52 Ancestors: #37 The Groelinger-Mergen Family of Holsthum

My 4th great-grandfather Johann GROELINGER (1766-1840), son of Peter MERTSCHERT (c1737- 1768) and Susanna SCHNEIDER (1737-1778), was born in Holsthum on 8 May 1766. He was their fifth and last child. The family lived on the Schneider-Vogtei which had come into their “possession” through Johann’s mother Susanna’s family.

The historical background of the SCHNEIDER family and the Schneider-Vogtei were dealt with in the Prequel to The Groelinger-Mergen Family of Holsthum, Germany in order to make it easier for my readers to understand the confusion of the surnames used by Johann GROELINGER and his parents. To simplify it a bit more I created this mind map with Scapple.

Johann GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN

Johann married Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN (1769-1829) on 24 March 1798 in Schankweiler. At the time Holsthum was part of the Schankweiler parish. In the marriage record, the father of the groom’s surname was given as GROELINGEN alias MERTSCHERT. His father had passed away in 1768 when Johann was 21 months old. His mother Susanna SCHNEIDER remarried within a month and her husband Johann BARTZEN became the holder of the Schneider-Vogtei.

On the road from Ferschweiler to Holsthum, there is a resting/picnic hut for hikers.

Johann’s bride Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN was born on 5 February 1769 in Holsthum. She was the daughter of Gertrud THELEN (1746-1818) and Theodor MERGEN (1746-1817). She was their oldest child. In the Schankweiler family book, her name is given only as Maria. She is referred to as Anna Maria Benedikta in several of the family books which have entries for her and her husband and/or for her children. [see sources 1-9 for the family books of Biersdorf, Edingen, Ernzen, Körperich, Mettendorf, Nusbaum, Schankweiler, Utscheid, and Wissmannsdorf]

Gertrud THELEN and Theodor MERGEN had married on 21 December 1767 in Holsthum. Theodor was a Rinderhirt or cowherd in Holsthum as was his father-in-law. Neither of Anna Maria Benedikta’s parents was found in the 1766 census.

Anna Maria Benedikta had at least three sisters: Anna Maria born in 1771, Anna Maria born in 1781, and Maria Katharina born in 1786. The repeated use of the name Anna Maria may mean one of them did not survive but as seen in other families there is the possibility of names being used for multiple living children. The Familienbuch Schankweiler does not give any further information on these girls. Church records, according to the compiler of the book, are missing for large periods of time. Perhaps when I visit the archives in Bitburg I may be able to pick up the trail of these siblings. For example, if they were godmothers of one or the other child born to Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta. Also, if they married, a husband may have been the informant on the deaths of the parents-in-law. 

Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta named their first two sons after their fathers. Their first son was born on 10 January 1799 and named after Johann’s father Peter and their second son was born on 17 November 1800 and named after the maternal grandfather Theodor.

Johann’s brother who shared the same name died on 11 November 1801 at the age of 39 years. He likely never married.

A view of the town of Holsthum from the resting/picnic hut.

The Napoleonic Wars had been underway five months when Johann and Anna Maria’s first daughter was born on 14 October 1803. Their next daughter Maria Catherina was born on 28 February 1805 followed by Susanna, named after the paternal grandmother, on 1 August 1807.

I find it unusual that neither of the first two daughters nor the three born after Susanna was named Gertrud after the maternal grandmother.  Magdalena was born on 20 August 1809, Elisabeth on 17 April 1812, and Maria Katharina on 2 June 1814.

The Napoleonic Wars came to an end in 1815. Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta were still having children. Their son Wilhelm was born on 3 February 1817. His birth was followed three weeks later by the death of his maternal grandfather Theodor MERGEN on 24 February 1817. The widow Gertrud THELEN died a little over a year later on 2 April 1818. It is the death records of these two individuals which I hope may include the names of one or the other son-in-law who is at this time unknown.

Two more sons were born to Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta. Johann on 18 August 1818 and Gerhard on 2 May 1821. All of the children were born in Holsthum where Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta lived.

The first of these children to marry was the third child Maria. She married Ludwig GERMAN on 23 August 1827 in Schankweiler. Their first child, a son named Johann, was born a month later. The family moved from Holsthum to Ließem were at least two other children were born.

The village of Holsthum

Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN died on 6 February 1829 at the age of 60. Preparations for the marriage of her oldest son Peter may have been underway when she died. Peter married Margaretha PROST on 1 March 1829 in Biersdorf.

The second son Theodor married Margarethe WALLENBORN on 5 June 1831, also in Biersdorf. And the next marriage also took place in the same town when Maria Catherina married Johann Adam ERSFELD on 11 January 1832.

One last marriage took place before Johann GROELINGER passed away. Magdalena married Johann PHILIPP on 19 January 1839 in Schankweiler.

