First we locate the marriage record using Genlias/AlleGroningers.
If your male Dutch ancestor was born and married post-1811 in the Netherlands, you may be able to obtain a physical description of what he looked like. How? Through an examination of required marriage attachments. Here is how we find them.
First we locate the marriage record using Genlias/AlleGroningers.
FamilySearch is an excellent resource to bookmark for your genealogical family history research. Hidden deep within is an astounding amount of material relative to the Netherlands. Here you will find the following - all scanned images for:
Netherlands Civil Registrations from 1792-1952 which contain 29.7 million images: births, marriages, and deaths, plus 10 year indexes, marriage intentions, marriage proclamations, and marriage supplements. There is a wealth of information here.
Army Service Records from 1807-1929
Gelderland Province Civil Registrations from 1811-1950
Limburg Parish Register Transcripts from 1600-1822
Noord-Brabant Province Population Registers from 1820-1930
Zuid-Holland Province Civil Registrations from 1811-1942
Holland-America Passenger Lists from 1900 to 1974
From the FamilySearch main page, browse by location and click "Europe". Then choose Netherlands in the left-hand column.
Once you find a record and it appears as below (all links highlighted), then you are able to view and/or order that record.
For your reference I have translated the following words for you.
Detailweergave van de akte = Detailed View of the Act/Record
Terug naar resultaat = Back to Results
Akte inzien = View Act
Dit register doorbladeren = Browse Registry
Bestel deze akte = Order this Document
There are numerous instances where the name of an individual I was searching for was spelled differently according to the record found. This is due to transitions in the Dutch language itself and/or the transcriber's error in the transcription.
For instance, the English spelling of the name "Jacob" can also be spelled "Jakob" under the Dutch tongue. And my own surname of "Kruizenga" has many variations: Kruizinga, Kruisenga, Kruisinga, and others.
Plugging each of these names into the AlleGroninger database singly would be time-consuming, especially if there are numerous records found.
AlleGroningers allows the use of wild cards to handle situations like these.
You enter "$" to replace a single character or "* or %" to replace multiple consecutive characters.
Let's take a look at how this might be used.
We'll use the name JACOB KRUIZENGA. That is the Anglicized spelling of my emigrating Dutch ancestor. How would I use wild cards to capture all spelling variations in the Dutch language?
For "Jacob" any of the following would be correct:
Ja$ob OR Ja*b OR Ja%b
The $ would capture both the JACOB and JAKOB variations.
And the * or % would capture everything between Ja and b. In this instance, these wild cards would encompass JACOB and JAKOB. Understand?
Now the surname. As there are too many variations that involve more than one letter, the usage of the wild card "$" would be insignificant. A better choice would be either "*" or "%".
KRU is always the same. We will leave these letters alone. It is the middle portion of the surname that changes frequently. GA is always the same. We will leave these letters be.
For this name I would use the following with wild cards:
This would capture every spelling variation of my surname. But here's where it can get a bit tricky. I'll attempt to explain.
Imagine that I'm looking for the death record for JACOB KORNELIS KRUIZENGA who died some time in 1822 at Stedum. Using the wild cards as described above, I will NOT find him. Why?
Because I blocked the complete search. His actual record reads: JACOB KORNELIS KRUSINGA. So when I entered ja*b, I completed the search at the 'b'. What I should have done is enter ja*. This would have found all the consecutive characters after the JA. In this case COB KORNELIS.
But... doing this also brings up a ton of non-applicable names like Jan, Janna, or Jantje. So it works both ways.
I would say as a general rule, fill in all the characters you KNOW to be correct. Just keep in mind that if you use a final letter you are sealing the search at that point. Hope that makes sense.
Let's see a search in practice using ja*b and kru*ga .
The majority of Dutch families did not have established surnames prior to 1811, especially in the northern provinces. Before Napoleon conquered the Netherlands and made the selection of a surname mandatory, Dutch family names were patronymic (of the father).
How did this system work?
An example of the patronymic system would be the name DERK JACOBS. Derk was the son of Jacob. And DERKJE JACOBS would be the daughter of Jacob.
Until 1811, this is the system we have for tracing genealogical heritage: through the father. And even after the adoption of surnames, this naming tradition continued with the patronymic given as a middle name.
Another tradition that continued until the early part of the 20th century is in how the children were to be named. There are exceptions to what follows, but this is the norm.
