52 Ancestors: #32 DNA Discoveries in the WILDINGER Family

Last year my brother had his DNA tested and turned the results over to me. As I write these last articles on my maternal 4th great-grandparents, I will be checking his matches to see if any hold the key to open a door in a brick wall on this side of the family tree. These brick walls being mostly descendants of my maternal ancestors who have not been traced mainly due to emigration.

I have been waiting impatiently to write about this couple, Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER. This is what I know about their lives and where I found information which has not all been documented.

Where the Information Was Found

Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER of Ernzen, Germany, were my 4th great-grandparents. The bits and pieces I have for them come mostly from Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 – such a long title for the family book of the town of Ernzen and environs. I call it simply FB Ernzen.

Church records are available online at FamilySearch for Ernzen up to 1797 as it was then part of the parish of Echternach in Luxembourg. Civil records for births from about 1798 to 1907, marriages from 1798 to 1937, and deaths from 1798 to 1987 are not online. Although a short 20 minutes drive from where I live, the Kreisarchiv in Bitburg, Germany, houses these records. Tentative plans are being made to visit the archives with my genealogy society Luxracines next spring.


Wilhelm WILTINGER was born about 1770 in Ettelbrück, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG of Ettelbrück. These two “facts” were likely taken from his 1849 death record.[1] As he died in Ernzen, this record will have to be obtained from the archives in Bitburg. I am hoping the person who took the information off of the death record may have made an error in noting both parents were from Ettelbrück.

I have tried to shed more light on Wilhelm’s parents. I am inclined to think Margaretha DIESBURG was not originally from Ettelbrück. My guess is she is from the DIESBURG line which originated on Diesburgerhof near Ferschweiler, the next village over from Ernzen. I found a child with the same name born in 1744 who would be a perfect match. Her family group is recorded in the FB Ferschweiler[2] and I found her in the 1766 census living with one of her married sisters.[3] She was not yet married. This leaves me with a four year period from 1766-1770 when Michel and Margaretha could have met and married. But where? Marriages in Luxembourg have been indexed for the time period and I have tried all variations of the names without locating a marriage. It has crossed my mind that a different surname may have been used by the groom, i.e. a house name.

1766 Luxembourg Census.[3]
As for Wilhelm’s father I have searched all available GEDCOM files online to find persons with the WILDINGER name – the spelling which has been used in my family from 1798 to present. It is my mother’s maiden name. The only hits I get on the Luxracines website (members only access to GEDCOMs) are my own file. I am beginning to suspect that while my ancestor’s name may have been WILTINGER and changed to WILDINGER, the original surname may have evolved to the more common and widespread WILDANGER. Most were found in the Girst and Dickweiler area and spread out to Echternach. These are all in Luxembourg.

For now Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG, the parents of Wilhelm WILTINGER will remain a brick wall. A more time consuming one-name study of the WILDANGER individuals in Luxembourg and the nearby German area may the only way to solve this brick wall. Or could DNA also be part of the solution.

The WELTER line

Margaretha WELTER was the daughter of Michael WELTER and Katharina KLEIN. Michael and Katharina married in Ernzen on 22 November 1764.[4]

1764 Marriage Record for Michael Welter and Katharina Klein.[4]
They had not yet had any children when the 1766 census was taken. Their names were spelled Michel and Catherine and they were living in a KLEIN household.[5]

1766 Luxembourg Census[5]
Their first child was born the year the census was enumerated, followed by a set of twins in 1768, a son in 1770, another set of twins in 1773, and finally their youngest in 1777. Both sets of twins were a boy and a girl.[6]

1777 Baptismal Record[7]
Margaretha was their youngest, born and baptized on 18 April 1777 in Ernzen (present-day Germany). Her godparents were Margaretha KLEIN and Nicolaus HUSS, both of Ernzen.[7]

A Marriage Before 1798?

Margaretha married Wilhelm WILTINGER before 1798. The marriage is estimated from the time their first known child was born. No marriage record has been found. Church and civil records were checked in Ettelbrück and Echternach to no avail.

