The search for the old registers of St Peter's Rode.
On our quest for the old registers of Sint-Pieters-Rode, we discovered that the oldest preserved parish register of the region begins on 1 June 1574. This booklet, hitherto assumed to contain the baptismal records of Nieuwrode, is in fact the first baptismal register of Sint-Pieters-Rode.
The booklet (dimensions 15 x 21 cm, 44 folios) has no cover and was probably bound into the cover of register No. 3 of Nieuwrode in the 18th century.
A thorough comparison of the first birth certificates of Nieuwrode with those of Sint-Pieters-Rode revealed that the old register does not include the certificates of Nieuwrode but those of Sint-Pieters-Rode.
This register contains the following information:
This original register, the oldest parish register in the Hageland, bears the marks of religious wars, church destruction and the ravages of time. Or was it the teeth of mice that chewed up the top right-hand side of the first pages?
The reasons why we can state with great certainty that this register does not contain the deeds of Nieuwrode but those of Sint-Pieters-Rode are:
- Another book, an "Extractum", made in the 18th century, is entitled: "Extractum ex registro Baptizatorum ecclesia parochialis de rhodio St. Petri ab anno 1574 usque ad 1615" The names and dates of the deeds in this transcribed book are exactly the same as the original register from 1574.
- The dates of the last acts in register 1 (1574-1615) do not match the next book of Nieuwrode (register 2 does not start until 1618) but those of Sint-Pieters-Rode do. Baptismal register 2 of Sint-Pieters-Rode starts on 07.06.1615, which follows immediately after the deeds of the old register ending in 1615.
- The old register ends and the new register begins exactly when parish priest Jacobus Mertens was appointed in Tervuren. Joannes Duselius, the new parish priest of Sint-Pieters-Rode, entered five more deeds on the last page of the old register in anticipation of a new one. These five deeds were later crossed out with the mention "vide librum sequentem" The first five deeds of the next book of Saint-Pieters-Rode are indeed exactly the same as the crossed-out deeds.
- Almost all the girls, whose baptismal records were recorded in the old register, later married in Sint-Pieters-Rode, not in Nieuwrode.
The old register contains the deeds of Sint-Pieters-Rode, not those of Nieuwrode.
The consequences of this discovery carry very far: not only our own database had to be updated, but also the catalogues and microfilms of the LDS (the Mormons) and of the ARA, the General State Archives.