Born with a Silver Spoon in her Mouth

We all know the expression "born with a silver spoon in your mouth." But for one little girl from Friesland, this was almost literally the case. When Geertje Gerrits Heslinga was born on 15 December 1742, her parents had a silver spoon made to commemorate the event. The spoon was engraved with her name and birth date. It is now part of the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Fries

Fries means Frisian; from Friesland. The word is used as a noun to indicate a person from Friesland, or as an adjective for all things Frisian. For research in Friesland, try AlleFriezen, a website with many indexes and scans of Friesland records. BTW, in English, "Frisian" is used as the general adjective for Fries, while "Friesian" is used … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Grietenij

A grietenij is a municipality. The term is mainly used in Friesland. In 1851, it was changed to gemeente, the common Dutch word for municipality. In parts of Groningen, the term grietenij was also used to refer to the local courts. A grietenij was led by the grietman, whose function was similar to that of a mayor. … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette – Where is “Friesland” anyway?

Holly (De Fries) Flaherty wanted to know more about Friesland. Her paternal grandfather was from Friesland and spoke Dutch, but her maternal grandfather was from Friesland and spoke German. She heard that there were two provinces called Friesland - one German and one Dutch. She wanted to know if they were connected, historically, and whether … [Read more...]

Quick tip – That Frisian female might be male!

If you do research in Friesland, you will notice that the names there are quite different from the rest of the Netherlands. Friesland has its own language, Frisian (Fries) which comes with its own unique set of names. Some Frisian male names look like female names to those of us who are not from Friesland. Some of these names are used as female … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Proclamatieboek

In the province of Friesland, a proclamatieboek is a register in which the court records the proclamations of real estate sales that took place. This allowed people who had Naastingsrecht the opportunity to match the purchase price and buy the property for themselves. Proclamatieboeken can be found in the archives of the local courts, which are … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Records

During the webinar "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors," the viewers had the most interesting questions. I got to address some of them during the webinar, but thought they all deserve a reply so I'm dedicating this post to answer some more. There were so many great questions that I will have inspiration for several follow-up articles, so please stay … [Read more...]

News from the Netherlands – June 2014

'News from the Netherlands' is a new monthly series on this blog to inform you about the best new websites, projects and books that help you find and understand your Dutch ancestors. New websites The Brabants Historical Information Center has a new website (Dutch only). The 'Stamboom' [Family Tree] page has several indexes, some with scans … [Read more...]

Love speed skating? Your ancestors did too!

If there is one sport that the Dutch dominate, it is speed skating. It is the only Olympic sport where the orange team can win all three medals. Our love for speed skating is not surprising if you understand the history of the Dutch landscape. Because large parts of the country are below sea level, the landscape is crisscrossed by little canals … [Read more...]

Using Alle Friezen to find your ancestors from Friesland

If you have ancestors from Friesland, the website Alle Friezen is a must. The website contains indexes and scans of almost all the public records of the civil registration and some population registers as well.  … [Read more...]