I spent a few hours this morning digging through old photographs that my aunt had collected from my grandfather’s house after he died. Amos Van Houtte came from Belgium with his father, Emil Victor and mother, Clemence Mary Defruytier Van Houtte in 1907. Clemence Mary had written letters and received pictures back from Belgium during her lifetime. It was these photos that we were digging through.
Most of the photos had been liberally glued into a black paper photo album. This black paper was causing us some major distress as it was stuck over the French hand writing that gave some type of details on the back. I broke out Google translator and did my level best, close to almost useless, to read the script written in quill pen on the back. The best I could do was to find out there were blooming nut trees in one of the photos.
I came home with a copy of a handwritten letter, in French, that I am taking back to work with me. One good thing about working for an international company is some of my coworkers have skills I have failed miserably at years ago. So much for Junior High School French classes for 3 years.
The best I could ascertain from today’s foray into the French connection was that my great-great grandmother had at least one brother and possibly a sister. This picture of Maria Defruytier from the mid 1920s was included in the stack. The signs seem to point to it being Clemence Mary’s niece. My guess would be that the letter signed by Lambin or Lombin Defruytier is her brother and this would be his daughter. A year or so ago I ordered Clemence Mary’s death certificate and found her father’s name as Bruno Defruytier. From what I was told she grew up in an orphanage because her mother had died at some point. Today’s on line searching turned up a Bruno Defruytier who had married a Adela Sophia Decock in 1853 in Belgium and I wonder if I am heading down the correct path.