2020 A Year in Review and What’s Coming in 2021

2020 A Year in Review

The year 2020 got off to a good start on my blog with The Ancestors series. The plan was to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set. The WOOD, McGRAW, HONEGGER, and WISEMAN 6th great-grandparents (all on my paternal side) were done before Luxembourg went into COVID19 lockdown in mid-March. As these distant ancestors become more difficult to research and write about, a single post is not always feasible as seen in my having to break up the HONEGGER post into two parts.

Four months later, only one post had been published. From August until October I worked on the earliest FOURNELLE family in my tree. After setting up the stageintroducing the main characters and supporting cast, I discussed each of the children of my 7th great-grandparents Jean FOURNEL (1655-1721) and Catherine SETON (1657-1702). All of the posts can be found under the tab for Books: FOURNELLE Book.

A few how-to posts on using the block editor on WordPress, Luxembourg birth and marriage records, and an updated post on transferring AncestryDNA raw DNA files to Gedmatch got me to the end of the year.

Posts, Views, and Viewers

As you can see by the year in review, 2020 was not as productive as previous years on my blog. I wrote 33 posts compared to 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Views were a bit lower than in the past two years but still 40,547. A total of 23,348 viewers visited my blog during the year. The number of followers grew from 500, a milestone reached in December 2019, to 544 by the end of 2020.

Top posts in 2020

Genealogy Toolbox: Links to West Virginia Land Deeds on FamilySearch

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (396+397)

The Ancestors: Isaac WISEMAN (1738-1818) and Elizabeth DAVIS (1738-1807)

Lëtz Research: How to Find Luxembourg Civil Birth Records

Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What? (Updated)

The Ancestors: Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ (Part II)

The Ancestors: Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife (392 & 393)

Adding Footnotes to your WordPress Posts Using Block Editor

Strong Women: Mary, wife of Isaac WISEMAN († 1779)

From Luxembourg to America –
The Tempestuous Voyage of the Cornely Family

What I was up to in 2020

Even though it was quiet on my blog during the summer months, I was still busy.

Mom’s AncestryDNA results came in a few days before the first lockdown. I went through each of the steps I’d set up for my brother’s and my own test. The matches were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool and notes with the cluster numbers were transferred to Ancestry. The raw DNA file was uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch. All DNA data (from the four sites) was imported into Genome Mate Pro, my major repository for DNA matches, trees, notes, correspondence, chromosome segments, mapping, and analysis.

I spent several Mondays in Walferdange at the Luxracines archive working with two other ladies from our genealogy society. With the archive being closed to the public, we had time to work on the inventory of the books in our collection, set up a classification system, and labeled all books with identifying numbers. The library was ready to receive visitors on an appointment basis due to COVIC19 restrictions. But before long we were once again under a soft lockdown and then a more strict lockdown at the end of the year. Other members of Luxracines were busy extracting marriages that took place in Belgium for people born in Luxembourg under the direction of our president Rob Deltgen.

I spent 241 hours (121 days out of 365) riding my racing bike with my husband. My longest activity was 114 kilometers. I rode a total of 5,657 kilometers while he chalked up 10,100 kilometers.

And still, I had time to keep up with new DNA matches. I developed a new color system for my AncestryDNA matches. It is so brilliant that I plan on sharing it in a future post. What I had before was good but this is even better – and transferred over to chromosome mapping it clearly shows from which of my father’s four grandparents matches with MRCAs are coming from.

What’s coming in 2021

Along with the last mentioned, I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.

I hope I will be inspired by my mother’s DNA matches to work on my children’s 6th great-grandparents who have not yet been introduced here.

With two of her five children tested, Mom’s results include one 2C1R, three 3C2R, three 3C3R, and all other matches being “4th cousins or more distant.” Mom was an only child, had only three first cousins (1 paternal and 2 maternal), and her entire ancestry lies in the “greater” Luxembourg area. Clusters of matches include descendants of Luxembourg and German (from areas once part of Luxembourg) emigrants who for the most part settled in the US.

One FOURNELLE post still needs to be written on my 5th great-grandparents Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) to complete the line between my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and her most distant FOURNELLE ancestor.

These are things I would like to work on in 2021 but I’m not setting goals. 2020 taught us to slow down and enjoy what we can as long as we can. The year also brought blessings in the form of a granddaughter, our first grandchild.

Happy New Year 2021. May it be filled with hope and a brighter future.

© 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.

Lëtz Research: How to Find Luxembourg Civil Birth Records

As a member of the board of my Luxembourgish genealogy society Luxracines, I receive copies of the emails from visitors to our website. Often they are in French or German and answered by other members of the board. When they are in English, I help out with replies.

Recently the following message was received from J.:

Re: birth records
Looking for parents names for Peter (Pierre) John Garnich Born: Bettembourg, Canton d’Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, 29 Oct 1889. Any assistance would be appreciated.

I could have sent a quick one-liner with the names of the parents to the person making the inquiry. It would have been quick and easy but I don’t think it would have benefitted the person asking the question.

Any assistance would be appreciated…

J. wanted assistance in finding the parents of a person born in Luxembourg in 1889. I wanted my answer to also help her with FUTURE queries she may have on her ancestors in Luxembourg. The screenshots were not included in the email as I wanted J. to follow the instructions and have the wowser moment of finding the record on her own.

