Ask Yvette – Am I related to Rembrandt van Rijn?

Titus, by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. Credits: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

After I wrote about my "great-aunt" Hendrickje Stoffels, the mistress of Rembrandt van Rijn, several people named Van Rijn have asked me if they could be descended from Rembrandt. The short answer? Sorry, no. Here's why. Rembrandt van Rijn had one lawful wife: Saskia van Uylenburgh. They had only one child who survived childhood: Titus van … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The last name may not have come from the father

Father and his children, Pieter de Mare, 1768 - 1795.

In genealogy, we are used to children having the same last name as their father. But there are several circumstances in which the child could have a different name: If the child used a patronymic, in which case the name of the child would be derived from the father's first name, not his last name (e.g. Pier Hessels, son of Hessel Jans). This … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kaart

Amsterdam

A kaart is a map or a card. In the 17th century, Amsterdam was the map making capital of the world so there are some gorgeous maps waiting for you to see where your ancestors lived. For example, check the Blaeu Atlas at the Erfgoed Leiden website or read about the the facsimile edition of the City Atlas of Frederik de Wit. … [Read more...]

Column – Safe?

Protecting property by putting down sandbags.

"My family tree is safe, I use Dropbox." Such cloud solutions, that automatically stores files online, are popular among genealogists. You don't have to remember to make a copy and can access the files from all your computers, tablets and phones. Your files are safe. Are they? Ensuring future accessibility of your files requires two things: the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Are your translations accurate?

Teacher checking homework.

A client sent me a translated marriage record, identifying a nephew as a witness. She had searched for the nephew but could not find any siblings of the person of interest. When I looked at the original marriage record, the witness was called a neef, a term that is used for both nephew and cousin. As it turned out, the witness was a first cousin … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Fiets

Brush salesman on bike

As the Tour de France starts in the Netherlands this week, this is a good time to learn the meaning of a quintessentially Dutch word: fiets (bicycle). Introduction of bikes Fietsen were introduced in the Netherlands in the last part of the 19th century. They were quickly adopted and became the most popular mode of transportation. Fietsen were not … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Resources for Jewish genealogy in the Netherlands

Mou

Several people have asked me how to find their Jewish ancestors in the Netherlands. I have researched several Jewish families, but don't read Hebrew so I cannot access all records. Here are some resources that have been useful in my research. Please share your own tips in the comments. Regular records Since the introduction of the civil … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The name may suggest the place of origin

Onnink farm in Winterswijk

Different regions have different traditions, not only when it comes to naming children but also when it came to choosing surnames. Someone named Bauke Ferwerda is bound to be Frisian, as the suffix -a can mostly be found in the northern provinces and Bauke is a Frisian first name. Janna Geertruida Meerdink is undoubtely from the eastern part … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gevangenis

Dome prison in Breda

A gevangenis is a prison. The modern prison system was introduced in 1811. Many people went to jail, often for petty crimes. Prison records can tell you if any of your ancestors ever went to jail. Read more about prison records. … [Read more...]

11 Myths About Dutch Genealogy

11 myths about Dutch Genealogy

Here are some misconceptions I've encountered that people have about researching their ancestors. Some of them are probably true for other parts of the world too! 1: People did not have last names before 1811 This myth has some truth, as he civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced in 1811 and required everybody to … [Read more...]