Cousin Bait, a Brick Wall, and a Quick Tip

Earlier this month I received an email from Tina CORNELY. She’d stumbled upon my blog AND loves the name! That was enough to get my attention. She also wrote:

My family tree has been pretty successful on both my maternal and paternal sides, and I have gotten as far back as the early medieval times. The odd thing is I can’t find any information about my great-great-grandfather John Feis CORNELY. John was born in 1857 Germany. That’s all I can dig up. I was just about to give up when I came across your blog. 

That said, I still was unable to find his parents. However, I do know that he lived in Wyandot, Ohio which is where some of your relatives lived.

Any tips you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

John Feis CORNELY born in 1857 in Germany

Tina’s query didn’t include much information for me to go on. I suspected the birthplace and year of birth likely came from a census record. My search for a John CORNELY born in 1857 in Germany turned up this census record:

Ancestry search results for John F. Cornely born 1857 in Germany

John F. COONLEY (surname on index corrected by a user to CORNELY) was enumerated in the 1900 census. The index shows he was born in Germany in May 1857. But wait, John’s age on the census index is 49 which would mean he was born about 1851.1

Let’s take a look at the census image.

1900 U.S. Federal Census image courtesy of Ancestry

The month and year of birth on the census image are May 1851 which fits with the age of 49. John and his wife Mary had been married for 17 years. Mary was the mother of six with only one living child in 1900. A son Edward F. age 15, born in Ohio, is listed in the household. The columns for citizenship (year of emigration to the US, the number of years in the US, and naturalization) are filled out with “Un” or unknown.

Very few online trees for Edward F. CORNELY were found. Only one had the names of his parents. The attached source for the parents was this 1900 census with the incorrect date and place of birth for John CORNELY. There are no parents listed for John in any of the trees found. No further information on John F. CORNELY. This was where Tina was stuck. But had I found the right person?

Three of the four suggested records (see on the right of the 1900 census result image above) were for Edward and mentioned his father John F. CORNELY.

I followed the son and found, in later census records, he gave his father’s birthplace as Luxembourg.2

Edward’s death certificate listed Feis CORNELY and Mary KEANY as his parents.3

The Social Security Applications and Claims Index listed John F. CORNELY and Mary KEANEY as the parents of Edward.4

Searching for records before 1900, I found Felix Edward CORNELY was born in Salem Township, Wyandot County, Ohio to J. F. CORNELY and Mary KEANEY on 11 February 1885.5 This matches the date listed on his death certificate and social security application.

John F. CORNELY and Mary KEANY were married in Wyandot County, Ohio on 10 November 1883.6 [Note: The bride’s maiden name was seen as KEANY and KEANEY and listed here as seen in each record.]

More information was found for John’s son and his descendants which led to Tina’s generation. With the line down from John to Tina confirmed, I turned to my relatives in Wyandot County who shared the CORNELY surname with this family.

The CORNELY family of Wyandot County, Ohio, and their connection to my line

The CORNELY surname has been featured in several posts on this blog. First when I wrote about my 4th great-grandparents, Jean Baptiste MAJERUS and Catharina CORNELY of Strassen, Luxembourg. This was followed up by a post on Catharina’s parents, my 5th greats, Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN of Wickrange, Luxembourg.

My favorite was the post about a CORNELY family who emigrated from Luxembourg in 1854.

Click the image to view the post.

Jacques CORNELY (1800-1855) and his wife Magdalena KUNNERT (1807-1887) with their seven children arrived in America on 18 May 1854.7 Jacques died a little over a year later in October 1855.8 The widow was in Seneca County, Ohio in 18609 and in Wyandot County, Ohio in 187010 and 1880.11

Jacques and my 4th great-grandmother Catharina were first cousins. I learned about Jacques’ branch in my family tree when I found a DNA match for a descendant of Jacques and Magdalena’s only daughter Catherine.12

Could Tina’s John Feis CORNELY be related to my CORNELY family?

If the information in the indexation of the 1900 census had been correct, then John F. CORNELY couldn’t have been the son of Jacques and Magdalena as the father of the family died in 1855.

However, by taking a closer look at the census record, I found John F. “Feis” CORNELY was born in May 1851 and, per later census records of his son, his birthplace was likely Luxembourg.

The youngest son of Jacques CORNELY was named Johann when he was born on 4 May 1851 in Obercorn, Luxembourg.13 This son was seen in 1860 as Jacob age 8, in 1870 as John age 18, and in 1880 as J.F. age 29 in the household of his mother Magdalena. Not uncommon in Luxembourg families, there were two sons named Johann. In 1860 the elder was listed as John and the younger as Jacob, most likely to keep them apart.

In 1870 and 1880 they were living in Salem Township, Wyandot County, Ohio. The same county that the 1883 marriage for John F. CORNELY and Mary KEANEY was found, the same township that their son Edward was born in.

A newspaper article written in 1899 further supports the theory that J.F. CORNELY of Wyandot County is the same person as John F. CORNELY seen in the 1900 census listing in Putnam County, Florida.14

We received a pleasant call Tuesday afternoon from an old Wyandot County friend, Mr. J. F. Cornely, now a resident of West Mansfield where he operates a saw mill. He has arranged to go to Florida next fall as a member of the Northern Colony that has secured 24000 acres of land near Palatka and therefore is going to dispose of his mill at West Mansfield at Public Sale, Saturday, June 17. This colony was organized by the Chicago Farm, Field and Fireside and consists of some 200 families among its patrons in the different states who expect to locate on their new possessions in the Peninsular state this coming fall. Each head of a family buys as much of the land at $10 per acre as he can pay for and makes his own selection. The colony proposes to devote its energies to farming. We wish our esteemed friend success both in the sale of his saw mill at West Mansfield and in his proposed home in Florida.

Lastly, a broad search for CORNELY in Florida on Newspaper.com turned up a notice for the funeral services of John F. CORNELY. His son Edward arrived on 4 November 1908 in Tampa, attended the funeral on the 6th, and then returned to Jacksonville the following day. No widow was listed.15 A record of his death, other than the clipping, was not found.

Quick Tip: View the Image Before Attaching it to Your Family Tree

When the 1900 census hint was accepted and attached to the trees on Ancestry, the incorrectly indexed birth date and birthplace for John F. CORNELY was added to his biographical information throwing up a brick wall that hid his parentage. The wrong birth date was also found on FamilySearch‘s Family Tree citing the 1900 census as the source!

Before accepting the information generated (indexed) by Ancestry and adding the record to your family tree, take the time to view the image and read the lines referenced in the index. Then, when saving the record to the person of interest in your tree, be sure to pay close attention to the extracted information and correct the incorrectly indexed information. It may take a few moments but will save you time later correcting errors in your family tree.

Proof that blogging is cousin bait

My posts on my CORNELY family were found by Tina who wrote to me and shared her brick wall. Solving it, I gained a new cousin. We are 6th cousins once removed, sharing Pierre CORNELY (1720-1793) and Marie SCHINTGEN (1725-bef. 1793), my 6th great-grandparents.

Tina thanked me by kindly sharing this picture of her great-great-grandparents, John Feis CORNELY and Mary KEANY.

Johann Feis Cornely and Mary Keaney courtesy of Tina Cornely. Used with permission.

From evidence found, Tina’s John F. CORNELY was the youngest of Jacques and Magdalena’s children. A young boy who survived the wreck of the ship Black Hawk, marked his 3rd birthday on the Currituck, and stepped onto American soil in New York – all within a month. A young man who supported his mother in her years of widowhood in Ohio. A husband and father who sold his sawmill in Ohio to acquire land in Florida.

Many thanks to Tina for sharing and allowing me to write about her brick wall.

