Tag: Belgium


Marge ThielkeI’m going to be doing a few posts this week about my maternal grandmother’s ancestry in honor of her. She has not been doing too well for the last few months and her condition has taken a turn for the worse this week. I visited her yesterday, possibly for the last time, so I thought I should honor her with a few posts about the people who came before her.

Her maiden name, DeBroux (deh-broo), as far as we can tell at this point, hails mainly from Belgium. Though, Belgium itself has gone through a few “owners” throughout history (Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Burgundy.) By the time the earliest ancestor we have documented dates for, Jean Joseph Desire DeBroux, was born in 1830, Belgium had just gained independence from the Netherlands. The DeBroux family was mainly from the Walloon-Brabant region, which is a predominately French-speaking area. Also, based on the amount of DeBroux burials from the Walloon Region on BillionGraves, I may have a lot of cousins still living there.

This same ancestor was the first DeBroux in our line to arrive in the United States, settling in central Wisconsin in the mid-to-late 1850s. The family stayed in that area for a few generations before her father, my great-grandfather, Leon DeBroux, moved with his family to Port Washington, Ozaukee, Wisconsin in the 1920s presumably due to employment.

Next post I will dig into another interesting line from her mother’s ancestry, the Van Price (van Parijs) line. For now, keep her in your thoughts.

PeshtigoFireCemeteryThe thirty-eighth ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my wife’s maternal 3rd-great-grandfather, Adrien FRANCOIS.

His birth is listed as 18 March 1832 in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Brabant, Belgium, which actually is not too far from where my Belgian ancestors originated. His parents are noted from his birth record as Guillaume Francois and Marie Josephe DENIS. In 1851, it says her married a woman named Flora Seetnogle, but I have no source for it, so it may or may not be definitive. She died not long after this in 1852. This was not my wife’s ancestor.

Francois emigrated to America from Antwerp, Belgium and arrived in New York on April 1856 aboard the Trumbull. He made his way west and settled in Door County, Wisconsin (which for you non-Wisconsinites, is the little arm on the east side of the state.) He married my wife’s ancestor, Fulvie Adelaide PIETTE (presumably there) in about 1863. Their daughter, and my wife’s ancestor, Josephine FRANCOIS, was born in Brussels, Door, Wisconsin in 1871.

There are also some random notes listed on his entry, though not well sourced (he is one of the ancestors that we have not yet cleaned up.) It is noted that he served in the US Civil War with Company F 34th Wisconsin Infantry from 1862 until he “deserted” in January 1863.

According to the book titled History of Door County Wisconsin it is said that he “lost house and contents, barn, crops, farming tools, and cattle in the Great Fire of Northeastern Wisconsin, October 1871.” Also listed here on a nice historical write-up of the event.

Francois was a farmer throughout most of the US Census records. It is not known yet when he died, though he is presumed to be buried somewhere in the Brussels area.

This post is 38 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The thirtieth ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my maternal 3rd-great-grandfather, Jean [John] Baptiste LAURENT.

He was born in 1825 on January 18th. A birthday he shares with another famous person. Me. He was born at the small town of Biez in the Chaumont-Gistoux municipality in Walloon Brabant, Belgium. Chaumont-Gistoux is located on the KW-line, which was a defensive line built during World War II to help prevent the German invasion. His parents were Constant Joseph & Marie Josephe (Bero) Laurent.

I have noted that he emigrated from Belgium in June 1856 through Detroit, Michigan, but I have no source attached, so I don’t know how true that is. I’ll need to confirm that.

In September 1856, he married Olivine Marie ST. LOUIS in Little Chute, Outagamie, Wisconsin, daughter of Ephraim and Marie DesAnges (Manseau) St. Louis. I wrote about Marie earlier in this challenge.

Together, they had nine children, including my ancestor, Mary Philomene (Laurent) DeBroux in December 1865. They lived and farmed in the same general area in central Wisconsin throughout these years. Jean passed away on 31 July 1886 in Phlox, Langlade, Wisconsin and is buried at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in nearby Norwood Township.

