In a previous post we analyzed a typical marriage record from a town in Flanders. Today we will take a look at marriage supplementary records. They are often overlooked, and indeed, they often repeat information you can find elsewhere, but I am here to show you they can still be worth your while.
Supplementary marriage registers [huwelijksbijlagen in Dutch, Pièces de mariages in French] contain all the extra paperwork bride and groom had to produce in order to get married, such as extracts of vital records, certificates of military service, or birth records for illegitimate children to be recognized by the act of marriage. They can be helpful when you have trouble finding the originals (at least now you have a place, date, and number), are particularly useful as you get closer to the Ancien Régime, and may even contain tidbits of information you will not find anywhere else. Finally, in the few cases where original records have been lost, the extracted information among the marriage supplements may be the only evidence left for a vital event.
The town clerk organized the documents by the number of the marriage record, writing the number of the act on each page. At the end of the year he bundled the documents into dossiers. The dossiers were sent to the courts, along with the duplicate marriage records, from which they were subsequently transferred to the Belgian State Archives. Marriage supplements are no longer held by the town.
Supplemental records for the marriage of Petrus Joannes Guns and Anna Cornelia Vantichelen, who were united in matrimony in Kalmthout on 18 December 18211, include the following ten documents:2
An extract from the baptismal registers of the town of Kalmthout, showing that the groom was born and baptized at Kalmthout on 29 September 1787.
An extract from the baptismal registers of the town of Essen, showing that the bride was born and baptized at Essen on 24 March 1793.
Four extracts from the death registers of Kalmthout, showing that Antonius Guns, the father of the groom, died on 26 March 1817, that Joanna Goetstouwers, mother of the bride, died on 22 June 1814, that Joannes Goetstouwers, maternal grandfather of the bride, died on 17 February 1798, and that, Elisabeth Van Thillo, maternal grandmother of the bride, died on 5 January 1799.
Three extracts from the death registers of Essen, showing that Bernardus Van Tichelen, father of the bride, died on 12 June 1803; that Petrus Van Tichelen, paternal grandfather of the bride, was buried on 28 June 1790, and that Cornelia Maes, paternal grandmother of the bride, died on 26 January 1807.
A record of the marriage announcements that were made at Kalmthout on 25 November and 2 December 1821.
As you notice, the extracts all include a verbatim transcription of the original record, providing you with the same amount of detail as if you were looking at the latter. Of course you will still want to find the original – transcriptions always incur the risk of errors – but now you may find them more easily. Also, in some occasions, the transcriptions are easier to read.
For my great-great-grandparents, Benedictus Vanhooydonck and Maria Catharina Greefs, there is only one supplementary record: Benedictus’ certificate of military service.3 Because both bride and groom were born in Kalmthout, and the bride’s father died in Kalmthout, no extracts needed to be requested from other towns. The military document included some fun details however.
The text of the certificate is in French and reads as follows:4
“Le Gouverneur de la Province d’Anvers, certifie que Benoit Van Hooydonck né a Calmpthout le 12 janvier 1800, profession de daglooner, fils de Adrien et de Marie Greefs, demeurant à Calmpthout a été inscrit pour la Milice Nationale dans la commune de Calmpthout, qu’il lui est échu au tirage de 1819 le numero 28 qui n’ayant pas été appelé jusqu’a ci jour ni l’a point obligé au service. Donné a` Anvers, le 17 Avril 1832.”
The Governor of the Province of Antwerp certifies that Benoit Van Hooydonck, born at Calmpthout on 12 January 1800, day laborer by trade, son of Adrien and Marie Greefs, residing at Calmpthout, was registered for military service in the town of Calmpthout, [and] that the number 28 befell him in the drawing of 1819, which, up to this day has not been called, and that he has not been obliged to serve.
We knew all of this already from reading Benedictus’ marriage. But on the left of the certicate is a signalement [physical description] of the young man in question. 5We now know that Benedictus was of medium height, had an oval face with a high forehead, large nose and mouth, and a round chin. His eyes were blue and his hair and eyebrows were black.
Marriage supplements were not always retained, but many of those that were are now readily available to you on FamilySearch. They were usually, though not always, digitized separately. Look for Huwelijksbijlagen in the Flemish provinces, and for Pièces de mariage in the Walloon provinces.
At the Belgian State Archives the marriage supplements are not always online, and you may have to hunt a little more, as this example from the town of Hachy demonstrates.
Cite this post
Kristine Smets. “Belgian Marriage Supplements,”The Belgian American (https://www.thebelgianamerican.com : accessed [date]), posted 12 June 2019.
- Kalmthout, Province of Antwerp, Belgium, Huwelijksregister 1821, Guns-Van Tichelen; digital image, “Belgique, Anvers, registres d’état civil, 1588-1913,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-WJ9Y-9G?cc=2138481&wc=Q82R-LKR%3A1007735501%2C1007761201), Kalmthout > Huwelijken 1802-1832 > image 325-326 of 530; België Staatsarchief (Belgium State Archives), Brussels.
- Kalmthout, Provincie Antwerpen, Huwelijksbijlagen 1821, no. 16, Guns-Van Tichelen; digital image, “Belgique, Anvers, registres d’état civil, 1588-1913,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9TF8-92FP?cc=2138481&wc=Q82R-5WQ%3A1007735501%2C1007812201), Kalmthout > Huwelijksbijlagen 1821-1825 > image 118-129 of 537; België Staatsarchief (Belgium State Archives), Brussels.
- Antwerp Province, Belgium, Huwelijksbijlagen 1832, nr. 11, Vanhooydonck-Greefs; digital image, “Belgique, Anvers, registres d’état civil, 1588-1913,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9TF4-96SC?cc=2138481&wc=Q82R-57W%3A1007735501%2C1007817601 : accessed 25 April 2019), Kalmthout > Huwelijksbijlagen 1832-1838 > image 21 of 484; België Staatsarchief (Belgium State Archives), Brussels.
- Most military certificates were printed in French, though I found some Dutch examples in the same register as well.
- Unfortunately, the margin of the document is too closely cropped in the digital image, but this problem is easily resolved by finding a similar un-cropped certificate in the same register.