52 Ancestors: #21 The MERTES-RUCKERT Family of Strassen

Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military: This week, the United States will be observing Memorial Day. Do you have any military ancestors? Were any ancestors affected by the military or by war?

Luxembourg was considered a neutral country during the time period the MERTES-RUCKERT  family lived. They did not have a father, mother, sister, brother, son, or daughter who died while serving the country.

The Luxembourg Crisis, a diplomatic dispute and confrontation over the political status of Luxembourg between the French Empire and Prussia almost led to war between the two parties, but was peacefully resolved by the Treaty of London signed on 11 May 1867. The immediate effect of the treaty was the reaffirmation of the neutrality of Luxembourg and the union between the Netherlands and Luxembourg under the House of Orange-Nassau.

To ensure Luxembourg’s neutrality, the fortifications of Luxembourg City, known as the Gibraltar of the North, were to be demolished and never to be rebuilt. Dismantling the fortifications required the destruction of underground defences, casemates, batteries, barracks, etc. Fortunately some remains of the fortress survived and can be visited today.

casematesLet’s Begin With A Ridddle

My husband’s great-grandmother Maria MERTES, a first born child, was the seventh child of Michel MERTES and the second daughter of Margaretha RUCKERT. She was the oldest of seven children? How many siblings did she have?

Michel MERTES, Maria’s father

Michel MERTES was born on 6 October 1837 in Strassen.[1] His birth was registered in the commune of Bertrange in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. His father François MERTES, a 31 years old day laborer, did not sign the birth record as he was unable to write. Michel’s mother’s name was given as Marguerite ERPELDING, no age was listed.

Michel married Catharina HEIN on 10 January 1861 in Strassen[2]. By this time the town of Strassen was a commune and no longer a part of the Bertrange commune. Catharina gave Michel six children before she died on 14 February 1874[3]. At the time of her death five children were living, their first born child had died at the age of six days.

  1. Maria MERTES born 1 February 1862[4] and died 6 February 1862[5]
  2. Margaretha MERTES born 11 April 1863[6]
  3. Johann MERTES born 16 November 1865[7] and died 26 February 1875[8]
  4. Maria MERTES born 11 October 1867[9] and died 24 June 1877[10]
  5. Barbara MERTES born 5 January 1870[11] and died 12 March 1900[12]
  6. Jacob MERTES born 24 April 1872[13]

All of the above children were born in Strassen.

Margaretha RUCKERT, Maria’s mother

Margaretha RUCKERT was born 4 May 1847 in Bertrange.[14] Her father Jacob RUCKERT was 59 years old and her mother Magdalena SCHMIT was 37 years old. On the birth record her mother’s maiden name was spelled with two T’s. Her father was literate and signed the birth record.

Margaretha, at the age of 23, married Jacob ANTON on 22 September 1870 in Bertrange.[15] Anton was a 49 years old widower – over twice her age. The father of the bride, the parents of the groom, and the first wife of the groom were deceased at the time.

Margaretha was married a little over six months when her husband Jacob died on 2 April 1871 in Bertrange.[16] At the time Margaretha was carrying his child. On 28 July 1871 she gave birth to their daughter Susanna ANTON.[17] As the father of the child was deceased, the midwife Susanna TIMMESCH (sic, THIMMESCH), who delivered Susanna, declared the birth.

Susanna ANTON has only been traced until 1890 when she was unmarried and working as a servant possibly in Belgium.

The Widower Michel MERTES Marries the Widow of Jacob ANTON

Michel had only been widowed two months when he married Margaretha RUCKERT, the widow of Jacob ANTON, on 22 April 1874 in Bertrange.[18] The parents of both the bride and the groom were deceased. The dates of death of six persons were listed on the marriage record: 4 parents and 2 deceased spouses. None of the witnesses were related the the bridal couple. Michel and Margaretha were both able to write and signed their names to the marriage record.

signaturesThe Children of Michel and Margaretha

Michel’s and Margaretha’s first child Maria was born on 14 February 1875 in Strassen[19] exactly one year after the death of Michel’s first wife Catharina HEIN.

Less than two weeks after the birth of their first child Maria, Michel’s son Johann from his first marriage died at the age of ten years.[20]

Their second child, a son Franz, was born 9 March 1877.[21] Three months later, another of Michel’s children from his first marriage, Maria, died on 24 June 1877. As with her brother Johann in 1875 Maria also died at the age of ten years.[22]

Five more children were born to Michel and Margaretha:

  • Catharina born 3 January 1880[23] and died unknown (after 1895)
  • Maria “Margaretha” born 10 March 1882[24] and died unknown (after 1895)
  • Jacob born 24 October 1885[25] and died 9 June 1886[26]
  • Barbara born 23 December 1887[27] died 3 January 1888[28]
  • Susanna born 4 January 1889[29] and died unknown (after 1895)

In 1890 the Michel MERTES household was made up of Michel, his wife Margaretha, and their children Franz, Catharina, Margaretha, and Susanna. Three children were listed on the back of the census as working away from home. Michel’s son Jacob MERTES was  in Belgium learning the carpentry trade. Michel and Margaretha’s daughter Maria MERTES and Margaretha’s daughter Susanna ANTON were working as servants at an illegible location.

What Happened to this Family after 1890?

On 19 February 1894 Maria MERTES, oldest daughter of Michel and Margaretha, married Nicolas PEFFER.[30] Her parents were living in Strassen at the time.