First Son - named after father's father
Second Son - named after mother's father
Third Son - named after father's paternal grandfather
Fourth Son - named after mother's paternal grandfather
Fifth Son - named after father's maternal grandfather
Sixth Son - named after mother's maternal grandfather
First Daughter - named after mother's mother
Second Daughter - named after father's mother
Third Daughter - named after mother's maternal grandmother
Fourth Daughter - named after fathers' maternal grandmother
Fifth Daughter - named after mother's paternal grandmother
Sixth Daughter - named after father's paternal grandmother
And you can see the inherent confusion in this system for genealogists. On the one hand, the system can make tracing a family genealogy rather easy because the genealogist knows the name of the father/mother of a child based on the patronymic. However, when there are several brothers and sisters all using this system in the naming of their children, what you have is utter confusion. Especially post-1811.
Many of our Dutch emigrants came from the far northeastern Dutch province of Groningen. The Groningen province has not changed much over the years. It is still farm country. And given the tarred roads and modern farm machinery, the landscape remains untouched as it would have appeared over a century ago.
Many Groningers, living in extreme poverty, realized the glorious opportunity of emigrating to a new world for a new chance at life. They wanted more for their children than could ever be given in the Old Country. And hearing from friends and relatives who had already taken the plunge, and were now living their dreams in the New World, they were enticed to say their goodbyes, leave family behind, and set off to a new life.
If you are one of the fortunate few to have Groningen roots, you are in luck. The Groningen Archives, based in Groningen City, the largest provincial town, has made a firm commitment of placing civil AND CHURCH records online.
I have written before about Genlias. And while Genlias is an essential tool for researching the civil records dating from 1811, the time Napoleon instituted the mandates dealing with registration of births, marriages, and deaths, Genlias is not complete. It lacks the pre-1811 church records.
What is the Dutch genealogist to do when his/her research brings him back to a pre-1811 date? That is where the site AlleGroningers steps in.
Before proceeding with this step you will need to know the name(s) of your emigrating ancestors and the year of their emigration. Refer to previous steps that teach how to accomplish this.
GENLIAS is a Godsend. It is an online research tool that makes your Dutch research extremely easy - or at least less nerve racking. Genlias is a joint Dutch effort of the regional historical centers and archives and it contains over 15 million records from the Dutch Civil Registry (1811-1955).
The Dutch Civil Registry was placed in affect in 1811 by Napoleon Bonaparte - remember him? He conquered the Netherlands for a brief period and needed a collection of names so he knew how many men were fit for military service and for taxing purposes as well. The registry was mandated to include all post-1811 births, marriages, and deaths.
Before 1811, the only method of conducting research is via Parish records. But we'll delve into that in a later step.
For now be grateful to Napoleon Bonaparte for conquering the Netherlands and instituting the Dutch Civil Registry. Thank you Napoleon - for making our jobs as genealogists and family researchers that much easier.
Once you have gathered the names of your emigrating ancestors, it is time to take your research back to the Old Country. Naturally you'll want to fill in all the details you can about your ancestors from the time they stepped off the passenger ship into America until now, but there is a wealth of information that is there to discover back in the Netherlands.
Take the names of your emigrating ancestors and the alleged year of their immigration and examine the passenger lists. Back to Ancestry.com.
You'll remember what I said about Ancestry.com's numerous misspellings. Applies here too. Take my emigrating ancestor Jacob Kruizenga for example. When I conduct a search through immigration records on Ancestry.com, here is what I get.
There are over 200 records found - most do not apply (aren't even the same surname). Now this is where it is important to know the approximate date of emigration. I could assume Jacob was born in the 1830s due to his given age on the 1900 Census. That rules out the 3rd record above (birth date 1868). I know that my ancestor emigrated in the approximate age of 1857 (from 1900 Census). That rules out the 1st record above (emigration date 1867). This leaves me with the 2nd record.
Note: there were other records not shown above. This is only an example.
Turns out the 2nd record was the right one. But note how my ancestor's surname was butchered: from Kruizenga to Kruinzinger. This was not the fault of Ancestry.com. That is the way it was spelled on the passenger list.
This is common with the Dutch. They could not read or write English, so it was up to the ship transcriber to record what he saw and heard. Kruinzinger was close to how the name was pronounced.