Wilhelm and Margaretha had the following children, all born in Ernzen:[8]

  1. Nicolas born on 29 September 1798.
  2. Elisabeth born on 21 August 1805.
  3. Franciscus “Franz” born on 6 Aug 1810. He died on 8 December 1812 in Ernzen.
  4. Bernardus born on 12 May 1813.

The only daughter Elisabeth married Dominik WEBER (1803-1840), son of Johann WEBER and Katharina PETRI of Hoesdorf, on 13 December 1831 in Ernzen.[9] Hoesdorf (Luxembourgish: Héischdref) is a village in the commune of Reisdorf, in eastern Luxembourg.

Margaretha WELTER, the mother of Nicolas, Elisabeth, and Bernard, died on 8 January 1833 in Ernzen.[9] Her oldest son Nicolas was 35 years old and still single. Her youngest son Bernard was going on 20. Her daughter Elizabeth had been married a little more than a year.

On 12 October 1833, nine months after the death of her mother, Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, a daughter Maria. She chose her brother Nicolas to be the godfather. Maria THEIS of Hoesdorf was the godmother.[9]

My third great-grandparents, Nicolas WILDINGER and Catherine SCHRAMEN married on 18 January 1834 in Ferschweiler.[10] Catherine was the daughter of Michael SCHRAMEN and Elizabeth SCHMITT. She was born on 23 October 1812 in Ferschweiler and was baptized the next day.[11] Their story can be found here: 52 Ancestors: #42 The WILDINGER-SCHRAMEN Family of Ferschweiler .

Elisabeth’s husband Dominik WEBER died on 9 May 1840 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.[9] He left Elisabeth with four children.

Wilhelm WILTINGER, likely now using the WILDINGER spelling, died on 28 September 1849 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.[1]

Where Are the Children?

Wilhelm’s death came at a time when many were thinking about moving across the newly established border to Luxembourg or even further abroad, to America. Elisabeth’s brother-in-law Theodor JARDIN went to America with all of his living children after the death of his wife Katharina WELTER, sister of Dominik, in 1855.[12] Elisabeth and her brother Bernard had been close to the JARDIN family, both being godparents to JARDIN children.

Elisabeth WILDINGER was 53 years old and had been widowed seventeen years when she obtained an Auswanderungsgenehmigung (emigration approval) on 9 October 1857 for herself and her two children, Mathias, born on 10 November 1840, and Maria, born on 12 October 1833. The petition was admitted to the hearing without a stamp due to poverty. Elisabeth made her mark on the petition.[13]

There is no mention of where the family immigrated to or of the other two children, Anna Katharina born 1835 or Theodor born in 1838. However….

Richard Schaffner was not the first to compile a family book for the parish of Ernzen. A copy of Familienbuch Ernzen 1 (1823-1900) is in the parish of Ernzen according to Schaffner. He does not mention the compiler’s name. In the entry for Elisabeth WILDINGER in Schaffner’s version, he notes on page 45 of the first book the following information was found: “Die Witwe Elis. Weber zog im Jahr 1857 mit ihren 4 Kindern und ihrem Bruder Bernard Wildinger nach Nordamerika.” The widow Elisabeth WEBER moved in the year 1857 with her four children and her brother Bernard Wildinger to North America.

Early on I searched for Elisabeth and her brother Bernard WILDINGER in the USA but never found either of them or her WEBER children. Perhaps they went to Canada or Mexico. Not having experience with these countries I left this research problem for another day.

My third great-grandparents Catherine SCHRAMEN and Nicolas WILDINGER had five children born between 1835 and 1852. Catherine died on 2 November 1869 in Ferschweiler and was buried on 4 November 1869.[10] Four and a half years later Nicolas, the only child of Wilhem WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER to remain in Germany, died on 3 June 1874 in Ferschweiler.[10] They left three living children, two of whom have been traced. All that was known of their youngest son Peter is that he fled from military service – “militärflüchtig laut Anzeiger z. Amtsbl. Trier 1873, Seite 243.”[10]

Let’s Talk About DNA

As mentioned earlier I now manage my brother’s DNA. As our mother is from Luxembourg (and all of her ancestry is centered in this tiny area) the DNA we share with her is either not getting many matches or is difficult to find within the thousands of matches showing on AncestryDNA.

