Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

My 5th great-grandfather Remacle TRAUSCH was widowed on 16 February 1798.1 He was not yet 37 years old and had six children at home in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume. The children were between the ages of 10 years and 1 week. It was not surprising he married again six months after the death of his wife Theresia BRAUN.

Remacle remarries

On the 9th day of the month Fructidor in the year VI (26 August 1798), Remacle married Anne Marie WIROTH, a 32-year-old woman from Vianden.2 She was the daughter of François WIROTH and Anne Marie PETRY. Remacle and Anne Marie were married in the commune of Berg in the canton of Mersch. Colmar, where the groom lived, was part of the commune of Berg. Today the commune is known as Colmar-Berg.

Remacle was a resident of Colmar and worked as a carpenter. Anne Marie was a day laborer and lived with her parents in Vianden on the Our River, in Luxembourg’s Ardennes region.

The children of the second marriage

Their first child was born less than a year later at three in the morning on 21 July 1799 in Colmar, a daughter named Peternelle.3

Vianden – from our collection of ten framed prints of castles in Luxembourg

Less than two years later the family was living in Vianden. No records have been found which would prove Remacle and his second wife were raising his children from his first marriage. I think Remacle, Anne Marie, and their daughter Peternelle resided in Vianden without his children from the previous marriage. It must be remembered that Remacle was his parents’ youngest child. His deceased wife Theresia’s older sister Catharina BRAUN lived with her husband Franz BIVER in the BRAUN family home. Franz BIVER, by marrying into the BRAUN family, had taken over as the head of the family and likely was responsible for Remacle’s children. I will get back to this further on in this post.

“Bernadus” TRAUSCH was seen as the father of Jacob TRAUSCH born on 12 April 1801 at six in the morning to the mother Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden. The name of the father on the record is obviously an error.4 Remacle TRAUSCH was able to sign his name and the signature on this record, as well as on all birth records of his other children, were the same.

On 17 March 1803 at one in the morning a son Pierre was born to Remacle TRAUSCH and his wife Anne Marie WIROTH in Vianden.5 Once again he signed with his signature.

Remacle dies in Luxembourg City

The TRAUSCH family’s sojourn in Vianden did not last long. By 21 August 1804, the family was living in Luxembourg City. On this day François WIROTH (spelled VIROTTE on the record) went to the authorities to declare the death of his brother-in-law Remacle TRAUSCH at the age of 43 years.6

Nearly two years later, Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH was still living in Luxembourg City when, on 19 July 1806, Jacob TRAUSCH, her and Remacle’s five-year-old son, died in house number 26 on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City.7

The family council gives consent for Catharina’s marriage

A few months later on 29 November 1806, Remacle’s oldest daughter from his first marriage, Catharina was married. She was only 16 years and 6 months old. The family council appeared before the justice of the peace to give consent to the marriage of the underage and orphaned daughter of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN on the 27th of the month. She married Pierre OLINGER, a 27-year-old man whose parents were also both deceased. Two of the witnesses to the marriage were François (Franz) BIVER, the bride’s maternal uncle (husband of her maternal aunt and godmother Catharina BRAUN), and Nicolas COLLIN, the bride’s maternal uncle (half brother of Theresia and Catharina BRAUN).8 These men were likely part of the “family council” which gave their consent to the marriage.

The reference to the family council at the time of Catharina’s marriage leads me to suspect Remacle’s children from his first marriage were being cared for by their maternal aunt Catharina BRAUN and her husband Franz BIVER (spelled BIWER in earlier records) in the years following his death and perhaps from the time of Theresia’s death.

Remacle’s widow has another child

On 19 September 1809 the widow DESGRANGE, a midwife, reported the birth of Pierre-Louis VIROTTE, the son of Remacle’s widow Anne Marie WIROTH (seen as VIROTTE on the record), at house number 2 in the rue St. Esprit in Luxembourg City. A father’s name was not given.9

Remacle’s oldest son marries

On 29 December 1813, Remacle and Theresia’s oldest son François “Franz” TRAUSCH married Eva MERTZ in Ettelbrück. Franz was living in Schieren which lies between Colmar-Berg and Ettelbrück. Eva was also a resident of Schieren which was part of the commune of Ettelbrück before 1850. None of the witnesses to this marriage were relatives of Franz TRAUSCH.10

Before Remacle and Theresia’s next two sons would marry, a horrific crime took place in Luxembourg City.

