Dutch term: testament

Closed will of Rev. Dorpmans, 1678.

A testament is a last will. Most people did not have a last will and died intestate. Usually, only wealthier people had a will drawn up. Wills can be found in notarial records or in court records (before 1811 in areas that did not have notaries). … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Trouwboekje

Marriage booklet of Cornelis Flooren and Catharina van der Zanden (p. 1)

A trouwboekje is a booklet that the bride and groom were issued at the time of their marriage. It lists their names, date and place of marriage and has room to add all of their children. It was referred to often when people needed to prove their identity. Read more about marriage booklets and the implications for your research. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: getuige

Man in uniform signing a document

The Dutch word getuige means witness. Getuigen can be found in many different types of documents, such as birth and marriage records or baptismal records. In original records and transcriptions, the word is often abbreviated to get. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Persoonskaart

Personal index card

A persoonskaart is a personal record card, introduced in 1939 to register who lived where. Persoonskaarten are one of the most important sources for research in the 20th century, because they are one of the few records that can be obtained within 50 years after a person's death. Read the article about Personal record cards for more information. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: burgemeester

Portrait of a man with a medal

The term burgemeester means 'mayor'. Before 1795, when the French occupied the Netherlands and introduced new laws, most towns had more than one mayor. These were elected officials. Since 1795, each municipality only has one mayor. Mayors are appointed by the crown. In early records of the civil registration, it is not unusual for a mayor of a … [Read more...]

Dutch term: inventaris

List of household items

An inventaris is an inventory. In a genealogical context, it can have two different meanings: A finding aid or catalog of a collection, for example the inventaris of the archive of the Dutch East India Company. A call number of a file within a catalog is called an inventarisnummer (inv.nr.). An inventory of an estate of a person, usually a … [Read more...]

Dutch term: patroniem

Marriage record

A patroniem is the Dutch word for 'patronymic,' a name derived from the father's name. Examples are Jansen (son of Jan), Marijnissen (son of Marijn or Marinus) or Damen (son of Daam or Adam). In some provinces where patronymics were common, like Friesland and Noord-Brabant, you may encounter the word patroniem in search engines. If this is the … [Read more...]

Dutch term: nummerwisselaar

horses and guns

A nummerwisselaar or number changer was a person that was hired as a replacement for military service. Often, this was somebody who signed up in the same year, but whose number did not come up. They literally "exchanged numbers" so one man served instead of the other. In most cases, a contract between the (father of the) draftee and his … [Read more...]

Dutch term: tussenvoegsel

portrait photo

A tussenvoegsel (literally: something put in between) is a prefix of a surname. Common prefixes are De (the) or Van den (from the). Tussenvoegsels are ignored when determining the alphabetical order, so De Vries can be found under the V. See the article about prefixes in surnames for more information. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Landverhuizer

Emigrant ship leaving

The word landverhuizer means somebody who moved to another country. It's the term most 19th century records use when referring to emigrants. Knowing this term can help to find lists of emigrants ("staten van landverhuizers") in catalogs of repositories. Read more about landverhuizers in the column "Land movers." … [Read more...]