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.

11 Myths About Dutch Genealogy

11 myths about Dutch Genealogy

Here are some misconceptions I've encountered that people have about researching their ancestors. Some of them are probably true for other parts of the world too! 1: People did not have last names before 1811 This myth has some truth, as he civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced in 1811 and required everybody to … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find graves on photos of churches

cemetery of the Dutch Reformed Church in Castricum

The website of the Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed [Cultural Heritage Service] has many photos of churches, often going back to the early to mid 20th century. Some of these photos feature cemeteries. The quality of the photos and scans is often high enough to read the text on the markers. Earlier this year, I found a 1950s photo of a church … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Wasvrouw

Laundress, by Gesina ter Borch, about 1652.

A wasvrouw was a laundress. It was an occupation for poor women, who were usually single or widowed. … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – How to capitalize Dutch names with prefixes

Friendship book of Pieter van Harinxma thoe Slooten.
Credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA)

Many Dutch names have prefixes like Ter, Van or Van der. People have asked me if and how they should be capitalized. Here's what the current rules are for Dutch (they're different in Belgium and other parts of the world). A prefix that is preceded by another part of the name is not capitalized. Parts of the name are first names, initials, other … [Read more...]

Quick tip – How to find Dutch genealogy records online

Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium (screenshot)

The website Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium offers links to websites that publish archival records, whether in the form of scans, indexes or transcripts. The links are organized per province. Click the link 'Internet' under the name to see what sources are available online. They also offer links to passenger lists and image collections, … [Read more...]

Popular destinations per religion

Bird's eye view of Pella, Iowa

People who emigrated, usually did so in groups of like-minded people. One thing that bound them was religion. If your ancestor was Roman Catholic, he probably went where other Roman Catholics lived and where you find one Christian Reformed emigrant, you will probably find several. Here are some destinations I found in my own research of 19th … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check marriage records of siblings

Young couple, the woman holds a bouquet of arums in her hand

When looking for more information about your ancestor, be sure to check the records of the siblings. Marriage records of the siblings can be very informative. There are two situations when checking marriage records of siblings is especially helpful: If your ancestor married just before the introduction of the civil registration and their … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check for logical migration patterns

Departure of four couples to Canada

If you find a source that shows that your family originally came from elsewhere, check that the migration path they followed is logical. A few things to watch out for: People usually went from rural areas to urban areas. It's rare to find people moving from an urban area to a rural area, or from one rural area to another rural area. Before … [Read more...]

How I use DNA for my one-place-study

Cemetery in Winterswijk

My father's family is from a small village in the Netherlands called Winterswijk. All 2,000+ ancestors of his that I've been able to trace so far were from Winterswijk or the immediate surroundings. People first started living in that area in the early Middle Ages and I would not be surprised to find out that most of my paternal ancestors descend … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Adultery may not have been the real ground for divorce

The neglected wife encourages her husband to sort himself out

Until 1971, adultery was one of the few grounds that the law recognized to grant a divorce. Many people who found themselves incompatible lied about having an affair to be able to get a divorce. So if your ancestors were divorced and you find 'overspel' [adultery] listed as the ground in the divorce proceedings, it may not have been the truth. The … [Read more...]