Netherlands - Dutch Population Records (National Institute)

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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 ($).

Population Registers (Bevolkingsregisters)

On 1 January 1850 the recording of population registers began in each municipality throughout the Netherlands. Information entered into these registers was extracted from the 1849 census. Some municipalities started recording population registers prior to this time, so check the archives where your ancestor lived. These population registers have been microfilmed and can be found at municipal or regional archives, the Central Bureau for Genealogy, and some are available through the Family History Library.

Details recorded in the registers include date the person was entered into the register, names of household members, gender, relationship to head of household, date/place of birth, marital status, religion, occupation, address, date of arrival into municipality, municipality where person came from, date of departure from municipality, place where person was going, date of death (if applicable), and remarks.

If an individual left a municipality, a line would be drawn through the person’s information.

Henricus Amen, Register der Bevolking 1830-1920, Gemeentearchief Kampen, Kampen, Overijssel, Nederlands
Netherlands Population Register (Bevolkingsregisters).png

The transcription of the left-hand page, below, shows Henricus Amen followed by his children, Franciscus, Maria and Wilhelmina. The next columns give date/place of birth and marital status. Henricus was a widower and his children were unmarried (ongehuwd). Their religion (godsdienst) was Roman Catholic and the final column listed occupations; Henricus a wagon maker and the children had none (zonder literally means without).

Transciption left-hand page, Henricus Amen, Register der Bevolking 1830-1920, Gemeentearchief Kampen, Kampen, Overijssel, Nederlands

WIJK (Gebacht of Buurschap) Vier                      
STRAAT (Steeg, Gracht, enz. ________
Netherlands Bevolkingregister Transcription.png

The right-hand page transcription below shows Henricus arrived in Kampen, Overijssel traveling from Amsterdam on 22 April 1856. He left Kampen in 1857 to go to the area known as Holland, specifically Amsterdam.

Transciption right-hand page Henricus Amen, Register der Bevolking 1830-1920, Gemeentearchief Kampen, Kampen, Overijssel, Nederlands

Netherlands Bevolkingregister Transcription-right hand page.png

It is important to remember records can contain errors. In fact this example has an error―the third child was entered as Wilhelmina, it should have been Wilhelmus. Verify the information you find with other documentation!

Family Cards (Gezinskaarten or GK)

From 1920 to 1939, most municipalities maintained Family Cards (Gezinskaarten). They were maintained by the Department of Civil Affairs, who verified the name, and date/place of birth with original registers.

The card front records everyone in the household. It includes name, sex, relationship, date/place of birth, religion, occupation, date of arrival in municipality, place where they came from, date of departure from municipality, place where they were going to, date of death and remarks.

The card back gives residences with dates of arrival. If the family lived on a ship, the ship name was recorded with mooring address. When a ship did not have a mooring address, a mailing address was recorded. Often the mailing address belonged to a family member.

Below is a Family Card which shows Hendrik Cornelis de Groot, his wife and three children. Notice his wife, Akke Horjus, is listed with her maiden name!

On the front card, top left area records the address (woonplaats) followed by the name of the head of household.

Hendrik Cornelis de Groot, (front-page) Gezinskaart, Gemeentearchief Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Nederlands.
Netherlands Family Card.png

Hendrik Cornelis de Groot, (back-page) Gezinskaart, Gemeentearchief Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Nederlands.
Netherlands Family Card-back page.png

Family Card Information

The following gives information found in each column (number corresponds with the actual column).

Column # Dutch English
1 Volgnummer Reference number
2 Geslachtsnaam (geslachtsnaam der vrouw) Last Name (last name of wife)
3 Voornamen (voluit geschreven) First Names (written in full)
4 Geslacht Sex
5 Betrekking der loden tot het hoofd van het hulsgezin Relationship to head of household
6 Dagteekening en jaar der geboorte Date and year of birth
7 Plaats van geboorte Place of birth
8 and 9 Burgerlijkestaat;

ongehuwd = O; gehuwd = H; weduwenstaat = W  

Marital Status; unmarried = O; married = H; widow(er) = W
8 Tijdens de Inschrijving  (Marital Status) During the entry
9 Verandering en hare dagteekening Date of change (in Marital Status)
10 Kerkgenotschap Religion
11 Nationaliteit Nationality
12 and 13 Ambt, Beroep of Bedrijf Office, Occupation or Industry
12 Tijdens de Inschrijving (Position) During the entry
13 Verandering en hare dagteekening Date of change (of position)

15 Dagteekening en jaar van Inschrijving Date and year of entry (into register)
16 Plaats, van waar de persoon is Gekomen Place, from where the person is coming
17 Dagteekening en jaar van afschrijving Date and year leaving (writing out of the register)
18 Plaats, waarheen de persoon is vertrokken Place, what place the person has departed to
19 Dagteekening en jaar van overlijden Date and year of death
20 Aanmerkingen Additional Remarks

The front page of the example Family Card, above, gives some fabulous information for both Hendrik Cornelis de Groot and Akke Horjus. For Hendrik, column 8 reads “H 1-10 1924” which indicates that he married on 1 October 1924. Column 16 for Hendrik, reads “Jan de Groot ‘80”. This indicates that Hendrik was previously recorded on the Family Card for Jan de Groot. The notation “’80” is an identifier for Jan de Groot and is his year of birth!

For Akke Horjus, column 15 has the date 24/10 1924 and column 16 “Sipke Horjus ‘55”. Akke arrived in Hendrik’s household 24 days after her marriage to him! She previously resided in Sipke Horjus’ household who was born in 1855.

You can see there are some clues held in the Family Card to further your research. Do not overlook any columns in the card, even if a bit difficult to read.

Locating Family Cards

These cards can be obtained from the city, municipal or regional archives where your ancestor lived. Check the archives in the region of your ancestor’s home to find out what time period the cards covered. In Alkmaar, the GKs covered the period from 1910 to 1939. In Amsterdam, these family cards cover the period from 1893 to 1939 and are digitized at the Amsterdam Archives (Stadsarchief Amsterdam). An index is available on their website, and cards can be ordered online.


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.