Towards the end of 2011, I wrote a letter to the civil records office in the town of Binche, Belgium to try to find the birth certificate of my French-Belgian great-great grandmother, Octavie Marie Mabille.
I had Octavie’s birth date already so my chances of a successful reply was far more likely as it meant less work for anybody looking up records for me – and after a couple of weeks I had my reply.
I had not seen a Belgian birth certificate before so I expected something quite basic, similar to a British one, with details of the parents’ names, date and place of birth, and maybe parents’ occupations. I did not expect a half-page long birth certificate, completely handwritten with lots of detail.
The first thing I noticed is that Octavie’s year of birth was actually 1859, and not 1860 which had been documented by her children and grandchildren. This puts Octavie at 81 years old when she died in Carshalton in 1940.
It also gave me the middle name of Octavie’s father, Augustin, who we now know to be Augustin Celestin Mabille and confirmed that Rosalie Delhaye was the mother of Octavie.
For some unknown reason there are written records by Mabille/Cripps family descendants which sometimes give Rosalie’s surname as Salmon and not Delhaye. I do not know where the Salmon name came from, there is a possibility that she may have been married before, but I believe Delhaye to be the maiden name so I’m using that as it is the only of the two surnames which I have found recorded on official documents.
The birth certificate is handwritten and difficult to make out, so I posted it on the Rootschat forum to be deciphered, transcribed and translated as I could only work out the main details and not the full text.
The birth certificate reads as follows:
L’an mil huit cent cinquante neuf, le deux du mois de décembre à deux heures de relevée par-devant nous Nicolas Victor Chaudron, Bourgmestre Officier de l’Etat Civil de la commune de Battignies, province de Hainaut, et en notre maison communale est comparu Augustin Celestin Mabille, âge de 29 ans, cabaretier, domicilié en cette commune, lequel nous a présenté un enfant de sexe féminin né avant-hier trente novembre dernier à sept heures du soir en la (sa?) maison sise en cette commune chemin de Namur section A, de lui déclarant et de Rosalie Delhaye son épouse agée de vingt neuf ans et auquel il a déclaré vouloir donner le prénom de Octavie. Les dites déclaration et présentation faites en présence de Joachim Desprez âgé de quarante un ans, fripier, et de Camille Legrand âgé de trente un ans, employé, tous deux domiciliés à Binche. Le père et le premier témoin ont déclaré ne savoir signer, le deuxième témoin a signé avec nous le présent acte de naissance après que lecture leur en a été faite.
On 2 Dec 1859 at 2pm, Augustin Celestin Mabille, aged 29, innkeeper, residing in this commune, presented us, Nicolas Victor Chaudron, mayor and civil officer of Battignies, province Hainaut, with a female child whom he wishes to name Octavie and who was born on 30th November at 7pm at his house chemin de Namur section A to himself and his wife Rosalie Delhaye aged 29.
Witnesses Joachim Desprez, 41, second hand clothes dealer and Camille Legrand, 31, both residing in Binche. (The father and first witness can’t sign).