BORGES used to say " WE, ARGENTINIANS, DESCEND FROM THE EUROPEAN SHIPS" " 

ARGENTINA grew with the European immigration escaping from wars and poverty that began 

after 1850 with the big steam ships appearance. Most of the immigrants were between 20 and 

30 years old, they came with their families looking for work and peace that the Argentinian 

Constitution guaranteed. Among them, in 1889, my four grand parents from Belgium and France.  

¿ WHERE     DO   I    COME    FROM?

Many times during my life I asked myself that question but never  I could really answer it, neither  ascertain.    

  The economic circumstances sometimes and the lack of time by the study

during great part of it and then the responsibility of a family,  my specialty,

 and the daily fight, went deferring that anxiety, until I came to find  myself with little 

 to do after I retired from the medical activity after 36 intense and uninterrupted 

years and restarted the old dream of knowing about my Roots and to reconstruct 

some remembrances since my childhood, helped by my mother,  still alive by then,

 because she had shared years with the members of the first Van Meegroot that 

arrived to this country. Thus I began  collecting some photos of my grandparents, 

my parents and my children and I did a sort of "genealogical tree" with those photos, 

 adding those of the grandchildren that were coming to my family during the 80's and 90's.

 

           

But a fortuitous fact changed suddenly  that anxiety and transformed it into

 a imperious need to help and to complete the jigsaw puzzle: a letter from

 Sergio Omar Van Megroot with long lists of names of  relatives in Belgium and  Argentina, 

a descending  himself of Augustus Van  Meegroot,  brother of my grandfather Hypolite, 

and I realized this list  lacked almost completely  the names of those  who belong  to this last branch.

After a fertile exchange of letters, with the data Sergio send to me, and his interest

 in this matter and his trip to Belgium, and his lack of time to attend me by regular mail,

 I decided to acquire a computer,( I, that did not know  a single word about the technical language

 , neither knew the most elementary  computation) and that by fortune opened me a happy panorama till

 then unimaginable for myself.  The first thing that I did in internet was to seek 

Moerbeke Waas, the town where all began and to my surprise I found Van Megroot's e-mail address, 

whom I contacted immediately, and they not only  respond but  sent me, photos, 

data and anecdotes and the family coat of arms .

                     

It was a pity  I  have not had those data in 1965/68 when I lived in England and the trips

 that I made to Belgium; to have been so near the cradle, in Gent, and not to be able

 to go there; but in those years there were not computers neither internet,  or so easy communications, 

 the satellites and the color television  just began ,   and Sergio was an infant. 

These are some remembrances from my childhood, long time ago, about the  Van  Meegroot I  knew 

 

    

                                  

                HYPOLITE  VAN MEGROOT                              FELISA VAN DAELE 

17-5-1873 MOERBEKE //  1-1-1959  ALCORTA-Sta:Fé      1883 WITSTRATE 4/5/1967 ALCORTA-Sta.Fé 

             FARMER - RETAILER - HOTEL KEEPER               MARRIED  5th-9-1898 SAN NICOLÁS-Bs.As.

             

                                             My grandfather  Hypolite,  the 6th generation

A solid  man with big hands, looking austere, wearing large moustache, very quiet and that

 in his average Spanish  called me for my nickname of those days, Cacho, deforming it to Cachita. 

I used to sat down on his knees and threw his moustache. He slowly taught me many virtues 

that he had, until  1941, that my parents came from Alcorta- Sta. Fé to Villa Allende–Cordoba. 

I returned  to see him some years later when I was 15 and I did a tour visiting relatives,

 by myself, that  was quite an adventure then, to make me a   "man" as  my father said; 

I stayed some days at his house and I appreciated still more this septuagenarian still

  standing firm like an oak tree, that used the "che" with a special air of respect, he used to say

 for example:  sit down CHE mister. Many anecdotes told by my father and my aunt and

 uncle show his entirety and  honesty. Memories of this grandfather that I could enjoy only for a few years. 

