King’s Day Giveaway: Dutch Roots

Dutch Roots cover

On 26 April, we will celebrate the first ever "King's Day" in honor of the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. Until last year, the national holiday to celebrate the monarch's birthday was "Queen's Day," a tradition started in 1891. King Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother, Queen Beatrix, on 30 April last year. This year, he will be visiting … [Read more...]

Quick tip – most farmers were tenants, not owners

Etching of a farmer

If your ancestors were farmers, please keep in mind that most farmers in the Netherlands were tenants, not owners. Most land was owned by a few wealthy families and institutions like churches or convents. You may be able to find information about your ancestors in the archives that these families and institutions created but you will not be able … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Of Dutch descent? You may be a latent citizen

Dutch woman in traditional costume

A Dutch law for latent citizens allow some children and even grandchildren of Dutch citizens to claim Dutch citizenship. Until 2003, 'latent citizenship' was only recognized for foreign-born children of Dutch male citizens. But current equality laws have broadened the eligibility so since 2003 foreign-born children of Dutch women have also been … [Read more...]

Quick tip: read ‘Holland’ instead of ‘Reusel-De Mierden’

photo of a church

Do you have ancestors from Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant? Chances are, they are not from this place but the place name was introduced by mistaken when software tried to resolve the place name 'Holland'. Read Was your ancestor born in Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant? Guess again! for more information. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Mind your immigrant ancestor’s neighbors

Log cabin

When you're trying to find the place of origin of your Dutch immigrant ancestor, be sure to check his neighbors too. Did any of them come from the Netherlands? On websites that allow you to search census records, like Ancestry.com or Ancestry.co.uk, you can often search for all people born in the Netherlands who lived in a certain place, … [Read more...]

Quick tip: find the origin of your name in name taking records

Name taking record of Jelmer Sipkes Sipma

If your family is from the northern provinces, or Jewish, you may find them in name taking records. When the civil registration was introduced, people who did not have a last name yet were required to record their last name. In such cases, the name taking record is often the earliest record you will find for your name. Sometimes, clues about the … [Read more...]

Quick tip: there is no letter y in the Dutch alphabet

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

The Dutch alphabet has a letter ij, not a y. Dutch names with a ij typically get spelled with a y in English, for example Dijkstra/Dykstra, Wijnveen/Wynveen. Next time you're having problems finding a person in a Dutch search engine, check that you've used the Dutch spelling. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Try to find evidence to disprove your case

Two old cars after a collision

When proving a theory, we look for evidence that supports it. But as diligent researchers, we should look just as hard for evidence that disproves our theory. In fact, searching for evidence that does not fit with our preconceptions can be far more informative than searching for supporting evidence, as demonstrated in this short video. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Are your records independent?

Marriage booklet of Cornelis Flooren and Catharina van der Zanden (p. 1)

The next time you find a birth, marriage and death record that all agree about the name of the person and his date of birth or age, ask yourself: are these documents independent? An extract of the birth record would have been submitted in order to get married. The details from the marriage record may have been copied into the marriage booklet, … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Database laws may protect Dutch family trees

Woman carrying food distributed by allied forces, World War II

Most countries have copyright laws to protect the creative work of authors and artists. Under copyright law, a fact cannot be copyrighted since it doesn't meet the requirement of creativity. In many countries that means that the names, dates and places in a genealogical database are not protected by copyright and may be copied without asking … [Read more...]