Trace your Dutch roots

Your bi-monthly guide to finding your Dutch ancestors

About this newsletter

Bi-monthly newsletter on Dutch genealogy research. Issue #1. Publication date 11 August 2006.

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Welcome to the first issue of this newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Amsterdam records in Genlias
  • Website of the month: Genlias
  • Pitfall: Names containing ij or y
  • Trace your Dutch roots blog
  • The Wilhelminakade revisited

Amsterdam records in Genlias

Genlias announced last month data entry of Amsterdam records will start in september:

Start data entry Amsterdam
The Noord-Hollands Archief is going to enter the marriage records of Amsterdam of 1811-1932 to make them available online. We're talking about approximately 350,000 records, an incredible amount! The data entry will start in September and will be done by volunteers.

Website of the month

Every newsletter we will discuss a resource for Dutch genealogy that is available online. This month: Genlias.

If you want to research your Dutch ancestors via the internet, your starting point should be the Genlias website. Genlias is the most important online source for Dutch genealogy research.

Genlias is a joint product of the regional history centres and state archives in the Netherlands. Its goals are ambitious:

Dutch archives aim to enter all data from the open civil registers in the Netherlands into Genlias in the near future. These will be supplemented with additional information from older sources and statements of succession.

The Dutch civil register is a register that lists all births, deaths and marriages that took place in The Netherlands since 1811. Most marriages from the period 1811-1922 are now in Genlias (notable exceptions are the marriages from the three largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, and large parts of the province Zuid-Holland).

If your ancestors came from Holland in the early 20th, or mid- or late-19th century, Genlias should be the first place to go to trace them. Genlias has an English interface (click "English" in the top right), but all information it contains is in Dutch. To search, click "Searching in Genlias", then "Searching in Genlias database" (or go directly to the search page). It may be a good idea to read the Search instructions and Explanation of the results first.

Read more

Pitfall: Names containing ij or y

The letter combination ij is very common in Dutch names (and in Dutch words in general) - so common that Dutch typewriters and keyboards have a separate key for ij. In older, handwritten, documents ij and y are often used interchangeably.

ij still has a special status in the Dutch alphabet. It is sometimes treated as a single letter, sometimes not. Dictionaries sort words containing ij as you would expect, but some phone books sort ij as if it were y (the name index on this website sorts like this). Occasionally, you may find the ij sorted just before (or just after) the y.

If a name starts with ij, both letters are capitalized: IJsbrand, van den IJssel.

Dutch immigrants in the US often replaced ij in their name with y. So if you can't find your de Rooy ancestors in Genlias, it could be because they were listed as de Rooij.

Trace your Dutch roots blog

On 3 August, I opened a blog about Dutch genealogy. This blog will be a companion to the website and newsletter.

A blog (short for weblog) is a special kind of website where the webmaster can post short articles, messages, announcements, thoughts, links - a kind of public diary. Readers can post comments on each post, and other blog-authors can easily link to articles. You can find more information about blogs on Blogger.

The Trace your Dutch roots blog will contain news, announcements, hints, tips&tricks, anything related to Dutch genealogy. The blog will be updated regularly. Take a look, and feel free to add your comments or questions to the posts.

The Wilhelminakade revisited

Former headquarters of the Holland-America Line on the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam

If your ancestors left for the New World in the early 20th century, they will probably have boarded on the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam, near the headquarters of the Holland-America Line (HAL). The HAL once controlled the entire area, but their former headquarters is all that is left here of this era.

The area is now bleak and decayed, but a complete overhaul is on its way (see the Wilhelmina pier website for details - most of this site is in Dutch, but it also has an English section).

The HAL building itself is now a hotel and a cafe and restaurant. In front of it you will find the sculpture "Lost luggage depot", by Jeff Wall, a sculpture that symbolizes the many emigrants that departed for the New World from this spot.

Check out the Wilhelminakade photo album at my Flickr photo albums site.

©2006 Henk van Kampen. All rights reserved.