In 1962 I left for United States and in my trip to Bs. Aires. I visited Alcorta and I saw the grandmother Felisa

for  the last time. And can not  stop recalling  that short, fat woman, of strong character,

 with duck walking, the "faith healer" of crops of all farmers around, during years, that had been and still was, pure energy.

  

   7th GENERATION  -  1st  ARGENTINIAN: My  Parents   

                           

                        FELIX LEANDRO VAN MEGROOT -  PELUQUERO - COMERCIANTE

                   21 abril 1912 - SANTA TERESA- Sta.Fé /*/  23 diciembre 1978 VILLA ALLENDE - Cba.

                                               EULALIA BONNIN -   HAIRDRESSER - HOUSEWIFE

                 2 abril 1912 -ALCORTA - Sta.Fé /*/  + 24  octubre 1996 - VILLA  ALLENDE - Cba.

                                           MARRIED  25 abril 1931 - COLÓN - Bs.As.

          

Now  both  rest  together,  for  ever,  in Villa Allende.

 

Most  of the utensils he utilized in his craft, their marriage book and his  first ID document  are now in the Municipal Museum of Alcorta.

 

            18  years              28 years               48 years                58 years                     68 years

A man that instilled me, with his example more than with his word, what signifies honor, dignity, honesty, work,

 ethics, and so many other virtues he had and he did not do ostentation. That in the seventies, 

when had a business that proudly called "Boutique" and the inflation intensified and then appeared

 the indexación, was impoverished because considered that changing prices was totally inescrupuloso and even criminal...

Worked a lifetime, sometimes for coins, thinking to bequeath his only son a better and easier way of progressing honestly.

He was a barber since their youth, tested luck as farmer in Colon, Bs Aires, at the beginning of his marriage, 

then as photographer in Alcorta, where had their salon "Plus Ultra", with a rare conjunction of will and art, 

in epochs that not existed the colour photographs, and there was "to illuminate" the copies with a sort of watercolours, 

that came in roles absorbed with the colour and should be water diluted, the point being  that my father 

was daltonic and he distinguished very few colours, for which a person to his side must helped him ,

indicating  the color required and he applied with a brush .  And my remembrance, repented, of the numerous

times that I was delighted by asking him " what colour is this or that?" knowing that would respond with

 one that did not correspond to the reality, or that time that we went to the  movies and at the end he asked which of the two films was   coloured. 

 

These they are some samples of their art, my mother and I  were his models, in my case 

 maybe because he wanted to forget all the black days  when in 1935 an hydrophobic dog bite me, 

and he had to spend forty days in the city of Rosario, during the treatment

He undertook in 1941 a reckless business, as hist parents did when emigrated from Belgium, 

he "emigrated" from Alcorta, some 100 km. off Rosario, Santa Fé  to Villa Allende,400km away

 and 17 km off Córdoba, because there were better  possibilities of study for me and 

 I remember the day he opened ,with my mother that was hairdreser, on  July 17th. 1941, his

         

  PELUQUERÍA Y  MAISON TABÚ (Barber Shop and Beauty Parlor Tabu ,that  Leal, former mailman cited in his book), 

he had only a few  pesos cash in his pocket but no debts. In that house that rented and many years later

  acquired (1955)and expanded (1965), he lived till  his death and my mother continued living there, 

to the day that passed away 55 years and 3 months after that July 1941.    She remained for always in this photo, by the window.

                

                                                  1942                                                              1952                                                  1970                                   1996

 

He was a "fan" of Boca Juniors, Fangio and Chevrolet, a total democrat that fought as much as he could against all

  totalitarisms so in fashion at that time. He tought me those ideals that even now  are my guides. 

All his life sought new horizons and undertook businesses that for him were important, thus managed

 to be the "concessionary" of the Philips products  in Villa Allende, before that had achieved

 the representation of seeds The Germinadora for all the province and I remember his trips, by bus to different cities to obtain clients.

