Gelderland traditional dressGelderland is a province in the east of the Netherlands. It borders on Germany to the east, Overijssel, Flevoland and Utrecht to the north, Noord-Brabant to the south and Zuid-Holland and Utrecht to the west.

The capital city of Gelderland is Arnhem. Other large towns are:

  • Nijmegen
  • Apeldoorn
  • Zutphen
  • Doetinchem
  • Tiel

Genealogy in Gelderland

Gelderland is a large province, and traditions weren’t the same everywhere. In the eastern part of the province, called the Achterhoek, people used to name themselves after the farms they lived on. Officially, this was abolished when the civil registration was introduced in 1811 but many people are still known by their farm name as well as their official name.

In the western part of the province, people called themselves after their father, using so-called patronymics.

Emigration from Gelderland

During the middle of the nineteenth century, poor crops, a growing population and the need for religious freedom caused many people in Gelderland to consider emigrating. Many of them did. Most of the people who emigrated from Gelderland ended up in Michigan, Wisconsin and New York. At the end of the 19th century, another emigration wave hit. People tended to emigrate to the same destinations as the generation before them.

Gelderland archives

Large modern building

Gelders Archief

The largest archive in Geldeland is the Gelders Archief in Arnhem. They keep the records created at the provincial level, by the municipality of Arnhem and surrounding municipalities, and some organizations and families that were relevant to the provincial history.

Other archives include:

Online sources

All of the marriage records from Gelderland and an increasing number of birth and death records can be found in WieWasWie, Open Archives, and Transcribed church records, tax records, feudal records, and court records of the eastern part of Gelderland, including Aalten, Dinxperlo, Varsseveld and Winterswijk, can be downloaded from Genealogiedomein. Select the name of the town on the left to see which records that are available. See the Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium for more records.

Online images

There are a few online resources for images of Gelderland:


[this article was last updated 11 March 2022]

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. Linda Van Immerzeel says

    looking for information on gerrit jan nijenhuis- died1782 in zutphen, married to hendrika barmentloo in 1770

    • looking for information from the 1600’s about the Van Kuykendaals’. Can you help with this? I have traced the family tree back to
      Jan Loursens (Luur) Cornelisson Van Kuykendall 1590-1619
      Wageningen, Wageningen, Gelderland, Netherlands.
      looking for a map of where they lived and if they came to the Netherlands from another country.

  2. Keith Kooistra says

    Many emigrants from Gelderland, especially the Aalten area, settled in northwest Iowa especially Sioux County. My ancestors who immigrated include Wesselink and Sandbulte.

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