Johann GROELINGER died on 11 December 1840 in Biersdorf. As this record of death has not been viewed I can only assume he was visiting one of his children who had married in Biersdorf or he was living with one of them. Johann lived to the age of 74 years.

The first of his and Anna Maria Benedikta’s eleven children to die was Maria who had been the first to marry. She was living with her husband in Menningen at the time. She died on 30 March 1841. He remarried within two months.

My 3rd great-grandmother Maria Katharina married Theodore PÖPPELREITER (1816-1891) on 20 January 1842 in Mettendorf.

Slowly but surely Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta’s children were setting up their own households.

  • Susanna married Johann JÜNGELS (1805-1862) on 23 October 1843 in Wißmannsdorf
  • Elisabeth married Mathias SCHMITZ (1810-1879) on 13 January 1845 in Altscheid
  • Johann married Catharina BURES on 5 January 1850 in Biersdorf
  • Gerhard married Helena Rosa LUDES on 25 October 1850 on Bickendorf.

Ten of the eleven children were married by 1850. Only son Wilhelm’s marital status is unknown at this time. A family with nearly a dozen children and all (except for Wilhelm whose fate is unknown) married and had children. No infant deaths. This may have something to do with the family coming from the Schneiders-Vogtei and possibly being more prosperous than families who came from manual and domestic laborers.

While up to nine different family books were used to trace the children, the family of the youngest son Gerhard was only traced through Thomas Pick’s Homepage for Eifel Birth and Marriage Data. The extracted information shows he married and had eight children in Bickendorf but does not include the names of the parents of Gerhard. The family book for the town of Bickendorf may be in our Luxracines archives in Walferdange. I was working my way back through the ancestors and had not gotten around to searching for descendants or checking for the Bickendorf book.

DNA Match with a 4C1R in America

Pick’s database shows the surname spelled GRELINGER which had me wondering if this Gerhard was the son of Johan GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN. I didn’t want to be following the wrong family.

After finding a descendant who is a DNA match to my brother on AncestryDNA with one of those shaky leaves which indicate a Shared Ancestor Hint, I am convinced the spelling of the GROELINGER name changed to GRELINGER for youngest son Gerhard when he married and moved to Bickendorf.

Shared Ancestor Hint on AncestryDNA

Gerhard’s son, a farmer, Johann GREHLINGER, born on 20 March 1858, single, requested permission to go to North America on 29 August 1881. He said his parents owned residential and economy buildings, and he had the necessary means to travel.[10]

Records indicate this son who went to America in 1881 was Johann Michael GRELINGER. He bought a farm five miles outside of Beloit, Mitchell County, Kansas, in 1893 and married in 1894. The match my brother has is a descendant of this line and shares 25 cMs across 2 segments.

He had three siblings who also went to America. His oldest brother John arrived in 1871 and his second oldest brother Michael in 1876 per the 1900 and 1910 census when they were living together with their youngest sister Elizabeth who came in 1893. John and Michael both owned farms in Jewell County, Kansas, likely adjoining. The siblings, seen as GRELIER on the 1900 and 1910 census, were and would remain single.

DNA Match with a 5C in America

The GRELINGER cousin was found with a Shared Ancestor Hint. Since there were no other hints I searched for matches with the surname GROELINGER and GRELINGER in their trees. I found GROELINGER in this tree.

Pedigree view of the family tree of a match on Ancestry

The surname GERMANN was a red flag as this was the surname seen in the first marriage to take place for one of the children of Johann and Anna Maria Benedikta. Their daughter Maria married Ludwig GERMAN in 1827. The owner of this tree has not made the connection to the parents. The match is a fifth cousin and shares 11.4 cMs across one segment.

Since the second match is considered a distant match, Ancestry does not show it as a shared match with the first test which is classified as a fourth cousin match. To compare the chromosome segments I need both of these matches to upload their raw DNA to Gedmatch. I sent messages this morning but they only went through after several attempts.

I would like to finally be able to add a maternal segment to the DNA map I am working on – it would be the first.

[1] Lika Hellwig, Ortsfamilienbuch 1 Biersdorf mit Hamm, Wiersdorf, Oberweiler, Nierderweiler, Beifels sowie zeitweise Echtershausen und Ließem 1714 bis 1899 (July 2002).
[2] Bodo Bölkow and Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Lambertus Edingen an der Sauer Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals für Minden und Menningen zuständig) mit Edingerberg, Minden u. Menningen 1680-1899 Edingen selbst ab 1705 (2000).
[3] Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (2000).
[4] Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Hubertus Körperich in der Südeifel mit Körperich, Niedersgegen, Obersgegen, Gentingen, Roth an der Our, Seimerich und Scheuerhof (später Neuscheuerhof) 1689-1899 (2002).
[5] Werner Naumann, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Mettendorf Dekanat Neuerburg, Band 1 A-M Band 2 N-Z (1992).
[6] Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Petrus Nusbaum in der Südeifel mit Nusbaum, Nusbaumerhöhe, Freilingen, Freilingerhöhe, Enzen, Silberberg, Stockigt, und Rohrbach 1722-1899, PDF (Kordel bei Trier, 2001).
[7] Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen (Trier, 1990).
[8] Werner Lichter, Familienbuch Utscheid (Outscheid) St. Peter 1728-1899 mit den Ortsteilen Buscht und Rußdorf (2009).
[9] Irmgard Schmitz, Familienchronik der Pfarrei Wissmannsdorf mit ihren Filialen Brecht, Hermesdorf und Koosbüsch (2009).
[10] Josef Mergen (1954) and Heinz Weber (1995), Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Bitburg im 19. Jahrhundert (2009).

