Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Treasure Trove for Grand-Leez researchers

Our member Rick F was looking for family in Grand-Leez, Belgium. Several families from Grand-Leez ended up in Wisconsin between 1855 -1856, but the people he was looking for left in 1871. He had found a connection in Belgium and their family names compared well but they could not find a common link to tie their family trees together.
One of our members suggested he visit Netradyle, a site containing a lot of extracted records: http://www.netradyle.be/
Another sent a link to Ron Flemalle’s site: PenBelGen: 19th Century Belgian Residents of Door Peninsula, Wisconsin
I forwarded the query to http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/geniwal_magazine/ and received a most interesting answer redirecting me to Philippe Josis’ webpage at http://grandleez.be/

Another member went further and must have contacted the page owner as this morning I found a reply to the query in my mailbox. And what reply this was!
Mr. Josis had sent a link to an image from the Population register of Grand-Leez, showing Rick’s family.
Population registers in Belgium are maintained by decades and follow families over that time span: births, marriages, emigrations etc.
Allow me to extract the image for you:

As Head of household: DAVISTER, Louis Joseph, day laborer, born in Ernage, 17 July 1792, illegitimate son of DAVISTER, Marie Joseph, who is the daughter of DAVISTER, Pierre and BERGER, Marie Barbe
His Wife: LEGROS, Marie Thérèse, born in Sauvenière in 1788, daughter of LEGROS, Philippe (who is the son of LEGROS, Laurent and BRABANT, Magdelaine) and JOSET, Marie Josephe.
Their children:
- Marie Catherine, born in Sauveniere in 1815, married to DESSART, Amand, resides at Grand lez
- Ghislain Joseph, born in Sauveniere in 1818, married 1 BERNARD, Antoinette and 2. (blank)
- Hubert Joseph, born in Sauveniere in 1821, married to BEQUEVORT, Anne Julienne, resides at GrandLez
- Clement Joseph, born in Sauveniere in 1823, married to LOOSEN, Albertine, resides in Sauveniere
- Marie Françoise, born in sauveniere in 1829, married to Philippe LANGELE, resides in Incourt

Philippe Josis has spent the greater part of the last 10 years extracting the Grand-Leez records and as of now, he has photographed the all of the Grand-Leez parish registers from 1613 to 1796 (He is also working on the 11 other parishes of Gembloux).
He is working on the French period records (1796-1803) of the cantons of Gembloux and Spy.
For the new régime (1803 – abt. 2000), he has photographed the original records found in the Parish registers as well as in the Civil registers.

On his site’s Home Page - http://www.grandleez.be/grandleez.be.htm -, under the tab “Population”, you can find 5 lists:
- The 1693 enumeration of Mont-Saint-Guibert (Grand-Leez was a part of that location in those days): it’s one of the first enumerations!
- The 1709 enumeration of Mont-Saint-Guibert: 16 years later, with more details
- A list of Heads of Families taken around 1830 by the Abbot Surlectiaux: contains both spouses, house numbers, according to villages/hamlets
- A more recent population listing of Grand-Leez, first published in "Chez Nous" around 1990: includes street names, house numbers, names/surnames of both spouses or companions as well as telephone numbers
- A 2006 list of households of Grand-Leez, according to house number and street

Back to the main page, under “Histoire” you will find a local history (in French), a time line and the coat of arms along with pictures of 2 books dedicated to local history:
- Le Pays de Gembloux: Des Origines a L’An Mille: Jean Martin’s superb summary of 1000 years of History of Grand-Leez and its surrounding: The triangle Gembloux (Baudecet) – Walhain – Grand-Leez
- Notes d’Histoire sur Grand-Leez, also by Jean Martin covers 20 centuries of history and is available through the Cercle Royal d'Art et Histoire de Gembloux .

Let’s return again to the main page and this time click on “Généalogies”.
On this page Philippe Josis explains how so far 26,000 have been extracted from the Grand-Leez records and this has enabled the reconstruction of many old family trees.
If you have family in Grand-Leez, you will want to contact Philippe Josis to see if he can help you find your ancestor.

Be aware though that only specific questions will receive answers. There will be no reply to queries seeking “All information on any surname” so as not to deprive the researcher from experiencing the fun in personal discovery.
On that page, just click on the highlighted “en annexe” where many answers to archived queries can be found.
At the top of the page you will find tabs in alphabetical order.
Since we are looking for DAVISTER, let’s click on the one that says “de A à D”, then select D. This leads us to more alphabetical tabs at the top of the page.

In Internet Explorer, when you hover over “Recherches D”,

a menu comes down giving you some names. Move to the person you are interested in and click. A picture of a record or a family tree will be displayed.

Back to the main page again, this time click on “Tranche de vie” to discover two articles dedicated to personalities who made their mark on Grand-Leez and who deserve to be remembered.
- Henry II de Leez, Bishop of Liège, related to the Grand-Leez nobles
- Mathieu PORTIER, notaire at Petit Leez.

Under the “Evénements” tabs of the Main page, you will find lists of people who participated in events that marked the village history:
- List of young men enlisted in Napoleon’s armies
- List of those who emigrated to America between 1855-1856
- List of those who died or were deported during WWI
- List of those of were captured or/and died during WWII

Under “Liens”, you will find links to further sites to help you discover the region and if you have family in Gembloux, to help you further your research.
Under “Contact” you will find a form to fill out to make your request for research.
Just remember… it must be specific and show that you have given serious thought to your personal research before asking.

Philippe Josis enjoys making this information available to all freely but his work is copyrighted and should not be used for any other purpose than personal research. He juggles many hats besides and wishes for many more years with 32-48 hour days.
Please visit his wonderful site.
You will rave about it as I am, and I don’t have any relatives in Grand-Leez… I searched my database to verify as I would have LOVED finding one and tying into this Gargantuan work. He yet plans to take photographs of the cemetery to add to the information already available.
THANK YOU, Philippe for an amazing site!