Fighting in church

Aalten church. Photo: Yvette Hoitink

It is rare to find sources that show us the how our ancestors behaved in their every-day lives. Church council minutes can sometimes give us a glimpse. The church council minutes of Aalten are a good example. Church seats In Dutch Reformed Churches, most members had their own seats in the church. They would have benches built at their own … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Endogamy did not start after immigration

Bride and groom

People whose ancestors live in small Dutch immigrant settlements have probably noticed that many of them were distant cousins. The size of these communities limited the pool of potential spouses. Endogamy (marrying within the community, also known as 'kissing cousins') is not unusual. What most people don't realize, is that many of these … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bruid

Etch of an older man holding a woman's had

A bruid is a bride. Most women married for the first time in their mid to late twenties. If you see a woman who got married before the age of twenty, you will often find one of these circumstances to be the case: The bride is pregnant The bride is an orphan The groom is a widower with young children and the bride is his former maid. Of … [Read more...]

Becoming a full-time genealogist

Diving

For the past several years, I have combined a job as project manager at the National Archives in The Hague with being a freelance genealogist. There are only a few genealogists in the Netherlands who report in English and there are many people of Dutch descent who don't speak Dutch. As you can imagine, the demand for my services has been much … [Read more...]

Dutch name: Ten Hoeve

Dutch Names

Dutch Names is a new series of videos on Dutch Genealogy, where you can learn how to pronounce a Dutch name and learn about the origins of that name. The first episode features the name Ten Hoeve. Do you want me to feature your Dutch name in a future episode? Please leave a comment. Watch the video on Youtube View the slides on Slideboom … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Oogstmaand

August. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Oogstmaand literally means "harvest month" and is the old word for August. … [Read more...]

News from the Netherlands – July 2014

The orphanage at Batavia

‘News from the Netherlands’ is a monthly series to inform you about the best new websites, projects and books that help you find and understand your Dutch ancestors. Archives news The Zeeuws Archief, the Zeeland archives, have started a scanning-on-demand service. Visitors can queue records for digitization, which will be added to the Zeeuws … [Read more...]

Quick tip: addresses are a modern invention

K 3, now Badweg 8, in Winterswijk, 1992

Addresses that consist of a street name and a number are a relatively modern invention. Until the 19th century, many houses in the Netherlands did not have addresses but only street names, and often unofficial ones at that. You may encounter descriptions like "the house at the end of the Lily Canal, where the Boars hangs out," followed by a list of … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Trekschuit

Two people in harness drawing a barge

Trekschuit literally means "pull barge" and is a low-bottomed ship that was dragged along canals and rivers. In the waterlogged country that is The Netherlands, trekschuiten were one of the main forms of transportation for people and goods over longer distances, as roads were often so muddy that they were useless for most of the year. Most … [Read more...]

Column: One tree

People climbing trees for a better view

Familysearch allows you to collaborate on an integrated family tree that joins everyone, like a Wikipedia for deceased persons. The idea is that genealogists can reach consensus about people: about the dates and places of events, but more importantly about relationships between people. Users can cite or upload sources to support their … [Read more...]