Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dutch Treat: Finding Dutch Ancestors

I've been brushing up on my Dutch and Frisian genealogy in advance of my lectures next weekend at the Yakima Valley (WA) Genealogical Society. I love Dutch genealogy mostly because I'm Dutch (My wife and I dance in wooden shoes), but also because the research resources are so great. Today, I'd like to endorse three great sources.

First, my friend Rob van Drie recently published an English-language guide to Dutch genealogy research. Rob van Drie and Suzanne Needs, Dutch Roots: Finding Your Ancestors in The Netherlands is available as an e-book from (may soon be available in the Apple Store). This richly illustrated book covers both the basics -- civil registration, population registers and church records -- and more advanced sources like military, guardianship and court records. Rob is Deputy Director of the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie in The Hague.

Did I say Dutch genealogy is easy? Well, the basics really are. If you don't believe me, check out Genlias. At Genlias, you can not only learn about Dutch civil registration records, but search for your Dutch ancestors' birth, marriage and death records. Although civil registration began a bit earlier in some southern Netherlands areas, it began in most of the country in 1811, with the arrival of Napoleon. Civil registration records are especially productive for genealogists because both marriage and death records commonly give ages, birth places, and parents' names. With a little ingenuity, you can identify ancestry back to the late 1700s.

Finally, I urge you to check out Digital Bronbewerkingen Nederland and Belgie (Digital Resources Netherlands and Belgium) at This site will link to you an amazing number of Internet resources for Dutch and Belgian genealogy. Just pick a province and start exploring.

So, put on your wooden shoes and take a Dutch genealogy hike. And, let me know what you find.

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