About this website

Creating a website like this is a fun activity. There are so many options, so many choices. What do visitors want? What do I want? In this blog I will describe some of the things I encounter in developing and maintaining this website.

Quick Tip – Is that Dutch Name Male or Female?

If you're not Dutch, you may wonder if a first name is male or female. You can consult the First Name Database to search for the name. It will give you statistics on how many men ("m") and women ("v") had that name in the past 100 years. You can see a graph that shows the popularity of the name over time. You can even click "verspreiding" to see … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Names Sometimes got Shortened

If you're looking for the Dutch origins of your immigrant ancestor, keep in mind that the name originally could have been longer than the name the family used in the new country. Long names were often shortened to make them easier to pronounce in another language. After some of my Esselinkpas cousins emigrated to Michigan in the 1800s, they went … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Rivier

A rivier is a river. The largest rivers in the Netherlands are the Rhine ("Rijn"), Scheldt ("Schelde"), and Meuse ("Maas"). Rivers have always been an important mode of transportation in the Netherlands. Many prosperous cities can be found near rivers. People traveled on rivers in trekschuiten (pulled barges). Emigrants from other parts of … [Read more...]

Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 4: Cornelia Francisca van den Heuvel

This is the fifth post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time. In the last post, I proved that my grandfather Johannes Marijnissen was the son of Cornelia Francisca van den Heuvel. Cornelia … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy News for February 2018

Here is an overview of the new sources, projects, and news about archives that were announced last month. Online records Population registers of Maastricht fom 1850 to 1920 have been indexed and are availble at the Regional History Center Limburg website. Scans of Civil Registration Records from the Heusden and Altena area are now … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find Facebook Groups about the Town

Many towns in the Netherlands have their own Facebook groups dedicated to the history of that town. Many of these Facebook groups are called "Oud [town name]," such as Oud Winterswijk [Old Winterswijk] or Oud Breda [Old Breda]. You can use the Facebook search option to search for these groups. Discussions in these groups are usually in Dutch, … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Dutch Ancestors Left Few Last Wills

Our Dutch ancestors rarely had a last will drawn up. Most were too poor to have any goods to leave behind. But even people who did own property often did not feel the need to have a last will, since they were happy with the default arrangement under the law. The wills that do exist can be found in notarial records (in areas and periods where … [Read more...]

Column – Big Data

"Big data" is about finding patterns in large amounts of data. It is used in many places. Supermarkets use the purchase data to optimize store design so they know to put the beer next to the nachos. Medical researchers discover correlations between genetic mutations and illnesses to diagnose hereditary diseases. As genealogists, big data can … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – NGSQ Case Study Now Available Online

In December 2016, I wrote a case study "Griete Smit's Parentage: Proof in the Absence of Vital Records" that appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. The case study showed how I researched Griete Smit’s family and neighbors to prove who her parents were. Griete Smit lived in the Dutch town of Bredevoort in the early 1600s, during … [Read more...]

Was Eleanor of Aquitaine my Ancestor? Generation 3: Johannes Marijnissen

This is the fourth post in a series about my possible line of descent from Eleanor of Aquitaine. In the first post, I explained how I discovered the possible line, and how I am going to verify it one generation at a time. In the last post, I proved that my mother was the daughter of Johannes Marijnissen and Catharina Flooren. Johannes Marijnissen, … [Read more...]