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.

Dutch term – Dief

A dief is a thief. You may found out that your ancestor was a thief, or the victim of a thief, in newspapers, court records, prison records or police records. … [Read more...]

Five Things I Learned From Working With Archivists

During the past twenty years, I've had the pleasure of working with some wonderful archivists on a range of projects, both in my previous job as IT consultant and project manager at the National Archives and in my current occupation as professional genealogist. I'm not an archivist myself, but picked up some useful tips from them. 1: Context … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Occupations ran in the family

Occupations often ran in the family. The eldest son usually inherited the father's business, and would step in his father's footsteps. Guilds often had friendly terms for children of members, with reduced fees for apprenticeships and membership. Even younger sons who could not take over their father's business often found similar work. The son of a … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kermis

The kermis is the carnival. Most towns have a carnival once of twice a year. The kermis was traditionally a time of courtship, where young folks got together. Some areas had a fair, where young women would line up and young men would select the girl of their choice to take to the carnival and to walk her home at the end of the … [Read more...]

Column – Reuse

Since 18 July 2015, the Netherlands has a law to regulate the reuse of government information. The law is intended to give an impulse to the economy if government information is used as fuel for new products and services. The law requires archives to cooperate in the reuse of government information. They can only charge the marginal costs for … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Most Catholic names end in -us or -a

Catholic records were kept in Latin, while civil registration records are kept in Dutch (or French, depending on the time). But Catholic families often recorded the Latin version of the name as the official version with the civil authorities as well. Latin names often ended in -us (for men) or -a (for women). So a person who was called Petrus … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – What is GenealogieOnline?

Earlier this week, the Dutch website GenealogieOnline [Genealogy Online] won a Gold Award for genealogy software from GenSoftReview. With a rating of 4.87 out of 5, it scored fourth place. Congratulations! Ancestry subscribers may be familiar with GenealogieOnline from the hints they receive to this website. Several readers have asked me about … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check the records of neighboring towns

When you're looking for records about your ancestors, don't just limit yourself to the town where he or she lived but also check out the records of the neighboring towns. One of my most amazing finds was a map I found in a German archive, created about a boundary dispute. It showed how my ancestor Tonnis Willinck being shot and killed, around … [Read more...]

Off to Salt Lake City

Happy New Year everybody! I'll be starting the year with a great bang, since I will be heading off to Salt Lake City later this week to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. I will be taking part in the Advance Evidence Practicum, a hands-on training in solving the hardest puzzles. I will also be attending the Board meeting of the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – New Years’ traditions

Different areas in the Netherlands have different New Years' traditions. Making a lot of noise is pretty universal. I recall my grandfather showing me his too-short finger on New Year's Eve to warn me about the danger of fireworks. It had cost him the tip of his finger so he only had half a nail. Another one of my ancestors was fined for … [Read more...]