A few months back, I posted about finding the birth record for Margarethe Kremer, my second great-grandmother. The record was found in FamilySearch’s Luxembourg Civil Registrations record collection. Periodically, over the last few months, I’ve continued to review more of these records, working mainly on the line of Margarethe’s husband Johann Schwatrz. Research was going well, even though I can’t read German (or even French, which started to appear the further back I went). I can get the gist of the records since they follow a pre-printed register, and therefore, a (usually) predictable pattern. While I had much success with the Schwartz family (going back two more generations than previously known), I can’t say the same for the Kremer side. To illustrate the research path I took and ultimately present my predicament, I will outline what I did, step by step.
- It all started with the information found on the marriage license for John Schwartz and Margarethe Kremer (Kane County, Illinois; 1888). Margarethe’s parents were listed as John Kremer and Magdalena Terres, and her place of birth was “Konsdorf,” Luxembourg. This information, coupled with an alleged date of birth from Margarethe’s death certificate (Kane County, Illinois; 1945), gave me a place to start while looking at the Luxembourg birth records. And there is was, in the right place, the same birth date, and the correct (sort of) parents. The birth record (Consdorf, 1866) listed the parents as Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres. Well, I though, everything else is spot-on, so perhaps someone in one of the records goofed.
- I continued looking though the birth records and found five more births in Consdorf (from 1857 to 1870), where the parents were listed as Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres. A marriage record (Consdorf, 1857) confirmed this union and listed their parents respectively as Franz Kremer and Catharina Muller, and Mathias Terres and Maria Sinnen.
- I then began to search for the birth records for Johann Kremer and Catharina Terres. There are two possibilities for Johann, one in 1824 and one in 1829, both born to Franz Kremer and Catharina Muller (later research did not find a death for a Johann to these parents from 1824 to 1829 to suggest the reuse of the name due to death of an earlier child, so I’m not really sure what’s going on here—but that’s another mystery for another time). I noticed that there were never any records for the surname Terres and thought perhaps Catharina was from another location. I went back to their marriage record and realized that she was from the neighboring town of Rosport. So off to the birth records in that area. Starting in 1820, I found the birth of Catharina Terres in 1825, daughter of Mathias Terres and Maria Sinnen. Perfect! (I also realized, if I’m reading the German and handwriting correctly, that their ages at marriage were 32 and 31, making the Johann born in 1824 the likely suspect.)
- Eventually, I moved on to the death records for Consdorf, from 1821 to 1890. In 1860, I found the death of Catharina Terres (they record women with their maiden name), born in Rosport, daughter of Mathias Terres and Maria Sinnen. Not even thinking about it (note to self, don’t do serious research when you’re in a bad mood), I recorded the death in my database. This was yesterday. Today, with a slightly clearer head, I noticed that something didn’t seem right. Catharina, who apparently died in 1860, had four more children between 1860 and 1870. Huh???
- I’ve gone back over the records several times and cannot figure out what happened here. Each of the children born between 1860 and 1870 all say Catharina “Theres,” which is a variant (especially when the surname never appears in this location, ever from what I can tell). Catharina’s marriage record ties her to her birth record, both in turn seemingly connecting her to this death record. But what if I’m reading the death record wrong? I can see the parents names, but I’m having a hard time deciphering the rest of the record. In neighboring towns, if the female was married, they would list her parents, as well as her spouse (deceased or not). This record also contains the name Pierre Kremer, which may be the person who reported the death (if the death records follow the same pattern as the birth record). I’m also having a hard time reading the age at death of Catharina. I don’t get it. Name matches, parents are the same across all records, all three records indicate a birth in Rosport…again, I say, “huh?”
To say I’m confused would be an understatement. Perhaps I’ve screwed up somewhere. Perhaps Mathias and Maria had two daughters names Catharina (odd, but you never know, there appear to be two Johanns in the Kremer family, with two more born in later years, with at least one of the previous, my ancestor, living). And remember, my second great-grandmother listed a completely different first name (Magdalena) for her mother when she applied for a marriage license. While all of the other records so far would indicate that her mother’s name was Catharina, maybe the name Magdalena means something and is some sort of clue. Who knows.
At this point, my first step has got to be getting the 1860 death record for Catharine Terres translated. It’s the only way I can know for sure (I hope) that they either are, or are not, the same person. If anyone wants to take a stab, I’ve inserted the death record below, but a larger version can be viewed on the FamilySearch website by clicking here (record no. 30, top left). Any help at this point would be welcomed!!