How to find your ancestors from Reusel-De Mierden

photo of a church

As I explained in a previous blog post, an error in genealogy software changed "Holland" to "Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands" in many trees. Still, many people, are convinced that their ancestors are really from Reusel-De Mierden. The only way to be sure is to go back to the sources. The municipality of Reusel-De Mierden Reusel-De … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Did they go to church in Germany?

Street with a house on the left and a church on the right

In the 17th and 18th century, after the Spanish rule ended, the Dutch Reformed church was the State Church. In most provinces, other religions like Roman Catholics were oppressed and forbidden to worship or hold public office. They would sometimes worship in churches that were hidden from view. On the other side of the border, things were … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Brief

boerrigter_2_large

A brief is a letter. Brieven are a great source of information. Personal letters written by emigrants to their family back home can give you a great idea of what their pioneering life was like. I've also found valuable information in official correspondence, for example in the correspondence of the municipality where my ancestor lived. In … [Read more...]

My great-aunt Hendrickje Stoffels, partner of Rembrandt van Rijn

Sleeping woman

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of going to the Rijksmuseum to visit the Exhibition "Late Rembrandt," featuring the works of the latter part of Rembrandt van Rijn's career. A long-term wish of mine came true: I stood eye-to-eye with paintings and portraits of Hendrickje Stoffels, my 11th great aunt. Hendrickje Stoffels, partner … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Watch out for same-named cousins

Group of cousins, all grandchildren of Cornelis Trouw and Maria Gommeren

Because Dutch children were often named after their grandparents, it is not unusual to find several first cousins with the same name, all named after the same grandparent. Often, these same-named cousins will be of a similar age, which can make it easy to confuse the two (or three, or even more!). When you are trying to identify someone, always … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Dodenherdenking

Dam palace filled with people commemorating the dead

Dodenherdenking means commemoration of the dead. On May 4th, we commemorate all the war victims since the outbreak of World War II. The next day, on May 5th, we celebrate our liberty. The dates are chosen because 5 May 1945 was the day of the German capitulation, which ended World War II in the Netherlands. On Dodenherdenking, the whole country … [Read more...]

Finding collaborators in World War II

young girls with their heads shaven walking in procession

With the 70th anniversary of our liberation coming up next week, I thought I would discuss one of the most important record groups for research into World War II. During World War II, several Dutch citizens collaborated with the German occupation: some joined the National Socialist Movement (NSB), others betrayed Jews or were romantically … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No middle names

Photograph of two young girls

People in the Netherlands did not have 'middle' names. They could have one or more first names, followed by their last name. But even if they had two first names, they would be considered two first names and not a first and a middle name. Before say 1700, most people had just one first name. Afterwards, giving a child multiple first names became … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kerk

church

A kerk is a church. Before 1811, the records that the churches kept of baptisms, marriages and burials are the main sources for vital events. … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Do I have a family crest?

book with crest and hanging seal

Several people have contacted me wanting to know if they have a family crest. Five things to know about crests Most people did not have family crests. Most people who used family crests, were well-to-do. Often they were nobles, rich merchants (patricians) or administrators. If your ancestor was a poor farmer, chances are that he did not have a … [Read more...]