A truly horrific story in many ways. A horrible crime, and I suspect a miscarriage of justice in the end. I find the notion of Jews at that time of year putting themselves in jeopardy by a killing like that very suspicious. And the fact that someone with the sayso in the Jewish community corroborated that these two men were suspicious could mean that they were sacrificed so that the Jewish community as a whole wasn’t in danger. Too many stories like that for too many centuries. Your work here is OUTSTANDING, Cathy. You amaze me with the detail you were able to bring into this narrative. ~ Luanne Castle, blogger at The Kalamazoo Family and Entering the Pale
Tony JUNGBLUT (1913-1975) was an author, journalist, court chronicler, and editor. Although the article he wrote in the A-Z : Luxemburger illustrierte in 19341 was a narrative of the crime, he used the court records to write the story as he did with his other historical writings.
Historians write about events in for a period by researching and analyzing documentation, similar to genealogists, from the perspective of the time they/we live in. When JUNGBLUT wrote the story, Hitler had recently become the Chancellor of Germany. He could not see into the future and hadn’t yet lived through the years of Nazi persecution of the Jews while we, as the reader today, are influenced by our knowledge of the evil deeds against Jews by Hitler and the Nazis. Did JUNGBLUT only write about what was in the court documents? Did he avoid the trying to read something into the over 100 years old records?
In his narrative, JUNGBLUT did not go into further detail of the situation in the walled city of Luxembourg. Renée WAGENER, the author of the 2017 article in Ons Stad2, mentions a letter written by representatives of the Jewish community to the mayor of Luxembourg City in 1821, four years after the crime. The Jewish community had not forgotten the great danger and terrible aftermath of the cries of vengeance and of blood against them following the crime. She also mentions the anti-Semitic sentiments which prevailed in the city were not found in the court documents.
The fact that this crime happened around Easter (Palm Sunday) leads me to think that the old myth of Jews killing Christian children for their blood had something to do with the convictions. It would be interesting to read the trial transcripts to see what the testimony was. Often these crimes are not random but done by someone in the family. I wonder if the father of Anne Marie’s out-of-wedlock child had something to do with this…. ~ Amy Cohen, blogger at Brotmanblog: A Family Journey
My ignorance of early Jewish history may have kept me from paying closer attention to missing details in the 1934 narrative by JUNGBLUT. Luanne may be correct about the HAUSER brothers being sacrificed so the Jewish community as a whole wouldn’t be in danger.
I was quick to discard Amy’s speculation of the father of Anne Marie’s out-of-wedlock child having something to do with the affair as her reputation suggested she may not have even known who the father was, i.e. the father would not have known of the child. However, I should have listened to the niggling suspicion something may not be right.
Renée WAGENER’s article (based on JUNGBLUT’s narrative, the Luxembourg National Archives’ documentation of the trial, as well as the correspondence with the mayor) mentions names which were not in the 1934 narrative or were spelled differently.
As discussed in the earlier post, five men were arrested for the crime, four of them were Jews. Guetschlick GODCHAUX, a Jewish man who was arrested but later set free, was the nephew of Pinhas GODCHAUX, the official gold examiner or amtlichen Goldprüfer.
This same Pinhas GODCHAUX was also the representative of the Jewish community who testified the morality of the HAUSER brothers seemed suspicious as one never visited the synagogue and the other rarely.
The seventeen-year-old Pinhas GODCHAUX (of the same name as the man above) implicated the HAUSER brothers in the murders. In the narrative, he appears to have spent a lot of time with the brothers. He, like Guetschlick, was a nephew of the elder Pinhas GODCHAUX. Young Pinhas’ mother was likely the widow Nanette GODCHAUX who also gave testimony but is not mentioned by this name in the narrative.
Why did I not notice the recurring GODCHAUX surname? Probably because the persons were not suspects. When I read Luanne’s comment this morning, I knew I had to write one more post about this horrible crime and possible miscarriage of justice.
Are you convinced that the real murderer(s) were not discovered? – Vera Marie Badertscher, blogger at Ancestors in Aprons
I didn’t want to question the verdict reached by the courts in 1816 as I haven’t consulted the actual court records. Has my discovery of the unusual burial record of the family of four with the mention of this horrific event only complicated things as I’ve attempted to learn more of the story? Will the actual court records or even other records reveal a conspiracy which was meant to be hidden when the last of the people involved died nearly 200 years ago?
After posting the last of the six parts in this series, I realized earlier this week I had not checked for the death records of the HAUSER brothers.
Hirsch (30) and Emmanuel (22) died on 18 October 1816 at 11 o’clock in the morning on the Marché aux Poissons in Luxembourg City. Their deaths were reported by Jean Baptiste Joseph Poison (51), a court clerk or greffier de la cour d’assises and Louis Langers (66), court bailiff or huissier du tribunal.3 From the information Jungblut and Wagener obtained from the court records, they were executed by decapitation.
The case of widow TRAUSCH, as Anne Marie WIROTH was also known, and her children’s murders will remain an open case until I can visit the National Archives of Luxembourg. I obviously also need to do research on the Jewish community in Luxembourg for this period.
Thank you, Luanne, Amy, and Vera for your comments which helped me to look at this from a different perspective.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Since I’ve spent so much time on Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia BRAUN, her parents, and her maternal grandparents, I thought it only fair to write about Remacle and his parents.
Remacle was the youngest child of Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784) and his second wife Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (1728-1786) of Mersch in Luxembourg.
Part IV: Remacle TRAUSCH, the youngest son of the oldest child
Pierre TRAUSCH (ca. 1714-1784)
Pierre TRAUSCH, my 6th great-grandfather, was born about 1714 in Mersch. Baptismal records are not available for Mersch for the years 1696 to 1716. Pierre was the oldest known child of Martin TRAUSCH (abt. 1682-1762) and Susanna SEYWERT sive JOSTEN domo PETERS (1693-1780). [The Latin descriptives mean Susanna SEYWERT was also known as Susanna JOSTEN and came from a house called PETERS.] Baptismal records were found for seven of Pierre’s siblings born between 1718 and 1736.
Pierre was the first of Martin and Susanna’s children to marry in 1739. The entry in the church record for the marriage includes the names of his parents. As no baptismal record is available for Pierre, this is the first record which confirms his parents were Martin and Susanna.
Pierre married Anna Maria ADAM, the daughter of the deceased Carolus ADAM of Ansembourg, on 9 August 1739.1 The married couple would live in a house called Peters in Mersch. As I’ve determined Pierre was the oldest child of Martin and Susanna, he would inherit the family home after his parents’ death and therefore his living in the home with his parents is logical.
Pierre and Anna Maria had three children born in 17402, 17443, and 17514. No marriages or death records have been found for these children in Luxembourg. Sadly, I suspected they may have died young. Their mother Anna Maria died on 19 February 1751, three weeks after giving birth to her third child.5
Pierre was now widowed and had Jean Pierre (11), Anna Maria (7), and Jean (newborn) to care for.
Very little information has been found for these three children. I suspected they may have died young however quick online searches when this post was nearly ready to publish turned up a few interesting facts which need to be looked into.
The oldest son Jean Pierre was a priest from 26 February 1763 until 27 November 1813 (possibly his date of death). This was not sourced and needs to be researched.
The GEDCOM on Geneanet of a descendant of the second child Anna Maria TRAUSCH indicates Anna Maria married Louis ANCELON on 19 January 1769 in Habergy, today in the commune of Messancy in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium. An index to church records in Habergy includes an entry for Louis ANSLO and Anne Marie TRAUSCHT who married on the said day. The actual record, which would possibly include the names of her parents, is not online.
Seven months after the death of his wife Anna Maria, Pierre TRAUSCH married again.
Maria Elisabetha WANTZ (c1723-1786), a bride with unknown parents
On 28 September 1751, Pierre TRAUSCH married my 6th great-grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ.6 The parents of the bride and groom are not named in the record. It’s in Latin and needs to be translated by someone fluent in the language. My interpretation may not be correct. It would appear the couple was given a dispensation to marry as they may have been closely related, possibly first cousins. I cannot confirm they were related as the parents of the bride are unknown.
I have seen conflicting information concerning who her parents may have been in GEDCOM files of members of Luxracines on GeneaLux.Net.
Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER were having children in Ettelbrück from 1708 to 1728 with a daughter named Elisabeth born on 19 January 1723.7 I have not found a GEDCOM file which shows this young lady married.
Another couple from Reckange, Jean WANTZ and Marie Catherine MOLITOR alias ENTGES, were having children from 1724 to 1741 and had a daughter named Maria Elisabetha born 6 July 1728.8 This young lady has been seen in GEDCOM files as the wife of Pierre WEYDERT (married 29 February 1756 )9, Nicolas WELBES10, and my Pierre TRAUSCH. Pierre Weydert was probably her first husband and Nicolas Welbes her second husband however there is a conflict with the same lady also marrying Pierre Trausch. Maria Elisabetha WANTZ who married Pierre TRAUSCH in 1751 was having children (as will be seen below) from 1753 to 1761.