This post is 30 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The twenty-third ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my wife’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Gustave Ferdinand Joseph GYRION.

Gustav & Josephine Gyrion
Gustav & Josephine Gyrion

Gustave was born 24 January 1858 in the village of Warisoulx in the Walloon region of the Namur Province of Belgium. His parents were Casimir GYRION and Desiree CALONNE. Sometime around 1877 or 1879, he left Belgium and settled in Wisconsin. His first marriage was to a woman named Millie DeWitte in about 1880. Millie died not long after the marriage and Gustave married Josephine FRANCOIS in about 1889 in Outagamie County, Wisconsin.

According to the note attached to the photo at the right, that is Gustave and his wife, Josephine, year unknown. It is also not known if Gustave always wore his hats on the side of his head, or if it was just a windy day.

Throughout his life, Gustave worked in the paper industry as did a lot of other men in this area of central Wisconsin. In 1900 and 1905, he is listed as a general laborer at a paper mill. In 1910, he is listed as an Engineer, but no note of where he did this. In 1920, he is listed as an Oiler. According to Wikipedia, an oiler is a worker whose main job is to oil machinery. So, this was more than likely still related to the paper mill.

On 25 August 1934, Gustave passed away in Plover, Wisconsin, leaving his wife Josephine.  He is buried nearby at the Plover Cemetery.

This post is 23 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The fifteenth ancestor is my 52 week challenge is my maternal 3rd-great-grandfather, Jean Joseph Desire DeBROUX.

When I originally received the information on this family, it was only listed as Desire & Desiree DeBroux. That was the info I had for the longest time. They always caught my eye since it was such an interesting set of names.

Later on, I found out that Desire was born Jean Joseph Desire DeBROUX on 16 February 1830 to Jean Joseph & Anne Catherine (LANGELE) DeBROUX. He was born in the small village of Piétrebais in the Walloon Brabant Province of Belgium.

The next fact I have documented for Desire was his marriage to Desiree, also known as Marie Desiree LOOD, on 30 November 1854 in Piétrebais. They had their first child, Victorie Marie, in Piétrebais in 1855 before setting out for America in around 1857, settling in the center of the state of Wisconsin, mainly in the Outagamie County and Langlade County areas.

My great-great grandfather Joseph Wilbert DeBROUX was born in Outagamie County in May 1865.

Desire and Desiree passed away not too far apart from each other. Desire passed away on 6 April 1912 and Desiree on 19 November 1912 in the small Norwood Township in Langlade County, Wisconsin. They are both buried at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in that township.

This post is 15 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

My inspiration for this post had come from, what I thought was a one-off post about this, but it turns out that it was one of Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun projects. He’s always thinking of clever things to post about.

What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items – more if you want!

I was thinking about it this week and this is what I came up with right now.

  1. I’d definitely like to visit one of my many ancestral homelands. There are a lot, though most of them seem to cluster around Germany and Poland, as you can see on my custom Google Map. The top three that I’d like to visit, in no particular order, are:
    1. Killeeshil Parish in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Origin location of my CORRIGAN ancestors. I just love Ireland and the history of the area.
    2. The origin location of my ZALEWSKI and LINDNER ancestors, which looks to be the Święte and Goczałki areas in modern north-central Poland. As with a lot of people, I feel a deeper connection to ancestors in my direct surname line, Zalewski. Plus, pictures I’ve seen of the area make it look beautiful.
    3. The origin location of most of my Belgian ancestors, DeBROUX, LAURENT, etc. They all came from the Walloon Brabant area of Belgium. Some of them came from the area of Chaumont-Gistoux, which during WWII was part of the famous defensive KW-Line.
  2. I would like to publish some smaller books either based on a specific family or just my ancestry in general. Both, I think, could be helpful to future researchers.
  3. I would like to become a certified/professional genealogist. I’d love to be able to help other people find their family history and hopefully spark the appreciation for everything that has come before them.
  4. I would also love to attend a national genealogy conference of some sort. I have yet to meet any of the extremely friendly and helpful geneabloggers that I socialize with almost every day. Unfortunately, most of them are never around in this area, so I have yet to have a chance to attend one.
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
Photo from Charles' Passport. Note his name listed as just "Price."

