Quick tip – Records that just became public

Library reading room

To protect the privacy of living people and the security of our nation, access to many records is restricted for a number of years; typically 25, 50, 75 or 100 years. Every year, new records become public for the first time. As of 1 January 2015, the following records became public: Birth records from 1914 Marriage records from … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overspel

woman and man sitting secretively in an inn

Overspel is the Dutch word for adultery. Depending on the period, adultery was not only a private matter, but could be criminally prosecuted. The church council also wanted to find out so that both parties could be censored. One of my own female ancestors was fined for insulting another woman, saying "You are keeping company with my man" and … [Read more...]

New Year’s irons in the East of the Netherlands

Jannink Kuitenbrouwer waffle iron

Happy New Year everybody! How are you celebrating? In the eastern part of the Netherlands, in the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland, there is a tradition of baking New Year's waffles on New Year's Day. Traditionally, these waffles were made using large irons which were put in the hearth. In 1999, my mother co-authored a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – TEDx talk about New Netherland history

View of New Amsterdam

Charles Gehring, the lead researcher at the New Netherland Institute, gave an enlightening presetation at TEDx about New Netherland, the best-kept secret in American History, which is now available on YouTube. Hattip: Limburg Emigrant Page on Facebook. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Topics in an Archievenoverzicht

Man standing on a ladder in front of stacked boxes

An archival catalog (archievenoverzicht) will give an hierarchical overview of the contents of a repository. Common topics include: Bestuur en Politiek  [Government and politics] Bevolking [Population] Justitie en Rechtspraak [Justice and Court] Openbare orde en veiligheid [Public order and safety] Defensie [Defense] Notariaat … [Read more...]

Looking back on 2014

Roberta (left) and Cheryl locating the graves of their distant cousins at the Baard Cemetery

2014 has been a wonderful year for me. It's the year my company Dutch Genealogy Services really took off, which allowed me to quit my job and dedicate myself full-time to being a genealogy professional. Here are some of the highlights of my year. Client projects Worked for 35 clients from 12 different countries. Did research in 11 of the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find out what’s in WieWasWie

WieWasWie logo

In discussion groups, I will often see people wondering why they can't find their ancestors' records in WieWasWie (WhoWasWho). WieWasWie is the largest website with genealogical sources in the Netherlands, a collaboration between dozens of repositories throughout the country. It has over 100 million references to people in the database, but is far … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Midwinterhoorn

Man blowing a midwinterhoorn

Midwinterhoorn literally means "Mid winter horn." It is a wooden horn that is typical for the eastern part of the country. The horns are made of a curved branch of a tree, which is sawed in half length-wise, hollowed out and put back together with a mouth piece attached to it. In Gelderland and Overijssel, midwinterhoorns are traditionally … [Read more...]

5 lessons we can learn from Who Do You Think You Are?

Family gathering around the table for Christmas

In the US, the new series of the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? was just announced. I am a big fan of the show. I watch three different series: the original UK version, the US version and the Dutch version ("Verborgen Verleden"). Although they all share the same basic format, it is interesting to see the differences. The US version is more … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Recent information is not online

Baby on a scale

If you're trying to find information about people born in the last century, you won't find much online. Dutch privacy laws restrict access to records of people born less than hundred years ago. To access these records, you will need their consent or proof of death. Information doesn't come online the minute it's 100 years old either. Not all … [Read more...]