Belgium Civil Registration
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The FamilySearch moderator for Belgium is Daniel Jones.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
In 1795-1796 what is now Belgium was conquered by the Napoleonic regime, who introduced a system of civil registration throughout their territories. The first records were written in French and used the French Revolutionary Calendar. In 1815, Belgium was merged with what is now the Netherlands, creating the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands had also been conquered by Napoleon and from 1811 had a Civil Registration system. Both countries continued with this system. In 1830 Belgium became independent, but continued to keep civil registration records in a manner very similar to the Dutch system.
As of March 31, 2019, access to records in Belgium is unrestricted to those more than 100 years for births, 75 years for marriages, and 50 years for deaths. Records later than these time periods are not open to the general public.
Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]
Many smaller towns put births, marriages and deaths all together in chronological order, while later records and those from larger towns and cities usually divide the records into births, marriages and deaths separately.
Births[edit | edit source]
A typical Belgium birth record contains:
- The child's name
- The birth place and date
- The names of the parents, their residence, occupations, sometimes ages
- The name of the informant, their occupation and sometimes age and relationship to the child
Marriages[edit | edit source]
A typical Belgium marriage record contains:
- Names of the bride and groom
- Place and Date of the marriage
- Their ages, residences, occupations and birthplaces.
- The names of their parents, their occupations and sometimes ages or whether still alive
- Any former spouses
- Witnesses, and their occupations, and who performed the ceremony
Marriage Supplements may contain
- Copies of birth or baptism records of the bride and groom
- Copies of the deaths of the parents of the bride and groom
- Deaths of or divorces from former spouses
- Consent from the parents
Marriage proclamations may contain:
- Names of prospective marriage partners
- Their residence, age, occupation
- Their intended date of marriage
- Their parents
Deaths[edit | edit source]
A typical Belgium death record contains;
- Name of deceased,
- Their death date and place
- Their age, birthplace, occupation
- Their current and former spouses
- Names of their parents, if known
- Name of the informant and their residence
Divorces[edit | edit source]
The divorce will be noted on the original marriage record. There is no separate "Divorce Record'
How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]
State Archives and FamilySearch[edit | edit source]
The State [i.e. Federal] Archives of Belgium/Rijksarchief in België/Les Archives de l'Etat en Belgique has images and some indexes for civil registration records before 1915. Free registration is required to view the records. The site comes in English, French, German or Dutch (see top left corner).
Most of the records are available only as images. They can be browsed here. A few have been indexed. They can be searched here. The images placed online are not necessarily the entirety of the records that are available- the remaining records would need to be viewed in person at the archives. Nonetheless, the vast majority have been placed online.
In most cases, the images online at the website of the State Archives are exact copies of the images that can be found at FamilySearch. Either browse the historical record collections (see above) or use the FamilySearch Catalog. There is a significant number of images not yet placed in the historical record collections, so look in both of these places if you can't find a record.
- 1560-1890 : Belgium Births and Baptisms - FamilySearch Historical Records
- 1564-1900 : Belgium Deaths and Burials - FamilySearch Historical Records
- 1563-1890 : Belgium Marriages - FamilySearch Historical Records
- 1588-1913 : Belgium, Antwerp, Civil Registration, 1588-1913, index and images
- 1582-1914 : Belgium, Brabant, Civil Registration, 1582-1914, index and images
- 1541-1914 : Belgium, East Flanders, Civil Registration, 1541-1914, index and images
- 1600-1913 : Belgium, Hainaut, Civil Registration, 1600-1913, index and images
- 1798-1906 : Belgium, Limburg, Civil Registration, 1798-1906, index and images
- 1621-1914 : Belgium, Liège, Civil Registration, 1621-1914, index and images
- 1580-1920 : Belgium, Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1580-1920, images only
- 1800-1912 : Belgium, Namur, Civil Registration, 1800-1912, index and images
- 1582-1910 : Belgium, West Flanders, Civil Registration, 1582-1910, index and images
- Belgium National Civil Registration - FamilySearch Historical Records
- International Genealogical Index (IGI) captured some civil registration records
Indexes[edit | edit source]
Indexes covering a period of years(most commonly one and ten) were drawn up in alphabetical order. These list all the events that occurred in that place over the time period. Use the information given to find the original, such as date, page number or act number. These Indexes can generally be found at the State Archives or FamilySearch.
GeneaKnowHow[edit | edit source]
Geneaknowhow is a site that provides links to various local genealogical sites for Belgium and the Netherlands, including many containing civil registration records.
Offices to Contact[edit | edit source]
Records from after 1915 cannot be found online at the State Archives. You will need to contact the municipality where the event took place.
State and National Archives of Belgium
Rue de Ruysbroeck 2
1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 513 76 80
Parent organization: State Archives
If needed, you may need to write to an ancestor's town. Below is how to address a letter:
Gemeentebestuur = Municipal administration
De Ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand = Civil State Officer
Gemeentehuis = City Hall
BE - (postal code) (name of municipality)