Dutch term – Pachter

A pachter is a tenant. Most farmers in the Netherlands were tenants who did not own their farms or land. You can sometimes find tenancy contracts in court records, notarial records, or family archives. Especially in earlier times, these contracts were often made without having an official record so it may be hard to find proof. See an example of … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for May 2017

Here are some of the new websites and resources that have become available to us in the past month. Online Dutch records The National Archives published an index of houses that were sold by the Germans in World War II. Most of them had belonged to Jewish owners. The index is available as PDF or CSV. The West-Brabants Archief published … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Peter and Meter

A peter is a godfather, meter is a godmother. The terms are typically used in Catholic sources. The word compeer is also sometimes used, especially in older records. In Dutch Reformed sources, the term doopgetuige (baptismal witness), or getuige (witness) is used more often. … [Read more...]

My Favorite Websites for Finding Dutch Photos

In response to last week's article about the term bakker/bakkerij, Doris Waggoner asked how I found the photos I use to illustrate the articles on this website. I thought other people might like to read my response, so I am repeating it here and will include some links to my favorite photo sites. I never have any trouble finding photos. I used … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Klapper

A klapper is a finding aid, usually a physical book or binder with a name index. Klappers can often be found in reading rooms of archives. They are disappearing as they are being scanned or entered into databases. Finding out what klappers exist can help you create a research plan for a visit to an archive. Some archives have a catalog or … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Common Spelling Variations in Dutch names

If you can't find the name you're looking for, try a spelling variation. Most Dutch search engines only find exact matches, so playing around with variations and wildcards may be necessary to find the person you're looking for. Knowing the different spellings of certain sounds in words can help. Examples of spelling … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bakker and Bakkerij

A bakker is a baker, and a bakkerij is a bakery. Bread was and is a staple in the Dutch diet. The content and weight of loaves of bread was heavily regulated. If you have ancestors who were bakers, you may find them on lists of calibrated weights, or involved in court cases if their loaves were found to be too light or containing different … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Why Did He Die Elsewhere?

Sometimes, you will find a death record that shows your ancestor died in a different place from where he was living all his life. Common reasons are: He was in a hospital receiving care. He was institutionalized in a mental hospital. This sometimes happened to elderly people who suffered from dementia. He was in jail. He was there … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Moetje

A moetje is a situation where a couple married because the bride was pregnant; a shot-gun wedding in modern terms. "Moeten" is the verb "must" and "-je" is the diminutive form. So the marriage was a "bit of a must." Customs were different in different areas and among different social classes. Among laborers in Friesland, it was quite common to … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Netherlands featured at Western European Family History Conference

Next week, the Family History Library presents a week-long free conference about Western European Research. Each day focuses on a different country: Monday 15 May: Germany Tuesday 16 May: France Wednesday 17 May: The Low Countries Thursday 18 May: The Netherlands Friday 19 May: Switzerland. You can either attend in person in … [Read more...]