Column – Thought process

People lying sandbags near a river

Shortly after I started doing genealogy, a fellow researcher urged me to always document my sources. "You think now that you will remember where you've found everything, but there comes a time that you will have gathered so much that you won't remember the source." Wise words that I took to heart and that have proved to be invaluable. … [Read more...]

Column: for granted

Border crossing Enschede-Gronau

The other day, I was fortunate to discover that two resources that I needed for my research were put online. The Tilburg Regional Archives put up the population registers of Terheijden, a town where some of my maternal ancestors come from. Shortly afterwards, I noticed that the Gelderland Archives put the death duties files online, which allowed me … [Read more...]

Preservation

Baby in the lap of Saint Nicholas

I fondly watch the grainy movie on my HD-television. On the screen, the room has 70s wallpaper with a psychedelic orange/brown motive. A group of children watches excitedly as Saint Nicholas comes through the door. A baby is put in his lap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUk43JXhhDQ The baby is me, and my grandfather is Saint Nicholas. It was … [Read more...]

Column: Farewell

Grave of Gerrit Jan Droppers (1845-1925)

After twenty years, it is time to say goodbye. I have struggled in vain but it will not do. I have decided to say farewell to my old genealogy program. Twenty years: it feels like forever in this digital age where three-year-old software feels outdated. My old program was MS-DOS-based and did not even work with a mouse. To keep it running on new … [Read more...]

Column: Citizen archivist

Rectified sea chart of the Canal

Citizen archivists is a term coined by David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, to call a new breed of users of archives. Visitors who not only come to take information, but bring it as well. Visitors who help to create access to archives by contributing in the form of comments, transcripts or tags. The benefits to the archives are … [Read more...]

Column: Twenty years

screenshot

In 1993, I built my first website while I was a first year Computer Science major. I did not have to think long about a topic: genealogy, what else? Back then, hardly anybody had internet access in the Netherlands, so my target audience was Americans with Dutch ancestors. "Yvette's Dutch Genealogy Homepage" was born. I had no idea then how much … [Read more...]

Column: virtual repository

handwritten manuscript

"If you go back far enough, everybody is related," is a common quote when you tell people you're into genealogy . That is certainly the case with my father's side of the family tree. I started researching my ancestors over twenty years ago. Pretty soon, I discovered that my paternal grandparents, both from Winterswijk, shared multiple ancestors. … [Read more...]

Column: land movers

poster showing people on a crate moving across the globe

In the nineteenth century, thousands of people emigrated from the area around Winterswijk to the United States. "Land movers", they were called. Some left because of their religion, most in the hope of a better future. Among them there were several siblings of ancestors of mine. Curious what happened to them, I contacted their offspring on the … [Read more...]