Quick tip – Friesland Memorabilia

If you have ancestors from Friesland, you want to check out the website of Hessel de Walle: Memorabilia uit Friesland [Memorabilia from Friesland]. Hessel collects references to Frisian memorabilia with people's names on them, like mourning boards in churches, inscribed silverware, grave monuments, etc., and generously made his database available online. You can search the database in different ways: Gemeente - Municipality Plaats - Town Typen - Types Achternaam - Last name … [Read more...]

Friesland Genealogy Research Guide

Friesland is one of the northern provinces in the Netherlands. It borders on the province of Groningen in the east, Drenthe and Overijssel in the South, the IJsselmeer in the west and the North Sea in the north. The capital city of Friesland is Leeuwarden. The largest towns are: Bolsward Dokkum Drachten Franeker Harlingen Heerenveen Sneek Wolvega The province also includes several of the Wadden Islands: Vlieland Terschelling Ameland Schiermonnikoog. … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – West-Friesland is not in Friesland

In the early Middle Ages, the whole area between the Zwin and Weser rivers was called Frisia/Friesland. The current province of Friesland in the Netherlands is in the middle of that region, but the former area of Frisia was much larger. To this day, part of the province of Noord-Holland is known as "West-Friesland" [West Frisia] and part of northern Germany is known as "Ostfriesland" [East Frisia]. So West-Friesland is in the province of Noord-Holland, not in the province of Friesland. … [Read more...]

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 collection of the Fries Scheepvaartmuseum in Sneek. Such silver spoons were a tradition in Friesland, among richer families. The silversmith is … [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 for the horses. So don't call someone a Friesian unless it's a horse. … [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 Denmark was once considered Friesland. To answer this question we have to go back. WAY back.  Once upon a time, in the first centuries BC … [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 names in other parts of the country. If you're unsure whether the person is male or female, check the record to see what the role is (bruidegom/groom, … [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 kept at the provincial archives of Friesland, Tresoar. The Friends of the Frisian Archives (Stichting FAF) have created indexes and abstracts of some … [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 tuned and follow this blog or newsletter to read them all. In this first article, I will answer the questions about records in the … [Read more...]