Ask Yvette – How to find a Dutch will

One of our Twitter followers, Karen de Bruyne, asked on Twitter how to find the will of her great-grandfather-in-law Jacob Bruijn, who died in The Hague on 28 May 1927. Since there are several ways to go about it, I thought I would write a blog post about it. Most people in the Netherlands did not have wills, either because there was not much to inherit, or because they were happy with the default way their estate would be inherited. Since 1811, wills were recorded by notaries. Before … [Read more...]

Level 2 Checklist – Vital Statistics

Last month I issued my Level-Up Challenge, challenging you to assess how complete your research is. Level 2 is vital statistics only. In this blog post, I will explain which sources I feel I need to have found or searched for in order to say I have reached level 2. For each vital event, I want to have found at least one of the sources indicated here so I know where and when a person was born, married, and died. Date and place of birth Birth record (civil registration) I want to find … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use Different Types of Death Records

In the period after 1811, the civil registration death records are the most reliable and informative records to use. In the period before 1811, there are different types of records that can act as substitutes for death records: Burial records kept by the churches Account books by the churches or deacons where fees are recorded for renting a pall, ringing the bells, or paying for the grave. Records of the death duties levied by civil authorities. Not all records exists in every … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Doodsoorzaak

The doodsoorzaak is the cause of death. Dutch civil registration death records don't record the cause of death. See How to find the cause of death for some other possibilities. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Haaldode

A haaldode is a dead person that was retrieved. I have only ever seen the word used in Amsterdam records, but it may have been used elsewhere as well. In Amsterdam, a lot of people were living in poverty by the end of the 1700s. People died in the streets or drowned in the canals. Their bodies were retrieved and brought for inspection to a hospital at the Overtoom. They were recorded in a special register of haaldoden. If their identity was unknown, the record would include a description of … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The parents in the death record may be wrong

Civil registration records are generally reliable. They are created on the day itself or a few days afterward. But not all information in the record is of the same quality. In my experience, the information about the parents in a death record is the least reliable of all the information you can find in civil registration records. The informant is usually a neighbor, not a family member, who probably never knew the parents of the deceased. They may have misheard, or misremembered. They may … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Why Did He Die Elsewhere?

Sometimes, you will find a death record that shows your ancestor died in a different place from where he was living all his life. Common reasons are: He was in a hospital receiving care. He was institutionalized in a mental hospital. This sometimes happened to elderly people who suffered from dementia. He was in jail. He was there on business. He may have been living with relatives. He may have been visiting relatives. If you read the death record, it should say whether … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Doodgeboren

Doodgeboren, literally "born dead," is the Dutch word for stillborn. Since the introduction of the civil registration, stillborn children who were born after 24 weeks of pregnancy only received a death record. As of 19 September 2016, parents can now also request that a birth record is drawn up. … [Read more...]

Record Analysis Example – Dutch Death Record

Learning how to analyze a record is one of the most valuable skills we need to learn as a genealogist. To give you an example of how this works, let's take a look at the death record of my second great-grandfather Gerrit Jan van Nijkerken. Abstract: Warnsveld, 10 March 1924. Marinus August George Schoute, 37, overseer, living here, and Gerrit Pelgrum, 51, laborer, declare that on eight [corrected from six] March 1924 at 5.30 PM [corrected from 8.30 PM] died in a house in Warnsveld ward … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t confuse the date of the record and the event

Births and deaths are created within several days of the event. The first date that you will find in the birth record or death record is the record date. Further down in the record, you will find the actual birth or death date, which could have been up to five days earlier. Indexes sometimes only have the record date, so make sure to always check the original record. Marriages were recorded on the day of the marriage, so there is no difference between the date of the event and the record … [Read more...]