Source: Family announcements

In the Netherlands, there has never been a tradition of writing biographical obituaries like you see in countries like the United States. Instead, “familieberichten” [family announcements] simply announce the death of a person.

In the 19th century, only more affluent people had a familiebericht placed in the paper. It was usually very short and only signed by the closest relative, typically the spouse or eldest son. In the 20th century, the announcements became a bit more informative and usually included all the children. But the information about the deceased is usually limited to the name and date of death, sometimes a date of birth as well.

Where to find family announcements

There are three major places to search for familieberichten: online newspaper website Delpher, the Central Bureau for Genealogy, and Mensenlinq.


The Delpher website provides access to kranten (newspapers). Search for the last name of the person combined with the name of the town where he died, or search for the last names of two spouses.

Central Bureau for Genealogy

The Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG) collects newspaper clippings. The collection is available via their catalog. Search for the last name and then click ‘Familieberichten.’ Viewing the pages costs credits, that can be purchased from the CBG.

The clippings come without source citations so it is unknown which newspaper the announcement appeared in. I always search Delpher after I find a clipping to see if I can find it in its original context.

The CBG is indexing all of these clippings. The index is available on WieWasWie. If you click the thumbnail of the page, you will be taken to the CBG website where you need credits.


Mensenlinq is a website where many current newspapers publish their family announcements. It is a good place to find the recently deceased. By default, it only searches the last couple of days, but if you select “ik wil uitgebreid zoeken” [I want to do an advanced search] it will allow you to specify the range. The website started publishing in 2006 but has some earlier advertisements as well.

Example: Hendrik Jan Kastein

The Central Bureau for Genealogy collection includes two family announcements for Hendrik Jan Kastein (1848-1930).

Marriage announcement

Marriage announcement of H.J. Kastein and E.J.E. de Monye

Marriage announcement of H.J. Kastein and E.J.E. de Monye

His marriage announcement shows that Hendrik Jan Kastein married E.J.E. de Monjé on 20 May 1885. He worked as a ‘religious teacher’ (preacher). The announcement also shows that he lived in Haarlem and she lived in The Hague prior to their marriage.

Death announcement

Hendrik Jan Kastein death announcement

Hendrik Jan Kastein death announcement

The death announcement of Hendrik Jan Kastein shows that he died in Velp on 7 February 1930. The announcement also gives us biographical information: he was a ‘religious teacher’ in the Dutch Reformed Church and the Arnhem prisons. He was a Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau. The introduction calls him a husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather, which tells us about his family composition. The funeral will take place on the following Tuesday at the “Heiderust” cemetery in Worth-Rheden.

This announcement gives several opportunities for further research:

  • We can search WieWasWie for his death record
  • We can visit the Worth-Rheden cemetery to see if his grave still exists
  • We can find the Royal Decree whereby he was knighted
  • We can search newspapers to find out when and where he was appointed as preacher of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Arnhem prison
  • We can consult the Arnhem prison archives to see if they have any personnel files
  • We can look for the church records, including the council minutes, to see what his parish was like.

Dutch Genealogy source score

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

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Claire Toynbee says

    Just a few days ago I came across the CBG family announcements collection. I was fascinated to find scans of 8pp of pre-1970 clippings about my Herderschee relatives, arranged roughly by year. The index to me to p3 of 8, for the exact name I had searched, but I downloaded all 8, and 1 or 2 of the post-1970 pages. At 4 credits per page, I thought the cost very reasonable, and the images will now be free to me for the next year. I did download them. Some death announcements included the name of the town where surviving children lived, and the daughters’ married names. I’ll be back!

Leave comment