There are several ways to sort matches on AncestryDNA. The most obvious (easiest) are those who have matching ancestors in their trees followed by matching surnames. Many users have private trees. When you search for a surname, matches with private trees will turn up in the list but you cannot access to the information and therefore do not know who their ancestor is with the surname.

Even today searching for the WILDINGER surname on AncestryDNA turns up zero hits. Checking the box to Include similar surnames is not helpful as it turns up too many matches. I tried the known spellings and still had no results.

Then in April 2017, a match was found which looked promising.

DNA match’s profile on Ancestry

This predicted 4th cousin match showed PETERS as a shared surname. My Peters line is not a German line. There were no Shared matches with this person. Shared matches are only listed up to 4th cousins.

Clicking on Location I found he had a WEBER ancestor from Ernzen. This is not one of my ancestral surnames and at the time I was not expecting a match to a family on our maternal side. Taking a closer look at the attached tree I realized the connection could be WELDINGER on his tree. A spelling I had not tried.

Pedigree chart of the match on Ancestry.

Predicted 4th cousin is a 4C1R

The year of birth for the daughter of the WEBER-WELDINGER couple in the pedigree chart above is 1818. My 3rd great-grand aunt Elisabeth WILDINGER was born in 1805 and would have been only 13 when this child was born. Even with this error, it looked promising as the husband’s name matched that of Elisabeth’s husband and the location fit.

I got to do US research – checking census, BMD, etc. – and found Elisabeth WILDINGER had emigrated to America before 1860. She was living in Berwick in Seneca County, Ohio, with her married daughter Catherine in 1860. She was listed with the surname WEAVER. Her daughter was only 24, born abt. 1835, and a good match for the child seen in the pedigree chart above with year of birth being 1818. Although she was still living, I have not found Elisabeth in the 1870 or 1880 census. She died on 10 March 1891 in Big Spring, Seneca County, Ohio, at the age of 86 years.[14]

1891 Death Entry for Elisabeth WEAVER.[14]
Two of her children were also found. Catherine, who was the ancestor of the match with my brother, and her younger brother Mathias. I have not found the older daughter Maria or the son Theodor nor have I found the immigration records. I entered this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor into the tree I have attached to my brother’s DNA.

This was done only after confirming this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor. The tree has only the direct ancestors – no siblings, children, etc. I am considering the pros and cons of adding each confirmed match’s line back to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor). This tree includes sources but I have not attached records from Ancestry. I don’t usually work with it and have not considered the hints (shaky leaves) that are showing up.

2nd Great-Grand Uncle Discovered

However while entering this match’s line, I took the time to check the hints for Ancestry Member Trees. I was surprised to find Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER’s grandson Peter WILDINGER through their son Nicolas (my third great-grandfather) in four trees. All four had my Nicolas as the earliest known ancestor. No mention of Wilhelm and Margaretha. One member tree has for Peter: “Killed in WWI Action on the German Lines” in 1873. That is not what I would call a reliable statement.

The other three member trees are for a Peter WELDINGER who married in Illinois, had children there, and later moved to Iowa. The 1900, 1910, and 1920 census show he came to America in 1870 and was naturalized in 1880 (U.S. Naturalization Record confirms 30 October 1880). If this Peter WELDINGER is my second great-granduncle (there is presently no match or the owner/descendant has not done a test) then he must have fled from military service by emigrating to America.

Another DNA discovery was made as several new matches showed up when I did a new search for the locations Ernzen and Ferschweiler while writing this. I will have to work through these first but it looks promising as one of them may be the key to unlock the door in the DIESBURG brick wall.

