About Bart Aerssens

Conducting family research requires an open mind, broad interests, expertise, and a high level of tenacity. These qualities fully characterize Bart Aerssens, founder and owner of Brasia Genealogy. University degrees in Biology and IT, and experience as a scientist, biologist, business analyst, project manager, independent consultant, photographer and graphic designer, complemented with multiple specialized genealogical courses, provide the solid basis for his current work as a professional genealogist.

Bart Aerssens

Considering his previous career, becoming a professional genealogist was not an obvious choice for Bart. However, fighting cancer changed his view on life, and at the same time, it changed his view on his past. Searching for a potential explanation, he started looking into heredity and genetic relations. In a short time this study evolved into a broad and extensive family tree research project focussing on many more aspects than purely genetic factors.

Bart’s interest for genealogical research was not new however. His interest was initially sparked during a visit to Ellis Island in 2006. This island in the Upper New York Bay was the gateway to the United States for over 12 million immigrants  from 1892 until 1954. One of these migrants was Judocus Aerssens, who arrived on Ellis Island on 22 April 1913 coming from Antwerp on his way to Canada, in order to  start a new life in Swan Lake in the province of Manitoba.

His search for a common ancestor led Bart through a large number of archives in the Netherlands and Belgium  where he gained experience with a wide variety of very different information sources. His research finally led him to Assenede, a small village in the Belgian province of East Flanders, where his ancestors had made a living as farmers during the Dutch Independence War (1568-1648).

For Bart, this long lasting war between the Dutch Republic and Spain feels like a tangible link that connects him with his earliest ancestors. The above picture shows Bart in the Bossche Broek, a swampy area just south of his hometown ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, had a comparable view during the siege of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 1629, shortly before conquering the city. In July 1644 that same Frederick Henry besieged another stronghold in the Dutch province of Zeeland called Sas van Gent. He did so from his headquarters in nearby Assenede. Putting himself in his ancestors’ shoes, both events have come alive. For Bart, this feels like he was there himself, watching history unfold with him sitting in the front row. How special is that!

Map Sas van Gent 1644

The past 10 years have taught Bart that genealogy is much more than tracing your family tree as far back as possible in time. Usually, family research starts that way, but over time you might discover that you can look at your family history through different glasses and that the underlying stories are the things that give colour to ancestors and previous generations. From that perspective, genealogy is also telling and passing on these special family stories.

“The fact that you can approach genealogy from many different angles does not only make it interesting and challenging, but above all, it makes it great fun. Brasia Genealogy wishes everybody that same fun and looks forward to supporting you with a variety of great Services and Products to achieve that.”