Dutch term – Concordans

A concordans is a translation table that gives you a mapping of a former numbering system to a newer numbering system. For example, a concordans may exist to show how old addresses translate to new addresses. I used such a table in my research into my great-grandmother Cornelia Francisca van den Heuvel to show that address C 453 in Breda was the same as Leuvenaarstraat 158. It is rare to find such translation tables for addresses, so I got lucky. Concordansen are sometimes provided in … [Read more...]

Dutch Term – Archief

October is archive month, so this week's Dutch term is archief (archive). The word archief has two meanings: The repository that holds records A group of records created by a person or organization as a result of their activities. For example, the Nationaal Archief holds the archief (records) of the West India Company. … [Read more...]

Organization of Archives in the Netherlands

To find records about your ancestors, it is useful to know how archives are organized; even if you're looking for online records. Government archives The most important sources for genealogical research are kept in government archives. Churches were required to hand over their baptismal, marriage and burial registers when the civil registration was introduced (in 1811 in most parts of the country), so you can even find those records in government archives. National Archives At the national … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Archivaris

An archivaris is an archivist. In the Netherlands, archivarissen have a college or university degree in archival science; usually after first completing a related degree in history. Every level of government (municipality, province, nation) is required to transfer their older records to an archive which is headed by an archivist. Smaller municipalities often don't have their own municipal archivist but work together in larger Regional Historical Centers. Here are five things I learned from … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Archiefstuk

An Archiefstuk is an archival record, a document created or received in the course of a person or organization's activities or tasks. The oldest surviving archiefstuk in the Netherlands is a 950 charter whereby King Otto I granted the right of a market and toll to Cassalum (unidentified location). The charter is kept by the Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Archiefvormer

An Archiefvormer is the creator of an archive. Examples of archiefvormers are municipalities, churches, societies, foundations and private persons. Thinking about which archiefvormers your ancestor may have been in contact with is a great way to discover unknown records. Read the article Find your ancestors by understanding how records are created for more information. If you check the finding aid (inventaris), you can see who the archiefvormer was. Most online finding aids will allow you … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Topics in an Archievenoverzicht

An archival catalog (archievenoverzicht) will give an hierarchical overview of the contents of a repository. Common topics include: Bestuur en Politiek  [Government and politics] Bevolking [Population] Justitie en Rechtspraak [Justice and Court] Openbare orde en veiligheid [Public order and safety] Defensie [Defense] Notariaat [Notaries] Financiën [Finances] Verkeer en Waterstaat [Traffic and Waterways] Ruimtelijke ordening [Urban planning] Sociale zorg, welzijn … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t trust the archivist! (at least: not blindly)

Earlier this year, I emailed an archivist in Germany to ask about the sources that might be available for my 18th century ancestor. The archive is 2.5 hours from where I live, so I didn't want to drive there for nothing. Unfortunately, the archivist informed me that the town hall had been bombed in World War II, destroying all the old records. For the village and period I was searching, no records were left. I was sorry to hear that as I am writing an article about these people and want to … [Read more...]

Dutch term – gemeente

A gemeente is a municipality, the lowest administrative unit. The Netherlands currently has 408 municipalities in 12 provinces. Over the last couple of decades, many municipalities merged. In 1812 there were 1,100. Archives of municipalities can be found at a local archive; either a municipal archive specific for that municipality or a regional archive where the collections of several municipalities are kept. For an overview of all the gemeentes, check the website Gemeentegeschiedenis … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Find Dutch genealogical collections at archives, not libraries or courthouses

Unlike in the US, most genealogical records and collections in the Netherlands can be found in archives, not libraries or courthouses. Most libraries do not have a genealogical collection, just some published books about genealogy. Courthouses, municipalities and other governmental agencies are required by law to transfer their permanent records to an archive, usually after 20 years. If you want to consult original records, genealogical publications or newspapers, archives are your best bet. … [Read more...]