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Banner for the Dutch Genealogy Sinterklaas Giveaway

Sinterklaas Giveaway – Dutch Genealogy Webinar

On 5 December, we will celebrate Sinterklaas, the holiday of Saint Nicholas that inspired Santa Claus in other countries. Sinterklaas has already arrived and children all over the country are setting their shoe by the fireplace (or central heating) with a carrot for the horse of Sinterklaas, hoping that Sinterklaas and his helpers will give them some presents. Giveaway: Dutch Continue reading →

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two bronze monuments in the pavement

Stumbling Blocks – Remembering Debora Hedeman and Bertha Zilversmit

Last month, twenty bronze monuments were installed in my home town of Oldenzaal. They are Stolpersteine, “stumbling blocks,” about 10×10 cm (4×4″) large bronze stones inscribed with the name of a Jewish resident who was murdered during the Holocaust. They are placed in the pavement in front of the house where they last lived. These Stolpersteine Continue reading →

open wooden chest with letters

Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered: Amazing Collection of 17th Century Letters Rediscovered

The Museum voor Communicatie discovered an amazing treasure in their vaults: a box that belonged to a postmaster in the 17th century, filled with 2600 undelivered letters, 600 of which have never been opened. The letters came to The Hague from France, the Southern Netherlands and Spain. Dr David van der Linden, from the University of Groningen, Continue reading →

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Map of Friesland and Groningen

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Locations

This is my fourth and final post answering the questions asked by viewers of “Researching Your Dutch Ancestors” webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about locations. Are Holland and the Netherlands the same country? Holland is an alternative name used  for the Netherlands, but the official name is The Netherlands. View this video for an Continue reading →

Cemetery with a church in the background

A (Reverse) Witch Trial in Winterswijk

In the late medieval period, many unexplained phenomena were attributed to witchcraft. If a healthy child suddenly became ill or a cow would not give milk, the influence of witches was often suspected. Many people were persecuted and burned at the stake, particularly in the Southern Netherlands (current-day Belgium). By the 1600s, the hunt quieted Continue reading →

Tip of the week

White palace

Quick tip – Share Your Family Stories

Two weeks ago, I shared a story on this site’s Facebook page. Here’s what I wrote: My grandfather lived in one of the wings of this castle when he served on the staff of Prince Bernhard during the last months of World War II. Apeldoorn was liberated at the end of 1944 and became the Continue reading →

Term of the week

farm and shed

Dutch term – Horige

A horige is a serf or villain, an un-free farmer who was bound to the land. Serfdom started in the Middle Ages. In most parts of the Netherlands, it was abolished by the 1500s. In some parts, like the eastern parts of Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland, a diluted form of serfdom continued until the French occupation of 1795. Rights and Continue reading →