Roots Tech Day 1!

Hey!! Here it is!! Roots Tech’s open and guess what? It’s MASSIVE!

We had this great opening this morning with Steve Lockwood, Familysearch CEO telling us on how great it is to connect together especially through food and family recipes and this very special perfume of good things cooking in a Grandma’s kitchen with the children in awe!

We then had a great presentation by TV personalities The Scott Brothers who were fun, interesting AND Scots so that was really great!!!

Expo Hall is now open for the public to come and meet their ancestors and this is too brilliant, lectures will be starting too as well as labs and courses and billions of other things so I’ll keep you updated on that too!

More news later!


Genealogy Selfie Day!

It’s genealogy selfie Day (Once again, Thanks Thomas for the reminder!) and I’m curious to find out which ones will be the best or most interesting shots! Don’t be afraid to share it on social networks! Also the time to reflect on how selfies will integrate family history in the future ( « O look! I’ve found a selfie of our great-great-grandma Marie! » )

Have fun!!


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!
















Put your steps in the steps of your forefathers!

Come and see the land of your ancestors for yourself! Let me organise a tailored-made trip for you that will take you in an unique way to the places your ancestors lived and loved in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Northern France! Whether your family tree is already done or that you need a hand with it as well, there are lots of possibilities!  Where will your family history take you? Come and find out!




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!

31ème Congrès de Généalogie et d’Héraldique à Oslo

Du 13 au 17 août prochain, se tiendra à Oslo le 31e éme congrès de généalogie et d’héraldique.

Succédant au 30e congrès, s’étant déroulé avec brio à Maastricht, les participants se pencheront cette année, centenaire du premier conflit mondial,oblige, sur le thème  » L’influence des événements majeurs des nations sur la généalogie et l’héraldique « .  Cela permettra de se poser des questions importantes sur l’impact sur nos recherches historiques et généalogiques. Les participants au colloque auront l’occasion d’entendre par exemple un exposé sur les mariages comme outil de réconciliation dans l’aristocratie norvégienne tandis que, cocorico, deux belges sont au programme : Paul Trio qui nous entretiendra de l’utilité de la recherche généalogique pour l’étude du développement politique et social dans le Comté de Flandre au 14e siècle avec l’étude de cas de la famille noble Van Gavere -Van Liedekerke et Livio Missir de Lusignan sur « Les généalogies de familles catholiques romaines vivant ou ayant vécu en Méditerranée orientale ».  Les deux premiers jours et les deux derniers accueilleront les conférenciers venus des quatre coins du monde, sous l’invitation de la société généalogique norvégienne et la société héraldique norvégienne tandis que le troisième jour verra les participants participer à des excursions au choix.  Un banquet est prévu le samedi soir pour clôturer en beauté cet événement qui apparaît des plus prometteurs.

Ce congrès rassemblera des délégations du monde entier pour partager leurs connaissances et les développements en généalogie et en héraldique car fait assez rare pour être signalée, des sessions spéciales consacré à cette science trop souvent négligée seront organisées pendant toute la durée du congrès. Pour l’héraldique justement, Steven Thiry Luc Duerloo nous entretiendrons de l’abdication de Charles Quint et de la résurrection de l’aigle royal.

Pour s’inscrire,rien de plus simple, il suffit de remplir les formulaires en ligne sur le site

Je reviendrais plus en détail sur le programme complet mais il est d’ores et déjà acquis que celui ci promet d’être très intéressant.

à bientot Oslo !

Oslo où se retrouveront les participants au 31e congrés de généalogie et d’héraldique


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-

L’ Epopée de la famille Brown

Ce n’est pas une excursion banale que la famille Brown a décidé en juillet et entreprise il y a deux mois : Cette famille composée des parents (Rob et Kathy) et de leurs 5 enfants âgés de 10 ans à 18 mois,  a décidé de partir concrètement sur la trace de leurs ancêtres pendant neuf mois à travers 40 Etats des Etats-Unis et de rendre ainsi leurs recherches plus concrètes.