This is where my problem lies. I need to go through all the records of both of these WANTZ families to compare the names of godparents of the children’s children to see if any connection can be made to Pierre TRAUSCH and his wife Maria Elisabeth WANTZ.
As the marriage record indicates she was originally from Ettelbrück, I sway toward one set of parents being correct: Michel WANTZ and Angélique WAGENER. This research and write-up will be saved for another day.
Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s children
Pierre TRAUSCH and Maria Elisabetha WANTZ had four sons all baptized in Mersch.
Their oldest son Nicolas was baptized on 27 December 175311, their second son Clemens on 16 July 175512, their third son Wilhelm on 27 March 175913, and their fourth and youngest son Remacle on 6 April 1761.14
Pierre and Maria Elisabeth also had a daughter Maria who died on 28 January 1758 at the age of one year.15 No baptismal record had been found for this child. She would have been their third born.
Interesting to note are the names of two of the godparents of the sons. Nicolas’ godfather was Nicolas WANS (sic, Nicolas’ mother’s name was spelled the same in the record) from Ettelbrück. Remacle’s godmother was Magdalena WANTZ of Reckange. Quick searches show Nicolas was the oldest son of the couple from Ettelbrück and Magdalena was the daughter of the couple from Reckange. This will be taken into consideration when the WANTZ research is done. At this time I can only speculate the two men, Jean WANTZ and Michel WANTZ, may have been closely related, possibly brothers, and one of them could have been Maria Elisabetha’s father.
Pierre TRAUSCH in the cadastre and the census
In 1766 when the cadastre and census were taken the TRAUSCH family was living in a house called Peters which included a small barn and a courtyard.16
Pierre TRAUSCH (about 52), a carpenter or menusier, was with his family in household number 45 in Mersch. His second wife Maria Elisabetha (in her 40s) and their sons Clemens (11), Wilhelm (7), and Remacle (5) were at home. Their son Nicolas (nearly 13) was either omitted or enumerated in another household, possibly in another village where he may have been working. The children of Pierre’s first marriage were not in the household. A manual laborer named Michel GEDERT likely was helping Pierre with the carpentry. Also in the household was Pierre’s widowed mother Susanna (73) and his youngest brother Philippe (30).17 Pierre’s father Martin had died on 22 June 1762.18 The six siblings who were born between Pierre and Philippe were not on this census. No marriages have been found for them. Their whereabouts remain a mystery.
The second son marries
Clemens was the first of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha’s sons to marry. He married Marie Catherine SCHMIT of Colmar on 1 March 1778.19 Her parents were not mentioned on the marriage record. However, as the SCHMIDT family of Colmar for this period has been researched, I was able to deduct who her parents were. Marie Catherine was the daughter of Nicolas SCHMIDT and Catharina SCHNEIDISCH. She was seen with her parents on the 1766 census20 however no baptismal record has been found for her.
Clemens and Marie Catherine’s first child, Pierre TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1779 and baptized the following day. His godfather was his grandfather of the same name, Pierre TRAUSCH. His godmother was his maternal uncle Philipp SCHMIDT’s second wife Maria.21 Their second child, Maria Elisabetha was born on 25 October 1780 and baptized the following day. Her godmother was her grandmother Maria Elisabetha WANTZ and her godfather was her grandfather Nicolas SCHMIDT.22 Two more sons were born in 178223 and 1785.24
Pierre TRAUSCH and his mother die within four years of each other
Pierre TRAUSCH, the husband of Maria Elisabeth WANTZ, died on 26 March 1784. Per the entry in the death register, he was about seventy and several years.25 Four years earlier his mother Susanna, widow of Martin TRAUSCH, had died in Mersch on 5 December 1780 supposedly at the age of 92 years.26 She was in fact only 87 years old as she was born in the Castle of Mersch on 7 February 1693.27
Two marriages within a month
Nearly two years after Pierre’s death, two of his three unmarried sons were married within a month of each other. Wilhelm married Susanne RONES on 12 December 1785 in Tuntange28 and Nicolas married Anna Maria STOLTZ on 9 January 1786 in Mersch.29
Pierre’s widow dies
Pierre’s widow and the mother of the four TRAUSCH brothers, Maria Elisabeth WANTZ died several months later on 23 April 1786.30
The youngest son marries
Remacle’s brothers were all married and both of his parents deceased when he, the youngest son of the family, married on 24 July 1787 to Theresia BRAUN.31 Remacle and Theresia were my 5th great-grandparents and the main characters in this research project.
Two sons are widowed and remarry
Clemens’ wife Maria Catherine SCHMIT died on 17 March 1792. Her age was recorded in the death register as being 43 years old and therefore born about 1749.32 Clemens remarried a short three months later on 25 June 1792 to Magdalena WALSDORF, the widow of Guillaume MAY.33 It is not known if Clemens and Magdalena had children or when and where they died.
Wilhelm’s wife Susanne RONES died 4 November 1805 at the age of 46 years.34 The marriage was childless. On 14 April 1806, Wilhelm married a second time to Barbara WALSDORF in Tuntange.35 The relation to his brother Clemens’ wife Magdalena WALSDORF is at this time unknown. Wilhelm was 47 years old and Barbara was 32 years old when they married. She gave him fours sons from 1807-1813. Wilhelm died in Hollenfels on 21 January 183136 and Barbara died almost exactly 15 years later on 22 January 1846 in Bissen.37
It is not known if Nicolas, the oldest son of Pierre and Maria Elisabetha, and his wife Anna Maria STOLTZ had children or when and where they died. If anyone has followed this family, I would appreciate hearing about them.
Cadastre de Marie-Thérèse (1752-1772), Dénombrements des feux, aides et subsides 1473-1806, FamilySearch, Film # 008014692, Regime A, section 14: cadastre de Marie-Thérèse 1767, liasse 75 (Mersch), image 417 of 637, No. 93, Pierre Trausch. “.” 1766 cadastre sheet of Pierre Trausch of the house called Peters. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXW-1WJR-5?i=416&cat=1152016 : accessed 16 July 2019). ↩
Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film/DGS 1781981 > Film # 8182018 > Decanat de Mersch v. 2-3 > Mersch > Image 82 of 556. Pierre Trausch household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS21-FQ86-V?i=81&cat=1184675 : accessed 9 July 2019). ↩
As seen in my previous post, my fifth great-grandparents Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (1766-1798) were married in the church of Bissen in Luxembourg on 4 July 1787. They had six children before Theresia died in 1798 at the age of 31 years. The youngest of the six motherless children was only 8 days old and the oldest 10 years old.
When Remacle and Theresia married, Theresia’s parents were seen as Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.
When her children were baptized her name was listed as Theresia COLLING (or variations of this name) on four of the church records. One child’s record had BRONGERS, a variation of BRAUNERS, and another had BRAUN. At the time of death, her name was given as Theresia BRAUN.
Part II: Why was Theresia BRAUN also known as Theresia COLLING?
To answer this question I paid close attention to all names mentioned in birth, marriage, and death records of persons associated with Theresia and her family. For easier reading, I’ve used the COLLING spelling throughout this post except for one instance in which it was spelled COLLIN.
A thread woven through the records
A guardian, Franz BIWER, had signed the 1787 marriage record of Remacle and Theresia as discussed in the previous post. Franz was the godfather of Theresia and Remacle’s first child François TRAUSCH. Franz was also described as her brother-in-law when her death was reported by him, her husband Remacle, and a neighbor in 1798.
Who was Franz BIWER?
A marriage was found for Franz BIWER and Catharina BRAUN, daughter of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.1 They were married on 11 December 1786 in Bissen about seven months before Remacle and Theresia were married. Philippe SCHMIT a married man from Colmar was the guardian of Catharina BRAUN and gave his consent to the marriage. Witnesses to the marriage were Clemens TRAUSCH and Peter COLLING, both married. Clemens TRAUSCH, the brother of Remacle, was married to Catharina SCHMIT of Colmar. Philippe SCHMIT was likely a relative of the deceased mother of the bride. This will be discussed further in my next post.
Catharina and Theresia were sisters as Franz BIWER had been named as the brother-in-law of Theresia BRAUN when she died and the names of the parents of both girls on their marriage records were the same.
The parents of Catharina and Theresia
A marriage record was found for the widower Martin BRAUN of Berg and Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar. They married 19 April 1761 in the Berg chapel in the parish of Bissen. Witnesses were Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH of Colmar and Joannes CONRATH of Berg.2 The possibility of Nicolas SCHNEIDISCH being the father of the bride will be discussed in a later post.
Baptismal records of the parish of Bissen were searched. Only two children were found to have a father named Martin BRAUN after the marriage date in 1761. Catharina was born 11 April 17653 and Theresia was born 3 August 17664, both in Colmar. The mother on both records was listed as Magdalena SCHMIDT (spelled SCHMIT on the records).
As no other children were found, the death entries were searched. Martin BRAUN of Colmar died 17 February 1766.5 This was six months before the birth of Theresia.
Magdalena SCHMIDT, the widow remarries
A death record for Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a married woman about 40 years old, was found. She died on 22 January 1782 and was buried the following day.6 If this lady was the widow of Martin BRAUN, she must have married again.
