I found a marriage that could match in Clemency, 28/08/1810, but I can’t access Family Search, it’s probably too busy. You could check yourself later.
I didn’t wait until later and was able to pull up the record she believed was the marriage of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER.
In 1810 on the 28th of August at 8 in the morning Pierre SCHMITT age 31 born in Bertrange the 3 April 1779, a domestic living in the commune of Fingig, the of age son of Pierre SCHMITT and Rose CLEMMENT, a married couple living in the commune of Bertrange…. and a young woman Anne Margaretha WEICKER age 25 born in Hagen the 7 September 1785, a servant living in the same commune of Fingig, the of age daughter of Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margaretha HARTMANN, a married couple living in the commune of Hagen… all were present and consenting to the marriage for which banns had been read before the entrance of the Clemency civil office.
The paperwork of the bride and groom was presented according to the legal requirements of the time. The bride and groom were declared husband and wife after affirming this was their choice. Four witnesses were present and signed along with the civil officer, the mayor of Clemency. The bride and groom declared not being able to write. The fathers of the bride and groom signed first as seen above.
Five and a half months later, Peter and Margaretha became the parents of their first child Magdalena, my children’s 4th great-grandmother.
One Record Leads to the Next
The marriage record led to the 1785 baptismal record of Anna WEICKERS [sic, Margaretha was not included on this record], daughter of Nicolai WEICKERS and Anna Margaretha HARTMAN. Why didn’t I notice abt. 1795 could not have been her year of birth? She would have been only 16 when her first child was born.
With the names of the parents, I was able to add three generations to the WEICKER line. I had suspected Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margarethe HARTMANN were the bride’s parents because….
The godmother of Peter SCHMIT and Margaretha WEICKER’s first child Magdalena was Magdalena KÜNSCH from Hohen (or Hagen) in the parish of Sterpenich. Anna Margaretha HARTMANN was the widow of Peter KÜNSCH when she married Nicolas WEICKER. Was Magdalena KÜNSCH an older half-sister of Margaretha WEICKER? Further research may tell.
With the names of three new couples in the family tree, I will be busy finding the records to document them and may even be able to add more ancestral names.
Special thanks to my friend Linda for taking the time to read my posts, give me advice, and for telling me where to find the marriage record of Peter SCHMIT and Anne Margaretha WEICKER. *Linda has helped me out several times already. A Latin Rule You May Not Have Known was the result of one of her tips.
Happy Family History Month to all. Wishing you lots of keys to open the doors in your brick walls.
Sources:  Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Clemency > Naissances, mariages, décès 1804-1805 Naissances 1805-1890 Mariages 1796-1885 > image 1034 of 1491. 1810 Marriage Record (bottom left, top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XHPS-511?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-SP8%3A129628001%2C129815201 : accessed 30 September 2017).  Belgique, Luxembourg, Registres paroissiaux, (images), FamilySearch (original records at België Nationaal Archief, Brussels / Belgium National Archives, Brussels), Paroisse de Sterpenich (Luxembourg) now part of Autelbas, Luxembourg, Belgium > Baptêmes, mariages, sepultures 1779-1793 > Film/DGS 1658890 > Film # 008126375 > Item 8 > image 1106 of 1430. 1785 Baptismal Record (left page, last entry > right page, first entry). (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVK-Y8VF-9?i=1105&cat=203740 : accessed 1 October 2017).
What do you do when you make one of those monumental discoveries about a genealogy collection you have been waiting and waiting and waiting to get access to?
Do you keep it a secret? Or do you shout it out for all to know?
This year I’ve been concentrating on the Luxembourg families in my family tree, specifically the fifth-great-grandparents of my children. Three more posts and I will finish their paternal side. Only half of their maternal side is Luxembourgish, or coming from villages on the other side of the border in Germany and France, and will hopefully be completed by the end of the year.
Most of these ancestors from this generation were living, or their parents were living, when Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in 1766 in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg. This included Luxembourg, along with Belgium, a part of the Netherlands.
The census of 1766 for Luxembourg has only been available through FamilySearch’s microfilm circulation service which as we all know is being discontinued.
Thursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. ~ FamilySearch blog
Amberly Beck who blogs at The Genealogy Girl has made several comments on my posts about the collections available online at FamilySearch.
FamilySearch is working at the fastest pace I have ever seen. I can’t keep up with the new records coming available that I am interested in. It’s a great time to be a genealogist! ~ thegenealogygirl
It’s a great time to be a genealogist!
On the FamilySearch blog, I learned that all microfilm which has been rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch.
While researching my upcoming post, I checked on the 1766 census availability and found a little camera icon next to the films for the Decanat of Mersch, Remich, Bitburg, and Stavelot.
In 2003, with a very slow internet modem, my husband’s 7th cousin Cyndi sent me the 1766 census listing I used for the featured image of this post. Now, fourteen years later, I was able to access the digital image online and download a much clearer copy of the over 250 years old document.
Click this link to see the list of films available online for the 1766 census of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg researchers, we have a new key to open the doors in our brick walls!
Amberly, thank you for telling me to check the FamilySearch catalog more often. It really paid off this time!
What? You aren’t checking the catalog at FamilySearch? Take a moment to read these articles:
For some reason, the subject of maison dite or house names kept coming up while I was researching the MERTES-DONNEN family. Not only in my research but in several Facebook groups and pages I follow. Maybe the ancestors were trying to tell me something. Or maybe it’s time to discuss what I learned while researching this family – something I left out in my last post.
Before I share my discovery, let me give you an overview of the history of house names and surnames in Luxembourg.
This past June I attended a conference by Paul ZIMMER, Latein in den Kirchenbüchern korrekt lesen (Reading Latin Correctly in Church Records). His presentation included an explanation of the peculiarities of names found in church records. After the presentation, he kindly sent digital copies to all participants of a dozen articles published under his pseudonym, Victor Racine. I used his introduction to genealogy research adapted to the Luxembourg situation: Petite introduction à la recherche généalogique avec des conseils pratiques adaptés à la situation luxembourgeoise (Victor Racine) as a guide.
House Names and Surnames
Until around 1500 the first name of a person was sufficient enough to identify ordinary people. When pleading someone’s case, it was done orally and normally in the presence of the person eliminating the confusion of identities.
The appearance of the first written documents however required additional distinction. Nicolas, therefore, became known as Nicolas de Steinfort (by his residence), Nicolas le Meunier (by his occupation, i.e. miller), or Nicolas le Petit (by a trait, i.e. small person).
When these extensions to the first names finally became family names transmitted from one generation to the next, they were not, for a long time, patronymic. In about half the cases, the children’s names came from the mother, as the rules of family succession in Luxembourg were based on primogeniture – the right of the oldest child inheriting the parental home without any distinction between males and females.
Luxembourg researchers are confronted with the phenomenon of “house names” shared by all people living under one roof, regardless of their initial name received at birth. At the time of the marriage, the spouse always acquired, whatever his sex, the name of the house into which he entered. Thus, each couple had only one and the same surname which was transmitted to all their children.
In the course of the eighteenth century when Luxembourg was under Austrian rule, the civil authorities imposed a contrary law, that each individual should keep his birth name – it could no longer be changed during the course of his life, notably at the time of marriage. Each legitimate child inherited his father’s surname.
During the long transition, the coexistence of the two rules and practices, totally opposite, constituted a complication which was the source of errors. The children of one and the same couple sometimes obtained different surnames. The second spouse of a widow or widower may have been known by the surname his spouse had previously taken from his first conjugal partner.
Priests were aware of the problem of the double and triple surnames of their parishioners. Some were careful to note more than one name. The different surnames of one and the same person were juxtaposed and linked together by Latin words: alias (otherwise called), vulgo (commonly called), modo (otherwise), sive and aut (or), dicta (said). Sometimes the correct connection with previous generations can be determined by useful references such as ex domo … (from the house) or in domo … (in the house). House names were also mentioned in the parish records using the term in aedibus (Latin for in house) followed by the name.
Our genealogical research may suffer from the rivalry of these two incompatible rules but in the following case, I profited from them.
Researching the MERTES-DONNEN Family
It took me longer than usual to research the MERTES-DONNEN family before I wrote about them in my last post. I couldn’t seem to get to the point I wanted to be before beginning to write. I wanted to know as much as possible about both Nicolas MERTES’ family and Maria Catharina DONNEN’s family so their timelines would be as complete as possible.
This led me down a rabbit hole as I also looked into their grandparents. When I finally thought I had the timeline ready, I began writing using information from the documents for each of the events.
As I was composing the post I went off on a tangent taking a new look at the death record of Margaretha BIVER, the mother of Nicolas MERTES. I ended up cutting out a large portion of what I wrote about the death record and my findings as I realized I had gotten sidetracked from the subject of the piece.
However, I saw an opportunity to use the information I had found to help other Luxembourg researchers.
