The Family De Roover

The search for relatives of Franc De Roover proved very fruitful.

We are now in contact with his great-great-granddaughter and great-great-grandson, who did not know each other before our search started.

From them we have found out about other members of the family who travelled to Rhyl in 1914.

Previously, the only name we had of any of our refugees was Franc, and that was because he was written about in the newspapers when he died.

Let us introduce you to his family…


Annelene is Franc’s great-great-granddaughter.  She lives in Aarschot and has told us about Franc’s daughter Rosalie, her great-grandmother.




Rosalie came to Rhyl in 1914 accompanied by her daughter, Mia. Her family told us he worked as a nanny and in a chocolate shop, before returning to Belgium.

Also with Rosalie was her 13 year old brother Marcel. It was Marcel who found that Franc had died. It would haunt him for the rest of his life. Marcel was sharing a room with Franc in the house at 2 East Parade, and he couldn’t wake him on that morning – February 19th 1915. Marcel came to the family and said “There must be something wrong with Dad. He won’t wake up.”


The middle house is 2 East Parade, where the family stayed in Rhyl

Annelene sent us the photograph of Rosalie, but thought it would take a small miracle to find one of Franc.

Davy is Franc’s great-great-grandson, and he lives in Gelrode. He told us about Mathilde, his great-grandmother who came to Rhyl.




Mathilde and her sister Rosalie were married to two of the De Goignies brothers.There was a third brother, Petrus Franciscus De Goignies, a railway worker who was one of the citizens of Aarschot who was killed during the German invasion of the town in August 1914.

Mathilde came to Rhyl with her son George.



 George (on the left of the photograph) 


December 1st 2014 – Update!

How wonderful to find that one of the people in Belgium who has been so supportive of our quest to Find Franc’s Family turns out to be a direct descendant herself!

Karine is Franc’s Great-Great Grandaughter – descended from Maria Angelina De Roover who was sister to Mathilde & Rosalie and was also a refugee here in Rhyl.

Maria married Petrus Domincus Peeters.

We had added Karine’s beloved Great Uncle Gustave Rens to our stories of WW2 soldiers already, as a thank you to her for her great help (see the link below) so for Karine to discover that she is directly related to our family is incredible – for us and for her!


Petrus Dominicus Peeters & Maria Angelina De Roover


December 6th 2014 – A Further Update!

Photographs of Margaretha Christina De Roover and Marcellus Henricus De Roover, the remaining family members, have been found…

Karine, Maria Angelina’s Great Granddaughter, has uncovered these photos:

IMG_0002[1]Margaretha Christina De Roover (Margriet)


Marcellus Henricus De Roover (Marcel)

And this wonderful picture of… Marcel & (from left to right) Margriet, Maria & Rosalie




We have also been in contact with other family members, some of whom did not know of any connection. So how did we go about finding the family? To be honest, we did very little, but there have been some very dedicated and enthusiastic people in Belgium who took on the search and achieved the seemingly impossible. To them, we are eternally grateful. They have widely advertised our search on websites and through social media – something we couldn’t easily do because we don’t speak the languages used in the Flanders region, and they have worked so hard on researching the family tree through their own friends and genealogy websites.


Thank you!

Allen – the Neckermann Reizen representative who translated our poster.

Paul Harding* – a publicity genius

Jean-Paul Ceulemans* – family tree wizard

Karine Rens* – massive support!

The Representatives of the Government of Flanders in the UK – they offered much assistance and quite a few useful contacts.

Jos & Hilde Michiels – apart from all the brilliant work they did, they found this:


This photograph was taken on the occasion of the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Calix De Roover and Coleta Govaerts, in April 1914. Calix De Roover was Franc’s brother.

On the third row from left to right: Louis Van Roosendael (1859-1925), Angelina De Roover (1854-1926) and Franc De Roover (1850-Rhyl 1915)


This is the small miracle we had been hoping for. Thank you.



Jos & Hilde Michiels have just sent us another wonderful item that they have found – this is Franc’s birth certificate from 1850:

akte De Roover Franciscus 23 11 1850



Jos Michiels has done it again! Yesteday (18/12/14) he was searching in the The State Archives in Brussels and found these documents pertaining to the registration and transfer of our refugee family. They show the movements of some of the family from Rhyl to the Mills Hotel, 128 Gower Street, London, prior to their repatriation to Belgium. (An internet search shows that this building is now part of the University College of London.)

De Roover Anna Rosalisa 1.

De Roover Marguerite 2.

De Roover Marguerite 1.

De Roover Anna Rosalia 2.



These are the Grave and Burial Records of Franc De Roover as held in Denbighshire County Council’s Cemeteries Office. Thank you to Joy Henderson for sending these.


Register of Graves

Register of Graves

Register of Burials

Register of Burials


We will dedicate a memorial to Franc in February 2015, one hundred years after he died. We also have another way of commemorating him in a very special and important way that we can tell you about a little nearer the time.

* Paul, Jean-Paul & Karine have their own special stories to tell, all about soldiers travelling between the UK and Aarschot in the Second World War. To thank them we are publishing their stories here:

Soldiers’ Stories

In this account of some of the soldiers’ lives, you’ll find a direct link back to the atrocities dealt to the town of Aarschot in 1914.


2 thoughts on “The Family De Roover

  1. Pingback: Find Franc’s Family | Belgian Refugees in Rhyl

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