Quick tip – Old does not mean original

When you are working with old manuscripts, it is tempting to think they are original records—the first recorded version of the document. However, even old manuscripts may be derivative records—copies, transcriptions, or abstract of older versions. Sometimes, the original record does not survive and the derivative is all we have to work with. But we have to keep in mind that it may have copy or interpretation errors. In the past, when people created a copy, they may not necessarily have tried … [Read more...]

Quick tip – List of Historical Disasters in the Netherlands

Philip van Diemen de Jel and Irene Walstra have a list on their website with Historical Disasters in the Netherlands (in Dutch and English). This list is useful if you see an unexpected cluster of deaths in your family. Since Dutch death records do not list a cause of death, it can be hard to find out how an ancestor died. Knowing there was a epidemic, bombing, or flood in the area can help you find out what may have happened. See also other tips for how to find a cause of death. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was your relative in an asylum?

Here are a couple of ways you may find out that your relative was in an asylum: Asylum records. Some of these are digitized or indexed. You may stumble upon these records by searching. Death records, where the informant was an employee of the asylum, or the place of death is an asylum. Research the address if someone died away from home. Marriage supplements of children, if the person was unable to consent to their children's marriage because of their mental state. Court records, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Did they know the witness?

You may encounter witnesses in several types of records: Baptismal records Church marriage records Aldermen's court marriage records Civil registration records of births, marriages, and deaths Notarial records. When you come across witnesses, ask yourself: would this be the type of event a random person would witness? Or is the person likely to have been a close connection to the person of interest? For example, a notary may have asked a neighbor to witness a will, but the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Research living people first

When you are just starting researching your family history, focus on the living people first. They have the stories that you won't find in records. The dead will keep! And if you're lucky, they may even be willing to take a DNA test. Start with the oldest generations, but do not forget to capture the stories of the younger generations too. I had been doing genealogy for over ten years when my grandmother asked me if I had ever found out when her aunt died. She had last heard from her more … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check for records in the nearest bigger town

Many people who lived in villages created records in the bigger towns in the area. They may have worked in the bigger town, and created employment records. They may have gone to a notary in the bigger town to have a will or prenuptial agreement drawn up. They may have had business with someone in the bigger town, which could have created transport records or contracts, found in the court or notarial records. The court in the bigger town may have had the higher jurisdiction, and may be where … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Podcast episode about New Netherland and Slavery

Andrea Mosterman features in episode 324 of the podcast Ben Franklin's World. The episode is called "New Netherland and Slavery." She discusses how the colony of New Netherland took shape, and the ways how the West India Company and private persons used enslaved labor to develop the colony. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Book about the Dutch violence in Indonesia, 1945-1949

A new study sheds more light on the extreme violence by the Dutch army in the Indonesian war of independence after World War II. The book is available as open access. Beyond the Pale: Dutch Extreme Violence in the Indonesian War of Independence, 1945-1949   … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Online seminar Revisiting Dutch Brazil and Johan Maurits

On 15 March 2022, the Mauritshuis will organize an online seminar about Dutch Brazil and Johan Maurits. Attendance is free, registration is required. See the Mauritshuis website for details about the program and registration. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Which baptisms did your ancestor witness?

Baptismal witnesses were often close relatives or friends of the parents of the child. Knowing their associates and relatives can help you prove their identity and parentage. You should look at baptismal witnesses from both sides: Check the people your ancestors chose as baptismal witnesses for their children Check for whom your ancestors acted as baptismal witnesses. Most researchers do the first, since the information is there when they look up all the children. Fewer researchers … [Read more...]