The lecture was organized by my local genealogy association luxracines.lu. Prof. Dr. Peter GILLES explained in his lecture the procedure and results of several years of research. The project was supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) from 2009-2012 at the University of Luxembourg. The 2600 most frequent family names were published in Luxemburger Familiennamenbuch by Cristian Kollmann, Peter Gilles and Claire Muller in 2016. I have a copy of the book and mentioned it in my post How a Surname Had Me Spiraling Down a Rabbit Hole.
The PREISEN surname is unusual and, with the evolution of surnames on my mind, I wanted to add an unexpected end to this family’s story.
When Thomas, the father of this family, was baptized in 1753 his surname was spelled PREISER. When he married in 1779, the record showed the spelling PREUSEN. When his children were born between 1779 and 1799, PREISEN and PREUSEN were seen on the baptismal records. When Thomas died in 1801, PREUSEN was the spelling used by all of his children. By 1880, the descendants had gone back to using the PREISEN spelling.
The three sons of Thomas and Anna Maria who married, each had 8 to 9 children but only one son each. Peter and Joseph’s sons both lived to the age of 80 but never married.
Anton’s son had a son who had a son who had a son…
Anton was the only son of Thomas and Anna Maria who continued the male line, the line which kept the surname alive. Anton had a son:
Philippe (1822-1883) who had a son
Michel (1852-1945) who had a son
Michel Philippe (1889-1975) who had a son
Jean Pierre Christophe (1915-1944), known as Jempy to the family and friends.
There were no other male descendants other than Anton’s son, grandson, great-grandson, and great-great-grandson. Jempy was the last male PREISEN in the line.
Jempy died at the age of 28 years as the result of an accident. What terrible “accident” took his life?
Diekirch – Jempy Preisen † . The city of Diekirch has endured four years the Nazi tyranny and oppression with a strong heart and unflinching will. No wonder the day of our deliverance, September 11th, was a day of joy, enthusiasm, and rejoicing. Unfortunately, the victorious goddess demanded a sacrificial prize in the person of the 28-year-old Jempy PREISEN from Diekirch. This member of the Luxemburgish Freedom Organization was shot by a cowardly national traitor during the cleansing of our city. Jempy was always a noble friend to us all, animated by an ardent patriotism; it was rightly said of him: How tall stand today the women and men who did so much for our homeland — who like those from other large countries, put their lives on the line. The general interest of the town and the surrounding region of Diekirch may be a quiet consolation for the respectable PREISEN-THILLEN family, who have now sacrificed their only son and heir for the homeland. Jempy Preisen has entered into the long series of heroes who have sacrificed their lives for the liberty of Luxembourg; his memory will always be honored.
The underlined part is the translation of the quote used at the beginning of this post.
In 1880 the Luxembourg census had 9 persons enumerated with the surname PREISEN, a name no longer found in the telephone book in 2009. The last living male person to carry the surname PREISEN, Jempy’s father, died in 1975, nearly 200 hundred years after Thomas and Anna Maria started their family.
The Story is Not All Sadness
For those of you who have read the first part of this story, Thomas and Anna Maria’s story is not all sadness. Marie’s children lived short lives and Elizabeth had two stillborn daughters, but the other five children each had between seven and a dozen children. There were some who did not live to adulthood and others who chose to not marry, but the rest married and continued their lines although not with the PREISEN name.
One of these was my children’s 4th great-grandmother Margaretha PREISEN.
Her line went full circle when her granddaughter Elise FABER married François MEDER (half 3rd cousins) and had eleven children. In yesterday’s post I mentioned this unusual discovery which may have been a bit hard to follow. Amy Cohen of Brotman: A Family Journey suggested doing a chart (above, click to enlarge) to help “decipher your sentence about the sixth great-grandparents…” Does this make it easier?
I made an unusual discover while researching this family group. To weave it into their story, and hopefully make reading the post a bit easier, I wrote this differently.
Thomas PREISER was born and baptized on 23 September 1753 in Diekirch. His godparents were Thomas PREISER, likely his paternal grandfather, and Apolonia HOCHDÖRFFERS, a single person, of Diekirch. Thomas was the son of Joannis PREISER and Anna Maria FETH. He was their first child and only son.
Three and a half years later his sister Margaretha was born. She, however, was not his only sister. His mother Anna Maria had been previously married to Nicolai SCHEID (SCHOOD) with whom she had four daughters. I will write about them when I get to the next generation.
Thomas PREISER married Anna Maria SCHRANTZ, daughter of Petrus SCHRANTZ and Anne Marie HAMEN, on 15 February 1779 in Diekirch. Both the bride and groom signed their names on the marriage record.
Anna Maria was born and baptized on 3 January 1754 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Nicolaus SCHRANTZ and Anna Maria PROMMENSCHENCKEL.
Thomas, a farmer, and Anna Maria were the parents of ten children. Their first child, a son, as was the tradition of the time, had his paternal grandfather Thomas as his godfather and his maternal grandmother Anna Maria as his godmother.
The family grew over the years and in 1790, after 11 years of marriage, they had six children, two sons and four daughters, all living. But 1790, which brought the birth of their second son Anton, also saw the death of their youngest daughter Magdalena who was not quite four years old.
A daughter and a son were born in 1792 and 1794 bringing the total number of living children to seven. Then in 1795 their oldest child Joannes died at the age of 15. Two more sons were born to the couple in 1797 and 1799.