By the time the VAN PRICE surname ended in my ancestry, it had already been changed at least once. My great-grandmother, Mildred Vida (DEBROUX) VAN PRICE, was the last to have the surname before she married my great-grandfather. Her father, as he is listed on later documents and his headstone, was Peter VAN PRICE. Though, he wasn’t born with that name. His name when he was born was Pieter Franciscus VAN PARIJS.

For years, I didn’t have much more info on the VAN PRICE surname in my tree besides the two people listed above, and I didn’t have anything on Peter except for his name. That all changed on day when searching for information using Google. I was looking for information on the Van Price line, but I always hit a brick wall. I had happened to find something that mentioned that “Parijs” was sometimes written as “Price” in America. So, I searched for Van Parijs and ran across a Dutch Genealogy website, Zeeuwen Gezocht [Zeeland Archives]. It turns out that the VAN PARIJS family is from the Zeeland area of the Netherlands and this website was a treasure trove of information. From there I found information going back many generations. I know that “Van Parijs” roughly translates into “of Paris” in French, so I’m wondering if this family came from France, since I have traced them back into Belgium.

From the archive website  I found Peter’s parents, Charles Ludovicus VAN PARIJS and Johanna Maria KREBBEKX. Then Charles’ father was found as Jacobus Bernardus VAN PARIJS, then Phillipus Jacobus Bernardus VAN PARIJS, and finally Joannis VAN PARIJS. This is as far back as I’ve been able to find, though I haven’t dug in and done much research in a few years. By this time, the VAN PARIJS family was located in the East Flanders, Belgium area.

I plan on adding major events for both my family tree and my wife’s family tree from now on. That should help some of those less busy weeks. As always, you can find all of this information yourself on the Dates & Anniversaries page.

April 18th

1892 – MarriedThomas J CORRIGAN & Emma Jane FIRMENICH – Thomas and Emma are my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side. They were married at Sanborn, Ashland Co., Wisconsin. This was Thomas’ second marriage as his first wife died in about 1890. Thomas and Emma had 9 children, including my great-grandfather, Maurice CORRIGAN. Thomas passed away just before their last child, Sadie, was born in 1915. Emma later re-married 2 more times before she died in 1941.

1999 – Died – Richard ZALEWSKI – Richard is my grandfather on my father’s side. He was born 9 Dec 1921 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Joseph & Emily (TROKA) ZALEWSKI. He married my grandmother, Mary Jane CORRIGAN, on 11 Oct 1947 in Milwaukee. He passed away in Cedarburg, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at St. Francis-Borgia Cemetery. His death was one of the main reasons I got into genealogy in the first place.

April 19th

1678 – Born – Anna Maria LUDWIG – Anna Maria is my wife’s 8th-great-grandmother on her father’s side. She was born in Kurnbach, Baden, Germany. She married Johann Phillip NAST in 1703 and had 7 children. She passed away on 3 May 1748 at Kurnbach, Baden, Germany.

April 20th

1740 – Born – Nathaniel SHANNON – Nathaniel is my wife’s 6th-great-grandfather on her mother’s side. He was born in Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire to Nathaniel & Alice (FROST) SHANNON. He married Ann B CARD in February 1761. He passed away in September 1792 is Portsmouth.

1800 – Born – Antoine Joseph CALONNE – Antoine is my wife’s 4th-great-grandfather on her mother’s side. He was born in Grand-Leez, Namur, Belgium. He married Marie Eleanore Josephe ETIENNE in 1821. He passed away on 9 Dec 1870 in Grand-Leez.

1900 – Died – Charlotte STRASSMAN – Charlotte is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born 20 Jul 1817 in Germany. She married Johann W G LAST sometime before 1850 in Germany before emigrating in 1857. She passed away at Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin.

