Netherlands - Dutch Archives and Repositories and Their Records (National Institute)

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The Dutch have maintained many records that are wonderful for researching your ancestors. Written into each record is a wealth of information that usually extends back one more generation. The records are held in various archives and repositories. It is important to know which facility holds which records.

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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 ($).

Dutch Archives and Repositories

In the following information, the type of repository is first given in English and then followed by the Dutch translation. This information is provided in this manner, so you become familiar with the Dutch names, and this will enable you to search genealogy websites and the FamilySearch Catalogue more efficiently.

General State or National Archive (Algemeen Rijksarchief)

This archive is the largest in the Netherlands and holds information not only for the main governing body, but also for the province of South Holland and the former area known as Holland. Here you will find records produced by the national government, such as military records.

Provincial Archives (Rijksarchief)

In the Rijksarchief you will find records that are produced by the province. In addition, this is where you will find records for municipalities that do not have their own archives. Municipalities with very little storage space will also house duplicate records here.

City or Municipal Archives (Stadsarchief of Gemeentearchief)

Birth, marriage, death and other records that occurred within the municipality are held here.

Regional Archives (Streekarchieven)

This archive holds records of several municipalities within a region. For example, the Streekarchivariaat Noordwest-Veluwe in the province of Gelderland, holds records for the municipalities of Doornspijk, Elburg, Elspeet, Ermelo, Harderwijk, Nunspeet, Oldebroek, Oosterwolde and Putten.

City or Municipal Registry Offices (Stads of Gemeente Secretarie)

Records that have not been deemed historical are held by the Civil Registry Office.

Town or City Hall (Gemeente of Stadshuis)

Records that pertain to the particular town or city, such as council minutes, will be found here. You may also find records from the city or municipal registry office and/or archives here as well.

Church Archives (Kerkarchieven)

In the various religious denominational archives you will find baptismal, marriage and burial records. Around 1811, the original or duplicate registers were ordered to be sent to the provincial or municipal archives. Some of the records are still held by the church archives. FamilySearch only holds microfilmed church records prior to 1811.

Central Bureau for Genealogy (Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie)(CBG)

This is the main information centre for genealogy and family heraldry within the Netherlands. Here you will find genealogies of families previously researched, family announcement cards, photograph collections and much more.

National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek)

This is the country’s national library that maintains searchable databases, web exhibits, special collections and more.

Dutch Records for Genealogical Research

In the Netherlands, there are a number of records available to you for your family history research. Outlined below are a number of records that are available, what time period they cover and which archive or repository would hold these records. Not all records are covered, and it is suggested that you consult the holdings of each individual archive or the FamilySearch Catalogue for other available records.

Knowing which archive holds the records will assist you in locating the information. You must know who holds the record to quickly find them in the FamilySearch Catalog .

Census Records (Volkstellingen)

A number of census records began in 1795 and some date back as early as 1580. In 1830 the first national census was taken and approximately every ten years thereafter. The census records are maintained at the provincial and city or municipal archives. FamilySearch has microfilmed copies of census records from mainly 1849 and earlier.

Populations Registers (Bevolkingsregisters)

These registers are similar to census records and began nationally in 1850. Some localities kept this type of register between 1810 and 1850. They are held by provincial, city or municipal and/or regional archives. FamilySearch has microfilmed copies.

Family Cards (Gezinskaarten)

These cards replaced the population register around 1920 in some municipalities. They existed until 1939. These cards are available from the city or municipal archives.

Person Cards and Person Lists (Persoonskaarten en Persoonslijst)

In 1940, the Person Card replaced the Family Card. In 1994 the Person Card was computerized and was renamed the Person List. These records are maintained by the various municipalities. Once a person is deceased the record is transferred to the Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG). They are obtainable by written request only from the CBG.

Citizen Books (Burger of Poorter Boeken)

These books are maintained mainly by city or municipal archives and cover the period beginning around 1240 through to 1811. Some are available at provincial archives and on microfilm from FamilySearch.

