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 – Are There Scans of that Unindexed Record?

If you can't find a record for your ancestor by searching for their name, see if the records have been scanned but not indexed yet. It's much quicker to scan a record that it is to index it. Indexing requires people to read the names and type them into a database. This is time consuming so millions of records have been scanned without being … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for August 2018

Here is an overview of the new sources, projects, and news about archives that were announced last month. Online sources The area around Maastricht, Limburg has been added to HisGis, the historical geographical information system. You can click on a plot to see the owners. The population register of Haarlem, Noord-Holland for the period … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Search Family Papers First

When you're researching a line, first check what records might be available in your family. When I was researching my grandfather Johannes Marijnissen, my mother had several interesting records about him: an old passport, his marriage booklet, military discharge papers, an extract of his death record, and family photos. Since … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Should I Take a DNA Test?

Last month, I blogged about my ethnicity predictions, which were wildly off. As a result, several people have asked me: Should I take a DNA test if they are so unreliable? My answer? Absolutely! You see, a DNA test gives you two types of results. On the one hand, it gives you the ethnicity predictions. This feature has the most curb appeal … [Read more...]

Four Degrees of Separation

Randy Seaver offered the following Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge: Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with FOUR degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that fourth ancestor born? Here is my line: I knew … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dates in Population Registers May Be Incorrect

If you're using population registers, keep in mind that these registers were often copied from older registers and may contain copy errors. The birth dates mentioned in them were often not written close to the time of birth, and the informants may have made mistakes. If you find a birth date in a population register, always verify that … [Read more...]

Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 9 – Jan Smulders

This is the tenth post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In theĀ first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time. In theĀ last post, I proved that my fifth great-grandfather Hendrik Smulders was the son of Jan Smulders and Catharina … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for July 2018

Here is an overview of the new sources, projects, and news about archives that were announced last month. Online sources ZoekAkten, the website that provided easy waypoints to the Dutch records at FamilySearch, has been taken offline. The volunteer behind the website decided to pull the plug. The records themselves can still be found via the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Last Name or Patronymic?

If you're researching a family with a name like Jansen, Zwiers, or Pieterse, at one point you will find the original person for whom the name was not a hereditary last name but a patronymic derived from the father's name. My mother's name is Marijnissen. As a beginning genealogist, it took me a while to realize that the father of her brick wall … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find Reusable Images at the Cultural Heritage Service

The Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed [Cultureel Heritage Service] is a government organization that oversees the care for monuments, archaeology, and museums in the Netherlands. The service has an online image bank with a range of digital images: Photos of monuments and archaeological sites Maps and original indicator tables of the … [Read more...]