No marriage was found for Magdalena SCHMIDT or Magdalena SCHNEIDERS in the marriage records of Bissen between 1766 and 1782.
A marriage was found on 19 March 1766, only a month after the death of Martin BRAUN, for Magdalena BRAUN and Michel COLLIN(G). Witnesses to the marriage were Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar and Franz FRISCH of Leydenbach.7 Could the witness Philippe SCHMIDT likely be the same person as the guardian seen at the time of Catharina’s marriage?
The children from the second marriage
Baptismal records were found for four children born to Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT – not Magdalena BRAUN. A son Michel was born 15 February 17688, a son Nicolas on 5 November 17699, a daughter Catharina on 18 June 177210, and a daughter Elisabetha on 20 January 1775.11 The mother’s surname was spelled SCHMIT, SCHMITT, and SCHMIDT on these records.
Michel COLLING died on 8 October 1782 in Colmar.12 This was nine months after Magdalena SCHMIDT. He was in his fifties. Baptismal records are missing in Bissen for the years 1721 to 1733. His parents are at this time unknown.
Records were found for three of the four children of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT after their baptisms. Michel their first child died at the age of 23 years in 1792. His parents were listed as Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT.13
Their second son Nicolas was living in the Franz BIWER home on 25 February 1807 when Franz and Catharina’s youngest child was born. Nicolas witnessed her birth record. His age was given as 33 years although he would have been 37 at the time.14 A few months earlier he had been named as a 37 years old witness and the uncle of the bride when Catharina TRAUSCH married on 29 November 1806.15 The bride was the daughter of Theresia BRAUN and Remacle TRAUSCH. No further record has been found for Nicolas.
Their daughter Catharina who was born in 1772 produced a few more records. She had an illegitimate daughter named Maria in 1797. Maria’s birth took place in the family home and was reported by the midwife as well as Franz BIWER and a neighbor. Catharina, the mother of the child, was described as being the daughter of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT of Colmar, a deceased married couple who had resided in a house called Braumes.16
Five years later Catharina married. There are discrepancies in the marriage record. Marie Catherine COLLING, daughter of Michel COLLING and Catherine SCHMITT, born on 18 June 1772 in Colmar married Nicolas DIDESCH, son of Philippe DIDESCH and Marie WEBER. The date of birth is a match for Catharina COLLING but this is the first time she was seen as Marie Catherine. Another error is her mother’s name which should have been Magdalena and not Catherine. Franz BIWER was one of the four witnesses on the marriage record.17 No known children were born to this marriage.
Franz BIWER, the husband of Catharina BRAUN, died in 1808 in Colmar in his residence, a house called Braumes.18 This confirms the family home was passed on to Catharina BRAUN, the oldest child of Martin BRAUN and Magdalena SCHMIDT.
Catharina COLLING’s illegitimate daughter Maria died at the age of 19 on 14 June 1817 in Colmar. The informant for her death was Nicolas DIDESCH, described as the father of the deceased. The deceased’s name was listed only as Maria, without a surname. Infant naturel (child born out of wedlock) was written just above her name.19
Nicolas DIDESCH died in 1844 and was identified as the husband of Catharina COLLING.20 Catharina died in 1853. Her death was reported by Mathias BIWER, the youngest son of FRANZ BIWER and Catharina BRAUN.21
Reviewing the findings
The noticeable reoccurrence of Franz BIWER‘s name, a thread woven through the records, led me to a hypothesis of why Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING.
Magdalena SCHMIDT (also known as SCHNEIDISCH) was a young girl, barely 18 years old when she married the older widowed Martin BRAUN in 1761.
She gave him a daughter Catharina in 1765 and was pregnant with Theresia when he died in 1766.
She then married Michel COLLING a month later. Catharina was only 11 months old and Theresia was born five months after her mother remarried. Michel was their step-father and only father they knew.
Magdalena had four children with Michel between 1768 and 1775.
Both Magdalena and Michel died in 1782 leaving these orphans: Catharina BRAUN (16), Theresa BRAUN (15), and their half-siblings Michel (13), Nicolas (12), and Catharina COLLING (9). No trace of the youngest half-sibling Elisabeth COLLING (7) has been found and it is possible she died before her parents.
The guardian of the orphans was likely Philippe SCHMIDT of Colmar who was seen as the tutor or guardian of Catharina BRAUN in 1786 when she married.
After Catharina married, her husband Franz BIWER became the head of the family and guardian of his wife’s sister and half-siblings.
As the oldest child of Magdalena SCHMIDT and Martin BRAUN, Catharina and her husband lived in the house known as Braumes.
Nicolas COLLING, the second son of Michel COLLING and Magdalena SCHMIDT, was named in the 1806 marriage record of Catharina TRAUSCH as her uncle, i.e. brother of her mother Theresia BRAUN.
At this point, I was convinced Theresia BRAUN was also known as Theresia COLLING as she was the step-daughter of Michel COLLING and raised by him and her mother from birth.
The pieces of the puzzle fit and Franz BIWER‘s presence in the records is the glue which holds it together. Missing is a record which would prove Magdalena SCHNEIDISCH who married Martin BRAUN is the same person as Magdalena BRAUN who married Michel COLLING. Or a record showing the BRAUN girls were raised by Michel COLLING.
Proof for the hypothesis
Michel and Magdalena chose the perfect time in the history of Luxembourg to marry. In 1766 Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg including Luxembourg, Belgium, and part of the Netherlands.
Michel COLLING was found in the village of Colmar in the Parish of Bissen as the head of household #7. He was a farmer. A total of eight persons were in his household including his wife Magdalena seen here with his surname COLLING and two young girls named Catherine and Therese BRAUN.22 It must be noted that on this census the married women, for the most part, were enumerated with their husband’s surname.
This 1766 census listing and the records previously mentioned are proof the daughters Magdalena SCHMIDT (also seen as SCHNEIDISCH) had with Martin BRAUN were raised by her and Michel COLLING and could explain Theresia’s using both surnames: BRAUN and COLLING.
A final piece of evidence
Theresia’s sister Catharina BRAUN was also seen with the COLLING surname when several of her children were born. As I cast the net out further, I found the 1811 marriage record23 of Catharina’s second daughter Susanna (b. 1789) which includes this statement: “le nom de Collin ayant été changé et rectifié en celui de Braun par jugement du tribunal de premier instance de l’arrondisement de Luxembourg en date du 31 January 1809“.
( the name of Collin having been changed and rectified in that of Braun by judgment of the court of first instance of the district of Luxembourg on January 31, 1809 )
Either after the death of Catharina’s husband Franz BIWER in 1808 or when their oldest daughter Marie gathered supporting documentation for her marriage in March 1809, the discrepancy in the name of the mother was noticed and had to be rectified by court order. When Susanna married in 1811 this was mentioned in the marriage record (above).
Any more questions?
At this point, I’d like to answer a question I’m sure many of you had while reading this post. Why would a widow who was three months pregnant marry so soon after the death of her husband?
When a man with small children was widowed he would usually have a relative come into the home to help with the children. If there were no relatives available he would need to have a woman live in the home. As this would not be proper, a marriage took place soon after the man was widowed.
I have always thought women did not remarry in the first year of widowhood to avoid any paternity issues in case the widow was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death. In Magdalena’s case, I believe her first husband farmed leased land of the lord of Berg in the village of Colmar. To keep the family income she married Michel COLLING who took over this lease. Evidence of this was found in the 1766 Cadastre of Marie-Thérèse and will be discussed in a later post.
In the next post, I will explain why Theresia’s mother Magdalena was also using two surnames, SCHNEIDISCH and SCHMIDT, and how this helped me to determine who her parents and grandparents were.
Luxembourg, 1766 Dénombrement (census), (images), FamilySearch (Digitial copy of the microfilm of originals in the Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles, includes localities now in Luxembourg and Liège, Belgium), Film #008198978 > Decanat de Mersch > Colmar > Image 153 of 618, page 144, household no. 7. Michel Colling household. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-993P-7?i=152&cat=1184675 : accessed 15 July 2019). ↩
Remacle and Theresia, my fifth great-grandparents and my children’s sixth, were ancestors who lived in Luxembourg. As I reviewed the records I’d found prior to writing about their son, I thought this would be straightforward. However, inconsistencies were found in the story I was seeing in their records and timeline. This led to further research. With each new record, I found myself asking more questions.
I believe I am now at a point where I can tell their story – in several parts.
Part I: The marriage of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN
On 23 July 1787 the banns were published in Colmar and Mersch for the marriage between Remacle TRAUSCH, son of Peter TRAUSCH and Elisabeth CARMES, both deceased and from Mersch, and Theresia BRAUNERS, daughter of Martin BRAUNERS and Magdalena SCHMIDT, both deceased and from Colmar.
The following day Remacle and Theresia were married in Bissen. Present as witnesses were Johann SCHILTZ and Remacle’s brother Nicolas TRAUSCH. The marriage record was signed by the groom, the two witnesses, and Franz BIWERtutor. The bride could not write and left her mark.1
I would like to make four points concerning the information found in this marriage record:
The name of the mother of the groom was not correct. A record will be presented to prove this in part IV.