One door opened only to find another closed door

Another mystery in the CORNELY family was discovered while I was searching for records to connect Tina’s family to mine. Two CORNELY men were already living in Seneca County, Ohio when Jacques CORNELY’s family came to America and first settled in Seneca County in 1854. They were not children of Jacques and Magdalena who might have paved the way for the family’s move to America. They may have been close or distant cousins and their place in the family tree will have to be found.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1240176, Florida, Putnam County, Precinct 19, Enumeration District 150, Page 7A, line 17-19, John F. Cornely. The official enumeration day of the 1900 census was 1 June 1900. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 March 2021). 
  2. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_219, Florida, Duval, Mandarin, Enumeration District: 83, Page: 9A, lines 3-6, Edward F. Cornely. The official enumeration day of the 1920 census was 1 January 1920. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 March 2021). 
  3. “South Carolina, U.S., Death Records, 1821-1968,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing South Carolina Death Records, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina. Edward Felix Cornely, born 11 Feb 1885, died 2 Aug 1958 in Abbeville SC, parents Feis Cornely and Mary Cornely. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 March 2021). 
  4. “U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” (index only), Ancestry, citing original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007, Edward Felix Cornely, SSN 719072511. Male, white, born 11 Feb 1885 in Salem Twp, WY (sic, Wyandot), Ohio, father John F Cornely, mother Mary Keaney, Apr 1937: Name listed as Edward Felix Cornely. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 March 2021). 
  5. “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” (database with images), FamilySearch citing county courthouses, Ohio, Wyandot > Birth registers 1880-1891 > image 26 of 148 > line 64. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RYW-SFX7?cc=1932106&wc=Q6QM-957%3A227738401%2C227780701 : accessed 14 March 2021) 
  6. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016,” (database with images), FamilySearch citing county courthouses, Ohio, Wyandot > Marriage records 1877-1886 vol 5 > image 290 of 390, page 446-447, John F Cornely and Mary Keany married 10 November 1883. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BJ3W-WG?cc=1614804&wc=ZY7Q-W38%3A122456701%2C122607001 : accessed 14 March 2021) 
  7. “New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” index and images, Ancestry, citing Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897, Roll 139, Arrival: 1854 New York, New York, List number 496, Line 304-312, Cornely family. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020) 
  8. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 26 February 2020), memorial page for Jacob Cornely (19 May 1810–15 Oct 1855), Find A Grave Memorial no. 47794946, citing Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery, Kirby, Wyandot County, Ohio, USA; Maintained by Gathering Roots (contributor 47213048). 
  9. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1034, Family History Library Film: 805034, Ohio, Seneca County, Big Spring, sheet 42 (stamped) back (42B), page 84, lines 11-18, HH #594-574, Magdalena Cornelia. The official enumeration day of the 1860 census was 1 June 1860. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  10. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1284, Family History Library Film: 552783, Ohio, Wyandot County, Salem, page 810B, lines 9-11, HH #27-27, Magdaline Cornelius. The official enumeration day of the 1870 census was 1 June 1870.  (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  11. 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: 1079, Ohio, Wyandot County, Salem, Enumeration District 163, page 467B, lines 10-12, HH #193, Magdalena Cornely. The official enumeration day of the 1880 census was 1 June 1880. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  12. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 548 of 1492. 1838 Birth Record No. 52. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-CNH?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  13. Ibid.,  Differdange > Naissances 1807-1880 > image 817 of 1492. 1851 Birth Record No. 37. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DRN3-WV2?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-168%3A129627401%2C130124201 : accessed 26 February 2020). 
  14. “Local Department” item concerning J.F. Cornely, The Union County Journal (Marysville, Ohio), Thursday, 8 June 1899, p. 5, col. 2; image copy, Newspapers.com, (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 23 March 2021). 
  15. “Funeral Services” of John F. Cornely, Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida), Saturday, 7 Nov 1908, p. 1, col. 6; image copy, Newspapers.com, (https://www.newspapers.com : accessed 26 March 2021). 

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2021

It’s time for my Ancestor Score! 

We would not be here without the ancestral couples who came before us. What better day to feature them than on Valentine’s Day. Nearly all of my ancestors were married, some cut it close, and two ancestresses never bothered to marry.

I’ve been writing about The Ancestors since I began blogging, going back one generation at a time. Generations 2 through 7 are complete except for one set of 4th great-grandparents. The 8th generation is off to a good start with nearly a dozen couples’ stories already written. Vital statistics, spouses, children, residence, occupation, ownership, military service, and miscellaneous biographical information were used in the stories.

There are close to 400 known ancestors in the next four generations – many have baptism, marriage, and burial records, some have more biographical detail,  while others may only be names gleaned from their children’s records.

In the past, I’ve kept track of the ancestors back to the earliest known ancestor in the 21st generation. This year I decided to count only the ancestors back to my 7th great-grandparents.

My Ancestor Score

Nearly 90% of my ancestors are known up to generation 8. The numbers go down significantly in the next two generations due to the brick walls in my paternal lines in the US.

New Names in the Family Tree

The name of Henry TREADWAY’s first wife was found this past year in a book with a series of sketches on early families of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio, written by Mrs. Mary Donaldson Sinclair  (1862-1940) in the early 1930s, and published at that time by The Steubenville Herald-Star. The article included not only Henry TREADWAY’s wife’s name but also her parents’ names and where they were from. Three new names in the family tree (generations 7 and 8) need to be researched. Perhaps they will firm up the assumption that Henry TREADWAY and Sarah JOHNSON were the parents of my 3rd great-grandmother Sarah Ann TREADWAY. DNA matches to descendants of three other children of Henry have been found in one cluster and are the reason I’ve taken a closer look at available publications.

Henry TREADWAY and his wife are the 4th great-grandparents I mentioned above that have not yet been featured on my blog. I plan to take time to review the research I’ve done and, finally, write about them sometime this year.

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s numbers are looking a lot better than mine as their paternal line is Luxembourgish. The 4% missing in the subtotal up to generation 8 is due to my DEMPSEY, DOSS, and COOLEY brick walls, as well as, one set of 5th great-grandparents that is unknown on their paternal side.

How do you keep track of your ancestors?

I learned this way of keeping tabs on the progress of genealogy research on Barbara Schmidt’s blog Connecting the Worlds in 2014. This is my 8th year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.

The posts from previous years can be found here:

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Lëtz Research: Luxembourg Civil Marriage Records and Their Amazing Detail

In my post Lëtz Research: How to Find Luxembourg Civil Birth Records I shared a lengthy reply I sent to J. who posed a question via the contact form on Luxracines website asking for assistance on finding a Luxembourg civil birth record.

As I mentioned at the end of the post, J. had a follow-up question.

Another question, how do you proceed if you don’t have the date of birth or place?  For instance, the father Johann Peter Garnich.  How would I look for his father?

I hadn’t put her off with my lengthy answer and she appeared interested in learning. So once again I sent off a detailed reply.

Finding the date of marriage in the ten-year index

I was expecting your next question. That’s the reason I mentioned the tables décennales (TD) in my previous email.

BTW, the ten-year indexes (tables décennales) are very helpful when you know the name and place but not the date of birth, marriage, or death (BMD). For each 10-year period, you will find 3 lists (BMD) that include the name of the person and the date of the event. With the date of the event, you can follow the previous directions to find the record.

If a couple was having children in a commune, it was often also the place they married. By searching the tables décennales of Bettembourg where the child was born, you should be able to find a date of marriage for the parents in turn aiding you in finding the marriage record.

Details in marriage records

Marriage records are amazing due to the details they contain. They include the following information for the groom and the bride: name, occupation, age, place of residence, date and place of birth, names of the parents. This is followed by information for the parents: names, occupation, age, and place of residence. If any of the parents are deceased, the date and place of death are given. Four witnesses (name, age, occupation, residence) are also given and their relationship to the bride or groom is usually mentioned.

In my early days of research, I quickly learned marriage records had enough information to take me back a generation at a time.

As an aside, Luxracines has a very large database of civil marriages in Luxembourg (complete). It includes marriages of Luxembourgers in the bordering areas of Belgium (a work in progress) and Germany as well as several large cities (Paris, for example) known to have had workers from Luxembourg. Luxracinces is now accepting subscriptions for the year 2021 giving members access to the website and databases until January 2022. See the section on Becoming a Member on the Luxracines website. [I included this as she had initiated contact on the website.]

