The MICHELAU family -- From Luxembourg to the USA


1930 - 2014 
GRAYSLAKE - Kathryn "Kate" Michelau, a resident of Grayslake, passed away March 22, 2014 at Lexington Home in Lake Zurich at the age of 84. She was born February 22, 1930 in McHenry County to Ford and Mayme (nee: Frett) Jackson. Kate married Fred "Benny" Michelau on January 5, 1952 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Johnsburg. She helped manage Michelau's Greenhouse and farm stand in Grayslake for many years. Kate enjoyed socializing with the customers. She was a big sports fan and attended many of her children's and grandchildren's sporting events. She loved to prepare homemade jam and give it to her friends with the request of "bring back the empty jars." Kate is survived by her children Debby (Mark Mueller) Michelau of Montello, WI, John (Leslie) of Johnsburg, Diane (Fred) Bryant of Lake Zurich, Ben of Trevor, WI, and Bernadine Michelau of Algonquin, her grandchildren John, Scott, Bob, Hallie, Mike and Joey Michelau, Ricky and Danny Bryant, and Jeff and Jay Halvorsen, her great grandchildren Addison, Rohnan and Ryker Michelau, and her brother Ed Jackson. She was preceded in death by her husband, her sisters Connie and Marie, and her brothers George, Joe, Art, and Jim. A memorial visitation is scheduled for Friday March 28, 2014 from 4:00pm until 9:00pm at St. Gilbert Catholic Church, 301 E. Belvidere Rd., Grayslake, IL 60030. The memorial mass is scheduled for Saturday March 29, 2014 at 10:00am at the church. Interment will be held privately. All funeral arrangements were entrusted to Strang Funeral Chapel & Crematorium. For further information, please call 847-223-8122 or visit

The Michelau brothers (and a sister) came to Chicago from Luxembourg one by one, about 100 years ago. They were all born in Harlingen (also called Harlange) population at the time about 300, in the canton of Wiltz, adjacent to the Belgian border and just a few miles northwest of Boulaide. Their parents were Jean Pierre MICHELAU and Barbe DAPFONTAINE. This webpage traces their family history before and after their immigration.


Early History of the MICHELAU families in Luxembourg

There is a town called Michelau in the commune of Bourscheid, canton Diekirch, last picture at bottom, where the Michelau family might have originated. The name in the Lëtzebuergesch language is Mëchela. There is also an older town in Germany called Michelau.

Nicolas MICHELAU was born about 1726 in Erpeldingen, Diekirch, Luxembourg, and died on April 16 1800 in Goesdorf, Luxembourg. On January 25 1756 in Goesdorf he married Margaretha LESCHER (or LESCHETTE, born about 1731 ex Goesdorf, died January 18 1798 in Goesdorf.) They had 3 children:

  1. Dominique MICHELAU born about 1763 in Goesdorf, Luxembourg. On March 31 1794 in Goesdorf he married Anne BERCKEL (born August 18 1768 in Neunhausen, Luxembourg, died on April 12 1827 in Goesdorf). She was the daughter of Antoine BERCKEL (about 1731-1771) and Maria Catharina MAJERES (born about 1734.)

  2. Susanne MECHELA (born 1764, died after 1815). On March 18 1792 in Wiltz, Luxembourg, she married Pierre KUFFER 1764-1804. (The KUFFER children were Nicolas 1793, Jean Pierre 1794-1821, Anne Catherine 1797, Marguerite 1803). Then on May 4 1808 in Wiltz, Luxembourg, Susanne married Nicolas MAJERUS.

  3. Catherine MICHELAU (born about 1770.) On January 8 1797 in Wiltz, Luxembourg she married Pierre WEBER [born about 1767, the son of Jean WEBER (1737-1797) and Catherine PÖMMERS (1742-1797)]. No known children.

