Dutch term – Naaien, naaister

Naaien means to sew. A naaister is a seamstress. In the past, professional naaisters were typically poor women, though women of all classes were taught the basics. Naaien could be done from home, and was an employment possible for women with young children. It is one of the few occupations open to women with children out of wedlock, who would rarely be welcome to work as servants in "respectable" households or stores. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Visvrouw

A visvrouw [literally: fish woman] is a female fish seller. It was not uncommon for wives of fishermen to sell the fish at markets. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Touwslager or lijndraaier

A touwslager or lijndraaier is a rope maker. The occupation can be found in many places, especially near harbors. Ropes for rigging were made in a lijnbaan, a ropeway to create long ropes. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Koper

A koper is a buyer. You can find the term in land records, such as deeds to purchase a house or in notarial or court records for estate sales. The term is also used in occupations, such as wijnkoper (wine buyer; wine merchant) or houtkoper (wood buyer; wood trader). As an adjective, koper means copper. You may encounter it in some estate inventories that include copper items in the house.   … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Tandarts

A tandarts is a dentist. Dentists used to travel around for services at regional fairs. It did not become a regular medical profession until the twentieth century. By the 1930s, dentists started coming into schools to make sure the children's teeth were in good health. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Nettenboetster

A nettenboetster was a female worker who made or repaired fishing nets. It was typically a job for young girls in fishing villages to supplement the family's income. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hoedenmaker

A hoedenmaker is a hat maker. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Mangelhoudster

A reader asked me about the term mangelhoudster. It literally means "keeper of a mangle." The mangle would be a dvice to put laundry through to dry and flatten it. The occupation is mainly found in and around Amsterdam. It could be that the mangelhoudster owned a mangle that others could use for a fee, or that she was a laundress herself. I have tried to find more documentation about the occupation but did not find much. An entry in the J.B. Glasbergen's Beroepsnamenboek [occupation's book], … [Read more...]

Level 3 Checklist – Occupations, residence, children, spouses

Two months ago, I issued my Level-Up Challenge, challenging you to assess how complete your research is. By level 2, we know the names of our ancestors and where and when they were born, married and died. To reach level 3, we also have to know their occupations, places of residence, and their children and spouses. In this blog post, I will explain which sources I feel I need to have found or searched for in order to say I have reached level 3. Occupation I want to find at least one source … [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...]