thoughts together in a few days.
Name: Michael GRASSER Parents: Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS and Elisabetha WINANDY Spouse: Elisabetha HOSCHEID Parents of Spouse: Léonard HOSCHEID and Marie Catharina REULAND Whereabouts: Moestroff, Luxembourg Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: my children’s 5th great-grandparents
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
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.
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.
Peter and Antonia met with Jacob KOENIG at the Hoscheid town hall on 2 January 1815 at 10 o’clock in the morning. 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
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. 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.
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.
Antonia died in 1843
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. 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 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Who was Peter BERNARD and when did the marriage end?
Antonia’s first husband Peter BERNARD was born on 11 March 1790 in Holzthum. He was the second of seven known children born to Jeanne CAPPUS (1763-1833) and Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) in Buckelsbei 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Anton was 61 years old and had been widowed in 1841. 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.
Marie Cathérine BERNARD married Pierre ROMMES on 12 February 1846 in Hoscheid. Her parents were listed as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN.
Anna Maria KAUFMAN married Johann DUMONG (1824-1892) on 12 July 1849 in Hoscheid. 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. They were not her only children.
Anna Maria KAUFMAN died on 26 April 1865 in Merscheid. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Pierre WECKERING was born on 12 June 1752 in Brandenbourg, Luxembourg. He married Margaretha LASCHEID before 1780. Margaretha was born about 1753 in Niederschlinder. Pierre and Margaretha had the following children.
Antoine “Anton” WECKERING was born on 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder.,  He married Marguerite MÜLLER (1773-1841), daughter of Nicolas MÜLLER and Marie Cathérine COLLING, on 8 February 1799 in Vianden. Marguerite died on 7 April 1841 in Lipperscheid. She gave him seven children, two are known to have died young. Antoine also married Margaretha BERNARD, daughter of Pierre BERNARD and Antoinette GROEBER, on 30 May 1843 in Bourscheid. She gave birth to six children, only one lived to adulthood (my children’s 3rd great-grandmother). Antoine WECKERING became the father of his 13th child at age 72! He died on 25 March 1857 in Hoscheid. His second wife Margaretha died on 15 April 1878 in Ettelbruck.
Michel WECKERING was born on 7 December 1781 in Schlindermanderscheid. He was baptized on 8 December 1781 in Brandenbourg. His godparents were Michel MERSCH and Maria SERRES. No trace of him has been found after his baptism.
Corneil WECKERING was born abt. 1786 in Niederschlindermanderscheid. He was never married and died on 16 January 1857 in Hoscheid.
Margaretha LASCHEID, the mother of these three children, died in 1792 in Hoscheid.
Pierre remarried after his first wife’s death to Margaretha KOENIG before 1797. Margaretha was born about 1767 in Michelau. Her parents are unknown. Pierre and his second wife, Margaretha had the following children
Marguerite WECKERING was born on 13 January 1796 in Hoscheid. She never married but was the mother of a daughter born in 1819. Marguerite died on 1 June 1864 in Hoscheid.
Theodore WECKERING was born on 27 April 1800 in Hoscheid. He married Catharina HELLES (1802-1864) on 16 January 1826 in Wiltz. They had at least 3 children born between 1827 and 1840 in Wiltz. Catharina died on 23 Mar 1864 and Theodore died on 13 June 1881, both in Wiltz.
Theodore WECKERING was born on 2 January 1804 in Hoscheid. He married Margaretha DUPONT (1802-1890) on 5 June 1828 in Ermsdorf. They were the parents of at least 2 children born between 1834 and 1837 in Eppeldorf. Theodore died on 20 June 1867 and Margaretha died on 27 May 1890, both in Eppeldorf
Nicolas WECKERING was born on 12 July 1808 in Hoscheid. Nicolas married Anne Marie THURM (1812-1884) on 23 April 1834 in Hoscheid. They were the parents of at least 9 children born between 1834 and 1854 in Hoscheid. Anne Marie died on 28 May 1884 and Nicolas died on 19 Mar 1892, both in Hoscheid.
Anne Marie WECKERING was born on 1 January 1811 in Hoscheid. She married Mathias MANGERS (1806-1874) on 20 October 1836 in Wilwerwiltz.They were the parents of at least 8 children born between 1837 and 1853 in Enscherange. Mathias died on 18 February 1874 and Anne Marie died on 7 March 1877, both in Enscherange.
Mathias WECKERING was born on 23 August 1814 in Hoscheid.He married Marie WEIS (1819-1858)on 13 March 1844 in Wilwerwiltz. They were the parents of at least five children born between 1844 and 1852 in Enscherange. Marie died on 18 May 1858 in Enscherange. Mathias died on 1 December 1891 in Luxembourg City.
