Top 5 sources for images to illustrate your Dutch family tree

Children peeling potatoes while wearing traditional costumes, 1946

Here are my favorite websites for finding images to illustrate your family tree. National Archives Photo collection The National Archives in The Hague has over 14 million photos in its collection, many from press offices, taken by professional photographers. Over a million photos have been scanned and made available in the photo collection part … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Always check the original record

Two man operating a rasp

My client wanted me to find interesting stories about her ancestors. Normally, that would have me scouring newspapers and court records, but only after I find the basic information about birth, marriages and death. The civil registration records are not the first place you would think to look for interesting stories, but sometimes they will give … [Read more...]

How to obtain certified copies of birth, marriage or death records from the Netherlands

Information desk at the Amsterdam Civil Registration

I often receive requests by people who need to obtain official certificates of Dutch birth, marriage or death records for legal purposes. Obtaining certified copies is not a service I provide, so I will give you the instructions on how to do this yourself. Reasons for needing a certified copy There may be several reasons why you need an … [Read more...]

Quick tip – the meaning of Holland

Map of Holland (the province). Nicolaas Visscher, 1682 (public domain)

If you see "Holland" in a published source, like a book or an online tree, chances are that the person means the country of the Netherlands. If you see "Holland" in a Dutch record prior to 1840, Holland refers to the province by that name, in the west of the Netherlands. In 1840, the province was split into Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. As … [Read more...]

Announcement – The Dutch in America Across the Centuries

Dutch in America Across the Centuries

Are you interested in Dutch immigration to the United States? Are you able to go to Albany, New York next September? If so, you're in luck, because there will be a conference, where researchers studying the New Netherland era and experts on the the 19th century immigration wave will come together to connect and compare information about the … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Am I related to Rembrandt van Rijn?

Titus, by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. Credits: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

After I wrote about my "great-aunt" Hendrickje Stoffels, the mistress of Rembrandt van Rijn, several people named Van Rijn have asked me if they could be descended from Rembrandt. The short answer? Sorry, no. Here's why. Rembrandt van Rijn had one lawful wife: Saskia van Uylenburgh. They had only one child who survived childhood: Titus van … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The last name may not have come from the father

Father and his children, Pieter de Mare, 1768 - 1795.

In genealogy, we are used to children having the same last name as their father. But there are several circumstances in which the child could have a different name: If the child used a patronymic, in which case the name of the child would be derived from the father's first name, not his last name (e.g. Pier Hessels, son of Hessel Jans). This … [Read more...]

Column – Safe?

Protecting property by putting down sandbags.

"My family tree is safe, I use Dropbox." Such cloud solutions, that automatically stores files online, are popular among genealogists. You don't have to remember to make a copy and can access the files from all your computers, tablets and phones. Your files are safe. Are they? Ensuring future accessibility of your files requires two things: the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Are your translations accurate?

Teacher checking homework.

A client sent me a translated marriage record, identifying a nephew as a witness. She had searched for the nephew but could not find any siblings of the person of interest. When I looked at the original marriage record, the witness was called a neef, a term that is used for both nephew and cousin. As it turned out, the witness was a first cousin … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Resources for Jewish genealogy in the Netherlands


Several people have asked me how to find their Jewish ancestors in the Netherlands. I have researched several Jewish families, but don't read Hebrew so I cannot access all records. Here are some resources that have been useful in my research. Please share your own tips in the comments. Regular records Since the introduction of the civil … [Read more...]