Looking for prostitutes

Sagging bed in an attic

Last week, I went looking for prostitutes. Dead ones. Found them too. Now that I have your attention, let me explain how this came about. … [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...]

Source: church council minutes

Church council Zaamslag

Protestant or Reformed churches have a church council that administers the church. The church council consists of the minister, the elders and deacons. Some churches also appointed guardians who were responsible for the management of the church estates. Especially in earlier centuries, the council was involved with all aspects of the lives … [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...]

Find your ancestors by understanding how records are created

sea with ships

Searching for records using Google or Ancestry will only get you so far. You will just find records that have already been indexed and put online. If searching does not give you the records you need to answer your research question, try to think like an archivist to understand what other records may exist. … [Read more...]