Dutch term – Akte van Bekendheid

Woman testifying before a judge

An akte van bekendheid is a record of knowledge, usually a statement by four witnesses who all testify about the truth of something. For example, when people got married after 1811, they had to submit extracts of their birth records and sometimes also extracts of the death records of their parents, former spouses and even grandparents (in the … [Read more...]

How to obtain certified copies of birth, marriage or death records from the Netherlands

Information desk at the Amsterdam Civil Registration

I often receive requests by people who need to obtain official certificates of Dutch birth, marriage or death records for legal purposes. Obtaining certified copies is not a service I provide, so I will give you the instructions on how to do this yourself. Reasons for needing a certified copy There may be several reasons why you need an … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gewaarmerkte kopie

Certified copy of death record of Catharina Flooren

A gewaarmerkte kopie is a certified copy. When ordering a record, like your own birth record, you may be asked if you want a regular copy or a certified copy. Certified copies will be printed on special paper and will have a seal by the municipality guaranteeing authenticity. For genealogical purposes, a regular photocopy will suffice. In fact, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check the margins of a record

Birth record with note in the margin

If you consult an original record, make sure to check the margins for any notes. For example, the margins of a birth record may tell you that an illegitimate child was later acknowledged by a man who married the mother. The margins may also contain corrections of the main text, for example if an error was made. These corrections can be made … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch immigrants kept great records

Hubregt Risseeuw Family. Source: Mary Risseeuw collection

The other day, my friend Mary and I were talking about Dutch immigrants to Wisconsin. She explained that in Wisconsin, registration of births, marriages and deaths wasn't mandated until 1907. Dutch immigrants had been used to civil registration since 1811. Unlike many of their new neighbors, they were used to having their vital events recorded and … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette: Resolving Conflicting Evidence in Early Civil Registration Records

Houses along a canal

Since the introduction of the civil registration (in 1811 in most part of the Netherlands), everybody was supposed to have a fixed name. Everybody who did not have a surname, was required to take a name and have that recorded. The reality was not always so neat. Especially in regions where many people did not have surnames before 1811, like … [Read more...]

Quick tip: There is no village called ‘Burgerlijke Stand’

Windmill during a water surge

In some of the records at Familysearch, the place of birth is listed as 'Burgerlijke Stand' followed by the name of a municipality in the Netherlands. 'Burgerlijke Stand' means 'Civil Registration' and is not a location. The way it is included in the record sets on Familysearch makes it look like a village. When these records were imported by … [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...]

Quick tip: Use Genver to find Dutch records on Familysearch

Extract of the burial record of Gart Vossers

UPDATE 11 June 2014: The website Genver.nl has been discontinued, the service to find records is now available at Zoekakten.nl. Read more about using Zoekakten.  Familysearch.org has a tremendous amount of digitized records from the Netherlands: Church records Civil registration records (births, marriages, deaths) Census records and … [Read more...]

Marriage supplements: gateway to more information about your ancestors

Extract of the burial record of Gart Vossers

Since the introduction of the civil registration in 1811, a bride and groom had to submit several documents to prove they were eligible to get married. Not only do these records tell you when your ancestors were born, but they may also provide information about their physical appearance, death dates of parents and previous spouses or even of their … [Read more...]