The entry in the tables décennales

Your couple of interest is in the above-mentioned marriage database with a date of marriage in Bettembourg in 1883. Without this information, you could have looked at the tables décennales to find their names and date of marriage. This is the page they are on in the TD on FamilySearch:

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (1).
Close-up of the entry for Jean Pierre GARNICH and Elisabeth SCHELTGEN (seen here as Elise SCHALTGEN). Screenshot of FamilySearch website (2).

Click on the tiles button to view the small images. You can see the difference between the lists for births and deaths and the list for marriages. The marriage list always has two names and therefore looks different from the birth and death lists making it easy to navigate the images and each batch of 10 years.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (3).

Now that you have the date of marriage, I’ll let you search for the record. When you find the marriage record, let me know and I’ll try to help you decipher the handwriting and point out the information from the record.

Locating the marriage record

Less than two hours later, J. sent me three links. The first was for a marriage record from 1884 instead of 1883. I had failed to be more precise about the index’s location in the marriage register. The second link she sent was the index to the 1883 marriages and included the names of the couple. The third link she sent was the link to the actual 1883 marriage record. Good work!

A detail I failed to pass on to J. is that the index is normally at the end of the year. She needed to go back through the images to find the record instead of forward from the index (i.e. the reason she found the 1884 marriage record first).

Before I went into the details concerning the marriage record, I gave J. some advice on citing the source of the marriage record.

Cite your Source

If you click on the Information tab at the bottom of the screen and scroll down in the small window, you will find the citation. Click on Copy Citation to save it. This will be extremely helpful when you want to point someone else to the marriage record. If the link is ever changed the waypoints > will help you or them to find the record again.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (4)

This is the Source Citation:

“Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1796-1941,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6X5Z-9?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-K68%3A129623601%2C129637201 : 17 July 2014), Bettembourg > Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1885 > image 571 of 1479; Archives nationales de Luxembourg (National Archives), Luxembourg.

I always replace the date following the link with “accessed [the date accessed]” for later reference.

Annotations and translation of the marriage record

The marriage record of Johann Peter GARNICH and Elisabeth SCHELTGEN is in German, the official language used at this time in Luxembourg.

1883 Marriage Record No. 5 for Johann Peter GARNICH and Elisabeth SCHELTGEN in Bettembourg. Image courtesy of FamilySearch (see citation above)

This is the first part of the marriage record which deals with the groom.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (5)

In the year 1883, the 22nd of May at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, (followed by the name of the civil servant of the commune of Bettembourg in Luxembourg) came before us Johann Peter Garnich (occupation), 28 years old, born in Bettembourg the 8 November 1854, a resident of Bettembourg, of age son of the here present and consenting parents Peter Garnich and Katharina Wind, a married couple, farmers living in Bettembourg. The civil birth record of the groom was found in the register of this commune.

Part two with the information on the bride:

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (6)

And Elisabeth Scheltgen, without an occupation, 25 years old, born in Bergem in the commune of Monnerich (Mondercange) the 11 January 1858, a resident of Bergem, of age daughter of the here present and consenting parents Michel Scheltgen, an innkeeper, and Helena Nicola, without an occupation, residents of Bergem. An abstract of the birth record of the bride was furnished.

Part three concerning the banns, records read at the marriage, etc.

Who have asked us to proceed to the consummation of their marriage as agreed between them, and their proclamations, [place and date of the first reading of the banns, place and date of the second reading of the banns] were read the Sundays 6th and 13th of this month of May in this commune in the commune of Monnerich (Mondercange).

Since no objection to the intended marriage has been announced to us, we give justice to their request; and after we have read out all the above-mentioned acts (birth records) and the sixth chapter of the civil code, entitled Marriage, we have asked the bridegroom and the bride whether they will take each other as husband and wife; since both replied, each specially and in the affirmative, we declare in the name of the law that Johann Peter Garnich and Elisabeth Scheltgen are united by marriage.

This is the last part of the marriage record.

Of all this, we have established this act in the presence of:
Nikolaus Mootz, without occupation, 88 years resident of Bettembourg, not related to bride and groom
Jakob Hoscheit, (occupation) 29 years old, resident of Bettembourg, not related
Bernard Klinsch, day laborer, 37 years old, resident of Bettembourg, not related
Johann Kunsch, day laborer, 21 years old, resident of Bettembourg, not related
Who, after reading all to them, signed with us.
The mother of the bride declared not being able to write.

[Followed by signatures of the bride, groom, parents, 4 witnesses, and the civil servant]

The bride Elisabeth must have gone by Lisa as she signed Scheltgen Lisa. I thought this was an interesting detail and makes it more personal.

Occupation of the groom and the 2nd witness

Now it’s your turn to help J.  I was not able to decipher the occupation of the groom on this marriage record. The second witness appears to have had the same occupation. If anyone can help out, I’ll pass the information on to J.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Françoise FOURNEL (1678-1729) and Jean COURTOIS (1684-1745)

This is the 4th in a series of posts on my earliest FOURNELLE ancestors. After setting up the stageintroducing the main characters and supporting cast, I am now discussing each of the children of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702). All posts written to date are listed at the end of this post.

During the next few weeks, I will analyze and write about the seven children of Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702) who married and had children.

In this post, I will go into the life of their oldest known child, Françoise FOURNEL (1678-1729).

1678 Baptismal Record of Françoise FOURNELLE. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 19 de 529.

Françoise, my 6th great-grandaunt, was born on 18 March 1678 in Saulnes and baptized the same day. Her godparents were Guillaume DASSIS and a lady by the first name of Françoise.1 Her parents, Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON had likely married the previous year. As mentioned in previous posts on her parents, the spelling of the surname FOURNEL varied and was seen as FOURNELLE in this record.

Françoise was five years old when her brother Nicolas was born on 30 September 1683 in Saulnes.2 Other siblings were born when she was 8, 10, 12, 13, 18, and 20 years old. Her mother Catherine died on 21 September 1702 in Saulnes when Françoise was 24 years old.3

As a young single woman, Françoise became the godmother of two children born in her village. Etienne DELVA and Françoise LOUIS chose her to be their son Jean’s godmother on 26 September 1697 when she was 19 years old.4 Jean DROUET and Jeanne REMY requested her to be the godmother of their son François on 27 September 1705 when she was 26 years old.5

1708 Marriage Record of Jean COURTOIS and Françoise FOURNEL. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 300 de 529.

At the age of 29, Françoise became the wife of Jean COURTOIS. They were married on 23 January 1708 in Saulnes. Jean was 23 years old and the son of Jean COURTOIS and Barbe FRANÇOIS. Witnesses to the marriage were Jean’s step-father Henry STRAUT and his older brother Bernard COURTOIS as well as Françoise’s father Jean FOURNEL and her good friend Laurent BOULANGER.6

The groom, Jean COURTOIS lost his father at the young age of four months. His father died in Verdun while traveling in February of 1685.7 This was mentioned in the Herserange church records. I searched through the church records of Verdun but was unable to find a mention of the death. Verdun was a large city at the time with more than a half dozen parishes. Jean’s mother must have remarried as a step-father is named in her son’s marriage record. Further research is necessary to confirm the spelling of the step-father’s name.

Françoise and Jean’s first child was born ten months after their marriage on 14 October 1708. Their son Jean was baptized two days later on 16 October. His godparents were Jean BOULANGER and his maternal aunt Jeanne FOURNEL (seen as FOURNY on the record).8

When Françoise was eight months pregnant with her second child, her brother Nicolas married in Réhon to Barbe AGARANT on 29 June 1710.9

A daughter, Sébastienne COURTOIS was born on 26 July 1710 and was baptized the following day. The second child of Françoise and Jean had as godparents Jean DROUET and her maternal aunt Sébastienne FOURNEL (seen as FOURNY on the record).10

The third child of the couple was named Jean, born on 20 February 1712 and baptized the following day. His godparents were a young boy named Jean SMELER and a young girl named Catherine DASSIS.11 It is not unusual for more than one living child of a couple to be named the same. No death record nor other record has been found for the first son named Jean born in 1708. It’s possible the first son did not survive.

