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.

Direct, indirect, and negative evidence

In genealogy, we may have direct, indirect, and negative evidence for research questions. Direct evidence is like a light that shines on the possible answer. It answers the research question directly, though the answer may be partial or even incorrect. Indirect evidence is like a light that hits a mirror before it shines on the possible answer. The light wouldn't illuminate the answer if it did not hit something else first. We always need to use indirect evidence in combination with … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Canon of the Netherlands

Historians have compiled a Canon of the Netherlands; a list of fifty canonical events that everyone who is interested in the history of the Netherlands should know. This list was revised last year. The Canon website has the fifty events with background information, which is available in English. Some of the material for students, such as animations, lesson plans, and suggestions for further reading, is only available in Dutch. … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for December 2021

This is an overview of the new website projects, and other news announced last month. Sources Over 250,000 newspapers were added to Delpher, including many regional newspapers. The guild records of Breda are now available via the Breda City Archives website. Search for gilde*  to get an overview of all the guild records. Then click a record group and press "hele toegang" [whole finidng aid]. If you select a call number, you will see the scans. Press photos of the De Boer press agency … [Read more...]

Records that became public in 2022

Happy New Year everybody! Many records become public after 20, 25, 50, 75, or 100 years. Here is an overview of some of the records that became public as of 1 January 2022. Exceptions may exist for records that involve people that could still be alive. Just because records are public does not mean they are immediately available online. Some archives digitize the birth, marriage, and death records immediately, others do not. Some records will be online, some may be ordered via scanning on … [Read more...]

Top 10 posts for 2021

I continued my streak in 2021, writing at least two blog posts per week. These were the ten most popular blog posts this year. Interestingly, four of the articles are from 2005, when I started this blog. I wrote several articles that I thought would help people, and apparently they still do. Only one of the most popular posts was written this year. 1. Top 10 most common Dutch surnames (2013) This has been the most popular post on my blog since I wrote it in 2013. This post by itself … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find places of origin in bond letters

If you are searching for an ancestor's origins before 1811, it might be worthwhile to check the town registers to see if they submitted a bond letter. This is a certificate given out by their previous place of settlement that indemnifies the new town in case the person becomes poor. The old place of settlement promises to support them. If you find a bond letter, this will tell you where they came from. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Is the translation correct and complete?

If you are lucky, an English translation exists for Dutch records. For example, many New Netherland records have been translated. In some cases though, what is presented as translations are actually abstracts. The original may have more information. Another aspect to consider is that translations are interpretations, and may have mistakes. For example, an account book of the West India Company 1650-1664 that includes money paid for passage to New Netherland is often presented in … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for November 2021

This is an overview of the new website projects, and other news announced last month. Sources Scans of birth, marriage, and death records of Zoetermeer are now available via Alle Zoetermeerders and WieWasWie. The Regionaal Historisch Centrum Vecht en Venen [Regional Historical Center Vecht and Venen] has made the first born digital records that are kept in their digital repository available online. The first online collections are photos of Stichtse Vecht and De Bilt. They are available … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Wills in the third person

Some people are surprised that many Dutch wills are in the third person ("leaves HER house to HER brother and HER sister"). This is because the wills are drawn up by a notary or court clerk, and the "I" in the record is the notary. "Today appeared before me, notary so-and-so, Mrs. this-and-that who declared this to be HER last will." … [Read more...]

Quirks of Contemporary Indexes

If you're going through tax records or court records, you might get lucky and find a contemporary (hand-written) index in the front or the back. These indexes may have some quirks: They may be by first name, not last name. This particularly occurs in regions where people did not all use hereditary surnames but used patronymics or farm names. They may be grouped by the first letter only, not strictly alphabetical. Within each letter, the entries would then be in page order. So Andries on … [Read more...]