North Americans of Dutch ancestry may not have preserved their knowledge of Dutch but thanks to Dutch education standards most people in the Netherlands master English well enough to help you bridge this divide.

For those doing their research in North American data bases, for instance in those compiled by the Mormons, a Dutch word and terms list will be sufficient in most cases.

But you want to know more. You want context. You want to know what your ancestors saw and experienced, how they lived and where they worked, walked and went to church. So you want to take a trip to the Netherlands but have few contacts there and those you have do not share your interests.

No problem really.

Your best friends are your computer, Google and a good map.

Make a list of all the places mentioned in your genealogy and family stories. Check them out on the map, watch for double placenames by cross referencing them with the names of municipalities.

Then search for local or regional historical societies, the ‘historische vereniging’, the ‘genealogische vereniging’ or the museums. Ask them for the information you are looking for, keep it within their area of interest. Do not hesitate to approach them in the English language, most Dutch people have a basic knowledge of it.

If you are certain you have the correct area and the contacts are promising, check Bed and Breakfast addresses for accommodation. These operators are generally very welcoming and proud of their area and, as a rule, will go out of their way to help you find your way around.

Continue reading

Powered by WordPress