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Research in Holland - The Netherlands


Map of HollandThe Archives in The Netherlands are decentralized, so research has to be carried out locally. This not only increases the amount of time required to undertake research but also one has to consider the additional costs associated with travel time and expense.

Provinces such as Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Flevoland, Overijssel and Limburg being more remote would therefore incur larger travel expenses. Other Provinces like North-Holland (including Amsterdam), Zeeland, Brabant, Utrecht and Gelderland are more easily accessible. Fortunately research in South-Holland - the Province with the largest population - is much easier. This is also where the National Archive and the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie are located (in The Hague).

Finally, one also has to allow for the time taken translating documents from Dutch to English. All reports are submitted to the client in English with appropriate titles (both official and personal) and important detail given in the native language as well. This obviates the need to consider the additional time and thus expense involved.

Thus we tailor research and attendant budgets to the individual client on a case by case basis. A budget is preset at the outset before any research is carried out.


Civil Registration:

Map of Holland Civil registration was introduced in most parts of the Netherlands in 1811 during the period of French rule and in some regions as early as 1796. As in the UK Civil Registration records Births, Marriages and Deaths.


Each Municipality keeps its own registers. Unlike the UK there are no Centralised Indexes. Registers prior to around 1925 are deposited with appropriate Municipal Archives and are open to public inspection. The more recent Registers are kept at the appropriate Registrar's Office of each Municipality and are not available for public inspection.


Civil Registration records are written in duplicate. The duplicates of the older records are kept at the State's Archives in the provinces. At the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie microfilms of Civil Registration records of many Municipalities are available on microfilm for research.

Population Registration:

Registers of Population are also kept at the Municipalities. Population records register families, their personal data, their address and migration data.

Population Registration was introduced in 1850. At the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie the registers of many municipalities are available on microfilm. From 1920 onwards the information is written on Family Record Cards ('gezinskaarten') and from 1938 until 1994 on Personal Record Cards ('persoonskaarten').

The Personal Record Cards of individuals who died after 1938 are kept at the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie. Since October 1994 the Population Registration in the Netherlands is computerised in a database called the 'Municipal Administration of Personal Particulars' ('Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie Persoonsgegevens'). These Registrations reach the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie in digital form ('persoonslijsten').

Neither the Personal Record Cards nor the database are available to the public. The Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, however, has been officially authorized to provide upon request photocopies of Personal Record Cards or printouts of personal particulars from the database (with certain details omitted).

Church Records:

Sovereign Ancestry Lincolnshire - Holland Church imageChurch Records - that is the Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and deaths or burials (PRs) and Registers of Church Members are another important genealogical record. Especially for the period prior to Civil and Population Registration. Some of these date back as far as the late 16th century. Most of these records are from the Prostestant Church only, though sometimes records from other churches have survived.

During the period of French rule (1795-1813) most Registers were handed over to Civil Authorities and are now kept at Provincial or Municipal Archives. The Repertorium DTB is a concise resource of Dutch Parish Registers and related material. It lists where Registers are kept and which periods they cover.