When a one-line question gets you a tutorial

Hello J.,

You can easily find the civil birth record of your ancestor by accessing FamilySearch’s database Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1796-1941.

You have his date of birth and his place of birth which will aid in your search. As Bettembourg is not one of the communes that have been indexed by FamilySearch, you will have to browse the collection instead of using their search engine. This is the case for most communes as indexing is ongoing and as far as I know, they have only finished Esch and Luxembourg City. Browsing the collection is not as hard as it sounds.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (1)

Click on Browse through 767,518 images to see the list of communes.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (2)

Click on Bettembourg to see the records available for the town your person of interest was born in.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (3)

Choose the record collection that includes births (naissances) for 1889. The collection you want to look into is Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances 1796-1890.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (4)

There are 1468 images in this collection. Don’t let this stop you. The collection has two parts. Tables décennales (ten-year index) and Naissances (births) – in most cases the names of the database reflect the order of the records in the microfilm. The births go to 1890, a year after the birth you are looking for. Therefore the register for 1889 will be nearly at the end. Choose image number 1468 and click on the tiles icon at the upper left of the images.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (5)

This will give you a view of the images at the end of the collection. The last two images on the microfilm look like lists. Click on the left one. At the top, it shows this is the index for the year 1890.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (6)

Click on the tile icon again to view the images. Going backward, look for the image with an index for the previous year. (see screenshot 5, green box in the first row of images)

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (7)

The index is in alphabetical order. Your GARNICH person of interest is on the first page, Johann Peter Joseph born on 29 October with record #54. Since this is close to the end of the year, you can use the back button on the image numbers to go back two images to record #54.

If it had been #10, you would click the tile icon again, look for the beginning of the records for 1889, then go to the 4th image for record #10 (as #1 is always on the first page followed by 4 records per image).

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (8)

Now comes the hardest part: reading the record. The records are filled in as opposed to completely written in longhand which makes it easy to pick out the names.

Screenshot of FamilySearch website (9): Father, mother, and child’s names

The informant of the birth (line 5) was his father Johann Peter GARNICH. In the middle of the record (line 12) you will see the child was named Johann Peter Joseph. In the two handwritten lines above his name is the information on the mother. Her name was Elisabeth SCHELTGEN and she was 34 years old, without an occupation, and residing with the informant.

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 above directions to find the record.

Although your question was simple and could have been answered with the names: Johann Peter GARNICH and his wife Elisabeth SCHELTGEN, I felt it more helpful to you to know how I found the answer. This will aid you in your future research of your Luxembourg ancestors.

Permission to use the question in this blog post was obtained from J. She had a follow-up question which will be shared in my next post.

© 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.

Sixth Blogiversary!

I’ve been flying with WordPress for six years! Hundreds of thousands of words have been written, deleted, and rearranged into, hopefully, interesting articles. It’s been an amazing journey – this blogging thing.

I started blogging 2014, the first year Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.

I wrote about all of my children’s ancestors from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents. I began working on the 6th great-grandparents last April. Now I’m picking an ancestral couple on a whim and without a strict schedule. It’ll probably take several years to get this generation done.

Visitors to my blog have been more interested in content that was non-related to The Ancestors.

All-Time Top 10 Posts and Pages

How I Got My MISSING AncestryDNA Circles Back – April 2018 [Even though Ancestry has gotten rid of Circles people still visit this post.]

6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison – October 2016

Dear Cousin ~ We Have a DNA Match, Now What? – March 2018

The Ancestors, a page linking all of my children’s ancestor posts written in the past six years, mainly for the 52 Ancestors series and now for The Ancestors series.

Source Citation Trick for WordPress.com – HTML Code – May 2017 [Since I began using Markdown for posts and pages I no longer use this trick to do footnotes and cite sources.]

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can – since April 2015, a page linking all posts from the series by the same name

How I Use and Manage AncestryDNA Notes – October 2016

James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia – written in 2002 and at home on my blog since 2014

Step by Step Guide to Accessing Browse-only Records on FamilySearch – July 2017

ThruLines™ Introduced by Ancestry: TrueLines or TrueLies? – March 2019

It’s understandable that DNA posts draw more readers. My ancestors aren’t shared with everyone while DNA is of interest to people using this genetic genealogy tool to prove their ancestry. I might do a few DNA related posts this year but genealogy research and writing about The Ancestors will remain the top priority on this blog.

This is post #609. Over 115,000 visitors have dropped in and viewed my posts nearly 212,000 times during these six years.

Happy 6th Blogiversary to Opening Doors in Brick Walls. Thanks to all of you for making this such an enjoyable journey.

© 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). 

Luxracines’ Marriage Database Helps Solve the Confusion of John Monner’s Marriage(s)

A year and a half ago Richelle Murray, a member of the Luxembourg Genealogy group on Facebook, asked for help with one of her families in Luxembourg. She was interested in John MONNER who married Anna HAUPERT on 10 February 1836. The conversation kind of fizzled out as the marriage I found for the date and place queried was for an Anna HAUPERT and Peter HAUPERT, a bride and groom with the same surname.1

Fast forward six months later Richelle asked about a record of a child born to Johann MONNER and Catharina HAUPERT. She found birth record No. 36 for her 3rd great-grandmother Marianna. A clerk had filled the left margin of both pages of the book with a court record. She needed help figuring out it is had anything to do with the record she was interested in. It pertained to birth record No. 35 correcting information in a record by court order and was of no importance to Marianna’s record.