[1] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.
[2] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Sancta Lucia Ferschweiler mit: Diesburgerhof (ab 1803) und L(a)eisenhof (ab1830) 1680-1899, PDF (Kordel, 1999), p. 43-44, Family #193. Diesburg-Schmitt.
[3] Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Feischveiler (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 250 of 753. Household Nr. 13, Mathias Petri. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DK-Y?i=249&cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).
[4] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 145 of 293. 1764 Marriage Record, right page, 1st entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32399-12418-50?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[5] Luxembourg 1766 Census, Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Erntzen (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 245 of 753. Household Nr. 7, Jean Klein (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DL-W?cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).
[6] FB Ernzen, p. 240, Family #846. Welter-Klein.
[7] Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 83 of 131. 1777 Baptismal Record, left page, 7th entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32399-12819-27?cc=2037955 : accessed 9 November 2016).
[8] FB Ernzen, p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.
[9] Ibid., p. 225, Family #800. Weber-Wildinger.
[10] FB Ferschweiler, p. 349, Family #1625. Wildinger-Schramen.
[11] Ibid., p. 295, Family #1378. Schramen-Schmitt.
[12] FB Ernzen, p. 117-118, Family #380. Jardin-Welter.
[13] Josef Mergen, Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Bitburg im 19.-Jahrhundert 
[14] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6CM-WJX : accessed 5 October 2017), Elizabeth Weaver, 10 Mar 1891; citing Death, Big Spring, Seneca, Ohio, United States, source ID v 4 p 216, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 388,771.

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


A Priest Born in the 16th Century Leaves a Key to Open the Door in a Brick Wall

On Sunday I was checking my post, 52 Ancestors: #25 A Family on Two Continents, and doing miscellaneous searches for descendants of this family from Luxembourg when I made a fantastic discovery.

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.

The road into Brandenbourg with the castle on top of the hill.

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.

Kapell Brandenbourg (Chapel)

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.

Inside the Chapel of Brandenbourg

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.

Cornerstone of the Chapel of Brandenbourg

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.

Brandenbourg Castle

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.

Stained glass window in the chapel of Brandenbourg

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.

The descendency of the two sisters of pastor Penninger of Brandenbourg.

My children’s line goes through the second sister Marguerite PENNINGER who married Jean KLEIN and had the following children:

  1. Jean KLEIN
  2. Dominique KLEIN, who was mentioned in Pierre PENNINGER’s will
  3. Jean KLEIN married Eve FLORENTZ
  4. 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:

  1. Ludovine BOCK married Jean-Michel REULAND
  2. Marguerite BOCK married Jean KETTELS of Niederwiltz
  3. Jean-Grégoire BOCK married Marie LEMMAER of Brandenbourg
  4. Jean-Nicolas BOCK, a notary from Merzig-sur-la-Sarre, was a Penninger scholar

Jean-Michel REULAND and Ludovine BOCK had the following children:

  1. Marie-Marguerite REULAND married Guillaume FISCHBACH (conflicting information – this daughter is also seen in the line down from the founder’s sister Hélène)
  2. Anne-Marguerite REULAND married N. Fischbach
  3. Jean-Philippe REULAND
  4. Jean-Nicolas REULAND
  5. Marie-Catherine REULAND married Léonard HOSCHEID of Brandenbourg

Léonard HOBSCHEID (sic, HOSCHEID) and Marie-Catherine REULAND of Brandenbourg had the following children:

  1. Marie-Catherine HOBSCHEID (sic) married(1) Philippe FISCHBACH and married(2) Michel LIMES of Brandenbourg
  2. Michel HOBSCHEID (sic) of Brandenbourg married an unknown lady
  3. 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.

The church of Brandenbourg with the cemetery on the sides and back.

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.


