Another brick wall tumbled down thanks to help from a generous genealogist, Marc. It seems that without his help I would still be stuck in the same place until eventually more information from the area in West Flanders, Belgium was transcribed and loaded on line.
I have been stuck on my Van Houtte line at my great grandfather Emil Victor Van Houtte up until an email a couple of days ago. Marc went looking for the original files for me. He sent me a copy of Viktor Emiel Vanhoutte’s birth certificate and it is a good thing that he was the one to find it. The certificate is written in Flemish (not French), in old style cursive handwriting, not my strong suit by any means.
The family knew that Emil had a brother but no one seemed to know anything more about the family. Now I know that he was one of eight children, all born in Belgium and that they had moved to Neuville-en-Ferrain in 1877.
What I learned was Emil’s father was Ivo Van Houtte, Belgian born in 1829. His mother was Theresia Vercruysse, also born in Belgium.
His siblings were:
Sylvia – 1859, born in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders, Jules – 1860, Philomena – 1862, Ivo – 1867, Romania – 1870, Mathilda – 1873, Cyrilla – 1876, all born in Dentergem, West Flanders, Belgium.
I keep looking at the names and dates of the family members and rolling them around in my head. One of his brothers came to visit, from what family members remember, onmore than one occasion. I have searched ancestry’s ship records and still haven’t determined which of the brothers visited. I haven’t yet found any more information on the family once they moved to Neuville-en-Ferrain, but I am still looking. I hope, with the number of siblings Emil had, that some descendant of a sibling is also out there looking for connections.
Meanwhile I have been looking into the German Siffrinn side of the family to see if I could make any headway there. What I have seemed to turn up so far is multiple spellings of Siffrinn, but none that end in 2 n’s. This may be part of my problem with finding any connections in Germany. Fourteen different counties have the spelling Siffrin according to geogen. http://christoph.stoepel.net/geogen/compat/Default.aspx Alternate spellings were listed as, Siffring, Sifrin, Sifringer, Sievern, and Sievering. This may be cleared up for me if the immigration information ever shows up.