Featured article

Children in class

Could You Have Been a Teacher in the 19th Century?

During my research into one of my relatives who was a teacher in the 19th century, I came across some math problems published in a newsletter for teachers. These questions were used during examinations of assistant teachers at elementary schools in 1878. People taking the assistant teachers’ exam were usually around 18 years old, had finished their own Continue reading →

Featured article

Girls looking at a Christmas tree

The ultimate Christmas gift – get it now (yes, really!)

Imagine your family opening a package next Christmas and finding a book about their ancestors. Perhaps they will see their grandparents’ marriage record, complete with their signatures. They turn the page to find a postcard from the street where grandmother grew up and a photograph of the church where her family worshiped for centuries. Military records show that great-grandpa Continue reading →

School photo of my grandfather in the 1920s

Quick tip – Share your mysteries online

If you have family traditions that you’re unsure about, or have questions about your family, try sharing that online in a place where your family members can read about it. You may get the answers to your question. Two years ago, I wrote a tribute to my grandfather on this blog. In the post, I Continue reading →

Featured article

archivist in an archive

Five Things I Learned From Working With Archivists

During the past twenty years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some wonderful archivists on a range of projects, both in my previous job as IT consultant and project manager at the National Archives and in my current occupation as professional genealogist. I’m not an archivist myself, but picked up some useful tips from Continue reading →

Dutch women in traditional costume in a carousel

Dutch term – Kermis

The kermis is the carnival. Most towns have a carnival once of twice a year. The kermis was traditionally a time of courtship, where young folks got together. Some areas had a fair, where young women would line up and young men would select the girl of their choice to take to the carnival and Continue reading →

Tip of the week

Church surrounded by graves

Quick tip – No Cousin is Too Distant to Have the Information You Need

When corresponding with cousins about genealogy, we tend to stick to the close ones: first or second cousins, maybe a third cousin, with the occasional once or twice removed. I recently solved a puzzle using a letter shared to me by a fifth cousin twice removed. I was trying to resolve a conflict in death Continue reading →

Term of the week

workers in a factory hall

Dutch term – failliet and faillissement

Failliet means bankrupt; faillissement means bankruptcy. You can often find announcements of bankruptcies in newspapers, and you can then find the corresponding court case in the court records in the provincial archives. These may give you an insight in the business relationships of your ancestor.