Auguste Neÿen, Biographie luxembourgeoise: histoire des hommes distingues …, Volume 2, Luxembourg 1861; pg. 40 and 105; online https://archive.org/stream/biographieluxem00negoog#page/n45/mode/2up/search/Penninger

Koltz, Jean-Pierre, Manuel des fondations de bourses d’étude instituées en faveur des Luxembourgeois; V. Bück , Luxembourg, 1858; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=2828373&search_terms=Elisabeth%20Hobscheid#panel:pp|issue:2828373|article:DTL3386|page:107|query:Elisabeth Hobscheid

52 Ancestors: #7 Thomas PREISER and Anna Maria SCHRANTZ of Diekirch

I made an unusual discover while researching this family group. To weave it into their story, and hopefully make reading the post a bit easier, I wrote this differently.

1753 Baptismal Record of Thomas, legitimate son of Jois PREISER and Anna Maria FETH.[1]
Thomas PREISER was born and baptized on 23 September 1753 in Diekirch. His godparents were Thomas PREISER, likely his paternal grandfather, and Apolonia HOCHDÖRFFERS, a single person, of Diekirch. Thomas was the son of Joannis PREISER and Anna Maria FETH.[1] He was their first child and only son.

Three and a half years later his sister Margaretha was born.[2] She, however, was not his only sister. His mother Anna Maria had been previously married to Nicolai SCHEID (SCHOOD) with whom she had four daughters. I will write about them when I get to the next generation.

The Unusual Discovery

One of these daughters was Anna Margaretha SCHOOD who married Gangolf “Gangolphe” WILLMES in 1764. A little over one hundred years later a great-great-grandson of Anna Maria FETH through her daughter Anna Margaretha SCHOOD and a great-great-granddaughter through her son Thomas PREISER, third cousins, would marry and have 11 children – the youngest being my husband’s grandfather. This was a first for me. Both husbands of my children’s 6th great-grandmother were their 6th great-grandfathers.

Thomas and Anna Maria’s Story

Thomas PREISER married Anna Maria SCHRANTZ, daughter of Petrus SCHRANTZ and Anne Marie HAMEN, on 15 February 1779 in Diekirch.[3] Both the bride and groom signed their names on the marriage record.

1779 Marriage Record of Thomas PREUSEN and Anna Maria SCHRANZ.[3]
Anna Maria was born and baptized on 3 January 1754 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Nicolaus SCHRANTZ and Anna Maria PROMMENSCHENCKEL.[4]

1754 Baptismal Record of Anna Maria, legitimate daughter of Petri SCHRANTZ and Anna Maria HAMEN.[4]
Thomas, a farmer, and Anna Maria were the parents of ten children. Their first child, a son, as was the tradition of the time, had his paternal grandfather Thomas as his godfather and his maternal grandmother Anna Maria as his godmother.

The family grew over the years and in 1790, after 11 years of marriage, they had six children, two sons and four daughters, all living. But 1790, which brought the birth of their second son Anton, also saw the death of their youngest daughter Magdalena who was not quite four years old.

A daughter and a son were born in 1792 and 1794 bringing the total number of living children to seven. Then in 1795 their oldest child Joannes died at the age of 15. Two more sons were born to the couple in 1797 and 1799.

By the turn of the century Thomas and Anna Maria had 8 living children, 4 sons and 4 daughters. A year later, on 4 January 1801,[5] Thomas died leaving Anna Maria with children aged between less than 2 and 19.

Life without Thomas meant his widow would not be sharing the milestones in the lives of their children with him. Anna Maria’s three oldest children married during the 1810s leaving her with four sons and a daughter still at home. In the 1820s daughter Maria gave birth to five children. She died in 1818 and the children all died between 1817-1819. There were, however, also good times in the 1820s with three of Anna Maria’s sons marrying.

By 1830 only daughter Elisabetha and youngest son Nicolas were still single. No record of death or marriage was found in Diekirch for Nicolas. He may have left the town to work or marry in an as yet unknown location.

In 1830 Elisabetha was working as a clothes presser (repasseuse) and gave birth to a stillborn daughter. No father was listed on the death record of the child and the stillbirth was reported by the midwife.

