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.

Free Alternatives to WieWasWie

WieWasWie, the largest genealogical database in the Netherlands, introduced a paid subscription earlier this year. Here are some free alternatives. 1: Use the free version of WieWasWie You can try to make do with the free version of WieWasWie. All of the information is still available for free, but the search options are pretty … [Read more...]

Quick tip – What Organizations Was Your Ancestor Involved in?

In the 1800s and 1900s, there were many organizations for every aspect of a person's life. Here are some examples I encountered in my research projects: Honorary member of the Society for the Promotion of the Musical Arts. Chairman of a local  branch of the Anti-Revolutionaire Partij [Anti Revolutionary Party], a Christian … [Read more...]

Celebrating Sinterklaas

In the Netherlands, we celebrate St. Nicholas' Eve on the 5th of December. Sinterklaas arrives in the country about three weeks before, on his steam ship from Spain. He is accompanied by his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten [Black Petes] who pass out small spiced cookies called pepernoten and candy to the children. Sinterklaas then gets on his white … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Find Out When Your Ancestor Was Born

How do you find out when your ancestor from the Netherlands was born? Here are five different ways. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Did your widowed ancestor make a settlement?

If a widow or widower with young children wanted to marry again, often they first had to make a settlement with their minor children so they received their share of the deceased parent's inheritance. These records can be helpful to prove family relationships, to get insights into the economic circumstances of the family, and to find out about … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Where is “Friesland” anyway?

Holly (De Fries) Flaherty wanted to know more about Friesland. Her paternal grandfather was from Friesland and spoke Dutch, but her maternal grandfather was from Friesland and spoke German. She heard that there were two provinces called Friesland - one German and one Dutch. She wanted to know if they were connected, historically, and whether … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Access to restricted records

Dutch privacy laws restrict access to recent records. As a rule of thumb, access to records that may contain information about living people is restricted.¬†For example, you can only access birth records of people born more than 100 years ago, and you can only access notarial records after 75 years. In many cases, access restrictions are set for … [Read more...]

The Curious Case of Bastiana van Breugel

Pretoria, South Africa, 11 October 1901; the height of the Anglo-Boer War. The Dutch Consul-General in South Africa wrote to the Secretary of State in the Netherlands about a possible spy that was discovered: a Dutch nurse was suspected of slipping classified information to the Boers. The story took a strange turn when the female nurse was … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Finding out your ancestors’ political views

In the Netherlands, people do not have to register to vote. Our government knows where people live, and voting passes are sent to their homes. So voting records do not show party affiliations. In municipal archives, you can often find "Kiezerslijsten" that show the people who were eligible to vote. Voting itself is anonymous, so these lists will … [Read more...]

Benefits of Reasonably Exhaustive Research

The first component of the Genealogical Proof Standard as formulated by the Board for Certification of Genealogists is Reasonably Exhaustive Research. It means trying to find "all evidence that might answer a genealogist's question about an identity, relationship, event, or situation."1 Reasonably Exhaustive Research is one of the five requirements … [Read more...]