While looking into this I checked the Luxracines site to see if the indexing project for marriages, a work-in-progress at the time, would include the wedding date of the MONNER-HAUPERT couple as she had previously asked about the marriage which she thought took place on 10 February 1836.

The search turned up two marriages for the same names in the same place but different dates. What could this mean? Had there been two marriages for two, three, or four different people? The actual marriage records needed to be consulted.

NEW! Marriage Database for Luxembourg 1796-1923

As of this May 2019, indexing is finally complete for the marriages in Luxembourg per the Tables Décennales (10-year lists for births, marriages, and deaths) for the years 1796-1923. This very important database for researchers with Luxembourg ancestry is available online to members of Luxracines.

• 170 communities (communes, Gemeinde) are included!
• 171,688 marriages for the period 1796-1923
• 108,642 marriages for the period 1610-1797
• A total of 280,330 marriages in Luxembourg

Luxracines is grateful to all members who worked on this project.

The Indexing Project for Luxembourg Marriages

Before going any further I need to say a few words about this project. A group of dedicated members of my genealogy society Luxracines worked on this project to index all of the marriages in the Luxembourg civil records using the Tables Décennales.

The indexing is complete and this new database is turning out to be a real time-saver. Researchers no longer need to search through town after town of the 10-year lists to find the marriage of a person who married in a place other than his place of birth or last known residence. Although many families remained in one town for generations there were times when children left home to find work or when entire families moved around seeking work and marriages took place in towns one would not think to look.

Marriages of Luxembourgers abroad are also being added and presently include Paris, Chiry-Ourscamp (a commune in the Oise department in northern France), and the city of Brussels (Bruxelles). Arlon (Belgium) is in the works and plans are to work on Attert (Belgium) next.

Getting back to the MONNER and HAUPERT marriages

Before looking up the marriage records I checked to see if any of our Luxracines members had worked on this particular family. Claude Bettendroffer, who has inputted baptisms, births, marriages, deaths, and burials for the parish and commune of Sandweiler from the church and civil records into his database, had Johann MONNER listed with two wives: Catharina HAUPERT and Catharina HAUPERT, both with the same parents but with different dates of birth. It’s work like Claude’s which makes it easier to find connections in Luxembourg families.

Lëtz look at the marriage records

Luxembourg (Lëtzebuerg) marriage records can be divided into four parts. Following the date, place, and names of authorities present for the marriage ceremony, the record contains:

• Groom’s information
• Bride’s information
• Dates of the publication of banns and the declaration that the bride and groom are joined in marriage by law
• Witnesses, usually four, to the marriage and signatures of all person’s present

The marriage record dated 5 April 18372 included this section on the groom:

1837 Marriage Record of Johann Monner and Catharina Haupert (groom’s info)

Johann Monner, carpenter, 27 years of, born in Pulfermuhl, in the commune of Sandweiler on 8 March 1810, a resident of Pulfermuhl, in the commune of Sandweiler, of age son of Peter Monner, carpenter, and Margaretha Cornely, no occupation, a married couple residing in Pulfermuhl, present and consenting to the marriage. Militia service was rendered per certificate of the Hamm police dated 28 March 1837.

And this section on the bride:

1837 Marriage Record of Johann Monner and Catharina Haupert (bride’s info)

The young lady Catharina Haupert age 25 years born in Sandweiler in the Canton of Sandweiler, without occupation, born on 22 November 1811 and a resident of Sandweiler, the of age daughter of Nicolas Haupert and Catharina Stümper, a legally married couple of Sandweiler who are agreeable to the marriage.

The marriage record dated 10 November 18413 included this section on the groom:

1841 Marriage Record of Johann Monner and Catharina Haupert (groom’s info)

Johann Monner, carpenter, 31 years of, born in Pulfermuhl, in the commune of Sandweiler on 8 March 1810, a resident of Pulfermuhl, in the commune of Sandweiler, of age son of Peter Monner, carpenter, and Margaretha Cornely, no occupation, a married couple residing in Pulfermuhl, present and consenting to the marriage.Widower of the deceased Catharina Haupert who died in Sandweiler on 7 May 1841.

And this section on the bride:

1841 Marriage Record of Johann Monner and Catharina Haupert (bride’s info)

The young lady Catharina Haupert, without occupation, 18 years old, born in Sandweiler in the Canton of Luxembourg the 17 August 1823, a resident of said Sandweiler, and the underage daughter of Johann Nicolas Haupert and Catharina Stümper, a married couple, farmers, residents of Sandweiler, present and consenting to the marriage. [I have not been able to transcribe and translate the last three lines which appear to be a kind of special permission given for the marriage on 12 October 1841.]

The groom in both marriage records was the same person. The brides in the marriage records were sisters, both daughters of Nicolas HAUPERT and Catharina STÜMPER. The second marriage record clearly shows Johann was widowed from his first wife.

Why the interest in Johann MONNER?

When Richelle posted to the Luxembourg Genealogy group, I didn’t know we had a connection. Richelle and I share common ancestors. Johann MONNER was the grandson of my 5th great-grandparents Hubert CORNELY and MARGARETHA EVEN through their daughter Margaretha CORNELY and her husband Peter MONNER.

