Dutch term – Kaapvaart

Kaapvaart means privateering. Kaapvaart was a form of legal piracy in war time. The government would recruit private ships as part of the war effort by giving the captain a license to attack the enemy and steal from them. The proceeds were shared between the privateer and the government. … [Read more...]

Finding Maritime Ancestors from the Netherlands

People from the Netherlands have always lived with water. Many of our ancestors made a living from the sea: as sailors, marines, fishermen, or traders. Here are some websites and sources that can help you find your maritime ancestors. Websites VOC sailors, database of people who sailed on ships of the Dutch East India Company. West India Company muster rolls no longer survive. Marine personnel records at the National Archives, search indexes that start with "Marine." Note that many … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overboord

Overboord means "overboard," in the literal sense of going over the side of the ship. It is one of many Dutch nautical terms that made its way into English. In death records or newspaper articles, you may sometimes find that your ancestor was overboord geslagen [went overboard] and drowned. Example: Gerrit Engels Mooi Abstract: Harlingen, 22 August 1838 Recorded an extract of a death record created on board of the Dutch "smakschip" [light coastal ship] De Waakzaamheid [the … [Read more...]

Find your ancestors by understanding how records are created

Searching for records using Google or Ancestry will only get you so far. You will just find records that have already been indexed and put online. If searching does not give you the records you need to answer your research question, try to think like an archivist to understand what other records may exist. … [Read more...]