The MERTES Family’s House Name
Marguerite BIVER died on 20 December 1820 at nine in the evening in house number 69 in the Opperter road in Bertrange. The informant for the death was her son-in-law Jean KETTENMEYER. The record (below, top entry) did not indicate the address was also that of the informant.
The next entry in the register (above, bottom entry) was for a baby with the surname CHRISTOPHORY who died in house number 73 of the same street.
The importance of the deaths taking place in the same street, likely only two houses away from each other, can be seen in the pedigree of Franz MERTES, the son of the MERTES-DONNEN couple and grandson of Marguerite BIVER.
I haven’t followed through to see how the baby’s family was related to Barbe CHRISTOPHORY, Maria Catharina’s mother. But it had me wondering if the DONNEN-CHRISTOPHORY and the MERTES-BIVER couples had been neighbors when their daughter and son married. I tried to locate the address in present-day Bertrange but the list of street names on the Luxembourg post office’s site did not turn up any matches.
My next step was to check if perhaps the KETTENMEYER family’s street name may have been mentioned on the census or in a vital record. Jean KETTENMEYER died before the first available census. The two listings I found for his widow Anne MERTES did not include the street name.
Jean’s death record revealed an interesting fact. He died in la maison dite Karpen, an Oppert or a house named Karpen in Oppert.
This was an amazing discovery. When I read maison diteKarpen on the record I knew right away the KETTENMEYER family was living in the home of the MERTES family.
The significance of “la maison dite Karpen”
Peter, the father of Nicolas MERTES and Jean KETTENMEYER’s wife Anne MERTES, was the son of Mathias MERTES and Maria HOLTZEMER of Steinsel. At this time I do not have a baptismal record for Peter. His death record indicates he was born about 1733. I suspect his age was over-estimated at the time of death.
The parents of the groom were married in 1726 at which time their names were given as Mathias MERTENS and Maria HOLTZEMER. The family name had evolved from MERTENS to MERTES by the time Peter married.
Mathias and Maria had six children born in Müllendorf and baptized in Steinsel from 1729 to 1741. The baptismal records have been found. The priest gave the following names for the parents on the children’s records:
Theodore b. 1729: Mathias MARTINI and Maria HOLTZEMER
Magdalena b. 1731: Mathias MARTINI and Maria CARPEN dicta HOLTZEMER
Johann b. 1733: Mathias MARTINI alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
Mathias b. 1736: Mathias MARTINI alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
Anna Maria b. 1737: Mathias MERTENS alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
Johann Peter b. 1741: Mathias MERTENS alias CARPEN and Maria HOLTZEMER
As mentioned in the explanation of surnames in Luxembourg, the priest gave a Latin twist to the surname and added an alias to Mathias’ surname as well as dicta (said) to Maria’s.
Although I know that Peter MERTES was the son of Mathias MERTES (MERTENS) and Maria HOLZTEMER as these were the names given at the time of his marriage, I still do not know for sure when he was born and baptized. I believe he may have been the youngest son, Johann Peter born in 1741. Further research will have to be done to prove or disprove this assumption.
The alias CARPEN was found to go back further through Maria HOLTZEMER’s line. She was born in 1704 when her parents were listed as Nicolas HOLZEM and Angela PEIFFERS. When Maria’s her sister Angela was born in 1707 the parents’ names were given as Nicolas HOLZEM dicti KARP and his wife Angela.
Digging a bit deeper I learned Angela’s family did not use a surname until their fourth child was born. It would have been very unlikely that I would figure this out on my own. Claude Bettendroffer, vice-president of Luxracines, made the connection and shared it in his database on our society’s website. When the first two children were born the parents were seen Godefridus (also seen as Godfroid and Godart), a sutor or cobbler, and Dorothée. When Angela was born her father was seen with the same occupation, only written in German, Schuhmacher. The father’s occupation was used to distinguish him from other men with the same first name in Steinsel. By the time their fourth child was born the family was using the surname or house name PEIFFERS. The oldest child, a daughter, inherited the home and passed the name on to the children of both of her marriages as her husbands took on her house name PEIFFERS.
It was astonishing to have followed a family line back using surnames, to using a house name, to only being identified by the father’s occupation during a documented period from 1666 back to 1659.
The house name KARPEN was not used by the PEIFFERS family as far as I can tell at this time. It was used by the HOLTZEM family in Müllendorf as early as 1707, by the MERTENS-HOLTZEMER family in 1731-1741 in Müllendorf, and finally by the MERTES family in Bertrange as late as 1837 when the son-in-law died. It appears the house name followed the son when he married and made his home in Bertrange.
Karpen house in Oppert. Where was Oppert?
When I searched for Oppert as seen in the 1837 death record instead of Opperter as seen in the 1820 death record, I found it is now a street in Bertrange called rue des Champs. I know this street. We’ve ridden our bikes on this road which runs from the center of town out of Bertrange into the fields to the west of town where bike paths link it to Mamer in the northwest and Dippach in the southwest.
Zooming in on Google maps street view I found the street sign, a bit above and to the left of the shutter on the left side of the house, for rue des Champs includes the Luxembourgish name Oppert.
What’s the secret?
I don’t believe there is a secret to the maison dite or house names in Luxembourg records. As long as we know how surnames evolved and how house names were used to identify people, we can use the rules to benefit our research.
Even today the older generations can be heard referring to a person by their house name instead of their surname in Luxembourg. But it is a custom which is quickly disappearing.
Today is Luxembourg National Day (Celebration publique de l’anniversaire du souverain). Grand Duchess Charlotte who ruled Luxembourg from 1919-1964 was born on 23 January 1896. The day was made a national holiday in 1941. The date of June 23 was set in 1961 by Ducal decree so that the weather would be nicer for celebrations.
During World War II on the evening of January 23 my grandmother’s neighbors met in her house to celebrate the birthday of Grand Duchess Charlotte. The windows were covered so that no light could be seen from the street but the German patrol could hear the celebrating. They knocked on the door and asked what was going on. Bomi, as we called my grandmother, told them they were celebrating her birthday. It’s a good thing they didn’t check her identification as her birthday was not until June 17. She asked the Germans to join them in a glass of wine. She would laugh when she told us how the Germans raised their glasses to the birthday girl, not knowing that they were toasting the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this with you since I’ve been blogging about my children’s fifth great-grandparents, who mostly came from Luxembourg, on Fridays under the theme of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. And, here is today’s post.
Antonia, Please Tell Me, Are You a STEFFEN or a GROEBER?
Antonia, my children’s 5th great-grandmother, is a bit of an enigma. I don’t know if I should list her as Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER in the family tree.
Antonia, my children’s 5th great-grandmother, is a bit of an enigma. I don’t know if I should list her as Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER in the family tree.
I haven’t found a birth or baptismal record for her. She was born in a time period and place where the church records are lacking. The likely substitute would be a marriage record. Yes! Antonia left more than one marriage record which, instead of simplifying matters, only added a complication.
A marriage took place in 1815
On 7 December 1814 Peter BERNARD, son of the deceased Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) and his widow Johanna CAPPUS, and Antonia STEFFEN, daughter of Christina STEFFEN, made their intentions to marry public. The marriage banns were to be announced at the door of the town hall in Hoscheid on two Sundays, the 18th and 25th of December 1814.
The publication was the first entry in the 1815 register, likely filled out after the fact and perhaps at the time they married. Taken out of context, it looks like the publication of the marriage was filled out and signed on 7 December 1815 instead of 1814.
Peter and Antonia met with Jacob KOENIG at the Hoscheid town hall on 2 January 1815 at 10 o’clock in the morning. The record produced at the time is the first mentioning Antonia’s date of birth. She appears to have been born on 8 March 1790 in Hoscheid to Christina STEFFEN. No father is mentioned. Antonia has the same surname as her mother which could mean she was an illegitimate child. Four witnesses were present for the marriage. One was Franz DUMONG, a twenty-year-old young man whose name would continue to be seen throughout this family’s story.
Another marriage took place in 1823
Let’s look at the second marriage of Antonia. Two days before Christmas of 1822 Johan KAUFMAN and Antonia GROEBER made their intentions to marry known. Their banns were read on the 15th and 22nd of December. In this document, I found a new word, Wittib, which means widow. Antonia, the widow of the deceased Peter BERNARD, was the daughter of the widow Christina GROEBER.
How can I be sure this Antonia GROEBER is the same person as Antonia STEFFEN? Hopefully, the pieces will fall into place once all of her records are analyzed.
Johan and Antonia met at the Hoscheid town hall on 7 January 1823 at 9 o’clock in the morning before Frans AUGUSTIN. This record has the same date and place of birth for Antonia as seen in her previous marriage record — 8 March 1790 in Hoscheid (see box next to first arrow above). The difference from her first marriage record in 1815 is that she is listed as the daughter of the deceased Valentin GROEBER and his widow Christina STEFFEN. This explains why Christina was seen as Christina GROEBER on the 1822 marriage publication. Witnesses of the marriage were two men with the BERNARD surname and Franz DUMONG.