View of the church St. Jean in the Grund (lower part of Luxembourg City) from the guard walk of the Porte de Trèves

Death and burial records hint at a crime

As I searched for records of the children of Remacle’s second marriage I was surprised to find records of four deaths which took place in the night between 6 and 7 April 1816. Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle (now seen as Petronilla) TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH were found dead in their home in house number 23 in the rue de Trèves in Grund, the lower part of Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Michel GENERÉ, appariteur or bailiff. Anne Marie’s occupation was listed as cabarêtière (owner of a cabaret or tavern) in the city. 11

Porte de Trèves with the fortress wall in Luxembourg City

No information on the cause of death was found in the death records. As church records are now available on Matricula Online, I checked for the burial records of the family of four. I found only one sad entry.12

Imagine courtesy of Matricula Online. Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Die Septima Aprilis 1816 Anna Virotte anno aetutis quadragesimo quinto cum filia Petronillae Trausch 20 annos nata et dubbus (dubus) filiis Petro Trausch decimo quarto et Ludovico Virotte Septimo aetatis anno nocte ante Dominicam palmaram horrendo atque hucusque inaudito modo in lectibus trucidati ad supraedati postridie una sepulti fucre.

I took the Latin text apart, translating sections at a time. I then sent the image of the record, my Latin transcript (which included a few incorrect and missing words), and my English translation to my friend Linda who has helped me several times with Latin records. She confirmed my translation (below) was spot on, sent me a corrected Latin transcript (above), and the link to a magazine article which discussed this horrific crime.

On the seventh day of April 1816 Anna Virotte forty-fifth year of age and daughter Petronilla Trausch 20 years old and the victim’s sons Petro Trausch fourteen and Louis Virotte seven years of age the night before Palm Sunday in a horrible and hitherto unheard-of way were slaughtered in their beds and  buried the day following the above mentioned date.

A brief overview of the crime

Michel Engels - 17 Les portes de Trèves et de Mansfeld
Les portes de Trèves et de Mansfeld by Michel Engels [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. The scene of the crime being the building on the left below the gate.
On the night before Palm Sunday, at midnight a guard at the Porte de Trèves heard a woman’s weeping scream. Between one and two o’clock in the morning, one of the guards who were taking turns saw three men pass by. When he shouted, “Who goes there?” they replied with the password “Bourgeois!” which allowed them to pass through the gate.

At six o’clock in the morning, the milkwoman came to deliver milk to the widow TRAUSCH who lived only a few meters from the gate. The house was quiet and the front door open. As she often did, she poured the milk into a stone jar in the kitchen and went on her way.

The widow TRAUSCH was known as the Kränzercher lady. She sold Veianer Kränzercher (pastries in the form of wreaths) at the market. She also had a bad reputation as she sold drink and sexual services in the house known as “A Kränzerches” where she lived. Acquaintances knew she had plans to buy a house as she had proudly shown them the coins she’d saved from her business dealings.

At 11 o’clock the churchgoers were coming home from mass at St. Jean de Grund church. The house where widow TRAUSCH lived with her family was still quiet. This was unusual and neighbors began to gather at her door. The crowd grew. Four men entered the house and soon came out, horrified by what they had found. The widow and her three children were dead, their throats cut through.

By Monday five suspects had been taken into custody. Two were quickly released. The three who were held over for trial were Jews. News of the murders made the rounds and angry crowds insulted and threatened Jews who lived in the city. The intervention of the mayor and law enforcement prevented people from further insulting the Jews.

The trial in early September 1816 lasted several days and about one hundred witnesses were called.  Testimonies soon showed Schwartz, one of the accused, had an alibi. The Hauser brothers, the other two accused, were placed at the scene of the crime by witnesses and fresh blood had been found on the clothing of one of them. An important representative of the Jewish community testified the morality of the Hauser brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely. The anti-Semitic sentiment which prevailed in the city was not mentioned in the court records of the case.

