Who Do You Think You Are?Live 2016 is over!

And what a great show it was!
Heard great stories as well, from prisoners to 19th businessmen , to love stories to war dramas. I could unlock some research and advise on research tips and proceedings,I also was commissioned others and had such a great time especially with dream team from Belgium Tourism Office in London! Of course if you couldn’t attend, I’d also be delighted to hear from you and your family history in a near future!

Meeting and exchanging with fellow genies was also great and inspiring!

See you next year!



Who Do You Think You Are? 2016 is here!

wdytya                                    Who Do You Think You Are? 2016 is here!

This year edition,just like last year’s, will take place at Birmingham’s NEC. The whole genealogical world will be there trying to help in your ancestral quest!

As usual, I’ll be there offering advice and help so do come and say hello!

I’ll be delighted to offer family history support!

Bienvenue! Welcome!

Brussels : The day after

Brussels is my hometown.

It’s the place where I was born and raised, educated and where I have lots of friends and family members. And although my bond with the UK is very very strong, this is the city I live in and where my children are going to school. We take that metro line every day, it could have been us, amongst the casualties it could have been my brother-in-law and his wife who were evacuated at the airport. It’s a fallen friend’s student, a friend’s friend, a face we’ve seen sometimes on the line or a visitor of this beautiful country.  Just like in Paris,Bamako or London : through this attack it’s the mankind in all its diversity that is aimed through this attack. By killing civilians going to work, travelling, having fun at a concert or having a drink,they want to kill life.  They kill and do horrors and they have to pay for their crimes but one thing they can’t do is stop us to love, stop us to live. They can’t take our soul and they certainly can’t take our freedom. Even if we’re still under shock, and I guess it was the same for other countries, we have to go out, raise a glass in honor of the fallen, pay our respect but continue to live as well.  Daech want us to hate? we will love, they want us to cry? when the shock will be gone we will laugh with that  peculiar belgian humour that we have and love to share with newcomers, they want us to stay inside and be depressed, we’ll go back to the movies, the theatres , the restaurants, we will continue to love the city, make it live and show it to our welcomed visitors. Funny to write about the importance to live to the fullest when you consider that I spend my professionnal and private time searching for people dead long time ago but I guess it’s my way to pass on their legacies and stories to the living 😉

I really liked the victims words as they could have been bitter and full of hate but no, they were words full of wisdom and love, as one can see in this french speaking video of a father whose daughter was killed in Maelbeek station. Let’s follow their example and work out the best side of us.

Life will never be the same in Belgium and we all know it. It still has to sink in, metro stations have to fully reopen and attrack visitors, institutions (archives and libraries  included) too.  Tourists have to come back and I’m sure they will for Belgium has a lot of wonders to show (they are must-see but please don’t only stop at the « Grand Place-Bruges-Chocolat shop-Over » station!) but we’ll never forget that day. It’s in us now. Just like 11/9, just like the attacks in Paris, we’ll never forget how we learned or lived the news, how we tried to phone our loved ones in a broken mobile network and how those terrible moments were. In all this chaos, I’m also glad that Brussels Archives decided to stock and preserve all the drawings, notes and poems laid at the spontaneous memorial at the Bourse.

On my part,I think I will appreciate life more than before, I will try not to react to those small daily  frustrations (you know that brickwall? that record’s who’s not in the mailbox yet?) anymore thinking that its a train delay that prevented my family from being at the exact place of the bombing and yes, I’ll continue to do what I know best the best way I know how : family history research, telling people about their past so they can go on having learn interesting personal stories and more and live, yes live, the best normal way possible, because just like the earth we all are on, there’s no plan B.

Keep calm and Love Belgium!

2015 Poitiers french genealogical congress is over!

And it’s back in the office for Histoires de Familles! What a nice congress it was! The only downfall was the weather but let’s put that on the nice intention of not feeling homesick for a second 😉

A interested audience attended the congress, cruising the booths in search of that FH Society that will welcome them and their growing tree. There were a bunch of nice talks as well and nice workshops including some on how to hold a good genealogy blog. It was the only special event I could attend as I was so busy making contacts, possible clients with fascinating stories and catching up with old friends or making new ones. Talks with software ( Geneanet  genealogie.com and new comer Famicity and publications leaders ( Revue Française de Généalogie , Archives et Culture and Votre généalogie ) were really productive.  I was also particulary happy to meet the The French Genealogist and glad that she got to see the nice city of Poitiers as I only stayed in the congress area. I still got to manage a small visit to the Futuroscope. The rides seemed nice but I was more interested in the very modern architecture (usually not my kind of buildings but I must admit it fitted really nice in the scenery) and the beautiful nocturne show on the lake!

A very nice event thanks to a great organisation! I’m looking forward to the FH Show in Paris in 2016!

Here’s some pics of the congress! Enjoy!

Congres de Généalogie-Poitiers-2015-20151003_164448 (17) Congres de Généalogie-Poitiers-2015-20151003_164448 (18)

Congres de Généalogie-Poitiers-2015-20151003_164448 (32)

Next Congress’ll take place in Le Havre and sure will be as interesting and lively as this one!


Let’s go to Poitiers!

Bags are packed, full of what needed plus those « In case of » emergency pair of everything 😉 , I’m heading to Poitiers for the Genealogical Congress of the Fédération Française de Généalogie, taking place from friday to sunday in Charente.

If you are attending the congress and have british, american or australian ancestors, I’ll be more than happy to hear about it and who knows? help you with your research. The same with ancestors from Belgium, France and The Netherlands. And if you’re not attending the congress but wanna know more about those french ancestors of yours, do contact me and I’ll too do my best to help you connect with your french side!

Poitiers, Here I come!

All about the congress is to be found on http://www.poitiersgenealogie2015.fr/

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.


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

A new and unique coin for Belgium!

You’ll perhaps have heard it already for there  were quite a few french hiccups when it was decided to create a commemoration coin for the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo. Only a normal thing you’d say.  Just as for any other Mint issues, Europe had to give the green light for Belgium to create a new coin. Those administrative things usually are just for the record and normally going smoothly. Only this time, France put a veto on the issue of the coin commemorating the 200th year of the battle of Waterloo. Yes, you’ve read it right and I had to check on that day if we weren’t on April the 1st! We weren’t and after much talk and discussions, and 175.000 coins already issued and with even french representatives criticized the veto, it was decided to work on a new coin. A new project that wouldn’t offense anybody, let me just state here that there are souvenir-coins issues and sold by a french company on the site of the battlefield itself with Napoleon on it…)  and a 2, 50 euros coins will be issued, with the first one out today. This should make everybody happy this  time and especially the numismatists for that coin has a value of 2,5 euros which normally doesn’t exist in the Eurozone. Yes, you’ve read it right. The coin will be a first and almost certainly…a last!

The coin that was rejected by France
The coin that was rejected by France