Crash course in Dutch needed

+5 votes

In my quest to connect my growing (but unfortunately not pleasantly tropical) island of Hungarians to the big tree, I've started to look into the famous relative's elder brother's first wife's second husband. (Yeah.) He was a Dutchman named Dirk van der Ende, born April 23, 1896 in 's-Gravenzande to parents Arie van der Ende and Swaantje Meijer. I think I've found a relevant population register thingy, but there are all sorts of things on there that I can't interpret or decipher, especially abbreviations. Is there a glossary or crash course or something available for non-Dutch-speaking researchers like me?

A few of my questions that Google hasn't answered: what's the "Dz" after dad's name? How important is that 'r' versus 'n' in the surname (van der Ende rather than van den Ende)? What does the apostrophe-s at the beginning of the placenames ('s-Gravenzande, 's-Gravenhage) signify? What is the month for the first wife's date of death?

For purposes of getting further (going up the tree/back in time, since as far as I know Dirk was childless), what resources are available? Is there a better way to find these population register cards than the multiple-shots-in-the-dark method that I employed? (I started with the FamilySearch catalog for 's-Gravenzande, looking for anything that covered Dirk's birth year of 1896, and what I found was the population registers. One of the films for the desired time period includes indexes at the end -- multiple versions, repeating some information, and adding new. The indexes give some page numbers, but there are multiple cards with the same page numbers, scattered all over. So I scrolled through the thumbnails looking for page 1s, which are helpfully preceded by header pages, and added the desired page's number to the image number. Eventually I found the right page 112.)

WikiTree profile: Dirk van der Ende
in Genealogy Help by J Palotay G2G6 Mach 6 (61.6k points)
edited by J Palotay

3 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
Some answers:

1. The FamilySearch Wiki is a good place to start for beginners. See for example the page on Dutch Population Registers:

2. van der and van den are both surname prefixes. They are different, but they could be mixed up and misspelt on records.

3. Some Dutch place names just have 's at the start (e.g. 's-Gravenhage, The Hague). It's an abbreviation for des. Nowadays alternative names are often used (e.g. Den Haag is now preferred over 's-Gravenhage)

4. The main Dutch records after 1811 are not Population Registers (BR) but Civil Registration (BS). I'd use BR only after finding births, marriages and deaths in BS. BS is usually easier to access than BR, as it has been given more priority for indexing and digitalization by the archives.

The main websites for finding BR and BS are WieWasWie and OpenArch. On both sites you can search for a name.

Feel free to ask any more questions.
by Abm van Helsdingen G2G6 Mach 4 (46.2k points)
selected by Jan Terink
On the population registers versus civil registration question: I would think that the former would be a sought-after source, much like the funeral notices in Hungary, but even better, because they list not just names and relationships, but also birthdates, birthplaces, death dates, and changes in residence. I mean, yeah, once you have all that you go and find the corresponding civil registrations, to get closer to the horse's mouth, as they say, but I'm finding it quite convenient to have everyone listed on one image like this.
What you say is true but in most parts of the Netherlands the BR is far more difficult to access (sometimes not online at all) than the BS, hence why BS has always been considered the main source for post-1811 Dutch genealogy. However with more and more BR going online, this is starting to change.
Also tbirth, marriage, and death certificates have a official legal value, entries in a "bevolkingsregister" or "population register" are of no official value.
+3 votes
  • Glossary (very limited)
  • Dz - Dirkszoon, son of Dirk
  • van der vs van den - very important, essential part of name
  • 's- - short for "des", meaning (posession) of, 's-Gravenzande = des graaf's zand = count's sand, 's-Gravenhage = count's hedge, 's-Hertogenbosch = Duke's forest
  • Easier and faster locating images in Familysearch is by the Dutch site Zoekakten
  • List of dutch archives
by Jan Terink G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
+2 votes

Family Search has some excellent guides to reading Dutch handwriting in records. The link that Abm shared is helpful. The FS wiki is a powerful tool to explore as there are so many different helps available. The webinars also can provide good help. Here is another link that you may find helpful 

I also keep this Dutch word list (pdf form - in the box on right of page) hand, it includes dates and other key words encountered in Dutch records. I also keep the German and Latin lists handy as well for a quick guide when working with other records.

I am sure that there are many other helps out there as well, but these are some of my go to's.

by Doris Miller G2G6 (8.6k points)
Compared to Kurrentschrift (may its inventors and propagators forever rot in the deepest circles of Hell), I've generally found the handwriting in Dutch records to be a joy to work with -- if I knew the language, it'd be like reading print. :-)

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