In 1895 Michel and Margaretha were in Strassen with three daughters: Catharina, Margaretha and Susanna. None of these young ladies were old enough to be married. Michel’s son Jacob from his first marriage had been working in Belgium for four years per this census. Michel and Margaretha’s son Franz was not at home and had been in Dudelange for 8 days.[31] Michel’s daughter Barbara, wife of Jean Pierre PARRAGE, was also living in Strassen with her husband and their son Jean Pierre who was born in Belgium in 1891.[32]

In 1891 Michel’s daughter from his first marriage, Barbara age 21 married Jean Pierre PARRAGE[33] a 47 years old widower who had lost his wife while living in Dippach. Barbara died 12 March 1900 in Hautcharage[34] and it was only due to her death being registered in Strassen[35] that I was able to trace her to Hautcharage. Her widower was found in the 1900 census[36] in Hautcharage with his older children from a previous marriage, their son Jean Pierre born in 1891 in Messancy (Belgium) and their son Nicolas born in 1897[37] in Steinfort.

This census information lead to the birth records of Nicolas and a daughter Anna Maria born in Steinfort in 1899.[38] She was not with her father in 1900 and no record of death was found in the communes of Steinfort or Bascharage where they were known to have been living. Was this young child with her MERTES grandparents in 1900?

Michel and Margaretha have not been located in the 1900 census in Strassen. Control lists give only the names of the head of household. If the MERTES family was living with another family each page of the census needs to be viewed to find them. No MERTES marriages were found in Strassen between 1895-1923. No death records were found for this family in Strassen between 1895-1923. The family appears to have disappeared from Strassen after the 1895 census, but where did they go?

Answer to the Riddle

Maria had 13 siblings: 6 half-siblings through her father, a half-sister through her mother, and 6 full siblings.

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 520 of 1480. 1837 Birth Record No. 48. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-102810-32?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2DX:1319414221 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[2] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1221 of 1464. 1861 Marriage Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-59528-4?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNP:1592332876 : accessed 03 Apr 2013).
[3] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 251 of 446. 1874 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-487-59?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 17 May 2015).
[4] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 450 of 1464. 1862 Birth Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61420-66?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 20 May 2015).
[5] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 120 of 446. 1862 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-160448-65?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[6] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 466 of 1464. 1863 Birth Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-57722-32?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 2 April 2010).
[7] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 504 of 1464. 1865 Birth Record No. 39. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-57972-12?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 2 April 2010).
[8] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 272 of 446. 1875 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-3569-1?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[9] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 528 of 1464. 1867 Birth Record No. 39. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61010-8?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 2 April 2010).
[10] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 308 of 446. 1877 Death Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-3865-96?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[11] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 563 of 1464. 1870 Birth Record No. 1. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-60560-57?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 2 April 2010).  Note: mother is listed as Margaretha Hein instead of Catharina Hein.
[12] Ibid, Tuntange > Décès 1895-1912 > image 53 of 263. 1900 Death Record No. 12. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32044-16629-65?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-J4W:130493401,129657201 : accessed 21 May 2015). Note: When this was cited there was an issue with the death records of Strassen. Tuntange > Décès 1895-1912 are really Strassen > Deces 1895-1923. being mislabelled Tuntange.
[13] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 594 of 1464. 1872 Birth Record No. 22. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61213-69?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 2 April 2010),.
[14] Ibid, Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 770 of 1480. 1847 Birth Record No. 25. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-104061-29?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2DX:1319414221 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[15] Ibid, Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 372 of 1416. 1870 Marriage Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-56851-48?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829:129622901,129640401 : accessed 20 May 2015).
[16] Ibid, Bertrange > Mariages 1828-1890 Décès 1796-1890 > image 1223 of 1416. 1871 Death Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12131-56358-72?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-829:129622901,129640401 : accessed 25 May 2015).
[17] Ibid, Bertrange > Naissances 1796-1890 Mariages 1796-1827 > image 1091 of 1480. 1871 Birth Record No. 17. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12703-103996-63?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-YWL:129622901,129854201 : accessed 20 May 2015).
[18] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1336 of 1464. 1874 Marriage Record No. 5. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-60372-57?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNP:1592332876 : accessed 03 Apr 2013).
[19] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 645 of 1464. 1875 Birth Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58599-17?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNP:1592332876 : accessed 01 Apr 2010).
[20] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 272 of 446. 1875 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-3569-1?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[21] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 684 of 1464. 1877 Birth Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58094-97?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 1 April 2010).
[22] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 308 of 446. 1877 Death Record No. 19. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11741-3865-96?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[23] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 731 of 1464. 1880 Birth Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-60407-65?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 1 April 2010).
[24] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 760 of 1464. 1882 Birth Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-60698-90?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 1 April 2010).
[25] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 805 of 1464. 1885 Birth Record No. 36. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-57425-38?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 1 April 2010).
[26] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 403 of 446. 1886 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-165545-91?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 27 Sep 2014).
[27] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 834 of 1464. 1887 Birth Record No. 46. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-57481-98?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 1 April 2010).
[28] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 419 of 446. 1888 Death Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-164328-74?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 27 Sep 2014).
[29] Ibid, Strassen > Décès 1850-1890 > image 419 of 446. 1888 Death Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11740-164328-74?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-6T5:130458601,129625702 : accessed 27 Sep 2014).
[30] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 65 of 117. 1894 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12396-19061-71?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNR:27729865 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[31] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Strassen > 1895 > image 335 of 648. Mertes household no. 145. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32395-20646-31?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-NQF:346409101,345878001 : accessed 24 May 2015). Note: For front and back matter see images 334 and 336
[32] Ibid, Strassen > 1895 > image 503 of 648. Parrage household no. 229. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32395-19554-40?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-NQF:346409101,345878001 : accessed 25 May 2015). Note: For front and back matter see images 502 and 504.
[33] Civil records, Strassen > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 49 of 117. 1891 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12396-19882-88?cc=1709358&wc=9RYZ-N3D:130458601,129717601 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[34] Ibid, Bascharage > Décès 1895-1923 > image 52 of 300. 1900 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32025-16034-81?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-N3X:129625601,129623802 : accessed 21 May 2015).
[35] Ibid, Tuntange > Décès 1895-1912 > image 53 of 263. 1900 Death Record No. 12. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32044-16629-65?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-J4W:130493401,129657201 : accessed 21 May 2015). Note: When this was cited there was an issue with the death records of Strassen. Tuntange > Décès 1895-1912 are really Strassen > Deces 1895-1923. being mislabelled Tuntange.
[36] Luxembourg census, Bascharage > 1900 > image 599 of 738. Parrage household no. 29. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32395-18055-43?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-2JW:346198501,345873901 : accessed 24 May 2015). Note: For front and back matter see images 598 and 600.
[37] Civil records, Steinfort > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 25 of 410. 1897 Birth Record No. 8. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32046-11964-73?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-RMQ:130395201,129648901 : accessed 24 May 2015).
[38] Ibid, Steinfort > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 60 of 410. 1899 Birth Record No. 37. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32046-12405-17?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-RMQ:130395201,129648901 : accessed 24 May 2015).

