Dutch term – Grens

A grens is a border.

Municipal borders determined where a couple would register the birth of their child, where they were taxed, where they would apply for a permit. Judicial borders determined which court prosecuted a ciminal, granted a divorce, or appointed a guardian.

Borders affected our ancestors’ lives. My ancestor Arend Kastein moved across the street and tried to apply for a job as a policeman. But since that street happened to be the Dutch-German border, he needed to be naturalized first.

Border near Dinxperlo. Postcard (public domain)

Border near Dinxperlo. Postcard (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® 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 certificate 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. kaythegardener says

    Dear Yvette,
    I hope that you resume your series on tracing your ancestors back to Eleanor of Aquitaine in !! It was meticulous & very entertaining!!

    Sincerely, KMC

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