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...]

Quick tip: Endogamy did not start after immigration

People whose ancestors live in small Dutch immigrant settlements have probably noticed that many of them were distant cousins. The size of these communities limited the pool of potential spouses. Endogamy (marrying within the community, also known as 'kissing cousins') is not unusual. What most people don't realize, is that many of these settlers came over as a group. Their community did not start across the ocean, but may well extend over several centuries. The places of origins were often … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Mind your immigrant ancestor’s neighbors

When you're trying to find the place of origin of your Dutch immigrant ancestor, be sure to check his neighbors too. Did any of them come from the Netherlands? On websites that allow you to search census records, like Ancestry.com or Ancestry.co.uk, you can often search for all people born in the Netherlands who lived in a certain place, regardless of their names. This should tell you who the Dutch immigrants in that community were. Your ancestor may be hard to trace but his neighbor may not … [Read more...]