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Computer demonstration, 1966

Column – Everything online?

About twenty years ago, I gave a lecture about internet genealogy. Internet was in its infancy. I could answer the question “Do you think archives will ever put everything online?” with a negative. The hundreds of miles of archives would be too extensive to digitize. I also figured that repositories would be hesitant to give up their monopoly on records Continue reading →

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Grandfather playing with his grandchild.

Quick tip – Naming Traditions May Vary

Many genealogists know that Dutch children were usually named after their grandparents. But the order in which children were named can vary between regions, religions and also in different periods. In some cases, the maternal grandmother took precedence over the paternal grandmother. Also, parents sometimes only named children after deceased family members. For example, in Continue reading →

Death record of stillborn child

Dutch term – Overlijdensakte

An overlijdensakte is a death record. In most of the Netherlands, deaths have been recorded in death records of the civil registration since 1811. Before that, burial records kept by the churches are usually the best information available for finding out when someone died. Read more about death records.

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Departure of an emigrant ship

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Immigrant Ancestors

This is my second post answering the questions asked by viewers of “Researching Your Dutch Ancestors” webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about finding immigrant ancestors. A good general strategy for finding immigrant ancestors is outlined in my article How to find my immigrant ancestor in the Netherlands? How do you trace your Dutch ancestor Continue reading →

View of Zundert, 1777

Source: Borgbrief (Bond letter)

Before the mid 1800s, if you wanted to move to a new place, you had to provide proof that you would not be a liability to the town. You would be required to submit a bond letter to the authorities, wherein the poor administration or civil authorities of your previous town declared that they would take care of Continue reading →

Tip of the week

young man reading a book

Quick tip – The Dutch Language Changed a Lot

The Dutch language changed a lot these past centuries. It’s not just the script – the words themselves changed a lot too. Most Dutch people today struggle to understand a text from the 1600s, even if it’s reprinted. This explains why automatic translators like Google Translate or Chrome struggle to understand archaic Dutch. They often Continue reading →

Term of the week

Dead end nature.

Dutch term – Doodloper

A doodloper (literally: dead walker) is a dead end, a term Dutch genealogists use for an ancestor for whom we haven’t found the parents yet. They are the end points in your family tree. A doodloper is similar to the English term “brick wall ancestor,” but subtly different. “Brick wall” is generally used for ancestors who are Continue reading →