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.

Three old people ago…

One old person ago... Women did not have equal rights. Women in the Netherlands got the right to vote in 1917. But until 1956, married women needed permission from their husbands to enter into any legally binding contracts. Two old people ago... Slavery was legal in the Dutch colonies of Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and the … [Read more...]

Why the Little Dutch Boy Never Put his Finger in the Dike

He is probably the most famous Dutch boy that never lived. The Little Dutch boy who saved the day by putting his finger in a dike. The book in which he appeared, Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland, featured several stories. The story about the Little Dutch Boy told how he saved Haarlem from flooding by putting his … [Read more...]

Dutch Archives that provide Free Scanning on Demand

In the Netherlands, archives provide their already digitized records available online for free. But several archives go a step further, and also allow you to request documents to be scanned free of charge. These archives have allocated budget for digitizing their collection. Part of this budget is used for larger projects, and another part is … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – There’s Nothing Wrong With Speculation

When you are researching your ancestors, there is nothing wrong with speculation. Building and testing hypotheses is a great way to discover new evidence that may help you prove your case. Just don't confuse speculation with proof, and make sure to not spread speculative information without clearly labeling as such (or not at all, to prevent people … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Pachter

A pachter is a tenant. Most farmers in the Netherlands were tenants who did not own their farms or land. You can sometimes find tenancy contracts in court records, notarial records, or family archives. Especially in earlier times, these contracts were often made without having an official record so it may be hard to find proof. See an example of … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for May 2017

Here are some of the new websites and resources that have become available to us in the past month. Online Dutch records The National Archives published an index of houses that were sold by the Germans in World War II. Most of them had belonged to Jewish owners. The index is available as PDF or CSV. The West-Brabants Archief published … [Read more...]

My Favorite Websites for Finding Dutch Photos

In response to last week's article about the term bakker/bakkerij, Doris Waggoner asked how I found the photos I use to illustrate the articles on this website. I thought other people might like to read my response, so I am repeating it here and will include some links to my favorite photo sites. I never have any trouble finding photos. I used … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Common Spelling Variations in Dutch names

If you can't find the name you're looking for, try a spelling variation. Most Dutch search engines only find exact matches, so playing around with variations and wildcards may be necessary to find the person you're looking for. Knowing the different spellings of certain sounds in words can help. Examples of spelling … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Why Did He Die Elsewhere?

Sometimes, you will find a death record that shows your ancestor died in a different place from where he was living all his life. Common reasons are: He was in a hospital receiving care. He was institutionalized in a mental hospital. This sometimes happened to elderly people who suffered from dementia. He was in jail. He was there … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Netherlands featured at Western European Family History Conference

Next week, the Family History Library presents a week-long free conference about Western European Research. Each day focuses on a different country: Monday 15 May: Germany Tuesday 16 May: France Wednesday 17 May: The Low Countries Thursday 18 May: The Netherlands Friday 19 May: Switzerland. You can either attend in person in … [Read more...]