Pierre WECKERING died on 17 March 1820 in Hoscheid. His youngest child was only 5 years old when he died. His second wife Margaretha KOENIG died on 3 March 1849 in Hoscheid.
The Longer Story Using Substitute Pieces of the Puzzle
Pierre WECKERING, a 5th great-grandfather of my children, very likely left a lot more records than I was able to find. His parents chose to live in Brandenbourg where his paternal grandparents had also lived. Normally research is simpler when families stayed in one location. However, the Brandenbourg parish records are in a muddle for many of the years Pierre lived there. To be more precise, from the time he was 12 years old until he turned 50. The period of his life when he married, had children, lost his first wife, married again, and had more children.
I attended a lecture on Latin in the Luxembourg church records last Thursday. As I have been doing a lot of research in the church records this year, the information the lecturer shared was an eye-opener.
At the lecture I learned two copies were kept of the records by the priests of the parish. Where both copies were available, they were microfilmed by FamilySearch. This is helpful as the handwriting in one copy may be more legible than in the other due to fading or even those pesky mice who ate a whole through the surname of your ancestor.
Over the years, as the borders changed, some of the books were split up between the parishes in Luxembourg and those across the borders in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. During the French Empire parts of Luxembourg belonged to France and church records for the years 1808-1810 may be found in the diocese of Metz, France.
There are also gaps in the record keeping. Some parishes were large and included several towns. The priests did not always carry their registers with them and made the entries later messing up the chronological order.
Other church records are lost forever. Destroyed by natural elements (insects, rats, dampness), hidden by the clergy, or, in some cases, torn out of the ledgers by people who stole the records or by others who had well-meaning reasons for making a record disappear.
No matter what the reason for the missing records, we are still able to write the stories of our ancestors with the remaining records.
The (Documented) Early Years
Pierre WECKERING (1752-1820) was born and baptized on 12 June 1752 in Brandenbourg. His parents were Michel WECKERING and his wife Anna Maria. His godfather was the Reverend Father Petro (Peter) WEISGERBER, a pastor in Aalschett (sic, Alscheid). His godmother was Maria Elisabeth DALEIDEN of Vianden.
Some priests wrote short entries while others wrote up documents which filled one, two, and even three pages. Still, the compact and precise entries, when translated correctly, include more information than one sees at first glance.
In the above record, the abbreviation R:D: (reverendi domini) in front of the name of the godfather gives more precise information. Without this, a beginner would automatically translate the word pastore following the godfather’s name to shepherd as his occupation. In this case, Petro WEISGEBER was a Catholic priest in Alscheid. This detail was the key to opening the door in young Peter’s maternal line – to be written about in a future post.
We don’t do research in chronological order. We work backward, forward, and sideways to find the relevant information for each individual. In Pierre’s case, I knew the names of his parents as other researchers had made the connection. To confirm them, I searched for his baptismal record (above) and found it did not include his mother’s maiden name. The next step was to locate the baptismal records of his five known siblings, names and dates being provided by researchers who have their GEDCOM files online. [The names and dates found in other people’s files are used as clues and to assist in finding the records to prove the connection.]
After locating all of the baptismal records in Vianden, I took a closer look at each. Pierre’s three youngest siblings’ baptismal records included their mother’s maiden name: DALEYDEN. This was important as no marriage record was found for Michel WECKERING and Anna Maria DALEYDEN. The date of marriage is presently being estimated at before 1751, the birth year of the oldest known child.
It was interesting to hear the lecturer mention things I had already noticed. For example, the importance of the godfather and godmother in the baptismal record. A male child always received the name of the godfather and a female child that of the godmother. This rule is very useful when the priest omitted the name of the child on the baptismal record.
A closer look at the baptismal records of all six children of Michel and Anna Maria showed DALEYDEN/DALEIDEN individuals were acting as godparents for some of the children.
The (Undocumented) Middle Years
Pierre WECKERING was married twice. No marriage records were found. However, the records of his children have been helpful in proving his first wife was Margaretha LASCHEID (d. 1792) and his second wife was Margaretha KOENIG (1767-1849).
First Marriage and the Children
To prove the first marriage I searched for records documenting children born about 1780 to 1792. Important information was gleaned from the 1843 marriage record of my children’s 4th great-grandparents Antoine WECKERING and (his second wife) Margaretha BERNARD.
From the 1843 marriage record I learned:
1) Antoine was born 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder.
2) Antoine’s mother was Margaretha LASCHEID who died in the year 1792.
