Quick tip – Trace enslaved people by their owners

If you are researching enslaved people in the former Dutch colonies like Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, you need to trace their owners. Enslaved people created few records themselves, but their owners may have created records that mention them. Here are some examples of records created by owners that may include enslaved people: … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Slavenhandel

Slavenhandel is the slave trade. The Dutch West India Company was heavily involved in transporting slaves. They had an outpost in Elmina on Africa's Gold Coast, where they gathered the enslaved people bought or captured in Africa. Ships would sail from Amsterdam with merchandise to buy slaves on the local slave markets in Africa, from where they … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vrij

Vrij means "free," as in freedom. You may encounter the word vrij in different contexts in genealogical records: A vrije persoon [free person] was someone who was not enslaved and who was not a serf. A vrij goed [free property] was a property (typically a farm) that did not have feudal obligations. Vrij van belasting [free of taxes] … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Mulat, Mesties, Casties, Poesties, Testies

The Netherlands was involved in the slave trade from the late 1500s to the early 1800s. In the Dutch provinces, chattel slavery was outlawed, but it was common in the Dutch colonies such as Curacao and Suriname. In the colonies, slavery was abolished in 1863. In these Dutch colonies, specific terms were used to indicate the race of enslaved and … [Read more...]

Crowd funding needed for Suriname Slave Registers

A crowd funded project will digitize and index the slave registers of Suriname, making them freely accessible online.  Slave registers of Suriname The slave registers of Suriname are a unique record series. They record the names of approximately 80,000 people who were enslaved in Suriname between 1830 and the abolition of slavery … [Read more...]

“Negroes for New Netherland”

While searching the notarial archives at the Amsterdam City Archives, I came across a record that tells how Dutch merchants took African slaves from Guinea and shipped them to the New World, trading some in the West Indies and taking the rest to New Netherland. As it is rare to find accounts of voyages of slave vessels, I thought I would share this … [Read more...]