Euryi the evolution of Financial Markets 1500-1800 > research unit: collection of debt contracts in eight towns of the Low Countries

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Euryi the evolution of Financial Markets 1500-1800 > research unit: collection of debt contracts in eight towns of the Low Countries

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EURYI - The evolution of Financial Markets 1500-1800

> research unit: collection of debt contracts in eight towns of the Low Countries

Period of research: 2008

Utrecht, notaries and aldermen's bench

Ralf Bovers; Rafke Engels; Matthijs Hoekstra; Lucas Pohling; Ruben Schalk; Yannick Slagter; Lieneke Westerink


Het Utrechts Archief / Stadsarchief II

City of research



Stadsarchief II - Rechterlijk archief

Registers van transporten en plechten tot 1579; Entry: 701-3

Registers van transporten en plechten. 1578-1792; Entry: 702-7

The deeds of the city archive are available on microfiche with the exception of the Plecht en procuratieboeken of 1503 and december 1540 – april 1541.

Het Notariële Archief stad Utrecht ; Entry: 34-4

The Utrecht archive is working on making all notarial deeds available via the internet ( ). It is in working progress, but already a considerable part is online.

This is the first archive we explored. Data entering was still in an experimenting phase as well was the form for entering data we had built for our Access dBase.

The research assignment was collection of:

1. The newly concluded debt contracts of cash loans (short and long term).

Not included: payment on installment, the sale of houses with a repay to the seller of the house, i.e. debts without transfers of a principal sum.

2. The transfers of annuities sold by local, provincial or central governments.

Files related to this report:

Excel: Utre-Sources and Totals.xls

First sheet: In this file all names of the notaries are entered giving further numers on: the totals of notaries, total of deeds and debt contracts.

Mark: the counts of debt contracts have still to be corrected with the actual amount in the dBase, this is indicative material.

For Utrecht the total of notaries working in Utrecht should be compared with the dBase of Christiaan van Bochove as at that time only the notaries - in most cases - who produced deeds were included.

Next sheet: totals per year of aldermen's bench protocols.

Access dBase: Utre-Nota and Aldr-1500-1780.mdb
Excel: Utre-Nota and Aldr-1500-1780.xls
Structure of report

Part I of the report concerns the notarial archive.

Part II concerns the aldermen's bench.
The reports consists of general comments of students on their findings while collecting data or on decisions how records were entered into the Access-form.

The general part is followed by comments on findings in specific procols and deeds.

For this city - Utrecht - being the first research target, these comments are extensive. The reason is that we agreed to report as much as possible on the surroundings of our debt contracts. These debt contracts do not stand on their own, they are a specific part of a broad spectrum of financial contracts. Many financial actions were registered in deeds concerning power of attorney, payment agreements solving a series of old debts, confirmation of redemption of old debts, attestations with compaints about defaults, transfers of private long term debts (losrenten), divisions of inheritances and other kind of inventories on assest. Students did sometimes report deeds on letters of exchange.


Until 1700 Utrecht used the Julian calendar which was about days behind the Gregorian calendar. In notarial deeds sometimes this is referred to as 'in oude stijl'.

After 1700 the Gregorian calendar was adopted.

Location of sources

Notarial deeds are in almost every case tied together in one book, the protocol. In some cases the deeds are numbered or the pages are numbered. Sometimes they are numbered as folio’s (which means that the whole page is numbered as one), and other times they are numbered normally. In the instance of numbering by folio, the folio’s are entered or given here as folio recto (r) and folio verso (v). Recto means the first page of the folio, or in other words, the right side. Verso is the other side, the left side. The handwriting of the notaries differs a lot. If we were not sure what was written, the text in the comments or fields in Access is given in brackets.

Parties in contract

When a man appeared before a notary or city council for himself and for his wife, we entered ‘married’ in the ‘civil status’ box in Access and did not specify the wife as a contractant. When the family of one of the parties was specifically mentioned in the deed, we entered ‘male (or female) and his family’ in the ‘gender’ box in Access.

Meaning of sums given in contracts

In the earlier benchmark years we found many deeds without information on principal sums. In such cases a yearly interst sum was given sometimes an interest rate. As long as two variables are available it should be possible to reconstruct the whole debt.

In the losrenten the formulation is standard: the contract of 'een jaerlixe rente' of xx guilders. This formulation has been interpreted as the yearly interest sum as is entered in the fields 'amount installment pounds/guilders' and ' amount installment stuivers'.

Part I - The Notarial archives


Notariële Archief stad Utrecht


Students: Ruben Schalk; Yannick Slagter
In this period one notary was found; he was an 'officiaal' in service of the episcopate. No debt contracts were found. The deeds were mainly written in Latin.

Students: Matthijs Hoekstra; Lieneke Westerink; Ralf Bovers

Comments on specific notaries or deeds

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  • Archive
  • Files related to this report
  • Structure of report Part I
  • Meaning of sums given in contracts
  • Part I - The Notarial archives Sources Notariële Archief stad Utrecht Entry
  • Comments on specific notaries or deeds

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