Dedicated to Emma De Boom Witzel

How do we know that Cornelius De Boom was looking for business opportunities in 1849, not gold, when he sailed his own ship into San Francisco Bay? Only because Emma, his nephew’s youngest daughter, was fiercely proud of her family – both past and present.  She saved hundreds of  “precious family documents,” photographs and paintings which form the basis of this website, dedicated to her memory.

Her Ancestry of the Witzel Brothers provides the single best overview of the Witzel and De Boom family histories, while the Napa Daily Register of August 27,1885 article she preserved summarizes many of Cornelius De Boom’s accomplishments as a California pioneer. She also documents the business acumen and bravery of Cornelius’ brother, Peter Romain De Boom, for whom De Boom Street was named.

To family and friends – please continue to send comments, corrections and additional materials. While Emma saved a lot of documents (those who knew her know how true that is!), her collection is only a beginning.  Internet search tools have enabled De Boom, Marsily and Gerhardi relatives living in France, Belgium and the UK to find and enhance this site. Emma would be so pleased, and amazed. The correspondence continues!

TIPS FOR THE USER –  First, you can enlarge all the tiny thumbnails of photos and documents, usually to 200% of the original size. Just click on the thumbnail, then enlarge. Second, the top menu items (Cornelius, Genealogy, etc.) have data on them.

40 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hello

    I went many times in SF and was wondering why a “Marsily St” existed !

    I browse Internet time to time to catch news about my family roots. I found your site and get a nice answer to the street story. Tks

    My father (Jacques Marsily) died a few months ago but his patience and passion for our family genealogy during years was tasteful for many members of our family.

    We still have some holes in our family tree but connections, family stories on internet and documents help to fill them out.

    Thanks for your contributions… so helpful also for our children.

    If I can help, it will be my pleasure to answer any questions related to the Marsily family… My father’s boxes are full of documents and his hard drives too… I don’t over promise but if accessible… they will be yours.


    Alain Marsily

  2. I am truly impressed with the result of your genealogical efforts and grateful that you have included me in the mailing list. I have no memory of anything about “Bonmaman” DeBoom. I do have vague snippets of memory about Fanny’s sisters. “TanteMimi” and “TanteEmma” were some old ladies we were dragged to meet in an old, dark house somewhere in San Francisco. My main memory is the house smelled “funny”. I guess this must have been during WWII, though I have nothing to anchor these recollections.
    The WWII letter from Mrs. Gerhardi caught my interest. The origin of my nickname, “Chips” was always vaguely referred to as “some kind of distant, English cousin” of Fanny’s. The fleeting reference to “Chip”, who I guess was Alice’s brother, offers a clue to that mystery. The other explanation I got said all the other nicknames for Charles had been taken. I’m the fourth Charles in a row in the Haseltine family. And, the last one.

    • Hi Chips,
      Thank you for your comment. If you are interested in learning more about the Gerhardis, Alice’s nephew, Dave, is on that private mailing list. I’ve been pondering writing up something about them…. In any case, thanks again and take care.
      Best regards,

      • Hi
        Just catching up. Alice Gerhardi was my Grandmother therefore I am her grandson and not her nephew. Alice is the sister of Sidney Burgoyne who left the UK for America and started Burgoyne Cards.

  3. hello
    I’m a cousin of Jacques Marsily. Our fathers were brothers
    Happily Alain M. will continue the research

    I live in Brussels, were born in Antwerp 1931

    It’s very exiting you wrote with us

    so long

  4. Very interesting, Chris. Read all of your fathers stories this evening. Loved the pictures that went with them. Looking forward to viewing the rest of the sight. I applaud you. A labor of love well done… Kat St.Claire

  5. Chris,

    What a wonderful job you have done in gathering and publishing the family history!
    Cornelius deBoom’s Certificate from the Society of California Pioneers verifying that he arrived in California 163 years ago on Feb. 18, 1849, hangs in my office.

    Thanks for all your efforts,

    Ron Witzel

  6. Loved your family history, Christine!
    You might consider putting a button at the bottom of each page
    to take the reader to the next page; for the first time reader, like myself,
    it seems that the article ends there.

  7. Dear Chris,
    What a great site, brimming with stories, photos, links, and down-loadables. The street sign in the header is a nice touch.
    Your project must be very popular within the families, and with fans of California history. And the spirit of Aunt Emma must be pleased as punch—you are apparently the person she saved all those documents for.
    Is this a WordPress site? So is mine: http://onsbs.com/
    To exploiting this valuable tool that’s been given to us. See you around the gym.

    • Hi Sue,
      Thanks for the compliments. Your site is _amazing_! I will refer my writing friends to it as an excellent example for marketing a book…something I’m still thinking about.

  8. Dear Chris,
    Wonderful website of family history. Thanks for compiling the info, and making it available for posterity. I especially like the 1889 Napa photo of R.C. DeBoom, Bonmaman, and their four children. Their eldest daughter, Fanny DeBoom was to eventually marry Charles Woodward Haseltine. They were the grandparents of Chips and Art.
    My best to you and all my cousins — which I don’t see often enough,
    Art (Arthur Woodward Haseltine)
    Carmel, California

  9. Chris:
    You are to ne congratulated for
    initialing the “DeBoom History”
    This is a labor of love of family and
    deserves full support of the Witzel
    branch of the DeBoom heritage.

