Dutch term – Beschikbaar, beschikbaarheid

Beschikbaar means available; beschikbaarheid means availability. You may come across the terms in finding aids and texts discussing how to consult records. For example, a finding aid may include a section about availability to discuss where the records are kept, how they can be accessed, whether they are available online, or whether there are access restrictions to consider. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Openingstijden

Openingstijden are opening hours. If you want to visit an archive, check their website for opening hours. Some archives require making an appointment or booking a seat. Archives increasingly have virtual opening hours too, where you can chat with a reading room attendant to ask questions about your research. This chat service can be very helpful if you have quick questions about using the website or which sources to use for your research. … [Read more...]

The three most relevant archives

When you are researching, there are archives/repositories at three different levels that may hold relevant records for you. They correspond with the three levels of government: municipality, province, and country. Local or regional archives Each municipality turns over their records to a local or regional archive. Examples of local archives are the Amsterdam City Archives or the Oldenzaal city archives. These municipalities have their own archivist rather than using the services of a regional … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check the finding aid or catalog for scans

When you are searching for your ancestors, it's tempting to stick to searching for their name in an online index. But only a small fraction of records have been indexed. A larger part is available online as images that have not been indexed yet. These images are often available via the catalog or finding aids on the website of archives. Look for terms like inventarissen orĀ archieven. In some cases, the records have not been scanned yet, but the catalog or finding aid has a button to order … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Check websites of local archives

When you're researching, don't limit your research to national or international websites like Open Archives or Ancestry. Also check the websites of local archives. Every municipality in the Netherlands has a contract with an archive to keep their records. This can either be an archive specific for that one municipality, or a regional archive that keeps the records of multiple municipalities. Some recent finds I made on websites of local archives: Mill tax records of Etten-Leur showed the … [Read more...]

National Archive Launched New Presentation (Beta)

The National Archives just launched the beta version of its new catalog to search and view their records. This happens to be a project I have been working on myself, in the one day per week I do IT projects for archives. I have been managing the migration of 14 million scans from the new system to the old, and consulting on building the new presentation which will have 30 million scans by the official launch. The beta already provides access to millions of new scans. Try the new … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Archiefbeschrijving

An archiefbeschrijving is an archival description. To describe their holdings, archives create archival descriptions. Descriptions can be high-over ("incoming correspondence 1800-1810") or detailed ("accounts of the orphans of Laureijs Smulders, 1606"). Archival descriptions are typically organized per record group and published in the form of finding aids or catalogs. Most archives in the country have published their archival descriptions online. In a growing number of cases, scans are … [Read more...]

10 Tips for Doing On-Site Research in the Netherlands

Are you coming to MyHeritage Live in Amsterdam in September 2019? Or are you planning another trip to the Netherlands and want to do some on-site research while you're here? Here are ten tips to make the most of the time you have available. 1: Government records are in archives, not libraries or courthouses In the Netherlands, government records are kept in archives, not in libraries or courthouses. The archives also keep many other records, for example records of churches, membership … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Selectielijst

A selectielijst literally means a selection list. Archives publish selectielijsten to announce their retention policies for records created by a specific government agency. For each series on the list, it will indicate whether it will be permantly preserved or after how many years it will be destroyed. The selectielijsten are put up for public review. After any objections have been evaluated, the minister of Education, Culture, and Science will need to formally approve it before it is … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Notulen

Notulen are minutes. They can be found in the records created by many different types of people and organizations, such as church councils or the municipal government. They can contain a variety of information. Archival descriptions in finding aids often don't index the minutes but simply label the boxes as notulen and their period. You will have to view the original records to learn what their contents are. … [Read more...]