Traditional Overijssel dressOverijssel is a province in the east of the Netherlands. It borders on Germany in the east, Drenthe and Friesland in the north, Gelderland to the south and Flevoland and Gelderland to the west.

The capital city of Overijssel is Zwolle. The largest towns are:

  • Enschede
  • Almelo
  • Hengelo
  • Oldenzaal
  • Deventer


In the late 18th century, Overijssel became famous for it’s textiles. English industrialists came to Overijssel and brought new technologies with them. The eastern part of the province, Twente, became an important production center for textiles. This continued well into the 20th century when Enschede and the neighboring German region were attracting many new laborers.

Genealogy in Overijssel

For genealogical purposes, Overijssel is split into two parts. The eastern part, Twente, used the system of farm names before the introduction of the civil registration. The western part, consisting of Salland and Vollenhove, used patronymics mostly although a clear line cannot be drawn between the regions.

Most of the records for Overijssel are kept by the Overijssel Historical Center. Unfortunately, their website is in Dutch only. The marriage records from the civil registration and some of the death records can be found in WieWasWie.

Emigration from Overijssel

People from Overijssel have always migrated across the border into Germany. In the middle of the nineteenth century, many members of the seceder church followed Albertus van Raalte and Anthony Brummelkamp’s advise to emigrate to the United States. Most of them ended up in Michigan. Another emigration wave followed at the end of the nineteenth century. The Overijssel Historical Center has compiled a database of Overijssel emigrants.

Online images

There are several online sources for images about Overijssel:

  • Overijssel in kaart. Website with historical maps of Overijssel. Select ‘Zoeken’, fill in the name of the town or cartographer you’re looking for and click ‘Zoeken’.
  • Overijssel provincial atlas 1865-1870. This atlas contains both a map of the entire province as well as maps for all of the municipalities.


About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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