Name Adoption Registers (Naamsaanneming Registers)

Napoleon decreed on 18 August 1811 that all Dutch families maintain a fixed given and surname. This is when most of the Netherlands began these records, and in some cases the registers date to as late as 1825. In the southern provinces of Zeeland, North Brabant and Limburg, these records began in 1808. Not all of these records have survived. Any surviving registers can be found in provincial, city or municipal, and regional archives, and on microfilm from FamilySearch.

Civil Registration (Burgerlijke Stand)

Known as vital statistics in North America, Dutch civil registration records began in 1811. In some areas, these records started as early as 1795. The earlier records, up to 1814, may be recorded in French. For most countries, civil registration records include birth, marriage and death registrations. The Dutch have included a few additional records in this category that include: marriage intentions, marriage consents, marriage proclamations, marriage supplements, divorces, and indexes to births, marriages, divorces and deaths. These registers can be found at provincial, city or municipal and/or regional archives. FamilySearch has microfilmed copies.

Church Records (Kerkregisters)

In the Netherlands there were many religious denominations which include:

Dutch Reformed Roman Catholic
Walloon or French Reformed Lutheran
German Reformed Restored Lutheran
Scottish Reformed English Presbyterian
Judaism English Episcopal
Mennonites Remonstrant

Church records exist from as early as 1542 to present. The various records you can find include:

marriage/marriage intentions
church master/deacon/elder accounts
confirmations and first communions
session minutes
name adoptions

The registers are available at the provincial, city or municipal, and church archives, and at the Central Bureau for Genealogy. Church registers from before 1811 are available on microfilm from FamilySearch.

Admission and Indemnity Registers (Admissie en Indemniteits Registers)

These registers cover the period from about 1675 to 1811 and where maintained by the church and civil poor boards. They were created to reduce the movement of the poor between municipalities. Provincial and city or municipal archives hold the registers and FamilySearch has some on microfilm.

Orphans’ Chamber Records (Weeskamer Registers)

These records were created to manage orphan’s inherited property from deceased parents or relatives. They begin around 1440 and are available to 1811. These records can be searched at provincial, regional, and city or municipal archives, and on microfilm from FamilySearch.

Military Records (Militairen Registers)

Included in Military Records are service records, conduct rolls, recruiting lists, and releases. The registers begin early in the 1700s and can be found at the National Archives, provincial, and some city or municipal archives. Many are on microfilm from FamilySearch.

Guild Records (Guilden Registers)

The Guild records are mainly available from city or municipal archives and some can be found at the provincial archives or microfilmed copies from FamilySearch. These records date back to as early as 1240 through to 1798.

Tax Rolls and Registers (Belasting Registers)

Citizens of the Netherlands have been paying various taxes for many years. As a result there are many registers with records of the different taxes starting around 1240. The registers can be searched at the National Archives, provincial, regional, and city or municipal archives. Some of these records are available on microfilm up to 1811 from FamilySearch.

Emigration Records (Emigratie Registers)

For the period covering 1847 to 1878, the provincial archives hold Emigration Lists, which are also filmed and available from FamilySearch.

Land Registers (Land Registers)

The Dutch land records begin around 1200 to present day. They are available at provincial, regional, city or municipal, and some private archives; at the city or municipal registry offices; and, some are available on microfilm from FamilySearch.

Notary Records (Notariele Protocollen)

Notary records include wills and estates, marriage contracts, guardianships and sale of land. They begin around 1530 and are available from the provincial, regional, city or municipal archives and at the city or municipal registry offices. Microfilmed copies are available from FamilySearch.

Court, Alderman and Sheriff's Records (Rechterlijken, Schepen en Scholten Acts)

These records date from approximately 1240 to present and are available from the provincial, regional, city or municipal archives, as well as on microfilm from FamilySearch.

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

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.