Dutch term – Gemeentehuis

The Gemeentehuis (house of the municipality) or raadhuis (house of the council) is the town hall. In civil registration records, you will often encounter the gemeentehuis as the place where births, marriages and deaths were recorded. Civil marriages often take place at town hall. It also houses the offices of the mayor, municipal council and … [Read more...]

How Civil Registration Records were Created

If you are researching nineteenth and twentieth century Dutch ancestors, the civil registration records of births, marriages and deaths are among the first sources you should consult. Understanding how these records were created will help you assess their reliability. Birth records When the civil registration was introduced nation-wide in … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Akte van Bekendheid

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

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

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

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

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

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’

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

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...]