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….
Week 29 (July 16-22) – Musical:There seems to be a musician in every family. Who is the one in yours? Don’t have a musician? Which ancestor has a lyrical name or reminds you of a song?
How many songs have been written for a lady named Josephine and what is it about this name?
“My Girl Josephine”
“Not Tonight Josephine”
“I’ll Be Right Behind You, Josephine”
“Yes Tonight Josephine”
“Come Josephine in My Flying Machine”
“Goodnight Sweet Josephine”
Before I have you humming or singing one of your favorite Josephine songs, let me tell you about the LORENTZ-PREUSEN family.
The LORENTZ-PREUSEN Family of Diekirch
Mathias LORENTZ was born and baptized on 27 May 1775 in Ingeldorf, Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. His parents were Michel LORENTZ (1733-1791) and Cathérine STEINFORT (1733-1793), both of Ingeldorf. His godparents were Mathias MOSINGER of Bettendorf and Anna Maria PÜTZ of Nagem.
Margaretha PREISEN was born and baptized on 13 July 1785 in Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Her parents were Thomas PREISEN (1753-1801) and Anne Marie SCHRANTZ (1754-1832). Her godparents were Joannis Baptista FETH and Margaretha KESSELER, both of Diekirch.
Mathias LORENTZ married Margaretha PREISEN at 8 o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, 28 November 1809 in Diekirch. Only the mother of the bride was present at the wedding as the parents of the groom and the father of the bride were deceased. The marriage was published on the 12th and 19th of the month.
Mathias and Margaretha were the parents of seven children. Unusual for the times, all of their children lived to adulthood. Two daughters died in their 30s while the rest of the children lived to until their late 60s.
Ch 1: Anne Marie LORENTZ (1810-1841) born 24 March 1810.
Ch 2: François LORENTZ (1812-1880) born 14 June 1812.
Ch 3: Maria “Marie” LORENTZ (1814-1851) born 1 April 1814.
Ch 4: Marie Joséphine LORENTZ (1816-1884) born 16 July 1816.
Ch 5: Elisabetha LORENTZ (1819-1884) born 18 January 1819.
Ch 6: Joséphine “Cathérine” LORENTZ (1820-1890) born 14 September 1820.
Ch 7: Philippe LORENTZ (1822-1892) born 12 March 1822.
Mathias LORENTZ died 12 December 1822 in Diekirch at the age of 47. On the death record the informants were listed as Mathias BERINGER, 46 years old farmer in Diekirch and brother-in-law of the deceased, and Anton PREUSEN, 33 years old farmer in Diekirch and brother-in-law of the deceased.
I could not fit Mathias BERINGER in as a brother-in-law. I took a closer look at the document and the signatures and found the first informant signed as Philippe BERINGER and not Mathias. Philippe was a known brother-in-law, husband of Marguerite PREUSSEN, a sister of Mathias’ widow Margaretha PREUSEN. Anton PREUSEN was the brother of Marguerite and Margaretha. Discrepancy solved!
When Mathias died his oldest child Anne Marie was 12 years old and his youngest child Philippe was 9 months old. Mathias had been a day laborer. What did his widow Margaretha do to support her family of seven young children? Did the children remain at home with their mother? Did the older children work as servants to supplement their mother’s income? The pre-1843 census which I need to access at the National Archives of Luxembourg may have the answers to these questions.
Ten years after the death of Mathias LORENTZ his first child Anne Marie LORENTZ married Mathieu KOENIG (1808- ) on 26 December 1832 in Diekirch. She had six children, four boys and two girls. She named her daughters Joséphine and Marie Joséphine. Four days after the birth of her last child, Anne Marie LORENTZ died on 22 February 1841 in Diekirch at the age of 30.
The day before Anne Marie’s youngest child was born her brother François LORENTZ married Marguerite JUNGELS (1815-1848) on 17 February 1841 in Diekirch. Marguerite gave François four children before she died on 26 July 1848.
Five months after François married, his sister Maria “Marie” LORENTZ married Johann “Jean” FABER (1813-1873) on 28 July 1841 in Diekirch. Maria became the mother of two sons and three daughters. She was the second of the LORENTZ children to die on 11 February 1851 in Diekirch at the age of 36.
The FABER-LORENTZ marriage was the last the mother of this family would live to see. Margaretha PREUSEN, died 17 November 1843 in Diekirch at the age of 58. She left 7 children and 7 grandchildren.
