Dutch term – volkstelling

Children in class

Volkstelling is the Dutch word for census. The first national census was held in 1795 but some local censuses go back to the 16th century. Between 1830 and 1930, a national census was held every ten years. Since then, there have only been four censuses: 1947, 1956, 1960 and 1971. Since the Dutch government keeps the information about its … [Read more...]

Dutch term: metselaar

Etching of a bricklayer

A metselaar is a bricklayer. Since the Netherlands doesn't have many quarries, and all the more mud, brick was and is a popular building material. Brick has been used for buildings since the Middle Ages, first for churches and later for houses too. To prevent fire, many chartered towns issued ordinances that required people to use brick instead … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Register van naamsaanneming

Name taking record of Jelmer Sipkes Sipma

A register van naamsaanneming is a register of name taking. In 1811/1825, people that did not have a last name yet, like people from the northern provinces or Jews, had to register their new name. See the article about name taking records for more information. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Louwmaand

January

Louwmaand is the old name for January. The origin of the word louw is unknown. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Nieuwjaar

The term Nieuwjaar means 'new year.' If you want to wish people in the Netherlands 'Happy new year,' you say 'Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!' The new year did not always start on January 1st. During the French occupation (1795-1815), the year started on 22 September. During the Middle Ages, some people used the Christmas style while others used the Eastern … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Kerstmis

Family around a Christmas tree, with presents

The word Kerstmis means Christmas. Traditionally, Christmas was celebrated in the Netherlands by going to to church and celebrating at home by having extra nice food. Dutch people did not give each other gifts for Christmas, as that was done on St. Nicholas' Eve (5 December). Over the last couple of years, Christmas has grown in popularity in … [Read more...]

Dutch term: stamboom

Kwartierstaat of Jan van de Poll, 1749

A stamboom is a family tree. Dutch genealogists will say that they practice stamboomonderzoek [family tree research] when they are asked about their hobbies. Searching for your family name in combination with the word stamboom in a search engine may lead you to Dutch publications about your family. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: geboorteakte

Birth record with note in the margin

A geboorteakte is a birth record. Births have been recorded by the government since 1811 (or 1794-1795 in parts of Limburg and Zeeland). Birth records of people born more than 100 years ago are public. Read more about using birth records to find your Dutch ancestors. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: bidprentje

Prayer card of Johanna Buis

A bidprentje is a prayer card. Prayer cards are a Roman-Catholic tradition to commemorate the dead. Read more about finding prayer cards and using them for your research. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: boerderij

Farm near Winterswijk

A boerderij is a farm. Sometimes, you will find boerderij doende (doing farm) as an occupation, which means that the person was a farmer. Most farmers were tenants who did not own their farms. Some farms are very old; not necessarily the buildings, but the agricultural business at that location.  The buildings got renewed, the property got sold, … [Read more...]