The surname of the bride and her father was a variation of the name BRAUN.
Franz BIWER was not mentioned in the record, however, he signed as a guardian. He was the brother-in-law of the bride, Theresia.
The groom signed his name. This will be important in later years.
The children of Remacle and Theresia
Remacle was 26 years old when he married Theresia who was only 20. She was with child when they married. Less than six months later, on 3 January 1788 around noon, Theresia gave birth to their son Franz TRAUSCH. He was baptized the same day in the church of Bissen with Franz BIWER of Colmar and Susanna KLEIN of Hollenfels as his godparents. His mother’s name on the record was Theresia COLLING.2
On 29 May 1790 at ten in the evening, Catharina TRAUSCH was born in Colmar. She was baptized the following day in Bissen. Her godparents were Catharina SCHMIT, wife of Clemens TRAUSCH of Mersch, and Nicolas SCHMIT of Colmar. Once again the mother of the child was recorded as Theresia COLLING.3
My fourth great-grandfather Michel TRAUSCH was born on 9 May 1792 at ten in the evening in Colmar. He was baptized the following day in the church in Bissen with godparents being Michel WALZING of Hollenfels and Anna Maria STOLZ, wife of Nicolas TRAUSCH of Mersch. His mother’s name was written, Theresia COLLIN.4
In May 1794 Nicolas TRAUSCH was born to Remacle and Theresia in Colmar. He was baptized in Bissen. His godparents were Nicolas MORBUS and Catharina COLLIN, both single and from Colmar. The corners of the register may have been eaten by mice and parts of the entry for this child are missing.5 In 1813-1814 when Nicolas later served in Napoleon’s army6 and in 1819 when he married his date of birth would be seen as 11 May 1794.7 The mother’s name was seen as Theresa BRONGERS. Braun is German for brown and in Luxembourgish this is brong. As the surname BRAUN was also seen as BRAUNERS, BRONGERS is likely another variation of the name.
Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 13 April 1796 at six in the evening. She was baptized the following day in the church of Bissen. Her godparents were Susanna SINNER of Berg and Matthias SCHMIT of Colmar, both single. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia CHOLLINGE.8
On 8 February 1798 at one in the afternoon the last child of Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN was born in Colmar. Their daughter Maria was baptized in Bissen the following day. Her godparents were Maria NEU and Dominique MEDER were both from Ettelbrück. The mother’s name was seen as Theresia BRAUN.9
The death of Theresia BRAUN
On 16 February 1798, eight days after the birth of Maria, Theresia died at ten in the evening. Her husband Remacle TRAUSCH, her brother-in-law Franz BIWER, and a neighbor named Mathieu NICKELS reported the death of Theresia BRAUN. Remacle and Theresia were living in Colmar in a house called Laplume, la maison de Laplume, were she died. The civil servant went with the three witnesses to the home to confirm the death of the deceased. The witnesses and the civil servant signed the death record.10
On all of the above mentioned baptismal records, Remacle TRAUSCH signed his name. The same signature as seen on his marriage record and the death record of Theresia BRAUN, further evidence his wife Theresia was known as BRAUN as well as COLLING.
I will discuss the mystery of Remacle TRAUSCH’s wife Theresia’s use of the COLLING name in my next post.
On 29 October 1755 twin girls were born in Luxembourg in the town of Septfontaines.1 Maria Catherina and Agnes were the daughters of Nicolas HEITZ and Anna Catharina RONAS. Agnes was my fifth great-grandmother and her parents my sixth great-grandparents.
In Maria Catharina’s baptismal record the priest gave her parents’ names as Nicolai BOUR alias HEITZ and Anna Catharina RONAS. In Agnes’ record, he wrote Nicolai HEITZ and Anna Catharina BOUR alias RONAS. The difference in how the names are listed is due to the use of the house name BOUR. In the first record, it’s associated with the father while in the second it’s associated with the mother.
The twins were the first children of Anna Catharina RONAS and Nicolas HEITZ who married on 6 February 1755.2 However, these girls were not Anna Catharina’s first children. She was the widow of Dominique MAMER with whom she had eight children. Dominique died on 20 May 1753 in Septfontaines.3 Anna Catharina and her first husband’s house name was BOUR. Her second husband Nicolas HEITZ would also be known by the same house name (BOUR alias HEITZ or HEITZ domo BOUR) in later records.
Following the births of the twins, Anna Catharina had four more children with Nicolas. In all, she had a dozen children between 1741 and 1762.
In 1766 Maria Theresa of Austria implemented the first modern cadastre and census in a large part of the territories under the rule of the House of Habsburg. This included Luxembourg, along with Belgium, a part of the Netherlands.
Nicolas HEITZ was found on the 1766 census with his wife Anna Catharina, her two sons Antoine and Dominique MAMER from her first marriage, and their daughters Agnes, Maria Catharina, and Marie HEITZ.4 They were living in Septfontaines in the Bourhouse near the pond. A complete history of the house can be found in a book on the house and family history of Septfontaines for the years 1654-1985.5 Anna Catharina’s father Leonardus RONAS, a stonemason and builder, was mentioned as early as 1713 in a Septfontaines record.6
This line is of special interest to me as Agnes HEITZ and her mother Anna Catharina RONAS are my matrilineal ancestors. The continuation of my mitochondrial DNA line is stuck at this point as the name of the wife of Leonardus RONAS is unknown to me at this time.
Johannes HAMES (c1756-1826)
On 15 October 1755 Jacob HAMES of Schoenfels and Magdalena MATHIEU of Septfontaines were married in the chapel of Schoenfels Castle.7 They were my sixth great-grandparents.
Their oldest son Johannes born after their marriage in 1755 and before 1759 appears to have been added as an afterthought in the entry but without a baptismal/birth date. Following Jacob and Magdalena’s family group there is an entry for my fifth great-grandfather Johannes, his wife, and their children. In Latin the compiler added filius praedictorum conjugum, indicating Johannes was the son of the couple in the previous entry.
Although my fourth great-grandfather Michel TRAUSCH indicated his father-in-law Johannes HAMES was born in Mamer when he reported his death in 1826, I think it unlikely. Baptismal records for Septfontaines, where his mother hailed, and Mersch (the parish Schoenfels was part of), where his father was from, have been checked without avail. Could his parents have been on the move after the marriage and before they settled in Mamer?
As Jacob and Magdalena were having children in Mamer, their household on the census would include their oldest son Johannes as well as Nicolas, Catherine, Willibrod, and Anton who were all born before 1766. The last two have been found in records after 1766. Unfortunately, I have not been unable to locate the Mamer census for 1766 in the browse-only collection on FamilySearch. As I understand Mamer was part of the Decanat Mersch which I have looked through several times.
Johannes and Agnes likely met as children
Although the 1766 listing for the HAMES family in Mamer wasn’t found, Johannes HAMES’ maternal grandmother was. Marie Jeanne ENDRÉ, the mother of Magdalena MATHIEU and the widow of Mathias MATHIEU, was living with her son Jean MATHIEU in Septfontaines next door to Nicolas HEITZ and Anna Catharina RONAS.
This means my fifth great-grandmother Agnes HEITZ was living next door to the grandmother of her future husband Johannes HAMES and they likely knew each other as children.
An aside concerning Marie Jeanne ENDRÉ
Johannes HAMES’ grandmother Marie Jeanne ENDRÉ came from Marienthal to Septfontaines in 1722 when she married Mathias MATHIEU alias BODEN. Their first child’s godmother was Ursula de Manteville, a religious lady from the convent of Marienthal. At that time, Marie-Catherine de Manteville was the prioress of the convent.
Marie Jeanne’s parents are at this time unknown. Could this connection to the convent, founded in the 13th century for daughters of nobility, mean she was of nobility, a convert, or only a servant? Will further research lead to records with her parents’ names?
Agnes and Johannes marry in 1785
Agnes HEITZ married Johannes HAMES on 18 January 1785 in Mamer.9 Two weeks short of their first wedding anniversary their first child was born followed by five others in ten years.
The children of Johannes and Agnes
Willibrodus was born 4 January 1786. He was baptized the following day with Willibrod HAMES of Mamer and Catharina TRAUSCH, wife of Anton MANGEL of the Koerich quarry, being named as his godparents.10 Willibrodus died less than a month later on 30 January.11
Susanne was born 28 December 1786 at 6 o’clock in the morning. She was baptized the same day with Susanna MULLER, the wife of Wilhelm MAMER of Septfontaines, and Anton HAMES of Mamer serving as her godparents.12
Catharina was born 16 May 1789 and baptized the following day. Her godparents were Catharina HAMES and Joannes GOEDERS both of Mamer.13
Antonius was born 22 December 1790 at 2 o’clock in the morning and baptized the same day. His godparents were Anton MAMER of the Koerich quarry and Maria HINTGEN, wife of Nicolas KNEPPER of Mamer.14 Antonius died at the age of two years on 20 December 1792.15
Petrus was born 14 September 1792 and baptized the same day in the presence of his godparents Peter HEBER of Mamer and Maria BRAUSCH, wife of Willibrod HAMES of Bertrange.16 Petrus died at the age of a year on 10 October 1793.17
Baltasar was born 29 January 1795. He was baptized the same day with Baltasar WAGENER and Catharina FREYMAN both of Mamer being his godparents.18
Only the girls survived to marry
Susanne and Catharina grew up with their little brother Baltasar. Sadly, he died at the age of nearly 19 years on 4 January 1814 in Mamer.19
Susanne gave Agnes and Johannes six grandchildren between 1816 and 1827, five granddaughters and a grandson. The two youngest granddaughters did not live past the age of 2 and 4 years. The four older grandchildren all married and continued the KOLBACH line.
