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Image: Melin near Jodoigne - The Chapel of Saint Anthony at Melin, first constructed in the 16th century by Anton Desclergues and reconstructed in 1724 while preserving the Castillian motto above the door : VOTO ET VERBO, which has a religious meaning but can also be intepreted as 'give your word and stick to it', a characteristic of the Declercq bloodline.
Image: Wedding of Declercq's ancestors 1613 AD, Waregem - Image : facsimile of wedding certificate ... 14 generations back in time, October 28, 1613 AD : Joan/Juan Declercq/Desclergues and Catherine Van Wymelbeke. Joan was a soldier of the Spanish army (Ejército de Flandes) and lived at Melin/Malen (Geldenaken/Jodoigne) before, where his grandfather Anton Desclergues had been involved in the 'slag bij Geldenaken / Battle of Jodoigne', under the command of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, decades earlier. Catherine was born and raised in Vichte, where she lived until 2 years before the wedding. Joan's father, Joan Desclergues, was a witness on the wedding. The couple would establish their family in Potegem - Waregem, in Belgium, where other, unrelated Flemish families carrying the name Declercq, already existed... As a matter of fact, in Sart-Melin there is a chapel named La Chapelle de Saint Antoine, first built in the 2nd half of the 16th century, by the Spanish in an architectural style very much resembling the style of similar chapels in Catolania (symmetric, little tower just above the entrance, circular windows, ...). It is likely that the choice of Saint for the chapel was determined by Anton Desclergues who wanted the Saint of the Chapel to be the one that he was named after. Unfortunately the little tower above the entrance has been removed a few decades ago because of reasons of instability.
Image: The Declercqs with the Demedts - The picture above is that of of Nico Declercq's grandfather, the then very young Michel A. R. Declercq (1906-1963) together with his sisters and also with writer Andre Demedts and poet Gabrielle Demedts. A full description can be found at the bottom of this page. The friendship between Michel Declercq and Andre Demedts was due to their equal age and their interest in literature. Inspired by Hugo Verriest and also by Warden Oom it has been, for Michel, rather natural to find his wife in Beselare, where Warden Oom was from and who had approximately the same age as Michel's father in law, Emile Lesage, who also lived in Beselare, and to establish his own home later in Sint Lodewijk Deerlijk (Saint Louis) where Hugo Verriest's roots are.
Nico Declercq is a great-grandson of Ernest Constant Declercq & Marie Elodie Devenyn, Emile Theophile Lesage & Eudoxie Romanie Lammens, Gerard Vangheluwe & Zozyma Zulma Verhaeghe, Alfred Den Dauw & Augusta Emma Waelkens.
He is consequently a great-great-grandson of Ivo Declercq, Mathilde Van den Broucke, Leopold Devenyn, Ursula Vereecke, Louis François Lesage, Rosalie Dewanckele, Clement Lammens, Nathalie Julie Decaestecker, François Vangheluwe, Marie-Nathalie Surmont, Theophile Verhaeghe, Marie Louise Devos, Richard Den Dauw, Irene Clemence Demeire, Camil Waelkens, and Sidonie Verbeke.
He is a genealogist and family historian during his little spare time, preserving a vast family archive.
Image: Joseph Declercq 1921 - Michel Declercq 1922 - The young men in the center of each picture are: Right - the 16 year old Michel A. R. Declercq (Wielsbeke 1906 - Deerlijk 1963), N. F. Declercq's grandfather, in 1922, while he was studying at Saint Barbara College in Gent, where he took classes organised by Jesuits. He stayed at the Jesuit Retreat Center nearby; left - Joseph Declercq, Michel Declercq's brother, one year earlier at the same school.
Until the age of 36, Nico F. Declercq knew little about his ancestors and has lived and worked mainly under the impetus of self-motivation while being stimulated and supported by his father Maurice A. Declercq (1941-2015) who pushed his son forward and his grand-uncle (almost a foster father) Pierre F. Vangheluwe (1939-1991), a born 'philosopher', who taught Nico F. Declercq many things and showed him the world, including Sri Lanka. Becoming an academic would have been something his grandfather Michel A. R. Declercq had dreamed of; such desire has never been communicated as he died in 1963, 12 years before Nico F. Declercq was born. Michel's offspring showed no sympathy and little interest in the past;, probably the memories of the past were too painful because they had lost their mother Irma Lesage while children... Nevertheless, after almost 40 years of questioning origins and identity it's been rewarding to find out that ... La voix du sang est la plus forte. In fact, Michel's sister Ernestine expressed her satisfaction shortly before she passed away during the only meeting she ever had with Nico Declercq; she talked about her brother Michel and was clearly convinced that the pursuit of an academic carreer was inherited from the family Declercq. In fact Sister Ernestine was a very interesting person... more information can be found at the bottom of this page.
