De Smeetsgroep - een limburgse familiesite

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Generations of the Smeets-familywith lots of thanks to Uncle Harrie, Toon and Ome Toon (from Venlo).The text below is written by uncle Harrie (son of Joseph Smeets and Bertha Klerckx - my grandparents). The people's intrest for their roots is growing rapidly the last few years. What the reason might be is not obvious. It may have to do with general questions one has in life: who am I and where am I from? The simple and easy answers from the old days, mostly with a religious background, are not enough nowadays. Because we see in the media the search from other people to their roots (for different reasons like adoption e.g.) we perhaps recognize some of that in ourselves. Especially for larger families like ours, it might be of intrest to know the origin and to know to whom you belong. And especially with larger families you lose each other. Now and then you meet family at funerals and everybody thinks it a pity not having met on other occcasions to get better acquainted with each other.The younger generation is particular intrested in familytrees and things about their family. It is for them that I will try to put things on paper. The SMEETS-family we are talking about on this site is René's (Renier) one who died in 1907 and left 14 children. Those 14 are from two marriages, so the relation between these children is half-brother and half-sister. This patriarch Renier is preceded by 4 generations of which we know very little. Some points of intrest are put together. We mention in chronologicall order the ancestors starting from a certain Mathias, born in 1690, over 310 years ago.
MATHIAS Smeets x Helena Dencken-Hillen * 12.06.1690 * 22.05.1693 † 27.11.1784 † 26.12.1771 The family tree goes with sufficient certainty back to this MATHIAS Smeets. Mathias married in 1729 the widow HELENA HILLEN -who had already 5 children- daugther of a wealthy family of traders and magistrates. They had 3 children, a daughter Marie-Katrien and two sons: Daniël (who had 8 children of which nothing is known and Peter who became the new Patriarch. (By marriage girls lost their maiden name. For that reason they vanish in the shadows of the past. And if they did not marrie they had no children as well / we assume). Since 1765, when PETER married Eva REUTEN, house "De Keizer" (The Emperor), build in 1706, became the "House of the Clan". That house still exists and mentions the date of construction. The 'famous' house was sold in 1729 by Rein Dencken, married earlier to Helena Hillen - who later on married MATHIAS (see above)- to Jacob van de Sande who sold the house in 1765 to PETER. When Peter died in 1821 it was sold again. These details, and lots of others are mentioned in the book "Family of de Keizer, a family Smeets from Wessem", written by Toon Smeets in 1989. It is available at the writers address.(Contact the webmaster)But what he writes about our family are written down on this site.
PETER Smeets x Eva REUTEN * 30.06.1730 * 30.11.1733 † 17.11.1788 † 14.12.1800 They had 9 children, of which 5 were girls. The names of the sons are: Reynerus (born 1758), Michael (born 1759), Josephus (born 1762) and Reynerus again (born 1769). This last one REYNERUS became the new Patriarch. Michael and Joseph were well known as agitators against the French opressor. A report from 1798 mentions that everything is quit since the Smeets-Brothers were arrested.The first Reynerus has died early at a very young age.Of Michael is known he moved to Panheel. Josephus married Helena van de Sande and became Patriarch of the Smeets-clan from Thorn:from Toon, the father of Ed(uard) and Pie(rre). This Eduard married a daugther of our uncle Harrie. Toon also had a brother, called Ber who is the father of the writer Toon of the cronicle "Family of de Keizer, a family Smeets from Wessem".
REYNERUS Smeets x Anna Maria Mestrom † 21.03.1821 * 01.01.1769 († 16.05.1813) He married (1801) Anna MESTROM (also called Elisabeth) and had in 12 years of marriage 8 children. They lived in the house 'De Keizer'. Of most of the children nothing is known. Some died at very young age as a child. Mother Anna died some weeks after she had given birth to the twins in 1613. Reynerus died in 1821. The house 'De Keizer' in Wessem has to be sold and the orphans moved to Maasbracht. A son, Joseph, became priest in 1841. Another son, became our Patriarch in the fourth generation: Christianus known as Chretien. It is a pity that this far grand nephew Toon has not been able to find out more about those orphans -and who took care of them- it would have been worth while.
Eva, born1802 and died in 1808 on 24 February at the age of 6. Anna Maria, born. 1804-Wessem, died 9 July1937 Maasbracht, marriedTheodoor Reuten (Maasbracht) and got a child that died at the age of 1. Peter born 4 October 1805 Wessem, died 7 Feb. 1859 Linne, runs a lodging houde, married in Maasbracht with Ida Martine van de Ven, and found dead at the age of 53 in Linne. They had 3 children, all died very young. CORRECTION - ADJUSTMENT 2010 (thanks to Gerald Straatman who put me on the trail): Peter and Ida had more children as mentioned. It were 5 instead of 3. Maria-Josepha, born 1827 at Maasbracht, died 19 March 1869 at Maasbracht. Maria married an Arnoldus Straatman (born 10 November 1827 at Pannerden (NL- Gelderland), son of Dirk Straatman and Theodora Albers. Renier Hubertus, born 15 Sept. 1834 at Heel-Panheel, married Anna Catharina Olivers, born 31 Dec. 1835 at Grevenbricht. Eva Hubertina born 1837, died 4 June 1842 Josephina Hubertina born 1839, died 12 June 1856 Agnes Hubertina born 1841, died 25 Sept. 1848 Christianus, born 23-9-1807, died at Wessem 1 november 1811 A second Christianus, born 1-4-1809, married Cornelia van de Venne op 1-5-1831. Christianus died in 06-08-1841. They have 4 children of which Reinier passes the name and who is already Master Blacksmith. Maria who became a nun, see death card and letter of concent Jacques Dorus and Renier (René) patriarch of the 5th generation. Johannes Henricus Alexander, born 30-3-1811 dies at a young age. And finally the twins: Theodorus Hubertus, born 28-4-1813, no further information available. Joseph Hubertus, born 28-4-1813, becomes a priest in 1841 in Roermond. Has parishes in Maasbree and Elsloo. From 1862 till 1864 pastor at Ittervoort and afterwards in Born. From 1886 emeritus at Sittard. His sister in law Cornelia van de Venne (widow of Christianus-see earlier) lives in Ittervoort as housekeeper with him.
A short conclusion:From the 10 children of the father called by the generation of the writer (uncle Harrie) our grandfather are in total 72 decendants. Exactly half of that number -36- is on account of three teachers: Jozef, Harie and Toon. App. 50 of these 72 have about 200 children of their own. 'About' because the 5 children of aunt Neelke (Cornelia) Daamen- Smeets (who moved to Brussels) are unknown.And then there was also that dramatic war incident in Venlo where at a bombardment in november 1944: four children of oncle Toon and aunt Lienke were killed. I mention the mother of this large family because I have very pleasant memories about her. At the time of my childhood we went severall times to Venlo to stay with them on vacation. Aunt Lienke was a great and inpressive woman, who inspite of that was not terrifying at all. She made me lie once and she put us to bed all together totally naked. About the lie: our brother George has left for Oosterhout (where he was in St. Paulus monastry) in October 1930. She told me that she had cried at the moment George left. She asked me: "Did you cry too?" And I bravely said -but lieing- "No, not me!". Correction (from Sjef):Since uncle Harrie has written this, the total number of decendants is far over 350 persons (counting based on the family tree).