Sources for family search in Drenthe

Once you discovered that the roots of your ancestors are in the Dutch province of Drenthe (also written as Drente) you may have become interested to find more information of them. Or maybe you even know quite well that your grandparents or their parents emigrated from Drenthe to the current home country of your family but you don’t know if it would be possible still to find some information on the whereabouts of those previous generations. Quite large flows of emigrants went to the U.S., Canada and Australia in the past centuries to build there a new future.

When you – or maybe someone in your family – still masters a little bit of the Dutch language the information on this site and especially the links to other sites and search engines can be helpful in your search activities. For those who are not lucky to be able to find their way in the Dutch information on our website we made a brief explanation to the main sources that might help you in your family search.

Drents Archief – the provincial archive of Drenthe
All information on the provincial Archive of Drenthe, its collections, activities, incl a web shop

Drenlias – the main search engine on family data of Drenthe’s inhabitants
DrenLias is the database of the Provincial Archive of Drenthe for research on Drenthe’s population with several entrances. After 1811: the basic data from the birth, marriage and death cerificates. You can also find in the notarial deeds and memories of succession if your ancestors occupied real estate. 1600-1811: Church registers on baptism, marriages and burials are the main sources for family search in this period. These registers were kept from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Before 1600: Data on persons before 1600 can be found in charters. Cartago, the digital charter book of Groningen and Drenthe gives access to these sources. Charters are deeds that served as proof of legal acts.

Family names of Drenthe – the central web page to find family trees of especially family names of Drenthe
This is the page on the renowned site Genealogie Drenthe of Piet en Willeke Molema-Smitshoek providing the data of families from Drenthe with an index for the many family names collected so far. Anyone who is doing family research and who is open for exchange of data can ask to include a link to his or her site or an e-mail address (an own site is not required).

Emigranten database
This database of emigrants from Drenthe has been made by Arend Everts from Hoogeveen. He did research in the population registers of all 34 (previous) municipalities of Drenthe and adjacent ones in the provinces of Overijssel and Groningen concerning ‘persons left’  ('vertrokken personen') in the period 1840-1930. He verified the data collected with information in de archives of Holland, Grand Rapids, Orange City and Pella in the U.S. This site (in Dutch) contains the following tabs: 'Zoeken' (Search), 'Geslachtsnamen' (Family names), 'Bestemmingen' (Destinations), 'Achtergrondinformatie' (Background information).

Genlias – the national search engine on the Dutch population
This search engine concerns the national population register with information since the establishment of the register in 1811.  It covers the total Dutch population and is thus not specifically focused on the province of Drenthe. The search engine is accessible under the tab 'Zoeken in Genlias' (Searching in Genlias).

All local Historical Associations of Drenthe and their contact data
At the local level some 45 to 50 local historical associations exist in the province of Drenthe which activities are related to the history of their village, town or region and to genealogy. Many of them also have a website with local historical information or with family trees and their activities.


And moreover, for those who master the Dutch language, Drents Archief has made a very practical digital Genealogy guide available at
This guide “Drenten gezocht. Gids voor stamboomonderzoek in Drenthe” of  Redmer Alma and Paul Brood for people who want to start family search and other historical research in Drenthe is specifically focussed at sources in Drenthe. It can also be ordered in the webshop.