Dutch term: jongedochter

four women

"Jongedochter" literally means "young daughter". The term is most often used in marriage records, to indicate that the bride was a spinster; somebody who had not married before. Even though the word jong suggests differently, the use of the term had nothing to do with the age of the bride: even spinsters in their 50s could be called jongedochter. … [Read more...]

Column: land movers

poster showing people on a crate moving across the globe

In the nineteenth century, thousands of people emigrated from the area around Winterswijk to the United States. "Land movers", they were called. Some left because of their religion, most in the hope of a better future. Among them there were several siblings of ancestors of mine. Curious what happened to them, I contacted their offspring on the … [Read more...]

Case study: subtle clues in population registers

Population register

On the very first day I started doing genealogy, I found a birth record saying that my grandfather’s grandmother was born as an illegitimate child, father unknown. Three years later, her mother married and the groom acknowledged the child as his. The three-year-gap made me dismiss him as her biological father. In the 23 years since then, I’ve … [Read more...]

Dutch term: kadaster

map showing different plots around a church

The kadaster is the government body responsible for the registration of property (real estate). Introduced in 1832, the kadaster records the owners of all plots of land and ships. In addition, the kadaster records any rights attached to the property and any mortgages against the property. The kadaster information is used as the basis for property … [Read more...]

Quick tip: cleared graves

Grave of Dinant Hoitink

Did you know that in the Netherlands, graves are routinely cleared after a couple of decades? Graves cannot be bought, only rented. The usual period is 20-30 years. After that term is up, the grave is cleared if nobody renews the lease. … [Read more...]