Quick tip – Check the surrounding records

If you find your ancestor in a record, it may pay off to check the surrounding records too.


  • Browsing the surrounding birth or baptismal records may show if your ancestor was a twin or triplet
  • Browsing the previous and next civil registration or notarial records may show if they had the same witnesses, which suggests they were witnesses of convenience rather than people who had a personal connection to the parties.
  • Checking the previous and next notarial records may show if a spouse made a will on the same day, or if multiple men entered into work contracts together.
  • Checking who else became a church member on the same day may reveal family members or other people who migrated to the town at the same time.
  • Browsing the previous and next sentences in court records may show accomplices to your ancestors’ crimes.

Thief at a marketplace, 1685. Credits: Jan Luyken, collection Rijksmuseum (public domain)


About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. I have found other family members being baptized on the same day by browsing the adjoining entries in the parish register 🙂

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