Quick tip – Trace enslaved people by their owners

If you are researching enslaved people in the former Dutch colonies like Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, you need to trace their owners. Enslaved people created few records themselves, but their owners may have created records that mention them. Here are some examples of records created by owners that may include enslaved people: … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t rely on automatic translators

Automatic translators like Google Translate can be a big help if you don't speak Dutch. However, many older records use terms that no longer exist in modern Dutch, or that have shifted meaning. Automatic translators are also notoriously bad at translating words that may have multiple meanings. An example is the sentence: "Zijn neef was zijn … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use Past and Next Places in Population Registers

Population registers are a wonderful way to trace where our ancestors were living between 1850 and 1920. The registers give an overview of the people in the household. If someone moved into the household, the register should indicate the previous place of residence. If they moved within the municipality, the previous place will be indicated as … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Dutch Emigrants to Australia database

The National Archives has a database of Dutch emigrants to Australia between 1946 and 1991. The database may only be used for historical research. The database is compiled based on the card catalogs that were created by the Dutch consulates in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane between 1946 and 1991. The cards were organized by heads of household … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use DNA to find Dutch cousins

DNA testing is becoming more popular in the Netherlands. Many Dutch people test at MyHeritage, though some also test with other companies such as Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, or 23andMe. To find Dutch cousins, you can take a DNA test. You will then get a list of people who tested at the same company who share DNA with you. The more DNA you share, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t assume that coat of arms is yours

Many people mistakenly believe that finding a coat of arms with your surname means it's "your" coat of arms and that you're entitled to use it. That's not how it works. The coat of arms may have been used by a different family with the same name. You will have to trace your line back to find out if one of your ancestors ever used it. Even that … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Atlas of Mutual Heritage

The website Atlas of Mutual Heritage contains images of places associated with the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and West India Company (WIC). These include trade posts and former colonies in Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. For some of these places, the VOC and WIC archives contain the oldest surviving records and … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was that lost record transcribed or indexed?

Some parts of the Netherlands, especially Zeeland, suffered heavy record loss during World War II. Church records and court records may have been lost as a result. Most civil registration records survive, because duplicates were made of those at the time of creation, and both copies were in different locations. Before World War II, some people … [Read more...]

Quick tip – What Interpretations Were Added to the Abstract?

I recently came across a publication that abstracted Dutch records. In the publication, the compiler had grouped a marriage record and two baptismal records together. The parents of the child in the first baptismal record, a year after the marriage, had the same names as the married couple. The name of the child in the second baptismal record … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use Scanning on Demand

Research in original sources can be difficult if you do not live near the repository. Good news: several archives in the Netherlands offer scanning on demand from their finding aids. They will scan the records for you. Often, they're put online for everyone to use, while other archives choose to send you the files personally. Some archives … [Read more...]