Belgium Civil Registration

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Belgium
Civil Registration

From the seventeenth and eighteenth century onwards, baptisms, marriages and burials were recorded in Church Records. Most people were Catholic, but a small majority were Protestant.

After Napoleonic conquest, Belgium was directly incorporated into the French Empire. In 1795-1796, Civil Registration was introduced as a replacement for Church Records. Births, Marriages and Deaths were now recorded by the state.

As for the more recent records, the locality keeps one copy and the other copies are turned over to the State Archives (Algemeen Rijksarchief/Archives Générales du Royaume in Brussels, or Rijksarchief in de Provinciën/Archives de l'État in the provinces). Researchers can access them by writing to:

Algemeen Rijksarchief Ruisbroekstraat 2
Brussels 1000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 2 513 76 80
Fax: 32 2 513 76 81
Internet:  http://www.ica.org/en/member/archives_generales_du_royaume


Contents

Births: Child’s name, birth date and place; parents’ names, residence, and occupation, witnesses’ ages, relationships, residences; yearly indexes.

Marriages: Bride and groom names, ages, residences, occupations; sometimes ages and/or birth dates and places, parents' names, marriage date and place, residences, occupations, witnesses and officer who performed ceremony, former spouses, yearly indexes.

Marriage proclamations: Names of prospective marriage partners, intentions, residences, parents, etc.

Marriage supplements: Names of marriage partners, documents showing proofs of births, parents, deaths, prior marriages or divorces, proclamations, consents, contracts, etc.

Death registers: Name of deceased, age, death date and place, occupation, name of surviving spouse, informant’s name and residence, cause of death, sometimes birth dates and places, parents’ names, children’s names, yearly indexes.

Divorces: Listed on the back of the marriage registers in the municipality where the marriage took place. Includes names, ages, dates and places, occupations, residences.

Multi-Year-Indexes: Additional two, three, five and ten year indexes to births, marriages, divorces and deaths. Some are alphabetical, others chronological, by first letter of the surname, all letters, given names, etc.[1]

The records are organized in different ways, depending on the time frame and location of the record. The records will be either in Dutch, French, or German.

Some towns record all the events in chronological order, regardless of the type of event. However, the records are numbered according to their type. Other places use a “chapter format” for every year: One chapter for the births, one for the marriages, and one for the the deaths.

If the records are not numbered, look for a page number. Be aware that pages are sometimes numbered on one side only (right side). Therefore, they are found in the index as “Recto” (Front) and “Verso” (Back).

Yearly indexes are available in most cases, but sometimes you have to work with ten-year indexes. These will either precede or follow the actual records. Yearly indexes changed over time, especially the Marriage ones. At first the clerk only alphabetized the grooms. In this case it may be necessary to read each entry so as not to miss the bride. Later, however, all spouses are alphabetized in one list, which greatly simplifies research.

If the records are combined, you will find them indexed in categories at the end of the year. These indexes make it much easier to sift through the records, but be mindful of multiple spellings. This is especially important with your emigrant ancestors, whose names were often changed either on purpose or through the emigration process.

Accessing the Records

Civil Registration records were traditionally accessed from the archives in person, but now most(but not all) can be found on FamilySearch/Zoekakten, or online at the website of the Rijksarchief in België. Note that free registration is required for the Rijksarchief's website. It is still possible to access records in person from archives are listed in the section 'Provincial Archives"

FamilySearch has recently began indexing some records. Aside from this, there is no central database to search all Belgium civil registration at the same time.

Geneaknowhow is a site that provides links to various local genealogical sites for Belgium and the Netherlands, including many containing civil registration records.

