Dutch term – Besnijdenis

Besnijdenis is the Dutch word for circumcision. In the Netherlands, circumcision was traditionally performed on Jewish boys only. For the period before the introduction of the civil registration in 1811, besnijdenisregisters [circumcision records] are an important source of birth information about male Jewish ancestors. They can often be found … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Openbaarheid

Openbaarheid means the status of a document as a public record. Records can have different statuses: Openbaar [public]: the record is public and can be accessed without restrictions. Beperkt openbaar [limited public]: the record is not public but can be accessed under certain conditions. Niet openbaar [not public]: the record is not … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Klompenmaker

A klompenmaker is a wooden shoe maker. For many people in the Netherlands, wooden shoes were the common footwear. Wooden shoes were sturdy, protected toes when something fell on it, and made from material that's easily available. And if they broke beyond mending, you could always use them for firewood! Nowadays, some farmers still wear wooden … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Veer or Veerpont

A veer or veerpont is a ferry. If you can't find a person, try looking in the records on the other side of the ferry. People living on one side of the river may have normally used a ferry to go to church, but if the ferry was out during the winter or bad weather they might have had to go to another church to have their children baptized. People … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Gemengd huwelijk

A gemengd huwelijk is a mixed marriage. The term typically refers to two people with different religions, but is sometimes also used for two people of different racial backgrounds. Until recently, many churches would not perform a mixed marriage ceremony and required the other party to convert and promise to raise all their children in that … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Beste kleed

In burial records, you will sometimes see the reference to the "beste kleed" or "slechtste kleed." To someone unfamiliar with Dutch or using an automatic translator, that may look like somebody was buried in their best or worst clothes, but in fact the term refers to the lijkkleed or burial pall. The "beste kleed" was the best and most expensive … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Eiland

An eiland is an island. The Netherlands has several islands, such as the Zeeland islands in the south-west and the Wadden islands in the north. But there used to be many more. Large parts of the mainland of the coastal provinces used to be islands. The waterways have since been dammed off and reclaimed from the sea. Modern examples of this … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Collaterale Successie

Collaterale Successie [Collateral Succession] is the situation where an inheritance goes to heirs in collateral lines, such as the siblings, aunts and uncles of the deceased, or their descendants. Many regions charged a tax on collateral successions, which was recorded in separate registers. These tax registers can give a good overview of the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Tachtigjarige Oorlog

The Tachtigjarige Oorlog was the Eighty Years' War that lasted from 1568 to 1648. It was the Dutch war of Independence where the Dutch fought for independence from the Habsburg empire, ruled by the Kings of Spain. Read about Five ways that the Eighty Years' War affected our ancestors. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Rijkslandbouwwinterschool

The rijkslandbouwwinterschool was the national agricultural winter school. Farmer's sons (and later, daughters) attended the school during the winter months when there was not a lot to do on the farm. They'd learn about growing crops and raising cattle. This type of school was introduced in the period 1890-1920 throughout the country. Some still … [Read more...]