Are you related to me ?
The NOE family from the Meetjesland in East-Flanders, Belgium

Are you related to me ?

A gentleman from North Carolina thinks his ancestor Peter Noe born around 1720 came from Germany or Switzerland.  He wanted to know if there was a connection between his line and the one described here.

Here is the reply I gave to a person who thought her line of Noe's from Kansas might be related to the families described on this website.

Hello Daisy,

Thank you for writing to me.  I find it really great that we can communicate with each other freely and practically free of charge.

You and I, are we related ?  Do we have a common ancestor ?  It's not impossible but how can we prove or disprove it ?

First of all, we here have published the known vital information about all deceased ancestors.  If we had known about a branch that emigrated to a country as far away as Germany or the U.S.A. we would have publishe the data.  More often than not we found a birth certificate.  Of course, it mentions the parents, which is how we know of the existence of this child in this family.  And then... nothing further: no marriage, no mention of his death, no burial record, nothgin.  And we have no way of knowing where to search for more information on this person.

The day all birth, marriage and death records will be transcribed, published and listed in the indexes of the search engines will change all that.

Before the bicycle became popular and affordable people rarely went further than 40 miles to find a partner for life.  When here in Belgium, a mere hundred years ago, someone moved more than 50 miles away from the rest of the family, in many cases soon all contact was lost.  Less than 15 miles from where I was born there were Noe's and we knew for sure they were not related to us.  Then Marijn Claeys looked into it all and discovered how many Noe's living in the area were related to each other.  See also on this topic our page on the Noe name.

Before 1600 no one here was obliged to write down birth and death records.

Many archives were destroyed during the numerous wars that were fought in our regions or they suffered from inundations and/or neglect.  Other birth registers disappeared to make sure the occupying power wouldn't be able to use them to enlist boys in their armies.

Petrus had two sons, Ivo and August.  A grandson of Ivo and a grandson of August had an eye on the same girl who eventually married a son of Henry.  And August's grandson left them alone.  That was one of the rules of the game.  Perhaps contact was resumed by the next generation only after the death of August's grandson.

Last names are a fairly recent invention.  When someone from Damme went to live somewhere else they probably called him "Van Damme".  Someone who had a farm had fewer reasons to leave for good, but someone who had nothing, he left no will, no grave stone, no estate description and not much else, except perhaps a quarrel.  Or some similar reason not to return.

What would be a good reason to keep in touch with distant relatives if there was nothing to inherit and no rent to receive ?  And how would they have corresponded when 90% of the population couldn't read or write ?

Those who left for another country no doubt to adopt another language... they really disappeared because in most cases nothing was heard from them ever again.

Then there is the Immigration Officer: if the immigrant doesn't show a document with his name on it, how can this government employee know how to spell the name he hears pronounced by someone who doesn't speak English.  Some no doubt did what they could to disappear because they were "wanted for questioning".  But the vast majority just wanted a better life for their family.  So where are they ?

Please allow me to refer you to the Questions page on this website.  So many missing persons ! There I'm sure you will see so many of my questions are similar to yours.

So how are we going to find out if we are related ?  Here is how I suggest you proceed: you visit  Let's hope that will get you started.  Visit the FindaGrave website.  If you find an ancestor who was born in Belgium, come back here to our search page and see if you have a match.

As we explained above, if you don't have the name, the date and place of birth of a Meetjesland parent for your great-great-great-grandfather Randal Noe we cannot help you.  What we know of Noe's who emigrated before the First World War we have already publiched.

And if you have an idea, try and follow it up.

I really hope you will soon know a lot more about your Noe's.  Unless your ancestors were native Americans somehow you will have to find more information on those who came to America from Belgium, France, Spain or Germany.  Because for us here on the old continent they disappeared as completely as the poor boy who was conscripted in the army and lost his life in a far off land for the glory of a tyrant like Napoleon.  We never heard from them again and we have no way of knowing where to look for them.

Here we have a marvelous success story : August Noë disappeared until we received a message... all the way from California.

We wish you success and we hope to hear from you again soon.

Best regards,

Have you read our story about August Noë ?  We only knew his name and his date of birth.  But most of those who left for America or Canada were lost forever.  No more news.  Nothing.  The second generation of those who left for France in the 1920s barely understand a few words of the dialect of their grandparents.

A man in Ghent known as Joannes van Damme might be related to another man Peter van de Kerckhove (kerkhof = cemetery) also living in Ghent but how could we here now discover that they had a common grandfather ?  Imagine Peter writing to a relative of his in Damme to tell the story of how he met one Joannes Van Damme and how they discovered they had a common grandfather.  What are the chances that someone here now, 500 years later, finds this letter, learns thanks to it the secret of their relationship and can fit them into a genealogical tree ?

Then again, let's face it... it wouldn't be fun if it were too easy, would it ?  Please don't let anything I said here discourage you.  I hope to hear from you again.

All the very very best to you and all those dear to you.

To the top of this page
Our NOE Welcome page
Table of contents
Find it in our NOE website !

More genealogy
Het Meetjesland

MijnPlatteland homepage
MijnPlatteland homepage

Most recent update :  29-02-2020