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This is the fourth part of our Sources for Dutch genealogy series.


Persoonskaarten (litt. person's cards, sing. persoonskaart) are the successor of the gezinskaarten we discussed earlier, and part of the population register. They are sufficiently different, though, to warrant a separate post.

These cards are the main source for post-war genealogy research in The Netherlands.

Why were they made?

There were some problems with the earlier family cards. Registrars had to create a new card when the family moved to another town. It was quite common for elder children to leave home (e.g. for a temporary job), and return later, sometimes several times, before they left home for good. Each time, they had to be removed from their parents' card and a new card had to be created, and when they returned their card had to be removed and their names added again to their parents' card. Because of all the copying from one card to the next, a lot of errors were made.

The persoonskaart had to solve these problems. For each person, a card was made after birth. The card was kept at the town hall. If someone moved to another town, their card was sent to their new town.

Persoonskaarten were used until 1994, when they were replaced by a computer-based registration.

What information do they have?

A persoonskaart lists a lot of information about a person: Name, date of birth, address, occupation, names and dates of birth of parents and spouses, religion, marriage dates, and (on the back) names and dates of birth of the children.

Where can I find them?

The cards of people deceased between 1939 and 1994 are kept at the Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG), but they cannot be consulted. The only way to access them is by ordering copies. These have to be ordered in writing from the CBG. Current charges are €3.55 per card, plus an unspecified surcharge for sending them abroad. Contact the CBG for details.

Note that the CBG only holds cards from people who lived in The Netherlands at the time of their death, and not from people who emigrated and died abroad.

You can also order copies for people deceased after 1994. In that case, you will get a computer print-out. These become available in the second year after someone's death (for someone who passed away last year, the print-outs become available early next year).

On these copies, some data will be withheld. In particular, religion and addresses are usually missing, as are any sensitive remarks (e.g. a bankruptcy or imprisonment).

Nowadays, occupation and religion are not registered anymore in the population register.

An example

Let's have a look at the image (click to enlarge). It is the persoonskaart of Willempje Prins (1856-1942). It seems the original card is rather damaged, the vertically typed information on the far right states the reason: Brandschade door oorlogshandelingen (damage by fire caused by acts of war). Some cards were damaged (or lost) during the second world war, and this card is one of them.

At the far top there is the date 9Apr40 (9 April 1940), this is the date that the data on the card was compared to Willempje's birth act. After the cards were introduced in 1939, all cards were checked against the birth acts. Because of that, the cards contain very few errors.

The top row (fields 3-7) lists the name (Willempje Prins), date and place of birth (26 September 1856 in Huizen), the nationality (Ned[erlands], Dutch), the religion (not copied), and the occupation (zonder, without [occupation]). On the next row, the names of her the parents: Pieter [Prins] and Geertje Westland. Dates and places were left blank. Parents' birth dates are are usually not checked against acts of the civil register, so they may contain errors, or (as in this case) be absent.

The next row is for spouses. There is room for two spouses, if someone married more than twice the other spouses will be listed on the back. Willempje married only once, to Gijsbert Wiesenekker. The card lists the date of birth of Gijsbert (7 August 1855 in Huizen, province N[oord]H[olland]), the date of the marriage (4 February 1876 in Bussum), and the date the marriage ended (11 M[aa]rt, March, 1924). The O behind the latter date stands for Overlijden, decease: The marriage ended by death. In case of a divorce (scheiding), there would be an S behind the date.

The bottom half is for remarks and addresses. This part is only copied for older cards. On 8 (or 18?) June 1892, Willempje moved from Huizen to Bussum, address Veldheimerlaan 45. The remark dated 15 December 1941 is about her P[ersoons]B[ewijs], ID card, that became compulsory in 1941 (during the nazi occupation). Willempje's ID card had serial number 15475.

On the right is a block that is never copied when you order copies. On that spot, the death date is typed in (9 December 1942 in Bussum, this is typed in when your copy is made), and there is a short disclaimer.

Willempje had no live-in children when her card was made in 1939, otherwise they would have been listed on the back.


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