Friday, May 8, 2015

How to Report a Problem with the Online Records at the Belgian Archives Site

Well, it is not as complicated as I had first thought it would be.
If you are an English speaker, you might be discouraged a little when you find the "English" page in Dutch but you will be glad to know the Reporting part is actually in English
So what do you do first?
At the top of the page on the right again, you will see
"Een vraag of een probleem melden"
This window will pop up
Fill out the form and choose "Other problems or questions"
Note that they require that you indicate the
- city - municipality or parish
- type of record
- year
I find that copying and pasting the link is always the easiest but here you need to make sure you note the page number that is giving you trouble "Image x of z" - at the bottom of the screen. It appears in different ink color, right in the middle
Type in the code and click Send  and they will notify you about what they will do to fix the problem.
Remember, it's a lot easier to report a problem then to wait for someone else to find the problem.
Best wishes!

How to Report a Problem with the Online Records on FamilySearch

Earlier this month while on, checking the Tables for Aywaille, Liege, Belgium, I came across a misplaced register: Tables of Barchon, Liege, Belgium

It's not the first time I have reported an error and realize some people might be intimidated by the idea of reporting one, especially if they don't speak English.

At the top of the page on the right you will see "Get Help"
You have your choice of
- Calling, which is sometimes easier but not always.  You have to be grateful for these volunteers but they are often in over their heads with Belgian records.
- Chatting - I haven't tried this
- Sending a message - the simplest way I find to gather your thoughts completely and explain the problem completely.
- Finding Help locally will be of no use for this purpose

You will also not the "Self-Help" options on the left.
Not helpful for this purpose either but good to know it's there if you run into a problem.

So let's click on "send a message"

You will need to fill out the form with your contact information.

You will also need to select a category for your message. In this case, you will want to click on "Records"

Remember to give your message a title.  In this case I chose "Misplaced register"
Be aware that they will want to reproduce your problem so you will need to copy the page link
 and Paste it in the "Details" portion of the form along with a short explanation of the problem.

then click "Send"
They will answer you and give you a case number.
Hopefully it's an easy fix and you will find the problem resolved.
Sometimes it takes longer.
I received an email concerning another case where they said the pages were missing from a register..
Nothing to do when that's the case.
Although sometimes, it's an oversight on the part of the person either doing the microfilming or doing the digitizing.
If you feel this is the case, insist...
A blurry page report might encourage to revisit the originals and make a duplicate copy.

The Belgian Archives site is a little more complicated for the English speaker but if you find a problem, it is always best to report it...  The next article will show you how.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Side Note on Indexing Belgian Records for FamilySearch Indexing

It had been some time since I had indexed Belgian records and feeling rusty I have been very self-conscious about making mistakes in deciphering the sometimes not so easy to read records but also following the rules particular to this project.

This afternoon I came across a name that I read as "Marie Josephine Waudin Hanot d'Harvengt"
mmm...  Something was off...  Was "Waudin" part of a long last name?
I decided to see if maybe by chance I could find something on Geneanet that would help me figure it out.

I tried "D'Harvengt" and got several results but none that linked in with the father's last name "Bonaert", so I tried "Bonaert" and BINGO!

and there she was! NOT "Waudin" as I read it but "Waudru" and that is a given name  NOT a last name.

As it turned out the birth record I was indexing was that of their son Louis "Henri" Victor Joseph François Ghislain BONAERT, who apparently later might have become the mayor of Foy-Notre-Dame, a little town near Dinant, where his mother passed away in 1889.

I know taking side trips to make sure you have the right spelling is not a requirement. I was just curious and was not disappointed to have made the detour.

This time around I can check my work and see if I am doing ok.  I have found some frustration in the arbitration process as arbitrators can't seem to agree on what to do with names with accents.
Do you put them in or do you write the name as you see it?

Then there is the issue of what to do with the child's surname...
Some arbitrators have you put it in while others take it away...
Rule is: Don't assume the child's surname if it is not written in before or after the child's given name(s).
So, since there is a button for 'Feedback' I clicked it for every time they added the child's surname when it wasn't there at all...  I hope this means the arbitrator's work will be reviewed and my correct entries restored.

Not that it is important to 'be right' but I do want to be as accurate as I can.
It's hard enough reading some of these names... (=

If you are comfortable working with Dutch or French or German records, I invite you to give Indexing a try.  If you are not and prefer English, try it too...  There is plenty of work to go around!
Most important thing is to ENJOY yourself while at the same time render a great service to researchers!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ferraris Maps: Pre-Industrial Revolution Belgium

Have you looked for an old map of Belgium that would give you an idea where your family lived?
Well, you are in luck!

Between 1771 and 1778, General Count Joseph de Ferraris[1] was commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Emperor Joseph II to create a detailed Carte-de-Cabinet (“for study of consultation”) of the Austrian Netherlands. The maps were made on a scale 1:11,520 and formed a collection of 275 hand-colored and hand-drawn maps 0.90 × 1.40 m each. These were accompanied by twelve volumes of handwritten commentaries relating to topics of economic and military interest (rivers, bridges, forests, possibilities for military camps, etc.)

Three originals of the maps remain.
One is in the Kriegsarchiv in Vienna, one is in the Rijksarchief in The Hague and the third one remains in the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels.
The maps held in Brussels were the maps destined for Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine, the Governor of the Austrian Netherlands, and were transferred to Belgium by Austria in 1922 as part of the World War I reparations.
In 1777 and 1778, Ferraris issued a reduced version of the cabinet maps with a scale of 1:86,400 in 25 maps, issued for commercial sale ("carte marchande").
The Ferraris maps were used to great extent during the military operations of the French Revolutionary Wars and during the Napoleonic Wars.