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Michel MERTES
Parents: François “Franz” MERTES and Margaretha ERPELDING
Spouse:  Catharina HEIN and (*) Margaretha RUCKERT
Parents of spouse(*): Jacob RUCKERT and Magdalena SCHMIT
Whereabouts: Strassen, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: husband’s 2nd great-grandparents

  1. Michel MERTES and Margaretha RUCKERT
  2. Maria MERTES
  3. Suzanne PEFFER
  4. Marie Françoise “Maisy” KREMER
  5. husband of Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

52 Ancestors: #8 The PEFFER-MERTES Family (1866-1995)

Week 8 (Feb 19-25) – Good Deeds. Does this mean a generous ancestor or one you found through land records? You decide :)

2002obit
Newspaper clipping of the obituary of Maria POLFER-PEFFER from the 18 April 2002 issue of the Luxembourger Wort.

Maria POLFER-PEFFER, daughter of Francis PEFFER and granddaughter of Nicolas PEFFER and Maria MERTES, is the person in this family who stands out for her good deeds which resulted in her being interned and deported. What good deeds did she perform? She was a part of the resistance movement in Luxembourg during World War II. The Résistance worked in secrecy against the German occupation of the country. They helped political refugees and those being conscripted into the German forces. They printed patriotic leaflets and flyers by hand or machine to encourage the people of Luxembourg and promote patriotic spirit. More about the Luxembourg Resistance and Luxembourg in World War II.

Maria was awarded the Médaille de la Résistance, a medal awarded to civilians for distinguished services to Luxembourg during World War II. She was a member of the Conseil national de la Résistance, a member of the central committee of the LPPD (League for Luxembourgish Political Prisoners and Deportees), an umbrella group of the Resistance groups, and President of the Bettembourg section of the  LPPD.

Yesterday, 22 February 2015, was the Nationalen Dag vun der Resistenz, National Day of the Resistance in Luxembourg. In 1997 the Conseil national de la Résistance made the decision to have an annual remembrance day on the Sunday in February closest to the 25th. A day to remember all those involved in the Résistance and who lost their lives while interned and deported. Especially remembered are the 23 members of the Résistance who were shot in the Hinzerter Bësch 71 years ago on 25 Februar 1944, as well as the victims killed during the general strike in September 1942 on Hinzert, a German concentration camp located in Germany, 30 km from the Luxembourg border.

The PEFFER-MERTES Family (1866-1995)

Early on in my research I knew that my husband’s great-grandparents Nicolas PEFFER and Maria MERTES had three children. I personally knew two of the daughters, Bom and Tattes, and the only son’s daughter Maria POLFER-PEFFER.

On 29 November 2000 I received a telephone call from the son of a third, at that time unknown daughter. He found me through my GEDCOM file at RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project. I still have the notes I scribbled while on the phone with him.

I always wondered why this couple did not have children during the first five years they were married. They married in 1894 and, being Catholic, birth control was not an option or even available. Last month when I began taking a new look at this family, checking for them in the census, I nearly missed looking for birth records for more children.

I found Nicolas and Maria in the 1895 census as newlyweds, I thought, enjoying their second year of marriage, and in 1900 with their 5 week old son Franz. No other children!

1895census
1895 Luxembourg Census, household of Nicolas PEFFER and his wife Maria MERTES.[1]
1900census
1900 Luxembourg Census, household of Nicolas PEFFER and his wife Maria MERTES with their son Franz.[2]
Records are very well kept in Luxembourg, however, for this time period, they did not include the cause of death on the civil death record. This has often bothered me as I’ve found many death records for children. I wondered if this family may have also had a child who died young.

So back to the birth and death records I went. What did I find? Nicolas and Maria had 4 children before Franz came along and all four died young.  Eight months, two months, two weeks, and less than a month. That is how long Maria’s babies lived.

The next three children were born in 1900, 1902, and 1904 followed by the youngest in 1910. These were the 4 children that I knew about and they all lived to marry and have children. Could there also be more children, siblings of my husband’s Bom, born between 1905-1909?

My husband’s grandmother Suzanne, known to him as Bom, was their youngest child. She was not born in Moestroff where all the other children were born. Her father, a shepherd (Hirt), had moved with his family to Wecker sometime after 1904 and before Suzanne’s birth in 1910.  Not finding any other children in Moestroff I looked in Biwer, the commune that Wecker belongs to. And I found another child’s birth and death records. A son born in 1907 died in his fourth month. Maria was 35 years old and still young enough to have more children.