  10. A great piece on Wreden Brewery. Touches on a bit of MY family history too. We have many artifacts from the Wreden Brewery. I also noticed that North Coast Brewing resurrected the Acme Brewing label. One of my favorite hobbies is making beer, and am in search of any possible recreation of the original Annabelle Lager’ and ‘Wreden’s Extra Pale Lager’


    • Jeff: I am doing genealogy on my grandfather, Charles Verna Wallenberg. According to my father’s notes, Charles (aka Verna) was a Stationery Engineer for Wreden Brewery in the – 1890’s. He then went on to Rainier Brewery all in SF! Bob

  11. Madam

    I have just discovered your website in a search on my family.
    I am great great grand daughter of Angélique de Laurencel (Louis-Henry de Laurencel and Frédérique de Boom’s daughter).
    Could you give me your personnal mail address to be able to discuss with you privately

    Best regards


  12. Hi. This is Ted Steele, a descendant of Joseph Camille Badarous, Marie’s father. I see that you have found some of the info on this family that I had posted on my website some years ago. Nice to have found another cousin.

    I was looking for Cornelius and Marie DeBoom becuase it is my understanding that Marie was the daughter of Dr. Badarous’ first marriage to Honorine DeRochefort and I want to see if I can find more about her (Honorine) and their marriage in Paris. I have some nice stories from my other about them, but I have found no confirmation.

    Please contact me by e-mail if you’d like to share info.

    Ted Steele

  13. Hi Chris, Just spent about an hour looking at the sight you did a great jog! It was so nice meeting with all of you last week hope we can find ways to keep in touch. Thanks John David Witzel

  14. Hi David,
    Glad you enjoyed this site. It was great to meet you and your family. I know we will find another occasion to get together again.
    Best regards,
    Cousin Chris

  15. Hi Chris,

    I believe that I am related to Claus Wreden through my father’s mother’s mother. I don’t remeber if it was Anna or Clara…I think the latter…who was my great grandmother. I didn’t know her, but I knew my great grandfather “Pottsie”. His last name was Von Heusen (SP?). One legacy of the Wredens was the 65,000 acre ranch. Does this sound like the same family? My grandmother married Eustice “Mack” McWilliams.

    Thanks, John

  16. Hello Chris,

    I talked to my Dad and he informed me that Heinrich (Henry) Wreden was my great-great grandfather. He also had 6 children (7 but one passed early). He had three sons and three daughters. My great grandmother was Carolyn. Heinrich retired from the brewry at the age of 60 following a mild stroke. If you are interested, my dad has put together our family tree, and I would be happy to foward that info to you.

    Blessings, John

    • Hi John,
      Great to hear from you! I will contact you via email and try to hook you up with some other Wreden relatives.
      Best regards,

  17. Bonjours, Hi
    I am very pleased to find this de Boom website.
    I am one of your french cousins, and i am the owner of the de BOOM’s archives of the europeen descendents of Jeanne Frédérique de BOOM and Henry de LAURENCEL.I have many original document that should be published on this website. I have letters ( one in flemish language, translate to french!!!), pictures and photos, books, and a very completed généalogie of descendants of J.F. de BOOM and H. de LAURENCEL
    May i have your E-Mail adress to simplify my documents scans transfers to you.
    Best regzrds

  18. What a fantastic response you received. i hope now you’ll write another book as good as “She also Served”. You should try connecting with the Oral History project at the Bancroft in Berkeley. Historians of California urgently need more than official histories thatthey find in the Archives that are strong on institutions poor on real people..

  19. My last name is deBoom. My grandfather immigrated to the USA from Holland around 1895. Any relationship between my grandfather also name Cornelius and the French/Belgium deBooms? Family tradition says that my forefathers fled France during the Huguenot persecutions.

  20. Hi Mike, Very good question. I don’t know the answer, but will see what I can find out. (Sorry for the delayed response.) Best regards, Chris

  21. Hi Chris, Thanks for the wonderfull website which introduced me to a new branch of descendants of the Marsily family… My grandmothers was Elisabeth Marsily, daughter of Ferdinand Marsily and granddaughter of William Edouard Marsily, co founder and co owner of the Red Star Line in Antwerp. William Edourd Marsily’s father William James Marsily was a brother of Carolus Georgius Petrus Jacobus Marsily, the grandfather of Carolina Regina Christina Marsily – DeBoom. I hope we stay now in contact so we can together clarify and or correct some facts together. Best regards, Maurice Demblon

    • Hi Maurice, How good to hear from another European relative! I will reply via private email soon. By the way, just realized the photo labelled ‘Chris’ is actually my friend who is co-admin for this site. Best regards, Chris (Christine)

      • Thanks for your reply Chris. I wait for your e-mail. We can interchange iinformation and help each other to complete our family history…

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