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destroyed city with one church still standing

The Josh Groban episode – the Dutch part

A couple of months ago, I was asked by the producers of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? to help with the final leg of Josh Groban’s journey to uncover the story of his ancestor Johann Jacob Zimmermann. They had found out in Germany that Zimmermann came to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on his Continue reading →

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maid scrubbing the pavement

Column – The right to be forgotten

A new European guideline ensures that citizens have the right to be forgotten. They can ask search engines to remove results that are no longer relevant. That will prevent your drunk selfie from appearing on the first page of search results the next time a potential employer searches for your name. The guideline is primarily aimed Continue reading →

Westerbork monument, the place from where most Jews were transported to the camps in Eastern Europe. Credits:

Ask Yvette – Are there any records of people who helped Jews in World War II?

Earlier this week, Kirk Payne wrote the following comment: I have a request that might stump you. My wife’s immediate ancestors immigrated to the US in the early 20th Century. Most of her great- and great-great Aunts and Uncles remained in the Netherlands. She had a cousin ask us if we’d seen any records showing her relatives Continue reading →

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Dome prison in Breda

Source – Prison Records

Ironically, it’s often the black sheep that bring the most color to our family trees. I love researching all the stories in my family, and prison records are a wonderful resource. History Before the French occupation (1795-1813), people were rarely imprisoned. Instead, criminals were hanged, banished, put in the pillory or sent to the work Continue reading →

Marriage of Henk Hoitink and Mien Woordes, 1942

What spouses promised each other

If you have ever read all of the text of an early civil registration marriage record, you may have read how the groom and the bride promised to fulfill the duties of a husband and wife towards each other as specified in Title 5, Chapter 6 of the Civil Code. So what does that actually mean? Continue reading →

Tip of the week

Old woman reading a newspaper holding a looking glass

Quick tip – The meaning of terms changed

Over time, the meaning of terms could change. For example, the term stiefvader [stepfather] now means the husband of your mother. But in past times, the word would be used for any type of father-by-marriage, including the father of the wife (now called schoonvader or father-in-law). To fully understand the meaning of a record, it Continue reading →

Term of the week

Doodgraver

Dutch term – Begraven

Begraven means to bury. People were usually buried two to five days after they died, sooner if there was an epidemic. Burials were recorded in the Begraafboek (burial book).