Françoise was pregnant with her fourth child when the next of her siblings married. Her brother Jean FOURNEL married on 22 January 1713 a young lady named Jeanne BERKIN in Rodange (present-day Luxembourg).12 Jean and Jeanne are my direct ancestors, my 6th great-grandparents.

A little over three months later, a daughter named Françoise was born on 2 May 1713 and baptized on 3 May 1713. Jean CHOLOT and Françoise HUGREL were named as her godparents.13 Per records found, all children of Françoise and Jean COURTOIS were born in Saulnes except for Françoise. Her birth/baptismal record was recorded in Larimont, a farm located northeast of Mexy, a village that was burnt down by the Swedes during the Thirty Years War. Herserange, the parish these villages belonged to, lies between Saulnes and Mexy.

The fifth child of this couple was born on 19 June 1715 and baptized the following day. The baby girl was named Barbe after her godmother Barbe DROUET. Her godfather was her maternal uncle Henri FOURNEL (seen as Henry FOURNY on the record).14

On 3 February 1717 Françoise gave birth to her last child, a son named Jacques. He was baptized the following day in the presence of his maternal aunt and uncle, Jeanne FOURNEL and Jacques FOURNEL.15

When Françoise was 42 years old, two of her sisters married. Jeanne FOURNEL married Jérôme PETRISOT in Obercorn, Luxembourg on 28 July 1720.16 Sébastienne FOURNEL married Jean FRANÇOIS on 24 November 1720 in Saulnes.17

A year after her sisters’ marriages, Françoise and her siblings lost their father, Jean FOURNEL who died 3 September 1721 in Saulnes.18

Françoise’s baby brother Jacques FOURNEL married Anne LAUNOIS before 1724. This was likely the last of her siblings she would see married as she died on 13 October 1729 at the age of 51 years. Her husband, who reported the death, gave her age as 45.19

Jean COURTOIS remarried less than two months later on 2 December 1729.20 He chose as his bride Catherine DASSIS, likely the young girl who served as the godmother of his son Jean in 1712. They would have four children during their first decade of marriage. Jean COURTOIS died 30 May 1745 at the age of 60.21

Of the six children of Françoise FOURNEL and Jean COURTOIS, only one has been found to have married and continued the line.

Sébastienne COURTOIS (1710-1766) married Dominique LUX (1706-1766) about 1735. This is a rough guestimate. They had five known children. Baptismal records for three of the five (born in 1745, 1750, and 1752) and marriages and death records for all five were found. The years of birth for the two children with missing baptismal records have been estimated from their age at death. They were born about 1736 and about 1741, i.e. the estimated marriage in 1735.

The two youngest children, Nicolas LUX and Michel LUX married their second cousins Catherine PETRISOT and Marie Jeanne FOURNELLE, both great-grandchildren of Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON, taking the family full circle.

1766 Death Record of Anne Sébastienne COURTOIS. Image courtesy of Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), 5 Mi 259/R 1 vue 412 de 529.

Sébastienne, in later years, was known as Anne Sébastienne, the name on her death record. She died on 20 February 1766 at the age of 55.22 The record names her as the daughter of the deceased Jean COURTOIS “dit la fleur” and wife of Dominique LUX. The only other record I found that refers to Jean COURTOIS as “La Fleur” was the death record of his second wife, Catherine DASSIS the following year.23

Anne Sébastienne’s husband Dominique died a week later on 27 February 1766 at the age of 60.24

Françoise FOURNEL and her husband Jean COURTOIS raised their family in Saulnes where her parents had raised her and her siblings. In my next post, we will see her brother Nicolas FOURNEL marry in a nearby village and raise his family in yet another village.

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 1)

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 2)

Going Back to the Earliest Fournelle Ancestor (Part 3)

Françoise FOURNEL (1678-1729) and Jean COURTOIS (1684-1745)

Nicolas FOURNEL (1683-abt.1748) and Barbe AGARANT (abt.1678-1758)

Jean FOURNEL (1686-1749) and Jeanne BERKIN (1683-1759)

Henri FOURNEL (1688-1753) and Anne LAUNOIS (1692-1758)

Jeanne FOURNEL (~1691-aft. 1756) and Jérôme PÉTRISOT (~1680-1761)

Sébastienne FOURNEL (~1692-1752) and Jean FRANÇOIS (~1681-1741)

Jacques FOURNELLE (~1699-1774) and Marie JACOB (1695-1758)

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archives.cg54.fr/), Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 19 of 529. New terms of use: En application du règlement sur la réutilisation des données publiques adopté par le conseil départemental de Meurthe-et-Moselle (délibération de sa commission permanente n°17, en date du 16 janvier 2017), je m’engage à mentionner la source du document téléchargé (Arch. dép. de Meurthe-et-Moselle, [suivi de la cote complète]), en cas de réutilisation. 1678 Fournel, Françoise baptismal record (middle of right page under Sosne).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075b0db : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  2. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 28 of 529. 1683 Baptismal Record (right page, 5th entry). This document is in poor condition. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538075f780 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Herserange  1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 333 of 529. 1702 Death Record (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538082e2f7 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  4. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 370 of 529. 1697 Baptismal Record of Jean Delva, son of Etienne Delva and Françoise Louis (right page, 3rd entry).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538084ad28 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  5. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > images 347+348 of 529. 1705 Baptismal Record of François Drouet, son of Jean Drouet and Jeanne Remy (right page, bottom and left page, top). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380838767 : accessed 7 August 2020 and http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380839331 : accessed 7 August 2020). 
  6. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 300 of 529. 1708 Marriage Record of Jean Courtois and Françoise Fournel (right page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380814b5d : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  7. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 39 of 529.  1685 Death Record (left page, 6th entry). “Sonne…. février 1685 est mort Jean Courtois … de Verdun étant en voyage, est inhumé dans le cimetière de La Haye du dit Verdun.” (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380764a6b : accessed 21 August 2020). 
  8. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 303 of 529. 1708 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd to last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380816b4f : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  9. Ibid., Réhon 1710-1792 > 5 Mi 450/R 2 > image 373 of 767. 710 Marriage Record (right page, 2nd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10eca1233/54b0f2e7a367b : accessed 7 August 2020). 
  10. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 284 of 529. 1710 Baptismal Record (left page, bottom entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380807750 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  11. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 276 of 529. 1712 Baptismal Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380801422 : accessed 15 August 2020). 
  12. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 >  image 266 of 529. 1713 Marriage Record of Jean Fournel and Jeanne Berkin (right page, top). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807ed8f7 : accessed 2 July 2020). 
  13. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 270 of 529. 1713 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807f0933 : accessed 16 August 2020). 
  14. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 253 of 529. 1715 Baptismal Record (right page, 1st entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807dfa71 : accessed 16 August 2020). 
  15. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 234 of 529. 1717 Baptismal Record (left page, 1st entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807d29ad : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  16. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Obercorn > Baptêmes 1704-1727, 1746, 1794-1797, 1800-1805, mariages 1795-1797, 1800-1807, sépultures 1794-1797, 1802-1807 > image 6 of 296. 1720 Marriage Record (left page, 4th entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WS-9SK3?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-N3T%3A1500974001%2C1500974302 : accessed 12 July 2020). 
  17. Archives Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 178 of 529. 1720 Marriage Record of Jean François and Sébastienne Fournel (left page, 2nd entry).(http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b09bb : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  18. Ibid., Herserange > 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 183 of 529. 1721 Death Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53807b3cf3 : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  19. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 114 of 529. 1729 Death Record (left page, 3rd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b5380788d8e : accessed 7 July 2020). 
  20. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1> image 129 of 529. 1729 Marriage Record of Jean Courtois and Catherine Dassis. (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538079078d : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  21. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 503 of 529. 1745 Death Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b53808bfaf1 : accessed 8 July 2020). 
  22. Ibid., Herserange 1668- 1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 412 of 529. 1766 Death Record (left page, 3rd entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538086dcc5 : accessed 8 August 2020). 
  23. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773 > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 410 of 529. 1767 Death Record (left page, first entry). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538086c273 : accessed 21 August 2020). 
  24. Ibid., Herserange 1668-1773) > 5 Mi 259/R 1 > image 412 of 529. 1766 Death Record (bottom left and top right). (http://archivesenligne.archives.cg54.fr/ark:/33175/s0054ad10ea3e74c/54b538086dcc5 : accessed 18 August 2020). 

