The Dutch bureau for genealogy has handed personal and privacy-sensitive information relating to millions of Dutch citizens to the Mormon church in Salt Lake City, Trouw reports on Wednesday.
The bureau has admitted handing over copies of the death registrations of everyone who died in the Netherlands between 1939 and 1970, the paper says.
The card system was used before the introduction of the centralised births, marriages and deaths registry. The cards include details of whether or not someone had been in prison, had had psychiatric help or lived off social security benefits as well as the names of partners and children.
The archivist responsible for the decision to hand over the information to the Mormons has since retired. The director of the bureau told Trouw the organisation considers the Salt Lake City archive as a reserve. ‘Imagine if our own collection was damaged by fire or water,’ Leo Voogt is quoted as saying. ‘Then those copies will be useful.’
Nevertheless, such an agreement would never be made now, given the different attitude to privacy these days, Voogt told the paper.
In May, Trouw reported several members of the Dutch royal family have been posthumously ‘baptised’ into the Mormon church.
Church documents show prince Claus, prince Bernhard and princess Juliana were all ‘baptised’ as Mormons after their deaths. Mormons believe the proxy baptism ritual allows deceased people from other religions to enter the afterlife.
In addition, the paper reported 12 Dutch provinces received an offer from the Mormon church to digitally scan all their births, marriages and deaths records for use on computers, free of charge.
However, the aim of this is to collect more names to baptise by proxy, the paper said at the time.
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