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #36 Bubelreiter, Boppelreuter, Peppelreuter, Pöppelreiter

What is the most interesting or unusual name in your family tree? Do you have one like PÖPPELREITER? It’s the maiden name of one of my two great-grandmothers named Catherine. For the three generations back to her great-grandfather (my fourth great-grandfather) Johann PÖPPELREITER, the name mostly remained the same. However, during his lifetime it was spelled several different ways, evolving from BUBELREITER to BOPPELREUTER to PEPPELREUTER to PÖPPELREITER.

Some people with this name emigrated from Mürlenbach, Germany, to America and the name lost the umlaut (the double dots over the vowel) and became POPPELREITER. The ones I have found were a father and son who came to America before 1860 and another family group who came in 1893. Further research is needed to prove their connection to my line which also comes out of Mürlenbach.


My fourth great-grandfather Johann PÖPPELREITER was the son of Peter BUBELREITER (abt. 1741-1793) and Gertrud LAMBERTI or BOSEN (abt. 1738?-1807). He was born and baptized on 15 February 1782 in Mürlenbach.[1] The extracted information from his baptismal record does not include his mother’s maiden name. She was seen as LAMBERTI when Johann’s brother Mathias married.[2] Later when she died her surname was given as BOSEN.[3] His father Peter may have been married twice, Gertrud being his second wife. His surname was spelled with B’s instead of P’s.

Johann’s father Peter was a Köhler or charcoal maker.[4] I believe this craft was passed down through the family as several PÖPPELREITER men during his time had the same occupation.

Charcoal kiln or pile photographed in Germany

Charcoal burning is perhaps one of the oldest forms of forest use. The coal plates were roundish pinnacles with a diameter of 6 to 8 meters. During the construction of the kilns, split logs of one to two meters length were set up in several levels into a hemispherical structure and covered with branches, sod, and soil to make it as airtight as possible. After firing, it took two to three weeks for all of the wood to become coal. From a fathom of wood (about three cubic meters) 600 kg of coal could be produced. With the same calorific value, the charcoal was much lighter and smaller than the wood.

Johann married Margaret BOMMES

Johann was 31 years old, could not write, and was living auf der Glasshütte near Utscheid when he married Margaret BOMMES, daughter of Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN, on 28 October 1813 in Utscheid.[5] Margaret was born on 13 July 1791 in Grimbach and was baptized the same day in Neuerburg.[5]

It is quite possible Johann learned the Köhler trade from his father and left Mürlenbach to work in Utscheid auf der Glashütte (glassworks) where charcoal was produced. Johann and Margaret’s first two children were born auf der Glashütte near Utscheid. Lucia PÖPPELREITER was born in 1813[6] and her brother Wilhelm was born in September 1814.[6]

Sometime after the birth of their second child, the little family moved to Brimingen were their son Wilhelm died on 28 June 1815. Less than a month after his death Margaret gave birth to her next child, Nicolas on 23 July 1815 in Brimingen.[7]

A year and two days later my third great-grandfather Theodore PÖPPELREITER was born on 25 July 1816 in Brimingen and was christened the same day in Baustert.[8]

In the following two years, the family moved again to Mettendorf where their next four children were born. Catherine (the elder) was born on 27 December 1818[9], Barbara on 29 September 1821[6], and Matthias on 8 August 1824[6]. Matthias lived only one day. The fourth child born in Mettendorf, and the baby of the family, was Catherine (the younger) who was born on 21 October 1825.[6] The practice of giving the same name to more than one living child is confusing and the reason I distinguish between them with elder and younger.

Johann PÖPPELREITER died on 6 June 1827 in Mettendorf and was buried the following day.[10] He was 45 years old. He left a wife and six children aged between less than two years and 14 years.

The oldest daughter Lucia died on 23 February 1837 in Mettendorf at the age of 24 years. She had not married. Nothing is known of the next oldest child and oldest son Nicolas who would have been 21 years by this time.