Dominique MICHELAU and Anne BERCKEL had 2 children:

  1. Martin MICHELAU born on May 17 1801 in Goesdorf, Luxembourg. On April 19, 1826, he married Elisabeth GRAFF (or GRAAFT) born on January 17 1801 in Merscheid, Luxembourg, the daughter of Jean Nicolas GRAFF (about 1778- May 25 1828 in Merscheid) and Catherine THULL (born about 1783, died April 25 1837 in Merscheid.) Merscheid is a town just south of Heiderscheid.

  2. Anne Marie MICHELAU 1803-1857 born on August 21 1803, Goesdorf, Luxembourg, died on April 30 1857 in Goesdorf. On January 17 1828 in Goesdorf, she married Pierre SCHAUL (born on August 11 1802 Oberfeulen, Luxembourg, died after 1863, the son of Michel SCHAUL ca 1765-1845 and Anne Marguerite BENTZ 1775-1816) and had the following children: Catherine 1828, Catherine 1832, Marie Catherine 1834.

Martin MICHELAU and Elisabeth GRAFF had two children:

  1. Catherine MICHELAU was born Apr 6 1827 in Merscheid. She married Martin DEVILLE on Apr 26 1854. They had 8 children including a son Rodolphe (Adolph) DEVILLE born Mar 19 1855, who married Barbara UNSEN (born Lintgen, Lux, Mar 11 1857, emigrated Apr 1883, died Apr 4 1941, the daughter of Adam and Magdelena Unsen) on January 19 1886 in Minneapolis MN. Some of the DEVILLE descendents ended up in South Dakota.

  2. Jean Pierre MICHELAU was born Oct 23 1833 in Merscheid, Luxembourg, and died Aug 12 1904 in Harlingen, Luxembourg. On Apr 26 1864 he married Barbe DAPFONTAINE who was born Mar 1 1845 in Harlingen, and died Nov 23 1891 in Harlingen. Jean-Pierre and Barbe had 12 children, all born in Harlingen. Most of the children went to the USA.

History of the MICHELAU families in the USA

The 12 children of Jean-Pierre MICHELAU and Barbe DAPFONTAINE were

1. Martin MICHELAU (Apr 28 1865 - Jul 15 1866) age 14 months

2. Magdalena MICHELAU (Jul 21 1866 - Apr 24 1867) age 9 months

3. Nicolas MICHELAU (Feb 26 1869-?)(He was said to have stayed in Lux and died young.) He m Marie MATHIEU (Aug 30 1870 Tarchamps- ) on May 18 1901

4. Anne Catherine MICHELAU (Feb 11 1871- July 4 1950) married Ernest Coleridge. They lived in New York (Schenectady, then Albany.) Ernest died before 1920. Anne was a nurse. By 1930 she lived in Los Angeles, and died in San Francisco CA in 1950. They had a daughter Barbara (born around 1903) and a son.

5. Pierre MICHELAU (Aug 6 1873- Aug 2 1951) m Anni CLEMENT (Jan 5 1871- Oct 27 1943), the daughter of Johann Clement of Harlange and Marie-Catherine Schleich of Boulaide-Moulin, Luxembourg. According to the immigrant records Peter had visited Chicago in 1893 but returned to Luxembourg. Then on Jul 21 1897 "Peter Michelan" (misspelled), age 24, arrived on the ship Noordland on a visit to the home of his brother John in Chicago.) Then on another trip "Peter Michelou" arrived Mar 9 1898 on the Kensington, but this time he listed his home as West Ridge IL. His future wife Anne Clement was traveling on the same ship. They were both identified as single and did not appear to be traveling together, although they both came from Harlingen, the same small town, and surely saw each other on the ship. They were surprised when they met again later in Chicago. They married on Feb 13, 1899.  They are in the 1900 census as "Michelow," living on Devon Ave a block west of Damen. Their first 6 children were born while the family were members of St Henry's church. Peter learned the greenhouse business while working for the Schwind family in Evanston. Those greenhouses were along Howard Street west of Asbury Ave. At some point Peter was ill from typhoid fever and recuperated at Alexian Brothers Hospital. Then about 1910 they moved to 205 Asbury Ave, and owned their own greenhouses. Their last 3 were baptized at St Nicholas church in Evanston. 

