Personal record card

Personal record cards were used from 1938 to keep track of who lived where. They are part of the population registration.

Personal record cards are a great source of information for recent research because they cover the period from 1938 onward. Copies of personal record cards of deceased people can be ordered for a fee from the Central Bureau for genealogy.

Personal index card

Personal index card of Johannes Marijnissen

Administrative process

Personal record cards were introduced in 1938 to replace the old family-based registration. The municipalities kept personal record cards for every inhabitant. If a person moved to another municipality, his index card was forwarded there. It can be thought of as an ‘administrative twin’ that follows you around your entire life.

In 1994, the personal record cards were replaced by the municipal basic administration, that registers the same information in digital form.

Contents of a personal record card

A personal record card includes the following information about a person:

  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of death
  • Information about the parents (full names, dates and places of birth)
  • Religion (not public, redacted on photocopies)
  • Addresses (public if person died at least 20 years ago, otherwise redacted on photocopies)
  • Information about spouses (full names, dates and places of birth and marriage, whether the marriage ended by death or divorce)
  • Information about children (full names, dates and places of birth and death. Sometimes not all children are mentioned. If the children had already moved out before 1938 they are often not listed on their parents’ cards).

Ordering personal record cards of deceased people

The personal record cards from 1938 onward are not public to protect the privacy of living people. After a person dies, his or her card or record from the municipal basic administration is sent for processing to the Central Bureau of Statistics. When they are done with it, it is sent on to the Central Bureau of Genealogy (CBG). Usually, it takes around two years for the cards to become available at the CBG.

Photocopies can be ordered from the CBG for a fee. To find out how to order a photocopy, please check the “Personal record card”-brochure(PDF) from the CBG website.

For each person you’re requesting a personal record card for, list the following information:

  • First and last names, as accurately and completely as possible
  • The birth date and place
  • Year and if possible the date of death
  • Any other information like information about the spouse (names, birth and death places)

If you don’t know all of this information that’s no problem as long as there is enough the identify the person. If the information is unclear, a research fee will be charged. When ordering more than one card, list the people in alphabetical order.

There is no way to order copies of personal index cards of people who are still alive, because that would violate their privacy.

Ordering a personal record card of an emigrant

If a person emigrated, the personal record card was forwarded to the municipality of The Hague, where it is kept in the “Vestigingsregister” (settlement register). To order a copy of a personal record card of an emigrant, write an email to vestigingsregister.dpz@denhaag.nl and include:

  • Your name, postal address and purpose of the request
  • A copy of your ID (passport)

If the emigrant was born less than 100 years ago, you will need to send a copy of his or her identification and written consent, or proof of death. Otherwise, your request will likely be turned down.

Dutch Genealogy source score

5 Stars Amount of information about births, marriages, deaths
4 Stars Amount of background information about your ancestors
1 Stars Online availability of scans
1 Stars Online availability of indexes or transcriptions
5 Stars Easy to understand if you don’t know Dutch

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for 20 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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