Theodore PÖPPELREITER, my 3rd great-grandfather, was the youngest son. He was working as a servant in Nusbaum when he married Maria Katharina GROELINGER, daughter of Johann GROELINGER and Anna Maria Benedikta MERGEN, on 20 January 1842 in Mettendorf.[11] Maria Katharina was born on 2 June 1814 in Holsthum and was working as a servant in Mettendorf.[12] She was my 3rd great-grandmother. Theodore and Maria Katharina’s story: The PÖPPELREITER-GROELINGER Family

Catherine PÖPPELREITER (the elder), now the oldest daughter of the widowed Margaret BOMMES, was 26 years old when she gave birth to a natural child, a son Theodore, born on 31 August 1844. For new readers, a natural child’s father’s name is not known or given. After his birth, Catherine married the widower Johann WAGNER (b. 1804) on 30 January 1847 in Baustert.[13]

The youngest daughter also named Catherine married Nicolas BLEY, son of André “Andreas” BLEY and Hélène Charlotte MAY, on 13 July 1848 in Echternach.[14] Nicolas was born on 17 November 1813 in Ettelbrück.

Following the marriages of Theodore and the two daughters named Catherine, Margaret BOMMES was likely left only with her daughter Barbara living at home as mention earlier, nothing is known of the oldest son Nicolas. On 19 January 1850 twenty-eight-year-old Barbara married Peter SCHNEIDER in Oberweis. Peter, a shoemaker, was born on 23 August 1814 and was seven years older than Barbara.[15]

Johann WAGNER, the husband of the elder Catherine, died on 22 December 1856 in Mülbach (not to be confused with Mürlenbach). They had been married less than ten years. Catherine was left with four children, her son Theodore PÖPPELREITER and two sons and a daughter she had with Johann.

Margaret BOMMES, the widow of Johann PÖPPELREITER, died on 5 February 1860 in Mettendorf. She was 68 years old. She left a son and three daughters.

Following the death of her mother, the elder Catherine lost her two youngest children. Her daughter Anna Maria died at the age of 10 in 1862 and her son Peter died at the age of 11 in 1867. Six years later her son Nicholas WAGNER went to America and she was left only with her son Theodore PÖPPELREITER. He had married the previous year in Baustert and lived in Mülbach where she was living.

My third great-grandparents lived in Mettendorf all of their married life as far as I can tell. However, for some reason, my third great-grandmother Maria Katharina GROELINGER, the wife of my Theodore PÖPPELREITER (not Theodore, son of the elder Catherine), died on 27 January 1877 in Schankweiler.

Catherine PÖPPELREITER (the elder) died on 5 March 1883 in Mülbach. She was buried on 8 March 1883 in Mettendorf. Her son Theodore likely took care of the burial arrangements as her only other living son Nicholas was living in Aurora, Kane County, Illinois with his four children and wife who was expecting their fifth child in less than two months.

Barbara PÖPPELREITER died on 24 March 1886 in Oberweis. She and her deceased husband Peter SCHNEIDER who died on 1 May 1882 were the parents of three children. A daughter died at the age of 5 years. Nothing is known of Maria born in 1858 or Michael born in 1861.

Theodore PÖPPELREITER, my 3rd great-grandfather, died on 2 May 1891 in Mettendorf. He left two sons who are known to have continued the PÖPPELREITER line.

Courtesy of Solange Coussement of Bollendorf from her Old Postcards website http://www.oldpostcardsluxembourg.com/index.html. Used with permission.

Nicolas BLEY, the husband of the younger Catherine, died on 27 October 1894 in the street called Mussgasse (above) in Echternach.[16] The houses in this street are built against the old wall of the town as can be seen by the tower in the background.

Catherine PÖPPELREITER, the youngest and only living PÖPPELREITER child of Johann and Maria Katharina, died on 18 November 1908 in Echternach.[17] She had given birth to ten children, five of whom died young. Two of her children married in the 1880s. Her oldest son André never married and was a professor at the Athénées Royaux (similar to middle and high school) of Arlon and of Ghent as well as the University of Ghent in Belgium. He died at the age of 87 in Ghent.

Catherine (the younger) would not be the only Pöppelreiter to live and die in Echternach. In July 1914 my great-grandparents Catherine PÖPPELREITER and Johann WILDINGER moved from Mettendorf to Echternach with their three children. Their story is Close to Home and Close to My Heart.

Please come back tomorrow for a little P.S.


