Dutch term: Nieuwjaar

The term Nieuwjaar means 'new year.' If you want to wish people in the Netherlands 'Happy new year,' you say 'Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!' The new year did not always start on January 1st. During the French occupation (1795-1815), the year started on 22 September. During the Middle Ages, some people used the Christmas style while others used the Eastern … [Read more...]

Looking back on 2013

Who Do You Think You Are Live in 2013

The end of the year is fast approaching. And what a year it has been! One of my first highlights of the year was attending Who Do You Think You Are Live in London in February. I was able to stay with an American friend/cousin who was living in the UK at the time. I had not seen her in person since 1997 and was so happy to see her again and … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Beware that you don’t translate names

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

Many genealogists who don't speak Dutch use Google Translate or Chrome to translate Dutch websites into English. But sometimes, these programs translate more than you want. A person named Van der Molen might become From the Mill or a Dhr. Timmerman becomes Mr. Carpenter. The same could happen with geographical names: a village called De Rijp … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Kerstmis

Family around a Christmas tree, with presents

The word Kerstmis means Christmas. Traditionally, Christmas was celebrated in the Netherlands by going to to church and celebrating at home by having extra nice food. Dutch people did not give each other gifts for Christmas, as that was done on St. Nicholas' Eve (5 December). Over the last couple of years, Christmas has grown in popularity in … [Read more...]

Source: church council minutes

Church council Zaamslag

Protestant or Reformed churches have a church council that administers the church. The church council consists of the minister, the elders and deacons. Some churches also appointed guardians who were responsible for the management of the church estates. Especially in earlier centuries, the council was involved with all aspects of the lives … [Read more...]

Quick tip: mind the suffixes of the name

Name cloud of the 100 most popular names

Did you know that different types of names were particular to different areas of the Netherlands? For example, names with an -ink suffix like Hoitink are typical for the eastern part of the Netherlands while names with a -stra suffix are typical for the north. Read more about suffixes in surnames. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: stamboom

Kwartierstaat of Jan van de Poll, 1749

A stamboom is a family tree. Dutch genealogists will say that they practice stamboomonderzoek [family tree research] when they are asked about their hobbies. Searching for your family name in combination with the word stamboom in a search engine may lead you to Dutch publications about your family. … [Read more...]

Looking for census records in the Netherlands?

Population register

In many countries, census records are a popular source for genealogical research. In the Netherlands, we use population registersĀ or civil registration records instead. After the census of 1849, the government decided to keep the information up to date. These records are called population registers and show where a family lived in a certain … [Read more...]

Quick tip: get notified about the English version of WieWasWie

WieWasWie logo

WieWasWie is the most comprehensive website with Dutch genealogical records. An English version is in the works. You can now leave your email address and get notified when the English version is available. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: geboorteakte

Birth record with note in the margin

A geboorteakte is a birth record. Births have been recorded by the government since 1811 (or 1794-1795 in parts of Limburg and Zeeland). Birth records of people born more than 100 years ago are public. Read more about using birth records to find your Dutch ancestors. … [Read more...]