Dutch Term – Stamreeks

Fragment of the stamreeks of the house of Orange

A stamreeks is a pedigree that follows just one line of ancestors, usually the male line. In most cases, this will trace the last name. Other variations trace the female line only, or follow the last name even if it is descended from a woman (in the case of an illegitimate child or farm name). A stamreeks can be in a narrative format or in chart … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Graf

a coffin covered by flowers is surrounded by a group of mourners in black attire

A graf is a grave. In the Netherlands today, burials take place in special cemeteries, often at the outskirts of towns. Before 1827, most people would have been buried in or around the church. Read how graves are routinely cleared after several decades, and check out these Dutch alternatives to Find a Grave to see if your ancestors' graves … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Aanzegger

man in black clothes calling at a door

An aanzegger is a person who goes to inform neighbors and friends that someone has died. Traditionally, aanzeggen was done by a close neighbor, but in some regions it became custom to hire someone for the task. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vonnis

Courtroom of the court in Tiel

A vonnis is a verdict by a court. You can find vonnissen in court records, which are mostly not available online. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Heks

Witch being weighed

A heks is a witch. Witch trials were held in the Middle Ages and lasted until the 17th century. In modern Dutch, a heks is typically female, but in the past, the word was used for men as well. If you were accused of witchcraft, one defense would be that you were too heavy to fly on a broom. Since 1545, people could go to the heksenwaag (witches' … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gilde

Regents of the surgeons' guild in Amsterdam, 1756

A gilde was a guild, an organization of people of the same occupation in a certain town or region. Guilds were since the Middle Ages and some of them continued to operate until around 1800, when the French made an end to their monopolies. Most guilds had rules about admittance and training. Apprentices or gezellen could only become full members … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Dienstbode

maid scrubbing the pavement

A dienstbode was a domestic servant. Many dienstbodes lived with the families where they served. Because dienstbodes moved a lot, many municipalities started keeping seperate "dienstbodenregisters" [registers of domestic servants] as part of the population registration to keep track of who lived where. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overlijdensakte

Death record of stillborn child

An overlijdensakte is a death record. In most of the Netherlands, deaths have been recorded in death records of the civil registration since 1811. Before that, burial records kept by the churches are usually the best information available for finding out when someone died. Read more about death records. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Doodloper

Dead end nature.

A doodloper (literally: dead walker) is a dead end, a term Dutch genealogists use for an ancestor for whom we haven't found the parents yet. They are the end points in your family tree. A doodloper is similar to the English term "brick wall ancestor," but subtly different. "Brick wall" is generally used for ancestors who are seemingly impossible … [Read more...]

Source: Borgbrief (Bond letter)

View of Zundert, 1777

Before the mid 1800s, if you wanted to move to a new place, you had to provide proof that you would not be a liability to the town. You would be required to submit a bond letter to the authorities, wherein the poor administration or civil authorities of your previous town declared that they would take care of you if you became poor. These letters … [Read more...]