Dutch term – Bij Kaarsenbrand

In old legal records, you can sometimes find that property was sold "bij kaarsenbrand" [by burning candle]. It does not mean that it was sold at night, but rather that the property was sold in an auction that lasted as long as a candle burned. If the candle went out, the highest bid at that time was the winning bid. It made sure that auctions would … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Klederdracht

Klederdracht means traditional costume. Many regions had their own style. Experts can tell you what area a person in a photo came from just by looking at the style of headwear or clothing. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Auteursrecht

Auteursrecht (literally: author law) is the Dutch term for copyright. Here are some things that you need to know about copyright in the Netherlands: Copyright expires seventy years after the death of the creator, after which time the work becomes part of the public domain. Copyright requires originality. There is no copyright on a … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Peter and Meter

A peter is a godfather, meter is a godmother. The terms are typically used in Catholic sources. The word compeer is also sometimes used, especially in older records. In Dutch Reformed sources, the term doopgetuige (baptismal witness), or getuige (witness) is used more often. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Klapper

A klapper is a finding aid, usually a physical book or binder with a name index. Klappers can often be found in reading rooms of archives. They are disappearing as they are being scanned or entered into databases. Finding out what klappers exist can help you create a research plan for a visit to an archive. Some archives have a catalog or … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bakker and Bakkerij

A bakker is a baker, and a bakkerij is a bakery. Bread was and is a staple in the Dutch diet. The content and weight of loaves of bread was heavily regulated. If you have ancestors who were bakers, you may find them on lists of calibrated weights, or involved in court cases if their loaves were found to be too light or containing different … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Moetje

A moetje is a situation where a couple married because the bride was pregnant; a shot-gun wedding in modern terms. "Moeten" is the verb "must" and "-je" is the diminutive form. So the marriage was a "bit of a must." Customs were different in different areas and among different social classes. Among laborers in Friesland, it was quite common to … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Grootburger and Kleinburger

A burger is a burgher, a resident of the town with certain rights. Some towns had different levels of burghership, the grootburger [large burgher] and the kleinburger [small burgher]. The rights associated with each status depend on the location and period. Example: Burghers in Deventer This example is a translated abstract from information … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Arbeider

An arbeider is a laborer. Sometimes, records will indicate the type of work they did, such as a boerenarbeider [farm laborer] or fabrieksarbeider [factory worker]. Most laborers were poor and did not own any real estate. Many were illiterate. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Tuugkist

A tuugkist is a chest that is used to store personal belongings such as clothes or jewelry. It is a word that is used in the eastern provinces of the Netherlands. Many tuugkisten have elaborate carvings. Some of them even have the initials or a date. Tuugkisten were often made when a couple started their own household,, so it can even provide … [Read more...]