The Basics: A Guide
Tracing Genealogical Data in LDS Record System
How do I use civil registration? Let's use a case study. I know my grandfather was born in the mid 1880's and I know where he was born. If I have access to a Family History Centre (FHC) of the Mormon church (LDS), I go there and look up, in the library catalogue, the number of the film that covers the index for that period of time. The Mormon church usually has divided their index films into the following time periods (depending on the size of the municipality, of course): 1812-1842, 1843-1882, 1883-1912, 1913-1940.
Let's say that my grandfather was born in Benschop, province of Utrecht. I would look up the civil registration records for Benschop and find the film number for the index from 1883 to 1912. The FHC charges a small fee for ordering the film from Salt Lake City (usually about $4.25 for a month). In a couple of weeks the film comes in and I check the birth index for all Van Doorn (this is the family I want) registrations. I find that there are 5 registrations from 1883 to 1892, including an Anthonie in 1884 (Anthonie is the name for which I am looking). I now order the film that has the births for 1884 on it. This film may cover a period from 2 to 10 years depending on the municipality.
When the film comes in, not only get the information on your direct forebear, but also the information on any siblings (I will talk later about the importance of sibling information). There is usually an index for each year, either at the beginning or the end of the register for that year.
Looking at the index for 1884 I find that Anthonie is listed in act number 24. I turn to act 24 and find the actual birth date of Anthonie. I also find the names of his parents, his father's age and occupation. I now recheck the index film 1883-1912 to see if Anthonie's parents married in that period of time. They did not so I now order the index film for 1843-1882 for Benschop. On this film I find that Anthonie's parents married in 1879. Rather than order the marriage film for 1879 I order the 'trouwbijlagen' (marriage supplements) film because I will find much more information there.
From the marriage supplement film I find the birth dates of Anthonie's parents, the names of Anthonie's grandparents and even of his great-grandparents. I also find a copy of Anthonie's father's fulfillment of his militia duty. Sometimes the certificate of militia duty includes a physical description - hair colour, colour of eyes, height, nose. With all these names and dates I can now go back further in time by repeating the above procedures. Next time I am going to talk about records from before 1812.