Today would have been my father-in-law Marcel MEDER‘s 95th birthday. When I began researching our family history in 1995 my father-in-law was the one who helped me read the old handwriting in the documents I obtained from the records offices I visited in different towns in Luxembourg. He died too soon in 1996, less than two months before his 70th birthday.
In previous posts for the family groups in Luxembourg, I concentrated on the birth and marriage records of the children. For the MEDER-REIFFER family, I tried something different. I used pink and blue boxes for the children, adding footnote links for their birth, marriage, and death records to the very long source list at the end of the post. Instead of discussing the birth and/or marriage records, I chose to focus on the census records of the family.
The Luxembourg Census
The census in Luxembourg was taken every three or so years. At FamilySearch there are 1,115,931 census images available for these years: 1843, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1851, 1852, 1855, 1858, 1861, 1864, 1867, 1871, 1875, 1880, 1885, 1887, 1890, 1895 and 1900.
Théodore MEDER should have been found in every single year the census was taken except for 1900 as he lived from 1807 to 1898.
I went through the entire 1871 census collection for Diekirch and did not find Théodore, Susanna, and their youngest daughter Catherine. Their married sons were found. Their married daughters, however, still need to be looked into.
The missing 1871 census listing is not the focus of this post.
After the death of his wife in 18771 and the first census following her death in 18802, Théodore went missing in 1885, 1887. 1890, and 1895.
Théodore was a widower for 22 years and may have spent some time in the local hospital before his death. This was known as when he died at three o’clock in the morning on 29 July 1898 his death was reported by Dominik ZENNER, the 64 years old overseer in the hospital (Aufseher im Spital) in Diekirch. The overseer stated that the death occurred in the hospital.3
Notes to myself and how my sister uses them
I share my GEDCOM file on GeneaLux.Net, a sub-site reserved for members of my genealogy society Luxracines. Earlier this month my sister, who also does genealogy and is a member of Luxracines, ran across Théodore’s 1885 census listing by accident.
Recognizing the surname, she checked my tree as she knows I keep notes to myself about the records I’m searching for. With the information on where he was found in 1885, she went on to successfully find him in the same place in 1887, 1890, and 1895.
Where did she find Théodore? In Diekirch, in the hospital where he was known to have died, in all four census years.
The Hospital of Diekirch
Rob Deltgen, the compiler of the family book for Diekirch, wrote about the hospital of Diekirch: “Offiziel wurde 1882 mit dem Bau des Hospitals begonnen, vorher existierte jedoch auch ein Bürgerhospital.” The construction of the hospital officially began in 1882, but before that, there was also a community hospital.4
In the center of town, the area around the church and judicial building is called ob der Klouster by the older generations of Diekirch. Behind the church, in the rue de l’Hôpital, is the rest home run by the nuns of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Elisabeth.
Théodore MEDER in the census
In 1885 Théodore was in pflege or in care at the hospital run by Catholic nuns. He had no occupation and was living on support or von unterstützung lebend. He was listed a few lines below Dominique ZENNER, Krankenwärter (nurse) in the hospital.5
On 1 February 1887, in the Klosterstrasse, the Abbess Généviève BOVÉ, as in 1885, headed the list of nuns who cared for the patients. The patients’ names were listed on the census page and then crossed out. Dominique ZENNER was listed as a nurse, two lines above Théodore whose name was marked out.6
On 1 December 1890, the street name was hinter dem Kloster or behind the convent. Abbess BOVÉ was still head of the convent. Dominique ZENNER is listed on line 18 and Théodore on line 20. Dominique’s occupation was Krankenwärter (nurse) and Théodore was living from support.7
By 2 December 1895, the hospital had grown. Personnel and patients were enumerated on five pages. The information included the number of years each had been at the establishment. The persons living the longest at the hospital were Pauline SCHROELL (line 33), Théodore MEDER (line 62), and Dominique ZENNER (line 67). All three had been there for 12 years, likely since the hospital had been built. Dominique was still working as a nurse, likely overseeing the men’s ward.8
Dominik, a Papal Zouave
Dominique ZENNER, as noted earlier, was the informant on the civil death record of Théodore MEDER. His name was used to learn more about the hospital. Searches, however, brought up more interesting information about the life of Dominique or Dominik as he was known by those he worked with him in the hospital.
The Zuavi Pontifici or Papal Zouaves were an infantry battalion and later a regiment dedicated to defending the Papal States. Young unmarried Roman Catholic men volunteered to assist Pope Pius IX in his struggle against the Italian unificationist.
Dominik ZENNER (1834-1924) worked as a nurse during the cholera epidemic of 1866 in Luxembourg. At the age of 34, he crossed the Alps to fight for the freedom of the Papal States in the ranks of the Papal Zouaves. Soon after his arrival, he contracted cholera but after several months was cured and able to leave the hospital. In 1869 he visited his homeland but returned to his military duties. In 1870 he was taken prisoner at Porta Pia by the Garbaldians. He received the papal blessing from Pope Pius IX from the loggia of the Saint Peter’s Church along with 1200 of his fellow prisoners. In October 1870 he was released to his homeland where he devoted himself to nursing the sick in the Diekirch hospital until his death.9
On 4 May 1920, Zenner celebrated his military jubilee with his brothers-in-arms Wilhelm LEYDER from Eppeldorf and Peter KIEFFER from Wiltz in the monastery of Diekirch. Her Royal Highness, CHARLOTTE, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg presented the jubilarians with the Silver Medal of the Grand Ducal Order of the Crown of Oak. At the same time, they received from the Archbishop of Luxembourg, Mgr. Pierre NOMMESCH the Pontifical Order Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice awarded by Pope Benedikt XV. It was pinned on their chests beside the Pontifical Medal Bene Merenti they had already received from Pope Leo XIII.10, 11, 12
Thank you to my sister
I’d like to thank my sister for keeping an eye out for records I’ve been unable to find and for letting me know when she finds them. Also, for unknowingly helping me to learn more about the history of the people of Luxembourg. I knew little of the Zuavi Pontifici and found interesting articles in the Luxembourg newspapers about the men who served.
As for Théodore and his nurse Dominik, did a friendship develop between the two as one was cared for by the other? Did Théodore know of Dominik’s military service? Did Dominik share stories of his adventures fighting for the freedom of the Papal States? What was it like for Théodore, who had spent most of his life working as a day laborer and shepherd, to live in an establishment for the last 15 years of his life run by women?
My 5th great-grandparents Nicolaus KÜFFER (1734-1796) and Susanna SCHILTZ (ca. 1737-1807) were likely not married in Mamer where they lived and raised their family. The baptisms of their children were found in Baptêmes 1718-1940, familles alphabétique. This compilation of all baptisms in Mamer from 1718 to 1940 by family groups was filmed in 1962. The records of baptism from 1779-1793 are available on FamilySearch while the same and those from 1790-1804 and 1817-1911 are available on Matricula. I have had to rely on this Family Register of the Parish of Mamer for all children born to the KÜFFER families before 1779.
As the records are not available, I can only assume the compiler of the register used KÜFFER as the spelling of the surname as this is how it was written in the church records he consulted. Five of the eight children born to Nicolaus and Susanna were found in later records. The records show the surname’s various spellings, including Küffer, Küfers, Kiefer, Kieffer, Kifers, and Kiffer. The house they lived in was known as Kiefers house or Kéfisch in Luxembourgish.
The home, as well as the house name, was passed down several generations. In 1842 the King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, William II owned land in Mamer. In 1849, when some of the lands were sold, the king’s administrator Baron Ziegesar donated a piece of land to Pierre REDLINGER of Kéfesch for his faithful services.1 Pierre was a great-grandson of the KÜFFER couple. As the oldest living child of Margaretha KOLBACH he had inherited the homeplace from her. It had been passed on to Margaretha from her mother Susanne KIEFFER who’d taken it over from her parents Nicolaus KÜFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ.
The parents of Nicolaus KÜFFER
Christophorus KÜFFER and Angelica PROBST, the parents of Nicolaus, were married on 7 November 1731 in Mamer. They were the parents of five children baptized in Mamer. Caecelia was baptized on 24 October 1732, Nicolaus on 31 March 1734, Theodorus on 24 September 1736, Petrus on 21 January 1739, and Martinus on 16 October 1742.2
Three months after the birth of Martinus, Angelica, mother of five, married Michael GOERGEN on 21 January 1743. It can only be assumed that her first husband Christophorus died after Martinus was conceived and before Angelica remarried. With her second husband, she had three children: Wilhelmus in 1744, Margaretha in 1747, and Joannes in 1753.3
Of the eight children born to Angelica, only my ancestor Nicolaus was found to have married and had children in Mamer. His brother Petrus is noted as having gone to Monnerich (Mondercange, Luxembourg) and married however no record has been found of such or of children. When Nicolaus’ fourth child was baptized in 1760, Petrus KÜFFER was named as the godfather. No other KÜFFER or GOERGEN children were godparents of Nicolaus’ children. Could this mean none other than Nicolaus and Petrus survived to adulthood? Deaths and burials were not considered when the family register was compiled. Annotations were made concerning some persons who did not remain in the parish of Mamer but not all.
Angelica PROBST died on 29 April 1786 in Mamer.4 She was widowed for the second time. As her second husband’s death was not found in the deaths/burials from 1779-1786, it is assumed that he died before 1779.
The parents of Susanna SCHILTZ
Susanna SCHILTZ’s parentage is not mentioned in the family register of Mamer. There is no annotation concerning her former place of residence.
Susanna died in the house called Kéfisch in Mamer on 4 August 1807. Her civil death record includes the names of her parents as well as their residence. They were Johannes SCHILTZ and Anna Maria SIMON of Menster (Mensdorf, Luxembourg).5 No records have been found for this couple.
Nicolas KÜFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ become parents
Nicolaus and Susanna were the parents of eight children all baptized in Mamer. They are assumed to have married before the birth of their first child Susanne baptized on 25 March 1754. Their second child and first son, Joannes was baptized on 24 July 1756. His godparents were Joannes SCHILTZ and Anna Elisabeth SIMON. They could have been the maternal grandfather and a maternal aunt but without the record that may give their residence or relationship to the child, this cannot be determined.
The third child of Nicolaus and Susanna was also named Joannes and baptized on 2 October 1757. He was followed by Elisabeth baptized on 25 June 1760. Her godfather was Peter KÜFFER, likely her paternal uncle who went to Monnerich. The fifth child, Peter Nicolas was baptized on 4 August 1763.
In 1766-1767 when the census and cadaster of Marie-Thérèse were taken, Nicolaus and Susanna had five children. The census for Mamer is lost. It would have been a good source for this couple’s living children as all household members were named and placed in age categories. As far as can be determined, from later records, the first four children were likely living in 1766.
