Quick tip – Order records in advance

If you are visiting a Dutch archive in person, please check their website. Often, you can order records in advance. That way, the records will be waiting for you when you arrive, and you can start your research right away. Some archives provide an order button from the catalog, while others allow you to email a list of the records you want to consult.   … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use image banks at archives

Many archives have online image banks ("beeldbank") with their digitized image collections. Things you may find in there: Photos of houses and important buildings Prints, drawings, paintings of local scenes Maps Posters of local businesses, exhibitions, political propaganda Building plans of houses City ordinances I love going through these images. They give me a sense of the place. If I am lucky, I could find a photo of a house where my ancestors lived, or a drawing of … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Abbreviations in Population Registers

The website Uit de oude koektrommel has a useful page with abbreviations you may come across when using population registers. The page has four categories: Algemeen [general] Kerkelijk gezindte [Religious affiliation] Plaatsen en provincies [Place names and provinces] Landen [Countries]. The page is in Dutch, but once you know the full term you can often use a translator like Google Translate to translate the terms to a different language. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Difference between Twente and Achterhoek

There are two regions in the east of the Netherlands that often get confused: Twente and the Achterhoek. Twente is the eastern part of the province of Overijssel. Major towns are Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo, and Oldenzaal. The Achterhoek is the eastern part of the province of Gelderland. Major towns are Winterswijk, Groenlo, Lochem, and Zutphen. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Not always progressive

While the Netherlands is known for its progressive and tolerant policies, this was not always the case. The country has a complicated history, including periods of religious and political turmoil and persecution of minority groups; some still occuring today. A few examples: Before 1795, only members of the Dutch Reformed church could hold public office. In the 1830s, the government oppressed people who had seceded from the Dutch Reformed Church. Seceder ministers would receive … [Read more...]

Use & at Open Archives

If you use Open Archives to search for your ancestors, try searching for two names by using the &-operator. It allows you to search for two different people who appear in the same record. Examples: Woordes & Mennink: two last names of one of my ancestral couples. This gives me their marriage record, birth, marriage, and death records of their children, and the population registers of houses where they lived together. This is my favorite type of query. Woordes & Hanna … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check the calendar

If you are dealing with a date between 1582 and 1701, please check the calendar. Different places in the Netherlands changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar at different times. The change made the calendar jump forward by 10 or 11 days. Sometimes, you can resolve a conflict in dates by checking the calendar. Someone born in Brabant on 5 December 1699 could be baptized in Gelderland on 1 December 1699, for example, because Gelderland was still using the Julian calendar which was 11 … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Do online research first

If you are planning a trip to the Netherlands, do not assume you can do on-site research. Many of the most popular genealogical records can now be found online, as explained in this article. Archives typically no longer allow you to consult records that have been put online. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Handbook of dates

In the course of my Family and Local History studies at the University of Dundee, I purchased a recommended book: C.R. Cheney, ed., A Handbook of Dates for Students of British History, revised (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). While the title indicates it is meant for students of British history, most of the content is usable in the Netherlands too. Some of the topics I find especially useful for research in the Netherlands are: French Republican calendar, with the names of … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Search finding aids as well as indexes

Archives have different types of information on their website. The genealogical indexes are often found in a different section than the finding aids with the archival descriptions or catalogs. These descripts are often quite generic and describe whole series, like minutes of court records, incoming correspondence, or tax records. If you are lucky, the archival descriptions in the finding aids will also include names of people. Some archivists have made the effort to add the names of parties to … [Read more...]