Notes on our index files
In principle, index files are created using the data as
they appear in the original records. There are a few exceptions, however:
Please also note:
- Republican dates are converted to the common format, e.g. "12 nivose 8"
becomes "2 januari 1800".
- Obvious factual errors are corrected. For example, if one record in a consecutive
list of records is dated with a month that places it in time before the preceding
records, then that month is corrected. Corrected text appears in a
red type face in the index files. Also errors reported by the users appear
in the same red type face.
- Missing information that is easily retrievable from other records, e.g. the name
of the mother of a child where there is more than one in the family, is indicated
using a blue font colour.
- If we do not have a digital image of a record, but information about it was retrieved
from other sources, then this is indicated with the phrase "geen akte" in the comment
field of the index file, and the relevant fields are given a
pink background colour.
- The number of first names of any person is limited to four in the index files. If
first names have been omitted because the person has more than four, a
mint background colour is used.
- If the gender of a person as specified in the record does not appear to be correct
(e.g. first name Josephina but male gender), then the latter is not changed
but given using a golden background.
- If the name or first name of a person is not specified in a record, this is indicated
as "NN" in the index files, e.g. Vermeulen, NN. If we can not read the name,
this is indicated as "onleesbaar", e.g. Vermeulen, onleesbaar.
- If surnames or place names start with a single quotation mark, e.g. 's Jegers
or 's Hertogenbosch, then that quotation mark is placed after the first letter,
e.g. s' Jegers. This is done to allow correct sorting of the data.
- Minor differences in spelling are applied. In the early 1800's, "y" was written
as "ij", and "ij" as "y" (e.g. "Thijs" is now "Thys"). It was also common to write
"ss" as "fs" or "ff". Hence "Dafsen" or "Daffen" is entered as "Dassen".
If the name of a person is written in different ways within the same record, then
we choose one version and put that in the index. This does not apply to the spelling
used in a signature. Thus if the record mentiones "Tubix" but that person signs
as "Tubecx", then the former is used.
- Although surnames were fixed with the introduction of the Civil Registry, their
spelling only became fixed in 1883. Before that time, many names were written down
phonetically, e.g. "Lievens" became "Lives", and "Verachtert" became "Veragtert".
Starting from the year 1883, e.g. "Van Calster" became different from "Vancalster".
In earlier records, both spellings would be common, even in the same record, as
- As a result, surnames in Belgium are not "normalised" as in the Netherlands
or in France. In the Netherlands, "Van Calster", (two words) would be the norm,
in France "Vancalster" (one word). Both are common in Belgium. A surname name like
"Van den Bosch" may exist as "Vanden Bosch" or "Vandenbosch".
- Therefore, it is practice in Belgium that surnames are sorted "as written". This
is in contrast to the practice in the Netherlands were "Van Calster" would be listed
as "Calster, Van". Our index files list surnames "as written".
- However, keep in mind that computer sorting is based on the internal representation
of characters, placing the "space" symbol in front of the alphabet. Thus "Van Calster"
may be listed many pages before "Vancalster".
- Our index files may contain errors. Sometimes, we simply can't decipher the name
and, we do make spelling mistakes ourselves.
If you spot an error in the index, please let us know. These errors we can fix.
Errors in the originals, unfortunately not.