Margaretha and Peter married on 15 June 18054 in Sandweiler and started a family of eight children. Johann was born on 8 March 18105 in Pulvermühle on the outskirts of Luxembourg City.

At the time Pulvermühle was part of the commune of Sandweiler. It would become part of the commune of Hamm in 1874, and then later of Luxembourg City. These changes in the location of the records would make researching the descendants more difficult as the communes were more populated. Also the spelling of the surname would change for some of the children from MONNER to MONNEUR.

Johann was the second son and third child of Margaretha CORNELY and Peter MONNER. Following his birth, Margaretha had five more children: a daughter and four sons. The youngest two were twin boys.

As seen above Johann married twice. His first wife bore him two sons. His second wife gave him three sons and three daughters from 1842 to 1850. One of the daughters died at the age of five months.

In 1852 Johann, his second wife Catharina, their children, and Johann’s two older sons departed from Le Havre, France, for New York where they arrived on 31 May 1852. Catharina was carrying a child on the journey and gave birth to a son Hillary “Henry” on 23 October 1852 in Dubuque County, Iowa. He would be the first and only MONNER child of Johann and Catharina to be born in America. Catharina died two years later on 10 May 1854.

John, as he was now called, raised his children in Dubuque County and then Jackson County, Iowa, before dying in 1880.

John was not the only child of Peter MONNER and Margaretha CORNELY to leave Luxembourg. Their second youngest son Peter moved to Paris between 1854 and 1860. Pierre MONNEUR was found on the marriage index database of Paris as he remarried there in 1861 following the death of his wife in 1860. One of his sons married his second wife’s daughter in 1868. Two more marriages found with the help of the Luxracines Marriage Database.

Full circle

Richelle’s tree back to our common ancestors.

The marriage record dated 10 February 1836 for Anna HAUPERT and Peter HAUPERT turned out to be important to Richelle’s research. Peter, like the two Catharina’s above, was a child of Nicolas HAUPERT and Catharina STÜMPER. Peter and Anna also went to Dubuque County, Iowa, a year earlier than the MONNER family. They had a son Michael who married Marianne MONNER, daughter of John, in 1865. Michael and Marianna were first cousins and Richelle’s 3rd great-grandparents.

Richelle and I are 6C1R but she does not share DNA with my brother whose test I manage. He has several matches to descendants of John MONNER and his first wife as well as his second wife. The trees these matches have attached to their DNA mistakenly list only one wife for John MONNER and by writing this post I hope the error can be rectified.

Thank you to Richelle and Claude for giving me permission to use their names in this post.

© 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), Sandweiler > Naissances 1865-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 Décès 1797-1822 > image 929 of 1493. 1836 Marriage Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X46J-1Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-MNL%3A130336601%2C130552301 : accessed 19 May 2019). 
  2. Ibid., Sandweiler > Naissances 1865-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 Décès 1797-1822 > image 936 of 1493. 1837 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X46C-DR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-MNL%3A130336601%2C130552301 : accessed 3 April 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Sandweiler > Naissances 1865-1890 Mariages 1797-1890 Décès 1797-1822 > image 963 of 1493. 1841 Marriage Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X46J-TY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYD-MNL%3A130336601%2C130552301 : accessed 3 April 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Sandweiler > Naissances 1797-1864 > image 75 of 932. 1805 Marriage Record (26 prairial an XIII) page 1 and 2. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-61JN-R6?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-C68%3A130336601%2C130448701 : accessed 17 April 2019) and (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-61JL-3T?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-C68%3A130336601%2C130448701 : accessed 17 April 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Sandweiler > Naissances 1797-1864 > image 123 of 932. 1810 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-61J2-JS?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-C68%3A130336601%2C130448701 : accessed 17 April 2019). 

It’s Time to Start Working on a New Generation

Early in 2018, I wrote the last post on a set of 4th great-grandparents. I closed the post with the following paragraph:

Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.

It took me a year to write about 48 sets of 4th great-grandparents = 32 of my husband’s and 16 of mine. In 2014, the first year I blogged, I wrote about all of my paternal ancestors from my father to my paternal 4th great-grandparents. They made up only a quarter of my children’s tree. As the stories were coming along so well I decided to continue with the rest of my children’s ancestors up to their 4th greats in 2015 and their 5th greats in 2017-2018.

The next logical step would be to do their 6th great-grandparents. Of the 128 sets, 15 are brick walls – 5 paternal and 10 maternal (with the 10 being American ancestors). If I limit research and writing to one set a week I could get them done in a little over two years.

These are the names of the ancestors divided into the paternal and maternal sides:

Our children’s paternal 6th great-grandparents:

