Quick tip – Grave Stones in Churches May Not Cover the Actual Grave

If your ancestors were rich, they may have been buried in the church. Many Dutch churches have floors consisting of grave stones. What many people don't realize, is that many of these slabs don't cover the actual graves anymore. The graves may have been cleared to make room for new (unmarked) ones, or the stones may have been rearranged when the … [Read more...]

Until Death Do Us Part – Or Even Longer

This monument tells a remarkable tale of two people whom not even death could separate. When Lady Josephina Caroline Petronella Huberina van Aefferden died in 1888, she could not be buried next to her husband, Cavalry colonel Jacob Werner Constantinus van Gorkum. He had died eight years before, and had been buried in the Dutch Reformed Cemetery … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No Cousin is Too Distant to Have the Information You Need

When corresponding with cousins about genealogy, we tend to stick to the close ones: first or second cousins, maybe a third cousin, with the occasional once or twice removed. I recently solved a puzzle using a letter shared to me by a fifth cousin twice removed. I was trying to resolve a conflict in death dates. Her grave said a woman died on … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Records

During the webinar "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors," the viewers had the most interesting questions. I got to address some of them during the webinar, but thought they all deserve a reply so I'm dedicating this post to answer some more. There were so many great questions that I will have inspiration for several follow-up articles, so please stay … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find graves on photos of churches

The website of the Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed [Cultural Heritage Service] has many photos of churches, often going back to the early to mid 20th century. Some of these photos feature cemeteries. The quality of the photos and scans is often high enough to read the text on the markers. Earlier this year, I found a 1950s photo of a church … [Read more...]

Dutch terms – begraafplaats and kerkhof

A begraafplaats or kerkhof is a cemetery. Kerkhof (literally meaning "church yard") is a cemetery around the church, while a begraafplaats (literally: "burial place") is a more generic term. In the Netherlands, graves are routinely cleared after a few decades to make room for new graves. To see what graves still exist, check online cemetery … [Read more...]

Online cemeteries – Dutch alternatives to Find a Grave

Not many cemeteries in the Netherlands can be found on international websites like Find a Grave or Billion Graves. There is no Dutch equivalent for these sites, but there are several websites that provide photos of graves. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: cleared graves

Did you know that in the Netherlands, graves are routinely cleared after a couple of decades? Graves cannot be bought, only rented. The usual period is 20-30 years. After that term is up, the grave is cleared if nobody renews the lease. … [Read more...]