Quick tip – Snap shot or Video?

When you are looking at a record, ask yourself: was this record created all in one sitting? Or was this amended and updated over time?

There are different types of records that were changed and updated over a longer period of time. In population registers, people who moved out or died were crossed out, and people who moved in or were born were added. In some types of tax or tithe records, owners of real estate would be updated if the property changed hands. In cadastral ledgers, plots that are sold or transferred to someone else are crossed out, and plots that were acquired were added. It helps to think of these types of records as videos, since they capture a longer period. Not all the data in the records was valid at the same time.

Even records we usually think of as snapshots may include updates. An example are the notes in the margin of a child born out of wedlock, that was later acknowledged and legitimized when the mother married.

Birth record with note in the margin

Birth record of Maria Verstraete, with note in the margin regarding her being acknowledged and legitimized by Jan Gommeren

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® 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 certificate 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. I love these kinds of records – on the birth registration kept by the church of one of my great-aunts, her marriage is also listed (Polish record)…as the actual marriage record is still behind a privacy barrier, this notation helped me immensely.

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