In the end, the court came to the conclusion that Hirsch and Emmanuel Hauser were guilty and were sentenced to death by decapitation. Their appeal to the Cassation Court in Liège was denied. They were executed on a public square of the fortress city on 18 October 1816.

The article in the magazine Ons Stad is in German and gives a bit more detail.13 The court records are available to the public at the National Archives of Luxembourg.14 I have not visited the archives to view this collection of records.

Tony JUNGBLUT, author and publisher, had an interest in the judicial system and gained notoriety as a judicial chronicler. He wrote the short story “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser,” a narrative of the Trausch murders case using testimonies found in the court records. The short story was included in his 1938 book Luxemburger Pitaval, a series of criminal cases that marked the history of Luxembourg.

By searching the National Library of Luxembourg’s eluxemburgensia site, I found the story was published earlier in the weekly magazine, A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in four parts in August of 1934. It is an amazing story and worth the read if you are fluent in German.15

Life continues for Remacle’s children from his first marriage

Five months after the trial, Michel TRAUSCH, my fourth great-grandfather and the son of Remacle and his first wife Theresia, married Catharina HAMES on 17 February 1817 in Mamer. Catharina was the daughter of Agnes BOUR alias HEITZ and Johannes HAMES of Mamer and my fourth great-grandmother.16 They made their home in Mamer.

Nearly two years later, Nicolas TRAUSCH who would later be more commonly referred to as Jean Nicolas married Maria Margaritha TONTLING in Tuntange on 21 January 1819.17 They lived in Hollenfels.

I continue to seek any information on the remaining two children of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN. No marriage or death records have been found for the daughters Susanna born in 1796 and Maria born in 1798.

I was a bit uneasy about writing this story of murder, prostitution, and anti-Semitic sentiment. The fortress city of Luxembourg during this time was a multi-cultural place. People of different nationalities came to the city to trade.  The Jewish settlement had only become possible since the French Revolution in 1795. Following Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy and was under the rule of the King of Netherlands and became a member of the German Federation. The Prussia soldiers encamped in the barracks were for the most part Lutherans in a country which was predominantly Catholic.

Next week I will be tying up some of the loose ends, among others,  concerning Theresia BRAUN’s father Martin in my final post in this series.

Posts in this series:

Part I: Remacle Trausch (1761-1804) and Theresia Braun (1766-1798) of Colmar

Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also seen as Theresia COLLING?

Part III: “Maison dite” Leads to Parents and Grandparents of Magdalena SCHMIDT (1743-1782)

Part IV: The Parents and Siblings of Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804)

