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 – Old does not mean original

When you are working with old manuscripts, it is tempting to think they are original records—the first recorded version of the document. However, even old manuscripts may be derivative records—copies, transcriptions, or abstract of older versions. Sometimes, the original record does not survive and the derivative is all we have to work with. But we have to keep in mind that it may have copy or interpretation errors. In the past, when people created a copy, they may not necessarily have tried … [Read more...]

Quick tip – List of Historical Disasters in the Netherlands

Philip van Diemen de Jel and Irene Walstra have a list on their website with Historical Disasters in the Netherlands (in Dutch and English). This list is useful if you see an unexpected cluster of deaths in your family. Since Dutch death records do not list a cause of death, it can be hard to find out how an ancestor died. Knowing there was a epidemic, bombing, or flood in the area can help you find out what may have happened. See also other tips for how to find a cause of death. … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for May 2022

This is an overview of the new sources, websites, and projects that were announced last month. Sources Death Duties files for Zeeland 1818-1927 have been added to the Zeeuws Archief website. The records of the village of Schijndel 1312-1811 have been digitized and are available via the Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum website. Many building permits in the east of Noord-Brabant have been scanned and are now available via the Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum website. Where … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was your relative in an asylum?

Here are a couple of ways you may find out that your relative was in an asylum: Asylum records. Some of these are digitized or indexed. You may stumble upon these records by searching. Death records, where the informant was an employee of the asylum, or the place of death is an asylum. Research the address if someone died away from home. Marriage supplements of children, if the person was unable to consent to their children's marriage because of their mental state. Court records, … [Read more...]

Extreme Ancestors – Johanna van Groezen, wife, mother of two, widow in the same year

In this post in my Extreme Ancestors series, I want to introduce you to Johanna van Groezen, who became a wife, mother of two children, and a widow; all in the space of eight months. Johanna van Groezen and her first husband Adriaan Marijnissen are my third great-grandparents. Johanna van Groezen was twenty-one years old when she married Adriaan Marijnissen. They married in Made en Drimmelen in North Brabant on 6 February 1864. They both worked as laborers. He was 27 years old, she was … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Did they know the witness?

You may encounter witnesses in several types of records: Baptismal records Church marriage records Aldermen's court marriage records Civil registration records of births, marriages, and deaths Notarial records. When you come across witnesses, ask yourself: would this be the type of event a random person would witness? Or is the person likely to have been a close connection to the person of interest? For example, a notary may have asked a neighbor to witness a will, but the … [Read more...]

Postgraduate Certificate in Family and Local History

I have exciting news: I have received a Postgraduate Certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee in Scotland. I started in September 2020. I actually met the requirements for the certificate a few months ago but thought I could not claim it yet because I did not receive any paperwork. The university just confirmed that I do indeed meet all the requirements. They don't send you a certificate if you continue on to the diploma, like I did, but that does not make it any … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for April 2022

This is an overview of the new sources, websites, and projects that were announced last month. Sources The website Brabant in Beelden has added several videos of villages in Noord-Brabant to their website. Indexes of notarial records from the late 1800s have been added to the Westfries Archief website. Scans of index cards of The Hague church records have been added to the Haags Gemeentearchief website. The Indies Genealogical Society published an index of people who died in … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Research living people first

When you are just starting researching your family history, focus on the living people first. They have the stories that you won't find in records. The dead will keep! And if you're lucky, they may even be willing to take a DNA test. Start with the oldest generations, but do not forget to capture the stories of the younger generations too. I had been doing genealogy for over ten years when my grandmother asked me if I had ever found out when her aunt died. She had last heard from her more … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – How to find a Dutch will

One of our Twitter followers, Karen de Bruyne, asked on Twitter how to find the will of her great-grandfather-in-law Jacob Bruijn, who died in The Hague on 28 May 1927. Since there are several ways to go about it, I thought I would write a blog post about it. Most people in the Netherlands did not have wills, either because there was not much to inherit, or because they were happy with the default way their estate would be inherited. Since 1811, wills were recorded by notaries. Before … [Read more...]