Quick tip – Was your relative in an asylum?

Here are a couple of ways you may find out that your relative was in an asylum:

  • Asylum records. Some of these are digitized or indexed. You may stumble upon these records by searching.
  • Death records, where the informant was an employee of the asylum, or the place of death is an asylum. Research the address if someone died away from home.
  • Marriage supplements of children, if the person was unable to consent to their children’s marriage because of their mental state.
  • Court records, where a judge ordered the person to be admitted.
  • Correspondence of the municipality, where the municipality was informed of the forced admission.
  • Any other type of record, including notarial records or death duties files, that mention the place of residence of relatives.

Once you know your relative was in an asylum, you can try to search for the asylum records. The asylum records may include inmate registers or logs that tell you more about individual cases, or more general information in annual reports and minutes that tell you about the care in the facility.

For an example of researching such an ancestor, see Record Analysis Example – Dutch Death Record.


Hospital in Warnsveld. Credits: Regionaal Archief Zutphen (Public Domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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