Family Velz-Palm Homepage
Job & Hobbies
Other Velzes in America
- Who are we ?
My name is Alfons VELZ, I'm 42 years old and I'm a German and English
teacher in a little town called St.Vith (3000 people) at about 25 Km from my
village Mürringen (St. Vith was completely destroyed
on December 24th 1944
during the Battle of the Bulge because it was the headquarter of an American
I'm married to Bernadette PALM and we've got three children: the eldest
daughter Andrea is 25 and she is History teacher
Our son Harald is 25 and he is a tiler
Birgit the youngest daughter is 18 and studying Tourism in Brussels
The name "Velz"
Actually there are about 600 people living in Mürringen in 190 houses and
among them we have at least 60 whose name is VELZ and about 20 whose
VILZ (probably having the same origin.)
The Velzes of Mürringen belong to (as far as we can reconstruct)
3 independent families
and nobody knows whether and how they have been related to each other.
Up to now we have had no written sources earlier than 1775
Actually there are13 households (55 people) in our village having the
Velz - the biggest of them (35 people) being mine - and 4 (18 people)
having the name Vilz.
Where is it ?
As you can see below it's in the east of Belgium, near the German border.
More about East-Belgium later.
Belgium is a federal state, divided into different economical regions
and cultural communities:
Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south and the German-speaking
community in the East
The name Mürringen is said to go back to "castra moerica", a roman
forteresse in the first centuries after Christ. When the Romans were
back during the 5th century our region was populated by the Francs,
later occupied the greatest part of Belgium and France. Among the Francs
were born Chlodwig, Pipin and Charles (Carolus Magnus) who had his
Aachen (Aix-la Chapelle), a town with the oldest Chapel which exists
north of the Alps - just 50 Km in the north of our village.
Our native language is German. We belonged to Germany until the
Treaty of Versailles in 1920. But the dialect we speak sounds very
to Flemish, since just as Flemish it's a part of the group of dialects
back to the Francs and called "Fraenkisch". But our dialect
changed a lot in the 5th century because of the "Zweite Lautverschiebung"
(second sound mutation) So Flemish and our dialect have the same sources
are quite different all the same.
Our village , Mürringen" is relatively small (550 people live
in it) 100% are Roman
Catholic, about 40% still practising. In my childhood religion ruled
everything in the village's life, but now that's over. With TV and
a lot of
other entertainment sources the influence of the church has drastically
fallen. Actually we have less than ten farmers in our village (in my
childhood every house had 4-6 cows and pigs and hens ...) people earn
living in all kinds of jobs (telecommunication, teaching, working in
offices, woodworking, building houses or streets ...) and life has
very similar to suburban life where people live side by side without
knowing each other whereas in my childhood people knew (and controlled)
other very strongly.
Our village belongs to the Commune of Büllingen, one of
the nine communes
forming together the German-speaking community of eastern Belgium.
Our region is situated in the belgian part of the area called "Eifel"
(French-speaking people often call it "Ardennes", older Americans know
the region very well,
because it's the place where the "Battle of the Bulge" took place)
where the borders of three European countries meet: Belgium, Germany
Our native-language is German, since our region belonged too
Germany for the most important part of its history. We became
Belgians in 1920 and since 1969 the German language has been
recognized as the third national language of Belgium. About
65.000 people in Belgium speak German, 5,5 million people speak
Flemish (Dutch) and 4 million are French-speaking.
Job & Hobbies
I'm working as a teacher at Bischöfliche
Schule St. Vith,
a secondary school in St. Vith, 20 miles away from my home
Nearly 650 boys and girls attend our school in several
departments: a grammar school, a technical institute and an
evening school. So at one single place you can get a grammar
education and a technical education as well - and you can even
combine the two.
Our boarding school is frequented by about 120 boys coming from
Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg.
The main subjects of our grammar school are: latin, mathematics,
physics, chemistry, mathematics, history, sports and languages:
German, French, English and Dutch.
In our technical institute the main subjets are mechanics,
car-mechanics, electronics, wood working and agriculture.
We also have a lot of beside-school activities like sports (This
year the belgian champion in cross-country race is a student of
ours) theatre, educational trips (this year: France: Bourgogne, Paris),
exchanges, sight-seeing tours, regional end international
Last year, for the first time, we tried a different type of
learning: learning in projects instead of lessons. During a week
the students did not have to change the subject and/or the
teacher every hour, they could work for several days on
one issue they could choose out of a list of 64 projects proposed
by the teachers or by themselves.
Our school was founded in 1931, that means that we got 65
years old in the year 1996; but this doesn't mean that we are
going to retire ! Just the opposite: we feel younger than ever
and we've got plenty of plans and ideas. Unfortunately we haven't
got all the money to realize them all and at once ...
Of course I've got a lot of hobbies and passions (my family often says
I've got too many of them ...;-^)
such as : reading, a lot of work in our parish, surfing the Internet,
(theatre groups, historical research ...) and, last but not least:
building and (trying to)
fly(ing) model aircrafts at 1 mile from Mürringen. And since 1997
I've been flying an ultralight-plane.
For more information, click on:
ULM - planes and models
American Velz Family members
Lately, while surfing the net, I found the URL of Mr. John W. Velz
(University of Texas), known as a
Shakespeare expert. I sent him an e-mail, asking him whether it was
possible that his anchestors
came from Mürringen.
They did ! And more of that: when he came to visit us at the end of
May 1997 we found out
a lot more about his grand parents and the rest of the family
The "Grenz-Echo", our local newspaper brought the story with fotos
of the Velz' meeting in
Mürringen on the 31st of May 1997
Want to have a look at that article,
written in German ?
||800 N Cooper St, Arlington,TX 76011-7042
|George T & Joan Velz
||269 Bayou Cir, De Bary,FL 32713-4000
|Gregory A & Heather Velz
||4096 E Danby Ct, Winter Spgs,FL 32708-4032
|John & Sarah Velz
||809 W 32nd St, Austin,TX 78705-2115
|Kris & Kristen Velz
||8707 Donna Gail Dr, Austin,TX 78757-6955
||617 Rodney Dr, Altamonte Spg,FL 32701-6238
||4136 N Ridgeway Av, Chicago,IL 60618-2120
||6304 Pt West Blvd, Bradenton,FL 34209-5514
||6415 21st Av W, Bradenton,FL 34209-7860
|Paul G & E Velz
||10521 Cedar Lk Rd #318, Hopkins,MN 55305-3351
|Peter J Velz
||Rte 20 #266, Sharon Spgs,NY 13459
|Richard A Velz
||307 N Allen Av, Richmond,VA 23220-3522
|Roland J Velz
||Highland Gdn, Amsterdam,NY 12010
||214 Brookside Av, Amsterdam,NY 12010-2609
|Thomas S Velz
||69 Wilkes Av, Amsterdam,NY 12010-1314
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Our mail address:
Alfons & Bernadette Velz-Palm
Pannegasse 3, Mürringen
B - 4760 Büllingen