52 Ancestors: #12 A German Family Influenced by the French

My children’s 5th great-grandparents Johann Adam GORGES and Eva Clara RODENS were both born in the 1760s in the small town of Fell. Eva Clara was 14 months older than Johann Adam. Living in such a small town, they must have known each other from a young age. Fell is today part of the municipality of Schweich an der Römischen Weinstraße (Schweich on the Roman wine road) in the district of Trier-Saar in the west of the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.

Eva Clara

The first child of the newlyweds Nikolaus RODENS (1744-1795) and Anna SCHUE (d. 1805), Eva Clara was born on 28 November 1764 in Fell. She was baptized the following day in the Catholic church Sankt Martinus in the town of Fell. The parish church is no longer standing today. In it’s place is a church built from 1865 to 1868. The new church was built crosswise on the same spot as the old church.

Eva Clara was the first of ten children. Her siblings were Barbara 1767, Nikolaus 1770, Nikolaus 1774, Philipp 1775, Matthias d. 1776, two stillborn children in 1778 and 1779, Anna 1781, and Maria Margaretha d. 1784.

By the time Eva Clara was 24 years old and ready to marry she had only two siblings still living, her 13 years old brother Philipp and her 7 years old sister Anna.

Johann Adam

Johann Peter GORGES (1718-1784) and Anna Maria HORSCH had four children before their son Johann Adam was born and baptized on 28 January 1766 in Fell. Like all of his siblings, he was baptized in the Sankt Martinus church in Fell.

His older siblings were Anna Maria 1758, Elisabeth 1760, Maria Angela 1762, and Barbara 1763. His younger siblings were Maximin 1767, Johann Peter 1769, and Maria Angela 1771. Johann Adam also had four older half-siblings as his father was previously married and widowed. They were Anna Maria 1752, Johann 1753, Johann Joseph 1755, and Katharina 1757.

Johann Adam was 14 years old when his mother Anna Maria HORSCH died on 17 October 1780. He was 18 when his father Johann Peter GORGES died on 31 January 1784.

Couplehood and Parenthood

Johann Adam GORGES was 23 years old when he married Eva Clara RODENS on 11 February 1789 in Fell. They would make their home in Oberfell (Upper Fell).

Prise de la Bastille
Prise de la Bastille, 14 July 1789 (Jean-Pierre Houël [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
The young couple was married five months when the French Revolution erupted on 14 July 1789 with the storming of the Bastille in Paris. Three years later when French troops invaded Germany they were at first pushed back. But the German imperial army was defeated in late 1792 in Valmy. In August 1794, French Republican troops took Trier. All German territories on the left bank of the Rhine River were ceded to France in 1797 at the peace treaties of Basel and Campo Formio making Trier a French city. Control of the Rhineland was secured by France who would occupy the area for twenty years.

During the years France was in control of the Rhineland Johann Adam and Eva Clara raised their family of ten children. The first children born were Nikolaus on 15 March 1790, Barbara on 25 March 1792 and Anton on 12 April 1794.

Only these first three children would know their maternal grandfather Nikolaus RODENS who died two days after the youngest son Anton celebrated his first birthday. Nikolaus was buried on 15 April 1795, a day after his death.

The next two children, Matthias born 26 April 1796 and Ann born 3 July 1798 both died in 1799 within a month of each other. Matthias died on 18 February and Anna on 18 March. There was, however, a more joyful event during the year with the marriage of Eva Clara’s only brother Philipp RODENS to Gertrud HOFFRANZEN.

The French Revolution ended with the coup of 18/19 Brumaire in the Year VIII of the Republican Calendar. This was the 9th to 10th of November 1799 when Napoleon Bonaparte’s dictatorship began.

Unbeknownst to Johann Adam and Eva Clara over a decade of constant warfare was on the horizon but they continued to grow their family with the births of Johann on 21 January 1800, Katharina on 11 September 1801, and Anna on 17 May 1803.

The Napoleonic Wars began 18 May 1803, the day after their 8th child was born. The following year Eva Clara’s only sister Anna married Johann Adam SPIELES.