April 21st

1722 – Born – Thérèse DARD – Thérèse is my 7th-great-grandmother of my father’s side. She was born at Menoux, Haute-Saône, France. She married Pierre Francois QUINET in 1751 and had 7 children. She presumably passed away in France, as did her husband.

April 24th

1927 – Died – Johann THIELKE – Johann is my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born 26 Oct 1843 in Schwerin, Mecklenburg, Germany. He immigrated with his family in about 1854. He married Wilomene C RATHKE in 1891 and had one child, Arthur. He passed away at Grafton, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin and is buried there at St. Paul’s Cemetery.

My grandmother told me a story about her great-grandfather. I posted about it almost three years ago, but I just stumbled upon some more evidence for it. Here is the story from my grandmother about Charles Ludovicus VAN PARIJS (who changed his name to Charles Van Price in America.)

Charles Van Price was born in the early 1800s and came to U.S. in 1874. He traveled to Dousman, Wisconsin in Waukesha County. He worked for Mr. Dousman, later moved to Little Chute, Wisconsin, then to Phlox, Wisconsin in 1887. While staying with his daughter, Effie, in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1922, he went grocery shopping for her and was never seen again. After investigating, it was assumed that he returned to Holland from Milwaukee. He sold his land earlier, and was now one of the wealthiest men in that part of the state. His daughter found he had withdrawn all his savings (a very sizeable amount) and probably left for Europe. They traced him to Antwerp, Belgium — then all trace was gone. He was never heard from again.

I tried to find any sort of trace of him in Belgium. Maybe he’s listed on a death record or a cemetery listing, but I never found anything. I was re-adding all of Charles’ census record information into my family tree, since I never actually put in the exact source info in the past, when I ran across a listing for a “Charles O. Price” in the Applications for US Passports database that closely matched him on Ancestry.

There were actually two applications listed which looked to be a year apart, but they match pretty closely. The first one says that he was born on June 6th, 1844 in Isendick, Holland. The information I have is July 6th, 1846 in IJzendijke, Netherlands (Holland) which is almost a match. It also says he lived most of his life in Phlox, Langlade Co., Wisconsin which is the area where Charles and his family did live. He mentions in the application that he is planning to go to the Netherlands to “visit my brothers” and that he will return in 3 months traveling on the boat, Finland, from New York on August 5th, 1922.

What is odd is that there is a second application right after the first one for a Charles O. Price born on June 6th, 1844 in Izendag, Holland. This one lists Charles’ father as Jacob Price. That matches with me as I have his father as (his original name) Jacobus Bernardus VAN PARIJS. This one also notes that he lived in the Little Schute[sic] & Antigo, Wisconsin area which is also near Phlox. It also notes that he owns a previous passport which was obtained on July 24th, 1922 (the previously mentioned application.) Now, this application says that he intends to “visit my brother” in the Netherlands and stay for one year leaving from the port of New York. This one does not list a ship or a date. It almost seems like he didn’t actually go in 1922, or maybe that he went for 3 months and then went back in 1923 when this second application was made. Obviously, according to stories, never came back after that one.

There are a few notable and even oddly humorous things on these applications. The first thing is that when describing Charles’ physical appearance, under “Nose” it says “Quite Large.” Also, how on both documents the birth places are completely different (at least in spelling), the immigration dates don’t match, and the living locations aren’t exactly the same. On both documents he uses a witness that has known Charles for awhile. H.A. Friedman swears that Charles is a good dude and that he should get a passport. In the first document in 1922, H.A. says that he, a “native” American, has known Charles for 15 years. In the second application in 1923, H.A. says that he, now a “naturalized” American, says that he has known Charles for 20 years. Great Scott! Has Charles invented the flux capacitor?

Though, one wonderful thing about this document is that the applicant is required to attach a photo of themselves. The first document’s photo is not very good, but the second one is much clearer and it is the first time that I’ve seen Charles. I’m not sure if my grandmother has ever seen a photo of her great-grandfather, so I’d love to show this to her.