Catharina gave Agnes and Johannes seven grandchildren between 1818 and 1829. Six granddaughters and a grandson. The oldest and the youngest died as infants. The grandson was last seen in 1855 with his parents – no trace of him has been found thereafter. The three oldest granddaughters married and had children. The youngest granddaughter never married and died at the age of 73 years in 1900.
Johannes and Agnes lived long lives
Johannes HAMES did not live to see the births of his three youngest grandchildren. He died on 13 May 1826 in Mamer at two o’clock in the morning at the age of 71 years. His death was reported by his son-in-law Michel TRAUSCH.22
Agnes HEITZ lived another ten years dying on 23 February 1836 in Mamer at four in the afternoon at the age of 80 years. Her death was also reported by her son-in-law Michel TRAUSCH.23 She was survived by her two daughters, their husbands, and nine grandchildren.
Susanne24 and her husband Michel KOLBACH25 died within a month of each other in 1855 at the ages of 68 and 70. Catharina lived until the age of 75 dying in 1864.26 Her widower Michel TRAUSCH died four years later in 1869.27
I would like to end this post with a very special thank you to my husband for the wonderful photographs he took last week. He planned his 140 kilometer bike ride around the towns where my HEITZ, RONAS, HAMES, and MATTHIEU families lived in the 1700s.
Haus- und Familienchronik Simmern 1654-1985, herausgegeben anlässlich des 75. Stiftungsfestes der Feuerwehr Simmern und des Kantonalverbandes Capellen (unter der Schirmherrschaft der Gemeindeverwaltung Simmern), page 75, Nr. 41a. ↩
With this post, all of my children’s known ancestors from their grandparents to their 5th great-grandparents have been featured since I began blogging four years ago. I actually did it in three years as I took a break from the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in 2016.
Michel and Catharina
Michel TRAUSCH (1792-1869) and Catharina HAMES (1789-1864) married in Mamer, Luxembourg, on 18 February 1817.1 Their marriage record included the groom and bride’s dates and places of birth. His parents were both deceased; their names and dates and places of death were included. Her parents were living, present and consenting to the marriage. Also present were four witnesses. Michel KOLBACH, the bride’s brother-in-law, and three unrelated persons.
Michel was born on 9 May 1792 in Colmar-Berg, Mersch, Luxembourg, to Remacle TRAUSCH (1761-1804) and Theresia BRAUN (COLLING) (1766-1798).2 Catharina was born on 17 May 1789 in Mamer to Johannes HAMES (~1758-1826) and Agnes HERTZ (1755-1836).3 I will come back to the parents and siblings of Michel and Catharina after I have discussed their children.
Michel and Catharina had the following children:
1. Anna Catharina TRAUSCH was born the day after her parents’ first wedding anniversary on 19 February 1818 in Mamer.4 She died on 26 February 1819 in Mamer at the age of a year and a week.5 2. Maria TRAUSCH was born exactly two years after Anna Catharina, on 19 February 1820.6 She married and had one daughter. She died on 13 May 1875. She was my 3rd great-grandmother and her daughter was my 2nd great-granddaughter. 3. Peter TRAUSCH was born on 3 October 1821 in Mamer.7 He was last seen at the age of 34 years in Mamer with his parents in 1855. At this time it is unknown if he married or had children. 4. Elisabeth TRAUSCH was born on 23 July 1823.8 She married and had three sons. She died on 7 March 1877. 5. Susanna TRAUSCH was born on 23 September 1825.9 She married and had three sons. She died on 29 August 1903. 6. Catherine TRAUSCH was born on 13 March 1827 in Mamer.10 She died on 4 April 1900 in Mamer. Catherine never married. 7. Marie Catherine TRAUSCH was born on 26 April 1829 in Mamer.11 She died on 13 May 1832 in Mamer at the age of three years.12
As can be seen above Michel and Catharina had seven children, two of whom died young, one who never married, three who married and gave them seven grandchildren, and one son who has not been traced after 1855. Of the grandchildren, only one was a girl – an important fact as will be seen at the end of this post.
Soon after the birth of their first grandchild, Michel and Catharina saw their daughter Elisabeth marry in Kehlen. She married Jean Henri KLEIN (1811-1866) on 15 December 1852.15 A year later, she gave birth to the second grandchild Johann KLEIN on 7 December 1853 in Nospelt.16
The third daughter to marry was Susanna. She married Pierre KLEES (1823-1903) on 14 February 1855 in Kehlen where her sister Elisabeth had married.17
These marriages in Kehlen were only found with the help of the Marriage Database dedicated members of my genealogy association Luxracines are working on. As a member of the board, I have access to the database which will soon be made available on our website. It will be a real time-saver for all researchers who have ancestors who married in Luxembourg between 1797-1923 as marriage records include so much genealogical information. Lëtz Play! Can You Top This? A Marriage Record With 15 Events
Following Susanna’s marriage five more grandsons were born into the family:
It is unknown if Nicolas, the only son of Catharina and Michel, ever married and had children. Perhaps when the Marriage Database 1797-1923 is finished he will be found. Without this information, it is at this time only possible to note that all known grandchildren of Catharina and Michel were born before their deaths.
Catharina and Michel die in a three-generation house
Catharina HAMES died on 22 November 1864 at the age of 75 years.23 Her husband Michel TRAUSCH died five years later on 28 December 1869 at the age of 77 years.24 They both died in Mamer in the house called Schreinesch where they had raised their family. It had been a three-generation home as their son-in-law Jean MAJERUS, who was the informant at the time of both deaths, lived there with his wife Maria and their only daughter Marie.
Marie would marry Jean FRANTZ (1837-1929) in 1870.25 Her mother Maria TRAUSCH died on 13 May 1875.26 The oldest of the grown siblings, she was the first to die. She was followed by her sisters Elisabeth who died on 7 March 1877 in Goeblange27, Catherine, an old maid, on 4 April 1900 in Mamer28, and Susanna on 29 August 1903 in Kehlen.29
The Parents and Siblings of Michel TRAUSCH
Michel’s parents Remacle TRAUSCH and Theresia BRAUN (also seen as COLLING) were married on 24 July 1787 in Bissen.30 The marriage index cards for marriages in the parish records incorrectly listed the year as 1789. I was searching for a marriage in 1789 and wondering why a child was born in 1788. After not finding the marriage in 1789, I continued back until it was located in 1787. The marriage was recorded twice, by two different persons, first on the 23rd of July and then on the 24th. The later was complete and included signatures.
Remacle and Theresia had six children all born in Colmar-Berg. The oldest three grew to adulthood, married and had children. Franz born in 1788 was the father of 10 children; Catherine born in 1790 was the mother of 14 children; and Michel, as was seen above, was born in 1792 and was the father of 7 children. The three youngest have not been traced past their baptisms: Nicolas b. 1794, Susanna b. 1796, and Maria b. 1798. The mother Theresia died on 16 February 1798 in Berg, a week after the birth of her last child.31 Michel was not yet six years old when he lost his mother. Four of the six children’s baptismal records had their mother’s maiden name listed as COLLING instead of BRAUN(ERS). The different names will hopefully lead to more information on Theresia’s ancestors.
Remacle remarried six months later on 26 August 1798 in Berg to Anne Marie WIROTH.32 They had one known daughter, Peternelle born in 1799. Remacle and Anne Marie had removed to Luxembourg City from Colmar-Berg sometime after the birth of their daughter and before Remacle’s death on 31 August 1804.33
Two years later Catherine, sixteen years and six months, was in a family way and the conseil de famille, or family counsel, gave their permission for her to marry Peter OLINGER. This was necessary as she was under age and both parents were deceased. Catherine’s uncle Nicolas COLLING, a witness to the marriage, was likely one of the family counsel. It was not mentioned in the marriage record dated 29 November 180634 that she was expecting but four months later on 2 April 1807 she gave birth to a son François.35
By 1813 Franz, the oldest of Remacle and Theresia’s children, was living in Schieren near Ettelbrück where he would marry Eva MERTZ and raise a large family.36 His brother Michel remained in Colmar-Berg until 1817 when he married Catharina HAMES of Mamer.
