Quick tip – Don’t go back too far too soon

When we go back in time, we often hit a brick wall for a person for whom we only know the name. Perhaps we find a marriage record that lists the father, or we find a name with a patronymic that suggests who the father was. It is very hard to find records if you only know a name. Often, names are not unique. There may be multiple people in the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Oogst

Oogst is the Dutch word for harvest. During harvest time, most schools in the countryside would be nearly empty because children were kept home from school to help with the harvest. This silent movie from 1939 shows you how traditional harvesting was done. Credits: Harvest time, by Polygoon-Profilti (producer) / Netherlands Institute … [Read more...]

The Bed-Wetting Colonist

Even after twenty-five years as a genealogist, I am often amazed of the level of detail we can find in archival records. Here is one of the things I ran across when searching for a New Netherland ancestor of a client. In 1652, the colony of New Netherland—which encompassed large parts of what is now the state of New York—was eager for new … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Apply Lessons Learned to Old Problems

The longer we do genealogy, the better we get. We'll learn about new sources and strategies that help us solve new problems that come across our paths. But we should not stop there: we should also periodically revisit our old problems and apply the lessons we have learned. Two years ago, I wrote an article about how to find the father of an … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Abdij

An abdij is an abbey. Especially during medieval times, abbeys were important land owners. Many of them owned large estates, farmed by tenants or serfs. In addition, they were often entitled to tithes of several properties, usually a percentage of the proceeds. The archives of these abbeys can sometimes give information about the earliest known … [Read more...]

How Taking Clients Made Me a Better Genealogist

I had been doing genealogy for over twenty years when I started taking paying clients. I had done pro bono work for friends, researching all over the Netherlands, but that was more in a coaching capacity and often did not require formal reporting. In the years since I started taking clients, my skills have grown. Here are five ways in which being a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch Genealogical CD-ROMs and DVDs

The Historic Future Foundation has digitized numerous Dutch genealogical magazines and publications which are available on CD-ROM or DVD. Their digital publications include: national magazines like Gens Nostra or the Nederlandsche Leeuw, regional magazines like the Brabantse Leeuw and Taxandria. year books by organizations like … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hollandse Waterlinie

De Hollandse Waterlinie (Holland Water Defense) was a uniquely Dutch defense system that combined large-scale inundations with strategically placed forts. In times of war, large sections would be inundated to prevent an approaching army from reaching the rich cities of the province of Holland. Some smaller scale inundations had been used in the … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Dealing with Records Loss in World War II

To celebrate 1,000 likes of Dutch Genealogy Services on Facebook, likers were invited to ask a research question for a free consultation. Some could quickly be answered on Facebook. Eric Schmidt asked a question that some of you may struggle with as well, so I thought I'd answer it in more detail. Eric asked: For years this is my brick wall … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Who owned the farm?

If your ancestors were farmers, try to find out who owned the farm. After 1832, you can check the Cadastre, before that time you can check real estate tax records or transport deeds in court records. Not many farmers owned their own farm. If they rented the farm from a rich or noble family, the archives of that family may have survived and may … [Read more...]