Peter and Anni MICHELAU had 9 kids:

  1. Mary MICHELAU (Sep 26 1899- Jul 21 1961) m Nicholas ENDRE (Apr 18 1897- Sep 14 1978) 
  2. Barbara "Bebe" MICHELAU (Feb 26 1901- Sep 7 1980) m Matthias N STEFFEN (-Feb 8 1956)
  3. Fred "Fritz" MICHELAU (Dec 12 1902- Aug 21 1928) He was a member of the Evanston Fire Department. He and his fiancee Marie Hoffmann of Wilmette lost their balance while changing seats in a canoe in Echo Lake, Muskegon MI. Fred drowned but Marie was rescued.)
  4. Magdelyn Helen "Mic" MICHELAU (Mar 24, 1904- Jun 3 1986) m John WINANDY (-Dec 26 1957)
  5. Michael MICHELAU (Sep 18 1906- Sep 8 1993) m Clara SCHWALL (Jan 8 1913-Jan 13 1990)
  6. Joseph "Spiv" MICHELAU (Mar 11 1908-Mar 3 1972) m Gladys ENGELS (b about 1911) on Jul 31 1942
  7. Agnes MICHELAU (Aug 2 1912-Jan 9 2005) m Richard STICKLER (Jan 10 1911 IL -Jan. 3 2001 CA)
  8. John P "Slim" "Jim" MICHELAU (Mar 15 1914- Aug 11 1995) m Mary NELLESSEN (Jan 11 1918 -Jun 10 2003)
  9. Margaret MICHELAU (1916-1918 died age 2 yrs.)

On that same 1898 voyage to the US was Anni's brother Frederic ("Fritz") CLEMENT (1874-1932). Two of Anni's sisters and a cousin also came to the US. In fact, John Peter STORCK and Josephine CLEMENT and their kids came to the US in 1914 along with John MICHELAU (#7 below). Other CLEMENTs stayed in Luxembourg. See my Clement page for details of this complex family I have been studying.

6. Etienne MICHELAU (twin) (Sept 26 1875- Jan 6 1945 Liefringen, Luxembourg). (Etienne is a form of Stephan or Steven.) He might have come to the US but returned to Luxembourg and married Elisabeth HEINTZ (? - Aug 16 1941 in Wiltz) in 1904. See article under Joseph, below. 

  1. Anne MICHELAU (July 24, 1915 Harlange- June 16, 2006 Tarchamps, Luxembourg) married Leonard Burggraff on Oct 15 1940
  2. Berthe MICHELAU born in Liefringen (Liefrange) about 1921. She married Nicolas Aloyse MACK (Jul 17 1927 Bavigne- Jan 18 1991 Ettelbrück.)

7. Jean MICHELAU  (twin) (Sept 26 1875- before April 1930) Called "Henny" for "John Henry", he married Susanne SALENTINY (Aug 6 1882- Jan 1 1919) on Oct 27 1907. Susanne was born in Montigny-les-Tilleuls, Belgium, the daughter of Pierre SALENTINY and Marie EVEN. They were living in Harlange. In early 1914 Jean and Susanne Michelau sold their house and goods and steamed to New York, arriving on May 17 1914 on the Lapland. He appears  as "John Michelan," age 38, with wife Susanne Michelan, age 31, son Pierre Michelan, age 4, daughter Marie Michelan, age 7 (note: ages reversed), accompanied by Susanne's father Pierre Salentiny, age 70 (b Apr 7 1843 in Eschdorf). They were headed to see his brother Joseph. He referred to a previous visit in 1906/1907. They later lived in Niles Center (Skokie.) While Susanne suffered from cancer, her father helped to raise their two kids. She died at age 36 on Jan 1 1919.  Then John married Margaret WEBER who was born Nov 25, 1880 in Schieren, Luxembourg. They had two more children. John died of pneumonia and then Margaret died from car crash injuries on Aug 17 1932 in Evanston, IL. The two youngest children then went to live with Art and Mary CLESEN.

