Suriname: Civil Registry

This is documentation in English on the database of the Civil Registry of Suriname, as it is published on the website of the National Archives Suriname: The database can be queried online. It also links to scans of the original certificates. The original sources are kept in the collection of the National Archives Suriname (archive no. 2.10.61).

Content of this page



The index Suriname: Civil Registry is made available under license terms agreed upon between the National Archives Suriname and Radboud University/Foundation HDS under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.


How to cite

Matthias Rosenbaum-Feldbrügge, Coen van Galen and Thunnis van Oort (2023). Burgerlijke Stand Suriname [Database].


What is the Civil Registry of Suriname?

Residents of Suriname are required by law to report every birth, death and marriage to a Civil Registrar. In this database you will find the declarations of birth, marriage and death (and later also of recognition and divorce) as recorded by the Civil Registry Officer. He wrote on the certificate who the declarant and witnesses were and the details about the newborn, the deceased or the married couple. These details can be looked up in the database. You can also view and download the scan of the corresponding deed.

In Suriname a Civil Registry was introduced in 1828 following the Dutch model. Unlike in the Netherlands, the Civil Registry did not immediately apply to the entire population. People in slavery were excluded; they were recorded in the separate slave registers. Only after the abolition of slavery on July 1, 1863, did they enter the Civil Registry.

Also missing until after World War II were most of the inhabitants of the interior. For a long time, civil servants worked only in the old colonial area: Paramaribo and the current districts of Wanica, Para, Commewijne, Saramacca, Coronie and Nickerie. Maroons and indigenous people were only registered if they had a child or died in those districts, or if they married someone who was already registered.

Currently, the birth certificates of Paramaribo are available for the period 1828-1921. Because very few free people were born outside Paramaribo before July 1, 1863, the birth certificates of the districts from the period between 1828 and 1863 are also included in the Paramaribo registers. You will also find those in this database.

Other (types of) certificates will be added later.



The search interface can be used in two ways: simple and advanced.

Simple search

Using the search field labeled "Vul je zoekterm in” (Enter your search term) the user queries the entire database, including all entries in the margins (“kantmeldingen”) and comments.

The query produces a list of all results in which the search term is mentioned. If you click on one of the results, you will get more information about the declaration and the persons involved. Behind each person you will see a chain icon. If you click on that, you will get a permanent link to the certificate. The right side of the screen shows a source reference and an image of the certificate. This allows the user to view and download the scan of the original certificate. The certificate contains additional information, such as the addresses and professions of those involved and their signatures.

Advanced Search

The “Uitgebreid zoeken” (advanced search) button allows the user to search separately by first name and last name. You can then also search by the role of each person: child, declarant, witness, father and mother). You can also enter information about two different persons, for example two different surnames. This will return results in which both surnames are mentioned (useful if you are looking for the children of a married couple, for example).

At the bottom of the “Advanced Search” screen, you will also see a number of filter buttons: “Geslacht” (sex), “District”, “Rol” (role) and “Periode” (period). You can use these to narrow your search, for example by searching only in a certain district, or by selecting only the role “aangever” (declarant). Then the search will only be done within that role.

Smart search

If you click on the "?" icon you will get several search tips for “smart search” (in Dutch).


Birth certificates 1828-1921

Which certificates can I find?

The birth certificates for the period 1828-1921 contain mainly certificates from Paramaribo. For the period up to 1864 there are also certificates from the districts.

What information can I find in the database?

General remark

When entering the data, the instruction was to copy the information as literally as possible from the deed. Even if the official made a mistake. Some deeds were not easy to read. When (parts) of the information were not readable or were missing, this is indicated with the following symbol: (...)

Information about the certificate

At the top of the screen and in the block above the scans you will find information about the National Archives of Suriname inventory number from which the certificate came, the number of the certificate, the date the certificate was created.


Of course, the most important information is that about the child born. For each child, you can search on:

  • the first or given name(s)
  • prefix
  • surname
  • date of birth
  • place of birth (usually the neighborhood letter and house number in Paramaribo)
  • gender

Personal names are divided into first names, prefixes (such as "van der") and last names. Only the first and last name are visible in the list of search results. The surname of the newborn child was not explicitly stated in the deed. If the child had been born in a legal marriage it was given the father’s surname and otherwise the mother’s surname. The surname was recorded as it was at birth. Subsequent changes can be found in the margin records (kantmeldingen).

Note: For contract workers from India or Java, the contract number was often used as the surname. A person may then have a "surname" like "425/Bb”.

Below the child’s name the date and place of birth is mentioned. Addresses in Paramaribo at that time were usually written down as a combination of a neighborhood designation: letters A through F or First or Second Buitenwijk (Suburb). This was followed by a house number. Often the name of the street was added.


  • given names
  • prefix
  • surname


  • the given names
  • prefix
  • surname
  • additional information mother (usually information about her marital status)

Declarant and witnesses

First names, prefix and surname are also available for these individuals.

Marginal entries (“kantmeldingen”)

If information needed to be added to a birth certificate at a later point in time, it was done in a separate text in the margins of the certificate. These separate entries in the margins are called "kantmeldingen” in Dutch. These entries usually provide information about name changes. If the child’s parents married after birth, the child’s surname changed. This also happened if the father acknowledged the child as his child or if someone chose a new surname. This happened quite often in Suriname, especially among families of contract workers, who did not have a surname upon arrival from India or Java. Other types of margin entries include the date of death of the child. It is also sometimes reported that a child born out of wedlock was recognized by the mother. In that case, the surname did not change.

Added remarks

For some deeds, the volunteers who transcribed the certificates added remarks. These often involved certificates that were so badly damaged that some of the information was missing. These comments sometimes contain remarks about the certificates, or additional information about persons mentioned in the deed, found in other sources such as the digitized Surinamese newspapers at This additional information has not been verified by third parties and its contents are beyond the responsibility of the administrators of the database.



Historical Database Suriname and the Caribbean

The Civil Registry of Suriname is being made public as part of the ongoing work of the Foundation Historical Database Suriname and the Caribbean. The goal is to make available archival information on the population of Suriname from the period 1828-1950 (

The project was conducted in cooperation with the National Archives of Suriname and the Netherlands, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, the Suriname Genealogy Foundation, Surinamese and Dutch students and more than 600 volunteers. The final database was compiled by Matthias Rosenbaum-Feldbrügge, Coen van Galen and Thunnis van Oort of Radboud University and was the basis of the index as it is now presented on the website of the National Archives of Suriname.

A word of thanks

The National Archives of Suriname and the Historical Database of Suriname and the Caribbean Foundation would like to extend special thanks to everyone who made this project possible with organizational support or by volunteering to help with the transcription of the Civil Records. The project was made financially possible with support from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the Platform Digital Infrastructure Social Science and Humanities (PDI-SSH).

Version 1.0 (May 25, 2023)

Logo's slave registers