Tout frais,tout beau….et dans vos librairies!

Le guide de généalogie en Belgique est sorti ! Fière maman du bébé, celui ci vous donnera des pistes méthodologiques et des informations pour bien démarrer votre recherche!

Sorti aux Editions Jourdan et disponible dans toutes les bonnes librairies ( Notamment ici, ici, ici et ici !)

Egalement disponible pour l’International via ce site bien connu!

How were Grandma’s cookies made ? With Love!

Savor your family’s history: Share your treasured recipes! Everybody has some! Even me (and I know I’m much better at family history than in a kitchen 🙂 )

From my gran’s christmas pudding to my mum’s cocoa iced cake to the cupcakes I help my daughter bake! On the salty side, I can exactly recall the perfume of pork and pickles and how my mum used to do lovely crab entrees for christmas ( did I just mentioned Christmas twice? 🙂 #missingchristmas )

What’s your favorite family recipe?

http://media.familysearch.org/savor-your-familys-history/

fhcooking

 

 

RootsTech streaming schedule known!

And you can find it just right here https://www.rootstech.org/live-stream-schedule !

This will give you the possibility to follow live sessions and talks from your very home which is great for people all around the world will be able to be there with us, following the same talks that we do! I had the occasion to test it on the years that I can’t attend and it’s brilliant (even if it needs a bit of organisation to set yourself on Salt Lake hours while being 8 hours (for me) later!) but still, it’s all worth it!! How great is that? 🙂

 

Edit : Thanks to Barbara Jones, there’s a schedule according to US Times which can be useful for european more used to convert time from Eastern to their own country! ( Thanks Thomas MacEntee for the precious link! You can subscribe to Thomas’s newsletter for all news!)

Great things to see and experience at RootsTech 2017 !

All genies around the globe are getting more excited than kids at Christmas, Roots Tech is getting near !

Meeting at the world capital of family history, thousands will gather to hear, talks,exchanges and discover around our common passion and motivation : genealogy ! I guess the best way to describe the experience is unbelievable !

There are :

– innovations shows where developers, IT people, social networkers and apps-mad crowd meet to build the family history products of tomorrow!

-Exhibitors Hall where companies and societies presents their services and more!

– Conferences, lectures and workshops : To learn from all kind of subjects ,from rookies know-how « I’d like to find my ancestors but haven’t got a clue » to very detailed points or subjects such as dutch, french, belgian 😉 , naval, army, soldiers ancestors and the set of records attached to each of the categories and much more!

This being the U.S. , there are studies and societies for every State and every community. A special attention this year will be to African Heritage with a special dedicated day (and the highlight of it, LeVar Burton, renowned actor from Star Trek, coming to share his genealogical experience and how you too can take part in this great journey!)

-There will be shows as well! I was quite and pleasantly surprised to discover that side of Roots Tech, last time I heard Choirs, popular singers and folkloric band, that was just awesome! My favorite show was a small one,in comparison to shows taking place in the big hall, it was a cow boy dance! Apart from one demo at the belgian national day one year, I had never seen one and  there you go, I was 5 years old again!

There are lots of great things to do, think of and discover at Roots Tech! It »s one of those shows where you leave with a better knowledge, new research paths or thoughts and yes too, feel a better person ! So I can’t wait to renew my RT experience again and meet old and new friends!

Come On’! Join the fun!

 

ambassador-rootstech-jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come, Come Saint Nicholas….

It’s that time of the year when children in Belgium are so excited that you can’t keep them quiet . It’s Saint Nicholas day! In The Netherlands, Belgium and northern France it’s centuries-old custom for the children to receive gifts and sweets from the Saint. they leave their shoes and stockings in front of a chimney or a window and pray that they’ve been good enough for the great Saint to pay a visit to their home, also fearing that « Pere Fouettard » , Saint’s help won’t beat them with his stick!

Saint Nicholas comes from Turkey, the legend says that he saved three children from a monstruous butcher who wanted to kill and eat them.  I remember that story used to terrify me as a child. He is since then the saint patron of the children but he also protects mariners, lawyers, prisoners and single persons!

Nicholas also sometimes travel on a boat for the joy of the audience welcoming him and his staff! It’s always a nice show to see!

In some families, but less and less and that’s kind of sad, gifts aren’t wrapped as they are supposed to come straight from the Saint’s office in the clouds 😉

Saint Nicholas also has some duties before his round in houses, he’s much awaited in several shops and malls in Belgium, giving sweets to nice children on his way!  He also visits schools, nurseries and hospitals. When they see him, children sings Saint’s related songs such as

« O great Saint Nicholas

Patron of the schoolchildren

bring us apples in our small baskets

we will always behave

just as little sheeps do

We’ll learn our lessons ( another version says : we’ll say our prayers)

for sweets

come,come, Saint Nicholas (2x)

and Tralala! »

The dutch version asks « Sinterklaas » (Saint Nicholas) , the « kapoentje » (comes from Kapoen,a mischievious young) to lay something in the child’s basket, thanking him to do so, « thank you Sinterklaasje! » .

