Dutch term – Sub conditione

Sub conditione is a Latin term meaning "under the condition." You may encounter the term in Roman-Catholic baptismal records in cases when the midwife performed an emergency baptism. If the child lived, the child would be baptized again by the priest, under the condition that he was able to receive the baptism. Read more about emergency … [Read more...]

Why are the Dutch so tall?

When I visited Salt Lake City earlier this year, I was once again reminded that the Dutch are the tallest people on earth. At 1.75m (5'9"), I'm a bit above average height for a woman in the Netherlands, but in the US I was taller than most men and women. Here in the Netherlands, almost all of my male friends and some of my female friends are over … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use bond letters to find out where your ancestor came from

If you can't find a Dutch ancestor from the 1700s, it could be that they originally came from elsewhere. At that time, you had to provide a bond letter (borgbrief or akte van indemniteit) from your previous place of residence before you could settle elsewhere. This letter assured the new town that you would not be a burden to them, because the old … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Cipier

A cipier is a prison warden or jailer. If your ancestor was a cipier, you may be able to find more information about him in the administration of the prison. You may also find a cipier as the witness in a death record. In that case, your ancestor might have been in jail. You can check prison records to find out more information. … [Read more...]

Open data case study: Changing names in Winterswijk

The Gelders Archief just published many of their genealogical indexes as open data. This allows everyone to download the indexes and re-use them. Being a bit of a geek, I could not resist downloading some of the sets for Winterswijk to see what I could do with them. Winterswijk is the town where my father was born, and most of his ancestors to0, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t search too broadly too soon

If you are stuck, it is tempting to start searching broadly. You might use Google or a national database like WieWasWie to see where your ancestors' name pops up. However, this strategy often does not give you the result you're hoping for. You may find dozens of namesakes all over the country, without any way to tell if any of them is your … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Belasting

Belasting means tax. The high tax burden in the Netherlands was (and still is) one of the reasons for people to emigrate. Before about 1810, different regions had different taxes. And even in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were taxes that we would not expect today. To name a few: Real estate tax Income tax Value-added … [Read more...]

Why You Are not Finding Anything in WieWasWie

If you are using WieWasWie to search for records about your ancestors, you may have trouble finding them. Here are three of the most common reasons why you have no results when you search in WieWasWie. You fill in too much information WieWasWie only finds records that exactly match everything you search for. Since the introduction of the paid … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The Netherlands: Beyond Amsterdam

If you want to learn about the history of the Netherlands and our fight against the sea, watch this 25-minute YouTube Video by Rick Steve. The Netherlands: Beyond Amsterdam (YouTube) … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Schrikkeljaar

A schrikkeljaar is a leap year. Before 1582, the entire region that is now the Netherlands used the Julian calendar, in which every fourth year is a leap year. Between 1582 and 1700, the different provinces switched to the Gregorian calendar, in which centurial years are not leap years except when they are divisible by 400. This corrected the … [Read more...]