Netherlands - Dutch Civil Registration and The Indexes (National Institute)
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 Civil Registration and The Indexes
Civil Registration in the Netherlands, known as vital statistics to North Americans, began in 1811 when the country was under the power of Napoleon. He decreed that all citizens register births, marriages and deaths. The Dutch kept the registration system in place when Napoleon ceased to have control of the Netherlands a few years later.
In the southern provinces of Limburg and Zeeland, registration began when they came under the control of France in 1795. These records and those up to approximately 1814 were often written in French. After that time period the records were written in Dutch.
When searching for your ancestors, you must know the location where the event took place to find the civil registration. Not only should you know the name of the place, but also the province. Often you will find the same name of a town used in two or three provinces. For example, the town name “Broek” is found in the four provinces of Friesland, Limburg, South Holland and Gelderland. Not only will you find the name of a town used in different provinces, you can also find the same name used within a single province. In the province of North Brabant, the town of “Heikant” is located in the municipalities of Bladel, Crandendonck, Hivarenbeek, Oisterwijk and Sint-Anthonis.
During your search of the civil registration records, you will also find people with the same name. Naming patterns were commonly used in the Netherlands. The same surnames were frequently used and common to a region or province during the period of name registrations. These same name people may or may not be your ancestor. Use caution, especially if you are researching a person with a common first name and surname.
Births, Marriages, Deaths
All individuals in the Netherlands were, and are still, required to register all births (geboorten), marriages (huwelijken) and deaths (overlijden) at the Civil Registry Office (Burgerlijke Stand), at the Town Hall (Stadshuis) or municipal (gemeente) offices. Yearly registers were maintained and duplicate registers were made with the second copy eventually being stored in the provincial archives. These registers were indexed alphabetically by year (eenjarige tafel). In addition, beginning in 1813, ten-year indexes (tienjarige tafel) were created. These indexes begin in the third year of one decade and end in the second year of the next decade, i.e. 1813-1822, 1823-1832, 1833-1842, etc.
You will find these indexes are extremely helpful in locating your ancestor’s civil registrations. In addition to birth, marriage and death records, you will find marriage intentions (huwelijkenaangiften), marriage proclamations (huwelijksafkondigingen), marriage consents (huwelijkstoestemmingen), marriage supplements (huwelijksbijlagen) and divorce records (echtscheidingen) under civil registration. Up to 1879, the marriage intentions and marriage proclamations where written into one register. These two records were maintained in separate registers until 1935 when they ceased to exist. Divorce records were often recorded in the back of the marriage registers.
During the first few years of registration, the records were handwritten and soon afterwards a standard form was used in all provinces. You may find slight differences in the forms over the years from province to province. The differences should not affect your understanding of the information within.
In the Netherlands, the civil registration records are open to the public and are available at the various archives after a certain number of years have passed, as illustrated in the chart below.
|Type of Record||Release to the public after:|
|Birth Registration - Geboorten||100 years|
|Marriage Registration - Huwelijken||75 years|
|Marriage Supplements - Huwelijksbijlagen||75 years|
|Death Registration - Overlijden||50 years|
One-Year and Ten-Year Tables (Eenjarige en Tienjarige Tafels)
In the Netherlands, the civil registration records were recorded chronologically. The authorities indexed these registers alphabetically by surname. There are separate indexes for births, marriages and deaths. The one-year tables (or indexes) are usually found in the actual register book. Ten-year tables (or indexes) were kept in separate registers and sometimes contain the indexes for several villages or towns of a district or region.
These tables are very helpful when you do not know the date of a birth, marriage or death. If you know the year, you should use the one-year table to locate the actual date. You will find the name, registration date and document number in the index. With this information you can easily find the actual registration.
If you are unsure of the year of the event you are seeking, the ten-year tables will be most helpful. These indexes commence in the third year of the decade and end at the end of the second year of the next decade. For example, 1813 to 1822, 1873 to 1882, etc.
In the larger cities, you may have to consult both the ten-year and one-year tables. The large cities will usually have multiple registers that contain the birth, marriage or death registrations. These registers may have only the register numbers listed and not the dates listed on the exterior or on archives holdings lists. When this is the case, you will not know which register to check and you could waste time search the wrong one.
The ten-year table generally gives the date of the event but not always the registration number. Once you have located your ancestor in the ten-year table, using the date given you can then consult the one-year table to get the registration number. With the registration number you can then go directly to the actual registration.
Let us look at actual copies of the one-year and ten-year tables. Below, the first example is a ten-year table and the second example is a one-year table.
In first example above, the ten-year table for 1893 to 1902 of births in Amsterdam, look at the entry for “Amen, Wilhelmina Johanna Francisca Hendrika.” You can see she was born on 1898 / 4 / apr. However, there is no registration number in this index. In 1898 there were fifteen registration books used. Without the registration number you would not know which register to begin searching. You may be tempted to guess that it may be in the fourth or fifth register for that year, because she was born in April. To search effectively it would be better just to consult the one-year table. In the second example above, the one-year table for 1898 births in Amsterdam, we can see the entry we are looking for on the sixth line. This line reads:
Notice the shortened names; Wilha for Wilhelmina, Joha for Johanna, etc. Shortened names are commonly seen in the indexes. It is wise to examine the indexes closely so you do not miss your ancestor.
The last two columns on the index page provide us with the volume (deel) and page (folio) numbers. Now we can see that if we just guessed that the registration would be in the fourth or fifth register, we would have wasted a lot of research time. With the information given in the one-year table we can then go directly to the registration in Volume 3, page 139v. It is important to know how register pages are numbered. In the example given, the page number is “139v”. The superscripted “v” often looks like a check mark, which it is not. This “v” points you directly to the document. In Dutch registers, only the right-hand page is numbered. You will not find a page number on the left page. The “v” indicates to you that the document is on the back side of page number 139.
Here are two sample pages as you would see the register open in front of you:
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.