The LAURENT surname is from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. This is the side with the most French/Belgian ancestry.
The surname first appears in my family tree with my great-great-grandmother, Mary Philomene LAURENT. Mary married Joseph DEBROUX on 8 Sep 1891 in Langlade Co., Wisconsin. Mary’s parents were from two different countries, though of similar origin. Her mother, Olivine ST. LOUIS, was born in Quebec, Canada and her father, Jean-Baptiste LAURENT, was born in Biez, Chaumont-Gistoux, Walloon Brabant, Belgium. I have a United States Land Record for Jean B. Laurent from 24 April 1820 when he received eighty acres of land from the government in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin.
Just recently have I been able to track Jean’s family further back thanks to a Belgian vital record transcription site for the Walloon Brabant area of Belgium called Netradyle that I found. According to a document on Belgian research, this is what Netradyle is:
Netradyle, located in Tourinnes-la-Grosse reopened its doors on March 3, 2009. The organization was created in 1993 with the goal of creating an awareness of the local history, and providing information for genealogy research.
It’s name is composed of the abbreviations of Néthen, Train and Dyle, the three rivers which run through villages in Walloon Brabant.
At the Netradyle site, you will be able to search through the following records from Liege, Namur, Hainaut, Walloon Brabant, and Vlaams Brabant.
- 598,513 birth/christening records
- 148, 167 marriage records
- 303,485 death/burial records
It’s been great so far. If anything, I’m at least able to make some basic ancestry traces and put in some notes before looking for actual records. But, it does give me a better idea on specific areas to look through.
Jean’s parents were found to be Constant Joseph LAURENT and Marie Josèphe BERO (or BEREAU or BERRAUNT, as seen elsewhere.) They were married on 17 May 1809 in Piétrebais, Walloon Brabant, Wallonia, Belgium which is only a small distance from Biez. Constant’s parents were Joseph LAURENT and Marie Catherine MOUREAU (or MOREAUX). They were married on 28 Jul 1776 (only a few weeks after their future descendant’s country’s independence) in Grez-Doiceau, Walloon Brabant, Belgium.
After that, I am only able to trace it back to the names of Joseph’s parents, though no dates. His parents were listed as Guillaume LAURENT and Marie CATTELAIN.
According to Ancestry.com, the name is probably of French origin meaning a vernacular form of the Latin personal name Laurentius (or Lawrence.) In 1840, it wasn’t very popular in Wisconsin, but in 1880, it is the 2nd-most-popular state along with New York and Louisiana.