The Parents and Siblings of Catharina HAMES
Catharina’s parents, Johannes HAMES and Agnes HERTZ were married in Mamer on 18 January 1785.37 They were the parents of six known children. Three sons died as infants, one son died at the age of 18, leaving only two daughters who would marry and raise families. Catharina was the younger of the two. Her sister Susanne was the first to marry. She married Michel KOLBACH, son of Michel KOLBACH and Susanne KIEFFER, on 11 January 1815 in Mamer.38 Her mother-in-law Susanne KIEFFER was one of my 4th great-grandmothers. She had married Paulus FRANTZ after the death of the elder Michel KOLBACH. Susanne and Michel (the younger couple) were the parents of six, two of whom died in infancy. Their four children married and had children.
Agnes HERTZ, her daughter Catharina HAMES, her granddaughter Maria TRAUSCH, and her great-granddaughter Marie MAJERUS are my mitochondrial line down from Agnes’ mother Anna Catharina RONAS. The parents of Anna Catharina are at this time unknown to me. A couple of years ago I talked to a person who appears to have been “on to something” concerning the RONAS family but did not want to make the research public at the time.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
P.S. A special thank you to Amberly Peterson Beck, The Genealogy Girl, for letting me know I can enable Markdown in WordPress.com posts, pages, and comments for easier styling, including footnotes – see below, aren’t they beautiful? Note: Footnotes in numbered and bulleted lists did not seem to work until I tricked the editor into not using html formatting for the lists.
My second great-grandmother Marie MAJERUS (1850-1931) is like a knothole in a fence. She was the only child of her parents Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875). On one side of the fence, she was the mother of ten children, eight of whom married and continued the line. On the other side of the fence, are her parents, grandparents, and other ancestors. Marie is a mitochondrial ancestress whose direct line goes back to my 6th great-grandmother Anna Catharina RONAS (b. abt. 1710).
When I re-visited my research this week for Marie’s paternal grandparents, Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1797-1868) and Catharina CORNELY (1794-1871), I realized how much information was hidden behind the fence. She had many aunts and uncles and cousins.
Nearly all of my maternal fourth great-grandparents were born in the 1760s or 1770s. Jean Baptiste and Catharina were much younger being born in the 1790s. In turn, their children were born after civil records became required in Luxembourg. They lived long lives and were found on eleven censuses taken between 1843 and 1867.
Jean Baptiste MAJERUS
Jean Baptiste, son of Jean MAJERUS and Margretha BREGER, was born on 9 Germinal in the year V or 29 March 1797 in the Faubourg de Grund, a suburb located on the banks of the Alzette River in the valley below the center of Luxembourg City. In Luxembourgish, it is known as Gronn.
At the time of his birth, his parents were a legally married couple. The informants who accompanied the father to report the birth were Jean Baptiste BRETER, age 64 years, and Michel BRETER’s wife Anne Catherine GRASBERGER, age 36 years.
A marriage record for the couple has not yet been located. I suspect Jean Baptiste was their first child and the informants who accompanied the father were the child’s maternal grandfather and maternal uncle’s wife.
Jean and Margaretha had two more children born in the Gronn in 1799 and 1801 before moving their family to Strassen where their last known child was born in 1806. Jean MAJERUS was a draper in 1797, a wool spinner or fileur de laine in 1799 and 1801 as well as in 1823 and 1830 when two children married. He was no longer working by 1843 when the census was taken.
Catharina, daughter of Hubert CORNELY and Margaretha EVEN, was born on 24 April 1794 in Wickrange in the commune of Reckange-sur-Mess. She was baptized on 25 June 1794 in Reckange-sur-Mess. It is unusual, for this time period, for a baptism to take place two months after the birth. Normally the rite was performed the same or following day. Other baptismal entries on the same page of the register show delays. The priest may have had more than one parish under his jurisdiction and did not travel on a daily or weekly basis.
Catharina was the second youngest of nine known children. Her parents were married in 1779. When their first child was born on 17 June 1780 they chose a maternal uncle by marriage to be the godfather. Joannes ERPELDING of Kackerterhof, the husband of Catherine EVEN.
Kackerterhof was the ancestral home of my husband’s 5th great-grandparents Caspar ERPELDING (d. 1779) and Gertrudes JEHNEN (1724-1774). Joannes, the godfather mentioned above, was an older brother of my husband’s 4th great-grandfather Nicolas ERPELDING. When I worked on the ERPELDING line I wondered if the EVEN lady who married into the family could be related to my Margaretha EVEN. The marriage records of both EVEN ladies show their parents were Léonard EVEN and Marie IRY, my 6th great-grandparents.
Hubert CORNELY died on 29 August 1816 in Wickrange. Of his nine children, only his oldest son Jean and his two youngest daughters Catharina and Catherine have been researched. It is not known, at this time, if the six children born between 1782 and 1793 survived, married, or had lines which continue.
Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s Marry Young
My fourth great-grandparents, Catharina, 22 years old, and Jean Baptiste, 20 years old, were married on Friday, 25 April 1817. The bride and groom could not write but the father of the groom, Jean MAJERUS signed his name to the marriage record. The record officialized just in the nick of time as a month later their first child Jean, my third great-grandfather, was born on 24 May 1817 in Strassen.
The newlywed father Jean Baptiste complicated things a bit when he reported the birth of his first son. He may have been a bit nervous when he went to the city hall at four in the afternoon. The mother of the child on the birth record was seen as Maria CORNELY instead of Catharina – was it the father’s nervousness or an error made by the clerk? Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s son Jean was born at 11 o’clock in the morning. His father could not read and write and did not sign the record which was witnessed by two other persons who were present.
These were the children born to Catharina and Jean Baptiste:
Ch 1: Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) born 24 May 1817
Ch 2: Mathias MAJERUS (1819-1895) born 29 Jan 1819
Ch 3: Jean MAJERUS (1821-1880) born 6 Aug 1821
Ch 4: Maria Catharina MAJERUS (1823-1823) born 27 Sep 1823. She died at the age of two months on 6 December 1823.
Ch 5: Jacques MAJERUS (1825-1900) born 12 Apr 1825
Ch 6: Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1827-1893) born 8 Aug 1827
Ch 7: Marie MAJERUS (1830-?) born 12 May 1830
Ch 8: Peter MAJERUS (1832-1884) born 25 Dec 1832
Ch 9: Nicolas MAJERUS (1835-?) born 27 May 1835
Ch 10: Jean Pierre MAJERUS (1837- ) born 25 Sep 1837
Ch 11: Michel MAJERUS (1840-1906) born 14 Dec 1840
The maternal grandmother of the children, Margaretha EVEN died on 14 September 1839 in Wickrange before the youngest grandchild was born. Her death was reported by her oldest son who lived in the village. Her youngest daughter Catherine had married in 1824 and was raising a small family in Bertrange. Sadly, six of Catherine’s known eight children died infancy, unlike Catharina’s children who were strong and lived to adulthood. All except for one daughter who died at the age of two months.
A little over a half a dozen years later Catharina and Jean Baptiste’s nine sons and a daughter began to marry.
Ch 2: Mathias married Barbara SCHMIT (1819- ) on 6 May 1846 in Strassen.
Ch 1: Jean married Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875) on 31 May 1849 in Mamer. They were my third great-grandparents and the only couple to not raise a family in Strassen.
Ch 3: Jean married Anna Maria HENGEN (1819-1881) on 24 Apr 1850 in Strassen.
Jean Baptiste’s parents died before the rest of the children married. His mother Margretha BREGER died on 1 April 1851 and his father Jean MAJERUS died on 5 July 1852, both in Strassen where they had lived since 1802. This census listing for 1847 shows they had been living in the commune for 45 years.
This census record, as well as the preceding and following ones, give Jean MAJERUS’s place of birth as France while the last he was seen on indicates he was born in Larochette (Felz). This same place was seen on his death record. Was he born in Boulay-Moselle in France (the only place I could find which sounded like Boulé seen on the 1846 and 1849 census) or in Larochette? Will this lead to his parents?
The children continued to marry:
Ch 7: Marie married Théodore JOST (1834- ) on 6 November 1855 in Strassen.
Ch 5: Jacques married Catharina GOFFINET (1826-1898) on 18 February 1857 in Luxembourg City.
Ch 8: Peter married Madelaine HOFFMANN (1827-1884) on 30 November 1857 in Strassen.
Ch 6: Jean Baptiste married Elisabeth HUBERT (1832- ) on 28 December 1858 in Strassen.
Ch 10: Jean Pierre married Anne KLEIN (1840- ) on 28 May 1862 in Strassen.
In 1865 Michel, the youngest of the children went to America. All of his living siblings [except perhaps Nicolas who has not been traced after the 1855 census] were now married and raising families. Birth records for 40 grandchildren of Jean Baptiste and Catharina were found – all except for one, my Maria MAJERUS, were born in Strassen. During some years there were between three to five MAJERUS grandchildren born within months of each other.
Due to the amount of time it took to look up, download, and correctly cite the birth records, I have not even begun to look for the death records of the spouses and children of the MAJERUS children of Jean Baptiste and Catharina. [Note: RootsWeb WorldConnect where I keep my GEDCOM is supposed to be back online within the next few weeks.]
Jean Baptiste MAJERUS died on 7 July 1868 in Strassen at the age of 71 years. His two youngest sons Peter and Jean Pierre were the informants on his death record.
