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.