I did not find any more records in the communes of Biwer or Bettendorf. The family may have lived in other towns however the census is only available until 1900 at FamilySearch and in any case only browable making it impraticable to search all areas. Without a lead to a town I would have to check through the Luxembourg Civil Registration database which would mean browsing through 767,518 images or at least checking the Tables Décennales (ten year lists of births, marriages and deaths) for the time period 1905-1922 of each of the 145 communes. Perhaps one day the records for Luxembourg at FamilySearch will be searchable, until then….

I know that Maria carried nine children to term, gave birth to them, and cared for them. Maria and Nicolas buried five of these children between 1895-1907.

Maria saw three of her grown children marry and held two of her grandchildren before she died in 1929 at the age of 54. Only her youngest daughter Suzanne would marry after her death. Her widower Nicolas died at the age of 75 on the 31st of December 1941.

I don’t have a copy of his death record. I have three sources for his death – that should be proof enough. On the other hand, the three sources have conflicting information.

  1. Photocopy of the 1866 birth record No. 11 located in the birth register of Bettendorf at the town hall. This record includes the annotation in the left margin of his death on 31 December 1941 in Moestroff as well as the location of the death record, No. 1 in the 1942 death register. This birth record was obtained in 1995.[3]
  2. Digital image of the birth record located in the Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg, microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1993 at the Archives in Luxembourg. This record includes an annotation in the left margin indicating that he died in Moestroff, no date, and the death record is No. 11 from 1942.[4]
  3. Digital image of the marriage record of Nicolas PEFFER and Maria MERTES located in the Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg, microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1993 at the Archives in Luxembourg. This record includes an annotation in the left margin made by the Landessippenamt. At the time of Nicolas’ death the civil records offices in Luxembourg were in the hands of the Germans. The official of the Landessippenamt wrote that Nicolas died on 31 February 1866 and that the death is recorded in the 1941 Sterbebuch (death register) as record No. 1. The annotation on the marriage record was made on 10 August 1941.[5]

photocopy
1. Annotation on the photocopy of the original birth record in Bettendorf.[3]
digital
2. Annotation on the digital copy of duplicate of original birth record in the archives.[4]
digitalmarriage
3. Annotation on the digital copy of the duplicate of the original marriage record in the archives.[5]
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe that the first record is the most reliable. If the protocol was followed the civil registrar would have issued the death record, recorded it in the death register or Sterbebuch in Bettendorf, made a duplicate to be lodged in the Courts of Justice in Diekirch and Luxembourg City, and included the annotation to the original birth record which was housed in Bettendorf. The duplicate sent to the Courts of Justice would have been the source for the annotation made on the records 2. and 3. which were later digitized.

Now on my to-do list is a visit to the Bettendorf town hall to acquire copies of the records that are not available online for 1923 and later and specifically for a copy of the death record of Nicolas PEFFER.

Three Generations in a Photographic Series

Maria and Nicolas PEFFER-MERTES’ children were quite close as can be seen by this series of photos taken in the latter part of 1956 of two of their daughters and a daughter-in-law with their daughters/daughter-in-law and the grandchildren.

3generationsLeft to right: Baby B. with her mother Maria PEFFER and grandmother (Maria’s mother) Mrs. Francis PEFFER; Baby M. with her mother E. and grandmother (E.’s mother-in-law) Marguerite “Tattes” PEFFER; Baby E. (my husband) with his mother Marie Françoise “Maisy” KREMER and grandmother Suzanne “Bom” PEFFER.

granddaughters and great-grandchildrenLeft to right: Maria with her daughter B.; E. with her daughter M.; and my mother-in-law Maisy with my husband E.

grandmothers with babiesHere the grandmothers switched places. Left to right: Marguerite PEFFER with her granddaughter M., Francis PEFFER’s wife with her granddaughter B., and Suzanne PEFFER with her grandson E.

Who Were They, Nicolas PEFFER and Maria MERTES?

Nicolas PEFFER, my husband’s great-grandfather, was the third child of seven known children of Nicolas PEFFER Sr. ( or “der Ältere“) and Marie ZWANK. His father Nicolas b. 1833  had a younger brother also named Nicolas b. 1836 who was known as Nicolas Jr.

Nicolas PEFFER was born 9 February 1866 in Moestroff, Commune of Bettendorf, District of Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. His parents were both 32 years old when he was born. His father Nicolas was a day laborer.[6]

Maria MERTES, my husband’s great-grandmother, was the oldest of seven children of Michel MERTES and Margaretha RUCKERT. She had 13 known siblings as her father had six children with his first wife. It was the second marriage for her mother as well but the first marriage lasted only 6 months, due to the death of the groom, and there were no children.

Maria MERTES was born 14 February 1875 in Strassen, District of Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Her father was 38 and her mother was 28 years old.[7]

The Marriage of Maria and Nicolas

As with all of our ancestors I wondered how Maria MERTES and Nicolas PEFFER met. They were not born and raised in the same town or even the same community. What brought them together? I can only guess and by studying their marriage record I found a connection and reason why Nicolas would meet a young lady named Maria from Strassen.

Before I get to the actual marriage let’s take a look at the witnesses of the marriage. Two of the witnesses were listed as relatives:

    • Nicolas REITER, Maurer, 39 years old, living in Moestroff. cousin of the groom
    • Mathias GLODT, Taglöhner, 26 years old, living in Strassen, cousin of the groom

The Reiter connection is easy: Nicolas’ paternal aunt Marguerite PEFFER married Jean REITER and Nicolas REITER was their son. Census listings for Marguerite show that another one of her sons, Jean married Maria GLODT of Strassen. Mathias GLODT was Maria’s brother. This would not make him a cousin to Nicolas PEFFER. Further research led to the marriage of Mathias GLODT to Marie REITER, a daughter of Marguerite PEFFER and cousin of Nicolas PEFFER. So Mathias was a cousin-in-law!

