Dutch term – Sinterklaas

Baby in the lap of Saint Nicholas

Sinterklaas is the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas. The American tradition of Santa Claus stems from the Dutch celebrating Sinterklaas. What Sinterklaas and Santa Claus have in common is their love for children and sharing gifts. But it is interesting to compare the differences in the traditions: Sinterklaas Santa Claus Feast … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Pilgrim Archives website

Pilgrim Archives screenshot

With Thanksgiving coming up in the US, I thought it would be fun to turn your attention to the website Pilgrim Archives. During their stay in Leiden, the Pilgrims left traces in Leiden records. The archives in Leiden got so many questions about these records that they digitized them and made them available online. The “Pilgrims in Documents” … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vroedvrouw

Newborn baby presented to the father

A vroedvrouw was a midwife. There were also vroedmeesters, doctors specialized in helping women deliver children. The midwife was responsible for more than just seeing the mother and the child safely through the birth. In the case of an unwed mother, she was also urged to press the mother into revealing the name of the father of her child. It … [Read more...]

Quick tip – A couple usually married in the bride’s home town

Henk and Mien on the steps of Winterswijk town hall

Most couples got married in the bride's home town even though they often went to live in the groom's town. So if you can't find a marriage record in the town where the couple lived, try to find out where the wife came from and look for the marriage there. Banns were usually published in both places so you can also try the 'ondertrouw' records. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Wijk

Map of the Leeuwarden wijk of Arendsklooster, 1843

A wijk is a part of town: a district or neighborhood. Before the introduction of modern addresses, many houses were identified using their Wijk and housenumber only. You will see that your ancestor died in Wijk B number 298, for example. Maps from that period may show you where the Wijken were, but they will rarely show you the location of … [Read more...]

The next battleground for commercial genealogy: The Netherlands?

My Heritage screenshot

[Dutch translation below / Zie onderaan voor Nederlandse vertaling] My Heritage just announced a strategic partnership with two major players in the Dutch Genealogy community: Aldfaer and Coret Genealogie. Aldfaer is Windows software to manage your family tree that is available as freeware. Coret Genealogie provides several online services … [Read more...]

First Dutch Director of Association of Professional Genealogists

Manning the APG booth at Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Glasgow, August 2014.

I am so honored to announce that I have been elected as a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists. I will join the Board of Directors in January and will serve a two-year term. It is quite astonishing to think how many people voted for me, since I only joined APG two years ago. I have since had the pleasure of meeting several … [Read more...]

Quick tip – List of Newspaper Archives

Ostrich reading newspaper

Eric Hennekam has compiled a list of online archives of Dutch newspapers. The list and most of the website he refers to are in Dutch, and so are the newspapers themselves, but this will give you some idea of the range of information out there. The European Library is also working on a portal to provide central access to Europe's historical … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kwartierverlies

Roerdink family tree

The term kwartierverlies literally means 'loss of quarters,' where 'quarters' refer to a person's ancestors. The usual English translation is 'pedigree collapse.' Kwartierverlies occurs when the parents of a child are related to each other, so the same ancestors occur in multiple places in the child's pedigree chart. An example of pedigree … [Read more...]

Time machine – I think we can do it!

blue spiral galaxy

I've wanted to use a time machine ever since I read Thea Beckman's Crusade in Jeans when I was ten. In the book, a modern boy is sent back to the Middle Ages and ends up in the children's crusade where he uses his knowledge of modern medicine, science and geography to help them. Like Dolf in the book, I would love to travel through time and see … [Read more...]