Dutch term – Keuken

The keuken is the kitchen. You may come across the term in estate inventories, where the items in the house are tallied by room. Kitchens originally had open fires, then hearths, and in the 19th and 20th century this gradually changed to stoves. Small houses where poor people lived did not typically have a separate kitchen. They would cook over the hearth fire or furnace in the living room. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Naaien, naaister

Naaien means to sew. A naaister is a seamstress. In the past, professional naaisters were typically poor women, though women of all classes were taught the basics. Naaien could be done from home, and was an employment possible for women with young children. It is one of the few occupations open to women with children out of wedlock, who would rarely be welcome to work as servants in "respectable" households or stores. … [Read more...]

Source – Mill tax records

Before say 1800, taxes varied widely depending on the location. Several provinces instituted a mill tax; a tax on grinding grain. The tax could be levied in different ways. Often, a fixed sum was charged per head, with a reduced rate for children under 16. In some jurisdictions, the tax collector collected the taxes and recorded who paid what. In other jurisdictions, the tax was leased to the highest bidder, who would then collect the taxes and got to keep any profits above the paid sum. In … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Plaggenhut

A plaggenhut is a sod cabin; a house built using layers of topsoil. These houses were used by poor people, especially in the peaty areas in the north-east of the Netherlands where there was no natural stone or clay. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Visvrouw

A visvrouw [literally: fish woman] is a female fish seller. It was not uncommon for wives of fishermen to sell the fish at markets. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Water-en-vuur-winkel

A water-en-vuur-winkel (literally: water and fire shop) was a shop where you could buy buckets of hot water and hot coals to get your own fire started. Water-en-vuur-winkels were mainly found in larger cities.   … [Read more...]

Case study: incorrectly recorded burial of Maria Elissen

My ancestor Maria Elissen was the wife of Johannes Antonij Koolen. I knew she must have died between 1789, when her youngest child was born, and 24 December 1798, when her husband was called a widower when he died.1 The burial register for Tilburg for this period is indexed and appears to be complete. However, no burial was found for Maria Elissen.2 The only burial for a Maria, wife of Jan Koolen was Maria van Keulen, who was buried on 15 April 1795, the wife of Jan Koolen.3 Could this have … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vruchtgebruik

Vruchtgebruik (literally: use of the fruits) is the Dutch term for usufruct, the right to use a property, usually for the remainder of one's life. You may encounter the term in notarial records, for example in wills that give someone the vruchtgebruik of a property that is then left to someone else after they die, or in a sale record where the vruchtgebruiker (person who has the right of vruchtgebruik) relinquishes their rights. You may also find the term in death duties files, which would … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Schuur

A schuur is a barn or a shed. Some of my ancestors lived at the Roerdink farm in the Netherlands from the 1400s to the 1600s. The farm still exists. The main building has been renewed but some of the outbuildings have not. They used tree ring dating on the barn a couple of years ago and it was from 1544 so it was built when my ancestors lived there. It is the oldest known barn in the Netherlands. Cultural Heritage Service (CC-BY-SA). … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Leeftijd

The leeftijd is the age. You may find a person's age mentioned in birth records (father, informant, witnesses), marriage records (bride and groom, witnesses), death records (deceased, informant, witnesses), census records, and also in some court or notarial records, especially when people testify about something. As you go back further in time, there will be fewer records that give a person's age. Keep in mind that illiterate people are less likely to know their own age. An age that ends in 0 … [Read more...]