Dutch term – Bij Kaarsenbrand

In old legal records, you can sometimes find that property was sold "bij kaarsenbrand" [by burning candle]. It does not mean that it was sold at night, but rather that the property was sold in an auction that lasted as long as a candle burned. If the candle went out, the highest bid at that time was the winning bid. It made sure that auctions would … [Read more...]

Why the Little Dutch Boy Never Put his Finger in the Dike

He is probably the most famous Dutch boy that never lived. The Little Dutch boy who saved the day by putting his finger in a dike. The book in which he appeared, Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland, featured several stories. The story about the Little Dutch Boy told how he saved Haarlem from flooding by putting his … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Klederdracht

Klederdracht means traditional costume. Many regions had their own style. Experts can tell you what area a person in a photo came from just by looking at the style of headwear or clothing. … [Read more...]

Dutch Archives that provide Free Scanning on Demand

In the Netherlands, archives provide their already digitized records available online for free. But several archives go a step further, and also allow you to request documents to be scanned free of charge. These archives have allocated budget for digitizing their collection. Part of this budget is used for larger projects, and another part is … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Auteursrecht

Auteursrecht (literally: author law) is the Dutch term for copyright. Here are some things that you need to know about copyright in the Netherlands: Copyright expires seventy years after the death of the creator, after which time the work becomes part of the public domain. Copyright requires originality. There is no copyright on a … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – There’s Nothing Wrong With Speculation

When you are researching your ancestors, there is nothing wrong with speculation. Building and testing hypotheses is a great way to discover new evidence that may help you prove your case. Just don't confuse speculation with proof, and make sure to not spread speculative information without clearly labeling as such (or not at all, to prevent people … [Read more...]

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...]