Quick tip – Some surnames were adopted gradually

As you get further back in time, you will get to the point where you find the first person who adopted a surname. Sometimes that's a distinct event; for example when a Frisian family adopts a last name in 1811 because it is required by the Napoleonic laws upon the introduction of the civil registration. Before 1811, there were no laws and … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Reusing images of records

Many Dutch websites with genealogical records allow you to download scans. But it is not always obvious what you are allowed to do with these scans. You may want to upload them to your online tree, use them in a blog post, or include them in a book you're writing. With most public records published on websites of archives, you will be able to do … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use notarial records

Notarial records are a great source of genealogical information. They can contain prenuptial agreements, business contracts, last wills, and estate divisions, giving you an insight into your anecstors' lives and family. Not all areas had notaries before 1811, in which case you can find these sources in local court records. A growing number of … [Read more...]

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...]