Flavia Maria (Poelman) Goens

Mon. 25 Oct 2010. 1:34 pm

I think this is going to be one of the coolest things I’ve written about since I started this blog. Early last Friday I received an email from Antoine Verstuyft. Attached with the email was a copy of my grandmother’s original birth certificate from Ghent. And here it is…..


Isn’t that the coolest thing ever? There are two parts to Flavia’s birth certificate. The larger part on the right is the actual birth certificate itself. The smaller part on the left in the margin is an addendum.

I tried to translate it over the weekend and I started with the printed portions first. Using Google Translate something just wasn’t making sense. Silly me – it turns out  portions of each sentence is written first in Flemish and then repeats in French. So you get a single sentence that is Flemish then French then Flemish then French. It took me all Friday morning to translate just that – and I wasn’t really sure if what I had was even correct.

Since it wasn’t going very well I wrote back to Antoine and asked if he could help me out and I received his response this morning. Antoine had first transcribed the text and then he translated it into English.

So what does the birth certificate say?

For the birth certificate portion on the right Antoine’s transcription is:

(N°170 ) In het jaar achttien honderd drie en negentig, den twaalfden januari te drie ure namiddag na bevestiging, stellen wij Octave Bruneel ambtenaar der burgelijken stands der stad Gent de geboorteakte op van Flavia Maria Poelman geboren ten huize der moeder gister te vier ure ‘s avonds dochter van Marie Octavie, oud vier en twintig jaren dagloonster geboren te Heusden en wonende te Gent vrouwstraat, dochter van wijlen Benedictus en van Maria Theresia Verstuyft, oud vijftig jaar, zonder bedrijf wonende vrouwstraat. Op de verklaring van de voornoemde Maria Theresia Verstuyft.
In de tegenwoordigheid van Hubertus Borie oud twee en twintig jaren, fabriekswerker wonende veergrep, en van Franciscus De Groote oud dertig jaren, dagloner en wonende ….straat. De comparante naamtekent niet als ongelezen.

Van welke akte er lezing is gegeven.

Ondertekenig van Hubert F. Borie & F. De Groote

Then what I did was I combined both Antoine’s and Google’s translation to English and came up with the following:

(N° 170) In the year eighteen hundred three and ninety, the twelfth in January at three hours in the afternoon I Octave Bruneel, servant of the official civil registration of the city of Ghent, affirm the birth certificate of Flavia Maria Poelman who was born at four in the evening yesterday at the home of the mother Octavie Marie, four and twenty years old, born in Heusden, a worker by day and woman living in Ghent on Vrouw Street, daughter of the late Benedict and Maria Theresia Verstuyft, fifty years old, women living on Vrouw Street, on the declaration of the aforementioned Maria Theresia Verstuyft.

In the presence of Hubert Borie, a twenty-two year old factory worker living on Veergrep, and Francis De Groote thirty-year old laborer and resident of Phenix Street. The name draws appearing as unread.

Of which certificate has been read.

Signed by Hubert F. Borie & F. De Groote

Now for Antoine’s  transcription of the addendum in the left margin:

Door opvolgend huwelijk heden voor ons aangegaan tusschen Julius Constantinus Goens en Marie Octavie Poelman is het kind wiens geboorteakte hiernevens bewettigd. Gent den twaalfden maart duizend negen honderd vier.

De ambtenaar van de burgelijke stand.

Again combing Antoine’s and Google’s translation to English we get:

By a succeeding marriage contract presented to us today for Julius Constantine Goens and Marie Octavie Poelman is the child whose birth certificate herewith is acknowledged.

Ghent the twelfth of March one thousand nine hundred four.

So there it is.


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