Part V: A Horrific Crime in the Fortress City of Luxembourg

Part VI: Tying up the loose ends

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


  1. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Berg > Décès 1796-1830 > image 4+5 of 167. 1798 Death Record (bottom left page and all of right page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-KYG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018) and 1798 Death Record (top left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-645?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6X%3A129623401%2C129623402 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 9-11 of 270. 1798 Marriage Record on four pages. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-XCY?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  3. Ibid., Berg > Naissances 1796-1814 > image 29 of 140. 1799 Birth Record (3 thermidor an VII). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6L2S-5FN?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-K68%3A129623401%2C129773501 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  4. Ibid., Vianden > Naissances 1793-1828 > image 61 of 484. 1801 Birth Record (22 germinal an IX), right page, bottom. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCWC-DG?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-SPD%3A130504801%2C130707001 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  5. Ibd., Vianden > Naissances 1793-1828 > image 74 of 484. 1803 Birth Record (left page, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCWH-88?cc=1709358&wc=9RYW-SPD%3A130504801%2C130707001 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1070 of 1420. 1804 (3 Fructidor XII) Death Record (right, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-W6S?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 14 January 2018). 
  7. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1368 of 1420. 1806 Death Record (right page, bottom). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-8XD?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Berg > Mariages 1796-1858 > image 28+29 of 270. 1806 Marriage Record (2 pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62YQ-L1X?cc=1709358&wc=9RYQ-C6J%3A129623401%2C129709001 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Naissances 1800 > image 910 of 1432. 1809 Birth Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCMF-NJ?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-RM9%3A130045801%2C132054501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Ettelbruck > Naissances 1885-1890 Mariages 1796-1844 > image 627 of 1505. 1813 Marriage Record No. 15. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6X2S-MB5?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-FM9%3A129625001%2C130529102 : accessed 16 January 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Luxembourg > Décès 1814 > image 274+275 of 1396. 1816 Death Records of Anne Marie WIROTH, Peternelle TRAUSCH, Pierre TRAUSCH, and Pierre-Louis WIROTH (2 pages). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6XK9-7R8?cc=91709358&wc=9RYC-DP8%3A130045801%2C130226501 : accessed 9 July 2019). 
  12. Diözesanarchiv Luxemburg / Archives diocésaines Luxembourg (images), Matricula Online, http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/, Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (original records in the Luxembourg Diocesan Archives, Luxembourg City), Microfilm/-fiche GV.MF 356-627, Luxembourg-Stadtgrund, KB-02-10, Heiraten – Sterbefälle – Taufen – 1808 – 1817, image 155 of 157, stamped page 26, entry in middle of right page. 1816 Death Record. (http://data.matricula-online.eu/de/LU/luxemburg/luxemburg-stadtgrund/KB-02-10/?pg=155 : accessed 10 July 2019). 
  13. Renée Wagener, “Mordfall in der Festung Luxemburg ‘Ein entsetzliches Verbrechen?'”, Ons Stad 116/2017 p. 10-12,  Ville de Luxembourg, Service Communications et relations publiques. (https://onsstad.vdl.lu/fileadmin/uploads/media/ons_stad_116-2017_10-12.pdf : accessed 11 July 2019) 
  14. Archives Nationales de Luxembourg, CT-01-02-0090 Hauser Hirsch, Hauser Emmanuel, Schwartz Abraham-Jacques – Accusés de meurtre, 1816 (Dossier). (http://query.an.etat.lu/Query/detail.aspx?ID=390601 : accessed 19 August 2019) 
  15. Tony Jungblut, “Das Verbrechen der Gebrüder Hauser”, published in four parts in A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte, 5 August 1934 No. 33 p. 4-7, 12 August 1934 No. 34 p. 18-20, 19 August 1934 No. 35 p. 18-19, and 26 August 1934 No. 36 p. 18-19. (https://luxemburgensia.bnl.lu/cgi/luxonline1_2.pl?action=yr&sid=azillust&year=1934 : accessed 21 August 2019). 
  16. Luxembourg Civil Records, Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 1283 of 1504. 1817 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12585-51831-91?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9:130065401,130365601 : accessed 22 August 2011). 
  17. Ibid., Tuntange > Naissances 1858-1890 Mariages 1796-1890 Décès 1796-1872 > image 467 of 1488. 1819 Marriage Record No. 3. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-68K3-PXQ?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-168%3A130493401%2C130649501 : accessed 10 July 2019). 

Proving the True Identity of Jean Baptiste BREGER 1738-1805

The steeple of the Saint Michael’s Church in Luxembourg City is in the upper right quadrant of the featured image.

There is a reason why we look at the entire family group including grandparents and grandchildren when trying to solve a genealogy problem.

Adding new ancestors to the family tree

My fifth great-grandmother, Margretha BREGER’s baptismal record1 was found the day before I wrote 52 Ancestors: #46 Jean Baptiste Majerus and Catharina Cornely of Strassen, a post about my fourth great-grandparents. Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER were the parents of Jean Baptiste MAJERUS and my fifth great-grandparents.

The status of this branch of the family tree in January 2018.

With this find, I was able to add the names of her parents to my family tree. The next step was finding a marriage record for Jean Baptiste and Susanne, my 6th great-grandparents.

1758 Marriage Index Card for Brigert-Mertens couple

The marriage index card for the 1758 marriage of Jean Baptiste BRIGERT and Susanna MERTENS gave the parents of the bride and groom.2 The information was verified in the actual entry for the marriage in the church records of St. Jean-du-Grund.3

1758 marriage entry in church records for Jean Baptiste Brigert (parents: Michaelis Brigert p.m. et Maria Joanna Hackenberger) and Susanne Mertens (parents: Theodori Mertens et Joanna Bevinger p.m.). Note: p.m. means deceased.

