De Smeetsgroep - een limburgse familiesite


Generations of the Smeets-family with 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: one daughter and two sons: Marie-Katrien Daniël and Peter Daniël had 8 children of whom we know nothing and Peter became the new Patriarch.
PETER Smeets x Eva REUTEN * 30.06.1730 * 30.11.1733 † 17.11.1788 † 14.12.1800 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. They had 9 children, of which 5 were girls. The names of the sons are: Agnes (1756) Reinerus (1758), Michael (1759), Josephus (*1762 - †1810) Agnes 2e (1764) Mara Helena (1766) Cornelia (177) Maria Elisabeth (1775) and again a Reynerus (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 Reinerus 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) lived in “The Keizer” and had in 12 years of marriage 8 children. Eva, born 1802 and in 1808 on Februari 24th died at the age of 6. Anna Maria, born 1804 at Wessem, died 9th Julyi 1837 at Maasbracht, married Theodoor Reuten (Maasbracht) and had one child as we know for sure. This child died 1 year old. Peter, born OPctober 4th in 1805 at Wessem, died February 7th 1859 at Linne, is innkeeper, married at Maasbracht with Ida Martine van de Ven, and was found dead at thea age of 53 at Linne also. They had 3 children who al died at very young age. 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 o Maria-Josepha, born 1827 at Maasbracht, died March, 19th 1869 at Maasbracht. Maria married a Arnoldus Straatman (born November 10th 1827 at Pannerden (NL-Gelderland), son of Dirk Straatman and Theodora Albers. o Renier Hubertus, born September 15th 1834 at Heel-Panheel, married Anna Catharina Olivers, born December 13th1835 at Grevenbricht. o Eva Hubertina, born 1837, died 4 juni 1842 o Josephina Hubertina, born 1839, died. 12 juni 1856 o Agnes Hubertina, born 1841, died 25 sept. 1848
Christianus, born 23-9-1807, died at Wessem on 1-11-1811 a second Christianus, born 1-4-1809, married Cornelia van de Venne on 1-5-1831. Christianus died in 1841. We know for sure they had 4 children of which Reinier the name passes and is "chief/master blacksmith". Johannes Henricus Alexander, born 30-3-1811 dies at young age. And finally the twins: Theodorus Hubertus, born 28-4-1813, of whom we know nothing. 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. 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. CHRISTIANUS (Chretien) Smeets x Cornelia van de Venne * 01.04.1809 * 18-09-1812 † 06.08.1841 † 06-08-1847 Dspite Christianus died at the age of 32 they had 4 children: one daughter and three sons. Maria, who became a nun, see prayer card. Jaques, Dorus, and Renier (René), the patriarch of the 5th generation. Renier (René/Renerus) Smeets married after the death of his first wife Sibilla, a second time. His second wife was Margaretha. Renier had in total 14 children. Adso we arrive at the point of history we can oversee. We are know in the 20st century. Renier is the firts of whom pictures are. He is my great-grandfather. “My” means in this context -Sjef Smeets - born 01.11.1953, webmaster of this site, and grandson of Herman Jozef and Bertha Klerckx, son of Dries en Ollie Smeets-Augenstein.
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. Addition by Sjef Smeets: The above mentioned figures are from 1993. Nowadays (April 2020) a lot has changed. I have counted again but I expect the real number of decendants will be far more because I am not fully aware of the increase of generations over the last years. Below an overview of the number of decendants of the children of Renier and Margatretha/Sibilla. Christiaan 50 Cornelia 5 Theodorus 38 (Herman) Jozef, my grandfather 184 Frans 47 Josefien 29 Helena 34 Jaques 21 Harie 82 Toon 38 Total 528 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!".