(256 & 257) Adami MEDER and Elisabetha ESCH
(258 & 259) Joannes REINERS and wife Maria: Susanna LAMBERT’s parents
(260 & 261) Michaelis WILMES and Barbara JACQUEMIN
(262 & 263) Mr. SCHEID (SCHOOD) and Anna Maria FETH
(264 & 265) Brick Wall (paternal grandparents of Théodore REIFFER)
(266 & 267) Brick Wall (maternal grandparents of Théodore REIFFER)
(268 & 269) Joannes CLOOS and Anne Marie KLAREN
(270 & 271) Nikolaus THEWES and Gertrud LESSEN
(272 & 273) Joannis ADAM and Margaritha (first married to THOMMES)
(274 & 275) Jacobi WOLTER and Marie Elisabeth MEYERS
(276 & 277) Joannes SCHENTEN x KOECHER and Catharina KOSTERS
(278 & 279) Parents of Cathérine OBERECKEN
(280 & 281) Mathias LORENS and Eva FRENTZ
(282 & 283) Petri STENGENFORT and unknown wife
(284 & 285) Joannis PREISER and Anna Maria FETH
(286 & 286) Petrus SCHRANTZ and Anne Marie HAMEN
(288 & 289) Jean “Joannis” SCHWARTZ and Maria HEINZ
(290 & 291) Mathia HALER and Angela ALENTS
(292 & 293) Johann Gerard TRIERWEILER and Elisabeth KERSCH
(294 & 295) Carl HOFFMANN and Angela ROSPORT
(296 & 297) Philippi SCHMITT and Apollonia MATTES
(298 & 299) Matthias PLEIN and Margaretha VALERIUS
(300 & 301) Johann WOLLSCHEID and Anna Maria WILLWERT
(302 & 303) Johann BARTHELMES and Eva BARZEN
(304 & 305) Johann Peter GORGES and Anna Maria HORSCH
(306 & 307) Nikolaus RODENS and Anna SCHUE
(308 & 309) Brick Wall (parents of Caspar BOTZ)
(310 & 311) Brick Wall (parents of Magdalena MASEN)
(312 & 313) Nicolaus SCHERFF and Helena OTTO
(314 & 315) Dominique STEIMETZ and Helena “Magdalena” KOCH
(316 & 317) Daniel and Elisabetha CLEMENS
(318 & 319) Matthias WEBER and Anna Margaretha FEILEN
(320 & 321) Henri and Magdalena  CREMERS
(322 & 323) Joannes VENANDI and Maria HOSINGER
(324 & 325) Johann THIVELS alias FRIEDERICH and Catharina FEDERSPIEL
(326 & 327) Martin HUNTGES and Marguerite MAY
(328 & 329) Johann Heinrich “Henri” MERKES and Anna ROSS
(330 & 331) Anton WAGENER and Catharina PIRSCH
(332 & 333) Mathias HASTERT and Anne NIEDERKORN
(334 & 335) Jean SCHMIDT and Maria LENTZ
(336 & 337) Leonard GRITIUS and Marie NEIEN
(338 & 339) Jean SCHETTERT and Anna Catharina SCHAACK
(340 & 341) Jean Baptiste SCHAEFFER and Catherine SCHAACK
(342 & 343) Nicolas GREISCH and Susanne ROLLINGER
(344 & 345) Michel WECKERING and Anna Maria DALEYDEN
(346 & 347) Brick Wall (parents of Marguerite LASCHEID)
(348 & 349) Jacob BERNARD and Jeanne CAPPUS
(350 & 351) Valentin GREBER and Christina STEFFEN
(352 & 353) Dominique PEFFER and Marguerite SINTGEN
(354 & 355) Nicolas PIERRET and Anna Maria ROBINET
(356 & 357) Nicolas GRASSER vulgo REUTERS and Elisabetha WINANDY
(358 & 359) Léonard HOSCHEID and Marie Catharina REULAND
(360 & 361) Pierre ZWANG and Anne Marie HUSCHET
(362 & 363) Johann WELTER and Anna Maria FELTES
(364 & 365) Jean DHAM and Marie WELTER
(366 & 367) Nicolas KIMES and Anna Maria STRENG
(368 & 369) Peter MERTES and Marguerite BIVER
(370 & 371) Johann DONNEN and Barbara CHRITOPHORY
(372 & 373) Casparus ERPELDING and Gertrudes JEHNEN
(374 & 375) Peter CONRADT and Anna Catharina ROEDER
(376 & 377) Petrus RUCKERT and Anna Catharina SPEYER
(378 & 379) Petrus MICHELS and Susanna MARTIN aka MERTES
(380 & 381) Peter SCHMIT and Rosa CLEMENS
(382 & 383) Nicolas WEICKER and Anne Margarethe HARTMANN