On 13 January 1832 Elisabetha’s brother Anton had the sad duty of being the informant on the death of their mother Anna Maria SCHRANTZ.[6]

Almost a year later Elisabetha married Pierre LEY who was 17 years younger than she was. On the second anniversary of her mother’s death Elisabetha, who was nearly 42, gave birth to another stillborn daughter. Elisabetha and her merchant husband did not have any other children. The marriage may not have been a happy one. In 1856, when Elisabetha and Pierre had been married 23 years they owned in the Diekirch area a house with stable on the Place d’Armes, a barn with stable in the Watresgasse, several pieces of farmland and gardens, and a newly built house at Bleesbruck on the Heerstrasse from Diekirch to Vianden and Echternach.

Der Wächter an der Sauer. 12 July 1856. page 3. online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=1607536&search_terms=ley#panel:pp|issue:1607536|article:DTL121|query:ley

All of the property was put up for auction on 20 July 1856. Three months later on October 16 Elisabetha filed an application for the separation of property.

Der Wächter an der Sauer. 18 October 1856. page 4, column 3. online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=1608203&search_terms=Haus#panel:pp|issue:1608203|article:DTL133|query:Haus

Seven months later her husband was dead and she died three months later. Her brother Peter was the informant for her death on 14 August 1857. Their siblings Margaretha (the younger, my children’s 4th great-grandmother), Anton, and Margaretha (the elder) had already died leaving only Peter and his younger brother Joseph. Three years later in 1860 Peter once again acted as the informant for the death of his brother Joseph. Peter, the last living child of Thomas and Anna Maria, died two years later in 1862.

The Children of Thomas and Anna Maria

Thomas and Anna Maria had the following children with surnames as found on their baptismal/birth record.

  1. Joannes PREISEN was born/baptized on 1 December 1779 in Diekirch. His godparents were Joannes PREISEN, married, and Anna Maria SCHRANTZ, married, both of Diekirch.[7] He died on 6 June 1795 in Diekirch.[8]
  2. Margaretha PREISEN was born/baptized on 2 November 1781 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Josephus SCHRANTZ, single, and Margaretha PREISEN, single, both of Diekirch.[9] She married Philippe BERINGER (1778-1849) on 26 May 1803 in Diekirch.[10] She died on 10 January 1854 in Diekirch.[11]
  3. Maria PREUSEN was born/baptized on 7 Nov 1783 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Jacobus MERTEN and Maria BIAS, both of Diekirch.[12] She married François MOLITOR (1784-1863) on 9 May 1808 in Diekirch.[13] She died on 26 Mar 1818 in Diekirch.[14]
  4. Margaretha PREISEN was born/baptized on 13 July 1785 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Baptista FETH and Margaretha KESSELER, both of Diekirch.[15] She married Mathias LORENTZ (1775-1822) on 28 November 1809 in Diekirch.[16] She died on 17 November 1843 in Diekirch.[17]
  5. Maria Margaretha “Magdalena” PREISEN was born/baptized on 22 July 1787 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Michael GRASER and Maria Margaretha SCHRANTZ, both of Diekirch.[18] She died on 28 November 1790 in Diekirch.[19] Her name on her death record was Magdalena. Her baptismal record was recorded as Magdalena, then crossed out, and corrected to read Maria Margaretha, the name of her godmother.
  6. Antoine “Anton” PREUSEN was born/baptized on 5 January 1790 in Diekirch. His godparents were Michael Schrantz who substituted for Antonius SCHRANTZ and Barbara JUTTEL, both of Diekirch.[20] He married Marguerite CARMES (1790-1870) on 9 January 1821 in Diekirch.[21] He died on 1 June 1847 in Diekirch.[22] Antoine and his wife had 8 children, only one son lived to marry and carry on the surname.
  7. Elisabetha PREISEN was born/baptized on 25 August 1792 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Maximinus HAMEN and Elisabetha SCHRANTZ, both of Diekirch.[23] She married Pierre LEY (1809-1857) on 10 January 1833 in Diekirch.[24] She died on 14 August 1857 in Diekirch.[25]
  8. Peter PREUSEN was born/baptized on 4 December 1794 in Diekirch. HIS godparents were Peter BUNGERT and Margaretha SCHRANTZ.[26] He married Cathérine LORANG (1797-1866) on 5 March 1823 in Diekirch.[27] He died on 6 July 1862 in Diekirch.[28] Peter and his wife had 9 children, only one son who never married and died at the age of 80.
  9. Joseph PREUSEN was born/baptized on 20 February 1797 in Diekirch. His godparents were Josepho SCHRANZ and Josepha BIAS.[29] He married Susanne KLEIN (1798-1852) on 23 May 1827 in Diekirch.[30] He died on 17 June 1860 in Diekirch.[31] Joseph and his wife had 8 children, only one son who never married and died at the age of 80.
  10. Nicolaus PREUSEN was born on 25 Mar 1799 in Diekirch.[32] It is not known when he died.

