Quick tip – Finding the Current Name of an Old Place

When reading old records, you will often come across place names that cannot be found on a modern map. The spelling or the entire name may have changed. For example, the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, was known as Batavia under Dutch rule. Former Amsterdam City Archivist Simon Hart researched the places of origin that were mentioned in the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Did the family hop the border or vice versa?

The borders of the Netherlands have not always been what they are today. The borders were much different before 1839.  Several towns that are now in Germany once belonged to the Netherlands, and several Dutch towns were once part of the German states. Also, what used to be the southern part of the Netherlands is now Belgium and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Buurtschap

A buurtschap is literally a neighborship. It is a part of a municipality or parish. Unlike a village or town, a buurtschap usually does not have a center or church but consists of a group of farms dotting the landscape. Buurtschap is a word most commonly used in rural parts of the Netherlands. The closest English term would be hamlet. In … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Beware of same-named towns

If you are researching immigrants, beware that immigrants often named towns after their place of origin, so there might be two or more places by that name, perhaps thousands of kilometers apart. When a New Netherland records says "Haerlem," did they mean Harlem in current-day New York or Haarlem in the Netherlands? If your Michigan ancestor was … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Dutch Names

This is my third post answering the questions asked by viewers of my "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about Dutch names. What are patronymics? Patronymics are names that are derived from the father's name, like Jansen = son of Jan. In some parts of the Netherlands, people did not  have a hereditary … [Read more...]

Was your ancestor born in Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant? Guess again!

When I look at online trees, especially on Ancestry.com, I often see "Reusel, Reusel-de Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands" listed as the place of birth. At first I was puzzled how all these people with names that are typical for Friesland, Groningen or Gelderland would have children in a village on the other side of the country. There was … [Read more...]