How to obtain certified copies of birth, marriage or death records from the Netherlands

Information desk at the Amsterdam Civil Registration

I often receive requests by people who need to obtain official certificates of Dutch birth, marriage or death records for legal purposes. Obtaining certified copies is not a service I provide, so I will give you the instructions on how to do this yourself. Reasons for needing a certified copy There may be several reasons why you need an … [Read more...]

Quick tip – the meaning of Holland

Map of Holland (the province). Nicolaas Visscher, 1682 (public domain)

If you see "Holland" in a published source, like a book or an online tree, chances are that the person means the country of the Netherlands. If you see "Holland" in a Dutch record prior to 1840, Holland refers to the province by that name, in the west of the Netherlands. In 1840, the province was split into Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. As … [Read more...]

Announcement – The Dutch in America Across the Centuries

Dutch in America Across the Centuries

Are you interested in Dutch immigration to the United States? Are you able to go to Albany, New York next September? If so, you're in luck, because there will be a conference, where researchers studying the New Netherland era and experts on the the 19th century immigration wave will come together to connect and compare information about the … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Am I related to Rembrandt van Rijn?

Titus, by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. Credits: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

After I wrote about my "great-aunt" Hendrickje Stoffels, the mistress of Rembrandt van Rijn, several people named Van Rijn have asked me if they could be descended from Rembrandt. The short answer? Sorry, no. Here's why. Rembrandt van Rijn had one lawful wife: Saskia van Uylenburgh. They had only one child who survived childhood: Titus van … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The last name may not have come from the father

Father and his children, Pieter de Mare, 1768 - 1795.

In genealogy, we are used to children having the same last name as their father. But there are several circumstances in which the child could have a different name: If the child used a patronymic, in which case the name of the child would be derived from the father's first name, not his last name (e.g. Pier Hessels, son of Hessel Jans). This … [Read more...]

Column – Safe?

Protecting property by putting down sandbags.

"My family tree is safe, I use Dropbox." Such cloud solutions, that automatically stores files online, are popular among genealogists. You don't have to remember to make a copy and can access the files from all your computers, tablets and phones. Your files are safe. Are they? Ensuring future accessibility of your files requires two things: the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Are your translations accurate?

Teacher checking homework.

A client sent me a translated marriage record, identifying a nephew as a witness. She had searched for the nephew but could not find any siblings of the person of interest. When I looked at the original marriage record, the witness was called a neef, a term that is used for both nephew and cousin. As it turned out, the witness was a first cousin … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Resources for Jewish genealogy in the Netherlands

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Several people have asked me how to find their Jewish ancestors in the Netherlands. I have researched several Jewish families, but don't read Hebrew so I cannot access all records. Here are some resources that have been useful in my research. Please share your own tips in the comments. Regular records Since the introduction of the civil … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The name may suggest the place of origin

Onnink farm in Winterswijk

Different regions have different traditions, not only when it comes to naming children but also when it came to choosing surnames. Someone named Bauke Ferwerda is bound to be Frisian, as the suffix -a can mostly be found in the northern provinces and Bauke is a Frisian first name. Janna Geertruida Meerdink is undoubtely from the eastern part … [Read more...]

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...]