Miscellaneous

Familybook: 'Genealogy of the family De Clercq'

 

When our ancestor Pieter de Clercq (1661-1730) died, he not only left a vast fortune, but also a numerous offspring. From his marriage with Cornelia Block 16 children were born. However, six of them died at a young age, one girl was mentally and physically retarded, and one son did marry, but also died before having children. Nevertheless: Pieter had quite a few children who reached maturity and even more grandchildren, etc.
Pieters eldest son and namesake Pieter de Clercq junior (1700-1757) decided to record the offspring of his father and started to write down all the names of these children and grandchildren in a book, which he called a “geslachtsregister”.
A few decadeds later, Pieter juniors youngest son Stephanus de Clercq (1747-1819) added to the book a preface, in which he jotted down all he knew about the earliest generations of the De Clercq family.
This old book has been handed down from generation to generation in the oldest branch of our family and still exists.

Titlepage of the De Clercq 'Geslagt-register', started shortly after 1730

At the end of the 19th century one member of the youngest branch was very interested in the De Clercq family history. He was Pieter de Clercq (1849-1934), a retired banker from Amsterdam, who had moved to the Dutch province of Friesland, where he owned a few farms, inherited from his mothers family.

While living there Pieter corresponded on family matters with many De Clercqs, both in Holland and in the USA. Also, he asked an old friend of his, Lodewijk Gerard le Poole (1848-1948), a textile merchant from Leiden and a historian, to make for him a copy of the old genealogical register of the oldest branch.

Moreover, he asked Mr. Le Poole, to make another copy: a translation in English, for the relatives in America. In 1907 Pieter had the book sent to the De Clercqs, then still living in Cazenovia, NY.

Pieter de Clercq (1849-1934) and his friend Lodewijk Gerard le Poole (1848-1948)

 

There were plans to have the book published. In a letter from Florence C. Moore-Cushing (1878-1961, granddaughter of Julia de Clercq and John Flavel Kingsbury) to Pieter in Holland, dated June 30, 1907, she wrote: “Yesterday Mr. Guysbert deClercq, father of Mrs. Catherine Moore, whom you saw in Amsterdam, was here. He said that a daughter of Gilbert deClercq, who formerly lived here, but now is in Lebanon, is going to Chicago to spend the summer and it has been suggested that she take the Genealogy with her. Mrs. Susan deClercq-Conger, a sister of Gilbert lives there, as does also the widower of Carrie deClercq-West, another sister and they own large shares in a big publishing home there. And there are also several other deClercq’s in Chicago. They think, on account of being interested in that publishing house, that perhaps the Genealogy could be published to better advantage there, better work and cheaper than here in the East. These people, the Chicago deClercqs, are all educated and literary, and intensely interested in the Genealogy, and proud of it, as we all are.”

The familybook (manuscript), translated by L.G. le Poole and sent to America in 1907

Apparently these plans for publishing were never executed.
The book was later passed on to Clarence Frederick de Clercq (1883-1971), youngest son of the above mentioned Gilbert. Clarence was very active in gathering data for the De Clercq familytree. He corresponded with many of his relatives in America, as well as with his distant Samuel de Clercq (1876-1962) from Holland, son of Pieter, the banker. And the information Clarence gathered, he added to his copy of the Genealogy.

 

Clarence Frederick de Clercq (1883-1971), who added much information to the Genealogy

The book is now in the possession of Ron Throop, a great-grandson of Clarence. Ron and his wife Rose were kind enough to make pictures of the book and send them to Holland. I uploaded these pictures to a web album.
To see them, click here.

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