The family continued to increase with the birth of another son, Matthias on 8 July 1805.

The Battle of Austerlitz, 2 December 1805 (François Gérard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
The children lost their only living grandmother, Anna SCHUE, on 1 December 1805, the day before the Battle of Austerlitz. This historical event brought about the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine. A year and a half later the last child of Johann Adam and Eva Clara was born on 2 May 1807. He would live only nine months, dying on 21 February 1807.

Did not return!

Seven of the ten children born to Johann Adam and Eva Clara were living when they bade farewell to their oldest brother Nikolaus when he went off to serve in the French army. Little did they know their son Nikolaus would not return. As with many German families who received news of their sons who were fighting in foreign parts, they learned of his death. According to the Extrait Mortuaire (death notice) recorded in the Fell death register for 1812, he died on 27 November 1811 in Dax, France. He was a soldier and a chasseur. This designation is given to certain regiments of French light infantry or light cavalry to denote troops trained for rapid action.

I checked the death records for Dax, Landes, France, and did not find a death record for Nicolas GORGES dying on 27 November 1811. However, on 30 December 1811 Joseph BERNARD and Fabian SIEULANNE, an employee of the military hospital established in Dax, informed civil authorities of the deaths of fifteen men, one of them being Georges NICOLAS of the 20e Régiment de Chasseurs à Chevals. (20th Regiment of Light Cavalry). He was admitted to the hospital at Dax on 15 September 1811 and died on 27 December 1811. Could this be Nikolaus, and his first and last names were switched? There is a discrepancy in the month of death compared to the entry in the Fell death register.

In 1814 Prussian troops took Trier ending the French rule. After Napoleon’s defeat, the Franco-German borders of 1792 were restored during the Paris peace treaties of 1814 and 1815. Trier was proclaimed part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815. With the new political situation and taxes on goods crossing the western border, Trier’s economy began to steadily decline.

The End of French Influence

Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars on 13 Sep 1815, the GORGES-RODENS family would soon lose their patriarch. Anton, the now oldest son, was the informant for the death of Johann Adam GORGES who died on 5 May 1816.

Eva Clara was now a widow with six children, the youngest being only nine years old. Over the next half a dozen years she saw four of them marry. Anton married Anna Maria LEHNEN (1799-1864) on 15 February 1817 in Longuich and the religious ceremony took place two days later in Fell. Barbara married Matthias SCHMITT (18200-1828) on 30 January 1823 in Longuich and the religious ceremony took place the same day in Fell. Johann married his first wife Anna Maria GRACH (1798-1832) on 26 February 1824 in Longuich. Anna married Johann ASEM (1801-1853) on 28 February 1824 in Ruwer where the religious ceremony took place the next day.

The oldest daughter Barbara was widowed when she had been married only 5 years. Three months later, on 5 April 1728, her brother Johann GORGES was the informant on her death. Who would raise the little two boys who were four and less than a year old?

The youngest son Matthias married Anna Maria FELTES (1798-1875) on 19 February 1830 in Longuich. And finally, the last of the children to marry was Katharina who married Johann DIER on 3 January 1832 in Trier. The religious ceremony took place two days later at St. Matthias, in Trier.

Johann GORGES first wife Anna Maria GRACH died on 7 November 1832 in Fell. Two months later he was marrying his second wife, Anna Maria BOTZ (1808-1863) on 10 January 1833 in Fell. Johann and Anna Maria were my children’s 4th great-grandparents.

On 22 January 1836 Anton GORGES, the oldest son, was the informant for the death of his mother Eva Clara RODENS. She left five children, all married, whose situations may have become better from 1840 due to the improving economic climate in the area.


