Level 2 Checklist – Vital Statistics

Last month I issued my Level-Up Challenge, challenging you to assess how complete your research is. Level 2 is vital statistics only.

In this blog post, I will explain which sources I feel I need to have found or searched for in order to say I have reached level 2. For each vital event, I want to have found at least one of the sources indicated here so I know where and when a person was born, married, and died.

Date and place of birth

  • Birth record (civil registration)
    I want to find this record for everyone born after the introduction of the civil registration (1811 in most parts of the country).
  • Baptismal record
    I want to find this record for everyone born before the introduction of the civil registration, if it survives. I also want to find this record for people born after 1811 if the birth record does not mention both parents, as in the case of children born out of wedlock. You never know what the baptismal record may reveal.
  • Estimated using other means
    If I am researching in a time and place for which no birth or baptismal records survive or if they are not public yet, I want to do my best to use other sources to find out when and where a person was born. If I can’t find an exact date, I will use other sources to estimate when they were born.
priest baptizing a child

Baptism of a child, 1956. Credits: Willem van de Poll, collection Nationaal Archief (CC-BY)

Date and place of marriage

I want to find the date and place of marriage of all the spouses of my ancestors, not just the ones I descend from.

  • Marriage record (civil registration)
    For everyone who married after the introduction of the civil registration (mostly in 1811), I want to find their marriage record.
  • Church marriage record or marriage banns in the place of the bride and groom
    For everyone who married before the introduction of the civil registration, I want to check whether the church register contains a record of their marriage or marriage banns. Since banns had to be read in the places of the bride and the groom, I want to check both.
  • Civil marriage record of marriage banns in the place of the bride and groom
    For everyone who married before the introduction of the civil registration, I want to check whether the aldermen’s court or the Dutch Reformed Church registers contain a record of their marriage or banns. A marriage before the Roman Catholic church or in a synagogue was not recognized by the civil authorities, only a marriage before the aldermen’s court or Dutch Reformed Church was.
  • Marriage duties
    For everyone who married before the introduction of the civil registration, I want to check if there are tax records for their marriage.
  • Prenuptial agreement
    I want to check notarial records or local court records to find out if there is a prenuptial agreement.
  • Estimated using other means
    If none of these records survive or are not public yet, I want to do my best to estimate when and where my ancestors were born using other sources.
Man in uniform signing a document

Jan Marijnissen signs the marriage record of his sister-in-law Annie Flooren

Date and place of death

  • Death record (civil registration)
    For everyone who died ater the introduction of the civil registration (mostly in 1811), I want to find their death record.
  • Burial record
    For everyone who died before the civil registration, I want to check if there is a burial record.
  • Death duties
    I want to check if there are tax records for their death.
  • Funeral costs
    For people who died before the civil registration, I want to check if there are records for funeral costs, like deacon’s accounts for pall rentals.
  • Estimated using other means
    If none of these records survive or if they are not public yet, I want to do my best to estimate when and where my ancestors died using other sources.
a coffin covered by flowers is surrounded by a group of mourners in black attire

Funeral of Gerrit Jan Hoitink, 1942. Author’s private collection

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a board-certified genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 30 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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