So you'll have to be creative. If your preliminary search comes up blank - try again with various spellings. And if you get stuck? Hire me to do it for you. :-)
The key to Step Two is to find the name(s) of your emigrating ancestor(s). The 1930 Census can reveal the date of emigration into this country - though this can be wrong. Census takers can record erroneous information. It's the GIGO philosophy: garbage in , garbage out. The census taker can only record what they are given by those being interviewed. And sometimes... well, it was an educated guess.
Take my example of Derk J. Kruizenga. FamilySearch.org provided me with the essential data I needed, but I wanted to find the actual census for my records. To Ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com records all data via volunteers who type in the data as they see it. I believe all data sheets go to a minimum of 5 volunteers before being viewed by a company employee who makes the final decision on spelling discrepancies if there are any. I've volunteered and some of the records can be very difficult to read.
This being said, the spellings of difficult names found on Ancestry.com can be in error. The example of Derk J. Kruizenga is one such error. FamilySearch.org got this right. Ancestry.com did not. When I typed in a search for Derk Kruizenga, nothing came up. Just a bunch of fluff. Ancestry.com is not known for it's easy search engine. It will bring up all kinds of non-pertinent stuff.
I typed in only the surname. Nothing. So what to do?
I searched the 1930 Census myself. Search > Census & Voter Lists. Right-hand column under "Historical Records" - U.S. Federal Census collection. Browse to bottom of new page - 'Included Date Collections". I don't want them all. Click on 1930 Census.
Right-hand column of new page. Here is where we can browse the 1930 Census refining it to suit our needs. Going back to FamilySearch.org - the record found there provided the following information.
Enumeration District: 130
Sheet Number: 9B
Family No. 234
I can use this information to conduct my search on Ancestry.com.
I enter the State (Michigan), the County (Kent), and the township (Plainfield). This gives me 3 enumeration districts to choose from. We know from FamilySearch that Derk lived in District 130. I select this.
This opens the 1930 Census for Enumeration District 130. I can now browse the pages looking for sheet number 9B (this is found in the upper right corner of each census page). I find the page I am looking for in Ancestry.com image 18 of 48. Down to line 79 and there is my guy.
Misspelling? How's this? KRINGUSGA. ???? Come on people... doesn't even closely resemble this!!
In any case, the 1930 Census did not provide me with the needed immigration data. Derk Kruizenga was born in Michigan. I will need to go back further.
I'll then look for the 1920 Census, then the 1910 Census, and back until I get the information I need. In the Derk Kruizenga example I had to go back to the 1900 Census. There Derk was a young man - aged 21. He was living with his parents Jacob Derk (70) and Jennie (67) on the same farm as the 1930 Census. Immigration years were given for Derk's parents: they arrived separately - Jacob in 1857 and Jennie in 1868.
That's what you'll need to do. Begin with the 1930 Census and work your way backwards. Record what you find and learn about your family. Keep going until you find a year of emigration.
It is time you become aware of a free resource put together by the LDS Church (Mormons). It can be found at familysearch.org. Be certain to bookmark that site. Do it a moment - I'll wait.
The 1930 Federal Census is the last to be released to the American public. The 1940 Census will be released on April 2, 2012, so we're right around the corner from having more recent data being made available to us (over 130 million people). For now we'll start with the 1930 Census since that's all we have.
Familysearch.org has indexed the entire 1930 Census. You won't be able to see the digitized version of this Census on Familysearch but the pertinent information that it contains is available.
For instance, if you search for the name Derk Kruizenga within FamilySearch you will see the following:
In this case, the very top result is the one we need. So we'll click on this to reveal:
There is a lot of information that has been indexed from the 1930 Census. We can tally the approximate ages of all members of the household (but not with complete accuracy). We can see where this household lived: Plainfield, Kent County, Michigan. We learn that Derk was widowed and that his father and mother were both from the Netherlands, though Derk was born in Michigan.
This is key information. From this census data I have determined that Derk J Kruizenga was not the individual who emigrated from the Netherlands. His parents may have been - or they may have emigrated with their respective families. In either case this information does provide some essential clues. However, the information and details provided are very basic.
If you choose to find more information - and to view the actual 1930 Census - you will want to use Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com costs $19.95/month on a month-to-month basis or $12.95/month when paid annually. These prices are for the United States Deluxe Membership only.
Ancestry.com does offer a 7-day trial subscription which you can use extensively during that 7 day period. As an alternative, check with your local library system. Many libraries across the country do offer it's card holders free access to Ancestry.com via their networked computer system. Call and ask - can save you a bundle of money.
The full 1930 Census contains the following information: