Quick tip: read ‘Holland’ instead of ‘Reusel-De Mierden’

photo of a church

Do you have ancestors from Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant? Chances are, they are not from this place but the place name was introduced by mistaken when software tried to resolve the place name 'Holland'. Read Was your ancestor born in Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant? Guess again! for more information. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Parenteel

Meerdink farm

Parenteel is the Dutch word for an overview of descendants in the male and female lines. A parenteel can be represented in a narrative form or in a chart. It can include people with many different last names, as the descendants of daughters and their spouses are traced too. Some Dutch genealogists publish parentelen online, so a search for the … [Read more...]

Column – Thought process

People lying sandbags near a river

Shortly after I started doing genealogy, a fellow researcher urged me to always document my sources. "You think now that you will remember where you've found everything, but there comes a time that you will have gathered so much that you won't remember the source." Wise words that I took to heart and that have proved to be invaluable. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Mind your immigrant ancestor’s neighbors

Log cabin

When you're trying to find the place of origin of your Dutch immigrant ancestor, be sure to check his neighbors too. Did any of them come from the Netherlands? On websites that allow you to search census records, like Ancestry.com or Ancestry.co.uk, you can often search for all people born in the Netherlands who lived in a certain place, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – ambtenaar

Town crier on a bike.

An ambtenaar is a civil servant or government employee. In civil registration records, you will often see an ambtenaar van de burgerlijke stand (clerk of the civil registration) officiating the marriage or registering the birth or death. During your research you can encounter ambtenaren in two ways: your ancestors may have been … [Read more...]

Tribute to Henk Hoitink (1914-2000)

Engagement picture

A hundred years ago today, a boy was born in Winterswijk, Gelderland. His parents, Gerrit Jan Hoitink and Willemina Berendina van Nijkerken, had just been married the year before. They named their son Hendrik, after Gerrit Jan's father, as was the local tradition. Informally, they called him Henk. Henk Hoitink was my grandfather. Henk … [Read more...]

Quick tip: find the origin of your name in name taking records

Name taking record of Jelmer Sipkes Sipma

If your family is from the northern provinces, or Jewish, you may find them in name taking records. When the civil registration was introduced, people who did not have a last name yet were required to record their last name. In such cases, the name taking record is often the earliest record you will find for your name. Sometimes, clues about the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – kerkenraad

Church council Zaamslag

The word kerkenraad or kerkeraad means church council that was responsible for the administration of the church. The minutes of the church council can be a rich source of information about members of the church. Read more about using church council minutes for your research. … [Read more...]

Review: Dutch Roots by Rob van Drie

Dutch Roots cover

Dutch Roots: Finding your ancestors in the Netherlands is a book written by one of the best-known genealogy educators in the Netherlands, Rob van Drie. Rob's experience shows in this 190-page book, that contains a comprehensive overview of the most important sources for genealogical research in the Netherlands. It is the first book about Dutch … [Read more...]

Quick tip: there is no letter y in the Dutch alphabet

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

The Dutch alphabet has a letter ij, not a y. Dutch names with a ij typically get spelled with a y in English, for example Dijkstra/Dykstra, Wijnveen/Wynveen. Next time you're having problems finding a person in a Dutch search engine, check that you've used the Dutch spelling. … [Read more...]