The songs are also sung on the eve of the big day, hoping that the Saint will bring toys and sweets to show to hard awaken parents 😉

Saint Nicholas crossed the Altantic with the settlers and immigrants and gradually became Santa Claus in the US but with the world being as it is, Santa Claus has make a come back in Europe (mainly starting with France and american soldiers) too for decades now so little ones have now two saints to cherish them.  Guess who’s happy?

8th of August 1956

« Tutti Cadaveri » . It’s with those italian words ( all corpses) that the rescuers came back from the Bois du Cazier Mine on the 23d of August 1956 following a a cascade of technical failures in  the Mine. 232 miners from 12 countries were killed, injured and only 13 workers survived the ordeal.

http://www.sonuma.be/archive/catastrophe-de-marcinelle

There had been a long history of fatal accidents in Belgium mines before but the importance of this one, the number of foreign death ( 136 of were italian, 8 Polish, Six were Greeks, One British, One German, One Dutch,One Russian and One Ukranian for 95 Belgian) combined with the fact that the victims weren’t found immediately and the extended coverage by newspapers and television contributed to make it an international drama. The events are pretty well explained in this link  ( Flash Player Required) http://www.leboisducazier.be/lg_fr/esp_8aout/play.htm

An official commission investigated on the case to come to the conclusion that a combination of material as well as human failures were the sad causes of the explosion that led to the loss of lives of so many*.

The Bois du Cazier s now a memorial, important to remember but also very interesting to learn more about what happened on that fateful day and what could have been done in the mining world at the time to extend safety measures that weren’t then and that could have saved lives. Do you have any relatives who witnessed or lost a loved one in the catastrophe? Do you have other mining stories in your family history? If so,I’ll be really happy to hear from you!

Image result for bois du casier

 

  • The list of names and nationalities of the victims is to be found here http://www.charleroi-decouverte.be/index.php?id=301

The 2015 Ommegang

In 1549 , Charles V, presented his son to the joyous AND boisterous people of Brussels. Philip II made his « Joyeuse Entrée » in the city. This ceremony had a double goal : For the new leader to present himself and for the people of Brussels, and most notably the high classes, to recognize the new sovereign power in other words to promise they will obey and remain calm 😉

In rememberance of this major event for the city, the public is invited to witness a reenactment of the event. Horses, flag throwers, jugglers and most importantly, a cortege of descendants of the nine »nations » of the city make their way to the Grand Place, enlightened by a light and sound show.  The cortege first leaves the Royal Park where free events are organised for the Grand Place where paying guests can witness a magnificient show!

This year’s Ommegang will take place tonight and on the 2d of July in a new car-freed center of Brussels. Just like each year, there are special guests invited to explain the whole story  and do a bit of a  « who’s who  » for the audience (This year Brussels-based writer Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Humorist Bert Kruismans and singer Jo Lemaire)

(c) Emmanuel Bosteels (c) Frederic Andrieu.

Besides those animations in the Park and on the Grand Place, there are cooking events organised with famous belgian chefs, visits of the Coudenberg old palace ruins in the context of the Carolus V festival, a balloon christening and much much more for the whole family so be sure not to miss this event if you’re in town! It’s definitively worth seeing! All infos are to be found on http://www.ommegang.be and if you have Brussels ancestors be sure to get in touch so that we can talk about it!

(c) Emmanuel Bosteels (c) Frederic Andrieu.

 

 

‘Doudou’ time in Mons!

This week end is the week end  the city of Mons waits all year for ! It’s the annual celebration of the ‘Doudou’. This centuries-long tradition, since 2005 a official oral and immaterial UN heritage dates form the Middle Ages and takes place each year during the Trinity week end, one week after the celebration of Pentecost.  This traditional ‘Ducasse » last for several days and has many important times including The Procession of Saint Waudru, the city Saint who founded an abbey at the foot of the castle of Mons and The Battle of the Lumeçon.

Of course, this year the celebrations holds a special place for the city is a European Capital City of Culture so if you go there for the Doudou celebrations, be sure to also visit the art installations that are all over town and the five museums that just reopened several weeks from now. The procession of Saint Walburge will go through town with the traditional ‘Car d’Or’ (Golden Cart) and its cortege including corporations representants and city dignitaries. Last year, as a rememberance of the legend of the Angels of Mons ( telling of how british soldiers were protected by angels during the retreat of 1914) , angels took place in the procession as well and I hope, as a big fan of this legend (As a child, I knew about the legend long before I realized that Mons was in Belgium 😉 ) , they’ll be there this year too. At the end of the procession, the participants and inhabitants gathers behind the golden cart that must go up a hard slope next to the collegiate Church of Saint Waudru. If the ‘Car d’Or’ goes up the slope in a go, pushed by hundreds, if not thousands, of inhabitants the city will have luck for a year.

