Moderator Control Panel
Having trouble tracking down a wartime ancestor? Share your queries – and help fellow researchers – here
Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:31 pm
I am trying to help a friend research his family history. His grandfather was born in Belgium. At the end of the 1WW he was in Dublin. He had been there long enough to have met and married a local lass at the end of 1918. On his marriage certificate it stated he was a soldier and his nationality was Belgian. What I am trying to find out is why he should have been in Dublin at this time. I have been to the National Archives but could find no information about him if he had been attached to a British unit. I've also tried looking at refugee records but no luck.
He stayed on in Ireland for the rest of his life and this has all been documented. It is just the reason when and why he arrived in Dublin that I am trying to unravel. Any help in where else to look or any suggestions would be really appreciated.
Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:59 pm
What about earlier censuses? Is Dublin the first sight you have of him in the UK?
Sent from my GT-I8190N
Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:36 pm
Sorry Adrian, I forgot to say that I have looked at censuses both for Ireland and for the mainland. We have found his wife's family but no indication of him. The marriage certificate is the first we have found of him anywhere. I have tried some Belgian records but nothing so far has come to light. I know we had troops based in Ireland but I cannot find any links that seem appropriate.
Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:48 pm
I am fairly certain that there were Belgian refugees in the UK during WW1. There is a promenade on the Menai Straits, just underneath the Menai Bridge on the Anglesey side, that Belgian refugees had something to do with. They might have gone to Dublin for the same reason. But I have no idea whether these people should appear in the sort of documents that you mention.
Might be worth exploring.
Sent from my GT-I8190N
Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:59 am
I thought that the Belgian refugees were mainly civilians - could be wrong of course. You haven't named the person, but the Belgians did have a small army and I suppose that there should be an archive of the names of those who served. This from Wikipedia:
Much of the small army was captured early on as the frontier forts surrendered. In late 1914 the king had only 60,000 soldiers left. During the war a few young men volunteered to serve, so by 1918 the total force had returned to 170,000. That was far too few to launch a major offensive. The Germans had nothing to gain from an attack, so the short Belgian front was an island of relative calm as gigantic battles raged elsewhere on the Western Front. The total of Belgian soldiers killed came to about 2.0% of its eligible young men (compared to 13.3% in France and 12.5% in Germany).
This site may also have some useful info: http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww1/cou/w1c-bel.html
These are the people you need to contact - holders of the WWI Military archives for Belgium http://www.be14-18.be/fr/defense/archives
There is an English language option.
Unfortunately for birth, marriage and death research in Belgium you do need to know the town/city where the event happened as registration was/is all on a local level - but records excellent once you get into them.
Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:04 pm
Thank you both for your comments and advice. I have passed the information to my friend to follow up some of the potential leads found on the websites. If this turns up some useful information, I shall let you know. At present I do not have my friend's permission to introduce his name but if we make a breakthrough, it might be different.
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
phpBB Mobile / SEO by Artodia.