The LEMMENS Tree

 

The LEMMENS children

A while back, my mother emailed the above photo of her grandfather, Eduard LEMMENS with his siblings.   The only ones identified at the time were Eduard (left) and his brother, Michel (right) whose records I had been unable to locate – I didn’t even have names of the sisters but at least the photograph was evidence that there were at least five.

It turns out that Eduard was in fact one of thirteen children born to Frederic Jean LEMMENS & Celine Marie VAN WOUW (blogged about previously) but only these seven had made it to adulthood.

Frederic Jean LEMMENS & Celine VAN WOUW (with possibly youngest daughter, Irma)

A search for Frederic in the Dutch archives website (openarch.nl) led me to all the records in which he was listed as father.

one of the search result pages on openarch.nl for Frederic Lemmens

There seems to be a wealth of information available online for those seeking their Dutch ancestors, albeit a little tricky to navigate for the non-Dutch speaking users (like me).  I was finally able to locate a birth record for brother Michel. His name had been spelled Micheal in the records which seemed to be the reason it was difficult to find him (unlike other ‘more fuzzy’ search engines I’ve used).  All their children’s birth records were there (all born in Vlessingen, Zeeland), as well as death records for the five who died as infants/children.  I have yet to translate these death records as I want to make a death counterpart to my ‘Super-Duper-Handy-Dandy Dutch Birth Record Translation Helper’ and am currently learning some basic Dutch to help me research this particular branch.

However, with this information I was able to find the names and birthdates of the surviving children and guess who is who in the photograph. Irma and Leontine were the easiest being the youngest but I have reservations about the older girls as I can only guess at their ages (sorry, ladies).  The woman I labelled as Valentine looked the oldest to me, and ‘possible Anna’ looked younger than ‘possible Esperance’ but of course, I could be wrong.  I am in the process of trying to date the photograph and glean as much information as I can from the image (ie. why the photo album on the table?).

 

Next Steps:

  • Date the photograph
  • Translate death records
  • Seek more photographs to help correctly identify each individual

 

 

Double Dutch

Today I finally finished my Super-Duper-Handy-Dandy Dutch Birth Record Translation Helper.   This is actually just a pdf form I created to help me translate/make sense of the birth records I’ve found so far for the LEMMENS family.  Essentially, the ‘fillable’ fields are where the genealogical information was recorded on the original.  I have tried to make it look as similar to the original record as possible so that I don’t lose myself in the language.

1886 Eduard LEMMENS birth b
Dutch Birth Record of Eduard LEMMENS
doubledutch
Super-Duper-Handy-Dandy Dutch Birth Record Translation Helper output

I will probably fine-tune the pdf as I continue to use it but will make it available in my Useful Links section as a download, in case it helps anyone out there.  If you share it, please link to this post rather than the direct link – thank you!

I also made up a little Dutch Number ready reckoner so that I can translate the numbers more easily.

Dutch-numbers

When life gives you MORE LEMMENS…

EduardLEMMENS
Eduard LEMMENS

A kind soul offered to help me in my ‘Belgian quest’ and I’m very grateful as it opened up a lot of different doors for me.  As well as some BEFAYS info, he managed to locate my great-grandfather Eduard’s birth not in Belgium after all, but in Holland!  This ties in very neatly with the ‘Dutch Pilot’ description on the census record mentioned on the previous post.

Eduard’s birth record confirmed his father as Frederic as well as gave his mother’s name:

1886 Eduard LEMMENS birth
Birth Record of Eduardus Gustaaf Frederic LEMMENS, 1886

Rough translation:

Birth record 18 February 1886 – VLISSINGEN [prov. Zeeland, The Netherlands]
Father: Frederic Jean Lemmens, 31 years old, from Vlissingen, profession “loods” [sea pilot]
Mother: Celine Marie Vanwouw, without profession, from Vlissingen
Male child born 18 February 1886 at 08:00 am
called EDUARDUS GUSTAAF FREDERIC LEMMENS
This record is signed by witnesses Petrus Carolus Lamoot, pilot, 43, and Eduardus Josephus Baels, 39, pilot, both from Vlissingen, and the father.

So now I know the older lady in the photograph, my 2nd great-grandmother, is Celine Marie VANWOUW and they lived (at least for a time) in Vlissengen, Netherlands (aka Flushing).

When I added the data into my family tree, a gravestone record was suggested to me which gave me birth and death dates for Frederic & Celine (Eduard’s parents).

Lemmens Van Wouw
Grave of Celine Marie VAN WOUW & Frederic Jean LEMMENS in Northern Cemetery, Flushing (Vlissingen)

A bit of Google-Fu (and help from The Netherlands Online Genealogy Records wiki on Familysearch.org) led me eventually to ZeeuwenGezocht.nl which was a goldmine for me! (I had first arrived at wiewaswie.nl but I had technical issues with actually seeing the images).

Searching Frederic’s name brought up a load of records linked to him – all available digitally, instantly and for free!  More on these soon…

UPDATE: If you need help researching your Belgian ancestors, visit Belgian Ancestry Help.

When life gives you LEMMENS…

Grandma Befay's father's parents - Frederick Lemmens
Mevr. Lemmens & Frederick Lemmens (and a mystery daughter?)

I haven’t written a lot about my mother’s side of the family – in fact, I just checked and I don’t seem to have written at all about them!  This saddens me but it’s largely because her family history is centred around Belgium and so the records are not easily accessible to me (physically OR ‘literally’ as I don’t read French or Dutch).  Hopefully that will change with a little help from growing records and Google Translate.

This weekend my mother passed on a photo that my grandmother gave my mother of HER mother’s parents – got that? Basically I got a pic of my mother’s maternal great-grandparents (and maybe a great-aunt in the background).  So that’s great – an ‘ID’ed family photo… almost.  The problem is my grandmother has forgotten their names (!) although she’s pretty sure her grandfather’s given name was Frederick.

So I blow off the digital dust on my Belgian ancestors to check their names to discover I don’t actually have them on there yet.  I know that my grandmother was one of nine children born to Eduard LEMMENS and Gabrielle MINNE.  Eduard himself was one of seven siblings seen in the photo below:

Family LEMMENS (1)
Children of Frederick LEMMENS

(The youngest girl lying on the floor looks most like the mystery woman in the first photo – could it be her?)

Since I don’t currently have a ‘world’ membership, I wasn’t expecting much from searching a Belgian on ancestry.co.uk, but I actually may have struck lucky!  The very first result was a British 1901 census entry for a Fredrick LEMMENS born in Ostende, Belgium.  My grandmother was born in the coastal city of Ostende, Belgium and the man’s age fit (b.1855), so it immediately interested me.  This man was on board the S.S. Truro in Hull that night and recorded as a ‘Pilot Dutch’ but it didn’t seem to be a Belgian vessel or crew.

Image
1901 census – Fredrick Lemmens aboard the S.S Truro, Hull

A quick glance at some of the other results didn’t show any other connections but Google threw up a record on the Oostende Archives site of a sea fishing captain who “sailed for shipowners”.  So could that delightful outfit that looked to me like a milkman’s uniform actually be a captain’s uniform?

Ostende-vue_de_la_digue-vers_1920-_06
Ostende in the 1920s
Next steps: