Immigration files in Archives of Antwerp & State Archives of Belgium

In the courtyard of the Felixpakhuis complex

I posted a few times in a few newsgroups/forums with as subject Jewish Genealogy a short explanation on the files in the Belgian archives.
I hope to publish once an article on my blog with more details about my experience in the archives, for the moment being I think it could be useful for other researchers to read the following short explanation according to my view:

Usually all documents were kept in twofold. One copy stayed in the city/town and the other copy went to the state archives in Brussels.
In Antwerp you have a few boroughs which have separate administrations and were independent cities/towns . Nowadays these cities/towns are part of Antwerp, the most interesting boroughs for Jews researching their ancestors is: Borgerhout, Berchem and Antwerpen. The archives from the other boroughs besides, Antwerp, are not in the felixarchief (each city could choose whether to save the files or whether to throw them away).
The index you found on familysearch is only about the Antwerp borough. All records are kept by the Antwerp City Archives (in the Felixpakhuis, an old and very nice building near the port of Antwerp).
It is free to view the copies of the microfilmed scans and you can copy them to your USB-stick. There is no limit and you can get as many as time allows. For non-microfilmed documents they have set a limit of 15 files/day.
In the Brussels State archives you can get the copies of files. They ask a fee which is 15 Euro / Year.
Viewing and photographing is free of charge. The maximum allowed files you can order is 15/day.
Documents which are older than 100 years since the opening of the document, are no problem to get. For newer documents they ask you to sign a document in which you agree to adhere to the rules of privacy (documents with a file number lower then 1.000.000 are usually easy to get, other documents are the newer ones).
Of course it is always cheaper to get the files via someone you know. For Antwerp you could use a forum on where you  can try to post any question (translations, someone to get the files, etc). For Brussels you can also try to get someone to copy the files, another option is to get the archives to scan all files, but this could become very expensive.
Kindest Regards,
Gershon Lehrer
Antwerp, Belgium

20 thoughts on “Immigration files in Archives of Antwerp & State Archives of Belgium”

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  2. Hi, Gershon,
    It’s me again, Henny Moëd Roth in Los Angeles. As I mentioned before, I was born in Antwerp 30 November 1923 and fled the city, with my parents Enoch & Ida Moëd, on 12 May 1940. Our family doctor in Antwerp was, I think, Dr. Van Straten. Or perhaps, “Van Stralen.” Do you recall if any of your Van Straten relatives were medical doctors? He made house calls! Best, Henny

    P.S. – If I can ever help you with research here in Los Angeles, CA, just ask me! I belong to the Jewish Gen. Soc. of Los Angeles and we often meet at the local LDS Regional Library, which is the 2nd largest Mormon library in the country.

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your comment and thank you kindly for your offer.

      Regarding your question about Doctor van Stra(a)ten or van Stra(a)len, this something I can try to find out more about with possible results, but as this may be time consuming, I was wondering whether this is indeed an important detail which you need to find out about?


  3. Hello and thank you for the information you provide on your site here… it is invaluable. I am looking into the immigration index of 1840-1930 Antwerp Police and whilst I have found my grandfather and his family registered (He is file number 173892), I am unable to locate the date of the event or the reason for the trip. Can you assist in directing me as to where I may locate it. I have looked at the board you mention but am not fluent in Dutch or German. Thanking you.

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Please make sure to read Getting copies of the alien files as well where I explain how to get to the actual files (I assume you are asking about a file from the Antwerp Archives?).

      In your case you are lucky because the file is online at See here from page 347 and: which directs to Belgium, Antwerp, Police Immigration, 1840-1930nr. 173880-173952, 1923.

      The file you are asking about seems to be about Wadell William Malcolm and Dowie Ellen.

      Good luck!