Michel, the youngest of the bunch who had gone to America in 1865, married Mary MAUS about 1870 in Minnesota. Did he write to his mother, letting her know he was doing well, married, and living in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota?
Catharina CORNELY was 77 years old when she died on 10 June 1871 in Strassen. Her oldest and youngest sons who lived in Strassen, Jean and Jean Pierre were the informants for her death.
All of Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s children who married had children except for their youngest son Michel. He and his wife raised two of her MAUS nieces. Michel died in 1906 and his widow Mary died in 1923. She was a very religious woman who left bequeaths in her will for masses to be read for the soul of her husband, herself, and other poor souls. She also left bequeaths to a Catholic church, for an orphanage to be built ($5000), to a nephew who was studying for the priesthood, to the children of several of her deceased siblings as well as two godchildren. To her niece Mary A. MAJERUS (a MAUS niece she raised who took the MAJERUS name) she left $10,000, all real estate, and the residue and remainder of all property. Mary A. MAJERUS never married and died in 1960.
Until next week, when I will be writing about the last set of 4th great-grandparents, Michel TRAUSCH and Catharina HAMES of Mamer.
Week 49 (December 3-9) – Holidays. What ancestor do the holidays put you in mind of?
Every St. Nicholas Day I am reminded of the day I uploaded my first GEDCOM file to Rootsweb’s WorldConnect Project thirteen years ago, on 6 December 2002. I remember the day so well because it was my St. Nick’s gift to friends and family who had helped me get started. To answer the question, all of my ancestors and their descendants put the holidays in my mind.
Since 2002 my family tree has grown, my research habits have changed. I’ve continued to share my GEDCOM file and have been writing posts for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for the past two years. Today’s post features the last of my known third great-grandparents and the last of my children’s known fourth great-grandparents.
Jean MAJERUS of Strassen and Maria TRAUSCH of Mamer
My 3rd great-grandfather Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) was born Saturday, 24 May 1817 in Strassen in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Catharina CORNELY (1794-1871) and Jean Baptiste MAJERUS (1797-1868).
Catharina, 22 years old, and Jean Baptiste, 20 years old, had gotten married just in the nick of time on Friday, 25 April 1817, a month before their first child Jean was born.
The newlywed father Jean Baptiste complicated things a bit when he reported the birth of his first son. He may have been a bit nervous when he went to the city hall at four in the afternoon. The mother of the child on the birth record was seen as Maria CORNELY instead of Catharina – was it the father’s nervousness or a error made by the clerk? In any case, Jean Baptiste and Catharina’s son Jean was born at 11 o’clock in the morning. His father could not read and write and did not sign the record which was witnessed by two other persons present.
Jean lived with his parents and younger siblings in Strassen at the time of the 1843, 1846, and 1847 census.
The 1843 MAJERUS household included Baptiste Majerus, Catherine Cornely, and children Jean, Mathias, Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, Marie. The head of the household and his two oldest sons were masons.
The 1846 MAJERUS household included Jean Baptiste Majerus, Catherine Cornely, and children Jean, Jean, Baptiste, Marie, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, and Michel. The head of household and his three oldest sons were masons.
The 1847 MAJERUS household included Jean Baptiste Majerus, Catherine Cornely, children Jean, Jean, Jacques, Jean Baptiste, Pierre, Nicolas, Jean Pierre, Michel, and Marie. Only the occupation of the head of household was given, a mason.
Jean MAJERUS married Maria TRAUSCH (1820-1875) on Thursday, 31 May 1849 in Mamer.
Jean and Marie met with Nicolas BORNONG, the mayor of Mamer, at 9 o’clock Thursday morning. The groom Jean was 32 years old and a mason, Maurer. His parents Jean Baptiste MAJERUS and Catherine CORNELY, both from Strassen, were present and consented to the marriage.
The bride Marie was 30 years old. Her parents Michel TRAUSCH and Catherine HAMES, both of Mamer, were present and consenting to the marriage. The banns had been published on Sunday the 13th and 20th of the month in Mamer and in Bertrange, the commune Strassen belonged to at that time.
The marriage was witnessed by the mayor’s son Nicolas BORNONG, Jean REDLINGER, Michel PESCH, and Paul OLINGER, all of Mamer. The witnesses, mayor, and groom signed the marriage record. The parents of both the groom and bride and the bride declared not being able to write.
Jean’s bride Maria TRAUSCH was born Saturday, 19 February 1820 in Mamer to Michel TRAUSCH (1792-1869) and Catharina HAMES (1789-1864). At the time of her birth, the mayor of Mamer was Jacob BORNONG, the father of Nicolas BORNONG who would perform the marriage ceremony in 1849, and the grandfather of Nicolas BORNONG who would witness the marriage. Maria’s father, after reporting the birth to Jacob BORNONG, declared not being able to write and the birth record was signed by the mayor and two witnesses. Maria was their second child but grew up as the oldest of six as the first born daughter died a week after her first birthday.
At the time of his marriage to Maria TRAUSCH, Jean MAJERUS moved permanently from Strassen to Mamer. The entry in the parish register of families in Mamer shows in the far right column that he came from Strassen.
In 1849 when the census was enumerated Jean and Maria were living with her parents in Mamer. The household included Michel TRAUSCH, wife Catherine HAMES, daughter Marie TRAUSCH, son-in-law Jean MAJERUS, son Peter TRAUSCH, and daughter Susanne TRAUSCH.
Jean and Maria welcomed their first and only child Marie “Maria” MAJERUS (1850-1931) into the little family on Wednesday, 19 June 1850 in Mamer.
It was two o’clock in the afternoon when Jean, age 32, reported the birth of his daughter Marie to the mayor Nicolas BORNONG. Marie was born at noon the same day to Jean’s wife Maria TRAUSCH, age 30. Nicolas BORNONG, the son of the mayor, and Peter GOUDEN were witnesses to the birth report.
Jean, Maria, and their daughter Marie continued to live with Maria’s parents in the TRAUSCH-HAMES household in 1851, 1852, 1855, 1858, and 1861. The Michel TRAUSCH home was given the house name Schreinisch as his occupation was carpenter or Schreiner.
Maria’s mother Catharina HAMES died Tuesday, 22 November 1864 in Mamer. The widower Michel TRAUSCH was seen as the head of household in 1864 with Jean, Maria, and Marie and then as part of the MAJERUS-TRAUSCH household in 1867. They were still living in the house named Schreinisch.
Jean ‘s father Jean Baptiste MAJERUS died Tuesday, 7 July 1868 in Strassen. A year later, Maria’s father Michel TRAUSCH died Tuesday, 28 December 1869 in Mamer .
Jean’s mother Catharina CORNELY died Saturday, 10 June 1871 in Strassen. At the end of the year when the 1871 census was taken Jean MAJERUS, wife Maria TRAUSCH, daughter Marie MAJERUS, son-in-law Jean FRANTZ, and first grandchild Maria FRANTZ were living together in one household. The name of the house was no longer given but they were still living in the same house as seen in the death record below.
Maria TRAUSCH died at 10 o’clock the morning of Thursday, 13 May 1875 in her home, in a house named Schreinesch in Mamer. This was the home she shared with her parents while growing up and with her husband and daughter Marie.
Her widower was listed as the head of household in 1875 with his daughter, her husband, and three granddaughters. Jean MAJERUS most likely did not move out of the home he lived in since his marriage. He remained with his daughter and her family in what was now known as the FRANTZ-MAJERUS household in 1880, 1885, and 1887.
Jean MAJERUS died at 6 o’clock the morning of Saturday, 15 October 1887 in Mamer. His son-in-law Johann FRANTZ reported the death three hours later. He left his only daughter Marie, her husband and seven grandchildren. Eleven months later the last grandchild was born.
Did the TRAUSCH-HAMES, MAJERUS-TRAUSCH, and FRANTZ-TRAUSCH families live in the same home, a house named Schreinisch, from 1817 when the first couple married until 1931 when Marie MAJERUS died? It would be interesting to learn how to find the answer to this question.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
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.
Week 25 (June 18-24) – The Old Homestead:Have you visited an ancestral home? Do you have photos of an old family house? Do you have homesteading ancestors?
Homesteading, Ancestral Home, and a Famous Cousin
None of my American ancestors took advantage of the Homestead Act. But homesteading is not restricted to settling on goverment land and farming it. Homesteading was and is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. The farther back we go in our families trees the more independent our ancestors were. They provided for themselves through farming, hunting, home preservation of foodstuffs, and, in the case of my 2nd great-granfather Jean FRANTZ, a linenweaver, the production of textiles.
While we are on the subject of homesteading and ancestral homes, when I was a child we visited a FRANTZ family in Mamer, Luxembourg, to watch a bicycle race. I have no idea if the house was lived in by my FRANTZ ancestors, i.e. an ancestral home.
At the time I was also unaware of the significance and the connections between FRANTZ, the town of Mamer and cycling. Family tradition, once we genealogists get involved, is often debunked. However the story of my grandmother being a cousin of the famous Tour de France winner was proven true. My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and Nicolas FRANTZ (1899-1985) were 3rd cousins – not quite as close as the story told. Their common ancestors were Paulus FRANTZ (1763-1847) and his wife Susanne KEIFFER (1754-1808).
