3    Apr 20080 comments

Searching your roots in the Netherlands?

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If you have roots in the Netherlands, you might be interested in the Dutch Genealogical Society's English website.

The NGV has some 9,500 members and is one of the largest European genealogical societies. Expert Roelof Vennik is the group's head and says that researching relatives in the Netherlands is easy.

"The Netherlands is a good country to search in, perhaps the best in Europe. We have a very good, logical archive system, which isn't spread out. Everything is in the national, provincial and city archives. What's more, it's completely free of charge in the Netherlands. A lot of data has been archived. I'd say it's an eldorado for genealogists."

He offers tips for researchers outside the country who wish to search Dutch archives and websites.

--Learn the essential key words in Dutch. For a search, know achternaam (surname), genealogie (genealogy), kwartierstaat (a list of all ancestors), stamreeks (a list showing the descent in the male line) and stamboomonderzoek (research on the family tree).

--Spelling is important. While Van Dyke is a common US name, the original Dutch name may be Van Dijk or Van Dijck.

--Learn where a person was born - ask relatives and family friends to help.

--Check private family websites by Googling your name. You might find distant relatives who already have important information. Contact them and see if you can cooperate in researching the family.

--Access Dutch archives - an increasing number are online. These include the city of Rotterdam. There are also genealogical guides for people living outside the Netherlands. The NGV has various publications.

--Contact the NGV, which may be able to answer your questions.

--You might wish to hire a researcher. Vennik says that research can cost 2000-3000 euros plus travel expenses. The Central Bureau for Genealogy (CBG) in the Hague has a list of researchers.

Founded in 1946, the Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging (NGV) - the Dutch Genealogical Association, the nearly 10,000 members range from beginners to experts, and is run by volunteers who try to support and facilitate research for researchers. They do not perform private research.

The NGV has 28 geographic regional branches which hold meetings and other activities for members and others. It has three divisions which operate nationally: the Computer Genealogy division, the Heraldic division and the Family Organisations division.

The Family Organization division handles one-family associations. Membership includes the NGV magazine, published 10 times each year, but only in Dutch. The group's national center is about 20 minutes from Amsterdam, and it offers service groups such as those working on local and regional levels. These groups include Contact, Research Exchange and Information and Promotion service. The Genealogical Advice service offers help when research attempts have stalled.

The NGV's address is Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging, Postbus 26, 1380 AA Weesp, the Netherlands.

A Dutch Roots blog offers help in tracing roots. In March, a five-part series was announced providing information on both online and offline resources.

Online records:
--Based on offline sources.
--Are often just indexes.
--Document scans are rarely available but this is changing.
--Online records are not exact copies, there may be errors.
--The original documents almost always contain more information than the index.
--While preparing indexes, sometimes records are overlookd.
--Not all sources are online yet, although many birth-death-marriage records are available.

Examples of resources are the birth-marriage-death records of the Civil Register, Population Register, Persoonskaarten, religious books and registers, and many other resources. For each source, you need to know why those collections were created, what years they cover, what information is covered and where they are located.

In January, the blog offered a posting covering online records. Some websites covered include Genlias, Zeeuwen gezocht, Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum, Tresoar, Drenlias, Emigrants from Drenthe, HCO, Het Utrechts Archief, Muster rolls from the Northern Maritime Museum, Noordhollandse huwelijken and the Nationaal Archief .

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