3) Antoine’s father was Pierre WECKERING who died 17 March 1820.
To date, no death or burial entry has been found for the 1792 death of Margaretha LASCHEID. Only one baptismal record was found for a child born to Pierre and Margaretha. It, however, caused a conflict with the date of birth found for Antoine on both of his marriage records.
At eight in the evening of 7 December 1781 Michel was born to Pierre WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHET (variation of the spelling of the maiden name) and was baptized the following day. His godparents were Michel MERSCH of Schlindermanderscheid and Maria SERRES of Hoscheid. One would imagine with the length of this baptismal record there would be many more details which could be used. The priest who entered the information was very specific about the places the parents were from including the town name, parish, Duchy of Luxembourg in the Archdiocese of Trier.
The clergymen who wrote in the parish registers were not all accomplished Latinists and there is a marked difference between classical Latin and medieval Latin found in the church records of the 17th to 19th century.
Michel’s brother Antoine was born on 1 July 1781 per both of his marriage records. This was only five months before Michel was born. Antoine was underage when he married in 1799. Is it possible he was even younger? Was his birth date seen in the 1843 marriage record copied from the 1799 marriage record?
Corneil WECKERING, the third child of Pierre and his first wife, showed up in the Luxembourg census for the years 1843, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1851, 1852, and 1855 with his half-sister Margaretha. The age range seen for Corneil on the census suggested he was born before Margaretha LASCHEID died. Although I searched and searched through the Brandenbourg church records, I did not find a baptismal record for Corneil. His death in 1857 was reported by his half-sister Margaretha’s son-in-law and included the names of his parents: Peter WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHEND, a variation on the spelling of LASCHEID or LASCHET.
Second Marriage and the Children
Pierre’s marriage to Margaretha KOENIG is well documented even without a record of marriage. The marriage records of four sons and a daughter all include the names of both parents, Pierre WECKERING and his wife Margaretha KOENIG. They also document the dates of birth for these five children.
Birth or baptismal records were not found for all of the children. Their oldest daughter Margaretha and first son Theodore were born during the time period the Brandenbourg church records are deficient. Their son Nicolas and daughter Anne Marie were born during the years for which the church records ended up in Metz and the civil records are also lacking. Only their second son Theodore and youngest son Mathias had civil birth records.
The date of birth of the oldest daughter Margaretha, who never married, cannot be documented with a reliable record. The census records found for her show she was born 13 January 1796 (1843), 3 November 1802 (1846), or 6 January 1800 (1849). The first appears to be the most likely as her siblings were born with 3-4 years between each. In 1851 she was seen as 52 years old when her illegitimate daughter married. At the time of death in 1864 her age was 58 which would place her birth at abt. 1806. Although I don’t trust the age to be correct on the record, the informant, her son-in-law, knew her parents were Peter WECKERING and Margaretha KOENIG.
I am comfortable with the research done to prove the mothers of the children of Pierre WECKERING. I still need to investigate the parentage of his first wife Margaretha LASCHEID who was the 5th great-grandmother of my children. Preliminary searches for the surname LASCHEID did not turn up any other persons with the name. However, I have a tiny hope of perhaps finding her parents as a baptismal record turned up for Maria Catharina LASCHET, daughter of Nicolas LASCHET and Catharina MEYERS, born 22 February 1753 in Schlinder(manderscheid) with godparents Joannes MERSCH of Schlinder and Maria Catharina BINSFELD of Hoscheid. I may be analyzing godparents as Michel MERSCH was the godfather of Michel WECKERING, the only child of Pierre WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHEID for whom a record was found. Coincidence?
Mathias GRISIUS married Magdalena SCHAETTER on the 23rd day of the month Pluviôse in the 6th year of the French Republic in Alscheid in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This date from the French Republican calendar converts to 11 February 1798 on the Gregorian calendar. An easy to use converter can be found on the Pas-de-Calais Archives website.
The French Republican Calendar Months
The Republican calendar begins with the autumn months, the first being Vendémiaire (starting around 22 September) with the name coming from the French word vendange or grape harvest. The next two fall months were Brumaire (brume or mist) and Frimaire (frimas or frost). The winter months were Nivôse (Latin nivosus or snowy), Pluviôse (pluvieux or rainy), and Ventôse (venteux or windy). The spring months were Germinal (germination), Floréal (fleur or flower) and Prairial (prairie or meadow). The summer months were Messidor (Latin messis or harvest), Thermidor (Greek thermon or summer heat), and Fructidor (Latin fructus or fruit).
