Dutch term – Vader

Soldier and child on a bike

My grandfather and mother, about 1950

The Dutch word vader means ‘father.’

Finding fathers can be difficult if the parents weren’t married. Some tips:

  • Check the birth record to see if the margin has any notes about the child being recognized by a father later in life. This need not be the biological father but it can be a good clue.
  • Check population registers (since 1850) to see whom the mother was living with.
  • Check church council minutes to see if the mother was censored.
  • Do an autosomal DNA test. This is particularly helpful if you have a candidate(s) for who the father might be.  If you match people on that line, then that is evidence that you have the right person.

See also the case study: Subtle clues in population registers to see how I potentially found the biological father of an illegitimate ancestor of mine.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for 20 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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