  1. Peter P MICHELAU (Sept 9 1908 Harlingen, Lux.- Nov 20 1959 Chicago) never married.
  2. Mary Ann MICHELAU (Jun 21 1912 Harlingen, Lux.- May 1 2009 Wheeling IL) m Arthur CLESEN (March 7 1913 Chicago- Apr 22 1977 Wheeling IL) on Nov 28, 1936.
  3. John J. MICHELAU (Dec 13 1920- Oct 1985) m Ruth BUTHMAN (-Sep 26 2006)
  4. George Joseph MICHELAU (Jun 6 1922- Jan 21 1969 Highwood IL.) He was in the US Army stationed at Newfoundland and married Roberta Walters in April 1956.

8. Marie Catherine MICHELAU (Nov 30, 1877-?) stayed in Luxembourg. She married Joseph MALGET.

9. Michel MICHELAU "Mike" (Feb 19, 1880 - Aug 24 1953) m. Mildred BLASCHKE (July 10 1890- Aug 28 1970) Dundee MN. No ship record found. 6 kids all of Minnesota. Three sons and two grandsons (sons of Hilda) died in a 1974 house fire in Nobles County MN.

  1. Anton MICHELAU (Jan 9 1914- Oct 17 1985 Anoka Co MN) m Vivian M Vosberg (Mar 21 1921- Oct 30 1992 Lyon Co MN)
  2. Albert MICHELAU (Mar 9 1916- Oct 29 1990) m Darlene JOHNSON (Nov 10 1921- Oct 4 2009)
  3. Frank Joseph MICHELAU (Feb 9 1918- Feb 17 1974) m Lucille CHEPA (Sep 8 1926 -May 10 1999 Jackson Co. MN)
  4. John Nick MICHELAU (Jun 10 1920- Feb 17 1974) never married
  5. Hilda Mathilda MICHELAU (Mar 24 1923- Jul 11 1966) m Bernard KIRCHNER (Dec 13 1917-May 17 1956) Nobles Co MN
  6. Raymond John MICHELAU (May 28 1925- Feb 17 1974) never married

10. Joseph MICHELAU (Mar 29 1883- Jun 30 1933) m. Margaretha KEYLS (Nov 25 1880- Jan 16 1932). He must have been here before 1904, since there was an article in the Luxemburger Gazette : Apr 6 1904 “he has returned to Luxembourg to attend the marriage of his brother Etienne.” Then "Joseph Michelan" (misspelled) arrived Apr 11 1910 on the Vaderland with wife Marga KEYLS who was from Lullingen. The Luxemburger Gazette article from Apr 26, 1910 verified that “he came back from Luxembourg, together with his young wife.” They were living at Devon & Robey, High Ridge IL (Robey Street is now Damen Avenue.)  In 1914 they lived at 1312 Mulford, Evanston (just around the corner from Peter's farm at 205 Asbury). Later (1920s) they lived in Tessville IL (now Lincolnwood). Children were

  1. Ann MICHELAU (Jun 2 1911- Feb 3 2007) m Jacob HERFF on Nov 2, 1932 
  2. Barb MICHELAU (May 29 1913- Feb 14 1976) m Harold WEIDNER (Jan 6 1904- Feb 1 1988)
  3. Helen M. MICHELAU (Dec 31 1914- May 12 2011 in Kenosha WI) m Clarence "Kelly" WEIDNER (Jan 27 1912- Oct 25 1980) on June 27 1936. On Nov 28 1980 she married Leander BURKEMPER (1909-Jun 2001) the widower of Flora.
  4. Mary MICHELAU (Jul 20 1916- Mar 15 1991) m Nicholas Quirne "Dick" WEIDNER (Dec 13 1910- Dec 26 1999)
  5. John  "Jim" MICHELAU (Jan 25 1918- Feb 10 1992 Manatee County FL) m Lillian KITZMAN (Jan 33 1924- Sep 7 2002)
  6. Aloysius "Allie" MICHELAU (Feb 3 1923- Jan 5 2003) m Grace GEIMER (Sep 22 1925- Feb 5 2010)

11. Jean Pierre MICHELAU "Jamp" (Jul 17 1885- Nov 25 1952) m Marguerite SCHULLER (Dec 2 1889- Dec 29 1966). John arrived on the ship l'Aquitaine from Le Havre, France on April 21 1901. He was 25, single, a cobbler, and was planning to go to Le Mars, Iowa. In May 1910 he became naturalized as a citizen in Chicago and he also married his wife in 1910.