Could this be the answer to how Nicolas PEFFER met Maria MERTES? In 1890 Nicolas PEFFER’s cousins Jean and Maria REITER were marrying the GLODT siblings Maria and Mathias.[8],[9] In May 1890 when Maria married Mathias her brothers Jean and Nicolas were present and named as witnesses. Both of these men were masons (Maurer), the same occupation as Nicolas PEFFER.

At six o’clock in the evening on the 19th of February 1894, Nicolas and Maria were married in Strassen. Nicolas was 28, worked as a mason and lived in Moestroff. Nicolas’ parents were both deceased as were his grandparents. Maria was 19, underage, did not work and lived in Strassen. She had recently returned to Strassen after living in Livange in the commune of Roeser. Both of her parents were present and agreeable to the marriage. The banns had been read in Bettendorf and in Roeser, both of the communes that the bride and groom lived in prior to their marriage, on the 4th and the 11th of February, both Sundays.[10]

The Children of Maria and Nicolas

Nicolas and Maria lived in Moestroff following their marriage. Maria was pregnant when the couple married. This may be an explanation for her recently having lived in Livange. She may have been working there, was dismissed for being pregnant and unmarried, and returned home to her parents. She gave birth to their son Johann on 12 June 1894, four months after the marriage.[11] Maria was pregnant with her second child when Johann died on 10 February 1895.[12] The first wedding anniversary was not a happy occasion with their mourning the death of their first child.

Daughter Margaretha was born on 11 August 1895[13] and lived a little less than two months, dying on 1 October 1895.[14] In 1895 when they were enumerated on the census they had been married 22 months. There is no field on the Luxembourg census for the number of children born and the number of children living as seen on the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census.

On 8 February 1897 their son Jacques, most likely named after both of the parents’ maternal grandfathers, was born.[15] They may have raised their glasses on the 19th to celebrate their third anniversary and their son’s birth but days later little Jacques died on 23 February 1897.[16]

Their fourth child Wilhelm was born 4 March 1899[17] and died less than a month later on 1 April 1899.[18] So much heartbreak and loss.

Finally, on 26 October 1900[19] a son, François, was born – the first child who would survive infancy. The pattern of their lives was changing. On 2 August 1902[20] their second daughter, named the same as their first Margaretha, was born followed by Maria on 15 September 1904.[21] These children were healthy and striving.

During all this time Nicolas’ occupation was seen as Maurer or mason on the birth and death records of his children. After 1904 his occupation changed. In 1907 Nicolas and his wife Maria were living in Wecker in the commune of Wecker. Nicolas’ occupation was seen as Hirt or shepherd. On 9 August 1907 their son Nicolas was born.[22] How sad it must have been for both of the parents, especially to Nicolas, to have to report the death of their son Nicolas, named after his father, on 21 November 1907.[23]

Maria and Nicolas’ little family of five was not complete until Suzanne PEFFER was born on 18 February 1910 in Wecker.[24] Nicolas was still a shepherd. How many years of Suzanne’s childhood were spent in Wecker is not known. The family of six was back in Moestroff by the time Suzanne’s oldest siblings began to marry.

Nicolas and Maria’s oldest child François, also known as Francis, PEFFER was most likely the first to marry. I have not done research on his marriage, however, believe that the marriage took place 1928 or earlier as his daughter Maria PEFFER was born about 1928 (she was 74 when she died on 16 April 2002).

Maria PEFFER was the first of the daughters to marry. She married Louis LONGATTE (1904-1996) on 2 May 1928 in Bettendorf. This date of marriage has not been confirmed with a marriage record.

A year later Marguerite PEFFER married Jean REUTER (1903-?) on 10 February 1929 in Bettendorf. This date of marriage has not been confirmed with a marriage record.

Maria MERTES, the mother of this family, died 6 August 1929 in Moestroff. Her date of death was found on the marriage record of her youngest daughter Suzanne PEFFER who married Franz “Fritz” KREMER (1905-1972) on 7 January 1931 in Bettendorf.[25]

In 1931, when Suzanne married, her 64 years old father Nicolas was once again seen in the occupation of mason (Maurer). During World War II (1 Sep 1939-14 Aug 1945) Nicolas PEFFER died on 31 December 1941 in Moestroff[3], [4], [5] as discussed earlier in this post.

Daughter Maria LONGATTE-PEFFER was the first to pass away after the death of the parents. Her son André, also known as Ender, said his mother died of cancer at the age of 40. He also said she died in 1956. There is some discrepancy in his statements as she was born in 1904 and not in 1916. It is my understanding that André was her only child. His father remarried to a French woman.[26]

The three remaining PEFFER children lived longer lives.