Fishing for Cousins: A New Cousin Adds a Twig to the KREMER Branch of the Family Tree

Monday morning I had a comment waiting to be approved on my post 52 Ancestors: #16 A Door Opens in the KREMER-WINANDY Brick Wall written nearly two years ago on 21 April 2017. The post on my husband’s 4th great-grandparents had attracted the interest of another researcher showing me once again that blogging is great cousin bait.

Elodie Kremer is passionate about genealogy and has also researched the KREMER family. In her comment, she said Nicolas KREMER (1797-1867) was her ancestor. I wrote about Nicolas, a son of the KREMER-WINANDY couple, in August 2015 in my post 52 Ancestors: #34 KREMER-FRIEDERICH Family – Using Substitutes to Tell Their Story.

In a follow-up comment, I learned Nicolas’ son Anton KREMER (1836-1918) is the common ancestor Elodie shares with my husband. Anton was her 3rd great-grandfather and my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather making them 3C1R (third cousins once removed). Elodie and my children are fourth cousins; their common ancestors are their 3rd great-grandparents Anton KREMER and Anna Maria MERKES. I wrote about this couple in May 2015 in my post 52 Ancestors: #18 The KREMER-MERKES Family of Bettendorf.

Twelve children were born into the KREMER-MERKES family between 1860 and 1878. Only five of these lived to adulthood. Elodie’s ancestor was their oldest child Nicolas born in 1860 while my husband and children descend from the youngest child who lived, also a Nicolas born in 1875. In between, there was Maria born in 1862, Mathias born in 1865, and Peter born in 1869.

When I wrote about the family in May 2015 I knew the elder Nicolas had worked in the mines and died in Rumelange, in southern Luxembourg on the French border, in 1895 at the age of 35. Per his death record, he was the widower of Margaretha NAU. The informants were Nicolas’ bother Mathias KREMER (1865-1945) and their uncle Mathias MERKES (their mother’s youngest brother).1

The only lead I had on Nicolas’ wife was the name found on his death record. I found no marriage in Luxembourg (using Luxracines‘ marriage database) and no children for Nicolas KREMER and Margaretha NAU born in Rumelange where the father worked and died. Records for Luxembourg are not indexed making it difficult to find births of children when families didn’t stay in one place and when the families have not been researched by others. As far as I could tell the elder Nicolas’ line ended with his death.

Elodie’s reaching out to me has solved the mystery of Nicolas KREMER (1860-1895) and has added a twig to the KREMER branch in our family tree.

Nicolas had a son Mathias born on 4 September 1890 to his wife Catharina NAU in Dudelange.2 The name given on Nicolas’ death record for his deceased wife was a mistake. I had searched for a death record for her with the wrong name. Nicolas’ wife Catharina NAU died 7 February 1892 at the age of 21.3 Her son Mathias was only seventeen months old.

1890 Baptismal Record of Mathias Kremer (here seen as Krämer). Image courtesy of Matricula Online.

Mathias was baptized on 7 September 1890. His godparents were his paternal uncle Mathias KREMER and a maternal aunt Anna NAU.4 His baptismal record is annotated with the date and place of his marriage as well as the name of his bride. Mathias married Catharina EICH on 11 December 1919 in Audun-le-Tiche, Moselle, Lorraine, France. The civil records for the département de la Moselle are not yet online for this period. The tables décennales (ten-year lists for BMD) are online and I found the date on the list to be 1 December 1919.5 (Something to look into…)

Mathias and Catharina were already parents of a son when they married. Their son Nicolas who was born on 19 November 1919 in Audun-le-Tiche and died in 1992 in Loudun, Vienne, Poitou-Charentes, France. Several GEDCOM files were found on Geneanet that include private living persons listed as siblings of this Nicolas. He had at least seven siblings, six of whom are married with children.6 Nicolas was Elodie’s grandfather.

Thanks to Elodie’s getting in touch through my Facebook page and by commenting on my post, another child of Anton KREMER and Anna Maria MERKES is known to have descendants.

At this time, only the fate of Peter born in 1869 is still unknown. Peter had been working in Esch-sur-Alzette for 18 months per his father’s 1890 census record.7 On the 1895 census record, he was found to be working in France – the actual place is not mentioned on the father’s census record.8 Normally only single children working away from home were listed in the parents’ census records in Luxembourg.

Elodie’s ancestor Nicolas (1860) was also listed as working away from home on his father’s 1890 and 1895 census. As I now know, he was not single at the time of either of the enumerations. When the 1890 census was taken on 1 December 1890 Nicolas was not only on his father’s census record but also enumerated in the Italian neighborhood of Dudelange in his own household with his wife and child. Also in Nicolas’ household was his mother-in-law Margaretha TIMMER who was not at home at the time and in Rumelange for the day on a visit.9

1890 Luxembourg Census for the KREMER-NAU family in Dudelange, Luxembourg.

If Nicolas was on his father’s census record when he should not have been, what does this mean for his brother Peter? Was he single in 1890 and/or in 1895? Could Anton have given information on his sons even though they were married and no longer his responsibility?

Serendipity

Hearing from Elodie not only pushed me to do new research on the KREMER family but also led me to another cousin. While checking FamilySearch for the records of Nicolas’ wife and son the site froze up on me. As I clicked around trying to solve the problem, I noticed a little red dot on the messages icon in the upper right corner. A researcher from Brazil had left a message for me on March 22 and I was only now seeing it two weeks later. Another one of my husband’s distant cousins from a line that had not been researched due to an unknown emigration in the 1820s.

Have you been reaching out to distant cousins or have distant cousins been getting in touch with you lately?

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Rumelange > Décès 1891-1923 > image 83 of 923. 1895 Death Record No. 80. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32036-3166-12?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-L23:130319501,130319502 : accessed 29 April 2015). 
  2. Ibid., Dudelange > Naissances 1888-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1840 > image 166 of 1477. 1890 Birth Record No. 151. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DWY9-9ML?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-K68%3A129625901%2C130271901 : accessed 6 April 2020). 
  3. Ibid., Rumelange > Décès 1891-1923 > image 7 of 923. 1892 Death Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-997J-T991?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-L23%3A130319501%2C130319502 : accessed 7 April 2020). 
  4. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 172-285, Dudelange, KB-09, Taufen – 1883 – 1890, page 167, image 85 of 89, right page, 1st entry. 1890 Baptismal Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/duedelingen/KB-09/?pg=85 : accessed 9 April 2020). 
  5. Archives départementales de la Moselle (57), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://www.archivesnumerisees57.com/mdr/index.html), Document 9NUM/8E38/2, Tables décennales (1873-1952 ) Image 220: FRAD057_8E38_2_0220.jpg. Images from this site are free to use by the public per conditions viewed on 26 May 2019. Tables décennales (env 1792 – 1952) : Audun-le-Tiche (Deutschoth) 1 Dec 1919 Document Nr. 43. (http://www.archives57.com/index.php/recherches/archives-en-ligne/tables-decennales-des-departements-de-la-sarre-et-du-palatinat : accessed 7 April 2020). 
  6. Geneanet, several GEDCOM files: https://gw.geneanet.org/sergewendling?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias; https://gw.geneanet.org/john86?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias; https://gw.geneanet.org/fabricekremer?n=kremer&oc=&p=mathias 
  7. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bettendorf > 1890 > images 563-565 of 778. Kremer-Merkes household No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32393-3622-67?cc=2037957&wc=M5GC-YWB:346114101,345876401 : accessed 11 February 2015). 
  8. Ibid., Bettendorf > 1895 > images 303-305 of 810. Kremer-Merkes household No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32467-11113-98?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-FM4:346114101,345878001 : accessed 11 February 2015). 
  9. Ibid., Dudelange > 1890 > images 510-512 of 1971. 1890 Nicolas Kremer household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8971-P7GX?cc=2037957&wc=M5G4-3YS%3A345975601%2C345876401 : accessed 7 April 2020). 