Image: Chateau de Selles -
Genealogy is most rewarded when the historical records match DNA analysis. Indeed Declercq's Haplogroup and specific Y-STR profile are not only Celtic, but even match the typical pattern which originates in North Eastern Spain, just south of the Pyrenees. Indeed Don Anton Desclergues, NF Declercq's ancestor who arrived in Belgium around 1560 as member of the Spanish Army (Ejército de Flandes) under the command of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, came from Spanish Catalunya, from the area of Tarragona with roots in Barcelona and earlier in Aragon. As the Spanish name Desclergues has the same meaning as the Flemish name Declercq, it was very quickly adjusted to the Flemish spelling... the Latin roots being 'Clericus'. As a matter of fact, the family Desclergues lived in Melin, near Jodoigne (Geldenaken) until the truce between Nassau and Philippe II, where the language was a Roman/French dialect in which Desclergues is pronounced as the modern French Declercque, which is so close to the Flemish version Declercq that a switch from Desclergues to Declercq was absolutely natural and obvious when they moved to Waregem/Potegem early in the 17th century.
Image: Spanish Dinner during reign of Philip II -
As a curiosity, it also explains the looks of N.F. Declercq's father Maurice A. Declercq, the young Michel A. R. Declercq (grandfather) and the elderly Ernest Constant Declercq (great-Grandfather), which resemble a typical appearance of indigenous farmers in the Spanish Pyrenees. One can easily imagine Ernest Constant Declercq (picture at the bottom of this page) wandering around, herding sheep, in the Spanish Pyrenees... or being a farmer somewhere in Catalunya... Also his eldest brother Andre Declercq has that particular Catalunyan look. The color picture right is that of Andre Declercq.
Image: Andre Declercq -
Perhaps the love for engineering was genetically injected by Declercq's great-great-grandfather Theophile Verhaeghe (picture right), who was a construction engineer, a self-taught architect and an entrepreneur; he contributed to the construction of the arch of the Parc Cinquantenaire in Brussels (image below) and also the Basilique of Dadizele. Drive and interest in academia definitely comes from the Declercq ancestry line.
Image: Theophile Verhaeghe -
Eldest known and documented ancestors :
-Don Anton Desclergue, from Spain (Ejército de Flandes), whose son was Don Juan Desclergue and married Madame Martine Patel whose father was most probably from Besançon. They lived in Potegem (Waregem). Their son Juan Declercq married Catherine van Wymelbeke (from Ter Vichten) in 1613 at Potegem. Their son Anton Declercq married Martine Vercruysse at Deerlijk, Belgium, in 1656; Anton Declercq, born at Potegem in 1618, was close with the family Elizabeth de Ghellinck and Jean de Smet, owners of the castle of Potegem.
-Mesire Raoul de Patin (born at Chateau de Selles - Cambrai , France, before 1300) + Madame Guyotte de Hames (born at Kortrijk, Belgium, before 1300).
Ancestor branches of particular interest in family tree : Declercq (1540 - present, with earlier Spanish roots as Desclergues available in the literature), de Patin (1300 - present), Lesage (1750 - present), Benoit (1340 - present), Den Dauw (1650 - present), Verhaeghe (1820 - present), 't Kint (1590 - present), Surmont (1790 - present).
Most appearing occupations in family tree: farming and governance, some were knighted, most weren't.
Appearance of teachers in family tree : sisters of grandfather Michel Declercq
Image: 1953 - Maurice A. Declercq and Jozef Declercq shortly after the death of their mother Irma H. Lesage.
Appearance of soldiers in family tree :
-WWI: Four soldiers. Two brothers of grandmother Irma Lesage and one brother of great-grandmother Z. Z. Verhaeghe have died during WWI : one person is buried at Pere Lachaise in Paris (C.C. Lesage), one at the Belgian military cemetery of Houthulst (H. A. Lesage) and one has never been retrieved (M. F. Verhaeghe). Another one survived the war: Gerard Lesage - Picture to the right, taken after more than 1.5 years fighting at the front (2 stripes on upper arm). Gerard Lesage married Madeleine Meersseman after the war and would die in the early 1930's after which she married Gerard's younges brother Daniel Lesage : uncle and godfather to Maurice Declercq.
