This Change in Access to Belgian Vital Records Will Please Family Historians

In a previous post I mentioned that Belgian vital records less than 100 years old are not open to the public. This is about to change, and genealogists with recent Belgian ancestry should be excited. The new law will take effect on 31 March 2019.1

  • Death records will become public after 50 years. I.e. on 1 April 2019 you will be able to request a transcript of the death record for anyone who died before 1 April 1969.
  • Marriage records will become public after 75 years. I.e., on 1 April 2019 you will be able to request a transcript of the marriage record for anyone who married before 1 April 1944.
  • Birth records remain closed for 100 years.

Why this change? On 18 June 2018 a law was issued to help modernize the Belgian civil registration system. The law also hopes to encourage alternative methods to settle disputes.2

The law was further revised on 21 December 2018, and this is when the time limits for access to vital records were adjusted.3

So get ready to send out your requests to the office of civil registration at your town or city of interest. Some cities, such as Antwerp, have online request forms at their E-Loket.

Cite this post

Kristine Smets. “This Change in Access to Belgian Vital Records Will Please Family Historians,”The Belgian American (https://www.thebelgianamerican.com : accessed [date]), posted 19 January 2019.

  1. Patrick Vanhoucke, “Nieuwe termijnen openbaarheid akten Burgerlijke Stand vergemakkelijken genealogisch onderzoek,” Familiekunde Brussel (http://www.familiekunde-brussel.be/2019/01/10/nieuwe-termijnen-openbaarheid-akten-burgerlijke-stand-vergemakkelijken-genealogisch-onderzoek/ : accessed 19 January 2019).
  2. Belgium, Federale Overheidsdienst Justitie, “18 juni 2018, Wet houdende diverse bepalingen inzake burgerlijk recht en bepalingen met het oog op de bevordering van alternatieve vormen van geschillenoplossing,” Belgisch Staatsblad, v. 188, no. 155 (2 juli 2018), p. 53458; digital image, Belgisch Staatsblad (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/mopdf/2018/07/02_1.pdf#Page43 : accessed 19 January 2019).
  3. Belgium, Federale Overheidsdienst Justitie, ” 21 december 2018, Wet houdende diverse bepalingen betreffende justitie,” Belgisch Staatsblad, v. 188, no. 305 (31 december 2018), p. 106584; digital image, Belgisch Staatsblad (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/mopdf/2018/12/31_1.pdf#Page296 : accessed 19 January 2019).
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