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...]

Quick tip – Was your ancestor the first to use the surname?

Mardi Gras, 1911.

Let's say you've gone all the way back to the 1500s, 1600s or 1700s and can't find the parents of your brick wall ancestor. Could it be that your ancestor was the first one to use the name? Perhaps your Van Etten really was from Etten, and his parents only used a patronymic. Perhaps your Hoitink ancestor was born on another farm, and only called … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch Genealogy Webinar

Yvette Hoitink

On Wednesday 16 September, I'll give a webinar about "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors." I hear the virtual seats are filling up quickly so grab yours while you can and register today. See the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website for more information and registration.  Tip: If you are a Family Tree Webinar Subscriber or purchase this webinar … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Wiring money to the Netherlands

Buying groceries, 1955.

If you're ordering records from municipalities or archives in the Netherlands, chances are that you will not be able to pay by credit card or PayPal. Most government agencies in the Netherlands are only set up to accept bank payments. To wire money, you will need the IBAN-number of the bank account that you're sending the money to, and the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Turn the page!

Bredevoort court records, with only the right page numbered.

In Dutch records, often only the right page is numbered. So if you see a reference for your ancestor at page 15 and can't find her, turn the page and check the left side of page 16. Often, this reverse page is designated like fol. 15v, with a v for "verso" [Latin for reverse] and "fol." [folio] instead of p. [page]. But sometimes the numbers … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Not all religions baptized infants

Baptism in the Mennonite Church, 1743

In the period before the civil registration, which was introduced in most of the Netherlands in 1811, baptismal records are the usual documents to consult for information about the birth date of an ancestor. In most cases, children were baptized within days of being born. But some religions did not baptize infants but waited until people were old … [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...]

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...]