Personal Family History Tours

Come and visit the places your ancestors lived in!

In tailored tours, built WITH you and especially FOR you and your group, you’ll visit the places, churches, cemeteries, houses and cities of your ancestors! Why don’t you set up a group of cousins and come and see those places for yourself?

Feel free to contact me for a quote!

marie grand place( c) P. Vidal )

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!

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

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


Who Do You Think You Are Live? 2013 : a feedback !

It was really cold in London last week end but spirits were high at 2013 edition of Who Do You Think You Are?Live exhibition where thousands gathered in order to learn more about their ancestors,poors and riches,humbles or nobles,soldiers or civilians or to hear some of the very interesting talks that were organised.

It was also a time to meet fellow genealogists and exchange latest news and informations.

This year, Migration Zone and along with my neighbours : FIBIS, anglo-german,anglo-italian and an association with carribeans ancestors,I was able to help people with ancestors abroad or coming from abroad !One of my best memories of this year edition,if not the very best, is to have helped connecting cousins who didn’t know about each other before prior to their visit to the show !

Following a contact I had with her last year in London, I had help a lady from with her potters ancestors who at some point came to work in Jemappes (Hainaut Province,Belgium) and this very nice Lady came to say hello this year so when a couple came to ask for help with a search in Jemappes two hours or so later , I was quite amused and of course could already tell them about what I knew of this small Brits-potters in Belgium.

I first thought that the person this couple was looking for could have been one of the co-workers of the family I previously worked on (That would have make sense) but to my,and theirs,great surprise, they were also after the same family, the man even bearing their surname ! Unfortunately the Lady I had help,and who proved to be a relative of the couple, was already gone but addresses were soon exchanged and I heard they had a long chat the very same week end of the show and I can’t wait to see a pic of them united !
I just can’t wait to start again next year !


Ancestors in Europe ?

Don’t panic ! I’ll be at table 78 at Who Do You Think you are?Live! 2013 and you can always drop by to say hello and talk about your research !

I also plan to give hints and ideas as to where to search either belgian,french or dutch ancestors on this very blog in the coming months as well as how to trace british,welsh,irish and scots on the continent !

source and (c) :  Chris Paton-
source and (c) : Chris Paton-

Recherches dans les pays anglophones

Vous aimeriez retrouver la trace de vos lointains cousins américains ? L’un de vos ancêtres,ou un collatéral,a émigré au Royaume-Uni, aux Etats-Unis ou plus loin encore mais la barrière de la langue et des méthodes de recherche différentes vous bloque ? Ne laissez pas cette recherche de côté !

Envoyez moi une demande aussi précise que possible  et je vous informerais sur les différentes possibilités de recherches et sur les recherches elle-même.

Qui sait ? Peut-être trouverons nous ensemble le chemin vers vos ancêtres ? En tout cas,c’est ce que je vous souhaite !

Pour me contacter,rien de plus simple : le formulaire de contact ou par mail à hist . de . familles @ gmail . com (sans les espaces)

Des migrants passent des tests à Ellis Island (USA)
Des migrants passent des tests à Ellis Island (USA)

Des lettres bien précieuses

En cette période où l’on s’échange des voeux, des cartes et des nouvelles, j’ai décidé de me pencher sur un type bien particulier de correspondance : La
correspondance présente sur les bateaux de guerre hollandais au moment de la prise de ceux ci par les britanniques. Ces correspondances sont de plusieurs ordres : professionnel évidemment : lettres de commande,d’assurances, de contrats, de listes,d’inventaires,de comptabilités,lettres de change mais aussi privé: lettres et journaux mêlant informations privées et informations générales sur les voyages effectués. Autant d’informations précieuses pour en savoir plus sur le quotidien pas toujours évident à retracer de ces chevaliers des mers.

Le projet d’inventaire date de 2005 et ce n’est qu’à partir de 2011 que des bénévoles se sont mis à la retranscription des précieux courriers. Un moteur de recherche bien élaboré permet une recherche précise et réaliste.

Ces correspondances,ainsi que leurs retranscriptions, sont maintenant disponibles en ligne pour votre plaisir et le mien sur

et conservées aux archives nationales britanniques :

Un des nombreux documents consultables en ligne

Two months to wait

For Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2013 edition !

For those who aren’t acquainted with the biggest genealogical event of the year, this video should answer questions and also give you a taste of what’s to come next february. Needless to say, I’m already impatient to be there to meet and help people with european roots and Anglo-Belgians relatives. So if you have those connections or have hit a european brickwall,drop by and I’ll try to help you the best I can 🙂

You can find informations and book tickets on

Who Do You Think You Are?Live

What I can do for you !

Need to do genealogical or historical research in Belgium or The Netherlands and don’t have the time to come to Belgium ? Have a brickwall in Continental Europe ? I can help you find your european ancestors !

Of course, I can’t promise miracles. Some records have been destroyed by wars,others by fires or were just not being kept but having a good idea of what’s available or not, I’ll always do my best to help you find your ancestors.

Historian from Brussels University, genealogist for many years,
I’m fluent in French, English and Dutch and at ease with all kind of records.

I’m based in Brussels which makes it practical to travel in Belgium and abroad.

I move in all Belgium archives to conduct researches so don’t let this brickwall annoy you and let’s try to break it down !

You can use the contact form or e-mail at

belgianroots (AT)

Who Do You Think You Are? Live !

Juste un petit mot pour dire que je suis rentrée du plus grand show londonien Who Do You Think You Are?Live, j’ai vraiment apprécié ce séjour,rencontré de très chouettes personnes,eu des belles discussions et rencontré des cas intéressants,même très intéressants dans certains cas et ai même réussi à résoudre quelques énigmes donc j’en suis très heureuse !