Source – Baptismal record

Oudenbosch in 1739

Before 1811, baptismal records are the main source for information about an ancestor's birth date.¬†Baptismal records should have been kept since the Trente council of 1545-1563, but for most areas they only survive since the¬†early to mid 1600s. Most children were baptized within days of being born. In some churches, children were baptized the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Did they go to church in Germany?

Street with a house on the left and a church on the right

In the 17th and 18th century, after the Spanish rule ended, the Dutch Reformed church was the State Church. In most provinces, other religions like Roman Catholics were oppressed and forbidden to worship or hold public office. They would sometimes worship in churches that were hidden from view. On the other side of the border, things were … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kerk

church

A kerk is a church. Before 1811, the records that the churches kept of baptisms, marriages and burials are the main sources for vital events. … [Read more...]

The illegitimate, doubly baptized, incestuous orphan

St. Martinus Church, Venlo

Sometimes you read records and you wonder how much bad luck one person can handle. While doing research for a client I came across the following baptism in a transcription of the Roman-Catholic baptismal records for Venlo in 1750-1760:1 1751 13 november Anna Elisabetha conditionaliter rebaptizata est filia spuria Andreae Ketels et … [Read more...]

Source: church council minutes

Church council Zaamslag

Protestant or Reformed churches have a church council that administers the church. The church council consists of the minister, the elders and deacons. Some churches also appointed guardians who were responsible for the management of the church estates. Especially in earlier centuries, the council was involved with all aspects of the lives … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Find church records at the archives, not at the churches

church

When the civil registration was introduced in 1811 or slightly earlier, the government required that all churches turn in their baptismal, marriage and burial records. These church records would become the foundation of the civil registration, where government officials could determine when a person was born, married and died. … [Read more...]

Church records

Marriage record

For the seventeenth and eighteenth century, church records provide the most complete records for genealogical research. The church recorded the baptisms, marriages and burials of their members. Many of those records have survived to this day. … [Read more...]