The NOE family from the Meetjesland in East-Flanders, Belgium

Deze blz in het NL
 

B VII d     Petrus No

fs Petrus Bernardus and Sophie Taets       brother of  Ferdinand

Boekhoute 26/5/1852
x Boekhoute 6/9/1875 Melanie Martens
Boekhoute 7/1/1919
 

Three weeks before her 30th birthday, in the Graafjansdijk in the district called "den Notelaer" (the Wall Nut Tree), Sophie was delivered of a third son, who received the same name as his father.

Barely 23 years old he married in Boekhoute on 6/9/1875 with Melanie Martens, the daughter of Joannes Bernardus Martens and Amelie Roegiest, labourers from Bassevelde.  Melanie who born in Bassevelde on 10/7/1853 lived as maid-servant in St Jan-in-Eremo where her daughter Maria Ludovica was born on 29/9/1874.  On their wedding day both recognized the girl as their child.

In 1876 Petrus lived at Meuleken, 71 (Meuleken, here a streetname meaning Little Mill).  One of his neighbours was his brother Ferdinand, but later he moved to the Posthoorn (post-horn).

Melanie has had to work hard from the very start.  Even though times had been more difficult before; hunger was perhaps not an unknown to her.  And on her way back home Melanie sometimes took some food for the animals or perhaps some potatoes.  But the owners of those fields didn't agree at all and the gendarmes had already warned her once or twice.  On 21/7/1879 she was caught redhanded stealing beetroots when they were still in the ground.  Fourteen days after the birth of her fourth child she was summoned.  She was fined 10 francs and had to pay a further 5.60 francs for the costs of the trial.  That would be the equivalent of about 100 to 110 euros.

In 1884 Petrus already had 6 little mouths to feed.  He sent Rosalie to school when she was only 5 years old.  His 3 oldest children already received free education and he hoped he would also get a free babysitting service for his little Rosalie.  But that was refused and Rosalie like every other child was expected at school from her seventh year and not a day earlier.

Petrus was very tall and broad shouldered.  He earned his living as a wood-cutter (lumberjack).  He also had a small farm and a pub called "No's Ark" with a small hall at the back.  And in this hall Petrus with his accordion and his son Domien on the organ took care of the entertainment.

This was very successful especially during the Great War when going out was restricted. On top of that, Petrus' daughters were very charming and during the war they probably flirted with the Germans.  So after the war as a punishment for that their hair was cut off.  And they then disappeared from Boekhoute.

But in his pub Petrus was very much in command and he never put up with brawlers: when disorder threatened he ordered his wife "Mle" to blow out the lights (this was the time of the petroleum lamps), to open the door and to break out the chopping knife and soon the rowdies had fled.

Petrus died shortly after the war in Boekhoute on 7 January 1919.  In her old age Melanie became a very obstinate woman.  She had always enjoyed good health and now refused all help from everyone.  She died in Boekhoute on 27 November 1944, well in her ninety first year and in the loneliness which she herself had sought.

She had given birth to 17 children.  Her youngest was born when she was almost 48 years old.

It is said occasionally nowadays that it was normal in the old days for women to have many children.  This statement is certainly not the whole truth. The fertility of Flemish women was much higher only from the second half of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century.  Only then were big families the norm rather than the exception.  The lower wedding age and better hygiene on the one hand and breast feeding on the other had a lot to do with it.  But there was also a marked increase in the birthrate in the northern part of Western Flanders, in the Westhoek and in the Antwerp Campine where cows milk was substituted sooner for breast feeding.

Breast feeding has an immunizing effect on the suckling baby and a contraceptive effect on the mother.  If the period of breast feeding was shorter then the interval between successive pregnancies was also shorter.  And this in turn increased the likelihood and gravity of all kinds of childhood diseases which of course increased infant mortality.  This way nature somewhat compensated for the higher birthrates.

In the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century half the children came from families with many children or one third of all couples had 5 or more children to feed.  This was definitely not the case in the 17th and 18th centuries: because people were older when they married and because of the high child mortality there were only 2 to 3 children alive in the average family during the Ancien Regime.

Melanie succeeded in bringing up 11 of her 17 children:

  1. Maria Ludovica No
    St Jan-in-Eremo 29/9/1874
    Marie Louise married in Assenede on 14/8/1874 with labourer Theophiel Hamerlynck aka "Thei Keisers".  He was born in Assenede on 10/2/1876 as the son of Eduard Hamerlynck and Clemence Dhanis.  She later lived in the "Staakske" district of Assenede where she died on 20/4/1951.  Theo then moved into the convent in the Leegstraat in Assenede and died there on 17/3/1953.  They had no children.
     
  2. Clara No
    Boekhoute 13/5/1876
    She died in Hoek, Zealand, on 19 September 1876. *
     
  3. Theophiel No
    Boekhoute 26/7/1877
    He went to live in Bruges, the capital of West-Flanders.
    He was a railway man.
    On 10 October 1900 in Bruges he married Zo Verduyn who was born in Passendale on 26/6/1875.  She was the daughter of Bruno Verduyn, clog maker, and of Lucia Vanthornout, housekeeper, both 66 years old and living in Passendale.
    Zoe successfully exploited an inn.  She knew how to deal with those who didn't pay promptly for what they ordered.  She was well known for her expression "Butter with the fish!".  (According to a reader from Zeeland this simply means "No Credit !")  She died suddenly in Bruges on 6/4/1953 after a surgical intervention.  Theophiel died on 15/8/1958, also in Bruges.  They had no children either.
     