Antonia died in 1843
Antonia produced one more record which infers her parentage. Her 1843 death record. On 11 March 1843 Nicolas GROEBER and Franz DUMONG were the informants for the death of Antonia STEFFEN. Her parents are not listed on this record. She died on 9 March 1843, the day after her birthday, at the age of 53 years. By now the name of the second informant, Franz DUMONG, is familiar. More important here is the relationship of the informants to Antonia. Nicolas GROEBER was 43 years old, from Hoscheid, and the brother of the deceased. His 1830 marriage record confirms his parents were Valentin GROEBER and Christina STEFFEN. Both Antonia and Nicolas were children of Christina STEFFEN, but was Valentin GROEBER the father of both of them?
Nicolas was ten years younger than Antonia and he carried the GROEBER surname and not STEFFEN as he claimed was his sister’s surname. Does this mean Antonia’s mother Christina STEFFEN married after Antonia’s birth in 1790 and before Nicolas’ birth abt. 1800?
GROEBER and STEFFEN surnames
I looked into the GROEBER-STEFFEN marriage. I did not find the actual record. It is very likely hidden away in the parish of Brandenbourg as I found a marriage index card citing the marriage.
The card gives the names of the groom (époux) and bride (épouse) as well as their parents’ names with alternate spellings than were found in later records. The marriage took place on 29 January 1794 in Hoscheid. Missing on the card, at the bottom, are the volume number and page in the Brandenbourg parish register where the record would be located. The date of marriage converts to the 10 pluviôse in the year II of the French Republican calendar. I may be looking in the wrong place for the marriage record as these index cards are known to have been filled out using information found on actual marriage records.
Were Christina STEFFEN and Valentin GREVES (or GROEBER as the name was seen later) a couple when Antonia was born in 1790? Very often in civil records in Luxembourg children born to a couple before their marriage are mentioned in the marriage record to make them legitimate. I have not seen this in church records. Valentin GROEBER died on 1 March 1806, a week before Antonia turned 16 years old. His wife Christina STEFFEN reported the death.
Antonia’s first marriage and children
What other records can be found with Antonia’s full name? Did she have children whose birth or marriage records would include her name?
Following her first marriage to Peter BERNARD in January of 1815 the couple had a daughter Margaretha born on 2 November 1815 in Hoscheid. The birth record shows the mother of the child was Anthonia STEFFEN. The same name was listed at the time of the next child Marie Cathérine’s birth on 12 September 1817.
Who was Peter BERNARD and when did the marriage end?
Antonia’s first husband Peter BERNARD was born on 11 March 1790 in Holzthum. He was the second of seven known children born to Jeanne CAPPUS (1763-1833) and Jacob BERNARD (1764-1804) in Buckelsbei Hosingen, Bockholtz near Hosingen in the canton of Clervaux (and not Bockholtz near Goesdorf in the canton of Wiltz).
Peter died on 4 June 1820 in Hoscheid in a house called Christen. Jacob KOENIG who officiated at the marriage of Peter and Antonia only five years earlier was one of the informants on the death record and he gave the widow’s name as Antonia STEFFEN.
Antonia’s second marriage and children
Following Peter’s death, Antonia married Jean KAUFMAN on 7 January 1823. An interesting discovery was made when analyzing this marriage record (see image of 1823 Marriage Record above). Antonia’s brothers-in-law from her first marriage, Michel BERNARD and Nicolas BERNARD were two of the four witnesses at the marriage. This would suggest there was a close bond with the BERNARD family who did not live in Hoscheid but in Holzthum. Franz DUMONG was another witness.
Antonia’s second husband Jean KAUFMAN was ten months younger than her having been born on 1 January 1791 in Pettingen (Mersch) to Théodore KAUFMAN and Marguerite SCHILTZ.
Ten months to the day they married Antonia gave birth to twins, Anna Maria and Elisabetha, at four in the morning on 7 November 1823 in Hoscheid. The father Jean went to the town hall the same day, at five in the evening, to report the births. The twins shared a birth record. Their mother was listed as Antonia GROEBER – the same name found on her second marriage record.
Antonia’s first mother-in-law Johanna CAPPUS (1763-1833), paternal grandmother of Margaretha and Marie Cathérine, died on 21 January 1833 in Holzthum.
Jean and Antonia spent 16 years together raising their twin daughters and Antonia’s two daughters from her first marriage.
Three deaths in the family
On 6 June 1839 at eight in the evening Jean died in the house called Christen in Hoscheid. This was the same house where Antonia’s first husband Peter had died. Franz DUMONG and Mathias THIEVES were the informants for Jean’s death. They gave his widow’s name as Antonia STEFFEN. Finally, there is a record showing a relationship to Franz DUMONG. Both of the men listed as informants on this record were neighbors of the family who lived in the house called Christen in Hoscheid.
Later in the year, on 7 November 1839, the day the KAUFMAN twins would celebrate their 16th birthday, their maternal grandmother Christina STEFFEN’s died in the house called Christen. I wonder if she owned the house and this was the reason it was called Christen. Her son Nicolas GROEBER went to the town hall at one in the afternoon to declare the death took place the same day at seven in the morning.
Antonia was now alone with her four daughters: Margaretha (24), Marie Cathérine (22), and the twins Anna Maria (16) and Elisabetha (16). Four years later her brother Nicolas and her neighbor Franz reported her death on 9 March 1843.
What happened to her daughters?
Antonia and Peter’s first child, Margaretha BERNARD was my children’s 4th great-grandmother. She married two months after her mother’s death. On 30 May 1843, Margaretha married Anton WECKERING (1781-1857) in Bourscheid. Anton was 61 years old and had been widowed in 1841. Their marriage record lists the bride’s parents as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN. Their story can be read in this post: Antoine WECKERING Becomes Father of his 13th Child at Age 72!.
Margaretha’s sister Marie Cathérine BERNARD and her half-sisters, the twins Anna Maria KAUFMAN and Elisabetha KAUFMAN lived together and worked as day laborers in 1843 when the census was taken in Hoscheid.
Marie Cathérine BERNARD married Pierre ROMMES on 12 February 1846 in Hoscheid. Her parents were listed as Peter BERNARD and Antonette STEFFEN.
Anna Maria KAUFMAN married Johann DUMONG (1824-1892) on 12 July 1849 in Hoscheid. Johann’s father Franz DUMONG, who played a large part in the lives of Antonia and her family, died the previous year. He had been their neighbor as well as an informant and witness to many major events which took place from the time he was old enough to sign until his death. The DUMONG-KAUFMAN marriage record listed Jean KAUFMAN and Antoinette STEFFEN as the bride’s parents. Ten months later, like her mother Antonia, Anna Maria gave birth to twin daughters who shared a birth record. They were not her only children.
Anna Maria KAUFMAN died on 26 April 1865 in Merscheid. Her death record lists her parents as Johann KAUFMAN and Antoinette STEFFEN.
The oldest daughter, Margaretha BERNARD died on 15 April 1878 in the Central Hospiz in Ettelbruck. Only the name of her deceased husband, Antoine WECKERING was noted on her death record.
Marie Cathérine BERNARD died on 17 January 1880 in Hoscheid. Her parents were not mentioned on her death record, only her deceased husband Peter ROMMES.
Anna Maria’s twin, Elisabetha KAUFMAN, never married and worked as a seamstress. After the death of her twin, she took in Catharina DUMONG, one of her sister’s twin daughters. They were found together on the census in 1867, 1871 and 1875. Elisabetha died on 11 April 1880 in Hoscheid. Her death was reported by her niece’s husband, Jean WECKERING. He gave her parents’ names as Johann KAUFMAN and Anna GRÖBER. He was a nephew of Antoine WECKERING who married Margaretha BERNARD.
Antonia STEFFEN or Antonia GROEBER?
After looking at all of these records I’ve come to this conclusion. Antonia STEFFEN was her maiden name and Antonia GROEBER will be added as an alternate name. Antonia’s father may have been Valentin GROEBER or he may have been a man whose name will remain a mystery.
Pierre WECKERING was born on 12 June 1752 in Brandenbourg, Luxembourg. He married Margaretha LASCHEID before 1780. Margaretha was born about 1753 in Niederschlinder. Pierre and Margaretha had the following children.