A tip about his honesty: soon after the military uprising of September 1955, they offered him the job

 of Mayor of Villa Allende and he refused on two points, his lack of proficiency and because 

it would be a non democratic designation ; so they told him ;"we'll put a wonderful secretary 

that will take care of everything" and he answered : In that case you should nominate that secretary for the job"

       

Gathering Villa Allende-October 1955: with friends, civilian  members of  a revolutionary  group   

         

   

Even now I remember his pride when his son was the best student of the primary school, years later

 the best  graduate of the National College Deán Funes of Córdoba and the day that surprise when

 at noon  January 17th. 1958, arrived with his girlfriend and  communicated him that he had been graduated

 as medical doctor, that morning. Almost he was my first patient. He carried account on my exams 

but I hidden one during the  previous week and that causes his confusion.    

 His dreams were completed that day: his son was a professional.

                           

     Party after their son's  graduation as  a  Medical  Doctor -The Major, friends and relatives

 

     

His scooter                With the first grand child                                   Thinking...

     

 

 

I remember his pain, repressed, when I told him, years after, my trip to U.S.A. for post grade studies,

 the letters that he wrote me during so many years, trying to hide me the unpleasant news such as 

 the two grandmothers' death, his accident with his scooter that kept him months away from  work and his interest 

 to keep alive the memory of my country in foreign lands, by sending me newspapers, magazines and

 tapes with folkloric  music and even  the  National Anthem.

With a greater economic relief he could be dedicated to another of his hobbies:  fishing, although he should bear a  gross error in the ID, now with his name and not in the surname that so many times was misspelled. And  for the first time in his life, be on  holidays and  know places in Argentina.

I remember his satisfaction when I returned and after some ups and downs, I began to act in my profession and specialty, the healthy happiness that he felt when he was told about  the many patients and surgeries that I had,  the economic progresses,  the house I bought , all those pleasant moments in which he himself enjoyed perhaps more than I  did.

 

                                   1968 -     With  Marcos  at   Unquillo        1973 With RONAL's Family  

         

    1969  -      At  home        /                   1996                     /    1970 -     With   the   family

       

And a day he passed away  and I could do nothing for  him.

My  homage :  My old man  -  Piero 

                      

Near our house, in Saldán, came to live also in 1942, my uncle Domingo Amando,

 that looked like grandfather, physically, with my cousins Elia Enny and Elsio 

with whom I shared many years of play, adventures and school. 

The uncle Domingo was a full, tolerant, religious, extraordinarily good  and enterprising man,

ith great pride by its surname, that paradoxical was denied to him many years 

of his life by an administrative error that is related later.

 Always healthily  competing  with my father to see which of the cousins could get more

achievements at school, high school or the university that both shared for some years.

 

 

In two or three occasions another brother of my father visited us:

 Victor with my cousin Ronald,that continued living  in Alcorta. 

Víctor had, as my father, some intense blue eyes, but was almost red-haired

of so blond, tall and robust, redfaced. Another coincidence: the three brothers 

Víctor, Domingo and Felix,  were barbers ,  partners  at times , 

at times each one on their own, there in Alcorta.

I did not know my uncle Carlos and  his family;  they always lived in Rojas 

a city some 100 km away from Alcorta and there was not a great deal of contact with his brothers.

Years passed by, my children became adults and as periodically occurs in our country, 

a wave of anxiety occurred in obtaining the nationality of parents or grandfathers 

and my son Marcos  went to the  Belgian Consulate in Cordoba to ascertain, in 1990,

 they asked him  for several documents,  birth and wedding  certificates of the ancestors 

in order to justify the descent. My father and my grandfather already dead and Sergio  

had not contacted me yet to give me all, or the majority of those data. So  his illusion was deferred 

 to this present of internet, in which I  have the antecedents and necessary roles, 

 presented  at the Consulate of Belgium in Cordoba, because I simply want 

 to feel the pride to be Argentine by birth and Belgian by blood, now a reality since August 2003.- 

Now thanks   this humble work, our lineage and our history is  known  to all  and I have seen

with pride, satisfaction and, at times, grief, the faces of those who preceded us and made us

 what we are, and with immense happiness those of  the generations after me, hoping 

that I have been able to transmit them the same principles that my ancestors instilled me,

 though I must accept that with my grown up children  the sowing was not alwais in fertile soil.

    Tango   "South"                                   My Ancestors