Quick tip – Don’t Stop Looking When They’re Dead

Sometimes, relevant records are produced long after the person of interest is dead. Here are some examples:  An estate may remain undivided during the surviving spouse's lifetime. The records of how the estate was divided and who the heirs were might be decades later. A record may have been copied at a later time, for example as part of … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hollandgänger

This week's term isn't Dutch at all, it's German. Hollandgänger literally means Holland-goer. It's a German term to describe seasonal workers who would come to the Netherlands to work. They'd walk to the Netherlands in spring, work here all summer, and then return to their families in Germany in the autumn. Most of these people were poor farm … [Read more...]

Source: Municipal Reports

Since 1851, municipalities were required to write annual reports about the state of the municipality. These reports rarely give information about individual ancestors, but can be a great source of information about their circumstances. Topics you can find in municipal reports: Population Elections Names of the municipal council … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Woonplaats

Woonplaats literally means "living place" and is the place of residence. After the introduction of the civil registration, deaths were always recorded in the woonplaats as well as in the place of death. A copy of the death record would be forwarded to the place of residence. This is useful if your ancestor died elsewhere, for example because … [Read more...]

24-hour Chat Marathon by Brabant Archives

Ten years ago, the Brabant Historisch Informatie Centrum and Regionaal Archief Tilburg started a chat service to help their online visitors. The archives have joined forces and now staff the chat service together. The service is very popular and has answered over 30,000 questions about the archival collections, searching for ancestors from … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch DNA is often identified as something else

Many Dutch people taking a DNA test are surprised by the ethnicity predictions. Instead of Dutch, they're predicted to be French, German, English, or Scandinavian. When you think about the history of North-Western Europe, this is not surprising. The North Sea was the highway of the Middle Ages, with many people traveling for trade or pillage. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Opzichter

An opzichter is an overseer. If you find that your ancestor was an opzichter, that can be a clue to find more records about him. Opzichters were hired by various organizations like hospitals or prisons. In former Dutch colonies, you can find overseers on plantations or managing enslaved people. The organizations the overseers worked for may have … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for January 2020

Here is an overview of the new sources, projects, and news about archives that were announced last month. Online sources Almost 30,000 books were added to Delpher. The new addition includes children's books, school books, travel stories, books about female laborers, and a lot more. The majority of these books is in the public domain and can … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Patronymics are Often Misindexed

Before 1811, in some parts of the Netherlands, people went by patronymics only. These are names derived from the father's name, like Jansen = son of Jan and Pietersen = son of Pieter. Let's say we have a baptismal record mentioning a child named Dirk, son of Jan Pietersen. No last name or patronymic was indicated for Dirk. His father would be … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Did they need dispensation to marry?

If a couple that wanted to get married was related, either by blood or by marriage, they may have needed dispensation. For example, until well into the 1900s, it was illegal to marry your deceased spouse's sibling. My great-grandfather needed royal dispensation for his marriage to his late wife's sister. Marrying your first cousin or other close … [Read more...]