Quick tip – Naming Traditions May Vary

Grandfather playing with his grandchild.

Many genealogists know that Dutch children were usually named after their grandparents. But the order in which children were named can vary between regions, religions and also in different periods. In some cases, the maternal grandmother took precedence over the paternal grandmother. Also, parents sometimes only named children after deceased … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overlijdensakte

Death record of stillborn child

An overlijdensakte is a death record. In most of the Netherlands, deaths have been recorded in death records of the civil registration since 1811. Before that, burial records kept by the churches are usually the best information available for finding out when someone died. Read more about death records. … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Immigrant Ancestors

Departure of an emigrant ship

This is my second post answering the questions asked by viewers of my "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about finding immigrant ancestors. A good general strategy for finding immigrant ancestors is outlined in my article How to find my immigrant ancestor in the Netherlands? How do you trace your … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The Dutch Language Changed a Lot

young man reading a book

The Dutch language changed a lot these past centuries. It's not just the script - the words themselves changed a lot too. Most Dutch people today struggle to understand a text from the 1600s, even if it's reprinted. This explains why automatic translators like Google Translate or Chrome struggle to understand archaic Dutch. They often don't … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Doodloper

Dead end nature.

A doodloper (literally: dead walker) is a dead end, a term Dutch genealogists use for an ancestor for whom we haven't found the parents yet. They are the end points in your family tree. A doodloper is similar to the English term "brick wall ancestor," but subtly different. "Brick wall" is generally used for ancestors who are seemingly impossible … [Read more...]

Source: Borgbrief (Bond letter)

View of Zundert, 1777

Before the mid 1800s, if you wanted to move to a new place, you had to provide proof that you would not be a liability to the town. You would be required to submit a bond letter to the authorities, wherein the poor administration or civil authorities of your previous town declared that they would take care of you if you became poor. These letters … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Ask a Local Expert

Genealogy: it's not just about looking for dead people but also about connecting with living people. Let's solve those brick walls together

If you're really stuck, try finding someone who is familiar with research in the area and ask them to take a second look at your brick wall. They may know about local naming traditions, obscure sources or notice unusual patterns. Just this week I was able to solve a client's brick wall using the knowledge of a local expert. I traced the New … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Proclamatieboek

Farm in Friesland

In the province of Friesland, a proclamatieboek is a register in which the court records the proclamations of real estate sales that took place. This allowed people who had Naastingsrecht the opportunity to match the purchase price and buy the property for themselves. Proclamatieboeken can be found in the archives of the local courts, which are … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Records

records in the archives

During the webinar "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors," the viewers had the most interesting questions. I got to address some of them during the webinar, but thought they all deserve a reply so I'm dedicating this post to answer some more. There were so many great questions that I will have inspiration for several follow-up articles, so please stay … [Read more...]

Researching Your Dutch Ancestors webinar now available online

Finding your Dutch ancestors

The recorded version of my webinar "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" is now available online. It will be available for free until Tuesday 22 September. After that, the recording will remain available for Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers. View the recorded webinar If you are a subscriber, you can view the recording anytime using the above … [Read more...]