Ask Yvette – What is GenealogieOnline?

Genealogie Online screenshot

Earlier this week, the Dutch website GenealogieOnline [Genealogy Online] won a Gold Award for genealogy software from GenSoftReview. With a rating of 4.87 out of 5, it scored fourth place. Congratulations! Ancestry subscribers may be familiar with GenealogieOnline from the hints they receive to this website. Several readers have asked me about … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check the records of neighboring towns

Place where Tonnis Willinck was shot

When you're looking for records about your ancestors, don't just limit yourself to the town where he or she lived but also check out the records of the neighboring towns. One of my most amazing finds was a map I found in a German archive, created about a boundary dispute. It showed how my ancestor Tonnis Willinck being shot and killed, around … [Read more...]

Off to Salt Lake City

flight attendent helping passengers on a plane

Happy New Year everybody! I'll be starting the year with a great bang, since I will be heading off to Salt Lake City later this week to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. I will be taking part in the Advance Evidence Practicum, a hands-on training in solving the hardest puzzles. I will also be attending the Board meeting of the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – New Years’ traditions

Firemen eating 'oliebollen'

Different areas in the Netherlands have different New Years' traditions. Making a lot of noise is pretty universal. I recall my grandfather showing me his too-short finger on New Year's Eve to warn me about the danger of fireworks. It had cost him the tip of his finger so he only had half a nail. Another one of my ancestors was fined for … [Read more...]

Holiday wishes

Family gathering around the table for Christmas

My best wishes to everyone, and Merry Christmas to all my friends who are celebrating Christmas today. It's the time of year to look back and forward. This past year has been a wonderful year for me. It was my first year as a full-time professional genealogist and I've enjoyed myself very much. I've worked on a range a projects covering … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Emigrants often used agents


Did you ever wonder how your emigrant ancestors bought their tickets and how they knew where to find a ship to go to America? By the end of the 1840s, many shipping companies had agents in most of the emigration hot spots. Emigrants would be able to purchase tickets form these agents, who would arrange for their travel to the harbor and for the … [Read more...]

Case study – Working with farm names


In parts of the provinces of Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland, people used to call themselves after the farm they lived on. It wasn't until the introduction of the civil registration in 1811 that their names became fixed. My own name, Hoitink, is an example of such a farm name. Since the name could change every time a person moved, this … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Napoleonic army records available online

mocking image showing France and the Netherlands as a bridal couple promising eternal faithfulness

During the French occupation (1795-1813), many Dutch young men were conscripted into Napoleon's army. The French department of Defense has now made scans of the military records for this period online on the "Mémoire des hommes" [Memory of the men] website. The website contains military records of other French soldiers as well, including those … [Read more...]

My Attempt to Free Anne Frank’s Diary

Anne Frank sitting behind a desk

This year marked the 70th anniversary of Anne Frank's untimely death. Under Dutch law, works by an author are in the public domain on 1 January following the 70th anniversary of the author's death. This means that Anne Frank's diary should be in the public domain as of 1 January 2016. However, the Anne Frank Fonds claims that her father, Otto … [Read more...]

Sinterklaas Giveaway Winner

Children putting shoes by the fireplace

The winner of the Sinterklaas giveaway is Victoria Davis from Texas. She will receive the DVD and syllabus of the "Researching your Dutch Ancestors" webinar. Congratulations, Victoria! All of you who did not win can still view the webinar at the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website. If you're not a member of Family Tree Webinars yet, you need to … [Read more...]