Tracing Belgian Family Trees Made Easier by Massive New Archive
The following was written by the Belgian State Archives:
Have you always dreamed of retracing your family’s history? This arduous task is now made simpler thanks to the Belgian State Archives. The federal institution has just published a new website that includes some 38.6 million official documents.
It is frankly not always easy to go back to the very roots of your family tree. If your research leads you to branches that exceed the level of your grandparents or great-grandparents, you are in luck. In many families, people have no idea who their ancestors are beyond that. But the documentation to complete your lineage has now become more accessible. The State Archives has just published its new site dedicated to genealogy.
On this new platform, you can search for useful sources to learn more about your ancestors, provided they lived in Belgium. In total, millions of pages of documents have been digitised: birth, baptism, marriage, death or burial certificates, as well as all the registers (called decennial tables) that list these documents.
You will be able to browse more easily through no less than 28,527 parish registers and 36,780 civil registers, which have a total of 2.2 million pages. Consultation of these digitised archives is free of charge, but limited to ten downloads per day.
The new interface makes reading these documents faster and smoother, and the search function has been simplified. You will just need to know from which municipality the document you want to consult originates. Registers that disappeared (such as in a fire or during one of the World Wars) are also listed, so as not to waste time searching for these missing archives.
The platform will continue to evolve in the coming months. The digitisation of registers dating from 1910 to 1950 is underway in several repositories, and a new search engine allowing research to be conducted based on a personal name will be put online soon.