Quick tip – Not everything is on WieWasWie

WieWasWie logo

Most Dutch genealogists quickly fall in love with WieWasWie, the website where archives from all over the country publish their genealogical data. But there are plenty of archives, historical societies and genealogists who publish genealogical sources elsewhere on the web. So if you can't find an ancestor on WieWasWie, try other sources as well. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Wijnmaand

October. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Wijnmaand literally means "wine month" and is the old word for October. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Mind the calendar!

Republic of the Seven United Netherlands

When you encounter a date in original records that is between 1582 and 1701, it could be in either the Julian or the Gregorian calendar, depending on the province where the record was created. This means the date you find could be as much as twelve days "off." Read more about the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in the Netherlands and the … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Spoorwegen

train wreck

The term Spoorwegen means Railways. The first railway in the Netherlands began in 1839, and ran between Amsterdam and Haarlem. In the rest of the 19th century, a multitude of railway companies developed a railway network that spanned the entire country. The train quickly replaced the Trekschuit (pulled barge) as the most popular form of … [Read more...]

How to find the father of an illegitimate child

Mother with baby and child

In most families, sooner or later you will encounter a child born to an unwed mother. Finding the fathers of these 'illegitimate' children can be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. I've researched dozens of these cases, both in my own tree and for clients. In four cases, I have been able to prove who the father was. In two other cases, I … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch Genealogy Quiz

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

Are you an expert in Dutch Genealogy? Take the Dutch Genealogy Quiz and find out in three minutes! Regular readers of this blog and newsletter will recognize some of the topics. Don't worry if you get some answers wrong. I can see which questions people struggle with and promise to write articles about these topics in the next few weeks. Take … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Timmerman

House with timber frame in Bredevoort

A timmerman is a carpenter. In the days before all houses were made of concrete or brick, carpenters built the frames. In the Middle Ages, most houses were made of wood. The houses had timber frames filled up with wicker and mud/clay. Later, bricks were used to fill in the timbers. Many carpenters were also employed to build ships. In the 17th … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Introduction to Dutch history

Entoen.nu detail showing Anne Frank

If you want to learn about Dutch history, you can read the 50 canonical articles at EnToen.nu. These articles act as 'windows to the past' and were developed as the basis for the history curriculum in schools. Each window tells the story of one canonical event in the history of the Netherlands from prehistory to the modern day. Topics include … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Schrijven

A marriage record where the bride, mothers of the bride and groom and one witness declare to be unable to write.

Schrijven means 'to write.' It wasn't until well into the 20th century that most of the people in the Netherlands were able to write. In birth, marriage or death records in the 19th century, you will often read sentences like "verklarende de moeder der bruid uit hoofde van ongeleerdheid niet te kunnen schrijven" [declared the mother of the bride, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was he really born there?

Map of Amsterdam

People who move a long way from their small village will often claim a larger city in the area as their place of birth since nobody would have heard of their real place of birth. If you can't find your ancestor in the city where he was supposed to be born, try looking in the villages around there. This is especially true after immigration. Many … [Read more...]