Image: Gerard Lesage, WW I -
-WWII: One soldier, Oscar Lesage, borther of Irma Lesage. He survived, as a front soldier, the battle between the Germans and the Belgians in 1940 that took 18 days.
-French Imperial Army: There are 2 known ancestors who went to Moscow with Napoleon Bonaparte as soldiers of the 'Grande Armée'. The family of Lammens had several men in the military, for many generations.
-Spanish Ejército de Flandes : The first 3 generations of Declercq/Declergues in Belgium were also soldiers, in the Spanish Army (Ejército de Flandes).
Region where ancestors lived : Tarragonna in Spain, the South East quadrant of West Flanders in Belgium and Northern France (Cambrai and Lille) and two or three generations also in Melin, near Jodoigne in Brabant.
Image: Oscar Lesage, WW II -
Villages where ancestors in mentioned ancestry lines lived or died or were born : Beselare (BE), Bikschote (BE), Cambrai (FR), Commines (BE), Deerlijk (BE), Geluwe (BE), Harelbeke (BE), Hooglede (BE), Houthulst (BE), Ieper (BE), Jonkershove (BE), Kortrijk (BE), Kuurne (BE), Langemark (BE), Lille (FR), Menin (BE), Moorslede (BE), Otegem (BE), Paris (FR), Passendale (BE), Roeselare (BE), Rumbeke (BE), Sint Denijs (BE), Staden (BE), Westrozebeke (BE), Wielsbeke (BE), Zonnebeke (BE), Melin (BE), Tarragona (SP)....
Image: Arch of Parc Cinquantenaire in Brussels -
As far as has been figured out, the ancestors of NF Declercq have shown no signs of separatism. They loved their language, which was Flemish, but did not dislike French; they loved their culture, but they also loved the greater union which was Belgium. During WWII for instance Michel A.R. Declercq refused any activity, which was his way of silent resistance, while after the war he was very much in favor of the return of King Leopold III. Also in earlier times, for instance during the Spanish era, there have been no signs of resistance against the governing authorities. During the Austrian reign there was even active support for the greater cause which was 'Austrian Belgium', the establishment of the "Oostendse Compagnie" and regaining freedom of the seas. 3 soldiers were killed for Belgium during WWI, one of which is burried inside the monument for Belgium at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, and more members of the family had served in the Belgian army before. During the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, when West Flanders was 'Le departement de la Lys', 2 ancestors joined Napoleon in his 'Grande Armée' in Russia. Many ancestors have served their community as teachers, as clerics, nurses, academics and hard workers. Much is yet to be discovered in the future when more archives become more easily accessible.
Image: funeral Gerard Vangheluwe - Funeral of Gerard Vangheluwe (1898-1977), NF Declercq's great-grandfather.
Image: Pierre Vangheluwe and Jeanette Verbrugghe -
The pictures above show Pierre F. Vangheluwe (1939-1991) and Jeanette L. Verbrugghe who have played a major role in the upbringing if Nico F. Declercq and may be considered as foster parents. Pierre in particular has played a major role in the triggering of interest and curiosity in education, in politics, philosophy, geography and history.
Charles Philippe de Patin
Charles Philippe de Patin (a.k.a. M. Patyn), a well-known writer, a diplomat, a fiscalist and a specialist in Maritime law during the Austrian Reign of Belgium, is also blood related : his grandfather and grandmother are ancestors of NF Declercq. The archive Declercq de Silva contains many items of Charles Philippe de Patin and his descendants. Charles Philippe de Patin played a crucial role as advisor of Marie Theresia of Austria.
