HSN Data sources
Almost every certificate of birth, marriage and death ever filed in the Netherlands is still available, as each was made in duplicate. The original remained in the municipality, and the copy was sent to the registry of the county court after the closing of the register on December 31 of each year. The duplicates have been assembled in the provincial archives, at least for the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The certificates used for the HSN database are from the period after 1812. In 1810 French civil law was introduced in the Netherlands as a consequence of the annexation of the Netherlands by the French Empire. The Code Napoléon provided for the standardised recording of vital events in certificates. These certificates served an essential legal function by recording the changes in individual status occuring through birth, marriage, divorce and death.
At varying dates in the course of the year 1811 Dutch municipalities introduced civil registration. In the first decades of the 19th century the rules for registration were not always unambiguous, leading to great local diversity in interpretation.
In 1838 the Dutch Civil Code was introduced and remained valid until 1970, with only small alterations. From 1838 onwards, the certificates show much greater uniformity than in the period 1811 to 1838.
The certificates had to be drawn up in the municipality where the vital event occurred. Three types of persons named in the certificates fulfilled separate and clearly described tasks: