Anniversary ~ Third Great Grandparents Johann Adam Layes (Leies) and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer ~

On September 8, 1838, my third great grandparents Johann Adam Layes and Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer were married in Nuenschweiler, Germany.  They were the parents of my immigrant second great grandfather Johann Leies.

Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeiffer was born in Thaleischweiler in 1816 to Johann Pfeifer and Maria Eva Bauer.  They were farmers and were also born in Thaleischweiler, a little town closer to the French border than Nuenschweiler.  For a time after her mother’s death around 1833, Elisabetha Margaretha and her two young siblings were living with their relative Peter Bauer, in Thaleischweiler, while their father Johann Pfeifer was living in another little nearby hamlet called Reiffenberg.


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Why would Johann leave his children in the care of another and live in Reiffenberg?  That is a great question.

I found out about these living arrangements after using surnames and Thaleischweiler to search on Google Books.  Another relative had brought suit for the property that Peter Bauer and the minor children were living on in 1834.  Also mentioned in the suit was the fact that Elisabeth Margaretha’s mother, Maria Eva Bauer, had been a widow to her first husband, Joseph Matheis, also of Thaleischweiler.

I was able to trace the ancestry of Elisabetha Margaretha’s family to the early 1700s and late 1600s in most of her mother’s lines, and to the middle 1500s in one part of her maternal pedigree to a couple of foresters of the Palatine forest near Contwig.

Of note in her father’s ancestry is a lady born in the late 1600s – a 7th great grandmother named Anna Apollonia Moraux.  Where does Moraux sound like it came from?  France.  Perhaps she is another in the Leies ancestry of French descent.*

Johann Adam Layes was born on a farm called Huber Hof near Nuenschweiler in 1815 to Heinrich Layes and Gertruda Conrad.  Heinrich was deceased and had been a farmer.  Johann Adam was also a farmer.

Johann Adam and Elisabetha Margaretha had at least four children:

Margaretha Leis

Maria Leyes

Joseph Lays

Johann Leies (my ancestor)

They were all born at Huber Hof.

The Layes/Leyies-Trauden ancestry also traces back to Contwig.  More research needs to be performed on Elisabetha Margaretha Pfeifer’s ancestry, which I think may include intermarriage between these two families about 100 years before this 1838 union.

I used numerous spellings for Leies in this post.  I tried to stay true to the spelling of Leies in the church records of this area of the Palatinate when I located the records.  The ancestry of both parents of Johann Leies is peppered with Catholics, Protestants, and ancestors that seemed to decide on both during their lifetimes.

*Don’t forget the French ancestry of Second Great Grandmother Emilia Anna Bold Leies also from Nuenschweiler.


  • Uncle John
  • Nuenschweiler, Germany Catholic Church Records
  • Thaleischweiler, Germany Reformed and Catholic Church Records
  • Massweiler, Germany Reformed Catholic Church Records
  • Martinshohe, Germany Catholic Church Records
  • Contwig, Germany Reformed and Catholic Church Records
  • Amts- und Intelligenzblatt des Königlich Bayerischen Rheinkreises: 1834 via Google Books
  • Chicago, Illinois death records