All of my mother’s known ancestors came from the Netherlands and she grew up in a community of predominantly Dutch ancestry, so I’ve always known quite a bit about this part of my heritage. Strands of mystery remained, though, regarding a few ancestors’ communities of origin in the Netherlands. A helpful site, shared with me by a distant cousin, is Genlias (click site at top for English). It set me on a course toward learning more about certain ancestors, including a great-grandmother for whom I had only an Americanized name and, from a Census form, the Americanized names of her parents. Because records at Genlias are in Dutch, it helped to know, for example, that John on the Census form was probably Jan in Dutch records. You can also search using only the first few letters of a name. By searching various versions of her parents’ names within about a 10-year window, I found a promising marriage record that listed where each of them was born (in separate small villages near each other) and where they were married (a larger town nearby). I’m still verifying information with other records, but this was a promising lead and just one example of how I’ve used Genlias. You can learn more at Trace Your Dutch Roots.
Deuteronomy 32:7Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.
"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."
— G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy