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...]

Dutch term – Bij Kaarsenbrand

In old legal records, you can sometimes find that property was sold "bij kaarsenbrand" [by burning candle]. It does not mean that it was sold at night, but rather that the property was sold in an auction that lasted as long as a candle burned. If the candle went out, the highest bid at that time was the winning bid. It made sure that auctions would not drag on. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Create a Property List

When you're researching a family who owned property, try making a list to see how they acquired it and where it went. Properties for which you can't find a purchase record may have been inherited from an older generation. Tracing the ownership of the property can help you identify other family members. This technique is one of the ways I was able to build a case to prove the parents of Griete Smit, as I wrote about in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in December 2016. … [Read more...]

Quick tip – How did they get that property?

If your ancestors owned property, that might help you find out more about them. If you cannot find the original purchase, they may have inherited it from a family member. By tracing the property, you may discover an earlier generation. The names of properties are rarely indexed, but perhaps you can find the neighbors, and check their deeds. Otherwise, browsing the whole register can sometimes be helpful. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Boelgoed

Boelgoed is an estate sale. The term is typical for the northern provinces of Friesland and Groningen. Estate sales were often organized by a notary who oversaw the public auction of movable goods. The sale was usually held at the house of the owner. You will typically find a boelgoed after somebody died, or before emigration. If the boelgoed was for the estate of a deceased, you will often find the heirs buying the majority of the items. Having a public sale was not just a way to … [Read more...]