On March 28, 2012, a new site was officially announced which enables researchers to access at present about 75,000 beautifully digitized records for the most part presented for the fist time, from private collections, from the Museum, the Library or the Archives of the city of Andenne.
The site is the product of many years of hard work supported by the Echevinat de la Culture and the city of Andenne, Belgium. I introduce to you Bibliotheca Andana
Among the images you will find
post cards, books, old local newspapers, funeral cards and notices, and last but by far not least, the images of Civil Registers for the towns of
Also Passports of two kinds: some used for travel within the country, some used to travel abroad. These also provide a physical description of the bearer, like the WWI Draft Registration Cards in the US.
I will attempt to translate pertinent information here below:
To access the images of the available registers, go to http://www.bibliotheca-andana.be/
In the black Menu Bar, hover over "Etat Civil" then choose a town among those available:
Click on the town's name of your choice. I picked Maizeret:
Choose between the type of record you want to examine:
Naissances = Births
Mariages = Marriages
Décès = Deaths
Tables annuelles = annual indexes
Tables décennales = 10y tables = indexes of names
Let's say I want to look at the births
I click on "Naissances" and a list of years available comes up on the next page, like this:
Click on the year of your choice and you will come to the record images which you will have to open one at a time. They are in pdf format so make sure your computer has Adobe Reader. If you need to download it, go to www.adobe.com and download the free Adobe Reader.
To view the record image, click on the red link "Telechargez ..."
At the bottom of the page the zoom in and out option that come in pdf format will enable you to better look at the record and save it too.
Under the other headings you will find local postcards, photos as the titles indicate.
Under "Documents" you will find
- posters of different types, advertisements, etc
- business cards, and other business letterhead items
- bills issued from a variety of businesses for various items
- promotional items, catalogs
- maps and blueprints
- funeral announcements/cards
Under "Livres" you will find a variety of local history books in review. They are not downloadable unfortunately.
Under "Journaux" you will find 9 old local newspapers that you can read online or save.
Under "Registres" hides a series of decisions and minutes from local authorities' meetings.
Under "Dossiers" expect an amalgam of papers pertaining to a particular topic.
More explanations on how records were kept:
- The proceedings of the Council of Trent (24th session of November 11, 1563), by which Parish priests were ordered to record the names of godparents in the baptismal register. These annotations were based on purely religious grounds, indeed, at the time, the spiritual relationship created at baptism, translated into marriage impediments. The Council of Trent circumscribed it so as to avoid the disadvantages arising from the multiplicity of spiritual alliances, contracted only by godparents.
- The order called "of Blois", work of Chancellor Hurault Cheverny, which dated back to May 1579. Under Article 40, we can not marry without "prior proclamations made by three different holidays, with appropriate intervals" and, in order to show that proper form was observed for these weddings, at least four trustworthy people will, attend, which will be written into the record.
- The order called "Saint-Germain-en-Laye" also called "Code Louis," of April 1667. This ordinance standardizes the preparation of records. It requires signature of the godparents on baptismal records; of spouses and witnesses on marriage records; of both parents, or friends present on burial records, confirming what was already done in many areas.
- A royal decree of Louis XV dated April 9, 1736: there will be kept in every Parish in the kingdom two copies of registers, both considered authentic before the courts, to record baptisms, marriages and burials which would be used through the course of year. These registers would be provided at the expense of the Fabrique. All records of baptism, marriage and burial would be kept in these registers, chronologically with no blanks, and would be signed by those who must. Both registers would have to be signed by the officiator, contracting parties and witnesses.
- The order and perpetual edict of sovereign princes and archdukes of July 12, 1611: given the frequent difficulty in proving one’s age "when getting married or at someone’s death, magistrates and other legal representatives, for towns as well as villages, are directed to collect an authentic copy of the registers of baptism, marriages, and burials that every priest has held in his parish. This duplicate register should be sent to the clerks of the City Registry… for preservation.