This little French Republican calendar diversion was not meant to distract attention from my children’s fifth great-grandparents, Mathias and Magdalena.
Mathias, the son of Leonard GRITIUS (1743-1813) and Marie NEIEN (d. bef. 11 February 1798), was born on 10 May 1776 in Ouren, Province de Liege, Belgium. His birth record has not been found. [I’m looking for tips on how to research church records for this period in Belgium.] When he married the marriage record included his date of birth and indicated he was born in the canton of Wiltz. When he died his death record listed Ouren in Luxembourg. Today, if you look on a map, Ouren is located in Belgium at the border triangle of Belgium-Germany-Luxembourg. All of the borders are tangent in the middle of the Our River.
His parents’ names came from his marriage record. At this time, his siblings are unknown.
Magdalena, the daughter of Jean SCHETTERT and Anna Catharina SCHAACK, was born on 26 April 1775 in Grümelscheid, also called Grummelscheid in French and Grëmmelescht in Luxembourgish. The town is today part of the Winseler commune in the canton of Wiltz. Her birth record was found in the Oberwampach church records.
When Things Don’t Want to Fall in Place
While searching for more information on the parents and siblings of Magdalena SCHAETTER, I found a table of baptisms for Oberwampach for 1716 to 1797. It helped to find many baptisms for children with these surname variations: Schutter, Schoettert, Shetter, Schettert and Schaettert. The church records for the entire period for the Oberwampach area will have to be carefully viewed and followed up on as there is some confusion as to the name of Jean SCHETTERT’s wife as seen in several online GEDCOM files. I will have to check the birth, marriage, and death/burial of each person found in the GEDCOM files to determine where and if there is an error.
I became so frustrated with the research on this family that I laid it aside for several weeks, taking a break from research and blogging.
Life After the Wedding
When they married in Alscheid, Mathias was living in Merkholtz, less than 2 km away, and Magdalena and her parents were from the Eschweiler area, about a dozen kilometers from Alscheid.
They spent their married life moving around the northern tip of Luxembourg (the tip of the shoe). On 15 November 1799, they were in Bavigne (Böwen in German and Béiwen in Luxembourgish) when their first child, a son named Wilhelm was born. I have not found this birth record, the information came from his 1824 marriage record.
By the time the next child, a daughter named Elisabeth, joined the family on 11 February 1802 they were living in Goesdorf. As you can see below, the handwriting on this birth record was a challenge. The surname was spelled GREISCH instead of GRISIUS and the record was in German.
They returned to the area of Alscheid for the births of the next three children. Frederich, my children’s 4th great-grandfather, was born on 9 March 1805 and his brother Jean was born on 16 November 1807. Baby Jean died at nearly six months of age on 1 May 1808. Another son, Pierre was born on 5 January 1810. All three of these birth records were written completely by hand and in French. This example of Pierre’s birth was the first in the register for the year 1810.
The family was residing in Schlindermanderscheid when the last three children were born. Margaretha was born on 22 September 1811. Mathias’ father, Leonard GRITIUS, may have been living in Schlindermanderscheid before Mathias and Magdalena brought their family there as this is where his death took place on 30 December 1813. Less than three weeks later another daughter, Catherine was born on 17 January 1814. Anne Marie, the baby of the family, was born on 7 April 1816.
Of the eight children Magdalena gave birth to, seven were living in 1816. Six-year-old Pierre died on 30 September 1816 and Anne Marie died on 21 January 1817 at the age of nine months. This left two sons and three daughters between the ages of three and eighteen.
The oldest son Wilhelm GRISIUS, who was living in Bavigne, married Catherine SCHNEIDER on 28 April 1824 in Mecher. Mathias and Magdalena were living in Heffingen at the time (if I deciphered the place name correctly on the marriage record).
Mathias and Magdalena Settle in Hoscheid
By around 1830 the commune of Hoscheid had become the family’s residence. At first they were living in Hoscheid in the cowherd’s or Kühhirt‘s house where Mathias’ wife Magdalena SCHAETTER died on 1 December 1831. She left Mathias with three daughters and son Frederich still at home. The oldest daughter Elisabetha was two months short of 30 years and still single. She most likely shared household duties with her younger sisters Margaretha (20) and Catherine (17).
At some point, after Magdalena died, the family went to live in der Dickt or in Houschterdéckt, also known in German as Hoscheiderdickt. This was likely between 1833 and 1836 when Mathias’ occupation changed from being a cowherd to working as a day laborer. By 1836 he was 60 years old and probably too old to be working as a cowherd.
The four remaining children were seen marrying in the commune of Hoscheid from 1833 to 1845.
