|De Valk windmill, a landmark in Leiden, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands|
Back in April Yvette Hoitink issued her Ancestor Swap Challenge. Since visiting The Netherlands to attend the Gaenovium conference in Leiden earlier this month, I have been inspired to explore Dutch records. Civil registration records, the official secular records of births, marriages and deaths, are a good starting point for genealogical research. I present an investigation of these records for the city of Leiden, as a variation of Yvette’s challenge.
Online guides to the Dutch civil registration, known as Burgerlijke Stand, system include:
- Civil Registration and How to order my own birth certificate from the Netherlands? on Yvette’s Dutch Genealogy
- Netherlands Civil Registration on the FamilySearch wiki
- Civil Registration and Marriage Records, pages of an article entitled ‘Researching Your Dutch Ancestors’ by Miriam Klaasen on About.com Genealogy
|Netherlands||England & Wales|
|Start dates||1795 or 1796 in Limburg & Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, March or June 1811 whole country||1 July 1837|
|Record closure periods||Births 100 years, marriages 75 years, deaths 50 years||Full details are required for GRO certificate orders from last 50 years. Indexes are un-restricted.|
|Record organisation||Record date, year, record number||Volume, page, record number, registration district|
|Number of copies||2 ||2 or 3 |
Births, deaths & civil marriages –
|Index structure||Index of district court copy register compiled every 10 years from 1813, arranged alphabetically by surname (sometimes only by first letter of surname)||National index of General Register Office copy registers compiled quarterly, arranged alphabetically by surname, forename(s), referencing registration district, volume, page. |
Each registration district compiles an index of its completed registers, the arrangement of which varies from district to district.
|Language||Dutch, French, Flemish||English|
|Location of records|| || |
|Access||Everyone has access to provincial registers||Access only via legally certified copies (certificates). Public access to the actual civil registers is legally forbidden. Church registers sometimes available.|
|Online indexes||No reliable and complete index at national scale. FamilySearch recommends using WieWasWie as a general index for Dutch civil registration, but it is incomplete. Some regional and municipal archive websites have indexes.||FreeBMD provides an online version of the GRO index. Some registration district indexes are at UK_BMD or on county council websites.|
So, civil registration records for Leiden should be at the city municipal archive and the provincial Zuid-Holland archive. Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken covers Leiden and surrounding municipalities. The Zuid-Holland provincial archives are housed at the Dutch national archives, the Nationaal Archief at The Hague, which is located in the province. The national website has an English version, but searches of its online catalogue return results in Dutch. I found Leiden civil registrations for 1811-1842 in the archive catalogue, but there are no online indexes or records. The municipal website is in Dutch, so time for the translation challenge.
For this website, Google translate proved entirely unhelpful. The Chrome browser’s built-in translate function was more useful. Both caused a noticeable delay and produce stilted English. My powers of persistence were tested, but worthwhile, as the website offers an archival catalogue, personal name search and images of original records.
Taking the marriage of Ary Coret in 1877 as an example, clicking on the entry in the search result list gives the indexed details and an image link to the original record. The index includes the names of bride, groom, fathers and mothers of both bride and groom; date and place of the event; birth place, age and occupation of bride and groom. That makes these records richly detailed compared to an English marriage register. The original contains even more information, but presents the challenge of reading old handwriting in a foreign language.
I can make out the following, but need some help with the square bracketed parts:
On the 26th December 1877, the couple appeared before the officials of the civil registration at the Town Hall in Leiden.
Ary Coret, aged 48, [a porter?] born in September 1829 in Leiden, resident in [??] was the adult son of Pieter Coret and Mary Magdalene ven de Wetering [? ???]
Elsje Gressie, aged 36, with no occupation, born on January 1841 in Leiden, resident ain [old Lange local canal?], widow of John Barentse, was the adult daughter of Gabriel Gressie [factory worker?] and Geertrui Phileman [??], residents in [?? South?? ??]
They requested to complete the marriage that had been notified on the Town Hall door on 16 December and [20th December? and ??]
No impediments to the marriage were reported, so in the presence of witnesses, the couple was asked if they accepted one another as spouses, [till death?] and promised to fulfill all the duties of marriage under the law. A declaration was made that
Arij Coret and Elsie Gressie [were married, witnessed by ? Barente, James Grijie. ? Niehuk, with some details of the witnesses and other ceremonial phrases]
Corrections and refinements from Dutch genealogists or speakers would be much appreciated.
© Sue Adams 2014