They were reproduced and compiled into a book already out of print under the title
“Atlas Ferraris”
Publisher: Lannoo Publishers (Acc), 2011
ISBN 10: 9020992929 ISBN 13: 9789020992922
Hardcover - No available copies

In 2001 Sébastien DUBOIS published “La rectification du tracé des frontières sur les cartes des Pays-Bas autrichiens de Ferraris (1777-1779)”, Brussels, 2001 (137 p) which included 40 introduction maps, 6 in color at a 1/100.000e scale. 30 EUR in which he tried to correct mapping problems

The map covering Belgium is available online in small portions at the Belgian National Library webpage

The site is bilingual: Dutch and French
Under "Collections" or "Verzamelingen" you will need to click on "Cartes et Plans" or "Kaarten en plannen"

then choose the line where you see the author's name "Ferraris"
Click on the line right above the map:
Visualisez le document/Het document bekijken
A map broken into small segments will appear from which you will need to choose a specific location.
Once you have chosen and clicked on a portion of the map, a town's name will appear. 

Click on the link and you will see a slightly larger map which you can zoom in.
I chose Jodoigne

But all of Belgium is represented here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Picture this! Brussels, Belgium… 1812…

All you ever dreamed to know about who was who in Brussels that year can be discovered thanks to Antoine and Jacques MASSIN who set out to make available the Brussels 1812 Almanach. 

In 1812, Brussels was the county seat of the French Département de la Dyle, after the Austrian Low Lands were annexed by the First French Republic on October 1st, 1795.   

The Département de la Dyle corresponded to the old Brabant Province which is now divided into 3 parts: Walloon Brabant, Flemish Brabant and the Brussels Region.

They divided the work into 5 parts:
- Dénombrement de la population de 1812:  a population census («Who is Who in 1812»), accessible by alphabetical order, lists every person residing in Brussels in 1812.  Saved as separate pdf files, the text is in French but being typed should be easy to copy and paste into a translating software if you don’t read French.
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

- Alphabetical List of all the towns and main hamlets of Belgium during Year VII.
Example: Achene, Sambre-et-Meuse, with a post office in Namur.
- Alphabetical directory of occupations, merchants and professions and the names of those who are actively engaged in these activities.
Example:  under “Banquiers” (Bankers): you will find 4 places of business, one of which is
-        DANOOS, Daniel and son, Rue d’Aremberg, Son, 5, #806.
     Some of the occupations you will find in this directory will likely surprise you:
-    - sellers of Geographic maps.
     - sellers of Carnival costumes
-    - carriage makers
     They list 4 dentists, and also 4 florists, along with a lot of different occupations that have since disappeared such as "fumiste": a craftsman who installed or repaired chimneys
I had to look that up and I recommend this website to discover the professions that our ancestors practiced:
Les Metiers de Nos Ancetres

- Compilation of the 367 Decrees made at the courthouse during the Year XII (141pages) – adds sometimes lively details to the last census taken by the French in 1812.  - book published in 1997 under the title “Bruxelles Qui est Qui en 1812” (Brussels who is Who in 1812) -
These decrees, signed by the Mayor of Brussels, Charles d’Ursel, Count of the Empire, Officer of the Legion d’Honneur and his substitutes, give us an insight in what it must have been like for a citizen of Brussels to live under the Empire.

Once again in French, but easily copied and pasted into Google Translate:
Arrêté n° 31, du 31 janvier.
Représentation au théâtre du Parc.
Le Maire, etc.
Autorise les membres de la Société dite de Thalie à donner au théâtre du Parc, du samedi 1er février prochain, une représentation des pièces intitulées: La femme a deux maris, la tapisserie et monsieur Vautour.
Charles d'Ursel.

Decree No. 31 of 31 January.
Representation in the Park Theatre.
The Mayor, etc.
Allows the members of the Society called de Thalia to give at the Park Theatre, Saturday February 1st, a representation of the play titled “The woman has two husbands, the tapestry and Mr. Vautour.”
Charles d'Ursel.

Some have a more personal touch:
Arrêté n° 35, du 1er février.
Certificat de notoriété.
Le Maire, etc.
Déclare que les nommés Gaspar Bouillon et Marie Dupret, son épouse, sont très peu fortunés; vivent en partie du travail de leur fils Pierre et méritent des égards en raison de la position malheureuse dans laquelle ils se trouvent.
Charles d'Ursel.

Decree No. 35 of 1 February.
Certificate of notoriety
The Mayor, etc.
States that the named Gaspar Bouillon and Marie Dupret, his wife, are not very fortunate; partly depend on the work of their son Peter and deserve respect because of the unfortunate position in which they find themselves.
Charles d'Ursel.

-  Almanach for the Département de la Dyle for Leap Year 1812: complete transcription of the book found here –

includes calendars and feast days, sunrises, sunsets, names of all the political leaders in place at the time, and who did what in everyday life: doctors, pharmacists, drivers, firemen, midwives, opera singers…  even a list of how many players played what instruments in the orchestra.

So take a look if you have family who lived in Brussels in 1812 or if you just want background information.  The file is searchable so if you are looking for a specific name, you can find it faster that way.

Jumping back to our day, you can find what is happening in Brussels today by checking out the “Brusseleir” online newslette.

Till next time!