My Ancestor Score as of Valentine’s Day 2020

It’s time for my Ancestor Score! 

This is my seventh year doing the Ancestor Score on Valentine’s Day.  I first read about this way of keeping tabs on the progress in my genealogy research on Barbara Schmidt’s blog Connecting the Worlds in 2014.

My Ancestor Score

In the first eight generations, there were no changes. I’m still missing my 3rd great-grandparents Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY. In generations 9 through 13, new ancestors were found, mostly on my maternal side. In all, I have 81 new ancestors.

Stats for the previous years are included for comparison in the table above and below (for my children).

My Children’s Ancestor Score

My children’s ancestor score reflects the increase in my score as well as new ancestors from their father’s side. Nearly all of their new ancestors were found while I worked on and wrote about their 6th great-grandparents. This research included looking into these ancestors’ parents, grandparents, and, in some cases, even great-grandparents.

Pedigree Collapse

In both of the Ancestor Score charts, I’ve counted at least one ancestral couple several times. Martin FEILEN was counted in the 1656 Feuerstätten-Liste (fireplaces list) for Luxembourg. He and his wife Catharina were my children’s 9th great-grandparents (through son Mathias) on their paternal side. They were also their 9th great-grandparents (through son Mathias and through daughter Kunigunde) and their 10th great-grandparents (through their daughter Kunigunde) on my side! They were each counted four times.

[There are a few more cases of pedigree collapse in the family tree. I haven’t considered reducing the number of possible ancestors in each generation to reflect duplicates.] 

Please leave a link in the comments below if you’ve recently calculated your Ancestor Score. I’d love to take a look.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wishing you a year full of love and meaningful friendships.

The posts from preceding years can be found here:

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Photo Correction: What Happened to the Baby?

Last November I shared the last photo of a Luxembourg family before emigrating to America.

At the annual Genealogy and Local History day hosted by my genealogy society Luxracines last monthNicole gave me two old photographs. They were found at the recycling park and passed on to her as she has an interest in genealogy. As I’ve worked with old photographs and have an interest in researching US families, Nicole thought I might be able to research the family and write a post.

In the post, I was able to identify the MAUER family of Koerich in Luxembourg. The brothers Valentin MAUER and Eugène MAUER had emigrated to America in 1906. Prior to their departure, they had their picture taken with their mother, their sister, and her family.

I wrote to several people who had trees on Ancestry® and heard back from three of them. They’ve received good quality digital scans of the photographs. The first two are descendants of Valentin MAUER and the third of his sister Catherine MAUER who married Andrew KUHNEN in California in 1897 the year after she emigrated. I haven’t looked into how she came to emigrate nearly a decade before her brothers.

I still have the originals and would like to send them to two of the descendants of Valentin MAUER if they are interested in owning the original(s). 

The reason for this post is that I made a mistake in my write-up on photographs.

My mother inadvertently helped me figure out something about the photos which I didn’t catch when I wrote my post. The photos were on the dining room table when she stopped by a week after my post.

Three months later, I’m getting around to correcting my error.

I was showing Mom the photographs and explaining who I had gotten them from. I told her about the MAUER family and how three of the children went to America. With the photos side by side, I was pointing out who was who.

The photographs are nearly identical. The backdrop of the pictures is likely the family home. The same persons are in both photos except for a baby. The woman holding the baby in this photo was probably the mother.

Do you see the mistake I made when I wrote: “except for the baby?”

Here is a close-up of the first:

Back row left to right: Etienne GRETHEN, Catherine MERTES widow of Jean MAUER, Eugène MAUER, and Valentin MAUER. In the front left to right: Anna GRETHEN, her mother Marie-Anne MAUER holding baby Jean Baptiste GRETHEN, and Hélène GRETHEN.

And the second:

On the right in the seconded cropped image, the mother is clearly no longer holding the child. However, I noticed her dress wasn’t dark below the knees as in the first. There’s a blur in front of the mother and to the left of the little girl. This must be the baby I thought was missing in the photo.

Jean Baptiste GRETHEN, born 11 January 1905 in Koerich, was in both pictures with his parents, sisters, uncles, and maternal grandmother.

This may seem like a small thing to write a post about but it’s also a reminder to review previous research. You’ll likely turn up something you missed the first time around.

© 2020, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

A Last Photo with the Family before Emigrating to America

At the annual Genealogy and Local History day hosted by my genealogy society Luxracines last month, Nicole gave me two old photographs. They were found at the recycling park and passed on to her as she has an interest in genealogy. As I’ve worked with old photographs and have an interest in researching US families, Nicole thought I might be able to research the family and write a post.

When you jump to conclusions…

On the back of one of the photographs was enough information to identify the family. At first glance, I thought the name of the family was MAMER. We were at the Luxracines event and, as members of the committee, we were both busy setting up and making sure things were running smoothly.

I was really excited to be able to work with these photographs as I have a connection to a MAMER family and know there are descendants of the line in America. These descendants are half-cousins as they descend from my 6th great-grandmother Anna Catharina RONAS who was first married to a MAMER and then to my 6th great-grandfather Nicolas HEITZ. Anna Catharina is one of my matrilineal ancestors.

However, once I got home and had time to sit down and study the photographs, I realized the family name on the back of the photo is MAUER and not MAMER.

About the photographs…

The photographs are nearly identical. The backdrop of the pictures is likely the family home. The same persons are in both photos except for a baby. The woman holding the baby in this photo was probably the mother.

The cardboard frame of the photo above had been cut away while the second one’s frame (below) is the original size making it too large to lay flat and scan completely on my flatbed scanner. It came out a bit blurry compared to the first.

Written on the back of the photo without the baby is the following information:

Etienne Grethen
Marie-Anne Mauer + Kinder Anna + Hélène
mit der Mütter v. M.-Anne Mauer +
Bruder Eugène Mauer
Bruder Valentin Mauer
wahrscheinlich vor der Abreise nach America v.
Eugène + Valentin Mauer
= écriture de Germaine Thill-Steichen de Koerich
décédée le 2 octobre 2008

Translation:
Etienne GRETHEN, Marie-Anne MAUER and her children Anna and Hélène with the mother of Marie-Anne and brother Eugène MAUER and Valentin MAUER probably before the departure for America of Eugène and Valentin.
= handwriting of Germaine THILL-STEICHEN of Koerich who died 2 October 2008.

Also on the back is the photographer’s stamp:

Marcel THILL
19, rue William Turner
LUXEMBOURG

Could Germaine have been the wife of the photographer? Did she include the information for the photographer’s archive? Did she know the family? Was she related to them?

Researching the family in Luxembourg

I started my research into this family with the possible marriage of the mother of the children, Marie-Anne MAUER. She married Etienne GRETHEN on 1 June 1897 in Koerich. Their marriage record included the names of her parents, Jean MAUER and Catherine MERTES.1 Jean and Catherine were married in Hesperange on 21 December 1863.2 As their daughter, Marie-Anne was born in Koerich I checked the Tables Décennales (10-year lists) for births of MAUER children in Koerich for the period 1863-1892. I found a son named Eugène born in 1880 but none named Valentin.

Researching the MAUER brothers who went to America

Before searching for further records for the families in Luxembourg, I checked on Ancestry to see if the two men, Eugène and Valentin, had actually gone to America as noted on the back of the photo.

