Featured article

People climbing trees for a better view

Column: One tree

Familysearch allows you to collaborate on an integrated family tree that joins everyone, like a Wikipedia for deceased persons. The idea is that genealogists can reach consensus about people: about the dates and places of events, but more importantly about relationships between people. Users can cite or upload sources to support their conclusions. At first, I was enthusiastic. It Continue reading →

Featured article

Fortress of Elmina, coast of Guinea

Negroes for New Netherland

While searching the notarial archives at the Amsterdam City Archives, I came across a record that tells how Dutch merchants took African slaves from Guinea and shipped them to the New World, trading some in the West Indies and taking the rest to New Netherland. As it is rare to find accounts of voyages of slave vessels, I thought I Continue reading →

View of Calicut, India, 1665

News from the Netherlands – June 2014

‘News from the Netherlands’ is a new monthly series on this blog to inform you about the best new websites, projects and books that help you find and understand your Dutch ancestors. New websites The Brabants Historical Information Center has a new website (Dutch only). The ‘Stamboom’ [Family Tree] page has several indexes, some with scans Continue reading →

Featured article

Chromosome painting showing my admixture

My Native American DNA. Say what?

Always eager to try technological advances, I took an autosomal DNA test to see what that would tell me. One of the tools that you can use on Gedmatch tells you your admixture: the regions where your ancestors originally came from who contributed to your DNA. The methods to calculate this are still very much Continue reading →

Office of the notary

Column: (Re)searcher

When you’ve been going genealogy for many years, there are some brick walls that you’ve just about given up on because you’ve spent so many fruitless hours tearing them down. But it can be useful to re-evaluate them periodically. Not only will there be new sources available online, but your own skills will have grown Continue reading →

Tip of the week

Military recruits showing name signs

Quick tip: names change

“The past is a foreign country, they did things differently there.”1 One of the fundamental differences is the way that people were named. In many parts of the Netherlands, people did not have a hereditary surname until 1811. But even after 1811, names could get changed, for instance if someone emigrated or if the clerk Continue reading →

Term of the week

woman holding a looking glass

Dutch term – Toegang

The Dutch word toegang literally means “access” or “entrance.” In archival jargon, it means a finding aid that describes the content of a record group. For example, you can have a toegang on the records of the Dutch East India Company. Another word for toegang is inventaris. In source citations or search forms, you can encounter Continue reading →