This weeks theme is 'Fresh Start'. My great great grandfather was Cyrille DeValkeneer. He and his family immigrated to the US from Belgium. Talk about a fresh start, it's a whole new country.
Cyrille was born on August 3, 1856 in the small town of Sint-Maria-Lierde, East Flanders, Belgium. He was the youngest of 4 children (girl, boy, girl, boy...just like my family). His parents were Pieter Francies De Valkeneer and Joanna Catharina Casteleyn.
He grew up to become a shoemaker, and on September 8, 1881 he married Maria Francisca Heiremans in Antwerp. Together they had 11 children, 6 boys and 5 girls. Two of the girls did not survive into adulthood.
Sometime between 1895 and 1897 the family moved from Antwerp to Charleroi and it's suburbs. Then 1911 he, his wife, and 7 of his children immigrated to America. Two of the daughters did not immigrate with the rest of the family. One came a few years later with her husband and children, the other stayed in Antwerp with her husband.
In America they moved to Pennsylvania, where they knew other Belgians. The lived primarily in Raccoon, PA, which is near the West Virginia and Ohio borders. Cyrille bought a house in the Smith Township in 1914. He became a citizen in February of 1920.
In 1941, he died on Christmas Day at the home of his daughter Louise, just after dinner.
From my understanding, all of his siblings remained in Belgium and France. I have found distant cousins in France that are descendants of his oldest sister. The internet is certainly making family history connections easier.
Pieter Francies De Valkeneer (1815-?) of Sint-Martens-Lierde, Belgium
Joanna Catherina Casteleyn (1817-?) of Sint-Maria-Lierde, Belgium
Anna Theresia De Valkeneer (1849-1869)
Vitalis DeValkeneer (1851-?)
Renilde DeValkeneer (1851-?)
Maria Francisca Heiremans (1858-1934) born in Langdorp, Belgium; died in Joffre, Washington, PA
Joseph DeValkeneer (1880-1966)
Maria Josepha DeValkeneer (1882-?)
Louis Andre DeValkeneer (1883-1971)
Cecilia Marie DeValkeneer (DeCook) (1886-1971)
Maria Celestina DeValkeneer (DeRicter) (1887-?)
Marie Louise DeValkeneer (Vandenderg) (1890-1974)
Victor DeValkeneer (1892-1975)
Camille Peter DeValkeneer (1895-1962)
Vital DeValkeneer (1897-1965) --my great grandfather
Jeanne Helene DeValkeneer (1899-1900)
Alfred Joseph DeValkeneer (1902-1979)