Our children’s maternal 6th great-grandparents: The American families

(384 & 385) Brick Wall (great-grandparents of William A. W. DEMPSEY)
(386 & 387) Brick Wall (great-grandparents of William A. W. DEMPSEY)
(388 & 389) Brick Wall (great-grandparents of William A. W. DEMPSEY)
(390 & 391) Brick Wall (great-grandparents of William A. W. DEMPSEY)
(392 & 393) Bailey WOOD and Nancy, his wife
(394 & 395) Martin McGRAW and Margaret “Polly”, his wife
(396 & 397) Hans Jacob HONEGGER and Maria GOETZ
(398 & 399) Isaac WISEMAN and Elizabeth DAVIS
(400 & 401) Ester INGRAM – an assumption
(402 & 403) John KINCAID and Elizabeth Hannah GILLESPIE
(404 & 405) William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON
(406 & 407) James SIMS and his wife Phebe (written in 2018)
James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia
(see also link to page with all posts for James SIMS)
(408 & 409) Brick Wall DEMPSEY and his wife Susannah
(410 & 411) James LANDRUM and his unknown wife
(412 & 413) Phillip GOING and Judith POTTER
(414 & 415) William CRISP and his wife Lucy
(416 & 417) Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL (written in 2016)
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ The Early Years in Maryland (1765-1793)
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ The Years in Rockbridge (1793-1801)
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ The Years in Rockbridge (1793-1801)
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ At Home on the Old Henry Roop Place
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL ~ Family Life in Montgomery County, Virginia
The Last Will and Testament of Henry RUPE 1765-1845
Henry RUPE’s Estate and his Widow Catherine’s Last Days
A Date of Death for Catherine Barbara NOLL (1768-1859)
(418 & 419) Robert CARROLL and his wife Anne
(420 & 421) John LESTER II and Mary Ann TERRY
(422 & 423) Owen SUMNER and Sarah NEWTON
(424 & 425) John PETERS and wife – Can this be proven with DNA?
(426 & 427) Joseph LIVELY and Mary L. CASH
(428 & 429) Augustin PROFFITT and Elizabeth “Betsy” ROBERTSON
(430 & 431) Edward COCKRAM and his wife Mary
(432 & 433) Jeremiah CLAUNCH and his wife
(434 & 435) Brick wall (parents of Nancy BEASLEY)
(436 & 437) Brick Wall (paternal grandparents of Mary E. DOSS)
(438 & 439) James DOSS Jr. and Elizabeth LESTER
(440 & 441) BRICK WALL (paternal grandparents of John COOLEY)
(442 & 443) BRICK WALL (maternal grandparents of John COOLEY
(444 & 445) Edward TREDWAY and Nancy MAGNESS
(446 & 447) Brick Wall (maternal grandparents of Sarah Ann TREADWAY)

Our children’s maternal 6th great-grandparents: The families of the greater Luxembourg area

(448 & 449) Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG
(450 & 451) Michael WELTER and Katharian KLEIN
(452 & 453) Matthias SCHRAMEN and Anna Barbara LEIBRICH (BURG)
(454 & 455) Sebastian SCHMITT and Maria LORANG
(456 & 457) Nikolaus WEYMAN and Maria Katharina HUSS
(458 & 459) Gerard MALAMBRÉ and Barbara BIESDORF
(460 & 461) Johann Bernard WELTER and Maria BRIMERS
(462 & 463) Johann HENNES and Magdalena MÜLLER
(464 & 465) Peter BUBELREITER and Gertrud LAMBERTI or BOSEN
(466 & 467) Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN
(468 & 469) Peter MERTSCHERT and Susanna “Anna” SCHNEIDER
(470 & 471) Theodor MERGEN and Gertrud THELEN
(472 & 473) Johann Nicolaus WAGNER and Anna Maria KLEIWER
(474 & 475) Johann HARTERT and Elisabeth HEINZ
(476 & 477) Peter KERSCHT and Eva SCHMIDS
(478 & 479) Gerhard EWEN and Barbara THEILEN
(480 & 481) Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU
(482 & 483) Jean SCHMIT and Eve DUCKER
(484 & 485) Jacques PHILIPPART and Catherine SINGER aka KETTER
(486 & 487) Henri MEUNIER and Margaretha KILBOUR
(488 & 489) Joseph SCHLOESSER and Catherine ARENDT
(490 & 491) Nicolas TRAUDT and Barbe BILL
(492 & 493) Johann CONSBRÜCK and Barbara SCHMIDT
(494 & 495) Sébastian LANSER and Maria Catharina HASTERT
(496 & 497) Nicolaus FRANTZ and Angela BARTEL
(498 & 499) Nicolaus KIEFFER and Susanna SCHILTZ
(500 & 501) Joannis FRISCH and Margaret ZEIMES
(502 & 503) Peter HUBERTY and Jonannata BEREND
(504 & 505) Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER
(506 & 507) Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN
(508 & 509) Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN (COLLING)
(510 & 511) Johannes HAMES and Agnes HEITZ

Where should I begin? I believe each tiny twig on every small branch of the larger branches in the family tree is as important as the next. If I continued in the same order I’ve been writing about the previous generations, I’d start at the top of the lists above and work down. However, I want to get my Luxembourgish side done first!

My youngest brother turned over his AncestryDNA test to me three years ago. On our paternal side, my brother’s DNA has confirmed the paper trail is correct for the American lines and we have not had any surprises. However, the brick walls are still standing.

On our maternal side, matches are few. This is not surprising as these lines remained in Luxembourg up until my birth. Maternal matches on Ancestry are for the most part America descendants of Luxembourg emigrants from the 1800s. The highest maternal match is a 4th cousin once removed (4C1R) with 44 cMs on 3 segments. We share Jacob FRISCH and Regina HUBERTY, my 4th great-grandparents (children of 501 through 504).

Screenshot of my family tree on Ancestry with annotations.

This is how I’ve decided to proceed. Ancestry now shows a helix icon for the ancestors who are on the ThruLines™ in trees which are linked to DNA tests. In this screenshot, we see my maternal grandmother’s mother Catharina FRANTZ and all of her ancestors. On the right are the 5th great-grandparents from 496 to 511. Working from the bottom up I opened each to find the first couple with matches who share DNA with my brother and have the ancestor couple in their tree.

And the winner is…

Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN (506 & 507) have 8 suggested matches descending from three of their children.

  • Two of these matches have been proven as well as several more who do not have their trees linked to the DNA. A nice group of descendants split between a line which went to America and a line which moved from Luxembourg to Belgium to Switzerland to England.
  • Two matches come through a line in which I found an interesting phenomenon: a man who was married twice – to sisters – both with the same name. Yes, this has caused errors in online trees which need to be corrected.
  • Three matches share a very small amount of DNA with my brother (between 6-11 cMs). Their trees are incorrect and the common ancestors cannot be the CORNELY-EVEN couple.

