by Lois Jones - December 2002
The first of Franz's ancestors I found in Valwig Baptismal Records was Johann Zenz and his wife Helena. Johann was the Villicus (Manager) of Villa Huntgen and he and Helena started baptizing children in Valwig in 1704. Johann and Helena's son Johann Leonard also managed Villa Huntgen. For continuity and clarity, I have spelled Zenz the way it is spelled today. However in the 18th Century, Zenz was spelled in a variety of ways including Zens, Zensen, Zentz, Zentzen and Zenzen. To illustrate this, in 1820 when Lorenz Zenz married, he signed his name Zenz on the wedding record. John Jacob, Lorenz' father, signed his name Zentz. However Lorenz was the younger man and his descendents spell their names Zenz to this day.
Johann Leonard Zenz married Maria Gertrud Barten on July 25, 1741 in
Lutz. Gertrud's father, Franz Barten, was a Mayor, Church Councilman, and
Miller in Lutz. Leonard and Gertrud had nine children. Remarkably all nine
children survived childhood and married. The following are Leonard and
Johann Zenz, Villicus of Villa Nova in Valwigerburg. Leonard and Gertrud's first child, Johann Zenz married Anna Maria Munch on April 9, 1771 in Valwig. Anna Maria's father was Gangolphus Munch a miller in Gering, Germany. Johann Zenz and Anna Maria Munch were the parents of Maria Gertrud Zenz who married Theodor Goebel of Valwig. The Goebel's were the parents of Anna Maria Goebel (1805-1862) who married Henry Cochems (1807-1881). Therefore everyone descended from Henry Cocehms is also descended from Johann and Helena Zenz.
Anton Zenz the fifth child of Zenz/Munch married Maria Margaret Mertens of Ediger on November 22, 1803. Anton moved to Ediger and became a winzer in that town. In 1995 Gail Zenz prepared a Zenz Family Book. Gail Zenz and her family are descended from Anton Zenz and over 50% of the Zenz's in her family book are descended from Johann and Helena Zenz.
Jacob Zenz, Winzer. Leonard's sixth child, Jacob, married Maria Joanna Hermes on January 16, 1781 in Valwig. Maria Joanna was descended from Timan Cochems' youngest son Johann Cochems (1638-1691). Maria Joanna was a widow and the mother of five children when she married Jacob Zenz. Together Jacob and Maria Joanna had ten more children, for a total of 15 children. Unlike his parent's children, most of Jacob's children and stepchildren did not survive childhood. According to death records, nine of Jacob's 15 children and stepchildren died before the age of ten. Another stepchild died at the age of 22. Of the remaining five children I could find a marriage record for only three of them. One of the three, and the only male, was Lorenz Zenz (Franz's father).
Lorenz Zenz was born on June 4, 1790 in Valwig. He married Maria Margaret
Heimes on May 15, 1820 in Valwig. Maria Margaret Heimes was born on October
16, 1782 in Cond. When the couple married Lorenz was 29 and Margaret was
37. According to their marriage certificate Lorenz was a mauer (mason)
from Valwig and Maria Margaret was a dienstmagd (domestic) in the town
of Cochem. Both Lorenz and his father Jacob signed the marriage certificate.
The following are Lorenz and Maria Margaret's children, all born in Valwig.
Ten months after their marriage, Maria Margaret gave birth to an infant who was only recorded in the death records of Valwig. At the age of 39 Maria Margaret gave birth to Johann Peter. When she was 43, Maria Margaret bore her only daughter, Anna Margaret. The last child, Franz Joseph, was born in 1828 when Maria Margaret was 45 1/2 years old. Franz Joseph's civil birth record lists Lorenz' occupation as Winzer.
The oldest son, Johann Peter was a winzer when he married Anna Maria Bruck in 1858. In that same year, the second child Anna Margaret Zenz married Peter Joseph Jobelius who also was a winzer. Johann Peter Zenz and his wife did not have any children. However the Jobelius's had five children before Peter Joseph Jobelius's untimely death at about age 39, five months before the birth of his fifth child. According to Valwig Church Records, our Jobelius cousins were still marrying and baptizing children in Valwig in the 1960's.
On April 27, 1844, at the age of 53, Lorenz passed away. His son Johann Peter reported the death to the authorities. Lorenz's widow Maria Margaret outlived him by 20 years. She died at the age of 82 on January 28, 1865.
