Dutch term – Veiling

A veiling is an auction. You can sometimes find announcements of auctions in the paper, for example if a family is about to emigrate and is auctioning off their household items they won't take with them. Such an auction would be called a boelgoed in Friesland. Sometimes, notarial or voluntary court records were created to record the conditions and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vredegerecht

The Vredegerecht (sometimes spelled vredegeregt) is the Peace Court or Justice of the Peace. The system of vredegerechten was introduced during the French occupation and lasted from 1811 to 1838. The Vredegerecht held the lower jurisdiction in a canton, a district roughly the size of one or a few municipalities. After 1838, the vredegerechten … [Read more...]

Case study – Using Estate Inventories

In Winterswijk, Gelderland in 1754, Jan Hendrik Hilbelink was a widower with four young children, who wanted to marry again. Before being allowed to do so, he had to come to an agreement with the guardians of his minor children. He made an estate inventory of all the possessions of him and his late wife, Aaltjen Vriesen. Their children would be … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Civil Cases can Contain Earlier Records

Civil court cases can be a treasure trove of information. To support their claims, the parties may have had copies made of records that were kept in their family, or perhaps drew maps to show a boundary dispute. In my own tree, I was able to prove the parents of a woman who married around 1677 by going through a civil case involving the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Rechtszitting

A rechtszitting is a court session. The protocols of the sessions can have detailed information about the charges, defense, and witness statements. Court records can often be found in regional archives. Some archives have put indexes online. Check the Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium website to find out which sources are … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Did your widowed ancestor make a settlement?

If a widow or widower with young children wanted to marry again, often they first had to make a settlement with their minor children so they received their share of the deceased parent's inheritance. These records can be helpful to prove family relationships, to get insights into the economic circumstances of the family, and to find out about … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Find More Records via the FamilySearch Catalog

FamilySearch has many records from the Netherlands, available from the Netherlands Research Page. But that page only has the large record sets. FamilySearch is digitizing the microfilms in their granite mountain vault, and those images are sometimes available from the catalog only. Example: Lichtenvoorde court records Some of my ancestors are … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Huwelijkse voorwaarden

Huwelijkse voorwaarden (literally: marriage terms) is the Dutch term for prenuptial agreement. Historically, like today, most people did not have huwelijkse voorwaarden. Prenuptial agreements were often made by people who were well-to-do or who had children from a previous marriage to provide for. A prenuptial agreement identifies the spouses, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Your ancestors may appear in inventories

Estate inventories and guardians' accounts often contain information about the daily lives of our ancestors. They can tells us what they owned and whom they did business with. If your ancestor was in trade, he may appear in the inventories of some of his clients. This can give you more insight into his business. Depending on the time and place, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Deeds may have been recorded much later

In 1704, one of my ancestors had a dispute with his landlord. In the subsequent court case, both sides submitted copies of deeds into evidence. The oldest deed was from 1302, more than four centuries old at the time, allowing me to trace the history of that farm back more than seven hundred years. The original is now lost, the copy is all that … [Read more...]