Top 5 sources for images to illustrate your Dutch family tree

Children peeling potatoes while wearing traditional costumes, 1946

Here are my favorite websites for finding images to illustrate your family tree. National Archives Photo collection The National Archives in The Hague has over 14 million photos in its collection, many from press offices, taken by professional photographers. Over a million photos have been scanned and made available in the photo collection part … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Always check the original record

Two man operating a rasp

My client wanted me to find interesting stories about her ancestors. Normally, that would have me scouring newspapers and court records, but only after I find the basic information about birth, marriages and death. The civil registration records are not the first place you would think to look for interesting stories, but sometimes they will give … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gezel

Etching of a carpenter at work

A gezel is a journeyman, a craftsman who had already finished basic training but had not passed his master's exam yet and had not been admitted to the guild. The term is also used to indicate someone who worked for a boss rather than having their own shop, so a gezel doesn't mean the person is young. You can find the word gezel used as a suffix … [Read more...]

How to obtain certified copies of birth, marriage or death records from the Netherlands

Information desk at the Amsterdam Civil Registration

I often receive requests by people who need to obtain official certificates of Dutch birth, marriage or death records for legal purposes. Obtaining certified copies is not a service I provide, so I will give you the instructions on how to do this yourself. Reasons for needing a certified copy There may be several reasons why you need an … [Read more...]

Quick tip – the meaning of Holland

Map of Holland (the province). Nicolaas Visscher, 1682 (public domain)

If you see "Holland" in a published source, like a book or an online tree, chances are that the person means the country of the Netherlands. If you see "Holland" in a Dutch record prior to 1840, Holland refers to the province by that name, in the west of the Netherlands. In 1840, the province was split into Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. As … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Doodgraver

Doodgraver

The term doodgraver literally means 'dead digger.' It is the person who digs the graves for the dead. In larger towns, this was a full-time occupation. In small towns, the church sometimes hired poor people to dig the graves, making them work for their allowance. A grave digger was not only supposed to dig the graves but also to collect any … [Read more...]

Source – Staten van Landverhuizers

Departure of an emigrant ship

In the 1840s, when religious tensions were high and crops were failing, many people left the Netherlands to start a new life in America. The national government wanted to know what was going on. Since 1848, they required each province to keep lists of emigrants, the "Staten van Landverhuizers" [tables of emigrants]. Between 1831 and 1847, … [Read more...]

Announcement – The Dutch in America Across the Centuries

Dutch in America Across the Centuries

Are you interested in Dutch immigration to the United States? Are you able to go to Albany, New York next September? If so, you're in luck, because there will be a conference, where researchers studying the New Netherland era and experts on the the 19th century immigration wave will come together to connect and compare information about the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Schepenbank

Aldermen's hall, Amsterdam, Willem Kok, J. de Jongh, 1793

The schepenbank is the bench of aldermen, or the aldermen's court. The schepenen were the officials who set on the bench. The schepenbank would serve as the magistrate and as a court of law. The term Schepenbank was not used in all regions. Other terms include nedergerecht (Friesland) or vierschaar (Zeeland). Schepenbanken with higher … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Am I related to Rembrandt van Rijn?

Titus, by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. Credits: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

After I wrote about my "great-aunt" Hendrickje Stoffels, the mistress of Rembrandt van Rijn, several people named Van Rijn have asked me if they could be descended from Rembrandt. The short answer? Sorry, no. Here's why. Rembrandt van Rijn had one lawful wife: Saskia van Uylenburgh. They had only one child who survived childhood: Titus van … [Read more...]