One of my biggest brick walls is the parents of my great grandparents on my father’s side. The Van Houtte and Defruytier lines have eluded me for years. My in ability to read French hasn’t helped the problem along one bit. The trip to Pennsylvania in February did yield a few more clues but nothing in any solid form. I decided to try other tactics with the information I had gained.
I managed to get the letter written in French translated through a Dutch friend at work. It is transcribed below. It does confirm that my great grandmother, although reportedly and orphan, did have relatives that survive and she kept in contact with in France. My great grandparents move to the states in 1907 meant that they missed WWI. The letter written in 1929 would be 10 years before WWII, what if anything this did to the remaining relatives is still unknown.
I did searching on line for information on getting birth records for both grandparents. I did receive an email back from a location in Antwerp, Belgium on my great grandfather’s birth record, or the lack of it. According to what Frank Verheeke wrote, he may have been born in the province Antwerp, which would have been the capital of the province, but in a different municipality. The birth records of the children might help narrow that search down and he gave me the contacts for them.
Many thanks went out to Frank for his patience and ability to read English. His contact information was firstname.lastname@example.org. He gave the contacts for Tournai, email@example.com, and Waterloo firstname.lastname@example.org for both my grandfather and great aunt’s records. I wrote them over the weekend and am trying to wait patiently for the results.
The one last thing that I did that hasn’t resulted in anything yet is to join a Belgian blog, http://www.geneachtimi.com. Once again my inability with reading the French language has risen it’s ugly head. I find that babelfish.com does a close enough job to at least help with the translations needed for registration and fumbling around the site. I seem to be the only non French speaking/writing participant that they have. My English blog entry has been read 69 different times without a comment as yet.