The cadaster of Marie-Thérèse for Mamer from 1767 survived and “Nicolas Kiefers” is enumerated as Hirt or a shepherd in Mamer. The acreage and value of the land he used and its income were calculated on the sheet. The handwriting is hard to read. It may include interesting information on how the family lived. I don’t have the patience needed at this time to sit down and decipher all of the details. What I have been able to figure out is that Nicolaus was using or owned 9 Morgens of farmland, some fallow farmland, a garden and fruit tree orchard, and 3 1/2 Morgens of meadows. I wasn’t able to decipher what he was cultivating and the reason for a deduction made to the total payable tax.6
A gap of nearly 8 years followed the birth of the fifth child. On 5 February 1771, a daughter Margaretha was baptized. Maria was baptized on 22 November 1772 and finally Nicolas on 26 December 1775.
The children begin to marry and start their own families
Of the eight children of Nicolaus and Susanna, three have been found to have married. […the 3rd marriage and family only as I was writing this post!]
Susanne KIEFFER (1754-1808) of Kéfesch house in Mamer, Luxembourg, was my 4th great-grandmother. I wrote about her, both of her husbands, and her children in my post, 52 Ancestors: #44 Legendary Two-Time Tour de France Winner’s Second Great-Grandparents. In January 2018 I was very busy and had little time for format citations for the post. Now over three years later, I noticed this omission and will try to get to the source list when I publish this post. [4 May 2021 Update: Done!]
Susanne KIEFFER married Michel KOLBACH (1784-1838) on 17 February 1783.7 Susanne’s father Nicolaus KÜFFER served as the godfather of their first child Margaretha born and baptized on 4 January 1784.8 With the birth of her daughter Margaretha, they were living in a four-generation house. As the oldest child, Susanne would take over the family home after the deaths of her parents.
Joannes KIEFFER married Barbara THIES on 21 January 1785 in Schoenberg.9 The marriage was witnessed by Joannes KIEFFER of Mamer who, if it is not an error in name, was his brother of the same name. Without any further information, it is impossible to tell which Joannes was the groom and which was the witness: Joannes b. 1756 or Joannes b. 1757. This marriage was only discovered when I looked more closely at the godparents of the KOLBACH children and found Barbara THIES wife of Joannes KIEFFER serving as the godmother of a child in 1789.
On 31 March 1785, Elisabeth KIEFFER served as godmother for her nephew Michel KOLBACH, son of her sister Susanne.10
Angelica PROBST, the mother of Nicolaus KÜFFER, died on 29 April 1786 in Mamer and was buried in the town cemetery the following day.11 The Kéfesch house now had only three generations living in it.
Nicolas KÜFFER again served as a godfather for his grandson Nicolaus KIEFFER, son of Joannes and Barbara, born and baptized on 17 September 1786 in Kehlen.12 Young Nicolas was the first of three known children of Joannes and Barbara. Michael KIEFFER was born and baptized on 13 July 1788 in Kehlen. His uncle Michel KOLBACH, husband of Susanne, was his godfather.13 Peter KIEFFER (1789-1849) was born and baptized on 29 December 1789.14
During this time, Susanna was still having children with Michel KOLBACH. Catherine was born and baptized on 29 Nov 1786 in Mamer15 and Petrus was born and baptized on 9 January 1789 in Mamer.16 His godmother was Barbara THIES of Kehlen. It was this record that added an entire branch to the KIEFFER family tree.
Elisabeth was the last of the three KIEFFER children to marry. She married Nicolas CHRISTOPHORY (1743-1803) on 11 May 1789 in Mamer.17 Their first child Michael CHRISTOPHORY (1790-1856) was born on 2 October 1790 in Mamer. His godfather was his uncle by marriage, Michel KOLBACH.18
Anna Maria, the youngest child of Susanne KIEFFER and Michel KOLBACH, was born on 14 May 1791 and baptized the same day.19
Joannes KIEFFER, the only known son of Nicolaus KIEFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ to marry, died in Kehlen on 26 January 1793.20 Four months later their son-in-law Michel KOLBACH died on 30 May 1793 in Mamer leaving his wife Susanne KIEFFER with 5 small children.21 Less than a year later, Susanne married Paul FRANTZ (1763-1847) on 7 January 1794 in Mamer.22
On 18 April 1794 Elisabeth gave birth to her second son Jean CHRISTOPHORY and named her younger sister Maria KIEFFER his godmother.23 Maria was 21 years old at the time. Neither marriage nor a death record has been found for her. However, the baptismal record was a good clue that she was still living in 1794.
Susanne KIEFFER and her new husband Paulus FRANTZ became the parents of twin boys, Nicolas and Johann, on 21 November 1794. The maternal grandfather Nicolaus KÜFFER was chosen to be the godfather of Nicolas.24 The second twin Johann was my 3rd great-grandfather.