Antoine “Anton” WECKERING was born on 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder.,  He married Marguerite MÜLLER (1773-1841), daughter of Nicolas MÜLLER and Marie Cathérine COLLING, on 8 February 1799 in Vianden. Marguerite died on 7 April 1841 in Lipperscheid. She gave him seven children, two are known to have died young. Antoine also married Margaretha BERNARD, daughter of Pierre BERNARD and Antoinette GROEBER, on 30 May 1843 in Bourscheid. She gave birth to six children, only one lived to adulthood (my children’s 3rd great-grandmother). Antoine WECKERING became the father of his 13th child at age 72! He died on 25 March 1857 in Hoscheid. His second wife Margaretha died on 15 April 1878 in Ettelbruck.
Michel WECKERING was born on 7 December 1781 in Schlindermanderscheid. He was baptized on 8 December 1781 in Brandenbourg. His godparents were Michel MERSCH and Maria SERRES. No trace of him has been found after his baptism.
Corneil WECKERING was born abt. 1786 in Niederschlindermanderscheid. He was never married and died on 16 January 1857 in Hoscheid.
Margaretha LASCHEID, the mother of these three children, died in 1792 in Hoscheid.
Pierre remarried after his first wife’s death to Margaretha KOENIG before 1797. Margaretha was born about 1767 in Michelau. Her parents are unknown. Pierre and his second wife, Margaretha had the following children
Marguerite WECKERING was born on 13 January 1796 in Hoscheid. She never married but was the mother of a daughter born in 1819. Marguerite died on 1 June 1864 in Hoscheid.
Theodore WECKERING was born on 27 April 1800 in Hoscheid. He married Catharina HELLES (1802-1864) on 16 January 1826 in Wiltz. They had at least 3 children born between 1827 and 1840 in Wiltz. Catharina died on 23 Mar 1864 and Theodore died on 13 June 1881, both in Wiltz.
Theodore WECKERING was born on 2 January 1804 in Hoscheid. He married Margaretha DUPONT (1802-1890) on 5 June 1828 in Ermsdorf. They were the parents of at least 2 children born between 1834 and 1837 in Eppeldorf. Theodore died on 20 June 1867 and Margaretha died on 27 May 1890, both in Eppeldorf
Nicolas WECKERING was born on 12 July 1808 in Hoscheid. Nicolas married Anne Marie THURM (1812-1884) on 23 April 1834 in Hoscheid. They were the parents of at least 9 children born between 1834 and 1854 in Hoscheid. Anne Marie died on 28 May 1884 and Nicolas died on 19 Mar 1892, both in Hoscheid.
Anne Marie WECKERING was born on 1 January 1811 in Hoscheid. She married Mathias MANGERS (1806-1874) on 20 October 1836 in Wilwerwiltz.They were the parents of at least 8 children born between 1837 and 1853 in Enscherange. Mathias died on 18 February 1874 and Anne Marie died on 7 March 1877, both in Enscherange.
Mathias WECKERING was born on 23 August 1814 in Hoscheid.He married Marie WEIS (1819-1858)on 13 March 1844 in Wilwerwiltz. They were the parents of at least five children born between 1844 and 1852 in Enscherange. Marie died on 18 May 1858 in Enscherange. Mathias died on 1 December 1891 in Luxembourg City.
Pierre WECKERING died on 17 March 1820 in Hoscheid. His youngest child was only 5 years old when he died. His second wife Margaretha KOENIG died on 3 March 1849 in Hoscheid.
The Longer Story Using Substitute Pieces of the Puzzle
Pierre WECKERING, a 5th great-grandfather of my children, very likely left a lot more records than I was able to find. His parents chose to live in Brandenbourg where his paternal grandparents had also lived. Normally research is simpler when families stayed in one location. However, the Brandenbourg parish records are in a muddle for many of the years Pierre lived there. To be more precise, from the time he was 12 years old until he turned 50. The period of his life when he married, had children, lost his first wife, married again, and had more children.
I attended a lecture on Latin in the Luxembourg church records last Thursday. As I have been doing a lot of research in the church records this year, the information the lecturer shared was an eye-opener.
At the lecture I learned two copies were kept of the records by the priests of the parish. Where both copies were available, they were microfilmed by FamilySearch. This is helpful as the handwriting in one copy may be more legible than in the other due to fading or even those pesky mice who ate a whole through the surname of your ancestor.
Over the years, as the borders changed, some of the books were split up between the parishes in Luxembourg and those across the borders in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. During the French Empire parts of Luxembourg belonged to France and church records for the years 1808-1810 may be found in the diocese of Metz, France.
There are also gaps in the record keeping. Some parishes were large and included several towns. The priests did not always carry their registers with them and made the entries later messing up the chronological order.
Other church records are lost forever. Destroyed by natural elements (insects, rats, dampness), hidden by the clergy, or, in some cases, torn out of the ledgers by people who stole the records or by others who had well-meaning reasons for making a record disappear.
No matter what the reason for the missing records, we are still able to write the stories of our ancestors with the remaining records.
The (Documented) Early Years
Pierre WECKERING (1752-1820) was born and baptized on 12 June 1752 in Brandenbourg. His parents were Michel WECKERING and his wife Anna Maria. His godfather was the Reverend Father Petro (Peter) WEISGERBER, a pastor in Aalschett (sic, Alscheid). His godmother was Maria Elisabeth DALEIDEN of Vianden.
Some priests wrote short entries while others wrote up documents which filled one, two, and even three pages. Still, the compact and precise entries, when translated correctly, include more information than one sees at first glance.
In the above record, the abbreviation R:D: (reverendi domini) in front of the name of the godfather gives more precise information. Without this, a beginner would automatically translate the word pastore following the godfather’s name to shepherd as his occupation. In this case, Petro WEISGEBER was a Catholic priest in Alscheid. This detail was the key to opening the door in young Peter’s maternal line – to be written about in a future post.
We don’t do research in chronological order. We work backward, forward, and sideways to find the relevant information for each individual. In Pierre’s case, I knew the names of his parents as other researchers had made the connection. To confirm them, I searched for his baptismal record (above) and found it did not include his mother’s maiden name. The next step was to locate the baptismal records of his five known siblings, names and dates being provided by researchers who have their GEDCOM files online. [The names and dates found in other people’s files are used as clues and to assist in finding the records to prove the connection.]
After locating all of the baptismal records in Vianden, I took a closer look at each. Pierre’s three youngest siblings’ baptismal records included their mother’s maiden name: DALEYDEN. This was important as no marriage record was found for Michel WECKERING and Anna Maria DALEYDEN. The date of marriage is presently being estimated at before 1751, the birth year of the oldest known child.
It was interesting to hear the lecturer mention things I had already noticed. For example, the importance of the godfather and godmother in the baptismal record. A male child always received the name of the godfather and a female child that of the godmother. This rule is very useful when the priest omitted the name of the child on the baptismal record.
A closer look at the baptismal records of all six children of Michel and Anna Maria showed DALEYDEN/DALEIDEN individuals were acting as godparents for some of the children.
The (Undocumented) Middle Years
Pierre WECKERING was married twice. No marriage records were found. However, the records of his children have been helpful in proving his first wife was Margaretha LASCHEID (d. 1792) and his second wife was Margaretha KOENIG (1767-1849).
First Marriage and the Children
To prove the first marriage I searched for records documenting children born about 1780 to 1792. Important information was gleaned from the 1843 marriage record of my children’s 4th great-grandparents Antoine WECKERING and (his second wife) Margaretha BERNARD.
From the 1843 marriage record I learned:
1) Antoine was born 1 July 1781 in Unterschlinder.
2) Antoine’s mother was Margaretha LASCHEID who died in the year 1792.
3) Antoine’s father was Pierre WECKERING who died 17 March 1820.
To date, no death or burial entry has been found for the 1792 death of Margaretha LASCHEID. Only one baptismal record was found for a child born to Pierre and Margaretha. It, however, caused a conflict with the date of birth found for Antoine on both of his marriage records.
At eight in the evening of 7 December 1781 Michel was born to Pierre WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHET (variation of the spelling of the maiden name) and was baptized the following day. His godparents were Michel MERSCH of Schlindermanderscheid and Maria SERRES of Hoscheid. One would imagine with the length of this baptismal record there would be many more details which could be used. The priest who entered the information was very specific about the places the parents were from including the town name, parish, Duchy of Luxembourg in the Archdiocese of Trier.
The clergymen who wrote in the parish registers were not all accomplished Latinists and there is a marked difference between classical Latin and medieval Latin found in the church records of the 17th to 19th century.
Michel’s brother Antoine was born on 1 July 1781 per both of his marriage records. This was only five months before Michel was born. Antoine was underage when he married in 1799. Is it possible he was even younger? Was his birth date seen in the 1843 marriage record copied from the 1799 marriage record?
Corneil WECKERING, the third child of Pierre and his first wife, showed up in the Luxembourg census for the years 1843, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1851, 1852, and 1855 with his half-sister Margaretha. The age range seen for Corneil on the census suggested he was born before Margaretha LASCHEID died. Although I searched and searched through the Brandenbourg church records, I did not find a baptismal record for Corneil. His death in 1857 was reported by his half-sister Margaretha’s son-in-law and included the names of his parents: Peter WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHEND, a variation on the spelling of LASCHEID or LASCHET.