Margaret SCHULLER was a cousin of the CLEMENTs mentioned in #5 above. She was born at the mill at Boulaide (Bauschleiden) Luxembourg. Her sister Mary SCHULLER married John BIERCHEN. The two SCHULLER sisters came to the US in 1908 after the death of their mother and the sale of the mill.

In 1924 John returned to Luxembourg to visit his mother, arriving back in New York on Oct 18 1924 on his way home at Route 1, Box 1335, Morton Grove IL. John and Margaret lived on Dempster Street in Niles Center (Skokie) Illinois and then moved out to a farm in Grayslake in late 1941. John was kicked by his horse on Nov 25 1952 and died from a crushed liver. Their children were:

  1. Joseph Peter MICHELAU (May 3 1911- Jan 1985 Racine County WI) m Elsie CRAFT (Jan 2 1922- Mar 15 2002)
  2. Mary MICHELAU (Oct 27 1913-Oct 14 2006) m Chuck JANS (Jan 5 1910- Jan 14 1981)
  3. Susan MICHELAU (Aug 26 1916-2011) m Joseph BEZDEK (May 3 1911- May 7 1980)
  4. Elizabeth Anna “Lee” MICHELAU (Apr 7 1919- Jun 10 1987) m Bill HAJDUK (Dec 28 1914- Jun 23 2002)
  5. Fred B “Benny” MICHELAU (Apr 20 1923- Apr 23 2005) m Kathryn JACKSON (Feb 2 1930- Mar 22 2014) on Jan 5 1952
  6. Margaret MICHELAU (Mar 24 1925-) m Ray HOOK (Jun 18, 1918- Feb 5 2003) in Sep 1950.
  7. Ann MICHELAU (Feb 6 1927-) m George HOOK (Aug 8 1926- Nov 10 1991) on Jan 7 1950.

12. Martin MICHELAU (Sept 4, 1888- Aug 4, 1950 Heron Lake, Jackson, MN). "Martin Michelan", age 17, arrived Mar 21 1906 on the Zeeland, bound for the home of his brother Joseph Michelau in Rose Hill, Cook County, IL (Note: Rose Hill is now part of Chicago, located at Peterson and Ridge.) Martin moved to Minnesota and married Mathilda KLOPP (Jul 2 1898- Jul 18 1992) on Apr 16, 1918 in Dundee, MN. She was born in Southbrook, Cottonwood County, MN, the daughter of Dominic Klopp and Mary Antoine. (Dominic was born about 1861 in Arsdorf, Luxembourg.) They had 6 children all of Minnesota:

  1. Mary MICHELAU (Mar 4 1919-+) m Woodrow ARMOND (Sep 10 1918-)
  2. Henry Dominic MICHELAU (Sep 25 1920- Jun 17 1985) m Rosemary RIEBSCHLAGER (Jan 8 1924-)
  3. Bernadine MICHELAU (Mar 10 1923- October 26 2006 Heron Lake MN) m Clair HABERMAN (Apr 27 1917- May 6 2002)
  4. Josephine MICHELAU (May 28 1927- Jul 1 1989) m Leonard SUNDER (Aug 31 1923-)
  5. Virginia MICHELAU (May 17 1934-) m Richard HANSEN (1936-)
  6. Barbara MICHELAU (Dec 3 1940-) m Harold SPRINGMAN (Mar 7 1937-)


Who came first to the USA? The oldest Michelau passenger record shows Peter on his way to brother John's house in 1897. That would have to be the John who was born in 1875, evidently already living here. But Peter also referred to a previous trip in 1892. Now we find that John sailed on the Baumwell on March 19 1892 or March 13 1893, (both dates appear in the records) bound for St Paul.

