Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Was one of your Belgian family members a soldier during WW1?

Then you should check this site: 

"The Golden Book of Firecard" aka “Guldenboek der Vuurkaart” in Dutch or "Livre d'Or des Cartes du Feu" in French is a compilation of cards issued to soldiers who fought during World War I published between 1933 and 1940: 8 in Dutch and 8 in French.

These books were indexed a few years ago and are now available online.

Not every soldier who fought during WWI is listed in these books as not everyone was interested in filling out the form required to have their card published.
For that reason, if you do not find your family member listed in the index, you can have his name added and his story told by contacting Marc Verlinden

You can browse thru the books but it might be more productive to first check the index.

Say you are looking for
Felicien ABSIL
You will need to look in book 33-34 p449 (image 449)

There are symbols under the pictures. A link enables you to download a 2 page-pdf file containing a legend for these and other abbreviations.

In the case of Felicien ABSIL:

he was from Namur, a soldier who received the Ordre de Leopold II medal, the Croix de Guerre, the Medaille de la Victoire and the Medaille Commemorative de la Guerre 1914-1918.  Not sure I understand the other numbers and letter "7 ch. fr" or "1 ch. bl" but you can always inquire on their forum:

Regimental histories are also available if you know the regiment in which your family member served.  I have only one complaint: the content of those pages are yellow print on white background.

Using Felicien ABSIL as an example again, the index shows he served in the 1 Grenadier.
I highlighted the page to see what I was looking at and found that the 1st and 2nd Grenadier histories were grouped.  The history is in Dutch so you might want to highlight, copy and paste it into a translation software if you don't read Dutch.  It might not be perfect but will give you the gist of things.  For a better translation you might want to request someone's help on a forum.

The site is available in three languages: Dutch, English and French.

Happy Hunting!