Quick tip – Read between the lines

I am having fun with an 1827 inventory of the assets belonging to an ancestor. I love reading between the lines to see what the items tell us about my ancestor. Here are some things I noticed. He owned multiple plots of land, had different crops in the field, and had several types of grain stored. Agriculture was likely his main source of income. He owned three cows, one calf, no bulls. Three cows is not enough to live off, so they were probably for their personal use and for the manure … [Read more...]

Quick tip – No courthouse research in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, we do not do any of our research in courthouses. If you are an American genealogist, you may be used to visiting the courthouse to get court records. In the Netherlands, such records are transferred to government archives after twenty years. They are typically public after seventy-five years. They are increasingly available online, either as scanned images or via scanning-on-demand. Otherwise, the records can be consulted at the archives in person. Access to court … [Read more...]

Poor relief records – Not just for poor folks

Several of my ancestors were poor. Some were so poor that they relied on charity. I have found several of them in the records of charitable organizations, such as the deacons of protestant churches, Holy Ghost tables of catholic churches, and civil poor administrations. When I went through the records, I also found ancestors who were not poor; in other capacities. These sources include many names besides the people needing poor relief: Officials, such as the deacons, Holy Ghost Masters, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Who had the money?

When studying your ancestors, it is helpful to know who the rich people in the community were, even if your ancestors were poor. The rich people in the community may have interacted with your ancestors, and may have created records about them: Rich people may have employed them, for example as laborers, servants, or factory workers. They may have bought their products, for example in the case of shoemakers or weavers. They may have used their services, for example in the case of … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was the municipality involved?

Records created by the municipality can be a great source of information about our ancestors' lives. The municipality collected taxes, provided poor relief, gave permits, and kept population registers. They employed many people, including teachers, architects, and police officers. They wrote reports about the state of the municipality, which can give information about crops, industry, and special events. The mayor was informed if a resident was admitted to an asylum, or of other special … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check marriage supplements of children

If you are researching a person, make sure to check the marriage supplements of any children who married after the introduction of the civil registration. The civil registration was introduced in 1811 in most parts of the Netherlands, and in 1795 in parts of Limburg and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. Civil registration marriage records have marriage supplements, the records that the bride and groom had to submit to show their identity and eligibility to get married. These records often contain … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Get the birth records of all children

When you are researching a family during the time of the civil registration (after 1811 in most parts of the Netherlands), make sure to gather the birth records of all the children. They are usually easy to find since most of them have been indexed. Some things you can learn when you have the birth records of all the children: It will give you the family composition. I find it interesting to see what place a child had in its family. Was he the oldest son? He may have followed in his … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Tax for owners or residents?

There are different types of real estate taxes: those for owners, and those for residents. Some tax registers have one, some the other, and some have both. Understanding which is which can be a vital clue to research your ancestors. If your ancestors owned real estate, that can prompt research into land records. If your ancestors were tenants, you can still check land records in case they owned property at a different time or in a different place. But if you cannot find them, that explains … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Expand the scope

When you get stuck, you can expand the scope of your research to increase the chances of finding relevant evidence. Here are some different ways to expand the scope: Research more people: the children of your brick wall ancestor,¬†known siblings, spouses (if they were married multiple times), neighbors and other associates Research the property they owned or rented, to find out how and when it got into the family and where it went next. Expand your geographic area. People often created … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Many people were convicted of crimes

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, you may be surprised to find how many of your ancestors were convicted of a crime or misdemeanor by the courts, and how many had to serve a prison sentence. Many things for which the police would just give a ticket today were brought before the court. Poor people often received a (short) prison sentence instead of a fine, or would be sent to prison if they did not pay a fine. Some examples of crimes my poor ancestors were convicted of: … [Read more...]