Many American genealogists use Ancestry as their main platform to do genealogy. Some have asked me if they need to change their subscription to WorldWide to research their Dutch ancestry. Others do not have an Ancestry subscription wonder if they need one.
The answer is no. You do not need Ancestry to research your ancestors from the Netherlands.
As far as I know, Ancestry does not have any sources from the Netherlands that are not available for free on other websites. Most sources that Ancestry has for the Netherlands, like civil registration records and population registers, were acquired from collaborations with FamilySearch or Dutch archives, and can be consulted for free on those websites.
But if you are already an Ancestry user, it can be convenient to use the Dutch records at Ancestry rather than going to other websites. Ancestry lets you attach the records to your tree and creates citations for you. I personally find the automatically created citations lacking and prefer to create my own, but that is a personal choice.
Other websites often have more Dutch records than Ancestry has acquired, and may have the originals where Ancestry only has the index. So even if you use Ancestry, I would recommend checking out the websites below.
Free websites for Dutch genealogy
Most Dutch records on Ancestry can be found for free on these websites:
- Open Archives. This website gathers information from various archives in the Netherlands.
- WieWasWie. Platform where several Dutch archives make their records available. Advanced search options require a subscription but the basic version is free.
- Archieven.nl. Another platform where some Dutch archives make their records available.
- Nationaal Archief. Website of the National Archives.
- FamilySearch. Search for records or check the catalog by place name.
- Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium. Website with links to Dutch sources that are available online.