Genealogy Sketch

Name: Johann Adam GORGES
Parents: Johann Peter GORGES and Anna Maria HORSCH
Spouse: Eva Clara RODENS
Parents of Spouse: Nikolaus RODENS and Anna SCHUE
Whereabouts: Fell, Longuich, Trier, Germany
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: children’s 5th great-grandfather

1. Johann Adam GORGES and Eva Clara RODENS
2. Johann GORGES
3. Johann GORGES
4. Margaretha GORGES
5. Catharina “Catherine” “Ketty” “Ged” SCHWARTZ
6. Marcel Mathias MEDER
7. Cathy’s husband
8. Cathy’s children


  • Richard Schaffner, Einwohnerbuch der Orte Fell u. Fastrau mit Fellerhof, Fellerburg und den verschiedenen Mühlen im Gemeindebereich 1665-1905, 2008/09
  • Armin Giebel, Ortsfamilienbuch des StA Longuich bis Okt. 1931 (June 2013)
  • Armin Giebel, compiler, Familienbuch Standesamt Ruwer-Waldrach, (Stand: Sept. 2016)
  • Heribert Scholer, Familienbuch Farschweiler 1703-1899 A-Z, 1992
  • Thomas Schmitt and Richard Schaffner, Familienbuch der Pfarrei St. Klemens Ruwer mit den Orten, Ortsteilen. Höfen und Muhlen Mertesdorf (1083-1850), Eitelsback ab 1803, sowie Duisburgerhof, Grünhaus, Karthäuserhof, Koxmühle, Reisenmühle, Grünhäusermühle, Karlsmühle und Schippenmühle 1672-1905 (2007)
  • Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898 / Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898, (index), FamilySearch
  • Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch

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

52 Ancestors: #11 The Wollscheid-Barthelmes Family of Kirsch, Germany


Longuich-Kirsch is situated on the Moselle River, one of Germany’s most beautiful river landscapes. No less than nine roads lead from the old Roman road to this place founded around 100 A.D. Later, the village was governed for over 1200 years by the Trier Abbey of St. Maximin.

Longuich and Kirsch, the second being where the WOLLSCHEID-BARTHELMES family lived, are two places of Roman and Celtic origin which have grown together to form a place now known as Longuich-Kirsch. Longuich comes from the Latin longus vicus meaning long village; Kirsch, the German word for cherry, was formerly cressiacum, a Latinized Celtic word. Another interpretation of the name Longuich says it is of Celtic origin and derived from lunc-wich meaning crooked creek. The Mosel River actually curves and bends around the piece of land Longuich-Kirsch lies on.

The two yellow icons on the map above show the location of Kirsch and Longuich in relation with the Kalberger Hof (green icon) featured last week.

The WOLLSCHEID-BARTHELMES family lived in Kirsch before the two places grew together and formed what in German is known as a Doppelort, a double place or location.

Jacob’s Childhood

Johann WOLLSCHEID (1725-1773) married Anna Maria WILLWERT (1728-1789) on 10 January 1747[1] in the Catholic Church St. Michael in Trier, Germany. Trier, or Treves as it is known by the French and English, claims to be the oldest city in Germany.

Johann and Anna Maria had only two known children. Both were born in Tarforst on the outskirts of Trier. Johann Peter was born in 1748[2] and nearly 18 years later his brother Jacob was born on 13 March 1766.[2] I suspect more children were born to the couple. Family books for the towns in the area need to be consulted.

Little Jacob was barely eight years old when his father died on 24 April 1773.[2] His mother died when he was 23 years old on 27 October 1789.[2]

Katharina’s Childhood

Johann BARTHELMES (1728-1802) married Eva BARZEN (1729-1789) before 1758.[3] They had two sons and a daughter in 1758, 1760, and 1762 before their daughter Katharina was born on 12 July 1763 in Kirsch.[3] Her godparents were Peter GEIBEN and Katharina BARTZEN of Kirsch, a maternal aunt. Katharina’s birth was followed by two more sons and a daughter born in 1765, 1769, and 1771.[3] Katharina was 25 years old when her mother died on 13 February 1789.[3]

Jacob and Katharina Marry

Jacob “Jacobus” WOLLSCHEID married Katharina BARTHELMES on 25 January 1797 in Longuich, Rheinland, Germany.[4] Jacob was 30 and Katharina was 33. Their religious ceremony may have taken place in one of two churches. In the Kirsch Chapel, the succursal church of St. Sebastian, built in 1781 on the site of a former church built nearly 200 years before, or the St. Laurentius Parish Church built in 1771, also on the site of a former church. Both churches still stand today in [Zoom in on the yellow icons on map above for the locations of the churches.]

