About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

Dutch term – Geslacht

Old farm with a driveway

The word geslacht has two meanings: Gender/sex. "Man" or "mannelijk" is male "Vrouw" or "vrouwelijk" is female "Beide" is both "Onbekend" is unknown. Family/house ("Het geslacht Hoitink" = the house of Hoitink). This meaning of geslacht is slightly archaic, a more contemporary way to say this would be "De familie Hoitink" [the … [Read more...]

Source – Prison Records

Dome prison in Breda

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 house. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check your photos. Again.

Marriage of Henk Hoitink and Mien Woordes, 1942

Last week, I wrote a post about What spouses promised each other, in which I used a photograph of my grandparents' wedding. When browsing my Facebook feed, the story came up and I looked at the photo just like I would at any other photo. And there he was. My great-great-grandfather. Next to my grandfather sits his mother. Then, an empty … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Naastingsrecht

Town crier

Naastingsrecht was the right to have the first option of buying a property. Whenever a property was sold, a person who had naastingsrecht could match the purchase price and buy the property for himself, cancelling the original sale. Different parts of the Netherlands had different variations of this right. In most regions, next of kin had … [Read more...]

What spouses promised each other

Marriage of Henk Hoitink and Mien Woordes, 1942

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? Here is what the law of 1823 says about that. Of the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Not many Dutch DNA cousins

DNA spiral

When you take a DNA-test for genealogical purposes, don't be surprised if you don't find many Dutch matches. Because DNA testing isn't very popular in the Netherlands, there will be few Dutch people in the databases. So not finding many Dutch matches doesn't mean that your paper trail that shows a Dutch ancestor is wrong. Why DNA testing isn't … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Weesmeester

Jacob Gerritsz van der Mij, orphan master in Leiden. Image credits: Geheugen van Nederland

A weesmeester was a government official charged with overseeing the administration of the estates of orphans. They were usually appointed by the city government. Weesmeesters worked for the Weeskamer. Read the article about Weeskamers for more information. … [Read more...]

What is your earliest Dutch family photograph?

Hendrik Hoitink and Johanna Piek

In the Netherlands, photography took off much later than in countries like the US or the UK. As a result, many of us only have family photographs going back to the early 1900s. So I was wondering, what is your earliest photograph? Please leave a link in the comments or post the image to the comments on this article on … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Your ancestors may have gotten older than you think

Hendrik Hoitink and Johanna Piek

Many people think that people died a lot younger in earlier centuries. While poor healthcare, contagious diseases, risks of childbirth and dangers at sea certainly took many of our ancestors before their time, several of them lived to be quite old. The main reason that the average lifespan was shorter than today is because of infant mortality. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – slager

butcher cleaving the meat

A slager is a butcher. An old term for slager is 'vleeshouwer' or 'vleeschhouwer' (literally: meat cleaver). Poor people did not often eat meat. One of the recurring themes in letters written by emigrants to the United States is their surprise that everyone is able to afford eating meat. These 'spekbrieven' [bacon letters] are one of the reasons … [Read more...]