  4. Rosalie No
    Boekhoute 11-9-1879 (of was het op 1-5-1880 ?)
    x Boekhoute 26-4-1899 Bernard Vermeulen
    Assenede 3-2-1940
     
  5. Elodie No  *
    Boekhoute 6/9/1881
    On 16/4/1900 she had a son called Cyriel No.  When she married Jan Baptiste Van Hulle on 7/7/1905, Cyriel was recognized as their son and was renamed Cyriel Van Hulle.  Jan, Elodie's husband was born in Philippine (just across the border in the Netherlands) on 21/6/1879, the son of Franciscus Angelus Van Hulle and Maria Francisca Pauwels.  Jan Baptiste was a fisherman.  He was born in Philippine on 21-6-1879 the son of Franciscus Angelus and Maria Francisca Pauwels. Elodie was a farm worker.
    Elodie died in Philippine on 28/9/1935 and Jan Baptiste passed away in the St Elisabeth Hospital in Sluiskil (in the Netherlands) on 26 October 1966 and was buried in Philippine.
    Cyriel Van Hulle was married in Philippine on 27/4/1925 to Maria Sophia Bobelijn.  She was born there on 17-07-1905, the daughter of Camillus Bobelijn (farmer) and Rozalia Katharina Bockstael.  Rozalia was born in Philippine on 19-11-1883.
    Cyriel and his wife were farmworkers.
    Cyriel died in Terneuzen on 30-7-1992.
     
  6. Arthur Aloysius No
    Boekhoute 30/5/1884
    x Assenede 19/10/1907 Emerentia Maria Obrie
    Eeklo 27/11/1965.
     
  7. Coralie Marie No
    Boekhoute 18/4/1886
    Boekhoute 20/11/1890.
     
  8. Dominicus No
    Boekhoute 6/1/1888
    x 1914 Julia De Brucker
    Lede 11/10/1963.
     
  9. Maria Barbara No
    Boekhoute 14/2/1889
    She married Louis Verbiest.  They had a butcher's shop in Merelbeke.  They have one daughter.
    Maria died in Eeklo on 1/8/1945 and Louis died in Merelbeke on 2/2/1967.
     
  10. Josephina Benedicta No
    Boekhoute 31/3/1890
    She married in Boekhoute on 6/4/1910 with Ren Theophiel De Vleeshouwer, a labourer who was born in Boekhoute on 7/7/1886, the son of  Theophiel De Vleeshouwer and Mathilde Maes.
     
  11. Edmond Joseph No
    Boekhoute 10/1/1892
    He was married in Boekhoute on 17/11/1923.  Hermina Vermeulen, his bride was born in Terneuzen (the Netherlands) on 28/10/1893.  She was the daughter of Leonard Vermeulen and Emilie De Taeye.  Edmond Joseph died in Boekhoute on 14/5/1971.
    They had 3 children:
    - NN, born and died on 27/6/1924
    - Diana No was married to Gerard De Cock.  They have one son and one daughter.
    - Yvonne No, twin sister of Diana, married Gilbert Meyvaert.  They have 3 sons.
     
  12. Zulma Maria No
    Boekhoute 12/10/1893
    Boekhoute  6/10/1894
     
  13. Alois No
    Boekhoute 5/2/1895
    He was a stoker on the railways.  He married Hermina Clementina Van Paemel in Boekhoute on 23/1/1924.  She was born in Assenede on 4/9/1902, the daughter of Henricus Van Paemel and Emma Vincent.  They went to live in St Ghislain, a town near the French border in the southern part of Belgium.
    They had 2 sons:
    • Arthur No
      Saint-Ghislain 1-9-1927
      He passed away aged 40.
    • Joseph No
       
  14. Livinus Richardus No
    Boekhoute 21/5/1896
    Boekhoute 17/3/1897
     
  15. Clara No
    Boekhoute 3/6/1897
    She married in Boekhoute on 3/12/1919 with Petrus Cocquyt.  He was born in Assenede on 4/3/1890 in the farmers family of Leo Cocquyt and Leonie Marie Schinkels.  They built a farm in Philippine, later exploited by their son.  They also had a daughter.
     
  16. Irma Celina No
      Boekhoute 23/7/1898
      Boekhoute 3/9/1901
     
  17. Celina Maria
    Boekhoute 7/5/1901
    Boekhoute 7/5/1901

_________________
* Many thanks to Mrs. Marie-Christine Vandevelde who found on the Zeeuwen-Gezocht website more information about Cyriel Van Hulle, his wife Maria Sophia Bobelijn and her parents as well as the date of death of Clara and Elodie (5).  ("Zeeuwen gezocht" means Zealanders wanted.)
Many thanks also to Mr. Jackie Claeys for his contribution to this page.

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