Cathérine Grisius married Michel MILLANG (1811-1875) on 7 September 1836 in Hoscheid. She and her father were living in der Dickt.
Elisabetha Grisius married Adam KLEESEN (1799-1858) on 18 January 1843 in Hoscheid. She and her father were living in der Dickt.
Margaretha Grisius married Jean PEIFFER (1818-1880) on 12 June 1845 in Heffingen. She and her father were living in der Dickt.
Almost six months after the last of the GRISIUS children married they lost their oldest brother Wilhelm who died on 7 December 1845 in Bavigne.
Eleven months later Mathias GRISIUS died at eight in the evening of 27 October 1846 in Hoscheiderdickt at the age of 70. His son-in-law Adam KLEESEN, who had been living in the GRISIUS household in 1843, reported his death.
Elisabetha, the oldest daughter, had only been married four years when she died on 17 March 1847 in Hoscheiderdickt at the age of 45. Like her father, she died in a house called Theis.
Five years later, Frederich GRISIUS, 47 years old and the oldest living child, died on 16 December 1852 in Hoscheiderdickt. He left a wife, seven children, and two sisters, Margaretha and Catherine.
Margaretha died on 11 November 1875 in Heffingen. By this time Catherine was living in Belgium, where her husband died three months earlier on 16 August 1875 in Seraing. Catherine remained in Belgium and died in Flémalle (Wallonie) on 21 September 1887 at the age of 73.
It’s good to be back to researching and blogging but I am even more happy to finally get this family put to bed. Some are not as easy as others. The GRISIUS-SCHAETTER family who lived in the tip of the Luxembourg shoe was one of these.
Week 38 (September 17-23) – Favorite Place:What has been your favorite place to research? Which ancestor came from there?
Can you guess my favorite place to research? Without a doubt, in 2015, it’s been the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as this year’s research and writing has been dedicated to families from this county! If I had to narrow it down to a specific canton it would be a toss up between Diekirch, where most of my husband’s families came from, and Echternach. Narrowing it down even further I’d say the commune of Bettendorf and the village of Méischtref(Moestroff) would win out.
When I met my husband in 1975 he had only one living grandparent, his grandmother Suzanne PEFFER. She lived most of her life in Méischtrefwhere we often visited her on Sundays until her death in 1987. Her father Nicolas PEFFER (1866-1941) was born and raised there as was his father Nicolas PEFFER Sr. (1833-1887). The senior did not come from his having a son of the same name. It came from his being the elder of two boys named Nicolas in the family of Antoine “Anton” PEFFER and Maria GRASSER.
Antoin PEFFER was born on 20 May 1803 in Obermertzig which at that time was in the commune of Feulen, canton of Diekirch. His parents were Adam PEFFER (1777-1848) and Marguerite PIERRET (1777-1843). They had married the previous year on 28 June 1802 in Feulen. He had six known siblings: Nicolas (1805-1896), Eve (1808-1808), Christian (1809-1883), Christine (1811-1866), Susanne (1814-1826), and Angélique (1817-1891).
Antoin lived with his parents and siblings in Obermertzig until about 1811-1814 when the family moved to Gilsdorf in the commune of Bettendorf.
Maria GRASSER (1802-1882) was born about 1802-1803 in Moestroff to Michel GRASSER (1772-1821) and Elisabetha HOSCHEID (1772-1831). Her parents were married on 2 January 1796 in Bettendorf. She had eight known siblings: Nicolas (1796-1801), Margaretha (1797-1848), Jean (1799-1803), Anna Catharina (1801-1821), Phillippe (1804-1805), Cathérine (1805-aft 1855), Nicolas (1807-1852), and Nicolas (1809-1867). It is interesting to note both of Maria’s brothers who were named Nicolas lived to marry and have children. Did her growning up with two brothers named Nicolas influence her and her husband to name two of their sons Nicolas?
Marriage of Antoine and Maria
Antoin PEFFER married Maria GRASSER on 17 February 1830 in Bettendorf. When they married the date of birth of Maria’s deceased sister Anna Catharina was given on the marriage record instead of her own. I have not been able to locate a birth record for Maria. Not only did the civil servant get the wrong date of birth for Maria, he forgot to include her age AND he gave her deceased father Michel GRASSER’s date of death as 7 June 1809 instead of 26 February 1821. The death record for Michel GRASSER who died on 7 June 1809 was for a child who died at the age of 3 years. Was the civil officer who checked for the supporting documentation for this marriage having a bad day or did rushing cause the errors?
