My name is Nick Penning (Nicholas Joseph Penning).My great
grandfather, Matthias Penning emigrated to the U.S. from the village of
Biwer, Lux., around 1857 and took up residence in Leavenworth, Kansas.
In the 1880 census he is in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where he was a
blacksmith, the Penning family trade.
My purpose in writing is to share an extensive genealogy put together by
one of Matthias’ brothers’ offspring, Denys Engel, who lives in the
village of Flevy, France, near the city of Metz in northeastern France,
near the border of tiny Luxembourg.
So, allow me to begin at the beginning.
The first record I have of a Luxembourg Penning is that of Dorothea
Penning, who died on the 8th of May, 1759, in the village of Ettelbruck,
Lux.Her husband was Mathias Penning, a “pauper vagus” (poor vagrant)
who died, also in Ettelbruck, on the 8th of March in 1766.
One of Mathias’ children was Nicolas Penning, born in the 1730s, and who
died in Schoenfels, Lux. On the 3rd of January in 1817.
Nicolas was the father of Johannes Peter Penning, who was born in
Schoenfels on the 2nd of March, 1771, and died in Gonderange, Lux., on
the 24th of June in 1844.Johannes was a blacksmith.
Johannes Peter was the father of Franz Penning, who was born on the 10th
of September, 1802 in Gonderange and died on November 13, 1885, in
Franz, also a blacksmith, married Anna Meyers, who was born November 24,
1806, in Biwer and died on December 24, 1864, in Biwer.
Franz and Anna had 16 children:
Maria, born April 17, 1826 in Biwer, and died Aug. 26, 1906, in Biwer;
Nicolas, born April 3, 1828 in Biwer, and died June 18, 1893, in Biwer;
*Mary, born May 9, 1830, in Biwer, and died February 5, 1901, in
*Peter, born January 29, 1832, in Biwer, and died July 1, 1891, in
Johann-Peter, born Jan. 29, 1832, in Biwer, and died June 25, 1879 in
Anna Catharina, born Dec. 28, 1833, in Biwer, and died Feb. 18, 1834, in
*Mathias (“Big Matt”), born Jan. 5, 1835, in Biwer, and died Jan. 31,
1908, in Leavenworth, Kansas;
Anna, born October 27, 1836, in Biwer, and died December 1, 1836, in
*Peter (“Pier”), born Dec. 2, 1837, in Biwer, and died Oct. 6, 1906, in
Franz, born Jan. 26, 1840, in Biwer, and died June 25, 1899, in
Margaretha, born Nov. 12, 1841, in Biwer; died April 29, 1905, in
Meurthe-et-Moselle, France (she was a nun at a hospital in St. Firmin,
Michel, born Sept. 29, 1843, in Biwer, and died March 5, 1924, in Biwer;
*Mathias (“Little Matt”), born Feb. 20, 1845, in Biwer, and died between
1876-1880 in Las Animas, Colorado (he went first to Wyoming, then
Kansas, and died in Colorado.);
Anna, born March 10, 1847, in Biwer, and died June 22, 1895, at St.
Firmin in Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.(she, also was a nun);
Bernard, born June 13, 1849, in Biwer, and died July 16, 1929, in
Johann, born April 9, 1851, in Biwer, and died July 23, 1851, in Biwer.
All those with an asterisk (*) emigrated to the U.S.Mathias (Big
Matt), had five children.One of those, Frank Christopher Penning, was
my father’s father.
My dad, Howard Louis Penning, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on July
16, 1909, and died November 14, 1998, in Springfield, Illinois.
He and Jean Hartley Penning had eight children: H. Larry, Dennis
Christopher, Nicholas Joseph (me), Frank Louis, Mary Anne, John Peter,
Patricia Jean, and Matthew David Penning.
Subsequent family tree documents, provided by Denys Engel, indicate a
link to Pierre Penning who was born in Dalheim on March 9, 1842, married
in “Ozaukee,” Wisconsin, between 1860-1870, and died on April 9, 1894
near Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.
A Mathias born February 17, 1859, and died in July 1917 in Lake Elmo,
A Nicolas Steffes, who married Anna Catherine Penning, who was born
Sept. 2, 1845, in Rodenbourg and died Feb. 5, 1866, in Rodenbourg.
Several of Nicolas and Anna Catherine’s children emigrated to Sturgis,
South Dakota.Jean Steffes, who died there in 1949; Nicolas, who died
there in 1938; Franz (“Frank”) who died there in 1967; Catherina
Josephine, a Benedictine nun, who died in Sturgis in 1909.
This is about as extensive as I can get with my Penning family’s link to
We have several relatives--all of whom can trace their ancestry to
Johannes Peterborn in Schoenfels in 1771--living in the Nancy/Metz
region of France, and some still in Luxembourg.
Thank you for taking a look at this Denys Engel work of genealogical
Nicholas Joseph Penning
Born: June 12, 1946, in Springfield, Illinois
Living now at 911 North Lexington Street,Arlington, Virginia 22205