Free Websites for Finding Amsterdam Ancestors

Amsterdam has been the largest city in the Netherlands since the late Middle Ages. The records are vast: the Amsterdam City Archives keeps more than 50 kilometers (over 30 miles) of records. A small but growing part of these records are available online. Here are the best free websites for genealogy research in Amsterdam.

Map of Amsterdam

Map of Amsterdam. Frederik de Wit, 1688. Credits: Wikipedia

Amsterdam City Archives

The Amsterdam City Archives keeps the records of the municipality of Amsterdam and the municipalities it annexed (Buiksloot, Nieuwendam, Randsdorp, Sloten, Watergraafsmeer, Weesperkarspel). It has government records as well as records of Amsterdam organizations.

The archives have several websites:

  • Research website for the Amsterdam City Archives (Dutch only)
    The “Inventarissen” section of the website has the finding aids that catalog the collection, including scans. If a record has not been scanned, you can often request scanning-on-demand, a free service. You will then get an email when the record is available online.
    The “Indexen” section of the website indexes for popular genealogical records such as population registers, baptismal records, marriage records, burial records, and notarial records.
    The “Beeldbank” section has the image collection, including maps and photographs of Amsterdam.
  • Information website Amsterdam City Archives. (Dutch only)
    This website has information about the Amsterdam city archives, such as descriptions of their activities and exhibitions.

Noord-Hollands Archief

The Noord-Hollands Archief keeps the records of the province of Noord-Holland and the city of Haarlem. Record collections that are of interest to Amsterdam researchers include the Memories van Successie (death duties files) and court records.

The website (in Dutch with a limited English version) has information about the archives and collection, including genealogical databases. The collection and database are also available via Archieven.nl, which does have an English search interface, see below.

Nationaal Archief

The Nationaal Archief, the National Archives of the Netherlands, keeps records of the national government, the province of Zuid-Holland, the former province of Holland, and organizations of national importance. For Amsterdam, this includes the records of the Court of Holland up to 1810.

The Indexes tab has several different indexes that may be relevant for finding Amsterdam Ancestors:

  • The indexes marked “Hof van Holland” are for different series of records of the Court of Holland
  • The index “VOC Opvarenden” has an index of people sailing for the East India Company in the 1700s. Many were recruited from Amsterdam.
  • Other indexes include some military records, civil servants, and emigrants.

In most cases, scans are not available online but can be ordered for a fee.  The website has a limited English version.

Archieven.nl

Archieven.nl is a website that provides access to the archival descriptions, genealogical indexes, and images of several archives in the Netherlands, including the Noord-Hollands Archief. The search interface is in English, but the archival descriptions are in Dutch so you will only find results when searching for Dutch terms.

  • The Archives section allows you to search the finding aids of the participating archives. You can filter for Noord-Hollands Archief on the right. Most archival descriptions are high-over, such as “incoming letters” and do not contain the names of the people in those records, although you can always try.
  • The People section allows you to search the genealogical indexes of the participating archives, including the Noord-Hollands Archief.
    By clicking the \\// button next to the “last name” search field, you will get a larger version of the search form that allows you to search for more fields. If you want to search for two persons occurring in the same record, click the [+] button.
    To find Amsterdam ancestors in criminal records, select role “Persoon in vonnis” [person in verdict].

Open Archives

Open Archives is a website that provides access to open data provided by archives in the Netherlands, including the Amsterdam Archives and National Archives. The content of this website overlaps with the Indexes section of the Amsterdam Archives website, but since Open Archives has an English search interface, you may find it easier to use.

WieWasWie

WieWasWie is a website that provides access to genealogical indexes of various archives in the Netherlands. The Nationaal Archief, Noord-Hollands Archief, and Amsterdam City Archives participate in the website, so the content overlaps with information you can find on their websites and on Open Archives. Advanced search functions at WieWasWie require a subscription.

FamilySearch

FamilySearch has digitized microfilm of many Amsterdam records. Some of these records are indexed and can be searched, while most can only be browsed.

  • Use the Search function first to see if the record is indexed. They are working on indexing the civil registration records of Amsterdam.
  • If you can’t find your ancestor with the search function, try the Amsterdam entries in the Catalog. Browsable records for Amsterdam include civil registration records of births, marriages, death; church records of baptisms, marriages, burials; tax registers; population registers; and census records.

Other websites

Several other websites have information about Amsterdam genealogy:

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

Comments

  1. GJ Terink says

    Archieven.nl:
    To find Amsterdam ancestors in criminal records, select role “Persoon in vonnis” [person in verdict].
    Should read:
    To find Amsterdam ancestors in criminal records, select Source “Persoon in vonnis” [person in verdict] in the Miscellaneous section of the search form.

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