Trace your Dutch roots

Your quarterly Dutch genealogy guide

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Quarterly newsletter on Dutch genealogy. Issue #13. Publication date July 2009.

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Welcome to the July issue of this newsletter, the third issue of 2009.

In this issue:

  • Hudson's quadricentennial
  • Provincial resources
  • Reader's question

The next issue is planned for October. As always, topic suggestions may be sent to

Hudson's quadricentennial

On 11 September 1609, the Dutch ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), captained by the Englishman Henry Hudson, sailed down the river that is now the Hudson River, establishing Dutch claims to the region that became New Netherland.

This was not the purpose of Hudson's journey. He was hired by the Dutch East India Company to find a passage to the Dutch Indies. Like many sailors who tried before him, he failed to find a passage north of Russia due to the ice there. Hudson gave up and tried to find the route to the East Indies by sailing west, like Columbus had done before him. He assumed that somewhere there would be a passage through the Americas, and he thought he had found it when he reached the Hudson River.

He was wrong, of course. There was no passage, and there would not be one until the Panama Canal was opened. Besides, the world is much larger than people thought at the time, and though it is possible to reach the East Indies by sailing west it is not exactly a shortcut.

Though Hudson's journey was a failure, the Dutch authorities were very much interested in his discoveries because of the fur he brought home, and later expeditions established a Dutch colony in this region: New Netherland, with its capital New Amsterdam.

This year, we celebrate 400 years of Dutch roots in the United States. There are many events on both side of the ocean to celebrate the quadricentennial. A few highlights:

Did I miss a great event? Let me know and I may feature it on the blog next month.

Provincial resources

Many provincial archives have websites which offer information about ancestors that is not found in Genlias. I will highlight a few resources for each province. For more information read the regional pages on Trace your Dutch roots. Between now and December, the blog will also look at provincial online resources, in a series of twelve posts (one for each province). These blog articles will list many great resources for each province. The first one, Online genealogy in Friesland, is already available. If you don't want to miss these articles you can subscribe to the blog. This subscription is separate from your newsletter subscription.


The main resource for Groningen is Alle Groningers, maintained by the Groningen archives. They have indexes and scans of BMD acts from the civil register and church books.


The archives of Friesland maintain two sites that you need to visit often if you have Frisian roots: Tresoar for indexes of church books and BMD acts (and much more), and the new site Alle Friezen for scans of BMD acts.


Drenlias is the site to visit if you have Drenthe roots. The name is a contraction of Drenthe and Genlias. The site offers many indexes, including BMD acts and church books.


The website of the provincial archive has a Databases section, where you can search the indexes of several collections, including emigrants and BMD acts.


Most of what is now Flevoland was sea a century ago. BMD acts and church books of the former islands Urk and Schokland are in Genlias.


There is no online provincial database for Gelderland, but Genlias has many BMD records from Gelderland. Streekarchief Bommelerwaard (Regional archive Bommelerwaard) has online resources for the Bommelerwaard region. Click Digitale studiezaal, Genealogische bronnen, and Zoeken op naam in the navigation menu on the left to start searching.


Use Genlias to find BMD acts. The archives of the regions Southeastern Utrecht and Eemland have their own online databases, including church books. The Utrecht provincial archive published an index and scans of the notarial archive of Utrecht city online.


Use Genlias to find BMD acts. Amsterdam records are not yet on Genlias. There are several Amsterdam databases on the website of the Amsterdam city archive, including the pre-1811 index to baptisms. There are other local and regional databases for Haarlem and Kennemerland and Alkmaar. Also worth a visit: Noordhollandse Huwelijken (Noord-Holland marriages), with marriages and family reconstructions (based on marriage acts and other sources) for several towns in Noord-Holland.


For most towns in Zuid-Holland, the best place to find BMD records is Genlias. There are, however, many places in Zuid-Holland that are not in Genlias. Places that are not represented in Genlias include major cities like Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, and Delft. There are regional and local databases you can use for Rotterdam, Den Haag, Leiden, Delft, Vlaardingen, Schiedam, and Groene Hart.


The main resource for genealogy in Zeeland is Zeeuwen Gezocht, the database of the Zeeland provincial archive. They have indexed many resources, including BMD acts and church books.


The main resource for genealogy in Noord-Brabant is BHIC, Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum. The regional archives of Land van Heusden en Altena, West-Brabant (click Genealogie - Zoeken op naam - Start zoeken op naam), Eindhoven and Tilburg maintain their own online databases.


There is no online provincial database for Limburg, but Genlias has many BMD records from Limburg.

Reader's question

In the previous edition of this newsletter I offered you to ask your questions about your brick walls, which I would try to answer on the Trace your Dutch roots blog. I received many questions, not all of them answered yet. A few examples of answered questions:

If you also have a question that you want answered on Trace your Dutch roots, let me know.

©2009 Henk van Kampen. All rights reserved.