Netherlands Public Records
Civil Marriages before 1811
After the Dutch Reformed Church became the state church in 1575, intentions of marriage had to take place either before the civil authorities or in the Dutch Reformed Church. The marriage itself could take place in any church, but the ceremony cost less in the Dutch Reformed Church. Civil marriages of non-Calvinists were instituted in Delft in 1575. Within a few years they were allowed in all towns of Holland. They began to be permitted in Gelderland in 1604.
When the Batavian Republic was established in 1795, only civil marriages were legal. A civil marriage could receive the blessing of the church, but only after the civil ceremony took place.
Civil marriages [schepenhuwelijken or stadstrouwen] are also called court marriages [gerechtstrouwen] because these marriages were recorded by the court of aldermen. The records contain the bride’s and groom’s name, marital status before this marriage, birthplace or residence, earlier spouses, date of intention, date of marriage, and dates of publication of marriage banns. Sometimes the records contain the couple’s ages, the parents’ names, and witnesses. All religions will be included, but especially those who were not Dutch Reformed, including Catholics and Jews.
Civil Births and Deaths before 1811
Death records made by civil authorities exist for some places before 1811. Because of the inheritance tax law of 1805, there are records of deaths for 1806 to 1811 (see the "Taxation" section). Some towns registered births as well.
Certificates of Indemnity
Certificates of indemnity or surety [akten van indemniteit, borgbrieven or onlastbrieven] were issued by town officials to those families or individuals who moved elsewhere. The documents were evidence that the former town of residence guaranteed that the people would not pose a financial burden on the new town. If the migrants became poor, they would be received back to the former town. Local church parishes also created this kind of record. See the "Church Records" section for more information.
The records contain the name of the person moving, his or her spouse’s name, children’s names and ages, former place of residence, and destination. Sometimes the date and place of birth will be recorded.
Records at the Family History Library
Practically all of the available civil records before 1811 of births, marriages, and deaths are available at the Family History Library. Some of the certificates of indemnity have also been filmed. They are listed in the Place search of the catalog under:
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE], [TOWN] – PUBLIC RECORDS
Locating Records Not at the Family History Library
If the records you need are not at the Family History Library, contact the municipal archive of the place you are looking for.