[1] Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 475030. Joannes Boppelreuter, male, christened 15 Feb 1782 in Mürlenbach, Rheinland, Preussen, Germany; father Peter Boppelreuter; mother Gertrudis. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NZMV-2L9 : accessed 27 OCtber 2017).
[2] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 546087. Mathiam Poppelreuter and Anna Maria Servatius married 10 Jun 1808 in Mürlenbach, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father of groom Petri Poppelreuter; mother of groom Gertrudis Lamberti; father of bride Mathiae Servatius; mother of bride Catharinae Linden. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4J4-VP8 : accessed 30 October 2017).
[3] Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 / Deutschland Tote und Beerdigungen, 1582-1958, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 546087. Gertrudis Bosen Poppelreuter, female, age 69, widowed; died 25 Sep 1807 and buried 26 Sep 1807 in Mürlenbach, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; Spouse’s Name Petri Poppelreuter.
(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J43D-8L4 : accessed 27 October 2017).
[4] Heinrich Theodore Weber (+) / Thomas J. Schmitt, Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrei St. Lucia in Mürlenbach 1803-1899 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V., Bd. 177, Köln 2003), pg. 302, Family #1226. Poppelreiter-Lamberti.
[5] M.E. Hubsch, Heribert Ambros, K.G. Oehms, Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrei Sankt Nikolaus mit ihrem Filialen Neuerburg/Eifel 1700 bis 1899 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V., Köln 2007), page 155, family number 271. Johann BOMMES and Anna Maria Luzia THIELEN, SCHOMERS.
[6] Werner Naumann, comp., Familienbuch der Pfarrei Mettendorf Dekanat Neuerburg, Band 1 A-M Band 2 N-Z (compiled in 1992), p. 38, Family # M1958. Pöppelreiter-Bommes.
[7] Werner Naumann, comp., Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Maximin Baustert (bei Bitburg, Eifel) mit Brimingen, Feilsdorf, Hisel, Hütterscheid, Mülbach, Olsdorf, Family No. Br 830. Poppelreuter-Bommes.
[8] Germany Births and Baptisms, Theodorus Poppelreuter, christened 25 Jul 1816, parents Joannis Poppelreuter and Margarethae Bommes; citing Roemisch-Katholische, Baustert, Rheinland, Prussia.(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NPNR-SZG : accessed 4 November 2015).
[9] Ibid., Catharina Pepelerreuter, female, christened 28 Dec 1818 in Mettendorf, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father Joannis Pepelerreuter; mother Margarita Bommes. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NJ74-SHC : accessed 1 November 2017).
[10] Germany Deaths and Burials, Joannes Peppelreuter, male, age 42, burial 7 Jun 1827, born abt 1785, married, spouse Margarita Bommes; citing v. 2 p.227. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4Z3-KL5 : accessed 27 October 2017).
[11] Germany Marriages, Theodorus Poeppelreiter; spouse Maria Catharina Groelinger; md. 20 Jan 1842 in Mettendorf, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father Joannis Poeppelreiter; mother Margaretha Bommes; spouse’s father Joannis Groelinger; spouse’s mother Maria Mergen; citing Mettendorf, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4LQ-4ZL : accessed 27 October 2017).
[12] Werner Neumann, Familienbuch der ehemaligen Pfarrei Schankweiler mit dem Pfarrort Schankweiler und den Filialen Holsthum und Peffingen, p. 60, Family # H370. Groelinger-Mergen.
[13] Familienbuch Baustert, Family No. 1225. Wagner-Poppelreiter.
[14] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages 1809 > image 873 of 1462. 1848 Marriage Record No. 20. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11670-175616-83?cc=1709358 : accessed 4 November 2015).
[15] Alois Schleder, comp., Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Remegius Oberweis Dekanat Bitburg 1744-1899, 1999 (Westdeutsche Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V. (WGfF), Sitz Köln), pg. 132, Family #467. Schneider-Pöppelreiter.
[16] Luxembourg Civil Records, Echternach > Naissances, mariages, décès 1894-1894 > image 17 of 23. 1894 Death Record No. 50. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12050-133644-0?cc=1709358 : accessed 12 January 2015).
[17] 21. Luxembourg Civil Records, Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 584 of 675. 1908 Death Record No. 66. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32043-12126-76?cc=1709358&wc=9RTB-6YZ:129623201,130153902 : accessed 12 January 2015).

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

52 Ancestors: #33 Surprising Discovery Made While Researching the Schramen-Schmitt Family

Michael SCHRAMEN and Elisabetha SCHMITT were my 4th great-grandparents. They lived in Ferschweiler, a small village in the Eifel in Germany.

