State Archives of Belgium

Our collective memory!

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The State Archives conserves nearly 300 kilometres of archive documents in 19 branch offices spread throughout the country. These records are very heterogeneous and cover several ages.

You intend to carry out research about your ancestors but you do not know how to start?
Take a look at our practical guide to the creation of your own family tree!

Online archives

In the and the civil status registers and the church registers older than 100 years old, you will certainly find many information about your ancestors. These files contain birth, marriage and death certificates and can be accessed for free via our Search engines.

The search engine can also be accessed in the reading rooms of the State Archives. It contains data that voluntary workers have extracted from the deeds of birth, marriage and death. The search engine of the State Archives already contains over 23 million names and is still being updated regularly.

On Facebook page of the State Archives (Dutch/French) you can find regular news on genealogy (study days, fairs, interesting finds, new inventories or finding aids,…. ). Be sure to follow us on Facebook! 

If you would like to participate in the treatment of genealogical sources, get introduced to Demogen project.

Archives in the reading rooms of the State Archives

Beside parochial registers and registers of births, marriages and deaths, the State Archives also conserve several other documents that can be useful for our research, such as minutes of notary deeds (with information on inheritances, contracts of marriage), censuses (mentioning which people were living under the same roof), archives of the benches of aldermen, judicial archives, etc.

In each State Archives branch office you can consult the following documents:

  • Regional and local public archives from the ancient regime  
  • Administrative archives and archives of contemporary law courts
  • Archives of ecclesiastical institutions
  • Notary archives
  • Family and other private archives
  • Companies’ archives
  • Genealogical sources (online – in the digital reading room – and on microfilm)
  • Historical and archival publications

At your first visit, the official in charge of the reading room will explain how to do research in the archives and will show you which records can be consulted on the spot.

You want to prepare your visit and have an overview of what is being conserved at the different State Archives branch offices? Consult the feature on “what we conserve” of each depot of the State Archives in Belgium.

With the inventories written by our archivists, you can study the records in detail and thoroughly prepare your visit to the reading room. Part of the inventories is already integrated in our search engines. Via the webshop you can download some of the inventories as a pdf-file. You can order a printed version of the inventories and other publications of the State Archives via publicat@arch.be

  • Consult the booklet Step-by-step guide to archival research (Dutch/French).
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