The new museum at the American House in Roseville includes, reportedly, the largest library of Flemish genealogy records outside of Belgium.

The new museum at the American House in Roseville includes, reportedly, the largest library of Flemish genealogy records outside of Belgium.

Photo by Sean Work


Belgian museum gives residents a glimpse into their past

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 3, 2018

 Belgian doilies sit on display at the museum.

Belgian doilies sit on display at the museum.

Photo by Sean Work

 The American House showcases 19th century Belgian clothing at the museum.

The American House showcases 19th century Belgian clothing at the museum.

Photo by Sean Work

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ROSEVILLE — Learning your family’s history has a lot of benefits, including being able to pass it on to future generations.

The Genealogical Society of Flemish Americans helps people in that regard, and it is now housing its museum in American House’s basement, 18740 E. 13 Mile Road.

The Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 9 to celebrate the grand opening of the GSFA’s new Belgian-American Museum.

“The Genealogical Society of Flemish Americans (Belgian)-American Museum and their library is a Macomb County hidden treasure. This organization has worked extremely hard to organize both the museum and library to preserve precious history for future generations. The chamber is pleased to be working with them in getting the word out,” said chamber Director Linda Weishaupt.

“The largest collection of Flemish genealogical (information) outside of Belgium, the GSFA helps people trace their Flemish and Belgian heritage; publishes a newsletter and magazine of pictures, stories, queries, and genealogy information; and has a large library of genealogy and Belgian heritage material,” the society’s website states. 

Frances Timmerman, director of the museum, says the museum’s culture is unique and serves an important purpose. 

“Anybody who’s interested in local history — most immigrant families went through the same thing that (Belgian) immigrants went through. It would appeal to anyone who had family immigrate here in the late 1800s, early 1900s,” said Timmerman. 

The Gazette van Detroit newspaper has been in existence for over 100 years, according to Timmerman, and the society has kept issues for more than 40 years. A part of the basement that contains the museum is designated to house the newspapers. 

“Now we have a place to show them off, and now it’s really a community museum put together by donations from families,” said Timmerman. 

Timmerman says everyone is welcome to the museum. 

“We like to get young people there, because everybody wants to know their heritage. Even though we are Flemish and do Belgium history, we help everybody with all their histories,” said Timmerman. 

Those who are interested in donating to the museum are encouraged to call (586) 777-2720 or email flemishlibrary@gmail.com.

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