Elisabetha SCHMITT’s Parents and Siblings

Elisabetha’s mother Maria LORANG (1756-1818) was born in November 1756 in Berdorf, Duchy of Luxembourg.[1] Her father, Sebastian SCHMITT (1764-1825) was born on 7 December 1764 in Hoffmanns Backhaus in Schankweiler in the Eifel (present-day Germany).[2]

1766 census for the village of Schankweiler. The Schmitz can be seen under household #3.[3]
Sebastian was with his family in 1766 in Schankweiler (above). His father was a shepherd or berger. Four persons made up the family: father, mother, brother Hubert, and Sebastian.[3] Maria was found on the 1766 census in Berdorf with her family (below). The LORANG family was with a THILL couple and a young DEFRANG man. The men’s occupation was listed as plower or labourent.[4]

1766 census for the village of Berdorf in the parish of Consdorf. The Lorang family was in household #6.[4]
Elisabetha’s parents, Sebastian and Maria were married on 27 December 1784 in Echternach.[5] By this time Sebastian’s family had moved from Schankweiler and taken up residence in Ferschweiler where he would also set up his household with Maria. They were the parents of three known children: two daughters named Elisabetha born in 1786 and 1790 and a son Nikolaus born about 1791 and died at age 19 on 9 March 1810. [Note: the burial records from 1786-1790 need to be checked for a possible death of the first daughter named Elisabetha.]

Their second daughter Elisabetha was my 4th great-grandmother. The FB Ferschweiler (Familienbuch or family book) lists her birthday as 4 March 1790 in Ferschweiler and mentions her baptism on 9 April 1790. This is unusual for the time period when children were baptized the same day or at latest the next day. I wonder if the date of birth was recorded or transcribed incorrectly in the source used by the author/compiler of the family book. Her baptismal record clearly states she was born “on the ninth day of the fourth hour of the morning” and baptized the same day.[6]

1790 Baptismal Record for Elisabetha SCHMITT[6]

Michael SCHRAMEN’s Parents and Siblings

Michael’s father Matthias SCHRAMEN (1742-1809) was born and baptized on 10 March 1742 in  Ferschweiler.[7] His mother Anna Barbara LEIBRICH also known as BURG (1744-1810) was born and baptized on 21 May 1744 in Menningen.[8]

Mathias’ parents were using his mother’s maiden name SCHMIDT in 1766 when the first census was enumerated. Mathias was working as a weaver or tisserand at the time.[9] Anna Barbara was living with her mother in the household of her brother-in-law Guillaume MOSSAL. They were enumerated as BURG instead of LEIBRICH.[10]

Barbara, as she was more commonly known, was found in the FB Edingen. However, the proper connections were not made by the author/compiler of this family book. In fact, there was a glaring error in the book. A second marriage in 1771 for her mother born in 1704 to a 21 years old man already in my database. The marriage was unlikely due to his age and known births of children between 1773-1796 for this man and his wife born in 1750.

Further research to clear up the error led to an amazing discovery.

My husband and I are 8th cousins!

Barbara’s maternal grandparents (my 7th great-grandparents) were Mathias and Katharina FEILEN (FEYLEN). They are also my husband’s 7th great-grandparents. This is the first and only time I have found common ancestors for my husband and myself.

The road into Ferschweiler.

Barbara LEIBRICH and Matthias SCHRAMEN married on 11 January 1770 in Ferschweiler.[11] They were the parents of seven children all born in Ferschweiler: Katharina bp. 22 January 1771[12]; Johann bp. 5 December 1773[13]; Magdalena bp. 18 November 1776[14]; Margaretha bp. 31 March 1780[15]; Jakob bp. 11 July 1783[16]; Michael bp. 5 October 1786[17]; and Nikolaus bp. 4 October 1789.[18]

Matthias saw the marriage of his three oldest children and the death of his youngest before he passed away on 12 May 1809.[19] His widow Barbara followed a little over a year later on 26 September 1810.[19]

Michael and Elisabetha marry and have a family

Michael SCHRAMEN married Elisabetha SCHMITT on 27 November 1811 in Ferschweiler.[20] Michael whose parents were both deceased may have had siblings present while Elisabetha’s parents would have been consenting to the marriage. During the first thirteen years of their union, they became the parents of five children.

Ch 1: Catherine (1812-1869) born on 23 October 1812 and baptized the following day.[20]

Ch 2: Johann (1817-1894) born and baptized on 14 January 1817.[20]

Ch 3: Catharina (1820-1842) born 21 February 1820 and baptized the next day.[20]

Ch 4: Margaret (1821-1822) born and baptized on 7 November 1821. She died nearly a year later on 22 October 1822.[20]

Ch 5: Nicolaus (1824-1875) born and baptized on 31 October 1824.[20]

Elisabetha’s mother Maria LORANG died on 11 February 1818 a little over a year after the birth of the second SCHRAMEN child.[2] The maternal grandfather, Sebastian SCHMITT died after the birth of the last child, on 12 January 1825.[2] Both of these deaths took place in Ferschweiler.

Elisabetha’s husband Michael SCHRAMEN died on 20 September 1833 at the age of 46 years.[21] He left a widow and four children aged between 8 and 20.

Soon after Michael’s death, his oldest child turned 21 and planned to marry. Catherine SCHRAMEN married Nicolas WILDINGER (1798-1874) on 18 January 1834 in Ferschweiler in a civil ceremony and then on 21 January 1834 in a religious ceremony.[22] They were my 3rd great-grandparents.