1920 U.S. Federal Census, courtesy of Ancestry.com

I found Valentin MAUER in the 1920 census with his wife, a son, a daughter, and a boarder named Eugene MAUER. Both men were listed as born in France as were their parents and both immigrated in 1906. Valentin was a naturalized citizen since 1911 and Eugène was an alien. No mention was made of their being brothers or even related.3

Record hits for Valentin consistently showed he was born in France. The 1910 and 1930 census showed he immigrated in 1906 as seen in 1920. A 1921 US passport application gave his place of birth as Ourscanips, France. Obviously a typing error on the application.4 His US World War I Draft Registration Card had his place of birth as Ourscamp, l’Oise, France.5

At the Oise Archives, I located Valentin’s birth record. He was born on 1 August 1887 in Ourscamp, Chiry-Ourscamp. His parents were Jean MAUER age 52 and Catherine MERTES age 46.6

With confirmation that Valentin was born in France and the son of Jean and Catherine, I continued to search in the US records for the Eugène MAUER seen in the 1920 census listing.

Eugene MAUER also filled out a draft registration card in 1918 when he was living in Cottonwood, Idaho County, Idaho. He declared himself an alien from Luxembourg and named Catherine KUHNEN as his nearest relative.7 Per the 1900 census, Catherine immigrated in 1896. She married Andrew KUHNEN in 1897 in California.

Eugene was found on a manifest of alien passengers for the US. He had sailed on the SS Venezuela from San Francisco to Baltimore, Maryland, in June 1921. The information given confirms he was born in Koerich, Luxembourg. He gave Valentin MAUER of San Francisco as his nearest relative. As he was entering a US port he was asked if he had entered the country before, when, for how long, and where. He replied yes from 1906 to 1921 in various places. His purpose for visiting the US was that he was in transit.8 He was likely traveling home to Luxembourg as the next spring he was found marrying Margaretha CLAREN on 30 April 1922 in Folschette.9 They had at least one child, a daughter born in 1923. Birth records are not available after 1923.

Researching the younger generation in Luxembourg

With confirmation that Valentin MAUER and Eugène MAUER found living in San Francisco and Idaho were brothers and the sons of Jean MAUER and Catherine MERTES, I looked into the children of Etienne GRETHEN and his wife Marie-Anne MAUER, also a daughter of the MAUER-MERTES couple.

Etienne and Marie-Anne had a daughter Anna born 3 February 189910, a daughter Hélène Marie-Anne born 30 December 190011, and a son Jean Baptiste born 11 January 1905.12 With these names, I was able to confirm the identity of the persons in this cropped view of the family in the photo with the baby.

Back row left to right: Etienne GRETHEN, Catherine MERTES widow of Jean MAUER, Eugène MAUER, and Valentin MAUER. In the front left to right: Anna GRETHEN, her mother Marie-Anne MAUER holding baby Jean Baptiste GRETHEN, and Hélène GRETHEN.

The baby is a blur in the photograph as he was likely not holding still and it’s impossible to tell his age. As he was born in January 1905 I would estimate the photo was taken later in the year. Valentin stated on his US passport application in 1921 that he sailed from Antwerp, Belgium, about 1906. Passenger lists for ships from Antwerp to America in 1905-1906 may show if Valentin emigrated with his brother Eugène.

Valentin’s 1921 application also includes a passport photo which can be compared with the 1905/1906 photo.

Valentin MAUER ca. 1905-1906 (left) and 1921 (right)

Obituaries were found for Marie-Anne MAUER in 194613 and for her widower Etienne in 1950.14 The obituaries show the children Anna, Hélène, and Jean Baptiste all married and had children. The names of the grandchildren were not included in the death notices.

Is there more to the story of this family?

If the MAUER-MERTES family were one of my families I would have so many questions I’d want answered.

Jean MAUER died in 189215 leaving Catherine MERTES with at least seven children between the ages of 5 and 26 years of age. An 8th child likely died young. A little curious, I checked for her household in the Luxembourg census for the years 1895 and 1900.

In 1895 she had Ann-Marie, Eugène, and Valentin living at home. Two daughters, Marie and Catherine, had been working in Paris for 5 years and son Johann had recently gone to unknown parts of France to work.16

In 1900 Valentin was still at home with his mother and his married sister Barbara had come home with her husband and three children. The children were born in California between 1892 and 1896 which would explain Barbara not being on the 1895 census. Daughter Marie was in her 9th year of service as a nurse in Paris. Son Johann was also working in France while Eugène had been working in Esch-sur-Alzette for a year.17 Marie-Anne was married and in her own household.

In both census listings, the mother Catherine was working to support the family as were all children except young Valentin in 1895.

I have not looked into when Barbara went to America and if, after her family returned to Luxembourg, they remained in Koerich. Nor have I checked if Marie who was working in Paris may have married or even returned to Luxembourg.

Catherine MERTES, the mother of the MAUER children, died in 1914 at the age of 72 years.18

Back to the beginning…

Anna GRETHEN married nine days after her uncle Eugène MAUER on 9 May 1922 in Koerich to Pierre STEICHEN.19 Germaine THILL-STEICHEN who wrote on the back of the photograph was their only (known) child.

I found trees maintained on Ancestry by several descendants of Valentin MAUER and Catherine MAUER. I’ll be getting in touch with them to see if any are interested in receiving digital copies of the photographs or the originals which were saved from the recycling park.

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


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Koerich > Mariages 1895-1923 > image 21 of 222. 1897 Marriage Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L97V-Q466?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NR%3A129989801%2C129649201 : accessed 31 October 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Hesperange > Naissances 1869-1890 Mariages 1797-1823, 1796-1868 > image 1432 of 1492. 1863 Marriage Record No. 15. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DKRX-VL?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-7M9%3A129747201%2C130056301 : accessed 2 November 2019). 
  3. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls, Roll: T625_141, California, San Francisco County, San Francisco District 28, Enumeration District 3000, Page 2B, Lines 54-58, HH #483-35, Valentine Mauer household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 October 2019). 
  4. “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925” (index and images), Ancestry, citing Selected Passports at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C., Roll #: 1693; Volume #: Roll 1693 – Certificates: 66376-66749, 18 Jul 1921-19 Jul 1921. Passport application of Valentine Mauer issued 19 Jul 1921. 
  5. “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., FHL microfilm M1509, 4,582 rolls, Registration State: California, Registration County: San Francisco, Roll: 1544256, Draft Board: 08, Valentine Mauer. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2019). 
  6. Archives départementales de l’Oise (60), browsable images of microfilm collection of parish and civil records (online http://archives.oise.fr/archives-en-ligne/), Chiry-Ourscamp, Etat Civil naissances, mariages, divorces, décès 1887-1888, 3E150/23, image 66 of 155. 1887 Birth Record No. 75. (http://ressources.archives.oise.fr/ark:/44803/9b4f7a420970afc4142b20a70bf130c3 : accessed 1 November 2019). 
  7. World War I Draft Registration Cards, Registration State: Idaho, Registration County: Idaho, Roll: 1452216, Eugene Mauer. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 October 2019). 
  8. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964, Ancestry citing The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C., Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Roll Number: 119. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 November 2019). 
  9. Luxembourg Civil Records, Folschette > Mariages 1851-1923 Décès 1894-1902 > image 560 of 659. 1922 Marriage Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G97J-Y6YY?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-T3D%3A129624801%2C129674001 : accessed 2 November 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Koerich > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 52 of 222. 1899 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G97V-WF8Q?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-RMD%3A129989801%2C129648901 : accessed 31 October 2019). 
  11. Ibid., Koerich > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 74 of 222. 1900 Birth Record No. 46. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-897V-WXVS?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-RMD%3A129989801%2C129648901 : accessed 31 October 2019). 
  12. Ibid., Koerich > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 133 of 222. 1905 Birth Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L97V-WFHG?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-RMD%3A129989801%2C129648901 : accessed 31 October 2019). 
  13.  Luxemburger Wort, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlage der St-Paulus-Druckerei, Luxembourg), 18 November 1946, p. 5, col. 3. Madame Etienne Grethen née Marie-Anne Mauer Avis Mortuaire. (http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=802390&search_terms=etienne%20grethen#panel:pp|issue:802390|article:DTL636|query:etienne%20grethen : accessed 1 November 2019). 
  14. Ibid., 3 May 1950, p. 7, col. 3. Monsieur Etienne Grethen veuf de Marianne Mauer Avis Mortuaire. (http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=829556&search_terms=etienne%20grethen#panel:pp|issue:829556|article:DTL969|query:etienne%20grethen : accessed 1 November 2019). 
  15. Luxembourg Civil Records, Koerich > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 87 of 122. 1892 Death Record No. 12.  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-61W9-VTM?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-C6R%3A129989801%2C129717601 : accessed 2 November 2019). 
  16. Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Koerich > 1895 > image 447 of 628. Mauer-Mertes household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-9971-RNZV?cc=2037957&wc=M5G6-T3D%3A345861701%2C345878001 : accessed 1 November 2019). 
  17. Ibid., Koerich > 1900 > image 55 of 632. Mauer-Mertes household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L971-Y35Z?cc=2037957&wc=M5GF-7MZ%3A345861701%2C345873901 : accessed 1 November 2019). 
  18. Luxembourg Civil Records, Koerich > Décès 1895-1923 > image 183 of 267. 1914 Death Record No. 15. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-897V-QHDK?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2J9%3A129989801%2C129623802 : accessed 2 November 2019). 
  19. Ibid., Koerich > Mariages 1895-1923 > image 208 of 222. 1922 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-897V-QCWT?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NR%3A129989801%2C129649201 : accessed 31 October 2019). 

