Quick Tip – Life events may create notarial records

Many notarial records are unindexed and can be time-consuming to go through. But notarial records were often created because of a life event that we can find in other sources. In a small town with just one or two notaries, it can pay off to browse the notarial records around that time. In towns without a notary, these types of records can be found … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Dutch Ancestors Left Few Last Wills

Our Dutch ancestors rarely had a last will drawn up. Most were too poor to have any goods to leave behind. But even people who did own property often did not feel the need to have a last will, since they were happy with the default arrangement under the law. The wills that do exist can be found in notarial records (in areas and periods where … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Use notarial records

Notarial records are a great source of genealogical information. They can contain prenuptial agreements, business contracts, last wills, and estate divisions, giving you an insight into your anecstors' lives and family. Not all areas had notaries before 1811, in which case you can find these sources in local court records. A growing number of … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Inventories are Usually for Both Spouses

If you find an estate inventory of a deceased married person, beware that the property in the inventory is usually for the couple, not just the property that belonged to the deceased spouse.  If there was no prenuptial agreement, the husband and wife jointly owned all their property. The inventory would usually appraise all the property, of … [Read more...]

Source – Notarial records

Notarial records are created by a public notary and serve as legal proof of the information contained in the record. Information in notarial records Examples of the types of records you can find in notarial archives are: Real estate transactions (sales, conveyance) Debts Obligations Auctions Prenuptial agreements Last wills … [Read more...]

Quick tip: Did your widowed ancestor make a settlement?

If a widow or widower with young children wanted to marry again, often they first had to make a settlement with their minor children so they received their share of the deceased parent's inheritance. These records can be helpful to prove family relationships, to get insights into the economic circumstances of the family, and to find out about … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Huwelijkse voorwaarden

Huwelijkse voorwaarden (literally: marriage terms) is the Dutch term for prenuptial agreement. Historically, like today, most people did not have huwelijkse voorwaarden. Prenuptial agreements were often made by people who were well-to-do or who had children from a previous marriage to provide for. A prenuptial agreement identifies the spouses, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Your ancestors may appear in inventories

Estate inventories and guardians' accounts often contain information about the daily lives of our ancestors. They can tells us what they owned and whom they did business with. If your ancestor was in trade, he may appear in the inventories of some of his clients. This can give you more insight into his business. Depending on the time and place, … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Emigrants sometimes went to a Notary

Before getting on board, an emigrant may have gone to a notary to: have a will drawn up (you never know if the ship will go down) give a power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member to handle their affairs enter into a work contract, including an agreement about the payment of the passage. This is especially true for richer … [Read more...]

“Negroes for New Netherland”

While searching the notarial archives at the Amsterdam City Archives, I came across a record that tells how Dutch merchants took African slaves from Guinea and shipped them to the New World, trading some in the West Indies and taking the rest to New Netherland. As it is rare to find accounts of voyages of slave vessels, I thought I would share this … [Read more...]