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.

Vote for the Genealogy Rockstars

John D. Reid is organizing a Genealogy Rockstar survey for the fifth time. Whose presentations do you want to attend? Whose publications do you spell? Who in the genealogy world inspires you and makes you want to be a better genealogist? Now is your chance to vote. I know about half the people on the list and there are some great names among … [Read more...]

Seven Ways to Find Your Dutch Ancestor’s Occupation

Finding your ancestor's occupation is a great way to learn more about his life and can be a gateway to finding more records. Here are six different ways you can find out what your Dutch ancestors did for a living. 1: Civil registration records If your ancestor lived in the Netherlands after 1811, you should be able to find your ancestor in … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Learn about places from newspapers

You can learn a lot about the places where your ancestors lived from newspapers. You can see what was going on, read about Dutch settlements and find out about the people who were living there. Many Dutch newspapers have been digitized by the Royal Library and are available at Delpher. Select "Kranten" [newspapers] to search the newspapers for the … [Read more...]

How to Record Prefixes and Patronymics

Dutch names often have prefixes like Van der, De, and Ter; and patronymics like Jans (son of Jan) or Pietersen (son of Pieter). Dutch genealogy programs have separate fields for prefixes and patronymics but most international programs do not. So where do you enter these name parts in a genealogy program that only has fields for First name and Last … [Read more...]

Quick tip – List of Dutch pilots in the RAF and FAA

During World War II, several Dutch pilots joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Fleet Air Army (FAM) to help liberate the Netherlands. The Department of Defense website has a list of all these men. List of Dutch pilots in the RAF and FAM (click through to the PDF).   … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Also Check Church Records After 1811

Church records of baptisms, marriages, and burials are the go-to sources for vital information before the introduction of the civil registration. After 1811, we usually don't bother since the civil registration records are often more reliable. But these church records can contain important information. When to check the church … [Read more...]

Celebrating 25 years of genealogy

Twenty-five years ago, I was a teenager in high school. I had lost my grandfather the year before. We were looking forward to a new addition to our family: My cousin was pregnant with her first child. My aunt told me it could be twins, since our deceased grandfather had a twin brother. I had never heard anything about this and had always thought … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t go back too far too soon

When we go back in time, we often hit a brick wall for a person for whom we only know the name. Perhaps we find a marriage record that lists the father, or we find a name with a patronymic that suggests who the father was. It is very hard to find records if you only know a name. Often, names are not unique. There may be multiple people in the … [Read more...]

The Bed-Wetting Colonist

Even after twenty-five years as a genealogist, I am often amazed of the level of detail we can find in archival records. Here is one of the things I ran across when searching for a New Netherland ancestor of a client. In 1652, the colony of New Netherland—which encompassed large parts of what is now the state of New York—was eager for new … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Apply Lessons Learned to Old Problems

The longer we do genealogy, the better we get. We'll learn about new sources and strategies that help us solve new problems that come across our paths. But we should not stop there: we should also periodically revisit our old problems and apply the lessons we have learned. Two years ago, I wrote an article about how to find the father of an … [Read more...]