Dutch term – Belending

Belending means abutting or adjoining. You may come across the term in notarial or court records involving properties. The belendende percelen are the abutting properties, that share a property boundary with the property that is being discussed. Many Dutch land records before the introduction of the Cadaster in 1832 identify the location of properties in terms of its neighbors, sometimes with cardinal directions, but often just in terms of "in between the houses of so-and-so." Sometimes, the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Huur

Huur is a noun meaning rent. The verb huren means to rent, and verhuren means to let out (huren is from the viewpoint of the renter, verhuren from the viewpoint of the owner). Many people rented houses and/or land. Historically, most people in the Netherlands were too poor to own their own houses, and rented them instead. The owners were often richer people in the town, noble families, churches, or (especially in earlier periods), monasteries and convents. Some rental contracts were made … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vruchtgebruik

Vruchtgebruik (literally: use of the fruits) is the Dutch term for usufruct, the right to use a property, usually for the remainder of one's life. You may encounter the term in notarial records, for example in wills that give someone the vruchtgebruik of a property that is then left to someone else after they die, or in a sale record where the vruchtgebruiker (person who has the right of vruchtgebruik) relinquishes their rights. You may also find the term in death duties files, which would … [Read more...]

Ownership vs. Occupation

I listened to a presentation by Sue Adams about our farming ancestors, and she talked to the difference between ownership and occupation. You can own a house where you do not live, and you can live in a house you do not own. Similarly, you can own land you do not farm, or farm land you do not own. Ownership creates different records than occupancy. Typically, ownership creates more records, and tenants or people who lease land can be harder to trace. My recent article "Four Farms Four Names" … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Geërfde

In the eastern parts of the Netherlands, a geërfde was a heritor, the owner of a property with certain rights in the commons. The heritors of a district would come together periodically to discuss matters relating to the commons. The geërfde would have a vote in any decisions made there, for example relating to the sale of common land, taxation, allocating funds for road repairs, and other matters involving the community. The records of such meetings can provide interesting insights into the … [Read more...]

Level 4 Checklist – Property ownership, military service, religion, criminal activity

A few 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 and by level 3, we also have to know their occupations, places of residence, and their children and spouses. To reach level 4, we also need to know what property they owned, if they served in the military, what religion they were, and if they were involved in any criminal activities. In … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Who was the previous owner?

When you hit a brick wall and the ancestor whose parents you're looking for owned property, try and find out who owned the property previously. The previous owner may have been related, if the ancestor inherited the property, or may have created a sale or conveyance record that mentions your ancestor. For an example of how useful tracing the previous owner can be, read my article "Griete Smith's Parentage: Proof in the Absence of Vital Records" (PDF) as it appeared in the December 2016 issue … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Eigenaar

An eigenaar is an owner. Up until recently, many people in the Netherlands did not own any real estate. They were tenants of farms, or rented a house. To find out whether your ancestors owned land, you can check death duties files, notarial records, court records, or cadastral records. For an example of research into property ownership, see Laurens Smulders. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Cijns

A cijns is the right to annual proceeds, similar to a rent. The rights could be attached to land or property, certain official functions, or rights in common grounds. In the Middle Ages up until say the 1700s, rents were often paid in kind, for example in grain. See the article about Rent registers for more information. … [Read more...]

Source – Rent Registers

"Cijnzen" or rents are rights to annual proceeds. The rights could be attached to land or property, certain official functions, or rights in common grounds. In the Middle Ages up until say the 1700s, rents were often paid in kind, for example in grain. Dominion rents Rents could be attached to a domain, the area belonging to an overlord. For example, the overlord could give land to a family in exchange for an annual payment. These rents were perpetual. Rents could also be required to pay in … [Read more...]