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                        Henry and Catherine Nettgen


Luxembourg 
Luxembourg is one of Europe's oldest and smallest independent counties.  It lies in Northwest Europe where Germany, France and Belgium meet.  
Luxembourg covers an area that is smaller than Rhode Island.  Luxembourg is crisscrossed by rivers and dotted with the sort of rural hamlets 
that most people associate with fairy tales.  While Luxembourgers have close cultural ties with neighboring Belgium, France and Germany, 
Luxembourgers maintain an independent spirit as expressed in the words of their national anthem - Mir welle bleiwe wat mir sin - "We want to 
remain what we are".  The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy.  The grand duke (or duchess) is the chief executive.  
Almost all Luxembourgers speak Lutzburgesch, a German dialect (form).  French and German are taught in the schools.  Most books and newspapers 
are printed in German.  Luxembourgers are justifiably proud of their heritage.  When many of them immigrated to the United States, they carried 
this pride over to the New World.

Henry's Birth
Henry Nettgen was born in the village of Nommern, Canton of Mersch, Luxemborg, on September 13, 1843.  His birth certificate lists his given 
name as Henri Netgen.  Mersch is located in the geographical center of the country at the entrance to the Valley of the Seven Castles.  Mersch 
Castle dates back to the 12th century although it has been reconstructed and extended many times since.  Henry's family, as most families in 
Luxemborg, were Roman Catholics.  Luxembourg, a Roman-Catholic country, was not touched by the religious turmoil of the Reformation in the 
16th century. 

Henry's Journey to America
In 1870, Germany and France were engaged in a raging war.  Luxembourg was under the threat of annihilation by Prussia.  The Grand Duchy was a 
poor undeveloped farming country, where day laborers, village craftsmen and small landowners hardly could make a living. A series of bad 
harvests only increased the rampant poverty. Thus America appeared to be the dreamland, especially for the young and active generations, who 
would not put up with the hardships their forefathers had endured.  Henry Nettgen emigrated from Luxembourg to the United States around 1870.  
He was twenty-seven years old and may have been the first person by the name of Nettgen to immigrate to the United States.  

An Industrious Craftsman
In 1880, Henry, now age thirty-seven, worked as a Tailor.  We don't know what Henry's occupation was in Luxembourg.  We do know that so many 
Luxembourger became tailors that a popular joke in 1880 was that "in America the Luxembourg blacksmith becomes a tailor".  Many immigrant 
families of that time took in boarders.  Henry lived with a family of 10; Herbert, Mary and their eight children in Elyria Village, Lorain 
County, Ohio.  Herbert also worked as a Tailor.  Another boarder, a younger man, worked as a Tailor's apprentice.  

Catherine's Birth
Catherine Heinisch was born in Greiveldingen, Village of Stadtbredimus, Canton  of Remich, Luxembourg on February 19, 1858.  Today, Remich is 
one of the most attractive tourist resorts on the Luxembourg Moselle River. The original settlement was in pre-Roman-Gallo times although 
little remains of its ancient past. The church incorporates a Roman tower (12th century) on Roman foundations and the remains of the medieval 
fortress include the beautifully restored Porte St. Nicolas.  Luxembourg place names can have diverging German, French or Luxembourgish 
versions.  Normally the Luxembourg place names that can be found on the road maps and official modern documents are the French ones. In older 
records the German names can be found frequently. Signposts at the entrance of villages and towns bear the French name and underneath in italics 
the Luxembourgish name in case it differs. The Luxembourg place names are those used by the Luxembourgers in everyday life.  Greiveldingen is 
the German name for the place Catherine was born, the French name is Greiveldange, the Luxembourgish name is Greiweldeng.

Catherine's Journey to America
Twenty-one year old Catherine Heinisch traveled alone by train from Luxembourg, through Belgium to the port city of Antwerp, where she boarded 
a Red Star Line Ship named the Rhyland.  The ocean voyage took somewhere between eight to fourteen days. She arrived in the port of New York on 
June 23, 1879.  