The bride’s parents, Theodore MERTENS and Jeanne BEVING,  and maternal grandparents, Nicolas BEVING and Anne Marie KURTZ, were proven by accessing records found using A Hidden Index for Luxembourg City’s Parishes and Garrison. The groom’s line was a bit more complicated.

The BRIGERT-HACKENBERGER family group

I used different spellings of the surnames of Michel BRIGERT and Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER to search for a marriage record in the Marriage Index Database for Luxembourg for the years 1610-1797 but without any success.

I utilized the index I’d found for the parishes in Luxembourg City to find baptisms of children with the surname BREGERDT, BROEGER, BRIGERT, BRETER, BRECKER, BREDER, and BREGER.

For the period 1725 to 1736, I found three baptismal records for children born to a couple with the same surnames as the parents of Johann Baptiste. However, the first name of the father of the children was Caspar or Gaspar and not Michel.

1725 Baptismal Record of Jean Adam BREYER

On 15 May 1725, an illegitimate male child was baptized Joannes Adamus (Jean Adam). His parents were Caspar BREYER, a soldier, and Joanna HACKENBERG. His godparents were Jean Adam WEBER and Elisabetha RECKIN. The entry was followed by an annotation made at a later date. It stated the child was legitimized with the subsequent marriage of Gaspar BREYER and Joanna HACKENBERGER.4

1733 Baptismal Record of Elisabeth BRYER (sic)

On 1 May 1733, Elisabetha the legitimate daughter of Gaspar BREYER and Johannata HACKENBERG was baptized. Her godparents were Elisabetha BISSDORFF and Jean Georges HACKENBERG.5

1736 Baptismal Record of Maria BRIGER

On 12 August 1736, Maria the legitimate daughter of Gaspar BRIGER and Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER was baptized. Her godparents were Maria CHRISTOFF and Jean WEBER.6

These baptismal records show Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER was the wife of Caspar aka Gaspar BREYER (later seen as BRIGER) and not of Michel BRIGERT as noted on the marriage index card above for Johann Baptiste BRIGERT. A marriage record for the BREYER-HACKENBERGER couple was not found although the first baptismal record indicates they were married after the birth of Jean Adam. A baptismal record for a son named Jean Baptiste was not found.

Jean Adam BREYER

I researched the three children above. When I ran the son Jean Adam BREYER (b. 1725) through the marriage database for 1610-1797 there were no hits. However in the database for 1797-1923 there was a hit in 1801. Could he have married at the age of 76 years?

1801 Publication of marriage for Jean Adam BREYER and Catherine GASPAR

The publication of the marriage of Jean Adam BREYER included the following information: Jean Adam BREYER, 76 years old, maçon or builder, widower of Susanne MERTENS, son of Gaspar BREYER and Jeanne HACKENBERG, marrying Catherine GASPAR, 46 years old and widow of Jean DUNCKHOLTZ.7

We have Jean Adam the son of Gaspar and Jeanne which matches the child born in 1725. If he was the widower of Susanne MERTENS his name should have been Jean Baptiste and not Jean Adam.

1801 Marriage Record of Jean Adam BREYER and Catherine GASPAR

The actual marriage record has more information.8

  • The upper third part of the record has the groom and bride’s information.
  • The lower third part has the names, occupations, residence, and age of the four witnesses as well as their signatures.
  • The middle third of the record is completely handwritten and explains which records were consulted.

The groom and bride had to furnish pièces à l’appui or documents supporting the information they gave.  The birth record of Jean Adam BREYER came from a register of Luxembourg City. This can only be the church register as civil records were not kept prior to 1796. The date listed on the marriage record is the date seen on the baptismal record found above, i.e. 15 May 1725.

The bride was the widow of Jean DUNCKHOLS and daughter of Jean GASPAR and Petronille SPECK.

