Belgium, Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Belgium Civil Registration, 1795-1910 .
Title in the Language of the Records
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Les Registres d'Etat Civil de Belgique
The events are recorded either in Dutch, French or German totally by hand or in partially pre-printed books where the information is then entered by hand. The name of a child not registered when born will not be given in the death record, but the gender of that child will be. The record also states if the child was stillborn, although sometimes this term was applied to children who died shortly after birth.
In 1795, Belgium was annexed by France. Napoleon Bonaparte instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Civil registration occurs on a town-by-town basis and is supplemented with decennial indexes to the registers, which generally begin by 1802. Many of the earliest records from this time follow the French Revolutionary calendar, established in France in October 1793 and abolished by Napoleon on January 1, 1806.
Civil registration was instituted to record births, marriages, and deaths because not everyone was baptized, married, or buried in a church. It provided for a more complete registration of vital events for the whole population.
Civil records are the primary source for research after 1796. They are recorded by either the mayor himself or a government clerk within 3 days of the event. They are generally correct as far as the information goes, as the events were registered by eyewitnesses of the event. Barring spelling errors or faulty memory, civil records are as accurate as possible.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Rijksarchief te Beveren,Belgium. Belgium, Civil Registration. National Archives of Belgium, Brussels.
A birth record may provide the following information:
- Day and hour of birth
- Name of parents
- Occupation and age of parents
- Names of witnesses to the birth
- Birthplace of the child
A marriage record may provide the following information:
- Names of the couple
- Their birthplace and place of residence
- Birthdates and ages of the couple
- Names and consent of parents
- Occupations of the couple to be married
- Place of residence and occupations of parents
A death record may provide the following information:
- Day and hour of death
- Age or birth date of the deceased
- Birthplace of the deceased
- Name of the deceased person
- Marital status of the deceased and former occupation (when applicable)
- Name of the spouse (when applicable) and may give the date and place of that spouse’s death
- Indicates if parents are deceased or gives their residence if they are still living. When they are deceased, it may give their burial location
- Witnesses may be members of the family
How to Use the Records
Use civil records, depending on the record, to find the birth, marriage or death date of a person, and also where he was born, his age, name of spouse (if applicable) and name of parents. The records contain even more information than those found in church records. The details presented go far beyond the typical information about the event taking place.
Known Issues in This Collection
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from the record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find th record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched in found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Belgium Civil Registration, 1795-1910," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XX62-9D9 : accessed 8 May 2012), entry for Maria Theresia Lowette, died 3 September 1886; citing Belgium, Civil Registration, 1779-1975, FHL microfilm 1,979,956: Rijksarchienven, Belgium.
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