Review: Dutch Roots by Rob van Drie

Dutch Roots cover

Dutch Roots: Finding your ancestors in the Netherlands is a book written by one of the best-known genealogy educators in the Netherlands, Rob van Drie. Rob's experience shows in this 190-page book, that contains a comprehensive overview of the most important sources for genealogical research in the Netherlands. It is the first book about Dutch … [Read more...]

Quick tip: there is no letter y in the Dutch alphabet

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

The Dutch alphabet has a letter ij, not a y. Dutch names with a ij typically get spelled with a y in English, for example Dijkstra/Dykstra, Wijnveen/Wynveen. Next time you're having problems finding a person in a Dutch search engine, check that you've used the Dutch spelling. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Lentemaand

March. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Lentemaand literally means 'Spring month' and is the old word for March. … [Read more...]

Three Things I Learned About DNA at WDYTYA Live

View of the floor

Last week, during Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in London, I attended a DNA workshop about Autosomal DNA. Autosomal DNA is the DNA on your non-sex chromomes (22 pairs). I have done autosomal testing with FamilyTreeDNA and 23andme and am always looking for information that helps me to interpret the results. Here are three things that I … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Try to find evidence to disprove your case

Two old cars after a collision

When proving a theory, we look for evidence that supports it. But as diligent researchers, we should look just as hard for evidence that disproves our theory. In fact, searching for evidence that does not fit with our preconceptions can be far more informative than searching for supporting evidence, as demonstrated in this short video. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – archievenoverzicht

Extract of the burial record of Gart Vossers

Many archives or other repositories will have an online archievenoverzicht, a listing of their collection. The word archievenoverzicht literally means "overview of archives." It will give you a list of the collections, usually organized by categories like population records, court records or tax records. Some archives will only have the … [Read more...]

Ask the expert

Overview of the exhibition

I am currently in London, to attend Who Do You Think You Are Live, the biggest genealogy event in the world. People were already queueing to get in about an hour before the show opened. Once inside, they could listen to lectures, visit one of the dozens of stands or have their DNA sampled to be analyzed. Last year, one of the parts of the … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Are your records independent?

Marriage booklet of Cornelis Flooren and Catharina van der Zanden (p. 1)

The next time you find a birth, marriage and death record that all agree about the name of the person and his date of birth or age, ask yourself: are these documents independent? An extract of the birth record would have been submitted in order to get married. The details from the marriage record may have been copied into the marriage booklet, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – gemeente

Municipal map of Stompwijk.

A gemeente is a municipality, the lowest administrative unit. The Netherlands currently has 408 municipalities in 12 provinces. Over the last couple of decades, many municipalities merged. In 1812 there were 1,100. Archives of municipalities can be found at a local archive; either a municipal archive specific for that municipality or a regional … [Read more...]

Love speed skating? Your ancestors did too!

Two men on skates near a start line

If there is one sport that the Dutch dominate, it is speed skating. It is the only Olympic sport where the orange team can win all three medals. Our love for speed skating is not surprising if you understand the history of the Dutch landscape. Because large parts of the country are below sea level, the landscape is crisscrossed by little canals … [Read more...]