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.


Dutch Reformed Church in Lambertschaag, Noord-Holland. Image credits: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed

If you are looking for a birth, marriage or death for the period prior to the civil registration, church records are the first place to go. They are still kept by the government and can be found in the archive in the capital of the province. Increasingly, they are becoming available online, either on the website of the archives or at Familysearch. You can use Genver to see whether the church records of the town where your ancestors came from are available at Familysearch.

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.


  1. Hoi there!Is it possible to know of an unknown father with only my mother’s information and mine? Thank you.

  2. Nancy Jepma says:

    Hello, I was baptized in the catholic church in Utihuzen in 1972, I am trying to obtain a baptism certificate or paper to proof this. Can you help me or inform me what to do next. My parents have lost all the paper work. I would like to have the paper work to get my children in to a catholic school here in New Zealand thank you

    • As a professional genealogist without a PI license, I am not allowed to research living people. Church records this recent are usually still at the church, so I recommend you contact the church. It looks like their website does not have a contact form, but they do have a postal address on the bottom of their web page.

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