Genealogy has been gaining popularity in recent years, with more people across the world trying to trace their lineage and research their Dutch roots. It can be difficult to find relatives that don’t live in the same country as you, but if you are digging into your Dutch ancestry or trying to track down some Dutch ancestors, here are a few suggestions on where to start.
Genealogy & Dutch ancestry
Genealogy is the study of families and family history, and it can be used to trace a person’s lineage. Dutch migration to the United States started as early as 1602 when the Dutch government established the Dutch East India Company, while the earliest settlement happened around 1613.
From then on, there were constant waves of migration in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, especially on the East Coast and Midwest regions of the United States. There has been a significant Dutch influence in the US on everything from traditions, names, and festivals. Naturally, many Americans are interested in tracing their Dutch ancestry.
Putting together your Dutch family tree
There are many ways to build a family tree, and depending on how much information is already available, you may be able to do it yourself. You need to ask yourself some important questions, such as how far back you want to map and what type of information you want to include.
When you start putting together your family tree, it's a good idea to begin with your immediate family and branch out from there. If you have older, distant relatives, speak to them to see if they can help expand the tree and if they have any records that may be able to help, like birth, death or marriage certificates.
Dutch genealogy records
If you're looking for information about your Dutch ancestors, here are some good places to start.
Historical records: Birth records and death certificates
Birth certificates are a good starting point for anyone wanting to trace their ancestry. However, there are some rules if you wish to request a copy of a birth certificate from the Dutch authorities, there are some rules. For example, you are only able to request a birth certificate from the municipality where the document was created. Additionally, the following people are the only ones who are able to request an official document from the municipality:
- Yourself, for an official document pertaining to you
- An authorised representative
- Anyone with legitimate interest in the record, for example, in the case of legal proceedings
Dutch genealogy records online: Useful websites for finding Dutch ancestors
Of course, tracing your family tree doesn't have to involve diving into dusty archives and paperwork! Due to the advancements of the internet, nowadays it is significantly easier to trace ancestry than it used to be. There are many useful websites that can help you find anyone’s entire lineage - so long as you have some relevant information to use as a starting point.
Here are some of the websites to help you find out more about your Dutch ancestors:
Open Archives: The genealogy database of the Netherlands
Open Archives is a genealogy database for the Netherlands and Belgium, allowing you to pull up records with a simple search - all you need is a last name. The results can be further narrowed down by imputing the person’s profession and when they lived in the Netherlands. The archives in the database contain scans and links to the original records of the individuals.
Family Search has an extensive amount of information for anyone who is looking to learn more about their Dutch ancestry. They have indexed historical records with everything from registered births to marriages, and even burials in the Netherlands. They also have a feature that lets you track lineage using an image of an official document or record.
Dutch Genealogy is a multi-service website that offers current news on Dutch genealogy as well as the services of a professional genealogist. You can have old documents translated and transcribed, analyse records, order scans of records that aren’t available online, create research plans, and much more.
23andme is a famous international website that will help break down your entire ancestry. They have multiple services, including a general ancestry service that will automatically break down your ancestry and build a family tree with trait reports, using your DNA. They also have a health and ancestry package that includes wellness reports and health findings as well.
Dutch genealogy and health
With scientific technologies and up-to-date research, a lot more than a family tree can be found through genealogy. With services and websites like 23andme, people can find out more about the genetic risks within their own genome, and any other potential health risks they might carry.
The data can also show more about the carrier status of a person, which is where a person is at risk of carrying on a health condition, but they themselves may not have it. This data can potentially be useful to your medical health professional for more information about your family health history.
Citizenship for people of Dutch descent
There are several ways to become a Dutch citizen. You can automatically claim Dutch citizenship if one of your parents was a Dutch citizen at the time of your birth, or if paternity is acknowledged by a Dutch citizen.
With relatives older than your parents, claiming a Dutch citizenship through ancestry is not possible. There are other ways to claim a Dutch citizenship, however, including the naturalisation process.
Looking for friends and family living in the Netherlands
If you’re trying to find relatives or friends that are currently living in the Netherlands, there is an official database managed by the Dutch government that has all the necessary information.
The Personal Records Database contains the personal data of everyone who lives in the Netherlands, as well as Dutch citizens who live abroad. Privacy laws are strict in the Netherlands, so it is not possible to view this information directly. However, if the person you are trying to contact has given authorisation for their information to be shared, then you might get lucky.
Even if you aren’t able to access the information, an appointment with the Personal Records Database might help point you in the right direction to find the person you are looking for.
Learn more about your Dutch ancestors
Learning about your genealogy can teach you a lot about your family history as well as inform you of any hidden or unknown medical conditions that may be prevalent in your family. Have a look at one of the databases and websites to start your journey today!