By the turn of the century Thomas and Anna Maria had 8 living children, 4 sons and 4 daughters. A year later, on 4 January 1801, Thomas died leaving Anna Maria with children aged between less than 2 and 19.
Life without Thomas meant his widow would not be sharing the milestones in the lives of their children with him. Anna Maria’s three oldest children married during the 1810s leaving her with four sons and a daughter still at home. In the 1820s daughter Maria gave birth to five children. She died in 1818 and the children all died between 1817-1819. There were, however, also good times in the 1820s with three of Anna Maria’s sons marrying.
By 1830 only daughter Elisabetha and youngest son Nicolas were still single. No record of death or marriage was found in Diekirch for Nicolas. He may have left the town to work or marry in an as yet unknown location.
In 1830 Elisabetha was working as a clothes presser (repasseuse) and gave birth to a stillborn daughter. No father was listed on the death record of the child and the stillbirth was reported by the midwife.
On 13 January 1832 Elisabetha’s brother Anton had the sad duty of being the informant on the death of their mother Anna Maria SCHRANTZ.
Almost a year later Elisabetha married Pierre LEY who was 17 years younger than she was. On the second anniversary of her mother’s death Elisabetha, who was nearly 42, gave birth to another stillborn daughter. Elisabetha and her merchant husband did not have any other children. The marriage may not have been a happy one. In 1856, when Elisabetha and Pierre had been married 23 years they owned in the Diekirch area a house with stable on the Place d’Armes, a barn with stable in the Watresgasse, several pieces of farmland and gardens, and a newly built house at Bleesbruck on the Heerstrasse from Diekirch to Vianden and Echternach.
All of the property was put up for auction on 20 July 1856. Three months later on October 16 Elisabetha filed an application for the separation of property.
Seven months later her husband was dead and she died three months later. Her brother Peter was the informant for her death on 14 August 1857. Their siblings Margaretha (the younger, my children’s 4th great-grandmother), Anton, and Margaretha (the elder) had already died leaving only Peter and his younger brother Joseph. Three years later in 1860 Peter once again acted as the informant for the death of his brother Joseph. Peter, the last living child of Thomas and Anna Maria, died two years later in 1862.
The Children of Thomas and Anna Maria
Thomas and Anna Maria had the following children with surnames as found on their baptismal/birth record.
Joannes PREISEN was born/baptized on 1 December 1779 in Diekirch. His godparents were Joannes PREISEN, married, and Anna Maria SCHRANTZ, married, both of Diekirch. He died on 6 June 1795 in Diekirch.
Margaretha PREISEN was born/baptized on 2 November 1781 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Josephus SCHRANTZ, single, and Margaretha PREISEN, single, both of Diekirch. She married Philippe BERINGER (1778-1849) on 26 May 1803 in Diekirch. She died on 10 January 1854 in Diekirch.
Maria PREUSEN was born/baptized on 7 Nov 1783 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Jacobus MERTEN and Maria BIAS, both of Diekirch. She married François MOLITOR (1784-1863) on 9 May 1808 in Diekirch. She died on 26 Mar 1818 in Diekirch.
Margaretha PREISEN was born/baptized on 13 July 1785 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Baptista FETH and Margaretha KESSELER, both of Diekirch. She married Mathias LORENTZ (1775-1822) on 28 November 1809 in Diekirch. She died on 17 November 1843 in Diekirch.
Maria Margaretha “Magdalena” PREISEN was born/baptized on 22 July 1787 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Michael GRASER and Maria Margaretha SCHRANTZ, both of Diekirch. She died on 28 November 1790 in Diekirch. Her name on her death record was Magdalena. Her baptismal record was recorded as Magdalena, then crossed out, and corrected to read Maria Margaretha, the name of her godmother.
Antoine “Anton” PREUSEN was born/baptized on 5 January 1790 in Diekirch. His godparents were Michael Schrantz who substituted for Antonius SCHRANTZ and Barbara JUTTEL, both of Diekirch. He married Marguerite CARMES (1790-1870) on 9 January 1821 in Diekirch. He died on 1 June 1847 in Diekirch. Antoine and his wife had 8 children, only one son lived to marry and carry on the surname.
Elisabetha PREISEN was born/baptized on 25 August 1792 in Diekirch. Her godparents were Maximinus HAMEN and Elisabetha SCHRANTZ, both of Diekirch. She married Pierre LEY (1809-1857) on 10 January 1833 in Diekirch. She died on 14 August 1857 in Diekirch.
Peter PREUSEN was born/baptized on 4 December 1794 in Diekirch. HIS godparents were Peter BUNGERT and Margaretha SCHRANTZ. He married Cathérine LORANG (1797-1866) on 5 March 1823 in Diekirch. He died on 6 July 1862 in Diekirch. Peter and his wife had 9 children, only one son who never married and died at the age of 80.
Joseph PREUSEN was born/baptized on 20 February 1797 in Diekirch. His godparents were Josepho SCHRANZ and Josepha BIAS. He married Susanne KLEIN (1798-1852) on 23 May 1827 in Diekirch. He died on 17 June 1860 in Diekirch. Joseph and his wife had 8 children, only one son who never married and died at the age of 80.
Nicolaus PREUSEN was born on 25 Mar 1799 in Diekirch. It is not known when he died.
As this story was coming together, I attended a lecture on Luxembourgish surnames. The surname of this family is unusual and, with the evolution of surnames on my mind, I wrote an unexpected end to this family’s story. To be continued tomorrow….