Quick tip – Not all religions baptized infants

In the period before the civil registration, which was introduced in most of the Netherlands in 1811, baptismal records are the usual documents to consult for information about the birth date of an ancestor. In most cases, children were baptized within days of being born. But some religions did not baptize infants but waited until people were old enough to make an informed decision about joining the church.

In the Netherlands, the main church that baptized adults was the Anabaptist or Mennonite Church. The church was named after Menno Simons (circa 1496-1561), a leader during the Anabaptist Reformation. In Dutch, members of this church are also called “Doopsgezinden.”

If you can’t find the baptism of your ancestor, try to find out what church they belonged to. If they were Doopsgezind, the baptism may not have been recorded until your ancestor was in his or her twenties.

Baptism in the Mennonite Church, 1743

Baptism in the Mennonite Church, 1743. Credits: Simon Fokke (engraver) and Hendrik de Winter (designer), collection Rijksmuseum.

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.

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