Quick tip – Find graves on photos of churches

The website of the Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed [Cultural Heritage Service] has many photos of churches, often going back to the early to mid 20th century. Some of these photos feature cemeteries. The quality of the photos and scans is often high enough to read the text on the markers.

Earlier this year, I found a 1950s photo of a church that the ancestors of my client attended. When I zoomed in, I saw the graves of the family I was researching. I could not believe what I was seeing!

My client visited the cemetery last week. The graves were no longer there, since they were cleared and re-used, but thanks to that photo she knew the location.

cemetery of the Dutch Reformed Church in Castricum

cemetery of the Dutch Reformed Church in Castricum. Credits: Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed (CC-BY-SA)

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. Susanne Mardi says

    My great great grandfather Harman Pieter Van Wetzinga was Dutch and I have had a terrible time trying to trace anything about him. I know his name and where he came from and who he married….but what happened to him is a mystery. They had one child and then some time later she went back to England with the child and remarried. Harman was a mariner and one lady in Netherlands told me that if he perished at sea, then there would be no records of his death or any reasons why he vanished off the face of the planet.

    • If his official residence was in the Netherlands, there would be a death certificate in his place of residence even if he died at sea. Where did he live and in what period did he disappear?


  1. […] Quick Tip – Find Graves on Photos of Churches by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy. This is a great tip that can be used anywhere if your church […]

Leave comment