Ils tiennent un journal de bord de leur grande aventure disponible sur Ancestry

Et pour faire connaissance avec cette bien sympathique famille :

On ne peut qu’applaudir cette initiative qui, si elle nécessite bien sûr moyens,temps et énergie ne peut qu’ouvrir encore plus grand les portes du tourisme ancestral et intéresser les enfants Brown à l’histoire de leur famille et de leur pays !

Avant de vous lancer à l’assaut des routes comme la famille Brown, si vous aussi vous décidez de vous lancer sur la trace de vos ancêtres aux USA ou ailleurs mais que vous êtes perdu(e)s ou bloqué(e)s, je serais ravie de vous y aider !

La Famille Brown sur la trace de ses racines - Photo :
La Famille Brown sur la trace de ses racines – Photo :

Foundlings in Belgium

In the territory of Belgium,just like in any othercountry, it wasn’t unusal for a child to be abandoned at birth*. Surviving records are very interesting to study and even if they don’t give informations as to the child ancestors , they are a great source of informations to understand the context your foundling ancestor lived in.

Some registers are being kept in various archives repositories on a geographical basis, often in the State Archives of the province of the place where the child was discovered but also sometimes in the borough archives. In some 19th cities, there was a especially made box inserted in a door and who would give anonymity with the certitude that the child would be found. This box was called « le tour d’enfant » or « le tour d’abandon ». To give just a small example, more than 500 babies were left in this box for the sole year of 1841 in Brussels The foundling would have been taken in charge by the « meneur d’enfants » who often was the one to register the child in the said borough. This civil registration, to be found in the borough BMD’s just like any other record would always mentions the fact that the child is a foundling, the civil officer picking up his or her first and surnames at random, sometimes in link with the place the child was found in (« Léglise » could give a hint that the child was found in a church, « Laporte » that he or she was found on some doorstep) sometimes just being chosen in the Saints Calendar or in a book ( Greek and Roman Mythology were big favourites at a time) .

When the territory was under French governance (1795-1815) ,there were plenty of revolutionary themed names such as Marie Revolution or Liberté-Ignace Populaire !

Sometimes there would be a short description of the foundling clothes. A piece of paper or half of a playing card could also be found on the child , this was meant to give the parents, or rather the single mother as it often was the case , the possibility to take the child back later by providing the other half of the artefact. In some cases, those precious relics are being conserved in the records which adds a moving touch to it.

In the case of a first of last name mentioned on a piece of cloth or paper, this would be the name used for registration. It would sometimes also be mentioned that the child was already baptised even if he or she would be once again baptised. The mortality toll being what it was,you were never too sure !

Alas, not only was the infant mortality very high but hygiene low standards and over crowded orphanage often shared with the poor,the sick and the elderly surely didn’t help and also the parents weren’t sure that they would ever be able to come back to pick up their child should they wish to.

If the children didn’t died in infancy,they were sent to farms where they had to work hard. Later, they would enroll in the army or at a nearby mine or factory. In several cases that I worked on,and I had the case in my own family history, the foundling was to marry one child of his « foster » family , especially when there were several daughters and no heir to the farm. It was then a possibility for the foundling to start a new and better live.

It could be disappointing to find out a foundling in your family history but at the same time in case of a surviving record of your ancestor this information could give more informations on his or her life than you would  have found otherwise. Of course you’ll be stuck on line of your tree  but it also gives you a great subject to work on ( Were there any records kept ? Are there still available to see? Where did the children lived ? Is there any historical research made on the social history of the place your ancestor was found in ? Any statistics being made ? and many more questions that could come up at some point)

In case of a name or a baptism mentioned this could give more research hypotheses.

Always remember  too that your foundling ancestor was a kind of survivor in his/her way !

* There are some recorded cases of older children being abandoned but they surely were a minority.

The "tour" where the children were left to their fate (