Quick tip: Mind the calendar!

Republic of the Seven United Netherlands

When you encounter a date in original records that is between 1582 and 1701, it could be in either the Julian or the Gregorian calendar, depending on the province where the record was created. This means the date you find could be as much as twelve days "off." Read more about the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in the Netherlands and the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch Genealogy Quiz

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

Are you an expert in Dutch Genealogy? Take the Dutch Genealogy Quiz and find out in three minutes! Regular readers of this blog and newsletter will recognize some of the topics. Don't worry if you get some answers wrong. I can see which questions people struggle with and promise to write articles about these topics in the next few weeks. Take … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Introduction to Dutch history

Entoen.nu detail showing Anne Frank

If you want to learn about Dutch history, you can read the 50 canonical articles at EnToen.nu. These articles act as 'windows to the past' and were developed as the basis for the history curriculum in schools. Each window tells the story of one canonical event in the history of the Netherlands from prehistory to the modern day. Topics include … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was he really born there?

Map of Amsterdam

People who move a long way from their small village will often claim a larger city in the area as their place of birth since nobody would have heard of their real place of birth. If you can't find your ancestor in the city where he was supposed to be born, try looking in the villages around there. This is especially true after immigration. Many … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Yvette Hoitink featured on the Forget-Me-Not Hour

View of New Amsterdam

Yvette Hoitink is a guest of Jane E. Wilcox on the Forget-Me-Not-Hour, a radio show in New York that is also broadcast online. The show airs on 3 September at 11 AM New York time (5 PM Netherlands time). During the one-hour show, Yvette talks about finding Dutch colonial ancestors in the Netherlands. She gives tips about using clues in names to … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Catholic? Check for prayer cards

Prayer card of Johanna Buis

Were your ancestors Roman-Catholic? After their death, a prayer card ('bidprentje') may have been created. This card commemorates the deceased and often gives biographical information like the names of the spouse, date and place of birth and death. Read more about using prayer cards for your research … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch Genealogy on Facebook

Facebook logo

There are several Facebook groups and pages for people with Dutch ancestors: Dutch Genealogy Dutch in New Netherlands (New York area) 1609-1674 Genealogy Group Dutch Genealogy in Australia Dutch Genealogy Services The Facebook page for the company behind this website and newsletter. To keep in touch with Dutch culture, I also … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Endogamy did not start after immigration

Bride and groom

People whose ancestors live in small Dutch immigrant settlements have probably noticed that many of them were distant cousins. The size of these communities limited the pool of potential spouses. Endogamy (marrying within the community, also known as 'kissing cousins') is not unusual. What most people don't realize, is that many of these … [Read more...]

Quick tip: addresses are a modern invention

K 3, now Badweg 8, in Winterswijk, 1992

Addresses that consist of a street name and a number are a relatively modern invention. Until the 19th century, many houses in the Netherlands did not have addresses but only street names, and often unofficial ones at that. You may encounter descriptions like "the house at the end of the Lily Canal, where the Boars hangs out," followed by a list of … [Read more...]

Quick tip: names change

Military recruits showing name signs

"The past is a foreign country, they did things differently there."1 One of the fundamental differences is the way that people were named. In many parts of the Netherlands, people did not have a hereditary surname until 1811. But even after 1811, names could get changed, for instance if someone emigrated or if the clerk made an error. The next … [Read more...]