Following the bride’s information, the deceased wife of the groom, Susanne MERTENS, and deceased husband of the bride, Jean DUNCKHOLS, are mentioned with their dates and places of death.

Death record of the first wife

Susanne MERTENS died on 16 Fructidor of the year 7 (2 September 1799) in Luxembourg City per the marriage record of her widower. The death record confirms she was the wife of Jean Baptiste BREGER.9

1799 Death Record of Susanne MERTENS

Were Jean Adam and Jean Baptiste the same person?

1805 Death Record of Jean Baptiste BREGER

On 24 October 1805, Jean Baptiste BREGER died in house number 22 in the rue de Thionville in Luxembourg City. He is listed as the husband of Catherine GASPAR.10

I was convinced the two men were the same and my 6th great-grandfather was born in 1725 as Jean Adam but for some reason later called himself Jean Baptiste and made himself younger.

Until I continued research on the HACKENBERGER branch…

Baptisms in St. Michel from 1649 to 1786

Fernand G. EMMEL, during his years working for the municipal archives, compiled a list of 12,210 baptisms which took place in the church of St. Michel from 1649 to 1786. This compilation was published by Luxracines and includes the names of the parents as well as godparents and their residence when mentioned.11

I searched my digital copy of this book for Jean Georges HACKENBERG(ER) who had been the godfather of one of Gaspar BREYER and Maria Joanna HACKENBERGER’s daughters. He was found to be the son of Nicolas HACKENBERG (also seen as HACKENBERGER and HACKENBURGER) and Agatha CHINY (also seen as SCHINY, CHINAY, SEINECKEN, SCHYNE). HACKENBERG(ER) is not a common name in Luxembourg.

I added all information from the baptismal entries for Nicolas and Agatha’s children to an unattached branch in my family tree. There were eight children but no daughter named Maria or Joanna. I then searched for each baptismal record to confirm the dates as well as the names of the children, parents, and godparents.

A son Jean listed in Mr. EMMEL’s compilation turned out to be Jeannatta, a daughter, born on 4 February 1700.12 I had found the parents of my 7th great-grandmother.

As she had been listed incorrectly in the compilation, I searched again for all HACKENBERG(ER) individuals in the book paying close attention to women’s names, either as mothers or as godmothers.

Jean Baptiste YGEL (sic, a possible error)

There was an entry for a child named Jean Baptiste YGEL baptized on 13 October 1738, son of Gaspard YGEL and Jeanette HACKENBERG. The baptismal record13 confirmed the names in the compilation…

1738 Baptismal Record of a child named Jean Baptiste

…however, I believe the priest made a mistake when he wrote the father’s surname. It should be BREYER or BREGER and not IGEL or YGEL.

I didn’t come to this conclusion without first checking baptismal records for all IGEL children, a marriage between an IGEL and a HACKENBERG(ER), or any possible mention of these names in relation to each other. The only couple found having children at this time was Guillaume IGEL and Marguerite KRICK (KREITZ).

A last piece of evidence

To pull this all together I needed one more record to prove Jean Baptiste BREGER and not Jean Adam BREYER had married Catherine GASPAR.

As seen above when Jean Baptiste BREGER died in 1805 his surviving wife was listed as Catherine GASPAR. She died three years later. Her death record shows she was the widow of Jean DUNCKHOLS, a first marriage, and Jean Baptiste BREGER, a second marriage.14

1808 Death Record of Catherine GASPAR

This matches the information found in the 1801 marriage record of Jean Adam BREYER and Catherine GASPAR with the exception of the name of her second husband.

Conclusion

Jean Baptiste BREGER was seen as Jean Baptiste BREGER on his first marriage record in 1758, on the 176015 and 176716 baptismal records of his children, on the  1783 marriage record of his son Michel17, on the 1797 birth record of his grandson Jean Baptiste MAJERUS18, on the 1799 death record of his first wife Susanna MERTENS, on his 1805 death record, and on his second wife Catherine GASPAR’s 1808 death record.

