Quick tip: The first of same-named siblings probably died young

Etten-Leur, population register 1860-1869, household of Martinus Trouw.

If you see multiple siblings with the same name, the first one probably died before the next one was born. Dutch parents typically named their children after relatives. By giving the new child the name of the deceased sibling, both the deceased sibling and the relative that that sibling had been named after were commemorated. There is one … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vondeling

Marriage record of Johan Jacob Tanto and Johanna Frederiks, Enkhuizen, 23 March 1817

A vondeling is a foundling, an abandoned child whose parents are unknown. It was rare for children to be abandoned. Most cases where children were abandoned took place in the city, not in the countryside. Most abandoned children were raised in orphanages or were placed in a home while the city poor relief paid for their … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Finding 20th century people

Personal index card

Finding people who lived in the 20th century can be difficult because of Dutch privacy laws. One of the best sources for 20th century information are the personal record cards, which are available for all Dutch residents who died in the Netherlands after 1938. They provide information about that person's dates and places of birth, marriage and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hooimaand

July. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Hooimaand (literally: hay month) is the old word for July. … [Read more...]

News from the Netherlands – June 2014

View of Calicut, India, 1665

'News from the Netherlands' is a new monthly series on this blog to inform you about the best new websites, projects and books that help you find and understand your Dutch ancestors. New websites The Brabants Historical Information Center has a new website (Dutch only). The 'Stamboom' [Family Tree] page has several indexes, some with scans … [Read more...]

Quick tip: check Dutch Reformed records for Catholics

church

After the Eighty Year War (1568-1648), only marriages performed in the Dutch Reformed Church or before the Eldermen's court were considered legal. This means that even marriages between two Catholic people can often be found in Dutch Reformed church records. This does not mean they converted or pretended to be Dutch Reformed, they just went there … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Neef en Nicht

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

A neef is a male relative: either a first cousin or a nephew. A nicht is a female relative: either a first cousin or a niece. Like the word 'cousin' in English, the words 'neef' and 'nicht' are sometimes used to describe a more distant relationship. Someone who is referred to as a 'neef,' may turn out to be the husband of a first cousin once … [Read more...]

My Native American DNA. Say what?

Chromosome painting showing my admixture

Always eager to try technological advances, I took an autosomal DNA test to see what that would tell me. One of the tools that you can use on Gedmatch tells you your admixture: the regions where your ancestors originally came from who contributed to your DNA. The methods to calculate this are still very much under development, but I find it … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Free images of Dutch colonial past

View of New Amsterdam

The National Archives and Royal Library of the Netherlands have just donated thousands of images of the colonial past of the Netherlands and its trade partners to the public domain. These images have been uploaded to Wikimedia and are free for everybody to use, without restrictions. Here are a few gems: View images from the Atlas of … [Read more...]

Dutch term – familiewapen

Coat of arms of King Willem-Alexander

A familiewapen is a family crest or coat of arms. Most people in the Netherlands did not have a coat of arms. People who used them were usually members of the nobility or other members of the upper class. Working class families did not have a use for a crest. There are several heraldic databases and collections that will tell you whether a coat … [Read more...]