Mathias Kersten (my second great-grandfather)
Mathias was born to Daniel and Margaretha Gierten on 24 March 1843 in Manderfeld, now Belgium. He was baptized at the St. Lamertus Parish in Manderfeld. We will explore St. Lambertus in more detail at a later time.
In order to understand my family history, I have had to learn about the history of my ancestors. For my ancestors lived through a tumultuous time. The borders are the remains of history and the symbols of the struggles faced. As I have mentioned before, I am grateful for the research done by my genealogical minded ancestors.
If you look on a map for the Eifel region, you can see that it west of the Rhine River. As we zero in on the Hamlet of Hergersberg and nearby Manderfeld (both are today on the Belgian side), we begin to learn much about our German roots. The village of Manderfeld is located in the eastern tip of eastern Belgium.
Mathias had four siblings, Gertrud, Magdalena, Peter (not my grandfather), and Wilhelm. Mathias was the oldest son, and according to “Stockerbenrecht”, (the practice where family property could not be divided and only one son or one daughter inherited the property. According to Agnes Perings (my second cousin, one time removed), “most of them remained single, stayed in the house and went on working with the rightful heir” (p. 7). Or they moved outside of the village. This is one of the reasons people from this region moved to the Ruhr region, where they could work in more urban areas or the mines of Northwest Germany.
Mathias grew up in Manderfeld. It is likely he took over the family farm, as so many of the families did in those days. His older brother Peter immigrated to the United States in 1887 (we will talk more about him in a later post).
Perings wrote that Anna-Maria and Mathias lived in the house Buresch after getting married, then they build the house of Kersten in 1873 (Perings, 1990). Anna-Maria and Mathias had nine children. Their oldest son Peter (my great-grandfather) immigrated to the United States, followed by his younger brother Hubert. Mathias died in January 1905 at the age of 61. Below are there children:
Margaretha, the eldest daughter of Mathias and Anna-Maria went to the Ruhr Region; she died at the age of 32. She married Aloys Heitkamp
Christoph the second child to Anna-Maria and Mathias died at the age of four.
Peter (my grandfather) immigrated to the United States
Johann Peter died at 13 years old
Maria stayed in the House of Kersten and married Kaspar Perings
Wilhelm-died at age 3
Magdalena married Aloys Heitkamp they went to live in Castrop (Ruhr Region) (not quite sure if this is the same Aloys as her sister married).
Katharina-died at age 9, by diphtheria
Johann-Hubert-emigrated to Chicago married Emma
I plan to write more about these ancestors. Join me as I continue to Explore Backwards!
Ancestors and descendants of Mathias Kersten and Anna Maria Reiter by Agnes Perings, 1990.