New website about the Dutch in the Caribbean world

map showing plots next to a river

A new website is available: The Dutch in the Caribbean World C. 1670-C. 1870. The website has a guide to archival sources on the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean World and a summary of the relevant laws and regulations of the period. The references cover collections in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Curaçao, Suriname and Guyana, especially … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Let your browser translate for you

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

Some modern browsers, like Google Chrome, will automatically offer to translate a website for you if it's not in your language(s). You can use this to browse Dutch websites. Beware however, that sometimes names are accidentally translated as well. Mr. Koning could be represented as Mr. King, and a place name like Houten as Wooden. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: tussenvoegsel

portrait photo

A tussenvoegsel (literally: something put in between) is a prefix of a surname. Common prefixes are De (the) or Van den (from the). Tussenvoegsels are ignored when determining the alphabetical order, so De Vries can be found under the V. See the article about prefixes in surnames for more information. … [Read more...]

Marriage supplements: gateway to more information about your ancestors

Extract of the burial record of Gart Vossers

Since the introduction of the civil registration in 1811, a bride and groom had to submit several documents to prove they were eligible to get married. Not only do these records tell you when your ancestors were born, but they may also provide information about their physical appearance, death dates of parents and previous spouses or even of their … [Read more...]

Quick tip: privacy laws

Old photograph with the faces cut out

Privacy laws in the Netherlands are very strict. The law does not permit publication of information about people who may still be alive without their consent. As a rule of thumb, information for people born less than 100 years ago is not public and should not be available online. The same applies to official records. Birth records are public … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Landverhuizer

Emigrant ship leaving

The word landverhuizer means somebody who moved to another country. It's the term most 19th century records use when referring to emigrants. Knowing this term can help to find lists of emigrants ("staten van landverhuizers") in catalogs of repositories. Read more about landverhuizers in the column "Land movers." … [Read more...]

Top 10 most common Dutch surnames

Name cloud of the 100 most popular names

The ten most popular surnames in the Netherlands in 2007 were De Jong, Jansen, De Vries, Van den Berg, Van Dijk, Bakker, Janssen, Visser, Smit and Meijer. More than 5% of the people in the Netherlands had one of these ten last names. 1. De Jong (86,534 in 2007) De Jong literally means "The Young". Often used when two people in the same … [Read more...]

Quick tip: using genealogical search engines

woman holding a looking glass

Did you know that most genealogical websites in the Netherlands use a different search strategy than websites in the US? Most Dutch websites only find results that are a perfect match for your query. Each term you fill in acts as a filter for the results set and limits the chance of finding anything useful. The more you fill in, the less you … [Read more...]

Dutch term: schoonvader

Old man holding a baby

The current meaning of the term schoonvader is "father-in-law." In earlier records, the term is used more generally and can also mean stepfather. Just think of the term as "father by marriage," the marriage being either the one to the spouse (making his/her father the schoonvader) or the mother (making her husband the schoonvader). … [Read more...]

How to order my own birth certificate from the Netherlands?

Birth record with note in the margin

Almost every week, I get a question by someone who needs help obtaining his birth certificate from the Netherlands. Often, these are people who were born in the Netherlands but moved away and now need a birth certificate to get married or apply for citizenship. So I thought I'd explain how you can order your own birth certificate. Birth … [Read more...]