A little more than two years later they started their family with a son Johann Peter who was born on 7 April 1799 in Kirsch and was baptized the next day in Longuich.[4] The father was 33 years old and the mother was going on 36.

The following year their next child, a daughter, was born in Kirsch on Christmas Eve, in a new century. Anna Maria was baptized on Christmas Day 1800 in Longuich.[4]

A year later their second daughter Christina was born in Kirsch on 5 January 1802 and was baptized the next day in Longuich.[4]

Katharina’s father Johann BARTHELMES was about 74 years old when Christina was born. He’d outlived his wife by more than a dozen years. But by the time winter came around that year his death was being reported by his son-in-law Jacob on 15 November 1802.[3]

Seven months later death visited the little family once again. Their youngest, Christina, died on 2 June 1803 in Kirsch at the age of 17 months. She was buried the following day in Longuich.[4]

For two years Johann Peter and Anna Maria were the only children of Jacob and Katharina. Then on 24 November 1805, their last child, a daughter, Katharina was born in Kirsch and baptized the following day in Longuich.[4] Jacob was 39 years old and his wife Katharina was 42 years old.

Jacob’s only known brother Johann Peter WOLLSCHIED died 16 December 1821 in Morscheid. He left a widow and one son. Like his brother Jacob, he had also had three daughters but they all died when still young.

Exactly one year later Jacob’s wife Katharina BARTHELMES died on 16 December 1822 in Kirsch. Jacob followed her three years later on 5 January 1826. He was buried two days later on 7 January 1826.[5] He left a son and two daughters.


A double wedding took place on 17 January 1827, a year after the death of Jacob WOLLSCHEID. His first daughter Anna Maria married Nicolaus SCHMITT[6] and his youngest daughter Katharina married Caspari FERGER.[7] Both marriages took place at the church in Longuich. Katharina’s civil marriage took place the previous day. A mention of Anna Maria’s civil marriage was not found in the family books which were viewed.

After the girls’ marriages, their brother Johann Peter waited another year before marrying Angela KOCH on 7 February 1828 in Longuich.[8]

Katharina, the youngest of the WOLLSCHEID children, gave birth to six children in ten years. Three months after giving birth to her last child she died at the age of 34 years on 23 December 1839 in Kirsch.[9]

The only son, Johann Peter, died on 16 December 1854 in Longuich.[10] He was the father of seven children, two of whom died young. His wife outlived him by nearly 17 years.

My children’s fourth great-grandmother Anna Maria, also known as Marianna, was the last living WOLLSCHEID child. After living with her husband Nicolaus SCHMITT on the Kalberger Hof and raising a family, she died in Osweiler, Luxembourg, at the home of her son-in-law Johann SCHWARTZ on 3 November 1857.[11]

Two Grandsons Go to America

Jacob and Katharina’s only son Johann Peter had five children who grew to adulthood. The two youngest sons went to America a little more than a decade after their father died. Nicholas was the first to go after requesting permission to emigrate on 18 July 1865. His younger brother Paul applied on 29 May 1867 saying he would be able to live with his brother who was already in America. Paul was underage and had to have permission from three persons from his paternal and three persons from his maternal family. His application to emigrate was approved however, I have found no evidence he went or lived in America.[12]

His older brother Nicholas who came to America a few months after the end of the Civil War enlisted in the U.S. Army in Petersburg, Virginia, with Capt. Nicodemus on Valentine’s Day 1866. He was 24 years old, a 5-foot 4-inch wagon maker with brown eyes, light hair. He was discharged three years later in Winchester, Virginia when his service expired.[13] Less than two weeks later, on 27 February 1869, he married Johanna C. Schroeder,[14] a widow with a six years old daughter. Nicholas, his wife, and step-daughter lived in Bloomery, Hampshire County, West Virginia in 1870. By 1880 they had settled in Dunbar, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. There were no children in their household, the 16 years old step-daughter was married and living in the area. Nicholas died in 1899[15] leaving his widow Johanna who lived with her daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters. Johanna died in 1909.[16]

When Nicholas died the connection to America for this family ended. There may be some who would question this as the step-daughter’s death certificate suggests Nicholas Walsche was her father. Her mother is listed as Joana Roth which would have been her first married name and the surname of Ernestine’s father, John P. Roth.

Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964. Ancestry.com : accessed 17 March 2017.

Ernestine’s death certificate shows she was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Her obituary, below, gives White Front, Virginia. In the 1870 to 1940 census listings found for her, she was born in Maryland except in 1940 which has Pennsylvania. It is not the place of her birth which is important. She was born in 1863 in America and Nicholas did not apply to emigrate to America until 1865.

The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) 22 December 1956; Ancestry.com : accessed 17 March 2017

With this aside on the grandsons of Jacob WOLLSCHEID and Katharina BARTHELMES, I would like to end this post. It was fun getting into the U.S. records and following up on the possibility of there being WOLLSCHEID descendants of this couple still in America but the search was to no avail.


[1] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929 / Deutschland, Heiraten, 1558-1929, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 530,205. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4DM-CJD : accessed 12 March 2017), Joannes Wolschie… and Anna Maria Wilwerts, married 10 Jan 1747; citing Waldrach, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; father of bride Petri Wilwerts.
[2] Armin Giebel, compiler, Familienbuch Standesamt Ruwer-Waldrach, (Stand: Sept. 2016), page 3991, family 20387. Wollscheid-Willwertz family group.
[3] Ibid., page 83, family 310. Barthelmes-Barzen family group.
[4] Ibid., page 3996, family 20406. Wollscheid-Barthelmes family group.
[5] Ibid., page 3994-3995, family 20400. Wollscheid-Dehen family group.
[6] Germany Marriages, 1558-1929, FHL microfilm 469,141. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4FC-TYK : accessed 1 August 2015), Nicolaus Schmidt and Maria Anna Wolschett, married 17 Jan 1827, parents of groom Friderici Schmidt and Elisabethae Plein, parents of bride Jacobi Wolschett and Catharinae Barthelmaes; citing Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany.
[7] Ibid., (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4FC-TY6 : accessed 10 March 2017), Casparus Ferger and Catharina Wolschet, married 17 Jan 1827 in Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; parents of groom Matthiae Ferger and Gertrudis Biver; parents of bride Jacobi Wolschet and Catharinae Barthelmaes.
[8] Ibid., (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4FC-TBT : accessed 10 March 2017), Joannes Wollscheid and Angela Koch, married 07 Feb 1828; parents of groom Jacobi Wollscheid and Cath. Barthelmes; parents of bride Joannis Petri Koch and Barbarae Horsch.
[9] Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 / Deutschland Tote und Beerdigungen, 1582-1958, (index), FamilySearch, FHL microfilm 469,141. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4MS-JPY : 28 November 2014), Catharina Wolscheid Ferger; age 44; died  23 Dec 1839 in Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; buried 26 Dec 1839; marital status married; spouse Caspari Ferger.
[10] Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4MS-VJ4 : accessed 15 March 2017), Petrus Wollscheid; died 16 Dec 1854 in Longuich, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany; age 55; marital status married; spouse Angelae Coch.
[11] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1662-1941 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Rosport > Décès 1853-1891 > image 52 of 510. 1857 Death Record No. 24. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYJ3-VZ7?cc=1709358&wc=9RY9-16X%3A130314401%2C130472201 : accessed 13 March 2017).
[12] Armin Giebel, Ortsfamilienbuch des StA Longuich bis Okt. 1931 (June 2013), page 2378-2379, family 11530. Wollscheid-Koch family group.
[13] Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls); Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Ancestry.com : accessed 15 March 2017
[14] Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X51K-SYN : accessed 16 March 2017), Jno. P. Wollscheid in entry for …id…olar Wollscheid and Johanna Schraider, 27 Feb 1869; citing Winchester, Frederick, Virginia, reference 106; FHL microfilm 2,048,496.
[15] Find A Grave Memorial# 100851368, Find A Grave (https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=100851368 : accessed 16 March 2017)
[16] Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964, database, Ancestry.com : accessed 17 March 2017.

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