“Heyns alias Smets”

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In early 1999 we received a copy of a copy of a “Heyns alias Smets” family genealogy from Jacky Rudeen, the sister of former UC Berkley Chancellor Roger Heyns. This may be the genealogy sent to Roger by the Hungarian book seller. We have yet to find a relation to any living Heyns descendants.

The genealogy, printed in old French, dates from 1543 to 1762 and has many births, marriages and deaths in Malines, Belgium (The French spelling for the Flemish town of Mechelen, Belgium.) It contains several hundred Heyns relatives, many with French first names. Flor Heyns (florent.heyns@alcatel.be) reports that in Belgium there are currently more then 60 families named “Heyns”.

It’s interesting to note that throughout the genealogy, individuals are referred to as “Heyns alias Smets” (Heyns going by Smets). One possible reason for the use of a different surname may have been that the family did not want to be identified as Heyns Huguenots. During the French Huguenot Wars, French Protestants were driven out of France to the east, some settling in Belgium and some in The Netherlands. Others moved to areas such as England, Germany, Switzerland and the North American colonies.

More about the Huguenots
The “Heyns alias Smets”  chart starts with:

Bartholomé Heyns alias Smets, ép.
(no other info)

His son:

Mathieu Heyns alias Smets
Morte a Malines le 15 Decembre 1543
Git a Saint Peter
Époufa (married) Elifabeth de Hooghe
Morte a Malines le 7 Déc 1541
Git a Saint Peter

Their children:

Martin Heyns alias Smets
Jean Heyns alias Smets
Matthieu Heyns alias Smets
Michel Heyns alias Smets
Claire Heyns alias Smets
Catherine Heyns alias Smets
Elifabeth Heyns alias Smets
Francois Heyns alias Smets
We’ll be looking forward to any additional information related to the Smet branch you might find. Anyone interested in helping to transcribe (with appropriate accent marks) and translate from old French, please let us know. One of the two married daughters of Ann Heyns DeBeer in Grand Rapids, Michigan may have an original copy of the 24 page chart. Since it was type-set (probably in the late 1700s), rather than handwritten, there may be other original prints.

- Loren Heyns

You may download a GEDCOM version of part of the Heyns alias Smets tree.