Sunday, April 4, 2010

Genealogy in the Netherlands: Primary sources after 1811 part II – Persoonskaarten

Last time I discussed Persoonslijsten as a primary source. This time I will be talking about its predecessor Persoonskaarten.

Persoonskaarten were introduced in 1938 and the introduction was complete in 1940. These cards hold a lot of primary information and sometimes some supplemental information. Persoonskaarten are available for everyone who was living in the Netherlands in the period 1938-1940 (some towns were faster with switching systems than others) and died before 1 October 1994. The card can be requested in writing by the Central Bureau for Genealogy in The Hague. (See for more information)

If there is a Persoonskaart of the person you’re interested in, you get a copy of the card. There are several boxes on the card, this is what you can find there:

On the front:

Box 1: Date the name and birth date and place were compared with the birth certificate of civil registry. In some cases, a person outside the Netherlands born, that comparison was not possible.

Box 2. Relation to the head of the household, such as husband, wife, father and mother.

Box 3. Surname (box 3a) and first names (box 3b).

Box 4. Date of birth and town where the birth took place.

Box 5. Nationality.

Box 7. Occupation and whether one job as head (h) or subordinate (o) was employed. Although changes in occupation had to be reported, this often didn’t happen so these data are often outdated.

Box 8. The names, birth places and dates of the parents. When in 1938/1939 the cards were made, it was not always possible to find information on the parents, especially the elderly, So this information is sometimes missing.

Boxes 9 and 10. Surname(s) and first name(s) of spouse(s.

Boxes 11 and 12. Birthdate(s) and place(s) of spouse(s).

Box 13. Date and place of marriage.

Blocks 14, 15 and 16. Date and place where the marriage was dissolved by death of partner (O) or divorce (S).

Box 22. Data on consecutive home addresses of person. The CBG is not allowed to provide the addresses of persons who died less than 20 years ago, in order to protect the privacy of the families, who often lived or still live at the same addresses.

The death date and place of the person which is noted on the back of the card is also printed on the front of the card.

The back of the card contains personal data mainly on the children. Usually children only appear on the card of the father. From the back you only get one copy if children are indeed mentioned. You will get the data:

Box 27. The date and manner in which the child left the family of the person on the other side. The way is indicated by a letter: A for departure (administratively removed), O for death, H for marriage.

Boxes 28 and 29. Surname and first names of the children.

Boxes 30 and 31. Birthplace and dates of the children.

Box 32. The ratio of children to the household, z for son, d for daughter, sd for stepdaughter and sz for stepson.

By the introduction of the card in 1938/1939 previous marriages of married persons weren’t always recorded and the children who were not living at home anymore were also often not recorded. Children did of course get their own individual card. This does not apply to children who were already deceased. On the back there are also sometimes other notations made, like naturalizations, but these are rare.

Some cards of deceased persons from the war years 1940-1945 have been lost during the war.

If you want to properly source a Persoonskaart, use this format: Persoonskaart: CBG, persoonskaart [first names and surname] ([year of birth]-[year of death]).
For an example of a persoonskaart and what can be gleaned from it, see Looking for Lamboo part II, in which I take a look at Adolph Knura’s persoonskaart to get information on HenriĆ«tte Geertruida Lamboo.

For other posts in this series, see the How-to Guide to Genealogy in the Netherlands.


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  2. JM, It sounds really easyto get a persoonskaart or a persoonlistjen on a person in the Netherlands. Are all people included? Or are some jusrisdictions more complete than others? Just curious.

    Thanks for a very interesting series.

  3. @Joan: All people are included, but there are some gaps. People who died during World War 2 are sometimes not included because their cards were lost during the war. Also, everyone who died in foreign countries are not included, although most times those cards can be requested from the city of The Hague, the information for that is on the website of the CBG, under FAQ. But basically, everyone that died after 1938-1940 is included.