  • François “Francis” PEFFER died 20 July 1974 in Ettelbrück at the age of 74.[19]
  • Suzanne KREMER-PEFFER died 13 June 1987 in Moestroff at the age of 77.[24]
  • Marguerite “Tattes” REUTER-PEFFER died 27 June 1995 in Esch-sur-Alzette at the age of 92.[20]

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, Volkszählungen 1843-1900 (images), FamilySearch, (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bettendorf > 1895 > image 695 of 810. Peffer-Mertes household No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32467-9673-13?cc=2037957&wc=M5GD-FM4:346114101,345878001 : accessed 26 December 2014).
[2] Ibid, Bettendorf > 1900 > image 743 of 793. Peffer-Mertes household No. 32. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32396-9937-99?cc=2037957&wc=M9MJ-1NL : accessed 14 January 2015).
[3] Zivilstandes der Gemeinde Bettendorf im Kanton Diekirch, Großerzogtum Luxemburg, Photocopy of the 1866 Birth Record No. 11 obtained in 1995 from the town hall of Bettendorf
[4] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Bettendorf > Naissances 1828-1890 Mariages 1800-1816 > image 783 of 1507. 1866 Birth Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-13200-7084-85?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-28S:1346120346 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[5] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 65 of 117. 1894 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12396-19061-71?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNR:27729865 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[6] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances 1828-1890 Mariages 1800-1816 > image 783 of 1507. 1866 Birth Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-13200-7084-85?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-28S:1346120346 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[7] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 645 of 1464. 1875 Birth Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-58599-17?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNP:1592332876 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[8] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages 1796-1823, 1850-1890 > image 1458 of 1464. “.” 1890 Marriage Record No. 11. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12588-61343-70?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-N38:130458601,130573201 : accessed 20 February 2015).
[9] Ibid, Bettendorf > Mariages 1817-1890 Décès 1800-1859 > image 841 of 1494. 1890 Marriage Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12456-38052-5?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-SP8:129626601,129729901 : accessed 20 February 2015),.
[10] Ibid, Strassen > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 65 of 117. 1894 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12396-19061-71?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LNR:27729865 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[11] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances, mariages, décès 1882-1894 > image 59 of 155. 1894 Birth Record No. 25. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11578-20242-1?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-2NT:129626601,130263301 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[12] Ibid, Bettendorf > Décès 1895-1923 > image 4 of 389. 1895 Death Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32048-22801-16?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-926:129626601,129623802 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[13] Ibid, Bettendorf > Tables décennales 1893-1902 > image 8 of 29. NOTE: The records for 1895 are missing on FamilySearch as of 15 Jan 2015. This entry was found in the Tables décennales 1893-1902.(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11578-20951-69?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-2JH:129626601,129745501 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[14] Ibid, Bettendorf > Décès 1895-1923 > image 14 of 389. 1895 Death Record No. 52. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32048-22723-75?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-926:129626601,129623802 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[15] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances 1896-1923 Mariages 1895-1923 > image 25 of 777. 1897 Birth Record No. 10. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32044-6350-71?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NG:129626601,130150302 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[16] Ibid, Bettendorf > Décès 1895-1923 > image 36 of 389. 1897 Death Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32048-23240-11?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-926:129626601,129623802 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[17] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances 1896-1923 Mariages 1895-1923 > image 60 of 777. 1899 Birth Record No. 14. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32044-6751-2?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NG:129626601,130150302 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[18] Ibid, Bettendorf > Décès 1895-1923 > image 62 of 389. 1899 Death Record No. 6. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32048-24868-86?cc=1709358&wc=9RT1-926:129626601,129623802 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[19] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances 1896-1923 Mariages 1895-1923 > image 87 of 777. 1900 Birth Record No. 49; includes annotation of death. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32044-6345-57?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NG:129626601,130150302 : accessed 27 December 2014).
[20] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances 1896-1923 Mariages 1895-1923 > image 121 of 777. 1902 Birth Record No. 47; includes annotation of death. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32044-6408-22?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NG:129626601,130150302 : accessed 27 December 2014),.
[21] Ibid, Bettendorf > Naissances 1896-1923 Mariages 1895-1923 > image 157 of 777. 1904 Birth Record No. 39. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32044-6109-75?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-2NG:129626601,130150302 : accessed 27 December 2014).
[22] Ibid, Biwer > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 146 of 293. 1907 Birth Record No. 23. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32024-6424-50?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-FMZ:129627101,129648901 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[23] Ibid, Biwer > Décès 1895-1923 > image 95 of 216. 1907 Death Record No. 22. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32037-102-84?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-YWB:129627101,129623802 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[24] Ibid, Biwer > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 176 of 293. 1910 Birth Record No. 9; includes annotation of death. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32024-6158-56?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-FMZ:129627101,129648901 : accessed 27 December 2014).
[25] Zivilstandes der Gemeinde Bettendorf im Kanton Diekirch, Großerzogtum Luxemburg, Heiratsurkunde No. 1 Kremer Franz mit Peffer Susanna. Mothers of the bride and groom were deceased at the time of the marriage and their dates of death are listed on this record.
[26] Telephone conversation between Cathy Meder-Dempsey and Mr. André Longatte on 29 November 2000.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Nicolas PEFFER
Parents: Nicolas PEFFER and Marie ZWANK
Spouse: Maria MERTES
Parents of spouse: Michel MERTES and Margaretha RUCKERT
Whereabouts: Moestroff and Strassen, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: husband’s great-grandparents

1. Nicolas PEFFER
2. Suzanne PEFFER
3. Marie Françoise “Maisy” KREMER
4. Cathy’s husband

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

52 Ancestors: #3 The KREMER-PEFFER Family (1905-1987)

Week 3, Tough woman — Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree? Or what woman has been tough to research?

My husband’s maternal grandparents were Franz KREMER (1905-1971) and Susanna PEFFER (1910-1987).  Their names were seen on their birth records and marriage record as Franz and Susanna. In later years their first names were spelled François and Suzanne. Records in Luxembourg were kept in German and French at different times. It is not unusual to see the German spelling of a name on records and the French spelling on the index and/or Tables Décennales – ten year tables.

