Dutch term – Meerderjarig

couple appearing in court

Meerderjarig means 'of age,' having reached the age of majority. What the age of majority was, depends on the time and place. Youngsters could also be declared to be of age by the court, usually with consent of the parents or guardians. Age of majority in the Netherlands Period Age of majority Before 1811 Depends on the region, … [Read more...]

Popular destinations per religion

Bird's eye view of Pella, Iowa

People who emigrated, usually did so in groups of like-minded people. One thing that bound them was religion. If your ancestor was Roman Catholic, he probably went where other Roman Catholics lived and where you find one Christian Reformed emigrant, you will probably find several. Here are some destinations I found in my own research of 19th … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check marriage records of siblings

Young couple, the woman holds a bouquet of arums in her hand

When looking for more information about your ancestor, be sure to check the records of the siblings. Marriage records of the siblings can be very informative. There are two situations when checking marriage records of siblings is especially helpful: If your ancestor married just before the introduction of the civil registration and their … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gewaarmerkte kopie

Certified copy of death record of Catharina Flooren

A gewaarmerkte kopie is a certified copy. When ordering a record, like your own birth record, you may be asked if you want a regular copy or a certified copy. Certified copies will be printed on special paper and will have a seal by the municipality guaranteeing authenticity. For genealogical purposes, a regular photocopy will suffice. In fact, … [Read more...]

Source – Baptismal record

Oudenbosch in 1739

Before 1811, baptismal records are the main source for information about an ancestor's birth date. Baptismal records should have been kept since the Trente council of 1545-1563, but for most areas they only survive since the early to mid 1600s. Most children were baptized within days of being born. In some churches, children were baptized the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check for logical migration patterns

Departure of four couples to Canada

If you find a source that shows that your family originally came from elsewhere, check that the migration path they followed is logical. A few things to watch out for: People usually went from rural areas to urban areas. It's rare to find people moving from an urban area to a rural area, or from one rural area to another rural area. Before … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Begrafenis

Funeral of five firemen

A begrafenis is a burial. Before 1811, the church records of burials are often the best source for the burial date. Some registers include the death date as well. After 1811, death records of the civil registration show when a person died, but they do not contain information about the burial. That information can sometimes be found in family … [Read more...]

How I use DNA for my one-place-study

Cemetery in Winterswijk

My father's family is from a small village in the Netherlands called Winterswijk. All 2,000+ ancestors of his that I've been able to trace so far were from Winterswijk or the immediate surroundings. People first started living in that area in the early Middle Ages and I would not be surprised to find out that most of my paternal ancestors descend … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Adultery may not have been the real ground for divorce

The neglected wife encourages her husband to sort himself out

Until 1971, adultery was one of the few grounds that the law recognized to grant a divorce. Many people who found themselves incompatible lied about having an affair to be able to get a divorce. So if your ancestors were divorced and you find 'overspel' [adultery] listed as the ground in the divorce proceedings, it may not have been the truth. The … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Voogd

Girls sitting around a table doing needlework

A voogd is a guardian. Before 1811, guardians were usually appointed by the Weeskamer (orphan chamber). After 1811, they were appointed by the court. You can find guardianship appointments in the court records. … [Read more...]