Mike and/or Martin might have lived in northern Iowa for a time before moving on to their farms in Minnesota.

Loose ends are mostly resolved, but who was Margaret? On Aug 17, 1932, Margaret Michelau, age 38, of Niles Center, IL, died at St Francis Hospital in Evanston, of injuries sustained in a crash at Lake Zurich, IL.

There was a Mathias Michelau in the 1870 census in St Louis MO. He was a laborer age 40 from Luxembourg. His wife Anna, 41, was from Switzerland, and they had a son Gottlieb, age 4.

Earlier history DAPFONTAINE family in Luxembourg

Another incarnation of the name was D'AUBEFONTAINE. This line goes back to Pierre DAPFONTAINE, born about 1681? in Vance. He married Anne KLEIN, born about 1690? in Harlange, on Jan 14, 1714. Their son Peter DAPFONTAINE (Petrus D'AUBEFONTAINE) was born in Harlange. He married Maria PELLUS on Jun 14, 1733. Their son was Pierre DAPFONTAINE born 1744 in Harlange who married Catherine LALLEMAND b about 1747, on Jan 26, 1772.

Their son Heinrich DAPFONTAINE was born Apr 1 1787 in Harlange, and died Feb 5 1825 in Harlange. He married Anne Marguerithe HENRICY on Apr 27 1815 in Harlange. She was born Jul 23, 1788 in Kaundorf, the daughter of Nicolas HENRICY and Catherina KRIER. She died Jan 31 1842 in Harlange.

They had four children:
Barbe DAPFONTAINE May 3 1816
Mathias DAPFONTAINE Jan 27 1818 (m Anne NICKS)
Jean DAPFONTAINE Sep 9 1820 (m Madeleine MERRES)
Etienne DAPFONTAINE Dec19 1822 (m Elisabeth MERRES)

Mathias DAPFONTAINE was born Jan 27 1818 in Harlange. He died Jan 30 1857 in Harlange. On May 24 1841 in Harlange, he married Anne Catherine NICKS, who was born on Jun 7 1822 in Harlange. She was the daughter of Nicolas NICKS and Anna LUTGEN. She died on Oct 1 1879 in Harlange.

Their children were:
Jean DAPFONTAINE Jul 14 1843
Barbara DAPFONTAINE Mar 1 1845 (m Jean Pierre MICHELAU)
Maria DAPFONTAINE May13 1847
Magdalena DAPFONTAINE Jun 3 1848 married Michel SCHAUL
Catharina DAPFONTAINE Aug 9 1850
Nicolas DAPFONTAINE Jul 18 1854 (m Josephine THILL)
Pierre DAPFONTAINE Oct 24 1856

Michel SCHAULwas born Jul 7 1843 in Merscheid, died Nov 12 1910 in Heispelt. He married Magdalena (aka Madeleine) DAPFONTAINE on Feb 11 1872. They had a son Frank who lived in Evanston Illinois.

There was another DAPFONTAINE family in Harlange. Pierre born Jan 1 1814, married Catherine SCHAMMEL on Feb14 1840 in Boulaide.

Michelau Family Photos

Here are some pictures of the Michelau brothers. I am always looking for more.

#5 Peter MICHELAU and Anni CLEMENT about 1920

#7 John Henry MICHELAU and Susanne SALENTINY

#7 John Henry MICHELAU Second Marriage to Margaret WEBER about 1920

 #9 Mike MICHELAU and Mildred BLASCHKE about 1917

#10 Joe MICHELAU and Margaretha KEHLS about 1921

#11 John Peter MICHELAU and Margaret SCHULLER about 1921

   #12 Martin MICHELAU and Mathilda KLOPP about 1926

Entry to Michelau, Luxembourg

Plase email me at if you have an old picture or any additions or corrections. I might have more pictures to send you.

This page created Jan 26 2003, Last Updated March 27, 2014.
© Jim Heckenbach
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