Dutch term – Brand

Brand is the Dutch word for “fire.” Fire was a major threat to any town.

Fires effect the available records. The obvious connection is that some records are destroyed by fires. Examples are Enschede town records prior to 1862 and Varsseveld town and church records prior to 1723.

Fires or the threat of fire can also create records:

  • Lists of houses that burned
  • Lists of victims who died
  • Lists of people who had fire buckets (the original “bucket lists”) or ladders
  • Records of fines for people who failed to have fire buckets or tiled roofs

These types of records can usually be found in the town records and are rarely found online, but are well worth it if you find them. They may tell you about a catastrophic event in your ancestors’ lives, and the records can tell you who their neighbors were which may help you to tie them to previous generations.

house on fire

Fire in Middelburg, 1857. Credits: A.A. Nunnink after a drawing by M.J. la Brand, collection Rijksmuseum (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® 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 certificate 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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