Second Marriage and the Children
Pierre’s marriage to Margaretha KOENIG is well documented even without a record of marriage. The marriage records of four sons and a daughter all include the names of both parents, Pierre WECKERING and his wife Margaretha KOENIG. They also document the dates of birth for these five children.
Birth or baptismal records were not found for all of the children. Their oldest daughter Margaretha and first son Theodore were born during the time period the Brandenbourg church records are deficient. Their son Nicolas and daughter Anne Marie were born during the years for which the church records ended up in Metz and the civil records are also lacking. Only their second son Theodore and youngest son Mathias had civil birth records.
The date of birth of the oldest daughter Margaretha, who never married, cannot be documented with a reliable record. The census records found for her show she was born 13 January 1796 (1843), 3 November 1802 (1846), or 6 January 1800 (1849). The first appears to be the most likely as her siblings were born with 3-4 years between each. In 1851 she was seen as 52 years old when her illegitimate daughter married. At the time of death in 1864 her age was 58 which would place her birth at abt. 1806. Although I don’t trust the age to be correct on the record, the informant, her son-in-law, knew her parents were Peter WECKERING and Margaretha KOENIG.
I am comfortable with the research done to prove the mothers of the children of Pierre WECKERING. I still need to investigate the parentage of his first wife Margaretha LASCHEID who was the 5th great-grandmother of my children. Preliminary searches for the surname LASCHEID did not turn up any other persons with the name. However, I have a tiny hope of perhaps finding her parents as a baptismal record turned up for Maria Catharina LASCHET, daughter of Nicolas LASCHET and Catharina MEYERS, born 22 February 1753 in Schlinder(manderscheid) with godparents Joannes MERSCH of Schlinder and Maria Catharina BINSFELD of Hoscheid. I may be analyzing godparents as Michel MERSCH was the godfather of Michel WECKERING, the only child of Pierre WECKERING and Margaretha LASCHEID for whom a record was found. Coincidence?
Earlier this week I wrote Lëtz Play! Can You Top This? A Marriage Record With 15 Events in which I shared the marriage record of my children’s sixth great-grandfather Jean Baptiste SCHAEFFER (1752-1819). It was a second marriage for both the bride and groom. Jean Baptiste was first married to Catherine SCHAACK (1752-1801). Nicolas SCHAEFFER was their first known child. I doubt he was their first born as they were married 9 February 1777 in Heiderscheid while Nicolas was not born until 14 July 1783 in Merscheid. I’ve found four of his siblings, all born later and in Merscheid, but the search for older siblings is still underway.
Nicolas SCHAEFFER was twenty-six years old when he married the twenty-nine years old Theresia GREISCH on 19 February 1810 in Esch. The bride and the groom were working as day laborers at the time of their marriage. Nicolas was living in Merscheid and Theresia in Eschdorf. The groom and his father and the bride and her mother left their mark on the marriage record.
The marriage took place in Esch, today known as Esch-sur-Sûre in the northwestern part of Luxembourg. It is not to be confused with Esch-sur-Alzette in the southwestern part of the county. Nicolas and Theresia are one of the many sets of fifth great-grandparents in my children’s family tree.
Theresia GREISCH was the first child of Nicolas GREISCH (1759-1803) and Susanne ROLLINGER (abt. 1757-1819). She was born on 24 May 1781 in Eschdorf, ten months after her parents married on 11 July 1780 in Wahl.
Theresia’s place of birth is, as yet, undocumented. She had at least six siblings, five born in Eschdorf, and one in Brattert. Baptismal records have been found for these children. At the time of her marriage, Theresia’s place of birth was given as Eschdorf. When she died the informant gave Wahl as her place of birth. Three census listings were found, each has a different place of birth: Eschdorf, Wahl, and Dellen. For the time being, I will list the date and place of birth found in the 1810 marriage record but will continue to search for a baptismal record to confirm or refute the date and place.
UPDATE (13 June 2017): Linda, a Luxembourg researcher who has helped me out several times during this year’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series of posts, located the missing baptismal record for Theresia GREISCH in Wahl. She was baptized on 17 April 1781 and was born the previous day.
At the time of their marriage, both Nicolas and Theresia had lost one parent. Catherine SCHAACK, Nicolas’ mother, died on 28 November 1801 in Merscheid while Nicolas GREISCH, Theresia’s father, had died on 21 January 1803 in Eschdorf.
Brothers marry Sisters
Three months after Nicolas and Theresia’s marriage, his brother Jean Pierre married her sister Catharina on 22 May 1810. Catharina was in a family way when the marriage took place as five months later, on 10 October 1810, a son was born. Wouldn’t it be interesting to learn how they met and who knew whom first?
The SCHAEFFER-GREISCH Children
From the different records found I believe the SCHAEFFER-GREISCH couple remained in Eschdorf during their entire married life. All of their children were born in this small town.
Ch 1: Bernard (1811-?) was born on 8 August 1811.
Ch 2: Marguerite (1813-1815) was born on 15 September 1813. She lived less than a year and a half, dying on 16 March 1815. Her mother was pregnant with her third child at the time of Marguerite’s death.
Ch 3: Catherina (1815-1898) was born 14 April 1815. She was my children’s fourth great-grandmother.
Ch 4: Susanne (1818-1863) was born on 31 March 1818. She was a twin.
Ch 5: Marguerithe (1818-1818) was born on 31 March 1818. She was Susanne’s twin and lived only nine days, dying on 9 April 1818.
In 1819 the children Bernard, Catherina and Susanne lost the only grandparents they ever knew. Their maternal grandmother Susanne ROLLINGER died on 15 May 1819 in Eschdorf and their paternal grandfather Jean Baptiste SCHAEFFER died on 22 November 1819 in Bourglinster.
Ch 6: Elisabetha (1821-1882) was born on 4 November 1821.
Ch 7: Catherina (1823-?) was born 7 December 1823.
No trace of the oldest child and only son, Bernard, or the youngest daughter, Catherina, has been found. Of the seven children born to Theresia and Nicolas, only three are known to have survived to adulthood.
Susanne SCHAEFFER, the next oldest daughter, was the next to marry. She married Jean BERTHOLET (1812-1864) on 17 May 1841 in Mecher, Wiltz, Luxembourg.
The youngest of the three living daughters, Elisabetha SCHAEFFER married Thomas JUSTE (1816-1883) on 28 Jan 1843 in Heiderscheid, Wiltz, Luxembourg. 
I had to do a lot of browsing to learn more about Susanne and Elisabetha. With only their marriage records, I wondered where I would be able to find them after the events.
I looked into Elisabetha first. Her husband was from Nothomb, a small village in the commune of Attert, in the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. At the time of their marriage, he was living in Heiderscheid (Luxembourg). Not finding any immediate trace of them there, I took a chance with the FamilySearch records for the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. I located birth records for eight children born between 1848-1867 in Parette, a village in the commune of Attert, as well as death records for four children who died in the 1850s. But I still had a large gap between 1843 when they married and 1848 when their first child was born in Belgium.
I then checked for Susanne whose husband was born in Holtz in the commune of Perlé in western Luxembourg near the Belgium border. Jean BERTHOLET was living and working in Béiwen (Bavigne) when they married. Béiwen was in the commune of Mecher in Luxembourg where I found their sad story. Susanne gave birth to at least five daughters. Sadly, the first died before the birth of the second, the second before the third, and the third before the fourth. Then the fifth also died after only three months. Only the fourth daughter, Anna born in 1854 lived. However, the question remains, how long? Susanne died in 1863 and her husband in 1864 leaving Anna an orphan. She may have lived with her uncle Johann MERSCH (who had married her father’s sister) immediately after her father’s death but this is not definite as the child seen on the 1864 census in his household was named Susanne, an 11-year-old servant girl. By 1867 a very young Anna BERTHOLET, 14 years and 2 months, was working as a servant for an unmarried female farmer, Anna Catherine PROBST in Béiwen. No trace has been found of her after 1867.
Once I knew more of each of the daughters I came back to Nicolas and Theresia to see how their lives continued after their daughters married.
On 14 December 1843, a peculiar census was found for Nicolas SCHAEFFER. He was living in Eschdorf which was expected. By this time, his daughter Catherina was well established in Hoscheid with her husband Frederich GRISIUS and their three young sons. Elisabetha had been married less than a year and as mentioned above, missing during this time period. Daughter Susanne, her husband Jean BETHOLET, and their daughter Elisabetha were living in Nicolas’ household. The daughter’s birth record has not been found but her presence was not unexpected as I had found her 1845 death record in the commune of Mecher. Also on the census sheet was Theresia GREISCH, Nicolas’ wife and mother of Susanne, but her name was crossed out. Was she away from home, perhaps visiting with Elisabetha who has not been located?