Michael’s widow Elisabetha may have had her three unmarried children in her household for nearly a decade. Her second daughter Catharina married on 18 January 1842, after turning 21 years, to Johann MARX.[23] Her marriage took place on her sister Catherine’s 8th wedding anniversary. Both girl’s names were found to be Catharina on the German Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 index[24], [25] and I am using Catherine for the oldest to keep them apart. Catharina gave birth to a son Theodor on 8 November 1842; she died less than two weeks later on 24 November 1842.[23]

During the next decade, Elisabetha’s two sons Johann and Nicolaus may have still lived at home and cared for their mother. Times were hard for most families in the area and many were emigrating to Luxembourg and America. Elisabeth’s youngest son Nicolaus was 27 years old and unmarried when he went to America in 1852 likely leaving her in the care of his older brother Johann.[21]

St. Lucia Catholic church in Ferschweiler

Johann, the only unmarried child of Michael and Elisabetha still in Germany, was 35 years old when he finally married. His brother Nicolaus’ departure may have been a deciding factor in his decision to marry. His bride Katharina ADAM was 29 years old when she married Johann on 15 November 1852 in Ernzen. The religious ceremony took place in St. Lucia Catholic church in Ferschweiler two days earlier.[26] Like his older sister Catherine, Johann named his first daughter Elisabetha after his mother.

Further research into census records, etc. needs to be performed to learn where the mother of this family lived. Elisabetha had two married children in the same town, two children were deceased, and her youngest was in America. Did she live with her son Johann following his marriage? Did he remain in the family home? Or did she go to live with daughter Catherine and son-in-law Nicolas WILDINGER? Elisabeth died at the age of 79 years on 20 May 1869 in Ferschweiler and was buried two days later.[21]

Elisabetha’s daughter Catherine died nearly six months later on 2 November 1869 at the age of 57 years and was buried two days later in Ferschweiler.[27]

The last living child of Michael SCHRAMEN and Elisabetha SCHMITT was their oldest son Johann. He died on 20 January 1894 in Ferschweiler at the age of 77 years.[26]

What became of the son who went to America?

Did Elisabetha, Catherine, and Johann know anything of the youngest son/sibling Nicolaus who went to America? Did they exchange letters? What became of him?

The compiler of the FB Ferschweiler cites Werner Lichter’s work on emigration for at least 5 persons from Ferschweiler who went to America on the ship Clotilde in 1852 including Nicolaus SCHRAMEN. The Clotilde left from Antwerp, Belgium around late May 1852 arriving at the port of New York on 3 June 1852. Nicolaus SCHRAMEN is said to have been on this ship. He likely traveled in steerage, similar to a cargo hold where many passengers were accommodated but with poor conditions. Steerage was the most common class of travel for immigrants.

While doing research on Nicolaus in US records I found there were two men of the same name and close in age. I contacted Aaron D., a great-great-grandson of Nicholas SCHROMEN of Dubuque County, Iowa. While trying to learn the parentage of his immigrant ancestor he had also looked into the other Nicholas SCHROMEN of Dupage County, Illinois, but did not know if there was a family relationship. Aaron had no proof of where in Germany his ancestor came from but had searched for the surname and found a concentration in the Ernzen/Ferschweiler area. He had not connected his Nicholas SCHRAMEN to my Michael SCHRAMEN and Elisabetha SCHMITT. I checked the FB Ferschweiler again and found Michael’s older brother Johann also had a son named Nicolaus born in 1819 and married to Katharina EWEN. His year of birth and the first name of his wife were a match for the man from, Illinois. Apparently, he did not remain in Ferschweiler as no children are listed nor is another family book referenced. It is a possibility the two men living in America were first cousins.

I believe Michael and Elisabetha’s Nicolaus was Nicholas SCHROMEN from Dubuque County, Iowa. He married Elizabeth GROSSBUSCH (1827-1896) on 28 February 1854 in Dubuque. The marriage record found by Aaron does not mention parents. Nicholas died on 13 January 1875 in Dubuque County, Iowa. The photo on FindAGrave for Nicholas’ grave marker is hard to decipher. What I can read is his date of birth was 1 Nov. The date found in the FB Ferschweiler was 31 October 1824. Aaron’s mother and my brother would be 3C2R – can this relationship be proven with their DNA?


