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Searching for Belgian ancestors

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Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby paulcwillis » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:22 pm

Hi all

I'm trying to trace the ancestry of the wife of one of my ancestors.

On 13 March March 1907 my grandad's cousin, James Willis, (aged 33) married a Belgian girl named Romanie Marie Demey in Dover Register Office. The marriage certificate states James was 33 years old and Romanie was 24 years and her father was a Horimond Demey, a Petty Officer in the Belgian Navy.

I've traced her in the 1901 Census as Domestic Servant, aged 18, in the household of William & Christine Bourner, hoteliers in Cannon Street, Dover. Her birthplace is recorded as 'Ostend, Belgium Subject'.

James and Romanie had 3 children, but James died in 1916 aged just 43, whilst Romanie lived until 1968, dying at the age of 85 years. She never remarried.

HOWEVER - I can find no trace of Romanie before the 1901 Census. I've searched on Family Search for Belgian records of Romanie or her father Horimond but have found no trace.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to my next steps, please?
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Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby brunes08 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:07 pm

I have been trying to find the birth of a Belgian national for a friend of mine. He was born about 1896 in Belgium but was in Ireland at the end of the 1WW. The main problem is that, unlike the UK, Belgium does not have a centralised system for registering birth, marriage and deaths. To obtain a certificate, you have to know where the individual was born, for example, and apply to the district registry. I am still trying to work around this as I haven't found anything on familysearch.org or Ancestry etc to help. It looks as though you would have to find out about the registry in Ostende.
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby peter kent » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:37 am

Ostend is in the province of West Flanders. Birthplaces of Oostende, Mariakerke, Raversijde, Stene and Zandvoorde might be relevant.

Births - geboorten
Marriages - huwelijken
Deaths - overlijden
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby Sylcec » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:54 am

Hi Paul - looks like you are in luck. Search in Family Search Catalog and you get this result which tells you that the civil registration records are available on line.
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/88222?availability=Family%20History%20Library
They will be in Dutch/Flemish though so you will need to be able to translate, or get someone to do so for you.
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby techtran » Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:18 pm

Hi Paul,
The first name of Romanie's father is "Florimond" and not "Horimond".
You can try search.arch.be.
You will find few Florimond Demey (seamen and sailors).
Let us know if you got something.
If not, I can try further.
Good luck,
Jacques
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby paulcwillis » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:57 pm

Hi Jaques - thanks for your suggestion! I've been trying for the past week to conduct a search for Florimund Demey on the site you gave me the address for, but so far been unsuccessful (I think it's a language thing!)

Are you able to do some more digging for me?
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby Antecedentia » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:02 pm

Hello!
I think you better start at
http://www.vrijwilligersrab.be/en instead or http://search.arch.be!
The arch.be database is not complete at all. I saw two Romanie Demey's from 1883 in Oostende. That should be a lead!
If you need any help, let me know.
John (Antecedentia)
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby Geoff49 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:04 pm

Related to this discussion, are there records of non-Belgian shipping crew signing on to foreign- owned ships in Oostende in the early 1900s? Perhaps official Belgian records, or newspapers?
Thanks
Geoff
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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:19 pm

Please remember that a huge proportion of foreign owned shipping operating out of Oostende, would be British and therefore in the Crew List Agreements collected by the UK's Board of Trade and now split between TNA, Greenwich and Newfoundland. And yes, I know that dealing with that lot is a pain in the posterior.

Given your precise question, I actually doubt that the Belgian authorities would have been at all interested!

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Re: Searching for Belgian ancestors

Postby Geoff49 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:26 am

I've looked in all those places and more of course, hence this last ditch attempt, but thanks anyway.
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