Why You Are not Finding Anything in WieWasWie

If you are using WieWasWie to search for records about your ancestors, you may have trouble finding them. Here are three of the most common reasons why you have no results when you search in WieWasWie.

You fill in too much information

WieWasWie only finds records that exactly match everything you search for. Since the introduction of the paid subscription earlier this month, you can’t use wildcards or ‘begins with’ to search for parts of a name, which severely limits your chances of finding the record you are looking for.

For example: A search for Gesina Harmelink won’t find records that list her as Gesiena Harmelink. Without wildcards, you can’t search for Ges* Harmelink to find these variations. If you get a paid subscription, you can use wildcards and “begins with,” which increases the chances of finding the records you are looking for.

See using genealogical search engines for more tips on how to search in Dutch websites.

You don’t include all first names

The entire “first name” field has to match. If a person had multiple first names, they all have to match.

For example: If you search for the ancestor you know as Jan Woordes, WieWasWie won’t find a record that lists him as Jan Berend Woordes.

You include prefixes in the last name

Incorrect placement of prefixes form another problem. If you search for Gerritje de Vries, you have to put “Vries” as the last name, not “De Vries,” since “de” is a prefix and not considered to be a part of the last name.


If you want to be able to search with wildcards and “begins with” again, you need a paid subscription. Read more about the paid subscription. (And no, I do not get a commission).

Alternatively, a lot of the information in WieWasWie is also available in the “Personen” database at Archieven.nl, where you can search with wildcards and on multiple persons at once without the need for a subscription. Unfortunately, this website is available in Dutch only.

Screenshot showing 0 results in WieWasWie

No results for “de Vries” as last name

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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