Was the Verdict in the 1816 Murder Case a Miscarriage of Justice?

After reading a comment posted yesterday (below) on Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg, I wondered if I had missed something very important in the story of the murders of Anne Marie WIROTH and her children.

A truly horrific story in many ways. A horrible crime, and I suspect a miscarriage of justice in the end. I find the notion of Jews at that time of year putting themselves in jeopardy by a killing like that very suspicious. And the fact that someone with the sayso in the Jewish community corroborated that these two men were suspicious could mean that they were sacrificed so that the Jewish community as a whole wasn’t in danger. Too many stories like that for too many centuries. Your work here is OUTSTANDING, Cathy. You amaze me with the detail you were able to bring into this narrative. ~ Luanne Castle, blogger at The Kalamazoo Family and Entering the Pale

Tony JUNGBLUT (1913-1975) was an author, journalist, court chronicler, and editor.  Although the article he wrote in the A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in 19341 was a narrative of the crime, he used the court records to write the story as he did with his other historical writings.

Historians write about events in for a period by researching and analyzing documentation, similar to genealogists, from the perspective of the time they/we live in. When JUNGBLUT wrote the story, Hitler had recently become the Chancellor of Germany. He could not see into the future and hadn’t yet lived through the years of Nazi persecution of the Jews while we, as the reader today, are influenced by our knowledge of the evil deeds against Jews by Hitler and the Nazis. Did JUNGBLUT only write about what was in the court documents? Did he avoid the trying to read something into the over 100 years old records?

In his narrative, JUNGBLUT did not go into further detail of the situation in the walled city of Luxembourg. Renée WAGENER, the author of the 2017 article in Ons Stad2, mentions a letter written by representatives of the Jewish community to the mayor of Luxembourg City in 1821, four years after the crime. The Jewish community had not forgotten the great danger and terrible aftermath of the cries of vengeance and of blood against them following the crime. She also mentions the anti-Semitic sentiments which prevailed in the city were not found in the court documents.

The fact that this crime happened around Easter (Palm Sunday) leads me to think that the old myth of Jews killing Christian children for their blood had something to do with the convictions. It would be interesting to read the trial transcripts to see what the testimony was. Often these crimes are not random but done by someone in the family. I wonder if the father of Anne Marie’s out-of-wedlock child had something to do with this…. ~ Amy Cohen, blogger at Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

My ignorance of early Jewish history may have kept me from paying closer attention to missing details in the 1934 narrative by JUNGBLUT. Luanne may be correct about the HAUSER brothers being sacrificed so the Jewish community as a whole wouldn’t be in danger.

I was quick to discard Amy’s speculation of the father of Anne Marie’s out-of-wedlock child having something to do with the affair as her reputation suggested she may not have even known who the father was, i.e. the father would not have known of the child. However, I should have listened to the niggling suspicion something may not be right.

Renée WAGENER’s article (based on JUNGBLUT’s narrative, the Luxembourg National Archives’ documentation of the trial, as well as the correspondence with the mayor) mentions names which were not in the 1934 narrative or were spelled differently.

As discussed in the earlier post, five men were arrested for the crime, four of them were Jews. Guetschlick GODCHAUX, a Jewish man who was arrested but later set free, was the nephew of Pinhas GODCHAUX, the official gold examiner or amtlichen Goldprüfer.

This same Pinhas GODCHAUX was also the representative of the Jewish community who testified the morality of the HAUSER brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely.

The seventeen-year-old Pinhas GODCHAUX (of the same name as the man above) implicated the HAUSER brothers in the murders. In the narrative, he appears to have spent a lot of time with the brothers. He, like Guetschlick, was a nephew of the elder Pinhas GODCHAUX. Young Pinhas’ mother was likely the widow Nanette GODCHAUX who also gave testimony but is not mentioned by this name in the narrative.

Why did I not notice the recurring GODCHAUX surname? Probably because the persons were not suspects. When I read Luanne’s comment this morning, I knew I had to write one more post about this horrible crime and possible miscarriage of justice.

Are you convinced that the real murderer(s) were not discovered? – Vera Marie Badertscher, blogger at Ancestors in Aprons

I didn’t want to question the verdict reached by the courts in 1816 as I haven’t consulted the actual court records. Has my discovery of the unusual burial record of the family of four with the mention of this horrific event only complicated things as I’ve attempted to learn more of the story? Will the actual court records or even other records reveal a conspiracy which was meant to be hidden when the last of the people involved died nearly 200 years ago?

After posting the last of the six parts in this series, I realized earlier this week I had not checked for the death records of the HAUSER brothers.

1816 Death Record No. 203 of Hirsch HAUSSER
1816 Death Record No. 204 of Emmanuel HAUSSER

Hirsch (30) and Emmanuel (22) died on 18 October 1816 at 11 o’clock in the morning on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Jean Baptiste Joseph Poison (51), a court clerk or greffier de la cour d’assises and Louis Langers (66), court bailiff or huissier du tribunal.3 From the information Jungblut and Wagener obtained from the court records, they were executed by decapitation.

The case of widow TRAUSCH, as Anne Marie WIROTH was also known,  and her children’s murders will remain an open case until I can visit the National Archives of Luxembourg. I obviously also need to do research on the Jewish community in Luxembourg for this period.

Thank you, Luanne, Amy, and Vera for your comments which helped me to look at this from a different perspective.

Posts in this series:

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

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

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

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

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

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

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


  1. Tony Jungblut, “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser”, published in four parts in A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte, 5 August 1934 No. 33 p. 4-7, 12 August 1934 No. 34 p. 18-20, 19 August 1934 No. 35 p. 18-19, and 26 August 1934 No. 36 p. 18-19. (https://luxemburgensia.bnl.lu/cgi/luxonline1_2.pl?action=yr&sid=azillust&year=1934 : accessed 21 August 2019). 
  2. Renée Wagener, “Mordfall in der Festung Luxemburg ‘Ein entsetzliches Verbrechen?'”, Ons Stad 116/2017 p. 10-12,  Ville de Luxembourg, Service Communications et relations publiques. (https://onsstad.vdl.lu/fileadmin/uploads/media/ons_stad_116-2017_10-12.pdf : accessed 11 July 2019) 
  3. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Décès 1814 > image 301 of 1396. 1816 Death Records No. 203 and 204. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XK9-WS4?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-DP8%3A130045801%2C130226501 : accessed 2 September 2019). 

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

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

Remacle remarries

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

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

The children of the second marriage

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

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

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

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

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

Remacle dies in Luxembourg City

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

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

The family council gives consent for Catharina’s marriage

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

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

Remacle’s widow has another child

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

Remacle’s oldest son marries

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

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

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

Death and burial records hint at a crime

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

Porte de Trèves with the fortress wall in Luxembourg City

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

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

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

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

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

A brief overview of the crime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life continues for Remacle’s children from his first marriage

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

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

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

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

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

Posts in this series:

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

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

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

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

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

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

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


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