Looking for census records in the Netherlands?

Population register

In many countries, census records are a popular source for genealogical research. In the Netherlands, we use population registers or civil registration records instead. After the census of 1849, the government decided to keep the information up to date. These records are called population registers and show where a family lived in a certain … [Read more...]

Quick tip: get notified about the English version of WieWasWie

WieWasWie logo

WieWasWie is the most comprehensive website with Dutch genealogical records. An English version is in the works. You can now leave your email address and get notified when the English version is available. … [Read more...]


Baby in the lap of Saint Nicholas

I fondly watch the grainy movie on my HD-television. On the screen, the room has 70s wallpaper with a psychedelic orange/brown motive. A group of children watches excitedly as Saint Nicholas comes through the door. A baby is put in his lap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUk43JXhhDQ The baby is me, and my grandfather is Saint Nicholas. It was … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Mind the dates

Leaf from a calendar

In the Netherlands (and most of the rest of the world), dates are routinely written as dd-mm-yyyy so 5-4-2013 means 5 April, not May 4 as it would be in the US. This can easily lead to mistakes. To avoid confusion, just use the full name of the month: 5 April 2013. That way, everybody will understand what you mean. … [Read more...]

How to find the cause of death

Dutch girls laying flowers on the graves of a temporary graveyard for killed Canadian soldiers. Edderwolde, The Netherlands, 1945.

Several people have asked me how they can find out how their ancestors died. Unfortunately, records that list cause of death are routinely destroyed, so most often it will not be possible to find the cause of death. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: find transcriptions of Achterhoek sources on Genealogiedomein


Are your ancestors originally from the eastern part of Gelderland known as the Achterhoek? The website Genealogiedomein has hundreds of (free) transcriptions in PDF-format. Most of the transcribed records are church records (baptisms, marriages and burials) from before 1811, but there is also a growing number of indexes of civil registration … [Read more...]

Was your ancestor born in Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant? Guess again!

Streetview image of the Holland road

When I look at online trees, especially on Ancestry.com, I often see "Reusel, Reusel-de Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands" listed as the place of birth. At first I was puzzled how all these people with names that are typical for Friesland, Groningen or Gelderland would have children in a village on the other side of the country. There was … [Read more...]

Quick tip: don’t expect any early photographs


Photography took off later in the Netherlands than in the UK or the US. Most people don't have any pictures of their family that were taken before 1910/1920. If you do come across an early photograph, be very careful when dating it. A photo that looks like it would have been taken in the 1880s in the US, may well be from the 1900s in the … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Find church records at the archives, not at the churches


When the civil registration was introduced in 1811 or slightly earlier, the government required that all churches turn in their baptismal, marriage and burial records. These church records would become the foundation of the civil registration, where government officials could determine when a person was born, married and died. … [Read more...]

How soon after birth were children baptized?

The baptism of William V of Orange, 1748

In response to the article about the word dopen (baptisms), Tore Langholm asked: Has “baptism” always/usually been equivalent to “infant baptism” in the Netherlands? I just found a record of a baptism in the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk in July of 1698, and wonder if I can assume that this is also the childs’ birth year? … [Read more...]