MRIN04944 François KremerFranz KREMER was born on the 6th of March 1905 in Bettendorf, Canton of Diekirch, Luxembourg. He was the first son of Nicolas KREMER, a railroad worker, and Catharina GRISIUS. Nicolas, the 29 years old father, went to the records office at 10 o’clock in the morning to have his son’s birth recorded. Franz was born at 2:30 in the morning. The child’s grandfather Anton KREMER, the 70 years old municipal crier, was a witness. He signed his name Antoine KREMER, the French spelling, while the municipal secretary wrote in his name with the German spelling, Anton. Franz’s mother was listed as 25 years old and without an occupation.[1]

1905irth
1905 Birth Record No. 12 for Franz Kremer.[1]
Franz spent his childhood in Bettendorf were he was born. He grew up with six sisters and a little “brother” who was actually his oldest sister’s son. That is a story for Week #7 when his parents and siblings will be highlighted.

MRIN04944 Suzanne PefferSusanna PEFFER was born on the 18th of February 1910 in Wecker, in the community of Biwer, Canton of Grevenmacher, Luxembourg. She was the youngest daughter of Nicolas PEFFER, a shepherd, and Maria MERTES. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the 19th of February 1910, Nicolas, 45 years old, arrived at the records office in Biwer to have the birth of his daughter recorded. His 34 years old wife Maria had given birth to Susanna the day before at noon. An annotation of Susanna’s death is included in the left margin of the record.

1910birth
1910 Birth Record No. 3 for Susanna PEFFER.[2]
Susanna/Suzanne caused problems in my research from the very beginning and so you could say that she was tough to research. Twenty years ago my first call to Biwer to get a copy of her birth record from the records office did not go well. This is not meant in a negative way. Some records offices would send copies of records requested by telephone after a small fee was received while others required a written request with or without a fee. In this particular case they would not search unless I came in person. I didn’t pursue it further as I already had a copy of her marriage record which listed her birth information.

When the images of civil births, marriages, deaths, and indexes became available at FamilySearch.org I did not immediately look for hers. I finally got around to looking for her birth record this past December.

While putting everything together I learned that she was a lot tougher than any of us knew. My husband’s grandmother had two sisters and a brother – this was a known fact. What we did not know was that she was the 9th and most likely last child of Nicolas and Maria PEFFER-MERTES. Her first four siblings, three brothers and a sister, were born and died during the first five years of her parents’ marriage. Another brother, her closest sibling as he was born the 8th child, lived less than three months. I searched the birth records of Bettendorf, where 7 of her siblings were born, and of Biwer which includes Wecker where the two youngest were born, but did not find a child born after Susanna. Census records are presently available to 1900 on FamilySearch for Luxembourg. How I wish the census of Luxembourg were available to 1940 as they are in the U.S. so that I could trace Susanna’s location during her childhood.

Franz and Suzanne most likely knew each other growing up as the villages of Bettendorf and Moestroff are only 2.5 km apart.

On the 7th of January 1931 at 6 o’clock in the evening the mayor of Bettendorf, Johann Peter MULLER, joined Franz and Suzanne in marriage. Franz was 25 and Suzanne was 20 years old and considered underage. Franz’s father Nicolas was present and agreeable to the marriage, his mother was deceased. Suzanne’s father Nicolas was present and agreeable to the marriage, her mother was deceased. The banns had been read only once on the 28th of December 1930. A marriage contract was not drawn up by the couple prior to their marriage. No witnesses are listed on this marriage record which was signed by the bride and groom, the fathers of the couple and the mayor.[3]

MRIN04944 1931 Franz Kremer and Suzanne Peffer marriage
1931 Marriage Record No. 1 for Franz KREMER and Susanna PEFFER.[3]
Susanna had already begun to use Suzanne as the spelling of her name when she signed the marriage record (above).

Their first child Marie Françoise was born in Rumelange on 29 August 1931. As previously discussed in 52 Ancestors: #1 The MEDER-KREMER Family (1926-1996) Maisy, as their daughter was known, believed that she had been a twin. As no records were found we will never know if this story was true.

Some time after Maisy’s birth they moved into their new home on the bank of the Sauer River in Moestroff. 

Four years later, in 1935, a son was born and named Aloyse. On the 1st of April 1936 his father François was notified at work that his son had died. He was very upset with the people who brought the news because he thought they were playing an April Fool’s joke on him. Unfortunately it was true. In 1939 their third child, a son, was born and they named him Aloyse.

In 1937 François worked for the road construction administration (Straßenbauverwaltung or Ponts et Chaussées) and was promoted to roadman (Staatswegewärter or Cantonnier). In 1960 he was promoted to chief roadman (Chef-Cantonnier).

In 1946, he was entrusted with the post of first aldermen (1. Schöffen) of the municipality of Bettendorf for the Moestroff section. He unselfishly provided them with great skill and prudence until 1958.

MRIN04944 2015-01-07 Moestroff church door
Doors of the church of Moestroff in Luxembourg, 7 Jan 2015. Photo courtesy of Egon Meder.

Suzanne and François’ daughter Maisy KREMER married Marcel MEDER on 6 June 1952. On the 7th of June after the religious ceremony as the bride and groom, their parents and guests left the church each couple was photographed on the steps of the church. François left the church with the mother of the groom and Suzanne left the church with the father of the groom. The photographer remained in the same place and I was able to make a composite photograph (below) of Maisy’s parents Suzanne and François KREMER-PEFFER.

MRIN04944 1952-06-07 Suzanne Peffer and François Kremer, parents of the bride
Suzanne and François on the steps of the church of Moestroff, 7 June 1952. Composite photograph.