Margaretha’s maiden name was spelled PREISEN on her baptismal/birth record and marriage record. When her first three children were born the name was also spelled PREISEN. At the time of the births of her last four children (1816-1822), the death of her husband in 1822, the marriages of her three oldest children (1832 and 1841), and her own death in 1843 her name was seen as PREUSEN. Even though her maiden name was PREISEN for the first 30 years of her life, I prefer PREUSEN as it was more commonly used, especially by her brothers who lived to adulthood.
A little more than a month after Marguerite’s death her now oldest single daughter prepared to marry by publishing her marriage banns on the 24th and 30th of December 1843. Marie Joséphine LORENTZ married Théodore MOHR (1814-1887) on 10 January 1844 in Diekirch. They did not remain in Diekirch, moving to Harlange in the commune of Wiltz. This is where their first child, Maria Joséphine MOHR was born on 3 November 1844. They also had four sons. The family moved to Echternach, the town of Théodore’s birth, in the late 1840s or early 1850s. They remained there until their deaths.
Grandchildren continued to be born and sadly some died. François LORENTZ who had lost his wife in 1848 married Gertrude KINNEN (1827- ) on 14 January 1850 in Diekirch. They were the parents of six boys and a girl named Joséphine, born on 14 August 1852 in Diekirch.
Joséphine “Catherine” LORENTZ was the next of Mathias and Margaretha’s children to marry. She married Vincent MEDERNACH (1823-1866) on 4 March 1852 in Diekirch. They became the parents of 3 boys and 3 girls, including Joséphine born 4 October 1860 in Diekirch.
The baby of the family, Philippe LORENTZ married Catharina POECKER (1824-1866) on 11 January 1854 in Diekirch. She gave him four sons, one named Joseph, and two daughters before she died on 2 April 1866 in Diekirch.
This was during the virulent time of the cholera epidemic in Luxembourg. In Diekirch there were 95 deaths in 1865, 314 in 1866, and 54 in 1867. Philippe did not wait long to find a new bride. He married Elisabeth GETH (1836-1914) on 21 November 1866 in Diekirch. She gave him a son and two daughters.
During the 1880s three of the LORENTZ children died. François, the oldest son, died 15 November 1880 in Fouhren at the age of 68. His sister Elisabeth, the only child to remain single, died 11 June 1884 in Diekirch at age 65. Their sister Marie Joséphine died 23 November 1884 in Echternach at age 68.
Only the two youngest LORENTZ children remained to see the 1890s. The youngest daughter Joséphine “Catherine” died 4 September 1890 and the youngest son Philippe died 17 January 1892, both in Diekirch and at the age of 69.
Musical Theme Connection
Did you notice the red thread of music running through this family’s story? Josephine was a favorite name in the LORENTZ-PREUSEN family. They named two daughters Marie Joséphine and Joséphine. They had five granddaughters named Joséphine KOENIG, Marie Joséphine KOENIG, Maria Joséphine MOHR, Joséphine LORENTZ, Joséphine MEDERNACH, and a grandson named Joseph LORENTZ.
An Aside Turns Up Another Musical Tidbit
In my eagerness to use Josephine for the musical theme I nearly missed this tidbit about the Pfälzer Musikanten returning from their gig in America! What does America have to do with the LORENTZ-PREUSEN family?
While searching the old Luxembourg newspapers for articles on members of the family I learned one of Mathias and Margaretha’s grandchildren emigrated to America in 1886. Their youngest son Philippe’s youngest son from his first marriage, Antoine LORENTZ crossed the Atlantic in 1886 on the Waesland of the Red Star Line. In the 2-3 October 1886 issue of the Luxemburger Wort there was a short article about 125 persons travelling from Luxembourg to Antwerp by train and from Antwerp to America by ship. The names, ages, and destinations of the five Luxembourgers in the group were listed and included Anton LORENTZ from Diekirch, age 22, destination San Francisco, California.
In 1900 “Antone LAURENCE” was boarding with a Miller family in Nightingale Precinct, San Joaquin County, California, and working as a farm laborer. He was an alien and single. Antoine LORENTZ died 8 January 1907 in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, and was buried on 10 January in the Rural Cemetery in Stockton. His death certificate shows he was still single when he died of typhoid fever with a contributory factor being pneumonia.
The last paragraph in the newspaper article (above) contains the interesting information I nearly missed. During the week 95 persons returned from America on a Red Star Line ship and passed through the train station in Luxembourg City. Included in the count were 4 Luxembourgers and 50 Palatine musicians (Pfälzer Musikanten). Imagine the sound of music crossing the Atlantic on the trip home….
This 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.