A year and a half after the birth of the twins, their maternal grandfather Nicolaus KÜFFER died on 1 May 1796 and was buried the following day. He left a widow, Susanna SCHILTZ.25
The following year brought two births but also two deaths. Susanne and Paul’s son Henri was born on 10 January 1797.26 Less than two months later, Anna Maria KOLBACH, Susanne’s youngest daughter from her first marriage, died on 6 March 1797 at the age of 5.27 Three months later baby Henri died on 6 June 1797 at the age of 5 months.28 Two days later, Susanne’s sister Elisabeth gave birth to her third child, Mathias CHRISTOPHORY.29
Following the turn of the century, the first of the grandchildren married. Margaretha KOLBACH the oldest child of Susanne who would later take over the house Kéfesch married Leonard RÖELINGER on 18 November 1802 in Mamer.30
The last grandchild was born on 31 March 1803 in Mamer when Elisabeth gave birth to Catharina CHRISTOPHORY.31 The child would not grow up knowing her father as Nicolas CHRISTOPHORY died nine months later on 16 December 1803.32 His widow Elisabeth married again on 7 May 1806 to Theodore HELLESCH (1756-?).33
Susanna SCHILTZ, the widow of Nicolaus KÜFFER, died in Kéfesch house on 4 August 1807. Her death was reported by her son-in-law Paul FRANTZ. Her death record, as noted earlier in this post, included the names of her parents. A little over a year later, Paul was back at the city hall reporting the death of his wife Susanne KIEFFER who died on 9 October 1808.34
Two grandsons fought at Waterloo
My 3rd great-grandfather Johann and his twin brother Nicolas FRANTZ joined the 6th Infantry Regiment in Phalsbourg, France on 5 November 1813 and served alongside each other in the regiment. They participated in campaigns of 1814 and 1815 in France and Belgium. Nicolas was wounded in the shoulder by a gunshot received on 10 February 1814 in Montmirail. Johann was wounded in the right arm by a saber cut received on 18 June 1815 at Waterloo.35 After the final fall of the Empire, the brothers returned to Luxembourg. They would marry and have children as did their four KOLBACH half-siblings.
Elisabeth, the last living child of the KÜFFER-SCHILTZ couple
Elisabeth KIEFFER was the only child of Nicolaus KÜFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ still living when her FRANTZ nephews returned from the Battle of Waterloo. Three of her four children married. Her second son, Jean became a Catholic priest serving the parish of Steinheim from 1830 to 184436 and the parish of Bous from 1844 to 1863.37 On 5 July 1872, he was granted honorary dismissal and retirement at his request and because of old age.38 He passed away on 16 November 1873 in Reckange where his older brother Michael had married and raised his family.39
Elisabeth was living in the parsonage in Steinheim with her son Jean when she died on 28 April 1838.40 She had been living there since at least 1830 when her oldest son Michael married. She was not present at the marriage in Hesperange but her permission was given by letter from a notary of Echternach.41
A decade after Elisabeth’s death her youngest child and only daughter Catharina went to America with her husband Theodore SAUBER and their seven children. They departed from Antwerp, Belgium on the John Holland and arrived in the port of New Orleans on 18 May 1848.42 They settled in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, where Catharina was last seen in the 1880 census.43
Who said family history has to be boring?
Nicolaus KÜFFER (1734-1796) and Susanna SCHILTZ (ca. 1737-1807) were the parents of eight children. Only three are known to have married and had children. Their grandchildren led interesting lives. Twin grandsons fought at the Battle of Waterloo, a grandson was a Catholic priest, a granddaughter emigrated to America, and their grandson Nicolas FRANTZ (1794-1879) was the great-grandfather of the legendary two-time Tour de France winner Nicolas FRANTZ (1899-1985).
What of the two children who were mentioned in records, Joannes and Maria? Did they marry and have families? Do they have stories left to be told?
Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Baptêmes 1718-1940, familles alphabétique > image 135 of 375. Family register entries for Küffer-Probst and Küffer-Schiltz. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32402-77-6?cc=2037955 : accessed 28 November 2015). ↩
Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film 2271574 DGS 8014693, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 77 (Mamer), image 506+507 of 657, sheet no. 136. 1767 cadastre sheet of Nicolas Kuffers in Mamer.(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXW-1WK7-P?i=506&cat=1152016 : accessed 26 April 2021). ↩
“New Orleans, Passenger List Quarterly Abstracts, 1820-1875” Ancestry.com, citing Quarterly Abstracts of Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820–1875. M272, 17 rolls. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. ↩
1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1431, Wisconsin, Kenosha, Kenosha, Enumeration District 76, page 23A, HH#6-6, lines 19-27, Paul Sauber household. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6742/images/4244754-00239 : accessed 26 April 2021). ↩
Many genealogists are joining Amy Johnson Crow’s new 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge this week. While they are beginning, I am coming to the end of my own version which I began in 2017 (as seen in my feature image).
This set of fourth great-grandparents from Capellen in the parish of Mamer left me with more questions than answers.
Regina HUBERTY, my fourth great-grandmother, was born on 2 March 1764 in Capellen, Luxembourg.
The register (mentioned in the box above) includes two family groups for Regina HUBERTY. The first family group is from her first marriage and includes the names of her parents – Petri HUBERTY and Anna LENNERT.
On the 3rd of March 1789, there being no impediment to the marriage, the priest of Mamer and two witnesses were present when Jacob FRISCH, son of the deceased Joannis FRISCH and Margaretha ZEIMET of Huncherange, was united with Regina HUBERTY, daughter of Petri HUBERTY and the deceased Anna LENNERT. The bride and groom were both of age to marry. The names of the parents match those in the register above as the information was collected from parish records at the time.
Jacob’s parents were from Huncherange and I am not quite sure of the wording in the marriage record (above) concerning his parents. Defuncti Joannis Frisch et Margaretha Zeimet olim Conjugum ex Hunichringen parochia Noertzingen. Am I reading/translating this correctly – both of his parents were deceased?
I have no idea of Jacob’s age or if he actually was born in the village his parents were from. I searched in the records of the parish of Noertzange to which Huncherange belonged for the years 1760 to 1770 without success. Could he have been much older than Regina?
Usually, when I have this kind of predicament I search for baptismal, marriage, or death records of the siblings as well as records created when they were mentioned as godparents. The godparents of the children of Jacob and Regina are listed in the family register, however, none have the FRISCH or ZEIMET surnames. At this time I have no idea if Jacob had siblings.
Regina and Jacob had the following children.
1. Susanna FRISCH was born on 26 June 1792 in Capellen. She married Petrus KOLBACH, son of Michel KOLBACH and Susanne KIEFFER, on 14 January 1818 in Mamer. Petrus was born on 9 January 1789 in Mamer. He died on 23 April 1837 in Mamer. Susanna died on 20 October 1885 in Capellen. They were the parents of three sons.
2. Margaretha FRISCH was born on 24 April 1794 in Capellen. She died on 2 August 1828 in Capellen. She never married.
3. Franciscus “Franz” FRISCH was born on 30 August 1796 in Capellen. He married Magdalena MORRET on 22 January 1823 in Mamer. Magdalena was born about 1796. Franz was enumerated in Mamer the 1843 and 1849 census with his wife and three sons. The years 1846, 1847, and those after 1849 have not been checked. Death records have not been located for either Franz or his wife Magdalena. Their son Peter John FRISCH immigrated to America in 1854. He was married twice and lived in La Crosse County, Wisconsin. He is well documented in Sandra L. Hammes’ From Luxembourg to La Crosse And Beyond 1851-1910, however, I am still searching for his birth record to connect him to Franz and Magdalena. All of his siblings’ birth records were found. A date of birth (30 May 1830) was found on the 1849 census but does not match the date given (29 October 1832) in From Luxembourg to La Crosse. And neither of these dates match that (25 March 1830) found in the family register of Mamer.
4. Nicolaus FRISCH was born on 13 July 1798 in Capellen. He has not been found later.
5. Elisabeta FRISCH was born on 5 April 1800 in Capellen. She was baptized the following day. She married Johannes FRANTZ, son of Paulus FRANTZ and Susanne KIEFFER, on 18 January 1827 in Holzem. Johannes was born on 21 November 1794 in Mamer. He died on 24 January 1880 in Mamer and his widow Elisabeta died ten months later on 15 November 1880 in Mamer. Elisabeta and Johannes were my 3rd great-grandparents.
Regina’s husband Jacob FRISCH, the father of the above children, died on 11 March 1800 in Capellen. Regina was the informant and pregnant with her fifth child, my 3rd great-grandmother Elisabeta.
A second family group was found for Regina in the family register. It included the name of her deceased husband and their five children as well as her second husband and their children.
Nearly two years after the death of Jacob FRISCH, Regina HUBERTY married Peter KALMES on 21 December 1801 in Mamer. Peter was born on 22 November 1760 in Nospelt, Luxembourg, to Peter KALMES and Catharina SCHANTZ.
The marriage record of Regina and Peter is the source for Regina’s date of birth. In this record, her parents are listed as Peter HUBERTY and Johannata BEREND. Which of the two marriage records for Regina give the correct name for her mother? Were Anna LENNERT and Johannata BEREND the same person? Is the L in the early marriage record a B as I thought when I first saw it? Did the person who compiled the information in the family register mistake the B for an L? But still, BENNERT and BEREND may be close but are they the same? What other sources can I check to solve these questions?
Regina and Peter had the following children.
Petrus KALMES was born on 24 March 1803 in Capellen. He died a few weeks later on 12 April 1803 in Capellen.
2. Peter KALMES was born on 3 October 1804 in Capellen. He married Maria BOSSELER on 8 February 1844 in Mamer. He died on 18 December 1863 in Capellen. Note: The date of birth for Peter KALMES on his marriage record is that of his brother who was born and died before his birth.
3. Jean KALMES was born on 2 February 1808 in Capellen. He died a little over a month later on 12 March 1808 in Capellen.
Peter KALMES died on 12 November 1833 in Capellen leaving a wife, a son, and at least three step-children. His widow Regina HUBERTY died on 19 January 1840 in Capellen. She left four living children: Susanne, Franz, Elisabeta, and Peter. She may have left another child, the son Nicolas who has not been found after his birth in 1798.
Do any of my readers know where I may find the answers to the many unanswered questions?
Susanne KIEFFER was born on 25 March 1754 in Mamer to Nicolaus KÜFFER (1734-1796) and Susanna SCHILTZ (1737-1807). Earlier variations of the surname were KIEFER and KÜFFER. Susanne was the oldest of eight known children. The only reference available online is an alphabetical family group register of births/baptisms and marriages for the town of Mamer. Actual parish records for baptisms, marriages, and burials in Mamer are only available on FamilySearch for the years 1779-1793.
Susanne was my fourth great-grandmother. She married Michel KOLBACH on 17 February 1783.1 Michel was born about 1748 in Kehlen to Francisci KOLBACH and Maria KAYSER. His parents were deceased at the time of his marriage. Michel and his parents were not my ancestors.
Susanne and Michel were the parents of five children.
Margaretha born on 4 January 17842
Michel born on 31 March 17853
Catherine born on 29 November 17864
Peter born on 9 January 17895
Anna Maria born on 14 May 17916
These children are documented as they were born during the period in which actual parish records are available on FamilySearch for baptisms, marriages, and burials during the years 1779-1793.
When their youngest child had just turned two years old, Susanne was widowed when Michel KOLBACH died on 30 May 1793. He had been a linen weaver or linitextor and was about 45 years old.8
A little over seven months later Susanne remarried. On 7 January 1794, she married Paul FRANTZ. Paul was the son of Nicolaus FRANTZ and Angela BARTEL of Senningen.9
No marriage record has been found for Susanne and Paul. Their marriage is recorded on a marriage index card. The information on the card points to Paul being from Bergem in the parish of Schifflingen. Per the 1843 census, Paul was born on 10 August 1763 in Senningen.10 On the 1846 census, the day and month were the same but the year was 1764.11 The place of birth on the 1846 census was blank. Although their names are known, his parents and siblings are at this time a brick wall.
Paul was my fourth great-grandfather. When he married Susanne he took on a family of five children between the ages of 3 and 10 years. Like Susanne’s first husband Michel, Paul was a linen weaver.
Susanne was soon expecting twins. Nicolas and Johannes were born on 21 November 1794. As no birth records are available for the twins it is not known who was the oldest. Nicolas or my third great-grandfather Johannes.
When the twins were seventeen months old their grandfather, Susanne’s father, Nicolaus KEIFFER died on 1 May 1796.12
Susanne gave birth to another son on 10 January 1797. He was named Henri.13 Less than two months later Susanne’s youngest daughter from her first marriage, Anna Maria, died at the age of five years on 6 March 1797.14 The family may have been battling some kind of disease or the baby was not strong enough to survive as little Henri died on 6 June 1797 at the age of five months.15
The children grew and by 1802 Susanne’s oldest daughter was courting and the results were soon to be seen. Margaretha was 17 years old when she married Leonardus RÖELINGER on 18 November 1802.16 Three and a half months later, on 9 March 1803, she gave birth to a boy she named after her father Michel.17
Susanne’s brother-in-law Nicolas CHRISTOPHORY died on 16 December 1803.18 His widow Elisabeth was 46 years old when she married Theodore HELLESCH on 7 May 1806.19 It was on this marriage record that the 1796 date of death for Nicolaus KIEFFER, the bride’s father, was found.
Susanne’s mother Susanna SCHILTZ died on 4 August 1807. Her son-in-law Paul FRANTZ was the informant on her death record.20 A little over a year later, on 9 October 1808, he was once again at the city hall reporting a death. This time it was his wife Susanne KIEFFER who died at the age of 54 years.21 She left 4 KOLBACH children and the FRANTZ twins.
My 4th great-grandfather was now alone and caring for his 13-year-old twin boys and three unmarried step-children who were in their twenties. Only his step-daughter Marguerite was married with two little boys but likely also living in the household as was her right as the oldest.
Five years after the death of Susanne, her daughter Catherine KOLBACH married Jacques HENTGES in Mondercange on 29 December 1813.22 This marriage was only found in the last few days.
Her brothers Michel and Peter KOLBACH would add some very interesting branches to my family tree.
Michel KOLBACH married Susanne HAMES (1786-1855) on 11 January 1815 in Mamer.23 Susanne was the sister of my 4th great-grandmother Catherine HAMES (1789-1864), my direct matrilineal line.
Petrus KOLBACH married Susanna FRISCH, daughter of Jacob FRISCH and Regina HUBERTY, on 14 January 1818 in Mamer.24 Jacob and Regina are also my fourth great-grandparents.
Confused? I hope this will help.
Less than three weeks later Nicolas FRANTZ, one of the twins, married Anna KÜNSCH (1795-1875) on 3 February 1818 in Mamer.25
It would be another nine years before the other twin, my fourth great-grandfather, would marry Elisabeta FRISCH (1800-1880), daughter of the above-mentioned Jacob FRISCH and Regina HUBERTY. They were married on 18 January 1827 in Holzem.26
All of Paul FRANTZ’s children, biological and step, were now married. I believe Paul was living in the home he had shared with his wife Susanne with her oldest daughter Margaretha and her family. This is supported by the census taken in 1843 and 1846. But before the census was enumerated there were several deaths in the family.
Petrus KOLBACH, a father of three sons, died on 23 April 1837 in Mamer at the age of 48.27 His widow Susan FRISCH would live to the age of 93 dying on 20 October 1885.28
The oldest of the bunch, Margaretha KOLBACH had given birth to ten children. She died on 16 December 1838 in Mamer.29 She left a widower and six children. During the years the family had changed the spelling of RÖELINGER to RELINGER and finally REDLINGER, the version seen when Margaretha’s widower Leonardus die on 20 March 1843.30
In 1843 when the census was taken, Paul FRANTZ was the head of a household in Mamer. Living with him was his step-grandson Peter REDLINGER, his wife Susana WAGNER, and their four children. Both of Peter’s parents were deceased and he was likely the oldest of the REDLINGER children. The family home may have been passed on to him. In 1846 Peter REDLINGER was the head of household and Paul FRANTZ, as well as three of Peter’s single brothers, was living with the family.
Paul died at 8 in the morning on 27 July 1847 in Mamer at the age of 83. His death was reported by his step-grandson Peter REDLINGER.31
Michel KOLBACH died on 18 April 1855 in Mamer at the age of 70.32 He had fathered six children, two of whom died at a young age. His widow Susanna HAMES died exactly a month later on 18 May 1855 at the age of 68.33
The only living KOLBACH child, Catherine died on 30 October 1869 in Bergem.34 Until a few days ago I thought she may have died as a child. However, after finding her marriage record, I learned she was the mother of at least six children. Her husband Jacques died on the oldest son’s 15th birthday in 1830 leaving her widowed with children between the ages of 2 and 15.35
Susanne KIEFFER’s KOLBACH children were now all deceased. Her twins, the sons she bore Paul FRANTZ, lived into their eighties. Nicolas FRANTZ, father of seven children (at least two died young), died on 8 August 187936 at the age of 84 and my fourth great-grandfather Johannes FRANTZ, father of five children (one died young) died on 24 January 188037 at the age of 85.