On 6 December 1846 and on 31 December 1847 Nicolas and Theresia were the only persons in his household in Eschdorf.
On 19 December 1846 Elisabetha and Susanne, both married, were found with their husbands in the BERTHOLET-LINDEN household, Susanne’s parents-in-law, in Bavigne. Each had a daughter.
Theresia GREISCH died on 26 May 1848 in Eschdorf. Her husband Nicolas was not found on the 1851 or 1852 census. He died 10 April 1855 in Eschdorf.
Seven months after her father died, Catherina who was widowed in 1852, remarried. The 40 years old bride married Nicolas WIRTZ, a 22 years old young man, on 30 November 1855 in Hoscheid.
Susanne SCHAEFFER who had been living in Béiwen (Bavigne) died on 25 June 1863. She left a husband and daughter.
Elisabetha SCHAEFFER died on 19 November 1882 in Aubange. She appears to have been visiting with her son, a butcher, who declared the death. It was recorded in the Aubange register as well as the Attert register as this was her normal residence. She left a husband Thomas JUSTE who died the following year on Christmas Day. The four sons who may have continued the JUSTE line have not been researched.
Catherina SCHAEFFER, my children’s ancestress, died on 16 January 1898 in Hoscheiderdickt. at the age of 82 years. She outlived her young second husband who died in 1882 after nearly 27 years of marriage.
I’m glad I took the time to research this family further. Although it was sad to find so many small children’s deaths, it was satisfying to be able to learn more of Catharina’s parents Nicolas and Theresia and her sisters Susanne and Elisabetha.
And now before you leave, I’d like to share a milestone.
Yesterday morning Opening Doors in Brick Walls had a visit from Poland. I don’t know who it was or what they were viewing. The person who visited made my view counter click over from 99,999 to 100,000 views since I started blogging in January 2014. I’d like to thank all my readers, followers, and visitors for making me feel special and helping me to stay motivated to continue writing about my genealogy research. It’s much appreciated.
Each week, as I write about another set of my children’s Luxembourgish 5th great-grandparents, I review the information I have. If I haven’t worked on the family in a while, I search for baptismal and/or birth records, marriage banns, marriage records, death and/or burial records, census records on FamilySearchin the collections for Luxembourg or Lëtzebuerg.
This week I looked into the SCHAEFFER-GREISCH family. I’ll be sharing the post on Friday. However, I couldn’t wait to play this little game with you.
Lëtz Play! Can You Top This?
Have you found a record in your genealogy research which reveals as many events as the one I discovered?
When I re-read the 1810 marriage record of the SCHAEFFER-GREISCH couple who married in Esch-sur-Sûre in north-western Luxembourg, I found the widowed father of the groom was living in Bourglinster, a town in the commune of Junglinster in central Luxembourg. I found his 1819 death record in Junglinster and learned he had remarried. When and where did this marriage take place?
I located the 1809 marriage record in Junglinster and it is filled with genealogical information. Imagine finding the dates for fifteen (15) events in one record!
21 April 1809 – Date of marriage for Johann Baptiste SCHAFFER and Catherine WEINTZ
22 June 1752 – Date of birth of the groom, Johann Baptiste SCHAFFER
7 Frimaire year X – Date of death of the groom’s first wife Catherine JACQUES (aka SCHAACK)
16 January 1795 – Date of death of Jean SCHAFFER, father of the groom
21 February 1771 – Date of death of Marie BRAACK, mother of the groom
15 March 1760 – Date of death of Jean SCHAFFER, grandfather of the groom
25 March 1760 – Date of death of Susanne SCHAFFER, grandmother of the groom
3 Nov 1765 – Date of birth of the bride, Catherine WEINTZ
9 Pluviose year XII – Date of death of the bride’s first husband, Matthias REIDELER
21 February 1773 – Date of death of Michel WEINTZ, father of the bride
3 Frimaire 1797 – Date of death of Marie BRAUN, mother of the bride
12 April 1749 – Date of death of Theodore WEINTZ, grandfather of the bride
19 April 1767 – Date of death of Marguerite WEINTZ, grandmother of the bride
26 March 1809 – First proclamation of the marriage banns
2 April 1809 – Second proclamation of the marriage banns
It’s normal to find dates of death of the first spouse and deceased parents of the bride and/or groom in Luxembourgish marriage records. I have also seen the fact that the grandparents were deceased when the party was an orphan. But this was the first record I’ve seen with names and dates for the grandparents of the bride and groom.
Have you found a record with this many events mentioned? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment or link to a post you’ve written about your extraordinary find.
Mathias GRISIUS married Magdalena SCHAETTER on the 23rd day of the month Pluviôse in the 6th year of the French Republic in Alscheid in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This date from the French Republican calendar converts to 11 February 1798 on the Gregorian calendar. An easy to use converter can be found on the Pas-de-Calais Archives website.
The French Republican Calendar Months
The Republican calendar begins with the autumn months, the first being Vendémiaire (starting around 22 September) with the name coming from the French word vendange or grape harvest. The next two fall months were Brumaire (brume or mist) and Frimaire (frimas or frost). The winter months were Nivôse (Latin nivosus or snowy), Pluviôse (pluvieux or rainy), and Ventôse (venteux or windy). The spring months were Germinal (germination), Floréal (fleur or flower) and Prairial (prairie or meadow). The summer months were Messidor (Latin messis or harvest), Thermidor (Greek thermon or summer heat), and Fructidor (Latin fructus or fruit).
This little French Republican calendar diversion was not meant to distract attention from my children’s fifth great-grandparents, Mathias and Magdalena.
Mathias, the son of Leonard GRITIUS (1743-1813) and Marie NEIEN (d. bef. 11 February 1798), was born on 10 May 1776 in Ouren, Province de Liege, Belgium. His birth record has not been found. [I’m looking for tips on how to research church records for this period in Belgium.] When he married the marriage record included his date of birth and indicated he was born in the canton of Wiltz. When he died his death record listed Ouren in Luxembourg. Today, if you look on a map, Ouren is located in Belgium at the border triangle of Belgium-Germany-Luxembourg. All of the borders are tangent in the middle of the Our River.
His parents’ names came from his marriage record. At this time, his siblings are unknown.
Magdalena, the daughter of Jean SCHETTERT and Anna Catharina SCHAACK, was born on 26 April 1775 in Grümelscheid, also called Grummelscheid in French and Grëmmelescht in Luxembourgish. The town is today part of the Winseler commune in the canton of Wiltz. Her birth record was found in the Oberwampach church records.
When Things Don’t Want to Fall in Place
While searching for more information on the parents and siblings of Magdalena SCHAETTER, I found a table of baptisms for Oberwampach for 1716 to 1797. It helped to find many baptisms for children with these surname variations: Schutter, Schoettert, Shetter, Schettert and Schaettert. The church records for the entire period for the Oberwampach area will have to be carefully viewed and followed up on as there is some confusion as to the name of Jean SCHETTERT’s wife as seen in several online GEDCOM files. I will have to check the birth, marriage, and death/burial of each person found in the GEDCOM files to determine where and if there is an error.
I became so frustrated with the research on this family that I laid it aside for several weeks, taking a break from research and blogging.
Life After the Wedding
When they married in Alscheid, Mathias was living in Merkholtz, less than 2 km away, and Magdalena and her parents were from the Eschweiler area, about a dozen kilometers from Alscheid.
They spent their married life moving around the northern tip of Luxembourg (the tip of the shoe). On 15 November 1799, they were in Bavigne (Böwen in German and Béiwen in Luxembourgish) when their first child, a son named Wilhelm was born. I have not found this birth record, the information came from his 1824 marriage record.
By the time the next child, a daughter named Elisabeth, joined the family on 11 February 1802 they were living in Goesdorf. As you can see below, the handwriting on this birth record was a challenge. The surname was spelled GREISCH instead of GRISIUS and the record was in German.
They returned to the area of Alscheid for the births of the next three children. Frederich, my children’s 4th great-grandfather, was born on 9 March 1805 and his brother Jean was born on 16 November 1807. Baby Jean died at nearly six months of age on 1 May 1808. Another son, Pierre was born on 5 January 1810. All three of these birth records were written completely by hand and in French. This example of Pierre’s birth was the first in the register for the year 1810.
The family was residing in Schlindermanderscheid when the last three children were born. Margaretha was born on 22 September 1811. Mathias’ father, Leonard GRITIUS, may have been living in Schlindermanderscheid before Mathias and Magdalena brought their family there as this is where his death took place on 30 December 1813. Less than three weeks later another daughter, Catherine was born on 17 January 1814. Anne Marie, the baby of the family, was born on 7 April 1816.
