About this website

Creating a website like this is a fun activity. There are so many options, so many choices. What do visitors want? What do I want? In this blog I will describe some of the things I encounter in developing and maintaining this website.

Column – Everything online?

Computer demonstration, 1966

About twenty years ago, I gave a lecture about internet genealogy. Internet was in its infancy. I could answer the question "Do you think archives will ever put everything online?" with a negative. The hundreds of miles of archives would be too extensive to digitize. I also figured that repositories would be hesitant to give up their monopoly … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Naming Traditions May Vary

Grandfather playing with his grandchild.

Many genealogists know that Dutch children were usually named after their grandparents. But the order in which children were named can vary between regions, religions and also in different periods. In some cases, the maternal grandmother took precedence over the paternal grandmother. Also, parents sometimes only named children after deceased … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overlijdensakte

Death record of stillborn child

An overlijdensakte is a death record. In most of the Netherlands, deaths have been recorded in death records of the civil registration since 1811. Before that, burial records kept by the churches are usually the best information available for finding out when someone died. Read more about death records. … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Immigrant Ancestors

Departure of an emigrant ship

This is my second post answering the questions asked by viewers of "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about finding immigrant ancestors. A good general strategy for finding immigrant ancestors is outlined in my article How to find my immigrant ancestor in the Netherlands? How do you trace your … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The Dutch Language Changed a Lot

young man reading a book

The Dutch language changed a lot these past centuries. It's not just the script - the words themselves changed a lot too. Most Dutch people today struggle to understand a text from the 1600s, even if it's reprinted. This explains why automatic translators like Google Translate or Chrome struggle to understand archaic Dutch. They often don't … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Ask a Local Expert

Genealogy: it's not just about looking for dead people but also about connecting with living people. Let's solve those brick walls together

If you're really stuck, try finding someone who is familiar with research in the area and ask them to take a second look at your brick wall. They may know about local naming traditions, obscure sources or notice unusual patterns. Just this week I was able to solve a client's brick wall using the knowledge of a local expert. I traced the New … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Records

records in the archives

During the webinar "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors," the viewers had the most interesting questions. I got to address some of them during the webinar, but thought they all deserve a reply so I'm dedicating this post to answer some more. There were so many great questions that I will have inspiration for several follow-up articles, so please stay … [Read more...]

Researching Your Dutch Ancestors webinar now available online

Finding your Dutch ancestors

The recorded version of my webinar "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" is now available online. It will be available for free until Tuesday 22 September. After that, the recording will remain available for Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers. View the recorded webinar If you are a subscriber, you can view the recording anytime using the above … [Read more...]

Amazing find: Image of the Murder of my 16th-century Ancestor

Place where Tonnis Willinck was shot

Last week I made a fantastic discovery that underlines why you should always check the records of neighboring towns and not limit your research to the place where your ancestors lived. On a German map, I found a drawing of the killing of my ancestor Tonnis Willinck. Many of my ancestors lived in Winterswijk, on the Dutch-German border. As you … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was your ancestor the first to use the surname?

Mardi Gras, 1911.

Let's say you've gone all the way back to the 1500s, 1600s or 1700s and can't find the parents of your brick wall ancestor. Could it be that your ancestor was the first one to use the name? Perhaps your Van Etten really was from Etten, and his parents only used a patronymic. Perhaps your Hoitink ancestor was born on another farm, and only called … [Read more...]