Dutch term – Vreemdeling

A vreemdeling is a stranger or an alien. The word is used in genealogical records to indicate someone who was not Dutch, an immigrant. Vreemdelingen typically had to register with the municipality. The specific regulations and resulting records depend on the time and place. … [Read more...]

Wanted! First families of Pier 21

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is looking for family members of the 54 passengers who first arrived at the pier, on 28 February 1928. The first ship to arrive was the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam, which had departed from Rotterdam carrying passengers from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, Romania, Russia, Yugoslavia, Finland, and Greece, who were destined for various places in Canada. The museum is now collecting stories of the families that first arrived. See the blog post of … [Read more...]

Quick tip – 98% of Dutch People have Immigrant Ancestors

Did you know that an estimated 98% of people in the Netherlands have an immigrant ancestor somewhere in their trees in the past 500 years? They could be descendants of German laborers, French Huguenots, Swiss or Scottish mercenary soldiers, people from former Dutch colonies like Suriname, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), or the Netherlands Antilles, or more recent immigrants like guest workers from Morocco or Turkey, or refugees from Iraq or Syria. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hollandgänger

This week's term isn't Dutch at all, it's German. Hollandgänger literally means Holland-goer. It's a German term to describe seasonal workers who would come to the Netherlands to work. They'd walk to the Netherlands in spring, work here all summer, and then return to their families in Germany in the autumn. Most of these people were poor farm laborers from Westphalia, Münsterland, Osnabrück, or East-Friesland. Some of these workers met their partners in the Netherlands and stayed here. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Passagierslijst

A passagierslijst is a passenger list. Most passenger lists are kept in the country of arrival. Passenger lists for people who emigrated from the Netherlands to another country, are rarely found in the Netherlands. But the passenger lists of people who travelled to the Netherlands may be found in Dutch archives. The Stadsarchief Rotterdam [Rotterdam City Archives] has the largest collection of passenger lists, including those of the Holland Amerika Lijn and the Koninklijke Lloyd. Passenger … [Read more...]

Checklist – Are you Ready To Start Research in the Country of Origin?

When you find an immigrant ancestor, it is tempting to immediately start looking in the country of origin. But doing so too soon can cause you to misidentify your ancestor. Here is a checklist to make sure you're ready to start the research: Do you know who the immigrant ancestor was? I've had many people ask me for proposals just based on the rumor that their family was Dutch. You need more than that; you need to have actually gone back far enough to know who the immigrant ancestor was. … [Read more...]

Dispatch from Deuel

In the nineteenth century, there were several Dutch language newspapers in North America. The Dutch were spread all over the Mid-West, looking for opportunities to buy good farm land at a cheap price. These newspapers formed an important link in those migration chains, where people shared news about their colonies and the people who lived in them. Several of these Dutch newspapers have been digitized and are available via Delpher. You can search them for the names of your ancestors, but also … [Read more...]

Dutch Genealogy Webinar – Questions about Immigrant Ancestors

This is my second post answering the questions asked by viewers of my "Researching Your Dutch Ancestors" webinar. In this post, I will answer questions about finding immigrant ancestors. A good general strategy for finding immigrant ancestors is outlined in my article How to find my immigrant ancestor in the Netherlands? How do you trace your Dutch ancestor if you don't know when and were they arrived? This viewer had ancestors who arrived in the colonies in the 1700s. For these early … [Read more...]

Case study: Lammert Huybertsen Brink

Two years ago, I helped a client, Mr. Dennis Brink, find out exactly where his family was from. He kindly agreed to let me share our story of discovery of the origins of his immigrant ancestor, Lammert Huybertsen Brink, with you. Known information When Dennis Brink first contacted me, he provided the following information about his New Netherland ancestor, Lammert Huybertsen Brink: Lammert Huyberts from Wageningen, with wife and two children ages 2 and 3 1/2 years, sailed on the … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was he really born there?

People who move a long way from their small village will often claim a larger city in the area as their place of birth since nobody would have heard of their real place of birth. If you can't find your ancestor in the city where he was supposed to be born, try looking in the villages around there. This is especially true after immigration. Many people just listed 'Rotterdam' or 'Amsterdam' as place of birth since those were the best known places in the new country. You may be counting … [Read more...]