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...]

Sources for Dutch genealogy – post 1811 cheat sheet

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

Looking for information about Dutch ancestors in the 19th or 20th century (after the introduction of the civil registration)? This cheat sheet will tell you which sources to consult. … [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...]

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...]