Dutch term – Schrikkeljaar

A schrikkeljaar is a leap year. Before 1582, the entire region that is now the Netherlands used the Julian calendar, in which every fourth year is a leap year. Between 1582 and 1700, the different provinces switched to the Gregorian calendar, in which centurial years are not leap years except when they are divisible by 400. This corrected the … [Read more...]

How Civil Registration Records were Created

If you are researching nineteenth and twentieth century Dutch ancestors, the civil registration records of births, marriages and deaths are among the first sources you should consult. Understanding how these records were created will help you assess their reliability. Birth records When the civil registration was introduced nation-wide in … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was that last name a patronymic?

If the last name of your ancestor ends in -s, -se, -sen, or -en, it could originally have been a patronymic; a name derived from the name of the father. Common examples are Jansen [son of Jan], Pieters [son of Pieter] or Cornelissen [son of Cornelis]. Other names are more difficult to recognize as a patronymic, such as "Flooren" [son of Floris], … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gewicht

Gewicht is the Dutch term for weight. Since 1811, the Netherlands has adopted the metric system of kilograms. Before that, every region had their own weights. The Meertens Institute has a database of old measures and weights that can help to figure out just how much a pound weighed in a certain time and place. … [Read more...]

Visiting the Family History Library in Salt Lake City

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City while I was there for an institute and board meeting. What a special place. I can't believe how many people I met, all so generous and wonderful. I had never met any of them in person before but I had known many of them online for several years (or several … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Do the names of the children match?

In the Netherlands, children were often named after family members. When you have a theory about who the parents were, make sure to check for repetition of names. If the names of the children of your brick wall ancestor do not appear in the family you think he belongs to, you may have the wrong family. Read more about naming traditions. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Archivaris

An archivaris is an archivist. In the Netherlands, archivarissen have a college or university degree in archival science; usually after first completing a related degree in history. Every level of government (municipality, province, nation) is required to transfer their older records to an archive which is headed by an archivist. Smaller … [Read more...]

Finished my portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists

I did it! I finished and submitted my portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). BCG is an international organization that certifies genealogists whose work meets standards. They do this by judging a portfolio consisting of the following elements: Genealogists' Code, signed by the applicant. Many of these items are … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No Cousin is Too Distant to Have the Information You Need

When corresponding with cousins about genealogy, we tend to stick to the close ones: first or second cousins, maybe a third cousin, with the occasional once or twice removed. I recently solved a puzzle using a letter shared to me by a fifth cousin twice removed. I was trying to resolve a conflict in death dates. Her grave said a woman died on … [Read more...]

Dutch term – failliet and faillissement

Failliet means bankrupt; faillissement means bankruptcy. You can often find announcements of bankruptcies in newspapers, and you can then find the corresponding court case in the court records in the provincial archives. These may give you an insight in the business relationships of your ancestor. … [Read more...]