Of the eight children Magdalena gave birth to, seven were living in 1816. Six-year-old Pierre died on 30 September 1816 and Anne Marie died on 21 January 1817 at the age of nine months. This left two sons and three daughters between the ages of three and eighteen.
The oldest son Wilhelm GRISIUS, who was living in Bavigne, married Catherine SCHNEIDER on 28 April 1824 in Mecher. Mathias and Magdalena were living in Heffingen at the time (if I deciphered the place name correctly on the marriage record).
Mathias and Magdalena Settle in Hoscheid
By around 1830 the commune of Hoscheid had become the family’s residence. At first they were living in Hoscheid in the cowherd’s or Kühhirt‘s house where Mathias’ wife Magdalena SCHAETTER died on 1 December 1831. She left Mathias with three daughters and son Frederich still at home. The oldest daughter Elisabetha was two months short of 30 years and still single. She most likely shared household duties with her younger sisters Margaretha (20) and Catherine (17).
At some point, after Magdalena died, the family went to live in der Dickt or in Houschterdéckt, also known in German as Hoscheiderdickt. This was likely between 1833 and 1836 when Mathias’ occupation changed from being a cowherd to working as a day laborer. By 1836 he was 60 years old and probably too old to be working as a cowherd.
The four remaining children were seen marrying in the commune of Hoscheid from 1833 to 1845.
Cathérine Grisius married Michel MILLANG (1811-1875) on 7 September 1836 in Hoscheid. She and her father were living in der Dickt.
Elisabetha Grisius married Adam KLEESEN (1799-1858) on 18 January 1843 in Hoscheid. She and her father were living in der Dickt.
Margaretha Grisius married Jean PEIFFER (1818-1880) on 12 June 1845 in Heffingen. She and her father were living in der Dickt.
Almost six months after the last of the GRISIUS children married they lost their oldest brother Wilhelm who died on 7 December 1845 in Bavigne.
Eleven months later Mathias GRISIUS died at eight in the evening of 27 October 1846 in Hoscheiderdickt at the age of 70. His son-in-law Adam KLEESEN, who had been living in the GRISIUS household in 1843, reported his death.
Elisabetha, the oldest daughter, had only been married four years when she died on 17 March 1847 in Hoscheiderdickt at the age of 45. Like her father, she died in a house called Theis.
Five years later, Frederich GRISIUS, 47 years old and the oldest living child, died on 16 December 1852 in Hoscheiderdickt. He left a wife, seven children, and two sisters, Margaretha and Catherine.
Margaretha died on 11 November 1875 in Heffingen. By this time Catherine was living in Belgium, where her husband died three months earlier on 16 August 1875 in Seraing. Catherine remained in Belgium and died in Flémalle (Wallonie) on 21 September 1887 at the age of 73.
It’s good to be back to researching and blogging but I am even more happy to finally get this family put to bed. Some are not as easy as others. The GRISIUS-SCHAETTER family who lived in the tip of the Luxembourg shoe was one of these.
Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was born 24 February 1922 in Nallen, Fayette County, West Virginia, to Joseph Elmer ZICKAFOOSE and Eva Myrtle HEDRICK. He was the fourth of eight children.
After graduating from Nuttall High School, Warren was an employee of Ford, Bacon, and Davis in Dunbar. On 7 March 1942, he married Pauline Alice RAMSEY, daughter of Jarrett Theodore RAMSEY and Louie Ann CAVENDISH, in Russell, Greenup County, Kentucky.
On 29 December 1942 he entered the U.S. Army and received his training at Camp Hood, Texas; Camp Carson, Colorado; Camp Gruber, Oklahoma; Camp Livingston, Louisiana; and had desert training in California.
Three weeks after he entered the U.S. Army his wife Pauline gave birth to a baby girl.
Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE was attached to Company C of the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion and was sent to Europe in August 1944 arriving at Cherbourg, France, on 15 September 1944.
The battalion moved to Luxembourg in November and participated in the Battle of the Bulge in December. Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action in December 1944.
Into January 1945 the 811th was widely scattered as it was attached to many divisions. In February and March, they supported operations against the Siegfriedstellung (Siegfried Line).
In late March the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion advanced to the Rhine River crossing it on 30 March.
Every day of World War II, a 3 1/4 by 7-inch Morning Report was issued. These are the events recorded for the first few day of April 1945.
1 April 1945:
Station: WH 2384 Melgerhausen Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn (Battalion) FA (Field Artillery) TD (Tank Destroyer)
No change (in personnel)
Record of Events: Left WH Schwarzenborn, Germany enroute to Wh 2384 Melgerhause, Germany. Arrived destination.
4 officers were present for duty.
118 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA (Warrant Office Junior Grade)
2 April 1945:
Station: WH 2290 Grexhagen, Germany (Guxhagen)
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
No change (in personnel)
Record of Events: Left WH 2384 Melgerhausen, Germany enroute to WH 2290 Grexhagen Guxhagen, Germany. Arrived destination.
4 officers were present for duty.
118 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
3 April 1945:
Station: WH 2290 Guxhagen, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Three men were absent from duty due to sickness: Tec 5 Howard C. Kerns (SN 35692008); Tec 4 Thomas J. Donnelly (SN 32288320), and Pfc Johnny P. Garcia (SN 39286737). All were transferred to Evac Hospital. The first two were non-battle casualties in the line of duty. The third was non-battle casualty, not in the line of duty [acute alcholism (sic)].
4 officers were present for duty.
115 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
In early April the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion supported the 80th Infantry Division when Kassel was captured. Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was killed in action on 3 April 1945 only a day before Kassel was captured.
4 April 1945:
Station: WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Cpl Ernest A. Corrado (SN 35765502) was reduced to Pvt per Special CMO # 1 Headquarters 811th Tank Destroyer effective 31 March 1945.
Record of Events: Left WH 2290 Guxhagen, Germany enroute to WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany. Arrived destination. Distance traveled 6 miles.
4 officers were present for duty.
115 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
5 April 1945:
Station: WH 2699 Crumbach, Germany
Organization: C 811th TD Bn FA TD
Pfc Harold W. McNatt (SN 3941540) was promoted to Cpl effective 5 April 1945. Pvt Finis Craft (SN 35426452) was promoted to Tec 5 effective 5 April 1945. Pvt. Thomas J. Heitzman (SN 67134753) change in duty effective 5 April 1945. Pvt. Robert L. Sansbury (SN 35817099) change in duty effective 5 April 1945.
Pvt. Carl W. Rhoades (SN 35240303) and Tec 5 Robert L. Tidwell, both enlisted men, were lightly wounded in action, battle casualties in line of duty on 3 April 1945. The 305th Medical Battalion transferred him to Evac Hospital. He was dropped from assignment effective 27 March 1945.
Pvt. Alex M. Sandler (SN 39422544) was Lightly Injured in Action, battle casualty in line of duty on 3 April 1945. The 305th Med Bn transferred him to Evac Hospital. He was dropped from assignment effective 27 March 1945. Sgt. Warren E. Zickafoose (SN 35645379) was Killed in Action, battle casualty in line of duty on 3 April 1945.
Record of Events: All casualties occurred in Germany.
4 officers were present for duty.
111 enlisted men were present for duty and 6 were absent.
Clem J. HUX WOJG USA
Mrs. Pauline ZICKAFOOSE was informed by the war department of the death of her husband, Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE in May 1945. She remarried two years later.
Sgt. ZICKAFOOSE’s body was returned to American soil in 1948. He was buried in End of the Trail Cemetery in Clintonville on Sunday, 19 December 1948. The service was held by Rev. M. J. Painter and Rev. John Bragg. Military rites were conducted by the Ansted American Legion Post at the grave.
His father applied for a military marker in a month later, on 18 January 1949.
Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE’s name is engraved on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial. As well as the Purple Heart Medal, he received three Battle Stars, a Silver Star (posthumous), and the Presidential Unit Citation.
UPDATE (31 May 2017): More information from the MilitaryTimes Hall of Valor about the Silver Star Medal Sgt. Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE received posthumously.
General Orders: Headquarters, 80th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 131 (May 20, 1945) Action Date: April 4, 1945 (sic, April 3, 1945) Battalion: 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion Division: 80th Infantry Division
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant Warren E. Zickafoose (ASN: 35645379), United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 80th Infantry Division in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States on 4 April 1945 in Germany. On that date, while supporting infantry troops in holding Vollmarshausen, Germany, Sergeant Zickafoose, a gun commander of a tank destroyer, observed four enemy tanks approaching the town. Realizing that he was outnumbered he nevertheless elected to move into a firing position to prevent the enemy from overrunning the infantry. By taking up an advantageous position he repelled the attack, although his destroyer received a direct hit which mortally wounded him. The courage, aggressive leadership, and supreme devotion to duty as displayed by Sergeant Zickafoose was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Warren Earl ZICKAFOOSE was my 4th cousins 2 times removed through our common ancestor, James SIMS (1754-1845) and my 5th cousins 1 time removed through our common ancestors, (the same) James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. His daughter, who is still living, is my aunt by marriage and her four sons are my first cousins.