A Family and Town Tradition

MRIN04944 1949-03-30 Suzanne and Maisy on street in front of house
Suzanne and her daughter Maisy on the street in front of the Kremer house (right, steps to front door) with the municipal building to the left of the house. This photo was taken on 30 March 1949. The children are unknown.
MRIN04944 2015-01-07 Moestroff, next door to Kremer house
This building to the left of the Kremer-Peffer house was owned by the municipality and was used to store machinery etc. Photo taken in Jan 2015 courtesy of Egon Meder.
MRIN04944 2015-01-07 Moestroff, Kremer house
The house which was once the home of the Kremer-Peffer family as it is today. Photo courtesy of Egon Meder.

 

Above right, is the Kremer-Peffer house as it is today, renovated by the new owners. The Kremer-Peffer family used the land on the left side and behind the house to raise a vegetable garden and an apple tree. François also had another larger garden located on the other side of the building next door (above, left) that was used for storage by the town. He planted rows and rows of potatoes, grew green beans on poles, and had 6-8 plum trees.

Quetschen,  Luxembourgish plums, are a deep purple, elongated in shape with a long thin stone. The family and the town had a tradition associated with this tasty plum, the cooking of Quetschekraut. In late August when the Quetschen were ripe and picked, François would build a fire in front of his house for the large copper pot that would be used to cook Quetschekraut. The townpeople would bring their own Quetschen to the Kremer house. They were weighed before the women would cut them and remove the pits. The adults would take turns stirring the fruit, sugar and spices until it became a thick compote. This was then filled into stone jars like the smaller ones (below) to be taken home by all of the families who participated. How many they took home depended on how much fruit they had contributed to the huge batch.

2015-01-19 stone jars
Stone jars used for keeping Quetschekraut in their cool cellar. The large jar was used for making sauerkraut.

2015-01-19 canned

This  tradition of cooking Quetschekraut is no longer kept up as it was in their days. Today we buy ours in a mason jar at the mall from the musicians of the “Schëtter Musek”. It is only sold on one weekend so we always make sure to mark our calendars.

Not all of the fruit was used for Quetschekraut as Quetschentaart is another favorite in Luxembourg.

The Death of a Spouse

Just two months before his 66th birthday François KREMER died from a prolonged illness in his home in Moestroff. The insidious disease that had attacked him was lung cancer and slowly with severe suffering put an end to his life on 7 January 1971.

MRIN04944 1971-01-08 François Kremer obitHis open nature and correctness earned him friendship, trust and respect. For years he was president of the local church choir. This association was very dear to him.

Fritz, as he was known by his colleagues, was an avid fisherman. He was often seen on the banks of the Sauer River were he swung his rod and chased pike and carp, silently and patiently outwitting them. Only the illness that claimed his life stopped him from enjoying this sport in his last years.[4]

His marriage to his faithful companion Suzanne and his children, his daughter Maisy and his son Aly, brought deep happiness to him. He was fond of his four grandchildren who called him Bop. They were dear to his heart and filled his days with love to the last.

MRIN04944 Suzanne Peffer laterSuzanne continued to live in Moestroff in the home near the Sauer River. She would telephone with her children everyday, alternating between her calling them and their calling her. On Fridays she would take the bus to Diekirch to do her shopping, visit the butcher for a beef roast to serve on Sunday, see her doctor, and pick up her medicine at the pharmacy.

The family often joked about the shoe box full of pills and other medicine that she used everyday and brought along when she spent a few days with one or the other of her children.

On Sundays she would often have her daughter’s or her son’s family come to dinner. Before her daughter Maisy and her son-in-law Marcel had a car they would take the bus from Echternach to Moestroff, arriving while Suzanne was at church. Maisy would begin preparations for dinner while the family waited for Bom, as she was known by her grandchildren, to come back from church.

On Mother’s Day and Kirmes Sunday Bom would invite both families to dinner at a restaurant. Kirmes, the traditional fair, is an important event in the religious and social lives of the inhabitants of a town. Bom had not always taken the family to a restaurant for Kirmes. When she was a little younger she would cook for the whole bunch. Everyone would squeeze into her small front parlor, which was her living and dining room. If someone needed “to go” and he was sitting with the table between him and the door several people would have to get up to let him out. The grandchildren enjoyed crawling under the table to get out.

MRIN04944 1987-06-15 Suzanne Peffer obitSuzanne was a tough woman during these years that she lived without her husband. But this changed when her daughter Maisy died in 1986 of cancer. She also lost her grit after her first and only stay in a hospital at the age of 77. She gave up on life when she was diagnosed with an illness “down there.” It wasn’t talked about and only later would we learn that she may have had cancer in her reproductive organs.

On Saturday afternoon the 13th of June 1987, the day before Mother’s Day, she took her afternoon nap, as usual, in her armchair resting her legs on the foot rest. She wanted to be well rested for the planned dinner with the family on Mother’s Day. But that was not to be. Her sister Tattes found her later that afternoon. Suzanne, our Bom, had died in her sleep of heart failure.

Sources:
[1] “Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32044-5938-16?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-28W:n1332603780 : accessed 01 Apr 2013), Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1793-1923 > Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1793-1923 > Bettendorf > Naissances 1896-1923 Mariages 1895-1923 > image 168 of 777; Nationalen Archiven, Luxembourg.
[2] “Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32024-6158-56?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-FMZ:129627101,129648901 : accessed 27 December 2014), Biwer > Naissances 1895-1923 > image 176 of 293; Nationalen Archiven, Luxembourg.
[3] Bettendorf Record Office, photocopy of the 1931 marriage record of Franz KREMER and Susanna PEFFER, obtained 1995.
[4] C. Kohn, “In Memoriam François Kremer, Moestroff,” Luxemburger Wort, January 1971.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.