Identification cards (1896-1901)
Identification cards, including photograph and description of physical appearance, have been made of a small part of the beggars. On the page inhabitants you will find more information and an overview of these identification cards. The data originates from entry 0137.01 inventory nr 339.

Orphans registers
In this source there are 8,900 ‘orphans, foundlings and deserted children’ who were placed in Veenhuizen on the basis of a contract between the government and the Society of Benevolence. This data originates from

  • entry 0186 inventory nr 1571 (orphans Veenhuizen-1 1824-1828)
  • entry 0186 inventory nr 1572 (orphans Veenhuizen-3 1825-1828)
  • entry 0186 inventory nr 1410 (all orphans 1829-1830)
  • entry 0186 inventory nr 1411 (all orphans 1831-1834)
  • entry 0186 inventory nr 1412 (orphans with number 1-1200 1835-1859)
  • entry 0186 inventory nr 1413 (orphans with number 1201 and higher 1835-1859)
  • entry 0137.01 inventory nr 652, from which only the children who were there or came after 1859 are included

Civil status
When you were born, married or passed away as an inhabitant in the colony, this was noted in the civil status of the relevant municipality. The free colonies were located in different municipalities or even provinces. The data from Frederiksoord were kept by the Vledder municipality. Veenhuizen was located in the municipality of Norg. The Institute of Agricultural Education in Wateren was part of the municipality of Diever.

The Society of Benevolence did not care about municipality and province borders when founding a new colony. The colonies were spread over both Drenthe, Friesland and Overijssel. At this moment only the data from Drenthe can be found on the search engine. In future data from civil status and  population registers from Friesland and Overijssel will be added as well. These are the data of the colonies Ommerschans, Willemsoord and Wilhelminaoord.

Population registers
The municipal population administration is an important source of information for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular for the research on people from the period in which the civil status records are not fully publicly available (from 1912 onwards) and for tracing relatives who have moved. The population registers provide more coherent information: the birth, marriage, deaths and departure data of all family members are together on one sheet or card. The administration was established in 1850 and continued until 1939, when it was transferred to personal cards (which are present at the Central Bureau for Genealogy in The Hague). The population register was usually not organized alphabetically, but by neighbourhood or district. The data of Veenhuizen and Wateren can be found in the population registers of the municipality of Norg, those of Frederiksoord in the population registers of the municipality of Vledder.
The data originates from

  • Entry¬† 2001.16 inventory nrs 34 t/m 79 (Veenhuizen and Wateren)
  • Entry 2002.28 inventory nrs 4,7,11, 21 t/m 24 (Frederiksoord)

Geneological registers free colonies
This is data about the free colonists and classified people in Frederiksoord, Willemsoord en Wilhelminaoord. They come from the programme Kolarin from the museum The Koloniehof in Frederiksoord. A group of volonteers spent over 15 years entering these data in a computer system. Allekolonisten.nl contains all data from the geneological registers of the Society of Benevolence, except for persons born after 1904 that are not known to have died.

Incoming correspondence
The incoming correspondence of the Permanent Committee of the Society of Benevolence in the period 1818-1847 has become accessible by sender and by names of persons mentioned in the letters. These data have been entered by volunteers of the Drents Archives among others. For every letter it is possible to have a look at the accessory scan.


All residents and personnel from the colonies of the Society of Benevolence and the 'Rijkswerkinstellingen' (National Employment Agencies) can be found in the registration registers. On the 'manual search' page you will find a search guide and links to the scans of the registration registers.

Beggars Ommerschans 1865-1890
Only details of the beggars of Veenhuizen can be found in the search engine. The data of beggars in the Ommerschans can be found via the manual search page and in entry 0137.01 inventory nrs 447 to 464.

The data of orphans who came to the colony on private contracts with poor boards are not indicated and can therefore not be found through the search engine. Orphans that came to the colonies on a state contract however, can be found in the registers. From 1829 onwards they are in the book with all persons placed on a private contract, inventory nr 1389, with the alphabetical register inventory nr 1390. Those who were there from 1824 till 1832 are in inventory nr 1571 and 1573. After that, there is a gap, but from about 1845 the orphans on private contract are listed in entry 0137.01 inventory nr 652.

What cannot be found on Allekolonisten.nl

Civil status registry
At the moment it is only possible to find the civil status records of places in Drenthe using the search guide. In future, the Drents Archives also wants to add the civil status records of the Frisian and Overijssel locations to the search guide. It concerns the following places:

  • Overijssel: Avereest, Ommen Stad and Ambt Ommen (the Ommerschans), Steenwijkerwold (almost all of Willemsoord).
  • Friesland: Weststellingwerf (Wilhelminaoord and a small part of Willemsoord).

Outgoing correspondence
Because of the material state, it is not possible to digitize the outgoing letters of the Society of Benevolence. Information however can be found in the reading room of the Drents Archives. The opening hours of the reading room can be found on the website of the Drents Archives.

Orphans on private contract 1832 to 1845
No separate information was kept on orphans who came to the colonies under private contract in the period 1832 and 1845. However, these children can be found in an overview of each colony resident that came to the colonies on a private contract. This overview can be found in entry 0186 inventory nr 1389.

Belgian colonies Wortel and Merksplas

Until 1993, tens of thousands of 'vagabonds' (who we would now call the unemployed homeless) were sent to Wortel- or Merksplas-Colonie and temporarily forced to work in a healthy green environment. The idea was that they should be re-educated here to become docile and hardworking citizens. Thousands of Belgians therefore descend from people who lived in the Wortel- or Merksplas-Colonie. Maybe you too?! Was one of your ancestors a vagabond? Dive into this online search module and find out for yourself!