Reading Dutch Civil Registration

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This page shall help English speakers read, translate and understand Dutch Birth, Marriage and Death records after 1811.Examples of each are used and translated line by line. The aim of this page is not to provide a word by word dictionary, but a general overview of the usual format. It is assumed that the reader has access to a Dutch wordlist or dictionary; several can be found on the page Netherlands Language and Languages


Op Heden Den Tweeentwingtsten Maart Achtienhonderd Een-en-veertig: The first line is the date the birth was registered, not that date of birth. You will need to know Dutch numbers and months to read ths line. This example reads Today the twenty-second March Eighteen Hundred and Forty-One.

Is Voor ons ondergeteekende Ambtenaar van den Burgerlijken Stand er Stad Amsterdam, verschenen. This section introduces thegemeente(municipality) (here the city of Amsterdam) and the civil servant who recorded the birth. This example translates to Appeared before the undersigned Civil Servant of the Civil Registration office of the city Amsterdam...

Henricus Amen van beroep Wagonmaker oud negen dertig jaren, wonende Guldenhandsteeg Kanton No. 124. This is the informant of the birth. It is usually the father. It he is the father the words "zijn echtegenoote" or "zijn vrouw" will appear later on after the mother is introduced. For illegitimate children it is often the vroedvrouw (midwife)The occupation (beroep), age (ouderdom) and residence of the informant is given. Use google translator for occupations. Some common occupations are arbeider (labourer/worker), landbouwer (landowner or farmer), boer (farmer) and zonder beroep(no occupation). This example translates to Henricus Amen, occupation Wagenmaker, thirty-nine years old, resides in Guldenhandsteeg, Canton No. 124

Welke verklaard dat op heden des voor middags ten zes ure, in het huis staande alhier. This is where the information given by the informant starts to be declared (verklaard). Voor Middags is a.m., and na middags is p.m. . The date is usually given, but here is stated as heden (today). This date is the date of birth.  This example translates to [He] declared that today at 6am, in a house standing locally [in this municipality]

Is geboren een kind van mannelijke geslacht. Here the gender of the child is revealed. Mannelijke is male and Vrouwelijke is female. This example translates to Was born a child of the male gender

Uit Hendrica Beernink, van beroep geen, wonende alhier zijne echtegenoot. This is where the mother is named. She usually has no occupation (geen beroep orzonder beroep) or is a domestic servant (dienstmeid). If the child was illegitimate the address of the mother is revealed here. If the father is not the informant(e.g. he is away with the army or navy), the father is named here and his occupation(but not age) is given. This example translates to [born] from Hendrica Beernink, no occupation, residing locally, his[the informant's] partner.

Welke kind zal genaamd worden Wilhelmus Johannes Franciscus Henricus. This is the child's name. The surname is not usually explicity stated. If the father is named the child takes his fathers surname. if the father is not named the child takes the mothers name unless otherwise stated.

van welke verklaaring wij deze Akte hebben opgemaakt in tegenwoorigheid van Johan Michael Giersberg van beroep wagonmaker oud dertig jaren wonende Nuijenstraat n1058, en van Hendricus Gerardus de Jong, van beroep zeeman, oud tweeenveertig jaren, wonende Dijkstraat. Here the two witnesses are named. Witnesses are usually friends/work colleagues of the father or relatives. This example translates to Of which we declare that this act has been made in the presence of Johan Michael Giersberg, occupation wagonmaker, thirty years old, resides on Nuijenstraat No. 1058, and of Hendricus Gerardus de Jong, occupation seaman, forty-two years old, resides on Dijkstraat.

The last few lines is a legal declaration and signatures. If a witness or informant is illiterate, it will be stated with the words "niet kunnen te schrijven"

That is a typical birth record from the Netherlands. Sometimes the witnesses are named straight after the informant.

If the mother is illegitimate, the father might later the acknowledge the child as his (it may not actually be his child). A note will be written in the margin in that case.


Heden eenendertig Januari negentienhonderd tweeentwintig. This is the date the death was registered, not the date of death. This example translates to Today the thirty-first of January nineteen hundred and twenty-two

verschenen voor mij Ambetnaar van den Burgerlijken Stand van Amsterdam: . This section introduces the gemeente(municipaliy). This example translates to Appeared before me, civil servant of the Civil Registration office of Amsterdam

Cornelis Wiedeman, van beroep zonder, oud tweeenzeventig, wonende alhier. This is the first informant. Death informants are not always related to the deceased. If they are, the relationship is usually stated either here or as part of the information about the deceased. This example translates to Cornelis Wiedeman, no occupation, seventy-two years of age, resides locally[in this municipality]

en Hendrik Spiegelberg, van beroep zonder, oud zeven en vijftig jaren, wonende alhier. This is the second informant. This example translates to Hendrik Spiegelberg, no occupation, fifty-seven years old, resides locally

die verklaarden dat op den eenendertigsten dezer, des voor middags ten acht ure, in de gemeente Amsterdam is overleden. This example translates to [Who] declared that op the thirty-first of this [month], at 10 a.m., in the municipality was deceased...

Johanna Christina Seel, zonder beroep, wonende alhier,oud tachtig jaren geboorte alhier. This is the deceased, here Johanna Christina Seel, no occupation, resided locally, eighty years old, born locally.

weduwe van Wilhelmus Johannes Franciscus Henricus Amen, dochter van Hendrik Gerardus Seel en Johanna Christina Alffenaar, beiden overleden The relatives of the deceased are now stated. Here the deceased is widow of Johannes Franciscus Henricus Amen, daughter of Hendrik Gerardus Seel and Johanna Christina Alffenaar, both deceased

The rest is a legal declaration and signatures.