WieWasWie, the largest genealogical database in the Netherlands, introduced a paid subscription earlier this year. Here are some free alternatives.
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:
- Civil registration:
- Church records:
- Population registers index
- Newspaper announcements index
(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 Archieven.nl
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 Archieven.nl. Search the “People” tab at Archieven.nl 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.
WieWasWie isn’t the largest genealogical database, Open Archives is!
125M profiles from 21 archives vs. 145 profiles from 53 archives.
Thanks very much for this information, Yvette.