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.

Sinterklaas Giveaway – Dutch Genealogy Webinar

Banner for the Dutch Genealogy Sinterklaas Giveaway

On 5 December, we will celebrate Sinterklaas, the holiday of Saint Nicholas that inspired Santa Claus in other countries. Sinterklaas has already arrived and children all over the country are setting their shoe by the fireplace (or central heating) with a carrot for the horse of Sinterklaas, hoping that Sinterklaas and his helpers will give them … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Share Your Family Stories

White palace

Two weeks ago, I shared a story on this site's Facebook page. Here's what I wrote: My grandfather lived in one of the wings of this castle when he served on the staff of Prince Bernhard during the last months of World War II. Apeldoorn was liberated at the end of 1944 and became the headquarters while the resistance and allied forces were planning … [Read more...]

Stumbling Blocks – Remembering Debora Hedeman and Bertha Zilversmit

two bronze monuments in the pavement

Last month, twenty bronze monuments were installed in my home town of Oldenzaal. They are Stolpersteine, "stumbling blocks," about 10x10 cm (4x4") large bronze stones inscribed with the name of a Jewish resident who was murdered during the Holocaust. They are placed in the pavement in front of the house where they last lived. These Stolpersteine … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Deaths are recorded in the place of residence

Death record of Debora Julia Hedeman, died Sobibor, 9 April 1943. Her death was recorded in Oldenzaal, Overijssel, the Netherlands on 9 December 1949.

If a person died in a different location than where he lived, the civil registration of his place of residence would also record his death. Often, they would receive a copy of the death record that was created in the place of death, and would then record that copy in their own death registers. This was also done after World War II, to record all … [Read more...]

Signed, Sealed, & Undelivered: Amazing Collection of 17th Century Letters Rediscovered

open wooden chest with letters

The Museum voor Communicatie discovered an amazing treasure in their vaults: a box that belonged to a postmaster in the 17th century, filled with 2600 undelivered letters, 600 of which have never been opened. The letters came to The Hague from France, the Southern Netherlands and Spain. Dr David van der Linden, from the University of Groningen, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Orphans left records too

Ordinance of the Goes Orphan Chamber

If children were orphaned, guardians were appointed. Before 1811, some regions had special weeskamers (orphan chambers), in other regions these appointments were handled by the court. After 1811, all guardianship appointments were handled by the court. Read more about using guardianship records to learn about your orphaned ancestors. … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Locations

Map of Friesland and Groningen

This is my fourth and final post answering the questions asked by viewers of "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about locations. Are Holland and the Netherlands the same country? Holland is an alternative name used  for the Netherlands, but the official name is The Netherlands. View this video for an … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Religion affected more than just the church they attended

Refirmed Girls Society of Amsterdam

Religion did not just determine where people went to church, but also whom they hung out with. It determined where children went to school, what choirs they sang in and what gym clubs they joined. People met their partners in church and formed friendships and family bonds that survived emigration to other countries. See this overview of popular … [Read more...]

A (Reverse) Witch Trial in Winterswijk

Cemetery with a church in the background

In the late medieval period, many unexplained phenomena were attributed to witchcraft. If a healthy child suddenly became ill or a cow would not give milk, the influence of witches was often suspected. Many people were persecuted and burned at the stake, particularly in the Southern Netherlands (current-day Belgium). By the 1600s, the hunt quieted … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Witches in Flanders

Witch burning

The website Witches in Flanders offers a great deal of information about witch trials in Flanders. It includes lists of witch trials and convicted witches in the 1500s and 1600s. Several people who were accused of witchcraft fled north to the Protestant parts of the Netherlands, where witchcraft was often considered a Catholic superstition. … [Read more...]