Welcome to our website. This is all about the Windey family first found in the region of Waasmunster in the northern Flemish part of Belgium. Waasmunster is about halfway between Antwerp and Ghent
We thank Mr. Ronald E. Windy who lives in San Francisco, California and who left a request for information on the altar in the church of St-Margriete. He wanted to know more about his grandfather Camiel Windey who was born in St-Margriete. That note set the ball rolling. We went to Edgard De Jaeger-Braet and his wife Mariette Windey. They are the memory and the archives of St-Margriete and surroundings. And they told us someone by the name of Jacqueline Strand Boelens had written a similar request in the visitors' book in the same church.
St-Margriete ? A town in the north of the Meetjesland in Belgium up against the border with Zeeland (in the Netherlands).
We now know that Ronald is the uncle of Jacqueline and his father Julius Windy was the son of Camiel Windey, or Windy as a nameless officer of the U.S. immigration service registered him (for their taxes of course).
Many thanks also to Mr. Marijn Claeys who did the research and for his permission to publish the results of his work. This of course is his work we publish here for all who might be interested.
We also thank, once again, Judi Paustian McDowell who added a picture of the tombstone and some information on Mary Margaret "Peg" Roush Johnson to the Find-a-Grave website. And that set another ball rolling: thanks to her work we found more on the American branch of the Windey/Windy family.
By the way, Judi McDowell is married to a Van Hootegem descendant: James McDowell is the grandson of August Noë who was born in Ursel and of Sofie Van Hootegem who was born in Sint-Laureins, since 1971 merged with and part of St-Margriete. Or is it the other way round ?
Many thanks also to Mr. Daan Hugaert for his corrections and extra information.
And now a word or two about the profession of "stoeldraaier", chairmaker.
Because so many Windeys were chairmakers by profession. Stoel (pronounced like
the English word stool, is the Dutch word for chair and yes, there you have the
etymology of stool.
A chairmaker is a cabinet maker specialized in chairs. Stoeldraaier translated literally means chair turner. The art and craft of woodturning was used to make many parts of chairs. Was St-Margriete the only town where a Windey gained the nickname of "Stoel" ?
Farmer is a word especially younger Americans might not understand correctly. Until the 1950s on just about every farm there were a few cows, a horse or two, some pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits. The poorer farmer had goats and sheep instead of cows. Every farm had its vegetable garden where they grew enough potatoes for the pigs and the humans. Yes, believe it or not, the pigs received cooked food. Specialized merchants came around at regular intervals or just at the right moment to buy the surplus eggs, most of the piglets, the flax, the straw, the peas and beans, the barley, etc. Cattle dealers took care of the old cows and proposed sexy young heifers. Then there were those who came round to propose kitchen utensils, mats, paniers, linnen and everything else that wasn't produced on the farm. Or someone came to castrate the young steers, another one was specialized in neutering the male piglets and a third chap knew how to magical turn rebellious young stallions into a well behaved geldings. In the winter wood was cut, wheat, rye and barley were threshed and fat pigs were butchered.
After all that, one more thing before everything else:
Don't hope for more ancestors from before 1577: only the names and dates of some of the rich were recorded (deeds by notaries public to explain who got what piece of the inheritance after the demise of daddy or uncle Joe) and in any case, so much of the archives was destroyed e.g. by fire or inundations. Or just simple negligence: what's the good of keeping all that ? They're all dead anyway. When foreign armies came, more often than not they were allowed to steal everything and they burnt down the houses and barns of those who refused to give more or who simply had nothing left. Of course when people had to flee for their lives the last thing they would worry about were the archives. Especially since well over 90% of the population could neither read nor write.
You can now search through this Windey website:
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Finally, a request for updates, corrections and commentaries, but also for photographs and other documents pertaining to the Windey family (or any other family whose genealogy we publish here. Please contact us.
Enjoy your visit to this website !
Adrianus, the first Windey forefather
Most recent update : 12-02-2023
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