What a La Crosse Lady Has in Common with Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume?

Marie, my sophisticated colleague at the SBDC, La Crosse is not only sharing the same name with the current Grand Duke of Luxemburg, but they are sharing the same ancestors’ homeland too.

I discovered that fact just before the Mother’s Day during one of brief lunch break’s chats with Marie. She mentioned her mom, Mrs. Karen Rieber, and her amazing journey to learn about her family roots.

No, Mrs. Rieber is not a historian. She is an amazing lady who raised her kids and when she reached her senior years started exploring the origins of her family.  After many years of patient research, tracking old family photos and letters, hundreds of birth and wedding certificates and other documents, and interviewing known and previously unknown relatives, she wrote a book “Where The Babbling Brook Begins” about her ancestors’ lives and origins. She traced her ancestors back to the 1720’s when they lived on a farm outside of Luxemburg City.

Catharina and Henri Gilles were the first relatives to move to America in early 1800’s. According to Mrs. Rieber’s findings, “there are over three thousand descendents from the first Gilles in 1720, to those born in 2005. They moved to every corner of the United States.  They have many names by which they are called and many places they
call home.”*

Although Mrs. Rieber’s book became an instant hit between her relatives, she is not resting on that success. She has been actively researching her husband’s roots and collecting the documents and interviewing his relatives.  She is also a founding member of the planning committee for creating a Luxemburg American Descendants Society in

What a great way to spend her senior years! Leaving a gift of documented family history for new generations.


P.S. If you wish to learn more about the Society and Mrs. Rieber’s book, please feel free to contact her at 608.782.3716 or at: ladyhawk220@hotmail.com

*Karen Rieber, “Where The Babbling Brook Begins,”2006.

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