Dutch term – Walvisvaart

Walvisvaart is whaling. Dutch commercial whaling started in the 1600s. Many skippers from the province of Holland went north to the waters around Scandinavia and north of Russia to catch giant whales. The village of De Rijp had a thriving whaling industry and at one time had a fleet of ten whaling ships. The whale fat was turned into codfish oil, … [Read more...]

The Curious Case of Bastiana van Breugel

Pretoria, South Africa, 11 October 1901; the height of the Anglo-Boer War. The Dutch Consul-General in South Africa wrote to the Secretary of State in the Netherlands about a possible spy that was discovered: a Dutch nurse was suspected of slipping classified information to the Boers. The story took a strange turn when the female nurse was … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Finding out your ancestors’ political views

In the Netherlands, people do not have to register to vote. Our government knows where people live, and voting passes are sent to their homes. So voting records do not show party affiliations. In municipal archives, you can often find "Kiezerslijsten" that show the people who were eligible to vote. Voting itself is anonymous, so these lists will … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Verkiezing

Verkiezing means election. In the Netherlands, it took until 1917 for all men to get the vote. Before that time, only men with sufficient means were allowed to cast a vote. Women followed two years later and got the vote in 1919. In the Netherlands, citizens can vote for three levels of government: National (Tweede Kamer, house of … [Read more...]

Benefits of Reasonably Exhaustive Research

The first component of the Genealogical Proof Standard as formulated by the Board for Certification of Genealogists is Reasonably Exhaustive Research. It means trying to find "all evidence that might answer a genealogist's question about an identity, relationship, event, or situation."1 Reasonably Exhaustive Research is one of the five requirements … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find More Records via the FamilySearch Catalog

FamilySearch has many records from the Netherlands, available from the Netherlands Research Page. But that page only has the large record sets. FamilySearch is digitizing the microfilms in their granite mountain vault, and those images are sometimes available from the catalog only. Example: Lichtenvoorde court records Some of my ancestors are … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Lijkkleed

A lijkkleed is a burial pall, the cloth used to cover the coffin. Many churches had a pall that could be rented. The rents were used to benefit the poor. In some cases, the account ledgers of the pall rents survived and can be used as death records. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – New Netherland digitization projects

On both sides of the Atlantic, records are being digitized that will help us trace New Netherland ancestors. The New York State Archives is digitizing the New Netherland records. With funds provided by the Dutch government, they are digitizing 9,500 pages of records not already digitized. These include New Amsterdam council minutes, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Huwelijkse voorwaarden

Huwelijkse voorwaarden (literally: marriage terms) is the Dutch term for prenuptial agreement. Historically, like today, most people did not have huwelijkse voorwaarden. Prenuptial agreements were often made by people who were well-to-do or who had children from a previous marriage to provide for. A prenuptial agreement identifies the spouses, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Heksenwaag

The Heksenwaag was the place where witches were weighed. Witches were known to be lighter than normal, in order to fly on a broom. People accused of witchcraft could go to a heksenwaag to be weighed and receive a certificate declaring them to be of normal weight, which they could then show to their accusers. … [Read more...]