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...]

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...]