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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in May 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Dutch Ancestors in the Netherlands by Susanna de Groot, PLCGS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
On 10 August 1938, a decision was made to account for all the population in the Netherlands in the form of the Person Card (Persoonskaart). The card began on 1 January 1940 and continued to be maintained until 1 October 1994. It was the responsibility of the municipal governments to maintain these cards. If a person moved from one municipality to another, so would their card.
Person Cards (Persoonskaarten PK)
These cards contain a large amount of information. On the front you will find the following information (numbered accordingly; see example below):
1. The date in which the name and place of birth was compared to the birth certificate in the Civil Registry.
2. Person's relationship to the head of the family; eg. man, woman, father and mother.
3. a. Surname.
b. Given name(s).
4. Date and place of birth.
6. [blacked out]
7. Occupation. Often there was more than one occupation and the previous ones will be struck out.
8. Names of parents, often including date and place of their birth.
9. and 10. Surname and given name(s) of spouse(s).
11. and 12. Date and place of spouse(s) birth.
13. Date and municipality of marriage(s).
14. 15. and 16. Date and place where the marriage was dissolved; by death of spouse indicated with (o), or by divorce indicated with (s).
17. [no data given]
21. and 22. Date and successive places of residence. Information is blacked out if person has been dead less than 20 years.
Bottom-right: Date/place of death.
The back of the card gives information regarding children. This generally only appears on a father’s card; however, it does occasionally appear on a mother’s card. The back of the card gives (numbered accordingly; see example below):
27. The date and reason the child left the family group. ‘a’ indicates departure from the family, ‘o’ indicates death, and ‘h’ indicates marriage. When the child is indicated as deceased, the date of death is indicated. With the indication of a marriage, you will find the first initials and surname of the spouse, and the date of marriage.
28. and 29. Surname and given name(s) of the children.
30. and 31. Date and place of children’s birth.
32. Relationship to the head of the family. ‘z’ indicates son (zoon), ‘d’ indicates daughter (dochter), ‘sz’ indicates stepson (stiefzoon), and ‘sd’ indicates stepdaughter (stiefdochter).
When the Person Cards were being set up during 1938 and 1939, individuals with previous marriages were not always mentioned. Also, sometimes children who had already left the home may not be indicated.
Remember to verify the information recorded. The example shown contains an error! The place of birth for Wilhelmus Johannes Franciscus Henricus Amen is incorrect. The information given states he was born in Amsterdam, when in actuality he was born in Rotterdam on the date given. It is not known if the error was made when recording the information or if Willemina Gerdina Evers simply forgot that one of her children was not born in Amsterdam!
The Person Card is obtainable, once the person is deceased, from the Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG) who has managed the cards since 1949. These cards are only available by writing to the CBG.
On the CBG website you can find a PDF file the abbreviations used on the Person Cards (Afkortingen op persoonskaarten). This information is in Dutch, but it will assist you in determining various places as well as other commonly used abbreviations. Although the CBG website provides some information in English, this file is only accessible on the Dutch pages.
Person Lists (Persoonslijst or PL)
The Person List (Persoonslijst) is the computerized version of the Person Card and was implemented on 1 October 1994. These are available, after a person has died, from the Central Bureau for Genealogy and are ordered the same as the Person Card.
Johanna Margaretha Catharina de Groot, Persoonslijst, Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, Den Haag, Zuid Holland, Nederlands.
Dutch Census Records (Volkstellingen)
In the Netherlands, a national census was taken fairly consistently between the years 1830 and 1930. There are census records from 1795 and then the next census was taken in 1830. After that time, the census was taken either in the ninth year of the decade or the first year of the new decade until 1930. Census records have been sporadic since then and were taken in 1947, 1956, 1960, and 1971.
In general, the information found in a census record includes: names of individual household members, relationship to head of the household, age, year of birth, place of birth, marital status and religion. In 20th century records, you will find more details of each individual.
If you are interested in statistical information from the various census records, there is a website, Dutch Census 1795-1971 (Volkstellingen 1795-1971) where you can view this information. Visit this site to obtain statistics, such as the number of births that occurred in a city during the census year or the number of churches in a municipality. The census years available to be searched are: 1795, 1830, 1840, 1849, 1859, 1869, 1879, 1889, 1899, 1909, 1919, 1920, 1930, 1947, 1956, 1960 and 1971. Search results can be viewed in PDF format or on an Excel spreadsheet. This site is in Dutch and English.
Local or Provincial Census
Sometimes there was a local or provincial census taken. Be sure to check the inventories of the archives in the area where your ancestor was from or the FamilySearch Catalogue.
Census records are not always consulted in Dutch genealogical research. More often Population Registers (Bevolkingsregisters), Family Cards (Gezinskaarten) and Person Cards (Persoonskaarten) are used to obtain an image of the family group.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Dutch Ancestors in the Netherlands offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.
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