Quick Tip – Dutch Ancestors Left Few Last Wills

Our Dutch ancestors rarely had a last will drawn up. Most were too poor to have any goods to leave behind. But even people who did own property often did not feel the need to have a last will, since they were happy with the default arrangement under the law.

The wills that do exist can be found in notarial records (in areas and periods where notaries were available) or voluntary court records.

last will

Last will of Pieter Stuyvesant, 1639. Credits: Amsterdam City Archives (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. Bij het archief van Dordrecht staan op Internet weeskamer uitsluitingen waarin summier wordt vermeld wie de zorg op de kinderen zal nemen.

  2. Diane Calhoun says

    I have several ancestors who left wills, though I have a hard time understanding them. And some of the writing styles! Oh my gosh!

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