Quick tip: naming patterns

Gerrit and Mien Woordes

Most Dutch parents followed a strict pattern when naming their children: the first son was named after the paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather; the first daughter was named after the maternal grandmother and the second daughter after the paternal grandmother. When you find a source that lists children in their … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Molenaar

Dutch etching of a miller

A molenaar was a miller. There were different types of mills. Besides the classic Dutch wind-powered mill, there were also horse-drawn mills and water mills. Mills could be used for different purposes, the most common being grind grain or to drain water from low-lying fields. People could not just build a mill, that right was reserved for the … [Read more...]

Worst case of pedigree collapse ever?

Roerdink farm

My father's side of the family comes from a small village in the east of Gelderland called Winterswijk. Because so many of his ancestors came from that place, I am reconstructing its entire population. Doing such a one-place-study has given me a deeper understanding of life in that village and allowed me to make some interesting discoveries and … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Using the website WhoWasWho (video)

Using Who Was Who (opening slide)

Familysearch has created a free video about using the largest genealogical database in the Netherlands: WieWasWie [WhoWasWho]. 7 minute video: Using the Dutch Website: Whowaswho … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bloeimaand

May. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Bloeimaand (literally: bloom month) is the old word for May. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: try spelling variations

Girl writing in a notebook

Even after the introduction of the civil registration, but especially in earlier records, there may be spelling variations of a name. A woman may be called Elizabeth or Elisabeth, her last name might be written as Jansen or Janssen. Especially since most Dutch search engines only find exact matches, it is important to try different spelling … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bevrijding

Allied soldier hugged by girls.

Bevrijding means 'liberation.' On 5 May 1945, the Netherlands was liberated from the German occupation. Every year on this day, we celebrate "Bevrijdingsdag" (Liberation Day) to commemorate this event. … [Read more...]

Column: Best find

Monument

When you are at a birthday party and tell people you are into genealogy, the first question you often get is "How far back were you able to go?" If they haven't lost all interest after hearing your stories about tracing some lines to the Middle Ages and getting stuck on some illegitimate children in the 19th century on other lines, a second … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Languages that may come in handy

medieval manuscript

These languages will come in handy when researching your ancestors from the Netherlands. Dutch Not surprisingly, most records in the Netherlands have been written in Dutch. French During the French occupation (1795-1813), most government records were written in French, including early civil registration records. German During World War II … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bode

Messenger

A bode was a messenger, which can sound like an errant boy but it was a far more important function than that. The best approximation is probably a bailiff, someone charged with delivering important documents and news and making sure that the other party receives it. They had a wide array of tasks, ranging from taking messages to organizing public … [Read more...]