Provincial Archives

For the more recent records, the locality keeps one copy and the other copies are turned over to the State Archives (Algemeen Rijksarchief/Archives Générales du Royaume in Brussels, or Rijksarchief in de Provinciën/Archives de l'État in the provinces). Researchers can access them by writing to:

Algemeen Rijksarchief
Ruisbroekstraat 2
Brussels 1000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 2 513 76 80
Fax: 32 2 513 76 81

Algemeen Rijksarchief Brussel / Archives Générales du Royaume

Rijksarchief te Antwerpen
Door Verstraeteplein 5
Antwerpen B-2018
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)3 236 73 00
Fax: 32 (0)3 236 73 00
Email: Rijksarchief.Antwerpen@arch.be

Brabant

Rijksarchief te Leuven

College van Villers
Vaartstraat 24-26
Leuven B-3000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)16 31 49 54
Fax: 32 (0)16 31 49 61
Email: Rijksarchief.Leuven@arch.be

Brussels Capital Region

Rijksarchief te Anderlecht / Archives de l'Etat à Anderlecht
Demetskaai 7
Anderlecht B-1070
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)2 524 61 15
Fax: 32 (0)2 520 93 21
Email: Rijksarchief.Anderlecht@arch.be

East Flanders / Oost-Vlaanderen / Flandre Orientale

Rijksarchief te Beveren

Kruibekesteenweg 39/1
Beveren-Waas B-9120
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)3 750 29 77
Fax: 32 (0)3 750 29 70
Email: Rijksarchief.Beveren@arch.be

Rijksarchief te Gent

Geraard de Duivelstraat 1
B-9000 Gent
Telephone: 32 (0)9 225 13 38
Fax: 32 (0)9 225 13 38
Email: Rijksarchief.Gent@arch.be

Rijksarchief te Ronse

Van Hovestraat 45
Ronse B-9600
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)55 21 19 83
Fax: 32 (0)55 21 19 83
Email: Rijksarchief.Ronse@arch.be

Hainault / Henegouwen / Hainaut

Archives de l'État à Mons (Bergen)

Avenue des Bassins 66

Mons B-7000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)65 40 04 60
Fax: 32 (0)65 40 04 61
Email: Archives.Mons@arch.be

Archives de l'État à Tournai (Doornik)

Place Paul-Emile Janson 3
Tournai B-7500
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)69 22 53 76
Fax: 32 (0)69 54 54 83
Email: Archives.Tournai@arch.be


Limburg / Limburg / Limbourg

Rijksarchief te Hasselt

Bampslaan 4
Hasselt B-3500
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)11 22 17 66
Fax: 32 (0)11 23 40 46
Email: Rijksarchief.Hasselt@arch.be

Liege / Luik / Liège

Staatsarchiv Eupen

Kaperberg 2-4
Eupen B-4700
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)87 55 87 77
Fax: 32 (0)87 55 87 77
Email: Staatsarchiv.Eupen@arch.be

Archives de l'État à Huy

Ancien Couvent des Frères Mineurs
rue Vankeerberghen 20
Huy B-5200
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)85 21 53 95
Fax: 32 (0)85 21 53 95
Email: Archives.Huy@arch.be

Archives de l'État à Liège

Rue du Chéra 79
Liège B-4000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)4 252 03 93
Fax: 32 (0)4 229 33 50
Email: Archives.Liege@arch.be

Luxemburg / Luxemburg / Luxembourg

Archives de l'État à Arlon

Parc des Expositions
Arlon B-6700
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)63 22 06 13
Fax: 32 (0)63 22 06 13
Email: Archives.Arlon@arch.be

Archives de l'État à Saint-Hubert

Ancienne Abbaye - Quartier Abbatial
Place de l'Abbaye
Saint-Hubert B-6870
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)61 61 14 55
Fax: 32 (0)61 61 14 55
Email: Archives.Saint-Hubert@arch.be

Namur / Namen / Namur

Archives de l'État à Namur

Rue d'Arquet 45
Namur B-5000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)81 22 34 98
Fax: 32 (0)81 65 41 99

West Flanders / West-Vlaanderen / Flandre
Occidentale

Rijksarchief te Brugge

Academiestraat 14-18
Brugge B-8000
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)50 33 72 88
Fax: 32 (0)50 33 72 88
Email: Rijksarchief.Brugge@arch.be

Rijksarchief te Kortrijk

Guido Gezellestraat 1
Kortrijk B-8500
BELGIUM
Telephone: 32 (0)56 21 32 68
Fax: 32 (0)56 20 57 42
Email: Rijksarchief.Kortrijk@arch.be

Online Records

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

References

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Belgium,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1987-1999.