Dutch term – Dodenherdenking

Dam palace filled with people commemorating the dead

Dodenherdenking means commemoration of the dead. On May 4th, we commemorate all the war victims since the outbreak of World War II. The next day, on May 5th, we celebrate our liberty. The dates are chosen because 5 May 1945 was the day of the German capitulation, which ended World War II in the Netherlands. On Dodenherdenking, the whole country … [Read more...]

Finding collaborators in World War II

young girls with their heads shaven walking in procession

With the 70th anniversary of our liberation coming up next week, I thought I would discuss one of the most important record groups for research into World War II. During World War II, several Dutch citizens collaborated with the German occupation: some joined the National Socialist Movement (NSB), others betrayed Jews or were romantically … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No middle names

Photograph of two young girls

People in the Netherlands did not have 'middle' names. They could have one or more first names, followed by their last name. But even if they had two first names, they would be considered two first names and not a first and a middle name. Before say 1700, most people had just one first name. Afterwards, giving a child multiple first names became … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kerk

church

A kerk is a church. Before 1811, the records that the churches kept of baptisms, marriages and burials are the main sources for vital events. … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Do I have a family crest?

book with crest and hanging seal

Several people have contacted me wanting to know if they have a family crest. Five things to know about crests Most people did not have family crests. Most people who used family crests, were well-to-do. Often they were nobles, rich merchants (patricians) or administrators. If your ancestor was a poor farmer, chances are that he did not have a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use Street View to ‘visit’ your ancestor’s home town

Farm

Google Street View has been all over the Netherlands, so you can use this service to make a virtual visit to your ancestor's home town. To use Google Street View, look up the address or name of the town in Google Maps and then click "Street view" or drag the yellow man unto the map. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Oorkonde

Charter with seals hanging from the bottom, some missing

An oorkonde is a charter; a record with seals hanging from the bottom. In the Middle Ages, most transactions went unrecorded, but the ones that were, were recorded in charters. Oorkondes are usually written on vellum or parchment, made from animal skin. With the invention of paper made from rags, charters went out of style although they … [Read more...]

Five reasons why it’s awesome to have Dutch ancestors

plate with cookies

Do you have Dutch ancestors? Congratulations! Here are five things that are awesome about having Dutch ancestors. 1. Dutch records are excellent Since 1850, the government did not just keep census records, they kept them up to date so they always know who's living where. These are called population registers. Civil registration of birth, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Free Dutch language course

children sitting in a classroom with a female teacher in front

Have you always wanted to learn Dutch? The University of Groningen is teaching a free online course that will teach you the basics of the language in three weeks. The next course starts 1 June 2015. Read more information about the Dutch language course on the Future Learn website. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Archiefvormer

women working with card catalogs

An Archiefvormer is the creator of an archive. Examples of archiefvormers are municipalities, churches, societies, foundations and private persons. Thinking about which archiefvormers your ancestor may have been in contact with is a great way to discover unknown records. Read the article Find your ancestors by understanding how records are … [Read more...]