Direct, indirect, and negative evidence

In genealogy, we may have direct, indirect, and negative evidence for research questions. Direct evidence is like a light that shines on the possible answer. It answers the research question directly, though the answer may be partial or even incorrect. Indirect evidence is like a light that hits a mirror before it shines on the possible answer. The light wouldn't illuminate the answer if it did not hit something else first. We always need to use indirect evidence in combination with … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Canon of the Netherlands

Historians have compiled a Canon of the Netherlands; a list of fifty canonical events that everyone who is interested in the history of the Netherlands should know. This list was revised last year. The Canon website has the fifty events with background information, which is available in English. Some of the material for students, such as animations, lesson plans, and suggestions for further reading, is only available in Dutch. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Krijgsraad

Krijgsraad means "court martial." You may find a reference to a court martial in your ancestor's military records if they made severe transgressions. If the person was sentenced to a prison sentence, prison records may also refer to the court martial verdict. Court martial records are typically kept in the regional historical center in the provincial capital. … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for December 2021

This is an overview of the new website projects, and other news announced last month. Sources Over 250,000 newspapers were added to Delpher, including many regional newspapers. The guild records of Breda are now available via the Breda City Archives website. Search for gilde*  to get an overview of all the guild records. Then click a record group and press "hele toegang" [whole finidng aid]. If you select a call number, you will see the scans. Press photos of the De Boer press agency … [Read more...]

Records that became public in 2022

Happy New Year everybody! Many records become public after 20, 25, 50, 75, or 100 years. Here is an overview of some of the records that became public as of 1 January 2022. Exceptions may exist for records that involve people that could still be alive. Just because records are public does not mean they are immediately available online. Some archives digitize the birth, marriage, and death records immediately, others do not. Some records will be online, some may be ordered via scanning on … [Read more...]

Top 10 posts for 2021

I continued my streak in 2021, writing at least two blog posts per week. These were the ten most popular blog posts this year. Interestingly, four of the articles are from 2005, when I started this blog. I wrote several articles that I thought would help people, and apparently they still do. Only one of the most popular posts was written this year. 1. Top 10 most common Dutch surnames (2013) This has been the most popular post on my blog since I wrote it in 2013. This post by itself … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Heden

Heden means "on this day." You may encounter this term in birth or death records, in family announcements in newspapers, or in any other document where the date is also found elsewhere. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find places of origin in bond letters

If you are searching for an ancestor's origins before 1811, it might be worthwhile to check the town registers to see if they submitted a bond letter. This is a certificate given out by their previous place of settlement that indemnifies the new town in case the person becomes poor. The old place of settlement promises to support them. If you find a bond letter, this will tell you where they came from. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Speelkind

A speelkind [literally: play child] is a child born out of wedlock to unwed parents; not the result of adultery. Under Roman-Dutch law, a speelkind would inherit from his mother's family just like a legitimate child, but would not inherit from the father's side of the family unless explicitely named in a will. A child born from adultery, however, would inherit from neither family, not even when mentioned in a will. Speelkinderen could be legitimized by a subsequent marriage of their … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Is the translation correct and complete?

If you are lucky, an English translation exists for Dutch records. For example, many New Netherland records have been translated. In some cases though, what is presented as translations are actually abstracts. The original may have more information. Another aspect to consider is that translations are interpretations, and may have mistakes. For example, an account book of the West India Company 1650-1664 that includes money paid for passage to New Netherland is often presented in … [Read more...]