As this story was coming together, I attended a lecture on Luxembourgish surnames. The surname of this family is unusual and, with the evolution of surnames on my mind, I wrote an unexpected end to this family’s story. To be continued tomorrow….


[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 55 of 373. 1753 Baptismal Record (right page, 3rd entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-LHPC?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : accessed 12 February 2017).

[2] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 75 of 373. 1757 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-LHTB?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : accessed 17 February 2017).
[3] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes, mariages 1779-1786, décès 1779-1785 > image 24 of 208. 1779 Marriage Record (right page, top entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-4QKH?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-GPF%3A1500890501%2C1500945258 : accessed 12 February 2017).
[4] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 57 of 373. 1754 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-LHT1?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : accessed 12 February 2017).
[5] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 978 of 1493. 1801 Death Record No. 43 (14 nivôse an IX). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68G9-R27?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929%3A129628901%2C129848701 : 17 July 2014).
[6] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 119 of 1358. 1832 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-159981-43?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL:129628901,129628902 : accessed 27 Sep 2014).
[7] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789  > image 225 of 373. 1779 Baptismal Record (right page, first entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-LCV6?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : 9 January 2015).
[8] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes 1794-1797, décès 1794-1797, 1807 > image 11 of 59. 1795 Death Record (left page, 2nd entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9JFL?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-4WL%3A1500890501%2C1501083068 : accessed 17 February 2017).
[9] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 250 of 373. 1781 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-LC5P?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : 9 January 2015).
[10] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 550 of 1492. 1803 Marriage Record (6 prairial an XI). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYH3-RBM?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38%3A129628901%2C130301801 : accessed 16 February 2017).
[11] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 489 of 1358. 1854 Death Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XYW-S3N?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL%3A129628901%2C129628902 : accessed 13 February 2017).
[12] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789  > image 275 of 373. 1783 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry).(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-LCNF?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : accessed 12 Feb 2017).
[13] Ibid., Diekirch >  Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1808-1809, 1811 > image 14 of 80. 1808 Marriage Record (left page, middle).   (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9Z58?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-16K%3A1500890501%2C1501023192 : 9 January 2015).
[14] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 1331 of 1493. 1818 Death Record (left page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68G9-5DJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929%3A129628901%2C129848701 : 17 July 2014).
[15] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 299 of 373. 1785 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32421-8798-97?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL:1500890501,1500918030 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[16] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 750 of 1492. 1809 Marriage Record page 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11618-101768-87?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2N2:1627336735 : accessed 04 Apr 2013). Second part on image 751.
[17] 4. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), <i>FamilySearch</i> (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 317 of 1358. 1843 Death Record No. 37. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-160328-63?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2NH:n538876208 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[18] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 325 of 373. 1787 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-LCBJ?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : accessed 12 Feb 2017).
[19] Ibid., Diekirch > Sépultures 1743-1793 > image 117 of 140. 1790 Death Record (right page, 6th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-LHFL?cc=2037955&wc=STH6-6Y7%3A1500890501%2C1500929176 : 9 January 2015).
[20] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790, confirmations 1768-1789 > image 355 of 373. 1790 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd entry). https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-LC4Y?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL%3A1500890501%2C1500918030 : 9 January 2015).
[21] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 1066 of 1492. 1821 Marriage Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYH3-5PC?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38%3A129628901%2C130301801 : accessed 16 February 2017).
[22] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 377 of 1358. 1847 Death Record No. 31. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XYW-ZWN?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL%3A129628901%2C129628902 : accessed 13 February 2017).
[23] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1791-1795, mariages 1794-1798, 1800-1803, sépultures 1794-1795 > image 27 of 243. 1792 Baptismal Record (left page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-47G1?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-2JW%3A1500890501%2C1501017982 : 9 January 2015).
[24] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 1310 of 1492. 1833 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYH3-RGQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38%3A129628901%2C130301801 : accessed 20 July 2015).
[25] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 563 of 1358. 1857 Death Record No. 46. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XYW-M2G?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL%3A129628901%2C129628902 : accessed 13 February 2017).
[26] Luxembourg church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1791-1795, mariages 1794-1798, 1800-1803, sépultures 1794-1795 > image 61 of 243. 1794 Baptismal Record (right page, bottom entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WS-472C?cc=2037955&wc=STHD-2JW%3A1500890501%2C1501017982 : 9 January 2015).
[27] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842  > image 1132 of 1492. 1823 Marriage Record.  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYHQ-M2W?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38%3A129628901%2C130301801 : accessed 16 February 2017).
[28] Ibid., No. 65. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XYW-MPV?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL%3A129628901%2C129628902 : accessed 13 Feb 2017).
[29] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Baptêmes 1797-1805, mariages, décès 1797-1807 > image 5 of 133. 1797 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-986Z?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-1XS%3A1500890501%2C1500998368 : 9 January 2015).
[30] Luxembourg Civil Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 1201 of 1492. 1827 Marriage Publication. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYH3-2LB?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38%3A129628901%2C130301801 : accessed 16 February 2016).
[31] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 615 of 1358. 1860 Death Record No. 28. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XYW-9NQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL%3A129628901%2C129628902 : accessed 13 February 2017).
[32] Luxembourg Church Records, Diekirch > Naissances 1796-1802 > image 171 of 311. 1799 Birth Record (left page, 5 germinal an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9N93?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-MNP%3A1500890501%2C1500941302 : accessed 17 February 2017).