  4. Sorry to trouble you further but is there somewhere that would indicate where they stayed and when they left and to where… ? Thank you so very much… Sue

    1. Hello,

      Here it is:
      Waddell William Malcolm – Born 7 Jan 1886 in Boness, England
      Wife Dowie Ellen place of birth etc. is unknown

      He (maybe she too, not clear) lived in August 1923 in the Lange Kievitstraat no. 28 in Antwerp. On September 12, 1923 he (maybe she too) lived in the Van Arteveldestr. 37.
      Nationality: British
      Married: December 19, 1909 in Glasgow
      Father’s name: William who was born in Scotland and was not alive anymore in August 1923.
      Mother: Smith Elizabeth, born in Scotland. Was 70 years in 1923 (so born abt. 1853). She lived in 1923 in Edgbaston-Birmingham, England.
      Malcolm’s’ job: iron merchandise
      Residence beforehis immigration: Shoreham (England) Middle Day
      Official residence: Bo’ness, England
      Lived with Young Lilian (see file 173893) who was born in London on 23 March 1899

      Best Regards and good luck 🙂


      1. Oh my goodness ! You continue to amaze me!! Thank you so very much… When looking at the entries, I had thought they were all in Belgium together… I really need to learn another language !! 🙂 Thank you so VERY much… I am very grateful.


      2. Are you able to tell what the 1954 stamps relate to? Would this simply be a closing of the file? Also on Lilian Young (born 21 March 1899) file 173893, her mother Dora is mentioned. Are the names of the family members simply for background checks when one arrived in the country? Where can I go to ascertain how long they resided in Belgium, and which port they left from…

        I am also wondering if there is a possibility of a marriage between Lilian (true name, Eliza) and William Malcolm Waddell in Belgium. Where would I go to find out such information.

        You are a wonderful help Gershon. If there is anything I can assist you with in future from a British/Scots or Canadian side, please let me know.

        Best wishes and thanks as always.


        1. Hi,

          The letter with the 1954 stamp is a letter from the police administration who was trying to find out the whereabouts of Malcolm who did not deregister himself (yet). The policeman of that district indeed replied that Malcolm was unknown by the current residents (in 1954).

          The alien’s archives of Antwerp contain only information about each alien during his time in Antwerp. If s/he moved to another city within Belgium, you should find him/her in the State Archives of Belgium (which is in Brussels). Each city had to send in a copy of the information to the state archives, so you had to fill in the forms in twofold etc.

          Good Luck with your research :).


          1. Once again I thank you 🙂 I actually got a program to try and translate the document and am in fact picking up bits of the Dutch language .. rather exciting !!! So, I got the gist of the authorities trying to determine what had become of my grandfather… Was this a normal practice after all that time to check into his whereabouts.. or would this have been prompted by something… this was nearly 30 years after him in fact having immigrated…

            Thank you so much Gershon. I am enjoying also learning aspects of the Belgium workings.

            All best wishes,

          2. Hello,

            I am not sure when the authorities did a new check on the alien citizens. I still need to check out what the working mechanisms were for the police in charge of the administration of the alien citizens.


        2. Hi,

          I missed the other questions, sorry.

          Usually when a file was openend, the authorities also asked for the parent’s names, children and spouses. I guess that they did it to have a profile of each immigrant and to be able to identify him.

          You’ll find similar forms in the other files.

          From the files we cannot see whether Malcolcm and Lilian got married. It looks as if Malcolm was still married with Ellen but lived together with Lilian (Eliza).


  5. Hello,
    Our Grandfather came from Chareloi(sic) Belgium. He went to Kent England. Our last name is Jackart but supposedly as the story goes it was spelled different when he lived in Belgium and it was changed as he had to flee the country. How would I go about trying to find ancestors or relatives???

    1. I’d first check with the family members whether they remember how they were called while still in Belgium. If they do not know, you still can enter your name on the website of FamilySearch. will show you a list with similar sounding names. Start here
      If that does not help, it is best to contact the Belgian State Archives ( and ask them whether they can find the name which sounds the closest to your current surname.

  6. Gershon,

    I have had translated into english from Flems /Dutch the Antwerp Police Aliens Form/questionare. My question is 3A & B “birth” en datum 80 jaar….. does this mean 1880.
    Researching Biron family

    We have had correspondence before….I spent many enjoyable years in Belgium with the UK Army at the docks and in Herentals/Olen over 50 years ago

  7. Please can you help?
    I’m trying to find the death records for my great grandparents and great aunt who I think all died in Antwerpen in the 1920’s or 30’s. I understand that it is difficult to get records less than 100 years old – but is there a way? Thank you

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