Saint-Georges-et-dragon (19th century-source : Wikipedia)

On sunday, a battle will oppose Saint George to the Dragon, it’s the ‘Battle of the Lumeçon’ where Saint George has to kill the dragon after a fight first with a lance, then with a gun pistol. The game of Saint George is codified and symbolises the victory of good against evil. The public, mostly young and strong men it must be said 😉 , also helps Saint George by fighting back the dragon tails that goes into the audience. Gripping a hair of its tail is a very looked for good luck charm and many are fighting to get one! It’s a unique tradition and I cannot resist posting this video from the local tv channel :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwcExoBZmTw

and another one dated 1945 who surely was special for it marked the end of WWII in a city wounded by two wars not mentioning the 18th centuries conflicts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muZvoOdqCEM

but this symbolic battle could (can? 😉 ) sometimes be impressive to foreign visitors, ‘The « Courrier de l’Escaut », regional newspaper of 16th of June 1892 tells the story of  a french student was so shocked by the dragon’s tail attacks that he filed up a legal complaint against the ‘Doudou’!

The hymn of the ‘Doudou’ is the famous song « Chant du Doudou’ and its lines « C’est l’Doudou, C’est l’mama » are known by heart and transmitted from one generation to another. Talking about younger generations, to let them have a part in the ceremony without being scared by the crowds,a « Children’s doudou’ is organised the next sunday after the « Doudou’ with a child-scale battle and game. It sure has a great success with the younger ones!

A young girl enjoying the Children's Doudou ( (c) and courtesy A. Morren)
A young girl enjoying the  rehearsal of the battle of the Doudou  in Mons ( (c) and courtesy A. Morren)

Happy Doudou Everybody! (and especially my friends and long lost cousins from Mons)

30 years from now, the Heysel/Heizel disaster….

Heyzel drama (c) -Reuter

 

Another sad commemoration this week is the one of the Heyzel disaster of 1985 where 39 people died, many were wounded and thousand were shocked.  The important match opponing Liverpool FC and the Juventus of Turin who took place at the Heyzel stadium in Brussels was classed at risk long before it took place but nobody expected this to happened. A general fight broke out in tribune Z, normally used for neutral supporters but full of italian supporters. People were tramped, crushed and pushed. Journalists on the scene talked of « war theatre ». Those of the public trying to flee the scene,often fathers with children,were literally walking on bodies. A good part of the stadium was too far to see what was going on in fatal tribune Z and were totally unaware of the drama unfolding. Even with such events going on, the game was played as there were fears of more dangers if the match was cancelled and the stadium fully evacuated. Most shocking to many was the joyful reaction of Michel Platini as he scored in such terrible circumstances.

Just like the Innovation disaster in 1967 for shops, this drama has totally changed the way football matches and crowd managing was organised in Belgium. The name of the stadium was changed in 1995 to Roi Baudouin/Koning Boudewijn but a commemoration plaque unveiled to never forget.

30 years from now, the disaster is still in all memories, especially the British community in Belgium. For the commemoration of the 25th year, Liverpool FC chaplain, Bill Bygrove, made this address to the representant of Juve and it’s so well written that I can’t resist copying it here from Liverpool FC website :

« We can’t change our history or dry up all our tears. We cannot solve the mysteries still unanswered down these years. But we can, for all our children’s sake and for the 39, build a monument of friendship that will stand the test of time. It is estimated the average person can live 40 days without food, five days without water, eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope. The anthem of this club is ‘walk on with hope in your heart’. We would ask you to express to those who continue to walk many miles with sorrow that they should walk on with hope in their heart. And from this club, to your club, to our friends in Italy, please say ‘You do not stand alone, you do not grieve alone and you do not walk alone. »

A Belgian TV video is to see at http://www.sonuma.be/archive/le-drame-du-heysel

And if the sports archives is of interest to you and your family history, the place to go to consult Belgian sport archives is the Sportimonium in Hofstade even if the Royal Library also have a huge collection of books and informations on clubs and championships of all kind. Newspapers collection also to consult at the Royal Library or more and more online is a good source too for matches reports and teams compositions, even at a less important leveL Several years ago, the States Archives of Belgium did set up « Gooaal! » , a exhibtion on Belgian Football, the archives of the Belgian Football Association are kept at the Archives, and this exhibition is still to see online at http://goaaal.arch.be/index.php?l=fr.

 

Belgian Newspapers Archives to go online!

Do I sound excited? 😉 It’s official! Belgian Press archives are coming online! We all ‘ve been waiting for this for long over here and it’s now on! Of course not all titles are online (yet) as there are privacy laws issues to deal with but the first titles have been put online several days ago and who knows could be a great source of informations  about your ancestors and fun times as well!

There’s the possibility of searching via keywords where you can just type in any surname (be always careful of the presence of homonyms and as always, do not jump too hastily to conclusions or through a calendar. In the later case, pick up a year and a newspaper, then a date and you’ll be able to check the day of your choice of the edition of your choice. This can be very useful if you know about about a particular event and want to check if there’s something in the press about it. Also think local, a small event might not head the national titles but it could very well have hit the local lines. 

It’s all thanks to the hard work of Mr Marc D’hoore, head of the Newspapers and Press Departement of the Royal Library that those titles are going online and believe me, for our country, it’s a big step in the archives world of the 21st century!

http://belgica.kbr.be/fr/coll/jour/jour_fr.h

Belgica-Press