Another Long-term Tenant

A few weeks ago, I wrote about two tenancy contracts that showed that the Ten Haken farm in Winterswijk was in the family for three generations of tenants. As a result, reader Gerrit Stemerdink shared the story of his Wieberdink ancestors with me. They were tenants of the Wieberdink farm for more than two centuries. The following is an adaptation … [Read more...]

Two Tenancy Contracts from the 1700s

Most farmers in the Netherlands were tenants, not owners. This can make it hard to find out where they lived, since we can usually only find deeds for the owners, not the tenants. Since so many of us descend from tenant farmers, I thought I'd share two tenancy contracts with you that I found for my ancestors. It is rare to find such a contract, … [Read more...]

Open data case study: Changing names in Winterswijk

The Gelders Archief just published many of their genealogical indexes as open data. This allows everyone to download the indexes and re-use them. Being a bit of a geek, I could not resist downloading some of the sets for Winterswijk to see what I could do with them. Winterswijk is the town where my father was born, and most of his ancestors to0, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Emigrants often used agents

Did you ever wonder how your emigrant ancestors bought their tickets and how they knew where to find a ship to go to America? By the end of the 1840s, many shipping companies had agents in most of the emigration hot spots. Emigrants would be able to purchase tickets form these agents, who would arrange for their travel to the harbor and for the … [Read more...]

Amazing find: Image of the Murder of my 16th-century Ancestor

Last week I made a fantastic discovery that underlines why you should always check the records of neighboring towns and not limit your research to the place where your ancestors lived. On a German map, I found a drawing of the killing of my ancestor Tonnis Willinck. Many of my ancestors lived in Winterswijk, on the Dutch-German border. As you … [Read more...]

How I use DNA for my one-place-study

My father's family is from a small village in the Netherlands called Winterswijk. All 2,000+ ancestors of his that I've been able to trace so far were from Winterswijk or the immediate surroundings. People first started living in that area in the early Middle Ages and I would not be surprised to find out that most of my paternal ancestors descend … [Read more...]

Worst case of pedigree collapse ever?

My father's side of the family comes from a small village in the east of Gelderland called Winterswijk. Because so many of his ancestors came from that place, I am reconstructing its entire population. Doing such a one-place-study has given me a deeper understanding of life in that village and allowed me to make some interesting discoveries and … [Read more...]

Paper ‘from Winterswijk to Wisconsin’

In 2008, I wrote a paper called 'From Winterswijk to Wisconsin' for the Dutch in Wisconsin conference in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I decided to put the paper online so more people will be able to read it. Download the paperRelated articles: Q&A about the presentationDutch in Wisconsin resources … [Read more...]

Updated database

I've just updated the genealogical database. It now includes about 42,500 people and their families. This includes almost 3,200 emigrants from the eastern part of the Achterhoek who emigrated to the United States in the nineteenth century. This is just the tip of the iceberg and is by no means complete. I did enter all of the Winterswijk emigrants … [Read more...]

Q&A about ‘From Winterswijk to Wisconsin’

I've just finished answering a series of questions by people attending the Dutch in Wisconsin conference. I gave a speech about the emigration from Winterswijk to Wisconsin in the nineteenth century. Here are the questions that I got and the answers I gave. I have expended some of the answers because I was able to do a little research. … [Read more...]