One final note of interest and the reason for the peculiar title for this article. My 4th great-grandparents Paul FRANTZ and Susanne KIEFFER were the 2nd great-grandparents of the famous Nicolas “Nic” FRANTZ, winner of the 1927 and 1928 Tour de France. He was not the first Luxembourger to win the Tour but he was the only one to win it twice and twice in a row.
P.S. Things are always busy this time of the year and I have not had the time to include the sources at the end of my last few articles. I relied on being able to point my readers to my online GEDCOM file, however, Rootsweb is currently unavailable and it is not known how long the downtime will last. Three more sets of 4th great-grandparents to go and then I will come back and add the sources later in January 2018. [Sources on this post were finally added 4 May 2021.]
Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Baptêmes, mariages, sépultures 1779-1793 > image 46 of 168. 1783 Marriage Record (top of left page). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32401-17711-69?cc=2037955 : accessed 29 November 2015). ↩
Week 25 (June 18-24) – The Old Homestead:Have you visited an ancestral home? Do you have photos of an old family house? Do you have homesteading ancestors?
Homesteading, Ancestral Home, and a Famous Cousin
None of my American ancestors took advantage of the Homestead Act. But homesteading is not restricted to settling on goverment land and farming it. Homesteading was and is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. The farther back we go in our families trees the more independent our ancestors were. They provided for themselves through farming, hunting, home preservation of foodstuffs, and, in the case of my 2nd great-granfather Jean FRANTZ, a linenweaver, the production of textiles.
While we are on the subject of homesteading and ancestral homes, when I was a child we visited a FRANTZ family in Mamer, Luxembourg, to watch a bicycle race. I have no idea if the house was lived in by my FRANTZ ancestors, i.e. an ancestral home.
At the time I was also unaware of the significance and the connections between FRANTZ, the town of Mamer and cycling. Family tradition, once we genealogists get involved, is often debunked. However the story of my grandmother being a cousin of the famous Tour de France winner was proven true. My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and Nicolas FRANTZ (1899-1985) were 3rd cousins – not quite as close as the story told. Their common ancestors were Paulus FRANTZ (1763-1847) and his wife Susanne KEIFFER (1754-1808).
Nicolas FRANTZ took second place in the Tour de France in 1924 and 1926 and was the winner of the tour in 1927 and 1928. In 1928 Nicolas was the first, and to date only winner of the Tour de France, to wear the maillot jaune, the yellow jersey, during the entire 20 days of the race, from the first day, due to his being the previous year’s winner, to the last day.
Having a Tour de France winner as a cousin is amazing. Even more so is I actually enjoy the same sport he excelled in. This is quite a statement for a girl who did everything to get out of doing sports while growing up.
Jean “Johann” FRANTZ and Marie “Maria” MAJERUS
My 2nd great-grandfather Jean FRANTZ was born in Mamer on 3 December 1837 to Jean FRANTZ (1794-1880) and his wife Elisabeth “Elise” FRISCH (1800-1880). On 16 February 1870 he married Marie MAJERUS. Marie was born in Mamer on 19 June 1850 to Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and his wife Marie TRAUSCH (1820-1875).
The young couple lived with Marie’s parents in 1871 and with her widowed father in 1875. Census records indicate Marie was the only child of the MAJERUS-TRAUSCH couple. By 1880 Jean FRANTZ and his wife had their own household. Marie’s widowed father lived with them in 1880, 1885, and 1887. Jean and Marie continued to be enumerated as a family in Mamer in the census in 1890, 1895, and 1900. From 1858 to 1900 Jean’s occupation was a linen weaver. They lived in the “Brücke bis Weweschgâss” area of Mamer. At the time mostly farm land, today this is a residential area.
When Jean and Marie’s children married the occupation of the parents was consistently listed as farmers, Ackerer or Ackerleute, on the marriage records for the period 1892 to 1916.
When Jean died on 23 February 1929, in his 92nd year, his occupation was cultivateur or farmer in his obituary.
Jean was survived by his wife Mrs. Jean FRANTZ, née Marie MAJERUS; his children Mrs. Jos. FOURNELLE, née Cath. FRANTZ; Mrs. Paul GERSTEL, née Joséphine FRANTZ; Jean FRANTZ; Mrs. François VESQUE, née Pauline FRANTZ; Jean-Pierre FRANTZ; Mrs. Théophile HILBERT, née Marguerite FRANTZ; and Joseph FRANTZ.
His wife Marie died two years later, on 13 September 1931 in her 82nd year.
For Jean’s widow Marie, the same children were listed. Missing in both obituaries is the oldest daughter Marie FRANTZ who predeceased her parents. Suzanne MIETTE and Guy HOSTERT, listed after the children of Jean and Marie, were Marie FRANTZ’s children.
The FRANTZ Children
1. Marie FRANTZ 1871-bef. 1929
Marie FRANTZ was born 11 January 1871 in Mamer. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1885 when she went to Metz, France, to work as a servant. In February 1887 she was still in Metz and by the next year, she took a position in Reims, France, where she was working in 1890. By 1895 she was no longer mentioned in her parents’ household on the census suggesting she married between 1891-1895. Her marriage to Eugène Léon MIETTE was found in the 2e Arrondissement of Paris. They were married on 21 June 1892 and divorced on 16 July 1906. They had a daughter Suzanne Léonide Jeanne Marie MIETTE born in 1895. After her divorce, Marie married Mr. (given names unknown) HOSTERT and had a son Guy HOSTERT who was photographed in Paris, France, at the time of his Communion in 1921. Marie died before 23 February 1929.
