Dutch term – Baljuw

A baljuw [bailiff] was an official who represented the ruler of the region and had the highest jurisdiction. They usually received a fixed salary and a share of the fines. Other terms for this function are drost or drossaard.¬† Baljuws were appointed by the ruler. You can sometimes find these appointments in the records created by the ruler, such … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Studiezaal

The studiezaal is the reading room. Most archives in the Netherlands have a reading room. Opening hours may vary, some smaller reading rooms are open by appointment only. Thanks to large digitization projects and scanning on demand services, visiting reading rooms in person is often not necessary anymore since most of the research can be done … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Sint Maarten

11 November is the feast day of Sint Maarten (Saint Martin). In some parts of the Netherlands, children go door-to-door holding night lights and singing songs. The neighbors would then give them treats. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Eigenaar

An eigenaar is an owner. Up until recently, many people in the Netherlands did not own any real estate. They were tenants of farms, or rented a house. To find out whether your ancestors owned land, you can check death duties files, notarial records, court records, or cadastral records. For an example of research into property ownership, see … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kleinkind

A kleinkind is a grandchild. The term literally translates to "small child." A kleinkind can be a kleindochter (granddaughter) or kleinzoon (grandson). … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Klerk

A klerk is a clerk, a civil servant. Sometimes you will see¬†klerk ter secretarie, which means a clerk at the administrative office of the municipality. You will often find clerks acting as witnesses in civil registration records, especially birth and death records. The informant of a death or birth record needed to have personal knowledge of the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vrouwenkiesrecht

The term vrouwenkiesrecht means women's suffrage. Today it is exactly 100 years ago that women got the right to vote. The first elections were women actually got to vote was in 1920. General male suffrage was not that much older: only in 1917, men were given the right to vote without conditions on property or income. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Handschrift

The Dutch word handschrift has two meanings: handwriting and manuscript. The further we go back, the more difficult it is to get samples of our ancestors' handwriting, or know if they even could read and write. After 1811, civil registration birth, marriage, and death records include signatures of the parties, or a statement that they couldn't … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Veiling

A veiling is an auction. You can sometimes find announcements of auctions in the paper, for example if a family is about to emigrate and is auctioning off their household items they won't take with them. Such an auction would be called a boelgoed in Friesland. Sometimes, notarial or voluntary court records were created to record the conditions and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Cijns

A cijns is the right to annual proceeds, similar to a rent. The rights could be attached to land or property, certain official functions, or rights in common grounds. In the Middle Ages up until say the 1700s, rents were often paid in kind, for example in grain. See the article about Rent registers for more information. … [Read more...]