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.

Quick tip – New URL for Database of Surnames in the Netherlands

The database of surnames in the Netherlands has a new home. It is now maintained by the Central Bureau for Genealogy and available at cbgfamilienamen.nl. In the database, you can look up a name to see how popular it was in 1947 and 2007, and where those people lived. In many cases, there will be a description of the origin of the name and … [Read more...]

Until Death Do Us Part – Or Even Longer

This monument tells a remarkable tale of two people whom not even death could separate. When Lady Josephina Caroline Petronella Huberina van Aefferden died in 1888, she could not be buried next to her husband, Cavalry colonel Jacob Werner Constantinus van Gorkum. He had died eight years before, and had been buried in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Mind the Gap

One of my clients hired me to help solve his brick wall. The marriage record indicated the ancestor was born in the same village as where he married. The client found two people by that name who were baptized there, but both married other people and could not be the person he was looking for. He was wondering if the ancestor could have come from … [Read more...]

7 Tips for Finding the Address of your Dutch Ancestors

Are you thinking about coming to the Netherlands to visit the bulb fields and visit the places where their ancestors lived? Depending on where your ancestors lived and how wealthy they were, it may not be easy to find out exactly where they lived. Here are some things you need to know when trying to find the address where your ancestors … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No Cause of Death in Death Records

Dutch death records do not normally list the cause of death. Only in unusual cases, for example if the person died at sea or was found dead outside somewhere, will a death record give you a clue about the cause of death. Usually, there won't be any surviving records that allow you to find out how your ancestor died. Here are some things you can … [Read more...]

Column: Receipt

The receipt of the Teeven deal had been preserved: we could reconstruct how much money had been paid; even fifteen years after the fact. The drama that followed demonstrated that archiving is more than just preserving things well; it is also a matter of being able to find information again.* In the Netherlands, the national government has a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – More newspapers in Delpher

The newspaper website Delpher has had a major update. 79 new (old!) newspapers have been added, including: Algemeen Handelsblad 1875-1909 Apeldoornsche courant 1861-1924 Arnhemsche courant 1851-1950 Bredasche Courant 1914-1950 Curaçaosche Courant 1840-1881 Middelburgsche Courant 1801-1837 Nederlandsche Staatscourant … [Read more...]

Two Tenancy Contracts from the 1700s

Most farmers in the Netherlands were tenants, not owners. This can make it hard to find out where they lived, since we can usually only find deeds for the owners, not the tenants. Since so many of us descend from tenant farmers, I thought I'd share two tenancy contracts with you that I found for my ancestors. It is rare to find such a contract, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t stop looking after they left

Don't stop looking for your family in a town just because they don't live there anymore. They may still own property there, have business partners there, or may be heirs of people who stayed behind. In notarial records, I often find references to children living abroad, for instance when one of their parents died and their estate needed to be … [Read more...]

Organization of Archives in the Netherlands

To find records about your ancestors, it is useful to know how archives are organized; even if you're looking for online records. Government archives The most important sources for genealogical research are kept in government archives. Churches were required to hand over their baptismal, marriage and burial registers when the civil registration … [Read more...]