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.

Quick tip – Order records in advance

If you are visiting a Dutch archive in person, please check their website. Often, you can order records in advance. That way, the records will be waiting for you when you arrive, and you can start your research right away. Some archives provide an order button from the catalog, while others allow you to email a list of the records you want to consult.   … [Read more...]

Free Alternatives to Ancestry for Genealogy in the Netherlands

Many American genealogists use Ancestry as their main platform to do genealogy. Some have asked me if they need to change their subscription to WorldWide to research their Dutch ancestry. Others do not have an Ancestry subscription wonder if they need one. The answer is no. You do not need Ancestry to research your ancestors from the Netherlands. As far as I know, Ancestry does not have any sources from the Netherlands that are not available for free on other websites. Most sources that … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use image banks at archives

Many archives have online image banks ("beeldbank") with their digitized image collections. Things you may find in there: Photos of houses and important buildings Prints, drawings, paintings of local scenes Maps Posters of local businesses, exhibitions, political propaganda Building plans of houses City ordinances I love going through these images. They give me a sense of the place. If I am lucky, I could find a photo of a house where my ancestors lived, or a drawing of … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for April 2023

This is an overview of all the news about sources, websites, and archives that was announced last month. Sources The historical society for northeast Friesland published the D.J. van der Meer collection with notes and indexes for various archival records in northeast Friesland on their website. Several transcriptions of court, tax, and church records from East-Gelderland have been added to Genealogiedomein. The website Kampen Notarieel publishes indexes and abstracts of notarial and … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Abbreviations in Population Registers

The website Uit de oude koektrommel has a useful page with abbreviations you may come across when using population registers. The page has four categories: Algemeen [general] Kerkelijk gezindte [Religious affiliation] Plaatsen en provincies [Place names and provinces] Landen [Countries]. The page is in Dutch, but once you know the full term you can often use a translator like Google Translate to translate the terms to a different language. … [Read more...]

Dutch Ancestors Research Plan – 19th century

In my Level-Up Challenge, I defined six levels of ancestral profiles. In this post, I will give you a basic research plan for an ancestor living in the 19th century for levels 1-4. Level 1: Names only I usually find the name of the person in records of somebody else I am researching. No specific research plan needed. Level 2: Vital statistics The civil registration was introduced in 1811 in most parts of the Netherlands (around 1795 for some parts of Limburg and Zeeland). I try to find all … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Difference between Twente and Achterhoek

There are two regions in the east of the Netherlands that often get confused: Twente and the Achterhoek. Twente is the eastern part of the province of Overijssel. Major towns are Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo, and Oldenzaal. The Achterhoek is the eastern part of the province of Gelderland. Major towns are Winterswijk, Groenlo, Lochem, and Zutphen. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Not always progressive

While the Netherlands is known for its progressive and tolerant policies, this was not always the case. The country has a complicated history, including periods of religious and political turmoil and persecution of minority groups; some still occuring today. A few examples: Before 1795, only members of the Dutch Reformed church could hold public office. In the 1830s, the government oppressed people who had seceded from the Dutch Reformed Church. Seceder ministers would receive … [Read more...]

Five good and bad ways to use ChatGPT for genealogy

You may have heard about ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence language model that can understand and generate language.  It uses machine learning to analyze and respond to questions by the users. It can give you information about a wide range of topics. In this post, I am going to explore five different ways you can use it. Some are great, some are terrible. I hope showing you the good and the bad will help you realize what you can and cannot use the tool for. I will provide five examples, … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for March 2023

Here is an overview of the new sources, projects, and other news announced last month. Sources The oldest Yearbooks of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany (1924-1951) are now available on their website. These books contain many abstracts of early records of the town of Beverwijk/Albany in the current state of New York, including some from the period when it was part of the colony of New Netherland. Notarial records of Schouwen-Duiveland 1642-1810 are now available via Zeeuwen Gezocht, … [Read more...]