The Watermills of My Mind

The obituary for my great-great-grandfather Vital Eugene Louis DeBacker (1835-1918) states that he was employed as a miller by his father prior to leaving for America in 1883. Based on records I was provided years ago by fellow researchers in Belgium, the DeBacker and collateral families owned and operated wind and water mills in the region of East Flanders going back centuries. In fact, it … Continue reading The Watermills of My Mind

It’s Complicated

In the month of July, I celebrate three national holidays: American Independence Day which falls, of course, on July 4; Bastille Day, July 14, which commemorates the storming of a hated symbol of feudal oppression; and July 21, a national holiday in Belgium which commemorates an important event that occurred during the Belgian Revolution of the early 1830s. After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, … Continue reading It’s Complicated

Le Cerneux-Pequignot

On my father’s side of the family, there is an ancestor named Marie Therese Pequignot . She was my fourth great-grandmother and she lived for 90 years between 1782 and 1872 (link to her death certificate). She was born in Chamesol, France, and died in Montecheroux, a tiny village in Eastern France on the Swiss border. Marie married Luc François Jeanin-Gaume in 1802 after the … Continue reading Le Cerneux-Pequignot

More My Ancestor, The Insurrectionist

Here is some more information that I found regarding my ancestor, the insurrectionist. On Google Books, I found about five books published in the late 19th century/early 20th century whose subject matter was the history of Belgium (Flanders). Each book described in some part, the events of late 15th century Flanders where the Flemish towns were in revolt for a second time. Yet, I only … Continue reading More My Ancestor, The Insurrectionist

Just in time for the Fourth of July

Just in time for the Fourth of July, I have discovered a new ancestor who was a soldier during the American Revolution. He is a fifth great-grandfather on my father’s side, and his name is Richard Denny III (28 July 1745 – 28 July 1825). According to military records, he served in the Dutchess County (New York) Militia Regiment between 1777 to 1779 and may … Continue reading Just in time for the Fourth of July

The Belgian School War

News stories about politicians being denied communion, high school coaches praying on the football field, and taxpayers being forced to support religious education remind me of why my ancestors came to this great country of ours. To be blunt, it was to get away from s*** like that. My father loved to tell the story of how his DeBacker ancestors came over from Belgium after … Continue reading The Belgian School War