Lëtz Research – Luxembourg Research

Researching Luxembourg families has become easier for me over the years. I have several advantages over the descendants of Luxembourg emigrants. As 3/4 of my children’s family tree is Luxembourgish, I’ve learned how to easily locate a civil or church record. I’m fluent in the languages used in Luxembourg records and have learned the most commonly used Latin terms. I had a great teacher in my father-in-law who helped me decipher the handwriting in the records during the early years. When all else fails, I have my genealogy society Luxracines and its members who are even more skilled in Luxembourg research.

It’s Time to Start Working on a New Generation

The posts may not be ready on a weekly basis. The objective is to get back to researching family groups with the intention of going back further in time on several lines which have not been researched. By starting out with the Luxembourg families, I hope to make connections with cousins descended from Luxembourg emigrants and interested in learning more about their roots in this beautiful country.

Next week I’ll begin my posts on my children’s 6th great-grandparents with Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN of Wickrange in the commune of Reckange-sur-Messe in Luxembourg.

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

A New Milestone for Opening Doors in Brick Walls

It’s been an amazing journey – this blogging thing. I’d been doing family history research for about twenty years when I took up Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge to write about my ancestors.

It took me until week 3 to decide to start a blog. I already had a name I’d been using for my online family tree and for my Facebook page.

I don’t know how many pages of material all of my blog posts cover. This is post #559. Ninety thousand visitors have dropped in and viewed my posts over 168,000 times during these five years.

Although the majority of my articles have been about my children’s ancestors, visitors to my blog have been more interested in other content.

All-Time Top 10 Posts and Pages

6 AncestryDNA Notes for Easier Comparison – October 2016

How I Got My MISSING AncestryDNA Circles Back – April 2018

Dear Cousin ~ We Have a DNA Match, Now What? – March 2018

How I Use and Manage AncestryDNA Notes – October 2016

James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia – written in 2002 and at home on my blog since 2014

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can – since April 2015, a page linking all posts from the series by the same name

Step by Step Guide to Accessing Browse-only Records on FamilySearch – July 2017

The Ancestors, a page linking all of my children’s ancestor posts written in the past five years, mainly for the 52 Ancestors series

52 Ancestors: #47 Johnny CASH’s 1C5R ~ Kesiah LIVELY – November 2014

About Cathy Meder-Dempsey, my “about page” last update in November 2017. Maybe I should refresh it a bit.

My Least Viewed Post

This young man was featured in Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #36 Otterbein E. PADDACK 1874-1942 on New Year’s Eve 2015 and has gotten the least amount of views of all of my posts. A grand total of 47 views compared to the 1,649 to 2,798 for the top 10 above. With a name like Otterbein Paddack, no wonder he hasn’t been Googled.

Search Terms

What brings traffic to my blog if they didn’t drop in by clicking a link shared on social media? Search terms are no longer a precise way of determining what people are searching for as they are often encrypted on the search engines. But the ones which do make the list are fun to look at.

The top search term over the years has been the blog name followed by Johnny Cash family tree. Number 3 was Verwurelter. If you don’t know what Verwurelter are then take a moment to read the only recipe post I’ve written: Family Tradition: Berliner and Verwurelter.

Luxembourg and German towns names, as well as all those surnames of ancestors, have drawn readers to my blog. One search might not have helped the person interested in a dempsey in prison in beckley wv. It makes me want to do the same search just to find out if there was a Dempsey in prison in Beckley. I’m always willing to solve a puzzle.

The person who visited looking for a naughty 50-something mother in the countryside was probably not very impressed when the search criteria turned up: 52 Ancestors: #50 My Naughty Mr. and Mrs. DEMPSEY.

Setting Goals for Year 6

As I mentioned in my first post in 2019, I’m taking things as they come this year. I’ll be working on whatever needs to be researched, reviewed, or updated. No resolutions and no promises.

Not all of my time is spent researching and writing for my blog. Three years ago the president of my genealogy society, Luxracines, asked if I would be interested in joining the committee. It’s not much work, he said.  It was more time consuming than I had thought but I will be offering my candidature for another three years when our annual meeting is held in March.

Along with spending time with family and friends, I also have a retired husband who wants to share his passion for cycling with me. He keeps me healthy since research and blogging are sedentary tasks. Riding 5,300 kilometers (3,293 miles) last year took 210 hours and that doesn’t include preparations time and after ride clean-up.  And I get my eight hours of sleep at night.

And now it’s time to light the candles.

Happy 5th Blogiversary to Opening Doors in Brick Walls. Thanks to all of you for making this such an enjoyable journey. © 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

A Visit to Verdun – Nearly 100 Years After the End of World War I

Saturday my husband and I joined other members of my genealogy society luxracines on a trip to Verdun, France.

This year marks the centennial of the end of World War I. The deadliest conflict in the history of man. The human loss was great. Casualties for military personnel numbered at about eight million disabled and about ten million deaths, an average of 6,000 deaths per day. France had the greatest loss. The number of wounded, missing, and killed made up 30% of the active male population (18-65 years), for the most part, men between the ages of 17 and 45 who would never have children.

Battle of Verdun

The longest battle of the Great War, as World War I was known before World War II, was fought on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France from  21 February to 18 December 1916 and is known as the Battle of Verdun. Today the scars of the millions of shells fired and lethal fragments of shrapnel that marked the area during the Battle of 300 Days and Nights are hidden by the forested land. Nature has been allowed to cover the destruction of man in an area of 20,000 hectares (nearly 50,000 acres). After signing the armistice on 11 November 1918, France decided no one would be allowed to live in the devastated area and declared it a “Zone Rouge”.

The forest has become a sanctuary. Buried in the earth are the remains of 80,000 soldiers, a world heritage dating from the days of the Great War.

Ivan PARIS, professor of history and geography, was our guide for the day, explaining historical importance of each of the sites we visited.

Tranchée des Baïonettes

A la mémoire des soldats Français
qui dorment debout, le fusil à la main, dans cette tranchée.
Leurs frères d’Amériques.

Entrance of the Bayonet Trench Monument

In memory of French soldiers
who sleep standing, rifle in hand, in this trench.
Their American brothers.

The walkway to the gigantic cross on the wall.
A massive concrete slab supported by concrete pillars…
…protects the trench with its white wooden crosses.

Fort de Douaumont

We continued our visit to the Fort de Douaumont in the red zone.

Our guide on the machine gun turret of Fort Douaumont surrounded by Luxracines members
The German, European Union, and French flags flying over the Fort de Douaumont
Outside walls of the Fort Douaumont
The side entrance of Fort Douaumont
A passageway in the Fort Douaumont
Archway to the stairs to the lower level
Stairs to the lower level of the fort
Sketch of the machine gun turret on top of the fort and mechanisms in the lower level.
Corroded mechanism to lift the turret inside the fort

Ossuaire de DOUAUMONT

The Douaumont Ossuary contains the skeletal remains of at least 130,000 unidentified German and French soldiers on the lower level. They can be viewed through low windows on the outside of the building.

Inside, the stained glass windows cast a reddish glow in the 137 meters (449 feet) long cloister. The walls are covered with the names of French soldiers who died during the Battle of Verdun. Photography is not allowed in this sanctuary.

After a short visit to the chapel, we descended to the lower level to view a 20 minutes film about the ossuary.

View of the cemetery of identified soldiers from the front side of the Douaumont Ossuary

Unidentified bones are still being found in the area and added to the remains in the ossuary. Of the 300,000 who died during the Battle of Verdun, it is believed that about 80,000 are still buried in the fields and forest where the battle took place. Our guide explained the medical examiner of Verdun has to test all remains found to determine they are from the time period of the battle. He also shared the following anecdote.

In May 2015 three nearly perfectly preserved skeletons were found during the construction work on the new museum but with only one set of dog tags. Which of the three soldiers did the tags belong too? This is where GENEALOGY came into play as a direct descendant of the soldier named on the tags and a woman believed to be related to him were found. DNA samples yielded matches between the soldier, his grandson, and the woman. Read the entire story here: French WWI soldier identified by DNA and laid to rest. 

Following a nice lunch in the Restaurant La Brasserie du Parc in Verdun, we continued our afternoon sightseeing at the museum, Mémorial de Verdun.

Mémorial de Verdun

Part of the “Sacred Way” exhibit

Visitors are invited to enter the exhibit and walk in the footprints of the soldiers and cross the wooden boards which feel as if they are sinking in the mud.

Communicating At All Costs

Fernand Marche (1888-1916) was a runner in the 130th infantry regiment. On 1 August 1916, he volunteered to carry a message to his colonel near Fort Thiaumont but he was killed on the way. The next runner found his body, with his arm in the air and his fingers grasping the message. The messenger took the note and reached the colonel. A memorial to Private Marche was erected in 1925 in Bully-les-Mines, in front of the mining company in which he had worked before the war. ~ Text from the plaque

View of the Douaumont Ossuary from the upper platform of the Memorial de Verdun.

The City of Verdun

Following our visit to the museum, we were back in Verdun for a short walk through the streets and to have a drink on one of the many terraces on the banks of the Meuse River.

Mémoire Vive (left), a sculpture by the students of CAP Métallerie du Lycée Freyssinet in collaboration with the Lorraine artist Jean-No, and Porte Chaussee (right)
Monument to the Victory at Verdun
View from the top of the Monument to the Victory at Verdun
Mess des Officiers – Officer’s Mess in Verdun

Verdun is also well known for its sugared almonds known as dragées de Verdun. The almond, a symbol of fertility, was originally coated with honey. When medieval crusaders brought sugar to Europe in the 13th century it replaced the honey coating. White sugar coated dragées are gifted to guests at weddings (favors) as are blue or pink dragées at baptisms and to thank friends for baby gifts.

And finally, before boarding our bus to return to Luxembourg, we had our traditional group picture taken by our driver.

The day was well organized by our president Rob DELTGEN. Everyone had a wonderful time. I for one learned more about World War I and the Battle of Verdun from our very capable guide, Monsieur Ivan PARIS. We, my husband and I, plan to go back for a longer visit as there is so much more to learn and see in the beautiful city of Verdun and the surrounding area.

logo_klengMany thanks to Erich Singer who did a great job filming, cutting and editing.
Click here to watch the video.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

A Visit to Verdun - Nearly 100 Years After the End of World War I