Image: Maria Theresa of Austria with her family in 1754 -
Declercq stems, through 2 different branches, from Gilles Benoit (Mannoot) (1340-1400). Through these 2 branches he is blood-related to musician Peter Benoit (Harelbeke 1834 - Antwerpen 1901). With Peter Benoit he has common ancestors Charles Benoit (Sint Eloois Vijve 1636 - Beveren Leie 1679), married in 1662 at Desselgem to Marie Lammertyn (Desselgem 1638 - Beveren Leie 1687) in one branch, and Jean Benoit (Waregem 1396 - Waregem 1467) married to Ms Vandewalle in another branch. Declercq’s professional activities in acoustics are hence, as a curiosity, linked to the musical interest of Peter Benoit. Declercq is equally a cousin of dr. Francoise Vanhecke, a music composer and soprano who is therefore also distant-blood-related to Peter Benoit. Michel A. R. Declercq was musical and had a very beautiful voice. Sister Ernestine Declercq was, besides other specializations, a music teacher.
15th generation of this bloodline residing in Belgium:
Benjamin J. H. Declercq (1999),
Anna-Laura F. M. Declercq (2005),
Lambert L. B. Declercq (2011).
Sofie M. K. Windels (2011)
André Demedts (Sint-Baafs-Vijve (Wielsbeke) 1906 - Oudenaarde 1992), son of Maurits Demedts and Celesta Vandenhende and grandson of Ivo Demedts, was a very good friend of Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq (Nico F. Declercq's grandfather, picture right). They lived at walking distance from each other and were born in the same year. André Demedts was a Flemish writer and was the brother of Gabriëlle Demedts (below and on picture at the top of this page).
Gabriëlle Demedts (Sint-Baafs-Vijve (Wielsbeke) 1909 – Kortrijk 2002) was a Flemish poet and was the sister of André Demedts (above and on picture at the top of this page). In fact the children Demedts (Demedts-Vandenhende) and the children Declercq (Declercq-Devenyn) knew each other very well. Both families got along very well and the children played together and exchanged books and learned together.
Image: Michel Declercq -
Jean Joseph Renier and Pieter Jan Renier
Therese Loncke, born in Wielsbeke, married Leo Bernard Declercq in 1840. They were grandparents of Ernest Constant Declercq, father of Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq. Therese Loncke, descending from cattle farmers, had known Pierre Jean Renier (Pieter Jan Renier, Deerlijk 1795 – Deerlijk 1859) while the Renier family lived in Wielsbeke (Sint Baafs Vijve). The parents of Pierre Jean Renier were Jean Joseph Renier (Heule 1773 – Deerlijk 1811) and Marie Joseph Deconinck. Jean Joseph was the son of François Xavier Renier and Marie Françoise Glorieux. The Renier family lived in Wielsbeke from 1798 until 1808, where younger siblings of Pieter Jan Renier were born, e.g. Amelie Rosalie Renier and Eugeen Joseph Renier.
In fact, the Declercq family and the Renier family knew one another much earlier, presumably, because during the decades before they also lived in the same area (Heule-Hulste-Kuurne). The family Renier and Deconinck are well known for their activities in literature, poetry and education (primarily at Deerlijk). Probably as a mere coincidence the grandfather of Leo Bernard Declercq was 'Renier' Declercq (Kuurne 1740) and was married to Marie Anne Therese Lombaerde (Hulste 1750). On the right hand side is a picture of Declercq's grandfather Rene Vangheluwe in 1933 (dark trousers) somewhere along the Belgian coast.
Image: Rene Vangheluwe -
Edward Vermeulen, a.k.a. Warden Oom, (Beselare 1861 – Hooglede 1934) was a writer. He was of the same generation as Emile Theophile Lesage (Westrozebeke 1857 – Beselare 1938, picture shown right) and they lived at walking distance from one another during their youth (from 1865 until 1888). They must have known each other personally, perhaps they have gone to the same primary school at Hooglede (this should be further investigated). When Emile Theophile Lesage moved to Beselare, he settled with his family at a new farm (‘Slangenmeersstraat’) just after WWI approximately 2 km from the place where Edward Vermeulen had been born (the farm ‘Navingeer’). It is there that Emile’s youngest daughter, Irma Helena Lesage, grandmother of N.F. Declercq got engaged with Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq when he visited Beselare for two reasons : to buy flax and to visit the birth place of Edward Vermeulen, well known to Michel because of his interest in Flemish literature; and to visit the village itself well known for its inspirational and popular folk tales. When Edward Vermeulen studied at Klein Seminarie of Roeselare (until 1877), one of his teachers was Flemish writer Hugo Verriest, who would later become priest at Wakken (not far from where the Declercq and Demedts families lived) and who was born in Deerlijk and stem from the Verriest family of Sint Lodewijk Deerlijk, where Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq & Irma Helena Lesage would later settle and where Nico Felicien Declercq has grown up.
