About this website

Creating a website like this is a fun activity. There are so many options, so many choices. What do visitors want? What do I want? In this blog I will describe some of the things I encounter in developing and maintaining this website.

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 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...]

Free DNA kits for cousins

I have several brick walls that I hope to solve using DNA, including several fathers of children born out of wedlock. On other lines, I would love to verify my information using DNA. Unfortunately, DNA testing is not that popular in the Netherlands, so I have many lines without any DNA matches. By offering free DNA kits, I hope to encourage the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use an old Dutch-English dictionary

Older Dutch records often use words that no longer exist in modern Dutch, or that have changed meaning. Modern dictionaries or automatic translators will often get it wrong. Using an older Dutch-English dictionary may help you understand the meaning. One such dictionary is A Large Dictionary English and Dutch, where the second half is … [Read more...]

Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 23 – John II of Brabant

This is the twenty-fourth post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time. In the┬álast post, I proved that my nineteenth great-grandfather Jan van Wijfliet, Lord of Blaasveld, was the illegitimate … [Read more...]

Celebrating 1,000 Dutch Genealogy Posts!

It blows my mind, but this is the 1,000th post I've written for this blog. I started the website in 1993 as a links website, and changed it to a blog in 2005. Some of the early articles I wrote are still among the most popular.   Most popular posts The most popular posts of all time have been: Top 10 most common Dutch surnames … [Read more...]

Quick tip – New website Amsterdam City Archives

The Amsterdam City Archives is changing the part of their website to search the finding aids, indexes, and image bank. One great new feature is that the indexes search function now searches all indexes at once. You can use * as a wildcard to search for spelling variations like Jans* for Jans, Jansen, Janszen, and Janssen. The new image viewer … [Read more...]