Three old people ago…

One old person ago... Women did not have equal rights. Women in the Netherlands got the right to vote in 1917. But until 1956, married women needed permission from their husbands to enter into any legally binding contracts. Two old people ago... Slavery was legal in the Dutch colonies of Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Dutch East Indies. Slavery was abolished in the East Indies in 1860 and in Suriname and the Antilles in 1863. Even then slaves were required to continue … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Who owned the farm?

If your ancestors were farmers, try to find out who owned the farm. After 1832, you can check the Cadastre, before that time you can check real estate tax records or transport deeds in court records. Not many farmers owned their own farm. If they rented the farm from a rich or noble family, the archives of that family may have survived and may have records about your family. If they were serfs, the serf registers of the overlord may provide more information. For an example, read about two … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Horige

A horige is a serf or villain, an un-free farmer who was bound to the land. Serfdom started in the Middle Ages. In most parts of the Netherlands, it was abolished by the 1500s. In some parts, like the eastern parts of Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland, a diluted form of serfdom continued until the French occupation of 1795. Rights and duties of serfs The specific rights and duties of a serf depended on the overlord, time and place, but in general, serfs have the following features in … [Read more...]

Amazing find: Image of the Murder of my 16th-century Ancestor

Last week I made a fantastic discovery that underlines why you should always check the records of neighboring towns and not limit your research to the place where your ancestors lived. On a German map, I found a drawing of the killing of my ancestor Tonnis Willinck. Many of my ancestors lived in Winterswijk, on the Dutch-German border. As you can imagine, there were several border disputes over the centuries. As a result, many records and maps about the boundaries were created on both sides … [Read more...]

Worst case of pedigree collapse ever?

My father's side of the family comes from a small village in the east of Gelderland called Winterswijk. Because so many of his ancestors came from that place, I am reconstructing its entire population. Doing such a one-place-study has given me a deeper understanding of life in that village and allowed me to make some interesting discoveries and observations along the way. Roerdink family from Winterswijk One of the families I am researching, the Roerdinks, belonged to the farmer elite of … [Read more...]