Quick tip – Languages that may come in handy

medieval manuscript

These languages will come in handy when researching your ancestors from the Netherlands. Dutch Not surprisingly, most records in the Netherlands have been written in Dutch. French During the French occupation (1795-1813), most government records were written in French, including early civil registration records. German During World War II … [Read more...]

Quick tip: There is no village called ‘Burgerlijke Stand’

Windmill during a water surge

In some of the records at Familysearch, the place of birth is listed as 'Burgerlijke Stand' followed by the name of a municipality in the Netherlands. 'Burgerlijke Stand' means 'Civil Registration' and is not a location. The way it is included in the record sets on Familysearch¬†makes it look like a village. When these records were imported by … [Read more...]

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...]