Free Alternatives to WieWasWie

WieWasWie, the largest genealogical database in the Netherlands, introduced a paid subscription earlier this year. Here are some free alternatives.

WieWasWie with cash register showing 18.50 euros

Credits cash register image: Paul Robinson, Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA)

1: Use the free version of WieWasWie

You can try to make do with the free version of WieWasWie. All of the information is still available for free, but the search options are pretty limited. You can work around that by always searching for the full name. This can work if the name you search for is unusual. You can’t use wildcards, but always have to type the full version of the first and/or the last name.

2: Use Ancestry’s search forms

A work-around to search the records in WieWasWie is to use Ancestry, which has indexed WieWasWie. If you have an Ancestry subscription, you can search the WieWasWie records there:

(and no, this alternative is not really free, but since many readers already have a subscription to Ancestry, it might save you the cost of an extra subscription.)

3: Use

Many of the archives that participate in WieWasWie use the same Archival Information System to manage their genealogical database. This Archival Information System comes with its own website at Search the “People” tab at to search the genealogical databases.

4: Use Open Archives

Open Archives offers a search engine that searches all the genealogical data that the archives provide as open data. It includes a large part of the records in WieWasWie, plus some records provided by archives that do not participate in WieWasWie.

5: Use FamilySearch

FamilySearch has scans of most of the church records and civil registration records of the Netherlands. Some of them are even indexed and can be searched. For the unindexed records, scans are often available of paper indexes, such as the ten-year-tables of the civil registration or card catalogs for church records.

6: Use the websites of the archives

Almost all of the archives that participate in WieWasWie also publish their genealogical information on their own website. You can check the list of participating organizations and then use Google to find their websites. Alternatively, you can go to the Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium website to see what online resources might be available for the place you are looking for.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. WieWasWie isn’t the largest genealogical database, Open Archives is!

    125M profiles from 21 archives vs. 145 profiles from 53 archives.

  2. Thanks very much for this information, Yvette.

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