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Researching Dutch ancestors

The Dutch have historically been traders who sailed the globe in search of goods that could make them a profit. This in combination with their often direct way of communicating, made them sometimes not very likeable. Because of this they spread their genes all over the world. No wonder there are so many people who have Dutch ancestors. Unsurprisingly, they can be found in former Dutch colonies like South Africa, Indonesia and Suriname.

Dutch migrants arriving in Australia
Dutch migrants arriving in Australia in 1954

After the second World War many Dutch and Flemish Belgian families moved to countries like the United States, Canada and Australia, looking for a better life.  A brother and a sister of my granddad (opa) moved in the fifties with their family to Canada. 

Maybe you have Dutch ancestors? Travelling for research is not an option for everyone, but thanks to the internet that's not really necessary anymore.

Research from home! 

In the coming series of articles I'll to put you on the right track to start building your own Dutch family history.

It is easy!  

You might find that doing genealogical research in the Netherlands is in comparison to other countries, much easier.
Here are a few reasons why:

  • Information is often free...
    Which means, you don't need to pay for scans of documents.
    In the Netherlands commercial sites like FindMypast, Ancestry or Myheritage are unneccesary because most scans are provided for free directly by the archives.
  • Over the last couple of years many documents have been scanned and are now available online. This is a great way to protect the original documents from damage, and to make them available to everyone.
  • Many archives have started a 'scanning on demand service', if documents are not available online yet, a request can be send.
  • Websites are often available in English.
  • Most people in the Netherlands can speak some English. Certainly people working in archives will be able to, so don't hesitate to contact them.
  • Finding your Dutch female ancestors is easier than in many English speaking countries, because they always keep their maiden name, even after marriage!

Each new article in this series will have a specific topic.
I'm already looking forward to sharing information with you about newspapers, civil records, birth records, land registration etc.

Do you have any questions about researching in the Netherlands?
Please add it to the comments below.
Any personal questions about your own research, please use the contact form, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Dutch migrants arriving in Australia