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Making sense of old handwriting


The term genealogy is used in this outline and in the FamilySearch Catalog to describe a variety of records containing family information gathered by individuals, other researchers, societies, or archives. These records may include pedigree charts, compiled information on families, correspondence, ancestor lists, research exchange files, record abstracts, and collections of original or copied documents. These can be excellent sources of information that can save you valuable time. However, because they are compiled from other sources of information, they must be carefully evaluated for accuracy. This applies especially to online resources.

Additional sources of genealogy for noble families in the Netherlands are described in the Nobility section.

Major Collections and Databases 

The Family History Library has several sources that contain previous research or can lead you to others who are interested in sharing family information. These sources include:

GenealogieOnline is a Dutch-specific site where individuals can upload a family tree. Provided the submitter allows it to be public, anyone can view information about the deceased persons in the tree and contact the owner.

Ancestral File. This file, which is part of FamilySearch, contains family history information linked in family groups and pedigrees that has been contributed since 1979. As of 1992 the file contains the names of millions of persons, including thousands of Dutch families. Ancestral File can print pedigree charts, family group records, and individual summary sheets for any person in the file.

Family Group Records Collection. More than eight million family group record forms have been microfilmed in the Family Group Records Collection. This includes many Dutch families. There are two major sections: The Archive Section and the Patrons Section. The film numbers for both sections are listed in the "Author/Title Search" of the FamilySearch Catalog under: Famly Group Records Collection.

Family Histories

Many Dutch families have produced histories or newsletters that may include genealogical information, biographies, photographs, and other excellent information. These usually include several generations of the family.

The Family History Library has thousands of published Dutch family histories and newsletters. Copies at the Family History Library are listed in the "Surname Search" of the FamilySearch Catalog. Not every name found in a family history will be listed in the catalog. Only the major surnames discussed in the family history are included.

Unpublished family histories are found at the Central Office for Genealogy, in ’s-Gravenhage, and at other genealogical societies and archives in the Netherlands.

Many Dutch family histories are indexed in:

Beresteyn, E. A. van. Genealogisch Repertorium (Genealogical Repertory). 2 vol. and 3 supplements. Den Haag: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 1972–1995. (FHL book Ref 949.2 D23b.) This book indexes articles in genealogical periodicals as well as published genealogy books. It contains an explanatory introduction in Dutch, English, French, and German.

Many Dutch family histories are listed in this helpful bibliography of genealogical publications:

Warnawa, J. Repertorium van Genealogische, Heraldische en Geschiedkundige Publikaties en Bronnen (Bibliography of Genealogical, Heraldic and Historical Publications and Manuscript Sources). 22 vol. Nijmegen: Genealogische Documentatie Centrum Nijmegen, 1986–. (FHL book 949.2 D23w.) The first three volumes deal with general topics beginning with the letters A through E. The remaining volumes are arranged by locality and then by subject (including family name). These volumes also include information about source materials and specific families.

Genealogical Collections

The Family History Library has many collections of genealogical material for Dutch families. These may include published and unpublished collections of family histories and lineages as well as the research files of prominent genealogists. Some of the major genealogical collections are:

Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie (Nederland). Collectie Handschriften (Genealogical Manuscripts Collection). Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1972–1978. (On 482 FHL films.) The microfilming of the collection at the Central Office for Genealogy was completed by the Family History Library in 1978. The office’s collection in ’s-Gravenhage continues to grow every year. The films contain genealogies, copies of research reports, coats of arms, correspondence files, and other documents organized into surname files. An index to the surname files is:

Collectie Handschriften: Genealogical Manuscripts Collection. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1992. (FHL book Ref 949.2 D23c.)

Lans, C. C. J. Collectie Lans: Verschillende Kaartsystemen Krimpenerwaard en Zuid-Holland, 1329–1954 (Lans Collection: Different Card Systems for the Krimpenerwaard and South Holland, 1329–1954). Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975–1990. (On 53 FHL films.) This collection contains genealogies and card indexes from the Krimpenerwaard region of South Holland. It also contains transcripts and indexes of church, court, and notarial records from the entire province.

Nederland’s Patriciaat: Genealogieën van Bekende Geslachten (The Netherlands’ Patriciate: Genealogies of Prominent Families). 80 vol. ’s-Gravenhage: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 1910–. (FHL book 949.2 D2n.)

Genealogical collections are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Paleography Introduction