Quick tip – Share Your Family Stories

White palace

Two weeks ago, I shared a story on this site's Facebook page. Here's what I wrote: My grandfather lived in one of the wings of this castle when he served on the staff of Prince Bernhard during the last months of World War II. Apeldoorn was liberated at the end of 1944 and became the headquarters while the resistance and allied forces were planning … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Deaths are recorded in the place of residence

Death record of Debora Julia Hedeman, died Sobibor, 9 April 1943. Her death was recorded in Oldenzaal, Overijssel, the Netherlands on 9 December 1949.

If a person died in a different location than where he lived, the civil registration of his place of residence would also record his death. Often, they would receive a copy of the death record that was created in the place of death, and would then record that copy in their own death registers. This was also done after World War II, to record all … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Orphans left records too

Ordinance of the Goes Orphan Chamber

If children were orphaned, guardians were appointed. Before 1811, some regions had special weeskamers (orphan chambers), in other regions these appointments were handled by the court. After 1811, all guardianship appointments were handled by the court. Read more about using guardianship records to learn about your orphaned ancestors. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Religion affected more than just the church they attended

Refirmed Girls Society of Amsterdam

Religion did not just determine where people went to church, but also whom they hung out with. It determined where children went to school, what choirs they sang in and what gym clubs they joined. People met their partners in church and formed friendships and family bonds that survived emigration to other countries. See this overview of popular … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Witches in Flanders

Witch burning

The website Witches in Flanders offers a great deal of information about witch trials in Flanders. It includes lists of witch trials and convicted witches in the 1500s and 1600s. Several people who were accused of witchcraft fled north to the Protestant parts of the Netherlands, where witchcraft was often considered a Catholic superstition. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Most people did not have crests

Coat of arms of King Willem-Alexander

If you're looking for your family crest, you might be disappointed. Most families did not have family crests. If your ancestors were poor farmers and laborers, like the majority of families, they would not have had a family crest. Read more on how to find out if you have a family crest. … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – The Pull of the Dutch East and West India Companies

View of New Amsterdam

The Dutch East India Company and West India Company attracted workers from all over Europe. Many came from the German states or the Baltic. So if your ancestor was employed by one of these companies and settled in the West Indies, South Africa, New Netherland or the East Indies, it is possible that they were not Dutch at all. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Naming Traditions May Vary

Grandfather playing with his grandchild.

Many genealogists know that Dutch children were usually named after their grandparents. But the order in which children were named can vary between regions, religions and also in different periods. In some cases, the maternal grandmother took precedence over the paternal grandmother. Also, parents sometimes only named children after deceased … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The Dutch Language Changed a Lot

young man reading a book

The Dutch language changed a lot these past centuries. It's not just the script - the words themselves changed a lot too. Most Dutch people today struggle to understand a text from the 1600s, even if it's reprinted. This explains why automatic translators like Google Translate or Chrome struggle to understand archaic Dutch. They often don't … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Ask a Local Expert

Genealogy: it's not just about looking for dead people but also about connecting with living people. Let's solve those brick walls together

If you're really stuck, try finding someone who is familiar with research in the area and ask them to take a second look at your brick wall. They may know about local naming traditions, obscure sources or notice unusual patterns. Just this week I was able to solve a client's brick wall using the knowledge of a local expert. I traced the New … [Read more...]