[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch< (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Consdorf > Baptêmes 1719-1782, confirmations 1738-1792, mariages 1726-1782, sépultures 1726-1781 > image 80 of 279. 1756 Baptismal Record, right page, last entry (continued on next page).(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32401-9185-30?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[2] Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Sancta Lucia Ferschweiler mit: Diesburgerhof (ab 1803) und L(a)eisenhof (ab1830) 1680-1899, PDF (Kordel, 1999), p. 282, Family #1316. Schmitt-Lorang.
[3] Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Film/DGS 1781975 > Film #008198977 > Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Schouweiler (sic, Schankweiler*) > Image 593 of 753. Household No. 3 with the Schmitz family. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M761-F?i=592&cat=1184675 : accessed 13 October 2017). *Note: On image 594 the town is correctly named as Schanckwei…er (missing letters in the gutter).
[4] Ibid., Film/DGS 1781980 > Film # 008198978 > Decanat de Mersch v. 1 A-E > Berdorff (paroisse de Consdorff) > Image 260 of 618. Household Nr. 6 with Nicolas Thill and Nicola Lorange. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-993F-2?i=259&cat=1184675 : accessed 7 October 2017).
[5] Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1787 > image 212 of 319. 1784 Marriage Record, right page, 1st entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32401-7420-58?cc=2037955 : accessed 13 October 2015).
[6] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1788-1797 > image 71 of 331. 1790 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry from bottom).(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32401-8920-61?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[7] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes 1638-1676, 1706-1760 > image 210 of 291. 1742 Baptismal Record, left page, 5th entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32401-2147-70?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[8] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes 1638-1676, 1706-1760 > image 221 of 291. 1744 Baptismal Record, right page, 3rd entry from bottom. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9S3R?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SP1%3A1500937901%2C1500973966 : accessed 15 November 2016).
[9] Luxembourg 1766 Census, Film/DGS 1781975 > Film # 008198977 > Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Feischveiler > Image 251 of 753. Household No. 6 for SCHMIDT family instead of SCHRAMEN.
(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DV-F?i=250&cat=1184675 : accessed 13 October 2017).
[10] Ibid., Film/DGS 1781975 > Film # 008198977 > Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Feischveiler > Image 263 of 753. Household No. 3 with the Mossal family
(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DJ-R?i=262&cat=1184675 : accessed 13 October 2017).
[11] Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 156 of 293. 1770 Marriage Record, right page, 2nd entry from bottom. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32399-12088-47?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[12] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 51 of 131. 1771 Baptismal Record (right page, 2nd to last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-1XZG?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-PY3%3A1500937901%2C1501065634 : accessed 12 October 2017).
[13] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 66 of 131. 1773 Baptismal Record (left page, 3rd entry from bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G971-1X7L?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-PY3%3A1500937901%2C1501065634 : accessed 12 October 2017).
[14] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 80 of 131. 1776 Baptismal Record (right page, 4th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8971-1XHY?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-PY3%3A1500937901%2C1501065634 : accessed 12 October 2017).
[15] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 48 of 177. 1780 Baptismal Record (bottom left, top right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-M6QF?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-YWT%3A1500937901%2C1500939202 : accessed 12 October 2017).
[16] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1779-1783 > image 153 of 177. 1783 Baptismal Record (left, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-MD57?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-YWT%3A1500937901%2C1500939202 : accessed 12 October 2017).
[17] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1784-1788 > image 92 of 172. 1786 Baptismal Record, left page, last entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32400-11183-3?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).
[18] Ibid., Echternach > Baptêmes, mariages, décès 1789-1793 > image 13 of 132. 1789 Baptismal Record (left, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-MXSB?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-YW1%3A1500937901%2C1500983996 : accessed 12 October 2017).
[19] FB Ferschweiler, p. 294-295, Family #1376. Schramen-Leibig.
[20] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 463,565. Michel Schromen and Elisabetha Schmit, married 27 Nov 1811 in Sankt Lucia Katholisch, Ferschweiler, Rheinland, Prussia. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JH8N-PP5 : accessed 11 October 2017).
[21] FB Ferschweiler, p. 295, Family #1378. Schramen-Schmitt.
[22] Germany Marriages, FHL microfilm 463,565. Nicolaus Wildinger and Catharina Schromen, married 21 Jan 1834 in Sankt Lucia Katholisch, Ferschweiler, Rheinland, Prussia. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JH8N-53L : 26 December 2014).
[23] FB Ferschweiler, p. 184, Family #847. Marx-Schramen.
[24] Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), <i>FamilySearch</i>, FHL microfilm 463,565. Catharina Schromen, female, christened 24 Oct 1812 in Sankt Lucia Kathlisch, Ferschweiler, Rheinland, Prussia; father Michaelis Schromen; mother Elisabetha Schmit. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NDZ1-8MK : accessed 11 October 2017).
[25] Ibid., FHL microfilm 463,565. Catharina Schromen, female, christened 22 Feb 1820 in Sankt Lucia Katholisch, Ferschweiler, Rheinland, Prussia; father Michaelis Schromen; mother Elisabetha Schmit. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NDZ1-8MG : accessed 11 October 2017),.
[26] FB Ferschweiler, p. 294, Family #1374. Schramen-Adam.
[27] Ibid., p. 349, Family #1625. Wildinger-Schramen.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.