Dutch term – Erfgenaam

An erfgenaam is an heir. Most people in the Netherlands did not have wills, in which case you need to understand the local laws to know who the heirs would be. Most regions did not allow a person to disinherit the children completely, they would always receive their legitimate portion. Understanding the inheritance laws can help you figure out … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Dutch Immigrants may not have Understood Each Other

Dutch immigrants sometimes settled in places where Dutch people from other parts of the Netherlands came too. This doesn't mean they could understand each other. Before the age of radio and television, there was no common Dutch language that everybody understood. Different regions had different dialects, different languages even. Frisian and Low … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t add another generation just based on the patronymic

Your brick wall ancestor might be somebody who did not use a surname but went by patronymic only. He might be Leendert Pieters (son of Pieter), Jan Hendricks (son of Hendrick), or Claes Huijgens (son of Huijg or Hugo). The patronymic indicates the name of the father. It is a best practice in Dutch genealogy not to add another generation with … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No Burial Information in Death Records

Unlike in some other countries, Dutch death records do not name the place of burial. This can make it hard to find out where your ancestor was buried. There are online websites that list graves, but since graves are routinely cleared after a few decades, the grave may not survive. Sometimes, you can find an announcement of the burial in the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Guest blog post on FamilySearch

Yvette Hoitink wrote a guest blog post on FamilySearch about How to Use Dutch Records on FamilySearch. Read about the amazing records that can be found online. Millions more Dutch records will be added in the coming weeks.   … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Topotijdreis website

The website Topotijdreis [Topo Time Travel] allows you to view old topographical maps from 1815 to 2015 of the area where your ancestors lived. Not quite the same as an actual time machine, but it will have to do! You can zoom in on the map or search for places in the top right corner. Different zoom levels have different maps, so be sure to … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check what’s available online

There are HUGE digitization projects going on in the Netherlands. So if it's been a while since you've checked what's available online, check again. The record you need may be waiting for you. For an overview of online records, see Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium. … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Women in New Netherland conference

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York State, there will be a conference about "Women In New Netherland." Organizer: New Netherland Institute Dates: 22-23 September 2017 Where: Albany, New York More information: Women in New Netherland Conference page … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Talk to your oldest family members

About ten years after I started doing genealogy, I was talking to my grandmother about her family. She asked me if I'd ever found out when her two aunts died. The last time she'd heard from them was about twenty years earlier, when they were in their 80s. In those days, I was focused on going back in time. I had blazed right through the 1900s … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The parents in the death record may be wrong

Civil registration records are generally reliable. They are created on the day itself or a few days afterward. But not all information in the record is of the same quality. In my experience, the information about the parents in a death record is the least reliable of all the information you can find in civil registration records. The informant … [Read more...]