The wrong name, Jean Adam BREYER, was found only on his marriage publication and marriage record in 1801. As civil records were required to make a marriage legal, Jean Baptiste had to present supporting documentation in the form of a baptismal record to identify his parents and a death record of his first wife to show he was free to marry. His baptismal record was not found as the priest had written the wrong surname for his father. The next best record was that of Jean Adam BREYER, Jean Baptiste’s older brother who was born ten years earlier.

Who would have known an error made on a baptismal record of a child born in 1735 would cause problems for a 66 years old groom when he married in 1801 and hours of research for this genealogist 274 years later?

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


  1. Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  2. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Jean > Tables des mariages 1709-1789 (index organisée par l’époux) > image 52 of 445. 1758 Marriage Index Card. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WS-SRCM?cc=2037955&wc=STH8-PT5%3A1501286401%2C1501336258 : accessed 19 May 2019). 
  3. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint-Jean à Grund > Mariages, décès 1708-1791 > image 181 of 208. 1758 Marriage Record (page 191 back, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9HYT?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-4WL%3A1500891703%2C1500978904 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  4. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 112 of 371. 1725 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9VXF?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  5. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 169 of 371. 1733 Baptismal Record (left page, left column, 3rd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89WM-9V4Y?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  6. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 186 of 371. 1736 Baptismal Record (left page, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-9VLL?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 5 June 2019). 
  7. Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Luxembourg > Mariages 1799 > image 169 of 1529. 1801 Marriage Publication (30 Brumaire an X). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6M83-R3Y?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-SP8%3A130045801%2C131341901 : accessed 7 June 2019). 
  8. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1799 > image 213 of 1529. 1801 Marriage Record (left page). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6M83-GPL?cc=1709358&wc=9RY3-SP8%3A130045801%2C131341901 : accessed 23 June 2019). 
  9. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 523 of 1420. 1799 Death Record (16 Fructidor an 7) right page, bottom. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-D8B?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 23 June 2019). 
  10. Ibid., Luxembourg > Mariages 1888-1890 Décès 1796-1806 > image 1256 of 1420. 1805 Death Record (2 Brumaire year XIV). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-69H9-7LR?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-DP8%3A130045801%2C131708201 : accessed 7 June 2019). 
  11. Fernand G. Emmel, Baptêmes Luxembourg Saint-Michel 1649-1786, (Recherches effectuées par Fernand G. Emmel), a publication of Luxracines a.s.b.l. 
  12. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1649-1701, mariages 1706 > image 228 of 240. 1700 Baptismal Record (right page, right column). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99WM-MX3D?cc=2037955&wc=STHC-YW5%3A1500891707%2C1500941762 : accessed 22 June 2019). 
  13. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 197 of 371. 1738 Baptismal Record for Jean Baptiste Igel (sic, Breyer) (left page, right column, 2nd entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-9KMW?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 22 June 2019). Error on the record concerning the surname of the father and child. 
  14. Luxembourg Civil Records, Luxembourg > Décès 1807-1814 > image 257 of 1511. 1808 Death Record (right, top). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X96S-33H?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-FM9%3A130045801%2C130045802 : accessed 25 June 2019). 
  15. Luxembourg Church Records, Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1702-1763 > image 341 of 371. 1760 Baptismal Record (right page, right column, last entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WM-9K7D?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-SPG%3A1500891707%2C1501006258 : accessed 20 May 2019). 
  16. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Baptêmes 1764-1788 > image 27 of 360. 1767 Baptismal Record (right page, left column, 5th entry). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-S47?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3Y3%3A1500891707%2C1500937102 : accessed 13 January 2018). 
  17. Ibid., Luxembourg, Saint Michel > Mariages 1764-1796 > image 108 of 305. 1783 Marriage Record (lower left and upper right). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WM-92QD?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-3YZ%3A1500891707%2C1500962420 : accessed 19 May 2019). 
  18. Luxembourg Civil Records, Luxembourg > Tables décennales 1863-1872, 1863-1872, 1873-1892 Naissances 1796-1800 > image 905 of 1504. 1797 Birth Record (9 Germinal year V). (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-X9L6-3D?cc=1709358&wc=9RY8-JWL%3A130045801%2C135486601 : accessed 13 January 2018).