Image: Emile Theophile Lesage -
Hugo Verriest (Deerlijk 1840 - Ingooigem 1922), was a Flemish Priest, writer and philosopher. His teachers were Pieter Jan Renier and Guido Gezelle. His career unrolled in the following locations : Deerlijk, Roeselare, Brugge, Heule, Ieper, Wakken (near Wielsbeke) and Ingooigem. Albrecht Rodenbach (Roeselare) and Constant Lievens (Moorslede) and Edward Vermeulen (Beselare) have been his students. He was a son of Petrus Johannes Verriest (Sint Lodewijk or Saint Louis, in Deerlijk). In Wielsbeke (place of birth of Michel A. R. Declercq) as well as Beselare (place where Irma H. Lesage lived before she married) and Moorslede (place of birth of Irma Helena Lesage), Hugo verriest had left a cultural legacy and was extremely popular. It may therefore not be a coincidence that Michel A. R. Declercq and Irma H. Lesage (wedding photo shown right) decided to settle and contstruct a home after WWII in Sint Lodewijk Deerlijk (Saint Louis), where the roots of Hugo Verriest are.
Image: Michel Declercq and Irma Lesage -
Below are pictures of Michel Declercq and Irma Lesage as children.
Image: Michel Declercq and Irma Lesage -
Karel Jonckheere (Oostende 1906) was a writer and globetrotter and was 3 weeks younger than Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq (Wielsbeke 1906) and has definitely known Michel’s friend writer Andre Demedts (Wielsbeke 1906). It is not known if Michel has known Karel personally, but it is likely that Michel definitely read works published by Karel. It is even likely that some of his works (e.g. Kongo zonder buks of boy – 1957; Kongo met het blote oog – 1958; Kongo het woord - 1961), inspired by journeys to Congo and other countries, were known to Esther Ernestina Godelieve Declercq (Sister Ernestine) when she decided to become a missionary in Belgian Congo end of 1958.
Image: Sint Lodewijk in Deerlijk (Saint Louis) -
Frank Lateur, a. k. a. Stijn Streuvels (Heule 1871 - Anzegem 1969), was a flemish writer, son of a baker from Avelgem. The bakers Lateur were well known by the Den Dauw family (Otegem). Declercq's grandmother Anna Den Dauw (She was very beautiful, as can even be seen on the highly damaged picture to the right) has seen Frank Lateur several times during her youth, not as a writer but as a baker. The stories by Stijn Streuvels were very popular and a pleasure to read.
Image: Anna Den Dauw -
The Gentleman at the steering wheel is the young Flemish writer André Demedts (Sint-Baafs-Vijve (Wielsbeke) 1906 - Oudenaarde 1992), son of Maurits Demedts and Celesta Vandenhende and grandson of Ivo Demedts;
The lady standing behind him (left side of the picture, dark hair and dark dress) is his sister Flemish poet Gabriëlle Demedts (Sint-Baafs-Vijve (Wielsbeke) 1909 – Kortrijk 2002);
Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq
The Gentleman seated in the back of the car is Michel Achiel Renatus Declercq (Wielsbeke 1906 - Deerlijk (Sint Lodewijk) 1963), also shown right, son of Ernest Constant Declercq and Marie Eldodie Devenyn and grandson of Ivo Declercq and Mathilde Van den Broucke, married to Irma Helena Lesage (Moorslede 1905 - Kortrijk 1953), daughter of Emile Theophile Lesage and Eudoxie Romanie Lammens. He is burried with his wife Irma Lesage in the family graveyard at St Lodewijk - Deerlijk, where Nico F. Declercq is to be placed to rest as well in the future.
Maria Antoinette Gerarda Declercq
The lady standing in the back, wearing a white blouse, is Maria Antoinette Gerarda Declercq (Wielsbeke 1904 - Malèves 1984), Michel Declercq's elder sister who would become a nurse;
Rachelle Gabriëlle Declercq
The lady standing to the right, wearing a white scarf, is Rachelle Gabriëlle Declercq (Wielsbeke 1912 - Anzegem 2007), also Michel Declercq's sister. Rachelle would later become a school teacher.
