Flemish DNA & Ancestry

gpc1406dIn a book that began as a family case study, Flemish DNA & Ancestry: History of Three Families over Five Centuries Using Conventional and Genetic Genealogy by Guido J. Deboeck, has proven to be much more. The book offers an excellent primer on genetic or DNA genealogy, including, how to take a DNA test, what to expect in terms of results, and concrete examples showing how DNA results can be used to investigate paternal and maternal lineages, as well as interpret and solve family puzzles.

So, starting as a book on the history of three families from Flanders: The Deboeck family, whose surname represents one of the oldest names in Flanders; the Girardin family; and the De Zutter family, this book becomes an almost free standing guide on exceptional genealogical research practices. Here are a few more areas Deboeck covers, areas he searched and used in detailing this family history:

  • Historical documents, such as: civil registries, parish registers, orphan acts, meiseniers letters, property transactions, militia records, and tax records.
  • Using DNA testing to verify or potentially correct information extracted from historical documents.
  • Flemish emigration, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • The history of embroidery, lace-making, and beer brewing.
  • A summary of what is currently known about the deep ancestry of the author’s paternal and maternal ancestors and hence the deep ancestry of many Flemish people.
  • An introduction to the Flanders-Flemish DNA project, which brings together the DNA from people who have roots in Flanders.

Flemish DNA & Ancestry will greatly benefit not only those interested in Flemish-American heritage and the specific history of the three families documented in this book, but also all genealogists seeking insight into how to integrate the findings of conventional genealogy research with results from DNA testing.

In the author’s own words, “The scope of this book is such that genealogists in general will enjoy reading it and will benefit from its methodological guideline and practical applications.”

This books is definitely an uncommon approach to sharing both a family history as well as covering the how-tos and whys of genealogical research, but maybe that is what makes it all the more interesting.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Tables




1 Introduction

  • Why research family history?
  • Main sources for conventional genealogy
  • Quick introduction to genetic genealogy
  • History of Flanders and Brabant
  • Objectives and layout of this book


2. De Bock family of Little Brabant (1540-1875)

  • Introduction
  • Origin of the family name
  • The birthplace: Sint-Amands and surroundings
  • Fifteen generations of the family

3. Deboeck Brothers: Entrepreneurs in Embroidery and Lace Making in Belgium (1875-1968)

  • Brief history of lace making in Flanders
  • Guillaume Deboeck launches lace making factory
  • Brother Victor also started a business
  • Guillaume’s wife and children continue his enterprise
  • The establishment of a company
  • Conducting business during and after the war: the first ten years
  • Growth of the company in the fifties and sixties
  • The decline and liquidation of the company
  • Why they closed and what happened thereafter?
  • Private investments
  • Personal hobbies

4. Girardin Family: Brewers of Iambic and Gueuze (1882-Present)

  • Where is Pajottenland?
  • Brief history of Brussels
  • The ancestors of Augustine Girardin
  • The descendants of Franciscus-Alexius Girardin
  • Two catholic mayors of Sint-Ulriks-Kapelle
  • Beer brewing around Brussels
  • 125 years of Girardin brewery
  • The Girardin approach to investing

5. De Zutter family of West Flanders

  • From Moerkerke and Lapscheure to Blankenberge
  • From Blankenberge to Nieuwpoort
  • De Zutter Family of Blankenberge
  • Irmard Burkhardt
  • Daniel De Zutter


6. Flemish emigration to the United States

  • Flemish role is discovery of America
  • The first Belgians in America
  • Belgian emigration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
  • Flemish publication in the U.S.A.
  • Belgians in Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • Belgian contributions to America

7. Deboeck Family Branches Out to the United States (1964-Present)

  • A voyage that sowed the seeds
  • Studying in Leuven and the student rebellion of 1968
  • Graduate studies at Clark University
  • Four years traveling for W.H.O. like a sailor
  • Twenty-two years, four months and 15 days
  • From day trading to investment management
  • The next generation


8. The Genetic Inheritance of the Deboeck Children

  • Beyond the basics
  • Common DNA tests
  • Taking a DNA test
  • How to read Y-DNA and mtDNA results?
  • What does all this tell us about deep ancestry?

9. Other Findings From Genetic Genealogy

  • Are we related? The Deboeck Surname Project
  • Solving family puzzles
  • Public databases of DNA
  • The Genographic Project
  • Risk and rewards of DNA testing

10 Flanders-Flemish DNA Project

  • Objectives
  • Participation
  • Preliminary results
  • Future directions

Epilogue: A Fantastic Voyage


  1. Branches of the Deboeck family tree
  2. Distances, Surface Measures and Land Prices
  3. Evolution of prices, wages and the value of money in Belgium over the past six centuries
  4. Value of investments in Belgium in US dollars
  5. Was Franciscus-Alexius the son of Leopold I, first King of Belgium?


Useful Links


Name Index

Geographical Index

Subject Index

About the Author


Order Flemish DNA & Ancestry: History of Three Families over Five Centuries Using Conventional and Genetic Genealogy from Family Roots Publishing




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