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

Fearless Females: 27 Female Ancestors Share My First Name!

This is my entry for Day 3:  Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

My first name is Catherine and I share it with the following 27 ancestors (mostly maternal, only 5 are paternal and marked with an *):

mother, Catherine Josette WILDINGER
great-grandmother, Catherine PÖPPELREITER
great-grandmother, Catherine FRANTZ
3rd great-grandmothers, Maria Katharina GROELINGER
3rd great-grandmothers, Catherine SCHRAMEN
3rd great-grandmothers, Marie Catherine PHILIPPART
4th great-grandmother, Maria Catharina SCHUMACHER
4th great-grandmother, Catharina HAMES
4th great-grandmother, Catharina CORNELY
4th great-grandmother, Anne Catherine HENNES
4th great-grandmother, Catherine MEUNIER
5th great-grandmother, Katharina KLEIN
5th great-grandmother, Maria Katharina HUSS
5th great-grandmother, Catherine Barbara NOLL *
5th great-grandmother, Catherine SINGER
5th great-grandmother, Catherine ARENT
5th great-grandmother, Marie-Cathérine HASTERT
6th great-grandmother, Catharina RONES
6th great-grandmother, Catherine PLICKENSTALVER *
7th great-grandmother, Marie Catherine [–?–] HUSS (descended from her twice)
7th great-grandmother, Catherine SETON
7th great-grandmother, Anne-Catherine ECKART
8th great-grandmother, Catharina KUENZ *
8th great-grandmother, Katharina B. [–?–] BLICKENSDOERFER *
8th great-grandmother, Catherine LEPINE
9th great-grandmother, Catherine RATZEN
12th great-grandmother, Katherine (Honeywood) FLEETE *

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey