Dutch term – kerkenraad

Church council Zaamslag

The word kerkenraad or kerkeraad means church council that was responsible for the administration of the church. The minutes of the church council can be a rich source of information about members of the church. Read more about using church council minutes for your research. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Lentemaand

March. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Lentemaand literally means 'Spring month' and is the old word for March. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – archievenoverzicht

Extract of the burial record of Gart Vossers

Many archives or other repositories will have an online archievenoverzicht, a listing of their collection. The word archievenoverzicht literally means "overview of archives." It will give you a list of the collections, usually organized by categories like population records, court records or tax records. Some archives will only have the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – gemeente

Municipal map of Stompwijk.

A gemeente is a municipality, the lowest administrative unit. The Netherlands currently has 408 municipalities in 12 provinces. Over the last couple of decades, many municipalities merged. In 1812 there were 1,100. Archives of municipalities can be found at a local archive; either a municipal archive specific for that municipality or a regional … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bibliotheek

Library reading room

Bibliotheek is the Dutch word for library. Unlike in the US, most libraries don't have a large genealogical collection. Most will just have one or two general genealogical reference books in their collection plus some local history books. Only major libraries will have a subscription to genealogical journals such as Gens Nostra or De Nederlandsche … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Sprokkelmaand

February. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Sprokkelmaand is the old word for February. Literally, it means "wood gathering month." … [Read more...]

New Netherland research guide

view of a city from a ship

In the 17th century, the Dutch had a colony in the New World that they called Nieuw Nederland (New Netherland). The colonists came from the Netherlands and many other places throughout Europe. Many people with early American roots have New Netherland ancestors.  This guide will give you references to resources to help you trace your New Netherland … [Read more...]

Using Alle Friezen to find your ancestors from Friesland

Marriage record of IJe Hulshoff and Minke de Boer (detail)

If you have ancestors from Friesland, the website Alle Friezen is a must. The website contains indexes and scans of almost all the public records of the civil registration and some population registers as well.  … [Read more...]

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...]