Quick tip – Not many Dutch DNA cousins

DNA spiral

When you take a DNA-test for genealogical purposes, don't be surprised if you don't find many Dutch matches. Because DNA testing isn't very popular in the Netherlands, there will be few Dutch people in the databases. So not finding many Dutch matches doesn't mean that your paper trail that shows a Dutch ancestor is wrong. Why DNA testing isn't … [Read more...]

What is your earliest Dutch family photograph?

Hendrik Hoitink and Johanna Piek

In the Netherlands, photography took off much later than in countries like the US or the UK. As a result, many of us only have family photographs going back to the early 1900s. So I was wondering, what is your earliest photograph? Please leave a link in the comments or post the image to the comments on this article on … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Your ancestors may have gotten older than you think

Hendrik Hoitink and Johanna Piek

Many people think that people died a lot younger in earlier centuries. While poor healthcare, contagious diseases, risks of childbirth and dangers at sea certainly took many of our ancestors before their time, several of them lived to be quite old. The main reason that the average lifespan was shorter than today is because of infant mortality. … [Read more...]

Twisted family relationships in Nijmegen

Riddle

In the 17th century, a genealogical riddle was published in Nijmegen. The Nijmegen riddle A painting hangs in the Nijmegen Town Hall showing a young woman with an old man lying in her lap, with six sons standing next to her: two in red, two in green and two in white. The wife of the old man speaks: "Remark and see that I declare The two in … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Reading Dutch handwriting (video)

Teacher in front of a classroom

Familysearch has three free videos that teach you the basics about reading Dutch handwriting: Reading Dutch Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The Dutch Alphabet Reading Dutch Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Dutch Words and Dates Reading Dutch Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Dutch Records … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Visit the virtual Jewish monument

Auschwitz main gate with the text 'Arbeit macht frei'

Today we commemorate that Camp Auschwitz was liberated 70 years ago. I visited the camp with my class in high school and it made a lasting impression on me. We saw rooms packed with children's shoes, toothbrushes, toys, and then read that it was just 1% of the total number that had been collected. Each one representing a tragic story. The … [Read more...]

New website: Alle Drenten

Alle Drenten screenshot

A new website launched this week: Alle Drenten (all people from Drenthe). Drenthe is a province in the north-east of the country. Many people from other regions lived there too, as it was home to the pauper colonies where beggars, vagrants and prisoners were sent to. The new website is the successor of DrenLias. It contains all the indexes that … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Most people did not own real estate

Meerdink farm

Historically, most people in the Netherlands did not own real estate. Most farmers were tenant farmers, often living on the same farm for generations. Others were seasonal laborers who moved from farm to farm every year. It is rare to find tenancy contracts or rental agreements as these things were usually arranged between the owner and the tenant … [Read more...]

11 things to know if you plan a trip to the Netherlands

Men eating herring by holding a tail

Are you planning a trip to the Netherlands in the new year? Here are some things you need to know if you've never been to the Netherlands before. 1. Most churches are still there Most churches are still standing, whether they are from the medieval period or later. Not all of them will be open to the public. Some churches are only open on a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – research the collateral lines

Group of cousins, all grandchildren of Cornelis Trouw and Maria Gommeren

Most people are more interested in ancestors than their siblings, but records of the siblings can contain vital clues. For example, death duties files (memories van successie) of siblings who died without children can show that nieces and nephews or more distant relatives inherited. The death duties files can reveal complex family relationships, … [Read more...]