Quick tip: try spelling variations

Girl writing in a notebook

Even after the introduction of the civil registration, but especially in earlier records, there may be spelling variations of a name. A woman may be called Elizabeth or Elisabeth, her last name might be written as Jansen or Janssen. Especially since most Dutch search engines only find exact matches, it is important to try different spelling … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bevrijding

Allied soldier hugged by girls.

Bevrijding means 'liberation.' On 5 May 1945, the Netherlands was liberated from the German occupation. Every year on this day, we celebrate "Bevrijdingsdag" (Liberation Day) to commemorate this event. … [Read more...]

Column: Best find

Monument

When you are at a birthday party and tell people you are into genealogy, the first question you often get is "How far back were you able to go?" If they haven't lost all interest after hearing your stories about tracing some lines to the Middle Ages and getting stuck on some illegitimate children in the 19th century on other lines, a second … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Languages that may come in handy

medieval manuscript

These languages will come in handy when researching your ancestors from the Netherlands. Dutch Not surprisingly, most records in the Netherlands have been written in Dutch. French During the French occupation (1795-1813), most government records were written in French, including early civil registration records. German During World War II … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bode

Messenger

A bode was a messenger, which can sound like an errant boy but it was a far more important function than that. The best approximation is probably a bailiff, someone charged with delivering important documents and news and making sure that the other party receives it. They had a wide array of tasks, ranging from taking messages to organizing public … [Read more...]

Frisian Roots part 1: Ferwerda emigrants

Cheryl near the Baard cemetery

This week, I am in Friesland with one of my clients, Roberta Estes. Roberta is visiting Friesland together with her husband Jim Kvochick and first cousin once removed Cheryl Ferverda. Roberta and Cheryl are descendants of Harmen Baukes Ferwerda, a Frisian who emigrated to Indiana in 1868. Cheryl is his granddaughter, Roberta is his … [Read more...]

And the winner is…

Opening gifts

In honor of King's Day, celebrated today for the first time ever, we organized a giveaway of the book 'Dutch Roots' for subscribers of the Dutch Genealogy Newsletter. Many new people subscribed (welcome!). A winner was randomly selected from all the subscribers. … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette: Resolving Conflicting Evidence in Early Civil Registration Records

Houses along a canal

Since the introduction of the civil registration (in 1811 in most part of the Netherlands), everybody was supposed to have a fixed name. Everybody who did not have a surname, was required to take a name and have that recorded. The reality was not always so neat. Especially in regions where many people did not have surnames before 1811, like … [Read more...]

Quick tip: There is no village called ‘Burgerlijke Stand’

Windmill during a water surge

In some of the records at Familysearch, the place of birth is listed as 'Burgerlijke Stand' followed by the name of a municipality in the Netherlands. 'Burgerlijke Stand' means 'Civil Registration' and is not a location. The way it is included in the record sets on Familysearch makes it look like a village. When these records were imported by … [Read more...]

Dutch term – wijlen

Grave of Gerrit Jan Droppers (1845-1925)

The term wijlen means 'the late,' or 'deceased.' You will often encounter the term in marriage records or death records, where one or both parents are deceased. The record might say "zoon van wijlen..." [son of the late...] or "dochter van wijlen..." [daughter of the late...]. Sometimes, the word is abbreviated to 'w' and you will see svw or … [Read more...]