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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Quick tip – Hiding under another name

If your ancestors were from a small town and you can't find their parents, perhaps they're hiding under another name. There wasn't a great influx of new people in a small town, so don't automatically assume that people came from elsewhere if you can't find them. They could be hiding under a different farm name, or their last name could be a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The Legal Father May Not Have Been the Biological Father

If a child is born out of wedlock, it is possible he or she was later legitimized when the mother married. Legally, the mother's husband would then be the father. But that doesn't mean he was the biological father. In these situations, there are several things you can do to verify if the legal father was also the biological father: You can … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Use “Netherlands” rather than Holland or NL

When recording Dutch place names in your genealogy program, use "Netherlands" rather than "Holland" or "NL." "Holland" is not the name of the country, but of a former province, now split into North-Holland and South-Holland. Some programs in the past tried to resolve Holland and ended up changing it to "Reusel-De Mierden, Noord-Brabant, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Rijksmuseum Public Domain Images

If you're looking for images to illustrate your family tree or give you a sense of what life was like for your ancestors, check out the website of the Rijksmuseum. Many paintings, drawings, and etchings from their collection have been scanned and may be downloaded for free and reused for any purpose since they are in the public domain. Try … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Not all records of your 1800s ancestor may be public

If you are researching an ancestor who was born in the 1800s, you might assume that all their records are public because they were born more than 100 years ago. But that may not be the case. If your ancestor married after 1942, their marriage record is not public yet. Similarly, court records, notarial records, prison records, and many other … [Read more...]