Dutch term – Boerin

A boerin is a female farmer. Women worked alongside the men on a farm. They were often responsible for the work in and around the farm, taking care of the animals and food preparation, while the men mostly worked the fields. But in August, everyone would work together to get the harvest in. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Levende have

Levende have means livestock. You may come across the term as a heading in inventories of estates in notarial records or voluntary legal records. Just because someone owned livestock does not mean that they made their living by farming. Many people owned a goat or cow for their milk. They may have sold the surplus, but would have other means of income. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Look at old photos

Looking at old photos can tell you a lot about life in the times of your ancestors, even if the photos were not of your family. Take this photo of an unidentified Winterswijk farm in 1937, for example. Since I am related to just about everyone from Winterswijk, the child in the photo is probably a distant cousin of mine. We can see that the she is wearing long stockings above her wooden shoes, telling us the photo was probably taken in winter. She is sitting on a wooden chair with a … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kop-hals-rompboerderij

A kop-hals-rompboerderij (literally: head-neck-torso farm) is a type of farm. The living area formed the head of the farm, where the farmer's family would have lived. A narrow corridor (the neck), sometimes with bedsteads for staff, connected the living area to the stables where the animals were housed (the torso). It is a type of farm mainly found in the northern provinces of Friesland and Groningen.   … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Geërfde

In the eastern parts of the Netherlands, a geërfde was a heritor, the owner of a property with certain rights in the commons. The heritors of a district would come together periodically to discuss matters relating to the commons. The geërfde would have a vote in any decisions made there, for example relating to the sale of common land, taxation, allocating funds for road repairs, and other matters involving the community. The records of such meetings can provide interesting insights into the … [Read more...]