Nicolas FRANTZ took second place in the Tour de France in 1924 and 1926 and was the winner of the tour in 1927 and 1928. In 1928 Nicolas was the first, and to date only winner of the Tour de France, to wear the maillot jaune, the yellow jersey, during the entire 20 days of the race, from the first day, due to his being the previous year’s winner, to the last day.
Having a Tour de France winner as a cousin is amazing. Even more so is I actually enjoy the same sport he excelled in. This is quite a statement for a girl who did everything to get out of doing sports while growing up.
Jean “Johann” FRANTZ and Marie “Maria” MAJERUS
My 2nd great-grandfather Jean FRANTZ was born in Mamer on 3 December 1837 to Jean FRANTZ (1794-1880) and his wife Elisabeth “Elise” FRISCH (1800-1880). On 16 February 1870 he married Marie MAJERUS. Marie was born in Mamer on 19 June 1850 to Jean MAJERUS (1817-1887) and his wife Marie TRAUSCH (1820-1875).
The young couple lived with Marie’s parents in 1871 and with her widowed father in 1875. Census records indicate Marie was the only child of the MAJERUS-TRAUSCH couple. By 1880 Jean FRANTZ and his wife had their own household. Marie’s widowed father lived with them in 1880, 1885, and 1887. Jean and Marie continued to be enumerated as a family in Mamer in the census in 1890, 1895, and 1900. From 1858 to 1900 Jean’s occupation was a linen weaver. They lived in the “Brücke bis Weweschgâss” area of Mamer. At the time mostly farm land, today this is a residential area.
When Jean and Marie’s children married the occupation of the parents was consistently listed as farmers, Ackerer or Ackerleute, on the marriage records for the period 1892 to 1916.
When Jean died on 23 February 1929, in his 92nd year, his occupation was cultivateur or farmer in his obituary.
Jean was survived by his wife Mrs. Jean FRANTZ, née Marie MAJERUS; his children Mrs. Jos. FOURNELLE, née Cath. FRANTZ; Mrs. Paul GERSTEL, née Joséphine FRANTZ; Jean FRANTZ; Mrs. François VESQUE, née Pauline FRANTZ; Jean-Pierre FRANTZ; Mrs. Théophile HILBERT, née Marguerite FRANTZ; and Joseph FRANTZ.
His wife Marie died two years later, on 13 September 1931 in her 82nd year.
For Jean’s widow Marie, the same children were listed. Missing in both obituaries is the oldest daughter Marie FRANTZ who predeceased her parents. Suzanne MIETTE and Guy HOSTERT, listed after the children of Jean and Marie, were Marie FRANTZ’s children.
The FRANTZ Children
1. Marie FRANTZ 1871-bef. 1929
Marie FRANTZ was born 11 January 1871 in Mamer. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1885 when she went to Metz, France, to work as a servant. In February 1887 she was still in Metz and by the next year, she took a position in Reims, France, where she was working in 1890. By 1895 she was no longer mentioned in her parents’ household on the census suggesting she married between 1891-1895. Her marriage to Eugène Léon MIETTE was found in the 2e Arrondissement of Paris. They were married on 21 June 1892 and divorced on 16 July 1906. They had a daughter Suzanne Léonide Jeanne Marie MIETTE born in 1895. After her divorce, Marie married Mr. (given names unknown) HOSTERT and had a son Guy HOSTERT who was photographed in Paris, France, at the time of his Communion in 1921. Marie died before 23 February 1929.
2. Catharine FRANTZ 1872-1934
Catharine FRANTZ, my great-grandmother, was born on 17 November 1872. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1889 when she went to Arlon, Belgium, to work as a servant. Soon after December 1890, she began working in Reims, France, where she lived when the census was enumerated in December 1895. She was back home in Mamer on 9 July 1900 when she married Jean Joseph FOURNELLE, my great-grandfather. She went with her newlywed husband to live in Echternach where she raised three children. She died 16 March 1834 in Echternach.
3. Catharina Joséphine “Joséphine” FRANTZ 1874-aft. 1945
Catharina Joséphine FRANTZ was born 25 September 1874. She went by Joséphine. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1893 when she went to work in Reims, France. She married Paul GERSTEL in 1900 and had two sons, Pierre and Jean. Her husband died before 23 February 1929. The family lived in Paris, France. Joséphine was living with her younger son Jean and his family on 1 January 1946. It is not known when she died.
4. Johann “Jean” FRANTZ 1876-1946
Johann FRANTZ was born 22 July 1876. He lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1894 when he went to work in Reims, France. In December 1900 he had been in Esch-sur-Alzette for three months. A half a dozen years later he married Pauline VESQUE on 27 August 1906 in Contern. They had one daughter Daisy. Jean died 20 May 1946 in Dudelange. He was a retired postal worker decorated with the Order of the Oak Crown (l’Ordre Grand Ducal de la Couronne de Chêne). His wife Pauline died on 29 November 1956 in Hastière-Lavaux, Belgium.
5. Jean Pierre FRANTZ 1878-1879
Jean Pierre FRANTZ was born on 28 June 1878 and died 8 February 1879 at the home of his parents. He died at the age of 2/3 year per his death record.
6. Paulina “Pauline” FRANTZ 1880-1966
Paulina FRANTZ was born on 29 June 1880. In December 1880 when the census was enumerated she was listed as a son named Paul. She went by Pauline. She lived at home with her parents and siblings until about 1897 when she went to work in Reims, France. She may have lived with her sister Catharine and her family in Echternach around 1906 as she was included in a family portrait (seen above under #2). On 15 May 1910 Pauline married Johann Peter François “Franz” VESQUE. Franz worked for the railroad, Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois. Pauline and Franz had one daughter Maisy who served time in prison for killing a man and never married. The family lived in Oetrange in the commune of Contern. Franz died 11 Feb 1964 in Oetrange and Pauline died 27 December 1966 in Luxembourg City. Their daughter Maisy died in April 1969.
7. Johann Peter FRANTZ 1882-1970
Johann Peter FRANTZ was born 14 October 1882. Johann Peter married Hélène KILL on 2 April 1913 in Mamer. They were the parents of three children: Jos, Paul, and Anna Maria. Their son Paul continued the family tradition of cycling. In 1936 he participated in the Olympic Games in Berlin, representing Luxembourg along with three other cyclists in the individual and team road race events. Johann Peter died 1 December 1970 in Luxembourg City. His widow Hélène died 12 October 1972, also in Luxembourg City.
8. Maria Margaretha “Marguerite” FRANTZ 1885-1977
Maria Margaretha FRANTZ was born 12 March 1885 in Mamer. She went by Marguerite. She married Johann Theophile “Théo” HILBERT on 25 October 1908 in Mamer. In 1915 their only daughter Margot Thea was born. Marguerite’s husband Théo was the driver of the car owned by Nicolas Frantz I (Tour de France winner) involved in two accidents in 1927, the first resulting in the death of a young boy and the second in the death of Nicolas Frantz II. Théo died 3 January 1946 in Mamer. His widow Marguerite died 22 March 1977 in Mamer.
9. Nicolas FRANTZ 1886-1886
Nicolas FRANTZ was born 16 April 1886. He lived only a month, dying on 18 May 1886 at his parents’ home in Mamer.
10. Johann-Joseph “Jos” FRANTZ 1888-1940
Johann-Joseph FRANTZ was born 4 September 1888. He married Marguerite BERWICK on 24 April 1916 in Mamer. They were the parents of two sons, Erny and Germain, born in Dudelange where the family lived. Johann-Joseph, also known as “Jos” was a teacher. He died 23 April 1940 in Dudelange. His widow Marguerite died seven months later on 28 November 1940.
New Lessons Learned
Without the photographs, newspaper clippings, thank you notes, funeral cards and other memorabilia saved by my maternal grandmother I would not have been able to tell their story in such detail.
Questions remain and may lead to new stories. I want to know more about Maisy VESQUE who served time in prison for killing a man. I’ve found newspaper articles about the deaths caused by Theo HILBERT when he was driving the car owned by Nicolas FRANTZ. A third question, I was able to answer and in doing so learned a new lesson.
I don’t know how many times I have asked myself who are “Mr Eugène Raymond, Mme, née Suzanne Miette et leur(s) enfant(s)” mentioned in Jean and Marie FRANTZ-MAJERUS’ obituaries? I knew Guy Hostert was the son of their deceased oldest daughter, Marie. Eugène or Suzanne had to be their grandchild and, since great-grandchildren were also mentioned, he or she had to have been born to one of the oldest daughters.
I don’t give up easily and the question took me to the online archives of the cities of Reims and Paris, France. Finding records in large cities is daunting. My persistence paid off. I found the records I needed to prove the relationship of Suzanne MIETTE and in doing so also learned how to use the Archives of Paris database.
If anyone is interested, feel free to leave a comment and I may write a post on how to use the Archives de Paris site.
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.