Since the marriage record had the incorrect date of birth and no age for Maria I wanted to find a document which would have the missing information. She is not listed in the Tables Décennales for the years 1803-1812 leaving a small window in 1802. There is one other record with a date of birth for Maria – the 1846 census has 2 May 1802. This record is not very reliable. First it is too close to the date of birth of her sister Anna Catharina who was born on 15 December 1801. Second the dates of birth of all other persons in the household were compared with the dates found in their birth records. Not one of them is correct! Her husband was born in May but has July listed. Maria has May listed – could she have been born in July?
Where else could I find her date of birth? Church records! Yes. Wouldn’t you know it? It’s Sunday and FamilySearch is DOWN!! Three hours without access to the Luxembourg records – I had to take some more drastic measures! I made a list of every record with an age for Maria:I compared the dates of birth of her siblings and Maria most likely fits in as child #5 in the list of children for Michel GRASSER and Elisabetha HOSCHEID:
When the FamilySearch site was working again I checked the church records and the civil records for Bettendorf and found there are records missing for the 1802-1803 period Maria was born in. Unless there are other, yet to be discovered, records for Maria GRASSER which state her birth date this may remain an unknown. For now I am using abt. 1802-1803 as her year of birth.
Antoin and Maria Move to Méischtref (Moestroff)
While his two brothers and two sisters who also married chose to remain in Gilsdorf, Antoin moved to Moestroff, Maria’s hometown, sometime after the birth of their first child and before the birth of their second child, between 1830 and 1833. Bettendorf lies between Gilsdorf and Moestroff and both villages are part of the commune of Bettendorf.
The children of Antoin and Maria were: (§ = end of line)
Ch 1: Marguerithe (1830-1892) born 6 October 1830 in Gilsdorf
Ch 2: Nicolas, the elder, (1833-1887) born 10 August 1833 in Moestroff
Ch 3: Nicolas, the younger, (1836-1911) born 28 July 1836 in Moestroff
Ch 4: Marie (1836-1843) born 28 July 1836 and died 20 April 1843 in Moestroff §
Ch 5: Catherine (1839-1839) born 24 July 1839 and died 19 September 1839 in Moestroff §
Ch 6: Catherine (1840-1840) born and died 4 December 1840 in Moestroff §
Ch 7: Michel (1842-1910) born 23 June 1842 in Moestroff
Antoin PEFFER and his wife Maria GRASSER and their living children Marguerithe, Nicolas the elder, Nicolas the younger, and Michel were not found in the 1843 census. It was enumerated on 23 December 1843 in Moestroff. Antoin’s mother died on 22 December 1843 in Gilsdorf. His father’s household was enumerated on the day his wife, Antoin’s mother, died. Adam was listed as married. This was then crossed out and changed to widowed. It is strange Antoin and his family were missed. I wonder if they had gone to Gilsdorf for the funeral and the person visiting the families for the census information forgot to go back when they got home.
Antoin, Maria and their four children were found in Moestroff when the census was taken on 15 December 1846, 31 December 1847, 5 December 1849, and 31 December 1851.
Before the next census the oldest child and only daughter Marguerithe married Jean REITER (1827-1878) on 29 September 1852 in Bettendorf. The couple lived with the bride’s parents at the time of the census taken on 3 December 1852. The first grandchild was Nicolas REITER (1855- ) born on 2 July 1855 in Moestroff. Following his birth Marguerite and her husband continued the tradition of naming two son Nicolas when their 2nd son was born in 1857. The REITER-PEFFER family continued to live with Antoin and Maria when the census was taken on 3 December 1855 and 3 December 1858. The two son named Nicolas and son Michel were also still living at home.
Antoin PEFFER died three weeks after the 1858 census on 26 December 1858 in Moestroff. He may have been weak and ill when the census was taken as his daughter Marguerithe signed the census.
Less than a year later the first of the sons married. The elder of the two sons named Nicolas married Marie ZWANK (1832-1892) on 30 November 1859 in Bettendorf.
Maria GRASSER had in her household her two unmarried sons, Nicolas the younger and Michel, as well as her daughter Marguerite and her family when the census was taken on 3 December 1861 in Moestroff.
Nicolas PEFFER, the younger, married(1) Margaretha SCHMIT (1836-1865) on 21 January 1862 in Wallendorf, Germany.
After the younger Nicolas married, his mother Maria GRASSER was seen for the last time on the census of 3 December 1864 in Moestroff as the head of household which included her youngest son Michel and her daughter’s REITER-PEFFER family.
Nicolas PEFFER, the younger, was widowed on 29 June 1865 and married(2), only three months later, Margaretha MORETTE (1840-1911) on 9 October 1865 in Bettendorf.