2. Catharine FRANTZ 1872-1934
Catharine FRANTZ, my great-grandmother, was born on 17 November 1872. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1889 when she went to Arlon, Belgium, to work as a servant. Soon after December 1890, she began working in Reims, France, where she lived when the census was enumerated in December 1895. She was back home in Mamer on 9 July 1900 when she married Jean Joseph FOURNELLE, my great-grandfather. She went with her newlywed husband to live in Echternach where she raised three children. She died 16 March 1834 in Echternach.
3. Catharina Joséphine “Joséphine” FRANTZ 1874-aft. 1945
Catharina Joséphine FRANTZ was born 25 September 1874. She went by Joséphine. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1893 when she went to work in Reims, France. She married Paul GERSTEL in 1900 and had two sons, Pierre and Jean. Her husband died before 23 February 1929. The family lived in Paris, France. Joséphine was living with her younger son Jean and his family on 1 January 1946. It is not known when she died.
4. Johann “Jean” FRANTZ 1876-1946
Johann FRANTZ was born 22 July 1876. He lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1894 when he went to work in Reims, France. In December 1900 he had been in Esch-sur-Alzette for three months. A half a dozen years later he married Pauline VESQUE on 27 August 1906 in Contern. They had one daughter Daisy. Jean died 20 May 1946 in Dudelange. He was a retired postal worker decorated with the Order of the Oak Crown (l’Ordre Grand Ducal de la Couronne de Chêne). His wife Pauline died on 29 November 1956 in Hastière-Lavaux, Belgium.
5. Jean Pierre FRANTZ 1878-1879
Jean Pierre FRANTZ was born on 28 June 1878 and died 8 February 1879 at the home of his parents. He died at the age of 2/3 year per his death record.
6. Paulina “Pauline” FRANTZ 1880-1966
Paulina FRANTZ was born on 29 June 1880. In December 1880 when the census was enumerated she was listed as a son named Paul. She went by Pauline. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1897 when she went to work in Reims, France. She may have lived with her sister Catharine and her family in Echternach around 1906 as she was included in a family portrait (seen above under #2). On 15 May 1910 Pauline married Johann Peter François “Franz” VESQUE. Franz worked for the railroad, Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois. Pauline and Franz had one daughter Maisy who served time in prison for killing a man and never married. The family lived in Oetrange in the commune of Contern. Franz died 11 Feb 1964 in Oetrange and Pauline died 27 December 1966 in Luxembourg City. Their daughter Maisy died in April 1969.
7. Johann Peter FRANTZ 1882-1970
Johann Peter FRANTZ was born 14 October 1882. Johann Peter married Hélène KILL on 2 April 1913 in Mamer. They were the parents of three children: Jos, Paul, and Anna Maria. Their son Paul continued the family tradition of cycling. In 1936 he participated in the Olympic Games in Berlin, representing Luxembourg along with three other cyclists in the individual and team road race events. Johann Peter died 1 December 1970 in Luxembourg City. His widow Hélène died 12 October 1972, also in Luxembourg City.
8. Maria Margaretha “Marguerite” FRANTZ 1885-1977
Maria Margaretha FRANTZ was born 12 March 1885 in Mamer. She went by Marguerite. She married Johann Theophile “Théo” HILBERT on 25 October 1908 in Mamer. In 1915 their only daughter Margot Thea was born. Marguerite’s husband Théo was the driver of the car owned by Nicolas Frantz I (Tour de France winner) involved in two accidents in 1927, the first resulting in the death of a young boy and the second in the death of Nicolas Frantz II. Théo died 3 January 1946 in Mamer. His widow Marguerite died 22 March 1977 in Mamer.
9. Nicolas FRANTZ 1886-1886
Nicolas FRANTZ was born 16 April 1886. He lived only a month, dying on 18 May 1886 at his parents’ home in Mamer.
10. Johann-Joseph “Jos” FRANTZ 1888-1940
Johann-Joseph FRANTZ was born 4 September 1888. He married Marguerite BERWICK on 24 April 1916 in Mamer. They were the parents of two sons, Erny and Germain, born in Dudelange where the family lived. Johann-Joseph, also known as “Jos” was a teacher. He died 23 April 1940 in Dudelange. His widow Marguerite died seven months later on 28 November 1940.
New Lessons Learned
Without the photographs, newspaper clippings, thank you notes, funeral cards and other memorabilia saved by my maternal grandmother I would not have been able to tell their story in such detail.
Questions remain and may lead to new stories. I want to know more about Maisy VESQUE who served time in prison for killing a man. I’ve found newspaper articles about the deaths caused by Theo HILBERT when he was driving the car owned by Nicolas FRANTZ. A third question, I was able to answer and in doing so learned a new lesson.
I don’t know how many times I have asked myself who are “Mr Eugène Raymond, Mme, née Suzanne Miette et leur(s) enfant(s)” mentioned in Jean and Marie FRANTZ-MAJERUS’ obituaries? I knew Guy Hostert was the son of their deceased oldest daughter, Marie. Eugène or Suzanne had to be their grandchild and, since great-grandchildren were also mentioned, he or she had to have been born to one of the oldest daughters.
I don’t give up easily and the question took me to the online archives of the cities of Reims and Paris, France. Finding records in large cities is daunting. My persistence paid off. I found the records I needed to prove the relationship of Suzanne MIETTE and in doing so also learned how to use the Archives of Paris database.
If anyone is interested, feel free to leave a comment and I may write a post on how to use the Archives de Paris site.
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.