03 July 2009

Flemish Ancestors

Back in February this year, I wrote an introductory blog post about my Flemish ancestors.

Some of my family came from Lier, not far from Antwerp. Others were from Brussels and the villages around there, most of which are really sprawling cities in their own right today.

Do you have Flemish ancestors?

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Flemish identity, the language of the people of that region developed to be similar to Dutch, as far as I am aware. Flemish people now usually speak Dutch.

Do I speak double Dutch?

Dutch is similar to Flemish but originated as the main language of the Netherlands, otherwise known as Holland. However, the Flemish people came from Flanders, which is now in northern Belgium. The main difference between the Dutch and the Flemish is religious. The Dutch predominantly became protestants while the Flemish people remained Catholic.

Belgium as a state has only been in existence since 1830. It combines two language groups, as the southern half of the country is populated mainly by French speakers. Before 1830, various aristocratic powers in Europe vied for control of the land that has since become Belgium.

Here are some links for anyone who wants to know more about Belgium:

Begin at the Beguinage

The Wikipedia page where I found the beautiful map of Lier

Flemish art

Belgian chocolate

Belgian family history

Discover more about Lier

Belgian foods

Take a peek at Molenbeek

A History of Belgium

There are many things I have been discovering about my Flemish ancestors since February. There are quite a few mysteries still to solve, too. You might be able to help!

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I especially appreciate historical insights.