From 1867 on Maria, the widowed mother of this family, was seen as a member of her son-in-law and daughter’s REITER-PEFFER household on 3 December 1867, 1 December 1871, 1 December 1875, and 1 December 1880.
Michel PEFFER was still living at home at the time of the 1867 census and several weeks later on 23 December 1867 he married(1) Anna MÜLLER (1840-1876) in Bettendorf. Following Anna’s death on 17 November 1876 Michel married(2) Elizabeth FRISCH (1849- ) two months later on 24 January 1877 in Bettendorf. His mother Maria was present at both marriages.
Maria GRASSER died on 4 January 1882 in Moestroff. Her 48 years old son Nicolas was the informant and gave her age as 81 years. The age of the son matches that of Nicolas the elder. To be sure I compared the signature on the death record with the signatures on the marriage records of Nicolas the elder and Nicolas the younger. Signature comparison proves Nicolas the elder was the informant.
Maria left four living children. They all died in Moestroff in the following order: Nicolas, the elder, on 4 March 1887; Marguerithe REITER-PEFFER on 5 September 1892; Michel on 27 September 1910; and Nicolas, the younger, on 30 November 1911. They gave her at least 30 grandchildren, 1/3 of whom died young. This ratio may go up as further research is done on the grandchildren of Antoin PEFFER and Maria GRASSER.
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.
Over a period of 54 years Antoine “Anton” WECKERING (1781-1857) fathered 13 known children, his first child when he was 18. He was 72 years old when his last child was born, my husband’s 2nd great-grandmother Elisabeth “Elise” WECKERING (1853-1905).
Antoine WECKERING was born 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Pierre WECKERING (1752-1820) and Marguerite LASCHEID (1753-1792). This date of birth was found in his 1799 marriage record. The place of birth was mentioned in his 1843 marriage record, census records from 1846 through 1855, and his 1857 death record. At the time of his first marriage, his surname was spelled without a g at the end – WECKERIN.
The index card with the marriage information for “Antoine WECKERIN” and Marguerite MÜLLER includes most of the information found in the marriage record. Marguerite was the daughter of Nicolas MÜLLER and Marie Cathérine COLLING. The (+) indicates they were deceased at the time of the marriage.
The date 20 pluviose 7 calculates to 8 February 1799. Missing on the card but found in the “copie conforme” of the marriage record is the fact that the groom was only 17 years old. As he didn’t have the necessary age to marry, his father Pierre gave his consent before the witnesses present.
This is an important item since Antoine’s birth date was again recorded as 1 July 1781 when he married the second time in 1843. A record of birth or baptism has not been located. [Later research turned up a birth record for a brother born on 7 December 1781 making it impossible for Antoine to have been born five months earlier.] The baptismal records for Brandenbourg, where I believe the record may be found, have considerable shortcomings and are not in chronological order for the period Antoine was born.
1799 Marriage Record of Antoine WECKERING and Marguerite MÜLLER
The bride Marguerite MÜLLER (1773-1841) was twenty-six years old; both of her parents were deceased. The difference in age of the bride and groom and the fact that the groom was underage led me to this assumption: the marriage may have been taking place due to the bride being with child.
Finding Proof for this Assumption
Antoine and Marguerite were living in Merscheid, a village in the commune of Landscheid, when their daughters Margaretha (1803) and Anne Marie (1805) were born. I searched the birth records from 1799 to 1803 for their first child to prove my assumption. No birth was found in the Bastendorf where the Landscheid records for the time period were housed.
I checked the deaths records for possible stillborn children. I found a daughter Anne Marie who died on 14 February 1803 at the age of 3 years in Merscheid, also seen as her place of birth. Her age at death suggested she was born February 1800 or earlier. The birth records of the commune of Landscheid are missing for year 8 of the French republican calendar – 23 September 1799 to 22 September 1800. Anne Marie was not found in year 7 or 9 and since she died on 25 Pluviose year 11 or 14 February 1803 at age 3 years, her birth must have been in year 8, between 23 September 1799 and 14 February 1800.
She may or may not have been the reason for the marriage of her parents. If I had not made the assumption and searched for documentation to prove/disprove my theory their first known daughter Anne Marie (~1800-1803) may have remained hidden in the records.
The Children of Antoine and Marguerite (wife #1)
Ch 1: Anne Marie WECKERING born abt 1800 and died 14 February 1803, both events in Merscheid.