Image: Michel Declercq -
Esther Ernestina Godelieve Declercq (Sister Ernestine)
The youngest lady, sitting in the front next to André Demedts, is Esther Ernestina Godelieve Declercq (Wielsbeke 1915 - Anzegem 2011) who would later become a school director, a French teacher and a catholic Sister (als known as Sister Ernestine Declercq of St Vincent de Paul); She has been a teacher at Anzegem’s primary school and secondary school on general subjects and particularly French and Music. From 1943 until 1958 she has been a school Director at Ingooigem in Belgium. Simultaneously she has worked at the Women’s jail (Dutch: “kleine Refuge” and “grote Refuge”) of Sint Andries near Bruges. On November 18, 1958, when she was 43 years old, she became a Missionary at Uvira in Congo where she taught French classes. After having been taken hostage at Uvira, she returned to Belgium where she became the school Director at Mannekensvere while she continued her Jail Ministry. At the end of her career she lived at the monastery of Anzegem, then at Vichte before she spent her final years at a home for elderly persons “Woon- en Zorgcentrum Ter Berk” at Anzegem. Because of her educational role and because of her captivity in Congo, Sister Ernestine has been well-known. Sister Ernestine’s intelligence and empathy have always been very much appreciated by everyone and enabled her to play a crucial role in negotiating with the rebels at Uvira during her captivity in Congo. In 1964 the East of the Republic of Congo was afflicted by the Simba Rebellion. A group of Belgian and Italian Sisters were taken hostage by rebellion leader Gaston Soumaliot. The Sisters have been forced to hard labor and numerous atrocities were reported by news agencies all over the world. Uvira, near the border with Burundi was a supply route for the rebellions. Sisters being taken hostage was a dramatic turn for the new Republic of Congo and has been widely covered by newspapers all over the world. The event was strongly condemned by the United Nations. On October 7, 1964 the Religious Sisters have been liberated. From Uvira they have escaped on the road to Bukavu from where they returned to Belgium by airplane. Sister Ernestine is also shown, together with NF Declercq's father Maurice Declercq on the right picture.
Image: Maurice Declercq and Sister Ernestine -
Judith Declercq (Wielsbeke 1918 - Waregem 2007), who is not in the picture above, is the youngest daughter of the Declercq family. She was the provincial president of the Belgian National Child Welfare organisation and a lecturer and co-founder in 1937 at the Nurse Training Institute 'Maria Middelares' that would later become 'Hoger Instituut voor Verpleegkunde', associated with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Kulak in Belgium. A picture taken during her glory days is shown right.
Valentine Alida Declercq
The lady in between the two gentlemen is Valentine Alida Declercq (Wielsbeke 1910 - Olsene 1939), also a sister of Michel Declercq.
Farmers and flax merchants
The families Declercq and Demedts lived at two farms just 2 kms separated from each other in Wielsbeke (farm Hof van Brussel, Reynaertstraat) - Sint-Baafs-Vijve (farm Elsbos, Drogenbroodstraat).
Image: Judith Declercq -
Image: Four generations of Declercq -
... this is just a prelude to an upcoming book, to be published, primarily written for the sake of legacy towards Declercq's offspring...
About the flax banner at the top of this page: Nico F. Declercq is the grandson of Michel A. R. Declercq (Wielsbeke 1906 - Deerlijk 1963), an erudite farmer and flax merchant born at Wielsbeke in Belgium not far from Kortrijk along the Golden River. Nowadays carbon fiber reinforced composites typically contain carbonized flax fibers and are one of the main research topics of Declercq's team at Georgia Tech Lorraine.
Nico Felicien Declercq and his descendants have been authorised by the Flemish Heraldry College to cary their coat of arms that shows symbols related to ancestors' coats of arms and descent in an elective modernized composition.
Coat of arms and motto of Declercq are legally protected under heraldic rules and under international copyright:
Approved by the Heraldic College of Flemish Genealogy on april 21, 2017 as number 473;
Deposited at the Benelux Bureau for Intellectual Property on September 05 2017 as design number 87188-01;
Registered with United Kingdom Copyright Service (UKCS) Reg. Ro.: 284716520 deposited on September 5, 2017;
Deposited at the United States Copyright Office under case 1-5790198271;
Published in “Vlaamse Stam, tijdschrift voor familiegeschiedenis”, by Familiekunde Vlaanderen vzw, Kennisknooppunt voor familiegeschiedenis” 53(4), p 432, oktober-december 2017 (ISSN 0774-5486);
Approved and to be published by Schweizerischen Heraldischen Gesellschaft / Société Suisse d'Héraldique 2018;
and exposed in granite on the family grave.
