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Allied soldier hugged by girls.

My Great-Aunt’s Polish Lover

Seventy years ago today, on 29 October 1944, the city of Breda in the Netherlands was liberated by the Polish Panzer Division. For the people of Breda, World War II had come to an end. Everybody was celebrating and girls flocked around the tanks to thank the brave men who had freed them from the Continue reading →

Featured article

Fragment of a plat map of Clymer, Chautauqua county, New York in 1880, showing several Achterhoek names

Lecture – From the Achterhoek to America

Last week, I gave a lecture about emigration from the Achterhoek to America in the 19th century. I was invited by the historical society of Aalten, Dinxperlo and Wisch, of which I am a member. The interest was overwhelming, they kept having to find more chairs to seat everyone. The Achterhoek is the eastern part Continue reading →

Manning the APG booth at Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Glasgow, August 2014.

Nominated for APG board

I have been nominated for a position on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). What an honor! APG members can cast their votes in the members-only section of the APG website between 15 October and 2 November. The Association of Professional Genealogists is “an international organization dedicated to supporting those Continue reading →

Featured article

Archives Portal Europe homepage

Column – portals

Portals are websites that provide a single point of access to content of different suppliers. Often, search results in a portal will lead you to the pages of the participating organizations but often you don’t even realize that the data is aggregated from different sources behind the scenes. In the world of archives, portals are pretty Continue reading →

Mother with baby and child

How to find the father of an illegitimate child

In most families, sooner or later you will encounter a child born to an unwed mother. Finding the fathers of these ‘illegitimate’ children can be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. I’ve researched dozens of these cases, both in my own tree and for clients. In four cases, I have been able to prove who the father was. In two other Continue reading →

Tip of the week

Border near Dinxperlo. Postcard (public domain)

Quick tip – Don’t trust the archivist! (at least: not blindly)

Earlier this year, I emailed an archivist in Germany to ask about the sources that might be available for my 18th century ancestor. The archive is 2.5 hours from where I live, so I didn’t want to drive there for nothing. Unfortunately, the archivist informed me that the town hall had been bombed in World War Continue reading →

Term of the week

Farmer

Dutch term – Landbouwer

A landbouwer is a farmer. There are several related terms that you may encounter in the records: Boer (farmer) Boerenknecht (farm hand) Landgebruiker (literally: land user, often a tenant farmer) Landman (farmer) Bouwman (farmer) Akkerbouwer (field farmer) Veehouder (cattle holder) Varkenshouder (pig holder) Graanboer (grain farmer) Most farmers did not own the farms they worked on. Many were Continue reading →