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:

Tombstone Tuesday – Befays & Dehoux

LES EPOUX
BEFAYS – DEHOUX

The Married Couple
Befays – Dehoux

My mother migrated to Australia with her parents and younger sister when she was 9.

As a result, I know little about that side of the family but my mother remembers the time with her grandparents fondly.

In 2001, I was able to make a short trip to Belgium where I met my grandfather’s brother and his wife, who are wonderful people. Amongst many other activities, they took me to the grave of my great grandparents near Charleroi (which as you can see contains VERY little information).

Leon BEFAYS: 1904 – 1977
Florance DEHOUX: 1903 – 1979