The coat of arms is described in French as : Un écusson d’azur, a une grue d’argent sur pied, membrée et becquée de gueules, tenant de la patte dextre une plume d’oie taillée d’or posée en pal, accompagnée en chef de deux étoiles radiée de 6 pointes d’or et en ponte un soleil d'or. Devise: Érudit et sage à pied levé. Cimier: un cygne éployé d'argent et becquée de gueules
The coat of arms is described in Dutch as : In lazuur een kraanvogel van zilver houdend in de rechterpoot een ganzenveer van goud, vergezeld boven van twee zespuntige sterren, onder van een zon, alles van het laatste. Helm: gevoerd en gehecht van keel. Wrong en dekkleden: lazuur, gevoerd van zilver. Helmteken: een zwaan van zilver met opgeheven vleugels, gebekt van keel. Wapenspreuk: “Érudit et sage à pied levé”, In letters van sabel op een lint van zilver.
Declercq’s spouse (Shirani Olupathage de Silva) descends from the house of de Silva (la casa de Silva), an ancient Iberian family in the Kingdom of Portugal originating from Leon and Castilla (Spain) from a Visigoth bloodline, later mixed during the Portuguese colonization of Ceylon (Ceilao) with a Singhalese Karava caste house called ‘Olupathage’ ('O.'). Note that the Portuguese used to have mixed marriages as was requested by Alfonso de Albuquerque (Portugal 1453 AD - India 1515 AD) to expand the Portuguese global empire on the Indian sub-continent despite the small population of the Portuguese homeland.
As a matter of fact the house of de Silva originates from the Visigoths as has been revealed by paternal lineage DNA investigation of Declercq’s brothers in law O. Santos de Silva and O. Los Santos de Silva, sons of O. Belin de Silva and grandsons of O. Perez de Silva. The first name Shirani originates from the Iberian name Serrani and is in Sri Lanka pronounced equally as in Spain.
In this particular test it has been found that 58% of the paternal line DNA markers can also be found in the areas that correspond to the former Portuguese colonies all over the world and 11% in the former Spanish colonies of the Americas. This clearly confirms Spanish and Portuguese origins of the de Silva bloodline. The remaining 31% of the markers of this particular paternal bloodline reveal a perfect match with the migration of the Visigoths from the area of Poland through Greece and Italy to Northern Spain as follows (DNA marker % indicated) :
2nd century AD: Northern Poland (1.43%), North-Central Poland (0.74%), North-Eastern Poland (0.73%), Central Poland (1.66%), Lodz (Poland) (0.72%), South-Eastern Poland (0.58%), Transylvania (Romania) (1.44%), Wallachia (Romania) (1.65%), Dobruja (Romania) (1.18%).
3rd century AD: Van (Eastern Turkey) (2.17%), Greece (2.56%), Cyprus (2.62%).
4th century AD: Macedonia (2.03%), Novi Sad (Serbia) (1.35%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (0.73%), Croatia (0.88%), North East Tuscany (2.04%), Italy (1.64%), Sicily (2.11%).
5th century AD: Northern Portugal (1.02%).
Image: Arms - La Casa de Silva -
Portuguese explorers led by Dom Lorenzo de Almeida first arrived in Sri Lanka in 1505 AD.
Note that there is also a 0.47% match with Belgium (and not with Belgium’s neighboring countries), this is explained by the fact that Belgium has been Spanish from 1556 AD until 1715 AD and clearly a significant number of Belgians must therefore have Spanish roots, including common ancestors of the de Silva bloodline. Indeed old records show that during the Spanish era a small number of families carrying the name of de Silva resided in Belgium, some even crossed the live of Charles Philippe de Patin.
The maternal bloodline of Olupathage de Silva corresponds to the Karava history (a Sinhalese caste) with a high percentage match in Central and North Eastern India as would be expected based on the Kuru Kingdom roots assumption of this caste. Olupathage means House of the Lords of the White Lotus Flower.
Image: Kalutara at the end of the Portuguese era -
Image: Nelly Vangheluwe and Maurice Declercq - Picture above : Parents, Nelly Vangheluwe and Maurice Declercq, of Nico F. Declercq, photos taken in 1956 (left) and 1953 (right).