|Belgium Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
The FamilySearch moderator for Belgium is Daniel Jones.
|The major languages of records in Belgium are Flemish (Dutch) in the North, and Walloon (French) in the South, and German in the East. Latin was used extensively, particularly in Catholic records.|
Belgium has always been linguistically divided and to this day there is much political division between the different regions of Belgium.
Belgium can be divided into four broad regions:
In Flanders (Vlaanderen), the language was and is Flemish, a variant of Dutch
In Brussels, the local language was traditionally Flemish, but since 1800 has been progressively displaced by French. Brussels has been designated a bilingual area but in practice only 10% of modern day Brussels speaks Dutch.
In Wallonia, the local language is French.
In parts of Liege that were annexed from Germany following WW1, German is still used.
What a genealogist needs to know is:
Catholic church records always used Latin. Other churches used the local language.
Civil registration and government records can be written in either French or Flemish depending on the area and the political situation at the time.
Any other records are likely to be written in the local language.
Dutch Records[edit | edit source]
- Dutch Genealogical Word List
- Reading Dutch Handwritten Records
- Reading Dutch Birth Records
- Reading Dutch Marriage Records
- Reading Dutch Death Records
- Names in Belgium and the Netherlands
German Records[edit | edit source]
- It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
- These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
- Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 1: Kurrent Letters
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Making Words in Kurrent
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Kurrent Documents. In this lesson, you will explore several types of German genealogical records, including birth, baptismal, marriage, and death records.
- German Script Tutorial
This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:
- Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)
French Records[edit | edit source]
You do not have to be fluent in French to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read French records.
- There is a three-lesson course in reading French Records:
- For more instruction on using these records, see:
Latin Records[edit | edit source]
Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:
References[edit | edit source]
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Belgium,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1987-1999.