Ch 2: Margaretha WECKERING (1803-?) born, a little over a week after the death of Anne Marie, on 23 February 1803 in Merscheid. No further documentation was found for this child. It’s possible she died young as another daughter was given the same name in 1818.
Ch 3: Anne Marie WECKERING (1805-1880) born 29 November 1805 in Merscheid. Anne Marie married Jean HAAN (1808-1870) on 18 January 1832 in Bourscheid. She died 31 August 1880 in Lipperscheid.
Ch 4: Catherine WECKERING (1808-1810) born abt 1808 and died 28 October 1810 in Lipperscheid.
Ch 5: Théodore WECKERING (1811-1893) born 10 October 1811 in Lipperscheid. Théodore married Gertrude FAUTSCH (1812-1847) on 8 February 1840 in Bourscheid. He married 2nd Anna Maria STEINMETZ who survived him when he died on 11 December 1893 in Michelau.
Ch 6: Marie Catherine WECKERING (1814-1884) born 16 April 1814 in Lipperscheid. Marie Catherine married Nicolas MALGET on 9 February 1836 in Boevange les Clervaux. She was present at the marriage of her daughter on 1 December 1884 and died after this date.
Ch 7: Margueritte WECKERING (1818-1871) born 1 April 1818 in Lipperscheid. Marguerithe married Louis THILGES on 29 October 1847 in Basbellain. She died 10 July 1871 in Trotten (Troine) in the Boevange-Clervaux commune.
Antoine’s children from his first marriage were all born before the death of his father Pierre WECKERING on 17 March 1820 in Hoscheid. Pierre was the only grandparent the children ever knew as their mother’s parents and their father’s mother were deceased at the time their parents married.
Marguerite MÜLLER, Antoine’s first wife, died 7 April 1841 in Lipperscheid.
1843 Marriage of Antoine WECKERING and Margaretha BERNARD
Two years after the death of his first wife, 61 years old Antoine found a new life partner. On 30 May 1843 he married Margaretha BERNARD (1815-1878) in Bourscheid.
Margaretha, 27 years old, was born 2 November 1815 in Hoscheid and was about the same age as her groom’s youngest children. She was the daughter of the deceased Pierre BERNARD (1790-1820) and Antoinette GROEBER (1790-1843). Her mother Antoinette died less than three months before the marriage. Antoinette had been widowed twice and left four daughters: Margaretha, her sister Marie Cathérine and their twin half-sisters Elisabetha and Anna Maria KAUFMANN.
The Children of Anton and Margaretha (wife #2)
Margaretha gave Anton six children, sadly only the youngest lived.
Ch 1: Marie Catherine WECKERING (1844-1845) born 25 April 1844 in Lipperscheid. When she died on 25 March 1845 in Hoscheid her name was recorded as Anna Maria on her death record.
Ch 2: Corneil WECKERING (1845-1848) born 2 June 1845 in Hoscheid. He was seen with his parents on the 3 December 1846* and 31 December 1847* census. Corneil died on 23 May 1848 in Hoscheid.
Ch 3: Anna Maria WECKERING (1847-1850) born 13 July 1847 in Hoscheid. She was seen with her parents on the 31 December 1847* and 3 December 1849* census. Anna Maria died 15 June 1850 in Hoscheid.
Ch 4: Marie WECKERING (1849-1851) born 20 July 1849 in Hoscheid. She was seen with her parents on the 3 December 1849* census. She died 7 February 1851 in Hoscheid.
Ch 5: Margaretha WECKERING (1851-1852) born 3 June 1851 in Hoscheid. She was seen with her parents on the 31 December 1851* census. Margaretha died 9 June 1852 in Hoscheid.
Ch 6: Elisabeth “Elise” WECKERING (1853-1905) born 9 May 1853 in Hoscheid. She was with her parents on the 3 December 1855* census.
Antoine was seen with his second wife Margaretha BERNARD and children mentioned above (*) on the Hoscheid census on 4 December 1846, 31 December 1847, 3 December 1849, 31 December 1851, 9 December 1852, and 3 December 1855.
Life After Antoine’s Death
Antoine WECKERING died 25 March 1857 in Hoscheid. He left his widow Margaretha, four married children from his first marriage and his youngest daughter Elise who was not yet four years old.
His widow Margaretha and their daughter Elise were seen in the Hoscheid census on 3 December 1858, 3 December 1861, 3 December 1864, 3 December 1867, 1 December 1871.
Margaretha BERNARD died on 15 April 1878 in the Central Hospiz in Ettelbruck. She had been a widow for 20 years, without an occupation, and she raised her only living child Elise on her own. Did her deceased husband Antoine WECKERING leave her financially independent?
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.