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What are the Belgium Marriage ‘Extraits’

Search for Belgian Genealogy documents and information can be exasperating. Belgium has strict laws banning certain genealogical records, like early censuses, from being published online. What we do have are online church and civil records for research. You might notice, while browsing through the online images for a marriage record, you’ll come across an endless parade of pages of miscellaneous documents. They look strange, out of place, out of order and resembling a complete mess of genealogical information. That ‘mess’ of documents are called ‘extraits.’

What are ‘extraits’ ? Extraits are marriage supplements that are required for the groom and bride to marry. They are official documents with information extracted from the original (vital) records from the original place of origin by the town’s chief magistrate (bourgmestre). Then, those new extracted documents were sent to the magistrate of the place of marriage. Why are they so important? They hold a wealth of genealogical information

At FamilySearch, these extraits can be found within marriage records and their publications of the town’s NMD images. Or pulled out specifically and labeled as ‘pièces of mariage‘ or ‘pièces annexes au mariage‘ with the years available . Depending upon the towns in the Wallonia Region provinces, these online marriage collections can be available as early as 1806, and as late as 1891

To the left, you can see an example of one extrait; of a death record for Anne-Françoise Rouck (Roch). She is the grandmother of the bride. What makes this a ‘struck gold’ moment is the document contains genealogical information of extended family members on the bride’s maternal side. Not only is the information extracted from the official death record, but it also provides Anne Françoise (née) Roch’s place of birth as well as her parent’s names, Wilhem Roch and Elizabeth Heffinger. So we have a document that provides a plethora of names, places, and death details of Marie-Catherine’s maternal grandparents and great-grandparents. Documents you haven’t been able to find on your ancestors, could possibly be within the supplements of the marriage.

Here is what you might find in the online extraits annexed to the for marriages (‘pieces of mariage’):

  • Names of: extended family members, both maternal and paternal for each spouse
  • Records of: births ,marriage and death for married couple but also extended family members
  • Places of: birth, marriage and death of married couple & extended family members
  • Dates of: birth, marriage, death and military enlistment of married couple and extended family members
  • Documents of consent or opposition from parents’ or legal guardians of minor age women
  • Court documents concerning: guardianship, transfer of “dowries” (for lack of a better word), properties, name changes, or other legal matters
  • Military document that can describe physical appearance

Now, the reality:

  • Only grooms in Belgium have military records (if any) published online with the couple’s marriage records.
  • Unmarried men in Belgium do not have military information published online (as far as I know) after the Napoleonic wars
  • Not all towns or years have extraits available and online
  • There could be up to as many as 30 (or more) records connected to your ancestor but presented in a disorganized way.
  • Extraits or the pieces of marriage are placed (usually) before or after after all of the official recorded marriages of couples for that year. That means not only do you have your ancestor’s info to find, you could have 5 other married couple’s group of images of 5-30 documents to rummage through too. Time consuming, but worth it.

You can find some amazing online documents and genealogical information that you couldn’t find anywhere else. I hope they will open up new doors for you on your Belgian Ancestry Quest .

Quick Links to the Wallonia Provinces of:

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