Boerjans - Early Times; Early Family
The Council of Trent (1545 to 1563) specified that all baptisms, marriages and burials be recorded in registers (church books - parochial registers). It was not until 1600 that this rule was applied. Urbain Boerjan has done a great deal of research into the family genealogy and is the source of the following information, which he published as a book.
This branch of the Boerjan family were all born at Maldegem which is now the largest municipality in East Flanders. Maldegem was mostly swamp land until the 13th century. The Church of St. Barbara was built in 1074. It has been destroyed and rebuilt over the years. On the road to the church stands the old "Schepenhuis", or House of Magistrates, built in 1525. Reesinghe Castle is situated outside the center of Maldegem. There were religious wars in Belgium and during the 16th century the church in Maldegem was burned down by the Protestants. However, the church was rebuilt over the next 400 years.
Joannes (last name not listed) married Theresia Coreman. Their children were Martina Briant (born June 21, 1648), Hubertus Broyan (born March 10, 1650), Cornelia Brejan (born on January 21, 1652), Jacobus Bruhans (born: September 21, 1653).
In the late 1600's, Jacobus Bruhans/Bourjan/Bruan was born in Maldegem on September 21, 1653. He married Cornelia Pickelbeen and they had Petrus Bourjans (born June 29, 1697), Judocus and Cornelis Bourian (born June 6, 1699, died two days later). Jacobus married Wilhelmina van Ootteghem and their children were Joannes Bruan (born December 29, 1702), Elisabeth Bruan (born April 10, 1706), Joanna Bruan (born October 31, 1708).
In 1728, Joannes Bruan married Maria Anne de Vrieze and they had 10 children: Anna Maria Boerjan (born January 12, 1729), Petronella Barbara Boerjan (born March 18, 1730), Marie Francisca Boerjan (born March 2, 1733), Clara Boerjan (born January 16, 1736), Pieter Boerejans (born February 20, 1738), Joanna Boerjan (born October 31, 1740), Joseph Boerjan (born March 3, 1743), Regina Barbara Boerjan (born December 13, 1745), Petronilla Cornelia Boerjan (born February 18, 1749), and Isabella Clara Boerjan (born August 6, 1752). Joannes became a widow but remarried in 1758. The marriage lasted six months and then Joannes died. His wife was left with five underage stepchildren to raise, very much a hardship in those days.
Lembeke is a town located in the Kaprijke Municipality, East Flanders. The other town in the municipality is Kaprijke. The two towns merged In 1976 and have a total population of 6,200 people.
The next generations of Boerjans were born at Lembeke. The entire territory was sandy moorland with a high ridge cutting across it. Lembeke either means "River by the lime-tree" or "River in loamy bed". The "Little Kaprijke Canal" was a waterway that linked Lembeke and Kaprijke to Ghent during the Middle Ages. The cloth industry was the major industry in Lembeke during the 15th and 16th centuries. Religious conflicts in the 17th century led to political and religious instability with resulting damage to many of the churchs in the area. They were repaired over the next few centuries, resulting in a mix of styles.
Pieter Boerejans married Angela Switsinck in 1773. There was a 14 year difference in their ages. Angela was 8 months pregnant at the time of their marriage. Their children were Petronella Boerejan (born July 9, 1773), Isabella Boerjans (born November 7, 1774), Petrus Franciscus Boerejan (born August 11, 1776), Joannes Boerejan (born January 17, 1778), Franciscus Boerejan (born March 11, 1780), Bernardus Boerjan (born September 4, 1782), Ignatius Boerejan (born January 8, 1785), Petrus Boerejan (born February 23, 1787), Carolus Bourjan (born January 26, 1789), Georgius Boerejan (born May 2, 1791), and Maria Joanna Boerejan (born December 21, 1794). Pieter married again, to Livina M. Coppens, and from this marriage came Marie Therese Boerejan (born November 25, 1806), and Jan Baptiste Boerejan (born July 25, 1808).
Franciscus Boerejan was married twice, firstly to Anne Petronella Finet, then to Maria Judoca Van Cauter. At the Correctional Tribunal at Ghent in 1830, Franciscus was sentenced on January 22, 1830 to 3 months in prison for theft. On the same day, his daughter, Marie Therese, was also sentenced to 14 days in prison.
Franciscus and Anne Petronella had the following children: Marie Therese Bourjan (born July 15, 1811), Marie Francoise Boerejans (born July 7, 1813), Joannes Boerejans (born September 15, 1816), Sophie Boerejans (born January 17, 1819), and Naamloos Boerjan (born and died June 4, 1821). Naamloos means No Name, which is sad - the baby didn't even live long enough to be named. I would assume that the baby was full-term because I am sure that women during these years suffered many miscarriages which wouldn't be recorded. Then came Joannes Baptiste Bourjans (born April 7, 1823), Desire Boerjans (born May 23, 1826), Catharina Bourjan (born August 15, 1829), and Petrus Francies Boerjan (born July 1, 1833).
In 1830 Belgium declared independence and the Kingdom of Belgium was formed as a constitutional monarchy.
Desire Boerjans married Sophia Taets on August 13, 1853, and their children were Leopold Boerjans (born April 18, 1854), Rosalie Boerjans (born December 22, 1856), Benjamin Boerjans (born April 22, 1859, died March 26, 1864), Angelus (Lus) Boerjans (born March 4, 1861), Petrus (Pete) Boerjans (born December 17, 1863), Rosalie Boerjans (born July 23, 1866), Marie Leonie Boerjans (born October 25, 1867), Bernardus (Ben) Boerjans (born April 16, 1870), Maria Celina Boerjans (born October 5, 1873), Elodia Maria Boerejans (born October 18, 1874, died December 8, 1874), Augustus Boerjans (born February 6, 1876), and Elodia Boerjans (born February 13, 1878).
Desire was born during the famine years, and more than a third of the population was suffering from starvation. There was no money for doctors if somebody became sick, and many children died during this time.
In 1864, Desire spent 1 month and 8 days in jail for marauding. Was he stealing food for his family, or was he speaking out against the political injustices of the time? From the prison records, we know that he was 1.7 metres tall, had blue eyes, a long face, a normal nose, and fair hair. How does this compare to the drawing of Desire above? The normal nose is interesting in view of the nose sported by generations that followed.
You will notice in the drawing of Desire and Sophia that they all look very serious. No wonder - they lived through a very stressful time, and they had many children to feed and care for.
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