Ask Yvette: Untangling two same-named women

My distant cousin, Fred Geurkink, asked me the following question [edited for brevity]: My grandma Gigi, (Marion Peterson), wrote down in her recollections about my great great grandma Grietje Koning. Said she was born on 30 Aug 1834, married my gg grandpa Jan Pieters Stelma on 23 Jun 1856, etc etc. On Ancestry, I received "hints" about said … [Read more...]

Quick tip – New URL for Database of Surnames in the Netherlands

The database of surnames in the Netherlands has a new home. It is now maintained by the Central Bureau for Genealogy and available at cbgfamilienamen.nl. In the database, you can look up a name to see how popular it was in 1947 and 2007, and where those people lived. In many cases, there will be a description of the origin of the name and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Visser

A visser is a fisherman. Fishing was a common occupation in the coastal towns of the Netherlands, including those surrounding the Zuiderzee (now: IJsselmeer). Willem Beukels, a fisherman from Biervliet in Zeeland, invented the technique of gibbing herring, which allowed Dutch fishermen to remain at sea for longer periods of time before the fish … [Read more...]

Until Death Do Us Part – Or Even Longer

This monument tells a remarkable tale of two people whom not even death could separate. When Lady Josephina Caroline Petronella Huberina van Aefferden died in 1888, she could not be buried next to her husband, Cavalry colonel Jacob Werner Constantinus van Gorkum. He had died eight years before, and had been buried in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Mind the Gap

One of my clients hired me to help solve his brick wall. The marriage record indicated the ancestor was born in the same village as where he married. The client found two people by that name who were baptized there, but both married other people and could not be the person he was looking for. He was wondering if the ancestor could have come from … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Tol

A tol was a toll, which was collected by a tolgaarder or tollenaar (toll collector). In earlier times, there were many tolls, often collected at strategically important locations along roads and rivers. Sometimes, a toll only had to be paid for transporting goods, but often even pedestrians had to pay a fee in order to pass. Treaties may have … [Read more...]

7 Tips for Finding the Address of your Dutch Ancestors

Are you thinking about coming to the Netherlands to visit the bulb fields and visit the places where their ancestors lived? Depending on where your ancestors lived and how wealthy they were, it may not be easy to find out exactly where they lived. Here are some things you need to know when trying to find the address where your ancestors … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No Cause of Death in Death Records

Dutch death records do not normally list the cause of death. Only in unusual cases, for example if the person died at sea or was found dead outside somewhere, will a death record give you a clue about the cause of death. Usually, there won't be any surviving records that allow you to find out how your ancestor died. Here are some things you can … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Oorlog

The term oorlog means war. When Dutch people speak about "the war," they usually refer to World War II. From 10 May 1940 until 5 May 1945, the Netherlands was occupied by Germany. Some parts of the country were liberated earlier, but it would take until 5 May 1945 for the Germans to surrender. That will be 71 years ago this week. On May 4th, … [Read more...]

Column: Receipt

The receipt of the Teeven deal had been preserved: we could reconstruct how much money had been paid; even fifteen years after the fact. The drama that followed demonstrated that archiving is more than just preserving things well; it is also a matter of being able to find information again.* In the Netherlands, the national government has a … [Read more...]