Franz Joseph Zenz, Winzer. Franz Joseph Zenz (3rd child of Zenz/Heimes) and Anna Maria (Anna II) Cochems were married on February 21, 1865 in Cochem. The marriage took place 24 days after Franz's mother died. Franz and Anna's civil marriage was recorded on February 17, 1865, four days before the church ceremony. On the civil marriage document Franz Joseph was listed as a 36 year old winzer from Valwig. The bride, Anna Maria Cochems, was described as 25 years old, from Cochem, without occupation, but formerly a schlosser. Signing as witnesses to the marriage were Paul Lenz, winzer, John Albert Stein, farmer, John Schneider, winzer and Peter Joseph Jobelius a 39 year old winzer. The last man, Jobelius, was Franz's brother-in-law and died two months later. Franz, Anna II and the bride's father, Henry Cochems, also signed the certificate. Franz's parents and Anna's mother were deceased.
Franz and Anna's children, all born in Valwig, include:
The first child, Margaret was born on January 31, 1866 at seven in the evening. She died at the age of six on May 16, 1872 at six in the evening. Franz and his brother Peter reported the death and both men signed the certificate.
John House reports that Franz had served in the German military and also owned a vineyard. I was not able to find proof that Franz served in the military. Many German military records were destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. However when Franz was a young man, men were required to serve in the German military. And while not all men actually did spend time in the military, it is possible that Franz did serve. German civil records are clear however that Franz was a winzer when he married, a winzer when his two daughters were born and a winzer when he died.
Franz died on January 22, 1882, at five in the afternoon. The following day Franz's brother Peter reported the death and signed the death certificate. The death record states that Franz Joseph was a winzer and the son of Lorenz Zenz and Maria Margaret Heimes who were both winzers. Peter had to perform a similar task 37 years before in 1844 when he reported his father, Lorenz Zenz's death. It probably did not escape Peter's notice that his brother and father died at the exact same age, 53.
Franz's older brother, Peter, died April 7, 1893 at the age of 70. His sister, Anna Margaret, died on August 4, 1891 at the age of 65. His mother died at the age of 82. Franz's Grandfather Zenz lived to the age of 78 and his Grandfather Heimes lived to the age of 82.
What if Franz had lived to the age of 70 like his brother Peter? Had Franz lived to the age of 70, or 17 years longer, it is possible that his children would never have left Germany. Just 17 more years and his youngest child would have been 20 when Franz died. If Franz had lived 17 more years it is possible his children would have started careers and married in Germany and never immigrated to the United States. However Franz did not have a longer life span like his mother, siblings or grandfathers. Instead Franz died at the same age as his father, age 53.
When Anna II married Franz Zenz she probably had no plan but to live in Valwig for the rest of her life. However in the Spring of 1882 at the age of 42, Anna was a widow with five children to raise on her own. Anna III was 12-1/2, Peter 10, Anton 8, Frank 6 and John 3. Anna's father Henry Cochems died in 1881 and Anna's remaining sister died in 1884. Anna's three brothers had emigrated to the United States. In the mid 1880's Anna found herself in the Country of her birth with no parents or siblings nearby. I am sure Anna had strong family support from her in-laws in Valwig. Franz's brother, Peter and sister, Anna Margaret, and sister-in-law, Anna Maria had each been godparents for Franz and Anna's first three children. However Anna also was aware that her in-laws were quite a bit older than her. Indeed by 1893, seven years after Anna and her children left Germany, Franz's brother, sister and sister-in-law were all deceased.
So Anna had several good reasons to leave Germany. Plus John House states he was told Anna came to the United States because she did not want her four sons to serve in the German military as their father had done. Hence in 1886 Anna and her children traveled to America.
It is quite probable that many of the Zenz's in Valwig today are descended from Johann and Helena Zenz, the first of my Zenz ancestors found in Valwig records. However we descendents of Franz and Anna Zenz have no immediate Zenz ancestors in Germany. According to records available to me, Jacob Zenz had only one son, Lorenz, who had children and Lorenz had only one son, Franz, who had children. And of course, all of Franz's children came to the United States with their mother Anna.
However, Franz Zenz' sister Anna Margaret Zenz Jobelius never emigrated and her descendents were still baptizing children in Valwig into the 1960's. The following are my Jobelius cousins who were killed in World War I and World War II as recorded in the Valwig Catholic Church death records for both wars:
Carl Johann Jobelius, died May 14, 1917, in Russia near Doraburg, age 23
Johann Jobelius, died c. February 10, 1918
Gunther Jobelius, died July 24, 1944, near Warsaw
Josephina Jobelius, died January 5, 1945, in Cochem, age 20.