Henry and Catherine's Wedding
On October 26, 1881, thirty-eight year old Henry and twenty-three year old Catherine  were married at the Church of Saint Mary on Carroll 
Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.  I understand the Luxemburger Gazette, a German Language newspaper, published an article on November 29, 1881, on 
page 5, about Henry and Catherine's October 26th wedding.  From, 1884 to 1890, the Cleveland City Directory listed, Henry and Catherine's 
address as 1102 Pearl Road, Cleveland Ohio.  

Henry and Catherine's First Six Children
August 1882, son Peter Henry was born, October 1883, son Nickolas was born and on March 1895, their son John was born.  
July 21,1886, Henry and Catherine's son H.F. was born.  On Oct 6, 1885, when he was just 11 weeks old, baby Nettgen died of Hydrociphalm.  
(I assume Hydrociphalm was a misspelling and the death certificate should have specified Hydrocephalus, a neurological condition that occurs 
when there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain.)  
On July 1887, daughter Catherine was born.  On May 29, 1889, wife Catherine had a stillborn baby girl.  

Older Brother Peter Nettgen Leaves Luxembourg
Brother Peter Nettgen arrived in the United States around 1891, with his wife Elizabeth and their three youngest children; Maria, Jacob and 
Peter.  Their two oldest children Margareth and Elizabeth immigrated to America in a separate trip.  Brothers Peter and Henry lived next door to 
each on Joseph Street in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Consular Affairs
In the nineteenth century, the small Grand Duchy of Luxembourg could not afford to send an ambassador to the United States.  The lack of direct 
representation of the Grand Duchy was felt especially keenly by many Luxembourgers in the United States who until they became citizens of the 
United States were obliged to turn to private individual, such as bankers and journalists, for assistance or information. In 1891-1892, the 
Luxembourger community in the United States presented a petition to the chamber of deputies of the Grand Duchy.  This petition nominated 
Nicholas Gonner to be consul in the United States.  1,551 men signed that petition, including brothers Henry and Peter Nettgen.  In spite of 
this petition, it wasn't until 1920, that Luxembourg appointed a representative to the United States. 

Henry and Catherine's Seventh Child
On Jun 2, 1894, Henry and Catherine's son Henry John Peter was born.

Tragedy strikes Peter and Elizabeth's Family
In 1895, Henry and Catherine lived at 12 Joseph Street, Cleveland Ohio.   Henry's older brother, Peter Nettgen, lived next door at 10 Joseph 
Street.  On Saturday, November 16, 1895, an electrically driven streetcar, loaded with people, plunged from the dizzy heights of the Central 
Viaduct.  Eighteen people died in that accident, among them, Peter Nettgen's twenty-two year old daughter, Maria, a devout member of 
St. Michael's Church on Scranton Avenue.  This terrible accident was the Cleveland Press's front-page story for days and included an artist 
sketch of pretty Maria.

Henry and Catherine's Eighth Child
On January 1896, Henry and Catherine's last child was born.  They named her Marie. After Marie's birth the family moved three times.  

The Last We Know of Peter and Elizabeth's Nettgen's Family
Peter's youngest son, Peter Nettgen, served in U.S. Hospital Corps., in the Spanish-American war of 1898.  His picture is on page 215, of 
Nickolas Gonner's Book, Luxembourgers in the New World.  I understand Peter and Elizabeth's family later moved to Rogers Park, Ill.

Henry's Taylor Shop 
The 1910 census recorded Henry Nettgen was working as a Taylor in His Own Business.  Henry worked in this shop until he was eighty-four or 
eighty-five years old.  His Granddaughter Dorothy, nicknamed Dolly, remembers visiting him in this shop. 

Henry and Catherine's Death
On January 17, 1929, Henry, age eighty-five, died at home from Heart Failure. On Jan 05, 1939, Catherine Nettgen, now 80 years old and 
diabetic, died from dry gangrene in her left foot.  Catherine was buried with her husband Henry in St. Mary's Cemetery, (also known as Burton 
Street Cemetery), on West 41 Street, Cleveland Ohio.  The same cemetery their two babies had been buried in 1886 and 1889.  

Henry and Catherine's Legacy
As of January 2014, there are only a handful of people in the United States who were born with the name of Nettgen and all of them have 
descended from Henry and Catherine Nettgen.   Henry and Catherine's family spans 6 generations and total more than 80 descendants.