I still don’t know what happened to Charles after he arrived in Belgium or the Netherlands, but at least this does prove that he planned to go back. Maybe it makes more work. Oh well, isn’t that how Genealogy works? The two documents are shown below. Click for larger copies. The first half of the first page and last half of the end page are from other individuals, so please ignore them.

Weekly history for my family tree. As always, you can view these manually at the Dates & Anniversaries page.

March 29th

1890 – Died – Maria (BRAATZ) KLEGIN – Maria is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was born 15 Feb 1842 in Schoenwalde, Germany. I’m not sure which Schoenwalde, since there are a few, but I am working to narrow it down. She married Wilhelm BRAATZ in Germany and then emigrated to America in about 1868 with their first son, Frank BRAATZ. She is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, Waupaca Co., Wisconsin.

March 30th

1832 – Married Johanna Peter FIRMENICH & Anna Marie VOISSEL – Johann and Anna are my 4th-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. They were married in Buervenich, Rheinland, Pruessen. Together, they had 6 children including my ancestor, Mathias FIRMENICH. Six of them were born in Prussia and only Charles was born in Wisconsin after they immigrated in 1847. Johann died in 1872 in Brown Co., Wisconsin and Anna probably died sometime before 1860 since that’s the last time she is in the census records.

April 1st

1829 – Born – Marie Desiree (LOOD) DEBROUX – Marie is my 3rd-great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born in Piétrebais, Walloon Brabant, Wallonia, Belgium. She married Jean Joseph Desire DEBROUX in 1854 and had one child, Victorie, before emigrating to Wisconsin in the 1850s. They were known better as Desire and Desiree in Wisconsin, as records and their headstones show. Desire passed away in 1912 and Desiree in 1919. They are buried together at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Norwood, Langlade Co., Wisconsin.

The DeBroux surname first enters my family tree as my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. The surname itself is Belgian, at least when I trace it back from America. According to Ancestry.com, the surname along with the preposition de (‘from’), denoting someone from either of two places called Broux, in Rhône and Vienne. Both Rhône and Vienne are located in France, which a lot of my Belgian and Dutch surnames tend to originate from.

I’ve been able to trace it back the early 1800s. First through my great-grandfather, Leon DeBroux, who was born in 1901 in Phlox, Langlade Co., Wisconsin. Another piece of information for the DeBroux surname is that the DeBroux family seemed to have settled mostly in Wisconsin, which is good for me. Leon’s father was Joseph DeBroux, who was born in May 1865 in Grand Chute, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. The Grand Chute and Little Chute area is a very high-percentage Belgian and Dutch area. It’s obvious by all of the “Van” and “De” surnames and businesses in the area.

I originally had Joseph’s parents listed a Desire and Desiree DeBroux. I know it sounds like they were a traveling folk duet, but I’m pretty sure they were just normal people. Even though they sound like a unique name combination, I had no luck in finding any more information about them…until. I ran across a site called “Netradyle” (which is all in French) that seems to be a location of a lot of Belgian vital records. Thanks to Google Translate, I was able to find my way around and after some searching I found my DeBroux family. It turns out that Desire and Desiree were their middles names. They probably used them to separate themselves from the others since it seemed that every family named their children either Jean Joseph or Marie. I know why, but it does confuse things now.

So, it turns out the Desire’s full name is Jean Joseph Desire DeBroux and he was born 16 Feb 1830 in Piétrebais, Walloon Brabant, Wallonia, Belgium, which is a small town in central Belgium just east of Brussel. Desiree’s full name was Marie Desiree LOOD. After that I was only able to find Jean Joseph’s parent’s names, but not any specific information from the records on the site. His parents were Jean Joseph DeBroux (go figure) and Anne Catherine LANGELE.

I did some mapping of the DeBroux family using Google Maps, in case you wanted to see all of the locations. It may include other parts of my maternal line, too.

Any other DeBroux families out there?