Lost and Found in Olingen

As a genealogy lover, I know a lot about brick walls.  I don’t always know how to go around them, over them, or through them; but I have a lot of experience with hitting brick walls.  You’ve probably heard the Albert Einstein quote about how insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and thinking we’ll get different results.  I think a little bit of insanity has to go hand in hand with genealogy. Sometimes the insanity of daring to believe that we’ll find something new or finally find someone pays off.  And that makes it all worth it.

In December, Wilbur Kalb left some comments about Wilhelm Konzen on my post “The Luxembourg Konzens”.  Wilbur wrote about Wilhelm Kontzem, son of Theodore Kontzem and Catharina Scholer, who married Catharina Hoffman in Betzdorf and had a daughter named Katharina Kontzem who married Jacob Gales.  He also said that Mathias Gales, son of Katharina Kontzem and Jacob Gales, immigrated to the USA and settled in Kansas. We hadn’t been able to find Wilhelm Konzen – mostly because we didn’t know which Olingen he was in.

Years ago, we’d noticed a Wilhelm Konzen of Olingen was listed as godfather on the baptism record of one of Theresa Wolff & Peter Konzen’s children.  This was before we’d looked in Lellig for the Konzens so we didn’t even know Wilhelm was Peter’s brother.  I wasn’t even thinking about Luxembourg so I thought Olingen was Ollingen, Germany, or even that it could be Dillingen, Germany.  I looked for Wilhelm Konzen in those towns with no luck and I think I even looked through an Olingen, Luxembourg film, but it wasn’t for any time periods that Wilhelm’s family was in the records.

So I set Wilhelm of Olingen to the side (even after we found out he was probably Peter’s brother) and hoped one day I’d get back to him. After hearing from Wilbur, I went straight to Family Search and looked through Luxembourg Civil Registration marriage records to confirm that Wilhelm of Olingen, Luxembourg, was our Wilhelm.  And he was.  In the process, I’ve found much more about Wilhelm, but there’s much more to find still.

Wilhelm Konzen* (born 23 Apr 1797) married Catharina Hoffman (born about 1793) on 11 Feb 1820 in Betzdorf, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg.  They had three children: Catharina Konzen (born 30 Nov 1820 in Olingen), Anna Catherine Konzen (born 19 Jan 1824 in Olingen), and Margaretha Konzen (born 24 Sep 1827 in Olingen, and died 9 Mar 1828 in Olingen).  Catharina Hoffman Konzen died on 4 Jul 1830 in Olingen, and Wilhelm married Barbara Schumacher on 8 Oct 1830 in Betzdorf.  They had one daughter Catherina Konzen (born 12 Dec 1831 in Olingen, and died 22 Mar 1832 in Olingen).  Barbara Schumacher Konzen died on 26 Apr 1834 in Olingen, and Wilhelm married Maria Margaretha Kieffer (born 6 Jan 1812 in Jeanharishof, Grevenmacher, Luxembourg) on 13 Jun 1836 in Betzdorf.  They had four children: Jean Konzen (born 10 Apr 1837 in Olingen), Elizabetha Konzen (born 6 May 1839 in Olingen), Jakob Konzen (born 29 Oct 1842 in Olingen), and Marie Konzen (born 11 Dec 1846 in Olingen).

According to the 1843 census in Olingen, Wilhelm/Guillaume’s profession is listed as cultivateur or farmer (it’s also listed as the whole family’s profession).  There are two other people living with the family, Jacques Dondlinger (born 1824) and Susanna Hansen (born 1830).  Both Jacques and Susanna are listed as an unmarried domestiques or household servants.  On the census taken on 11 Dec 1846, Wilhelm is listed as a laboureur or laborer.  The 1847 census lists Wilhelm Konzen as a journalier or day laborer and his wife Marie Kieffer is a housewife.  It notes that the family is Catholic and that Wilhelm has lived in Betzdorf Commune for 27 years and Marie Kieffer has lived in the commune for 12 years.  I haven’t been able to find Wilhelm in a census after 1847.

Wilhelm’s daughter Catharina Konzen (born 1820) married Jacob Gales on 27 Feb 1845 in Betzdorf, Luxembourg.  Catharina’s full sister Anna Catherine Konzen (born 1824) married Jacob/Jacques Gales’s brother Joannes/Jean Gales on 9 Feb 1846 in Betzdorf, Luxembourg.  Jacob and Jean Gales were born in Ernzen, Germany, to Mathias Gales and Elisabeth Kayl.  They also had a sister Helena Gales who was baptized in Ernzen in 1822.

So far, I’ve found two children of Catharina Konzen and Jacob Gales.  Mathias Gales was born 16 Feb 1846 in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, and Catharina Gales was born abt 1859 in Olingen.  In the 1871 census, Catharina & Jacob returned to Betzdorf commune with their children.  Their son Mathias married Elizabeth Apel in Machtum, Luxembourg, on 30 Dec 1868.  Mathias and Elizabeth along with two of their children lived with Catharina and Jacob and their daughter Catharina in 1871.  In the 1875 census, Mathias, Elizabeth, and their children live with Catharina and Jacob, but there is no Catharina Gales (born bat 1859) in the household.  However, there is an unmarried Susanna Konz (born in 1860) living with their household as a maid.  Mathias Gales & Elizabeth Apel and their children immigrated to the USA and settled in Kansas.

