Population Registers

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An Interactive Census

Many American researchers have learned to first look for census when they start their research and so they instinctively look for something similar when they venture in other countries.

In Belgium, the census are called "Registres de Population." These registers follow the population of any given town or village over a period of 10 years.

Their unique value comes in that they not only list all the people living in the household, they give

  • the birth information for each person
  • their occupation,
  • relationship to the head of household,
  • whether they died, married or moved away.

When a death or a move occurs, the person is crossed out and a date is given to mark the death, while a departure from the town includes where the person went to so they can then be found in the town where they next resided.

A marriage will also include the marriage date, the spouse's information and new place of residence.

The first Belgian census took place in 1846 and occurred every ten years after that (1856, 1866, 1876), then in 1880 (1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930).

It skipped again until 1947, then 1961, 1970, 1981 ad 1991.

These registers also help determine the population numbers that are used to determine how many members should be allocated to the Chamber of Representatives

Some earlier Population Registers have been microfilmed by the Family History Library but many more have not.

The Privacy Laws will also prevent unrelated individuals from accessing the information contained in the more recent ones. They are usually kept at the Maison Communale.

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Netherlands, Noord-Brabant Province Population Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)