Van Mechelen – My mum is trying to trace her Belgium ancestors and I am having difficulty finding any info like Belgium censuses etc. We have snippits of information passed down from generations but how acrurate this is I do not know.Unfortunately we have very little information regarding the Belgium side and I think the only way we stand a chance of finding any records is by being in Belgium.What sort of information can you obtain and how much does it cost for you to look?I can give you an idea of the sort of info we have and you may be able to advise whether this would be enough to aid a search or not.
My mothers great grandad was called Gustave Van Mechelen (we have been told that his birth name was Gustavus but we are unsure of this) on English censuses it has him down as being born in Brussels about 1848 (some family members say they were from Mechelen but I am not sure if they just confuse this with the surname as we have no evidence that they did come from Mechelen)We know that Gustave’s father was called Francois and he was a calico printer we do not know Gustave’s mothers name. Apparently he had a sister calledsomething like Ellean who had a lace shop in an arcade in Brussels we are unsure of any other brothers or sisters. Some of our family saythe family lived or worked at rue des Chartreux .Gustave moved to London I am not sure when but he had his first child in 1881 so he must have been in London before this date but he is missing on the 1881 English census at this time he was a Hat Maker and apparently his job took him overseas to various places including Swedenapparently the hats were made for the royal families but again I don’t know how reliable this information is. I can trace his life then on in Englandon the 1891, 1901 census before he dies in 1906 but we know so little about his earlier life & family in Brussels. Is it possible to trace birth certificates, census etc there?