Anna Catherine Konzen and Jean Gales had six children: Jacques/Jacob (born 1 Feb 1847), Barbe/Barbara (born 20 Apr 1849), Mathias (born 12 Sep 1851), Maria (born 1 Feb 1854), Catherine (born 7 Dec 1856), and Catherine (born 11 Nov 1858).  On 5 Dec 1846, Anna Catherine and Jean lived in Dudelange, Luxembourg, where the census says they were tailleurs d’habits or tailors of clothes.  They returned to Olingen where they had lived for 4 months before the census was taken on 31 Dec 1847.  In the 1847, 1849, 1851, and 1852 censuses, Jean was still listed as a tailor.

The 1852 census has a 15-year-old Elisabeth Konsen living with Anna Catherine and Jean, she’s listed as a servante/maid.  This could be Anna Catherine’s half sister Elizabetha (born 1839), however she would 13 instead of 15.  According to the 1855 census, Jean is now a cultivateur/farmer and there is a servant living with the family named Anne Schmit aged 16 years.  In 1858, Jean is listed as a laborer and the family lives in an Olingen house named after the Kontzen (Konzen) family.  After 1858, Anna Catherine and Jean disappear from Betzdorf censuses.  Their son Mathias is still listed in Olingen in the 1871 and 1875 censuses.

I’m still looking for more information on what happens to Wilhelm and his children after they disappear off the Olingen census records.  And I’m looking for Anna Catherine and Jean and their children since I can only find their son Mathias (born 1851) after 1858.  It’s amazing how fast you can go from finding tons of information to hitting another wall.

*Note: Peter Konzen had eight siblings: Anna Maria (born 1781), Wilhelm (born 1783), Peter (1784-1786), Elizabeth (1787-1878), Anna (born 1791), Joannes (1794-1796), Marie (1795-1795), and Wilhelm (born 1797) of Olingen.


3 thoughts on “Lost and Found in Olingen

  1. Great census work! I know how time consuming the Luxembourg census work is, especially the early years when they did not include the “Controllisten”. For the years that have these lists, I did screenshots of the top of the list (including the information on enumeration district) and saved them to Evernote with the link, tagged with census, town, year for quick access. This has saved me a lot of time. The towns I am looking at have a lot more images than Betzdorf (where you found Olingen). I’m sure that you’ll soon be finding the key to open the next door in your brick wall!

    • Thanks, Cathy! Luxembourg censuses are something else, but they definitely could be worse. My biggest problem is trying to figure out where disappearing relatives have gone. I’m sure I’ll find them one day. Good luck with your work!

  2. Very good. After the 1847 Census, Wilhelm Kontzem took his wife and children and moved to Hüpperdingen in the Municipality of Heinerscheid. They were there at House No 49 in 1864 and House No 50 in 1867 but, by 1871, they were in nearby Kaesfurt. Wilhelm died in Kaesfurt on the day after Christmas, 26 December 1872. I don’t know what happened to his Wife No 3 ; she was gone after the 1867 Census but I could be having a Senior Moment.

    There were two Jacobs in the family of Franciscus Mathias Gales ( 1776 – 1857 ) and Elisabetha Kayl / Köll ( ca 1785 – 1845 ). The elder of them, the gendarme, was the one who actually married Katharina Kontzem. He was born on 19 February 1809 in Wincherange, on the German side of the Moselle River. At that time, it belonged to France but, previously, it was a part of Luxembourg. That’s why, despite being born on the wrong side of the Moselle River, Jacob was able to get a job with the National Gendarmerie. On 25 May 1870, he had to take a medical discharge and retire to his wife’s hometown, Olingen, on a pension. He died nine years later, on 10 June 1879, in Olingen. He and Katharina actually had four children, not two. That Catharina, born in 1859, is news to me ; I’ll have to check her out. But I can tell you that Mathias had a younger sister and a younger brother. The brother, Jacob, lived for almost 11 months, from 11 September 1853 to 3 August 1854, in Remich, Canton of Remich, LUX.

    The sister, Susanne, fared a lot better ; she lived for 79 years. She was born on 14 February 1849 in Niederanven, Canton of Luxembourg, LUX. She never married. She became Sister Eleuthere, a nun with the Sisters of the Christian Doctrine of Nancy on 10 August 1867 and a schoolteacher in the Primary School in Ettelbruck, LUX, on 16 January 1870. She retired on 1 January 1907 but she stayed in Ettelbruck and continued to help out around the school until she died on 19 January 1929, also in Ettelbruck. For her efforts, in 1897, she was awarded the Silver Medal of the Order of the Oak Crown by Adolphe, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, on his 80th birthday ( 24 July ).

    After her husband’s death, Katharina Kontzem Gales eventually moved to Ettelbruck to join her daughter, Sister Eleuthere, and died there on 24 April 1896.

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