Christophe HASTERT and Barbara SCHMIT did not make it easy to research this set of 5th great-grandparents for my children. To begin with Christophe’s date of birth was not listed on their 1810 marriage record. He was thirty-two years old, born in Grevenmacher, and his parents Mathias HASTERT and Anne NIEDERKORN were day laborers living Hollenfels.
The Groom’s Family
Mathias HASTERT (1750-aft. 1810) and Anne NIEDERKORN (1755- aft. 1810) were the parents of two known children. No births of children were found in Grevenmacher in 1773 to 1777. On 1 April 1777 a daughter Catharina was born. Twenty months later, a son Christianus was born on 13 December 1778. This fits the age and place of birth for Christophe as seen in his marriage record. Were they the same person?
Both of the HASTERT-NIEDERKORN children were born in Grevenmacher, the town the father Mathias was born in on 25 January 1750. Although I have been able to find more information on the next generation back, I did not find a marriage record for Mathias and Anne. I suspected the family may have done some moving around after Christophe’s birth. How could I prove my suspicions and would any records found help to learn more about Christian/Christophe’s parents?
Let’s Analyze the Marriage Record
Christophe HASTERT married Barbara SCHMIT on 28 November 1810 in Nommern in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The groom’s father Mathias was present and consenting to the marriage. Down at the bottom of the marriage record were four witnesses. The fourth was a young man named Philippe HASTERT age 25 and from Mühlenbach.
Who was Philippe HASTERT?
Mühlenbach is part of the commune of Eich. This is on the outskirts of Luxembourg City and quite large compared to the towns and villages I have been researching. I took the chance that if he was living there in November 1810 he may, in time, also marry there. Surprisingly, I found Philippe married earlier in 1810. His parents were listed as Mathias HASTERT and Anne NIEDERKORN of Hollenfels, both present and consenting to the marriage which took place on 3 March 1810. Christophe was not present or a witness to the marriage. The parents’ names and place of residence confirmed Philippe and Christophe were brothers. Did this help in locating other siblings?
Philippe was born 29 September 1784 in Dudelange. His baptismal record was enlightening. Mathias HASTERT was listed as militis incliti Regimis Kaunitz. Did this mean Mathias was in Franz Wenzel von Kaunitz-Rietberg’s infantry regiment? Being in the militia would explain his not remaining in Grevenmacher were his parents were from. Christian, as Christophe was seen in his baptismal record, was born in 1778 and Philippe in 1784. Six years in which one or two children could be missing. And for the years following Philippe’s birth until his marriage, where did the family live? This question will remain to be answered.
Getting Back to the Marriage Record
Christophe’s bride Barbara SCHMIT was the daughter of Jean SCHMIT (1752-1810) and Maria LENTZ (1759-1824) of Nommern. Barbara was born on 4 December 1783 in Schrondweiler, a part of the commune of Nommern. Her father was not present at the marriage on the 28 November 1810 as he had died only four days earlier.
In the last paragraph seen in this part of the marriage record above, the banns were read on November 11 and November 18 which shows the wedding was planned before the bride’s father passed away.
Barbara’s parents had been married only a little more than three months when she was born. She was the first of nine children born to them. Four of these died very young and only two of Barbara’s sisters are known to have married.
Only Daughters Born to the Couple
Christophe and Barbara were the parents of five daughters. Their not having sons makes it all the more difficult to follow possible descendants who may have already researched the family.
Ch 1: Anna Catharina was born on 15 December in Schrondweiler
Ch 2: Catharina was born 16 July 1815 in Niederglabach
Ch 3: Susanna was born 17 May 1818 in Niederglabach
Ch 4: Apollonia was born 31 March 1821 in Niederglabach
Ch 5: Margaretha was born 30 October 1823 in Niederglabach
The girls’ maternal grandmother Maria LENTZ lived long enough to witness their births. She died on 4 April 1824 in Oberglabach. Niederglabach, Oberglabach, and Schrondweiler were parts of the commune of Nommern.
Christophe and Barbara lost their youngest daughter Margaretha on 22 March 1827 at the age of nearly three and a half years. Five years later their oldest daughters began to marry.
Barbara and Christophe’s second daughter Catharina married Johann Nicolas STROESSER on 19 January 1836 in Nommern. Their third daughter Susanna married Johann RITGEN on 10 August 1841 in Nommern.
The Family Moves to Oberglabach
In 1832 and in 1836 when the first two daughters married Christophe and Barbara were living in Niederglabach. At some time before the 1841 marriage of their daughter Susanna their residence changed to Oberglabach.
On 16 December 1843 when the census was taken in Oberglabach as expected we see Christophe and Barbara with their only single daughter, Apollonia, living at home. However, their married daughter Susanna was listed as well as a young boy named Nicolas RITGEN who was born in 1842 in Useldange. The birth record confirms he was Susanna’s son. The whereabouts of her husband are unknown.
On the 6 December 1846 census Apollonia age 24 was still living with her parents Christophe and Barbara in Oberglabach. Susanna was no longer in the household.
Apollonia HASTERT married Joseph GALLION (1823-1854) on 26 September 1847 in Nommern. She and her husband remained in her parents home and were seen with them on the 31 December 1847 census. The enumerator omitted the location on this census record. The grandson Nicolas RITGEN who had been with his mother in Christophe’s household in 1843 was listed but then marked out.
On the December 1849 census no distinction was made between Niederglabach and Oberglabach and we see only that Christophe and Barbara were living in Gladbach. Apollonia, her husband Joseph, and their nine months old son Nicolas were living in the home as a second family.
Apollonia had another son six months before the 31 December 1851 census. He was listed with the same name as his three years old brother Nicolas. They were living with their parents in their maternal grandparents’ home in Oberglabach. This would be the last time Christophe would be seen on the census. He died on 1 October 1852. His death was reported by Peter LENTZ, a relative of his wife Barbara.
Lenzen House in Oberglabach
In December 1852 the widowed Barbara SCHMIT was living in the household of her son-in-law Joseph GALLION and daughter Apollonia. The two sons were both identified as Nicolas.
Barbara and Christophe’s daughter Susanna at some time went to Paris as she died there on 22 May 1854. Not only Susanna but also Apollonia’s husband Joseph GALLION died while in Paris. Joseph was a mason living in the 9th arrondisement in impasse Putigneux No. 2 and died at 7 in the evening of 1 July 1854 at Parvis Nôtre Dame No. 4.
The address Joseph died at is likely that of Paris’ Hôtel Dieu hospital which is on the square of the Nôtre Dame. Joseph’s death record was acquired in 1860 and recorded in the Nommern death register at the time of his widow’s remarriage. The records for Paris for the years prior to 1860 are missing however some have substitutes in the form of cards with the name, date, and arrondisement. Susanna’s card indicates she also died in the 9th arrondisement. Could she have also been a patient in the hospital? During 1854 there was a cholera epidemic within the walls of the city of Paris.
On 1 December 1858 the widowed Apollonia was the head of household with her three sons and her mother Barbara SCHMIT. Since the 1852 census the house they were living in was named Lenzen. This was very likely the home of Barbara’s mother’s LENTZ family.
The name GALLION is seen (above) as GALGON. Last week while working on the marriages in the 52 Ancestors: #18 The Merckes-Wagener Family of Bettendorf, one of the Merckes sons married a GALION lady. Her name was also seen in some records as GALGON. There may even be a connection between these two individuals who married into the Merckes and Hastert families.
Apollonia married Johann SCHAUS (1830-1869) on 29 December 1860 in Nommern. It was at the time of this marriage that the death record of her first husband was sent for in Paris and recorded in the death register of Nommern.
Barbara SCHMIT continued to live with her daughter Apollonia in the Lenzen house until death. She died at 3 in the afternoon on 29 August 1861 in the home. The death was reported by her new son-in-law Johann SCHAUS. Johann, or the official who recorded the death, incorrectly gave the place of residence of Johann as Niederglabach but correctly noted Lenzen house being in Oberglabach.
Apollonia remained in the Lenzen house after her mother’s death. She gave her second husband two sons, a third was stillborn. Johann SCHAUS died in 1869 leaving her to raise her sons on her own. She died on 30 October 1878. Her death was reported by her son Jean GALLION.
Ten years later the oldest daughter of Christophe and Barbara, Anna Catharina HASTERT, died on 9 May 1888 in Rumelange.
None of the daughters had children who carried on the HASTERT name. Their children were born with the surnames MERKES, RITGEN, GALLION, and SCHAUS. Catharina, the second oldest daughter, married a STROESSER but nothing has been found for her after her marriage. Were there also grandchildren with the STROESSER surname? If you know of any, please get in touch.