Source: Borgbrief (Bond letter)

View of Zundert, 1777

Before the mid 1800s, if you wanted to move to a new place, you had to provide proof that you would not be a liability to the town. You would be required to submit a bond letter to the authorities, wherein the poor administration or civil authorities of your previous town declared that they would take care of you if you became poor. These letters … [Read more...]

Source – Staten van Landverhuizers

Departure of an emigrant ship

In the 1840s, when religious tensions were high and crops were failing, many people left the Netherlands to start a new life in America. The national government wanted to know what was going on. Since 1848, they required each province to keep lists of emigrants, the "Staten van Landverhuizers" [tables of emigrants]. Between 1831 and 1847, … [Read more...]

Source – Baptismal record

Oudenbosch in 1739

Before 1811, baptismal records are the main source for information about an ancestor's birth date. Baptismal records should have been kept since the Trente council of 1545-1563, but for most areas they only survive since the early to mid 1600s. Most children were baptized within days of being born. In some churches, children were baptized the … [Read more...]

Finding collaborators in World War II

young girls with their heads shaven walking in procession

With the 70th anniversary of our liberation coming up next week, I thought I would discuss one of the most important record groups for research into World War II. During World War II, several Dutch citizens collaborated with the German occupation: some joined the National Socialist Movement (NSB), others betrayed Jews or were romantically … [Read more...]

Source – Guardianship records

Girls sitting around a table doing needlework

In my article about the Weeskamer (orphan chamber), an institute that oversaw the estates of orphans before 1811, several people asked me what records might exist for later orphans. The richest source of information are guardianship records, which can be found in the records of the court. Court-appointed guardians After 1811, the courts … [Read more...]

Source: Family announcements

Marriage announcement of H.J. Kastein and E.J.E. de Monye

In the Netherlands, there has never been a tradition of writing biographical obituaries like you see in countries like the United States. Instead, "familieberichten" [family announcements] simply announce the death of a person. In the 19th century, only more affluent people had a familiebericht placed in the paper. It was usually very short and … [Read more...]

Sources for Dutch Genealogy – Pre 1811 Cheat Sheet

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

Looking for information about Dutch ancestors in the period from say 1650 until 1811 (before the introduction of the civil registration)? This cheat sheet will tell you which sources to consult. In some cases, not all types of records are available in each region. If a town did not have an orphan chamber, the administration of the estates of … [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...]

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...]

Name taking records

Name taking record of Jelmer Sipkes Sipma

The French occupation from 1795-1813 introduced many new types of administration, including the civil registration. To properly record people, it was necessary that they all had a last name. In 1811 and 1813, Napoleon decreed that everybody had to register their last name. After the French occupation ended, the Dutch government decided to keep … [Read more...]