Let us do the digging for you...
Although there is a great wealth of online sources available, it is not always easy to reconstruct your Dutch family history yourself. It often takes advanced research skills and a good command of the Dutch language to get satisfying results. That is why it can make sense to hire a professional to do the research for you.
We will take your research beyond the basics and deliver detailed life reconstructions. We do not restrict our research to the traditional family tree forms, since these usually cannot accomodate the more quirky paths real family history often takes. We are open to pursue whatever line of investigation best suits your needs.
Curious about what we can do for you? Send in a free research request to discover the possibilities.
This is how it works...
First you send in your research request. You can do so easily through the research request form. We will contact you as soon as possible to gather more information about the research goals and budget. We will also ask for specific details about your family that we can use as a starting point for your tree. Sending in a request is free and there are no strings attached.
With the information you gave us we will run a quick scan. This helps us determine if we can construct the family tree you requested. In most cases the result is positive, but occasionally a tree cannot be constructed because of missing records. Usually within 5 working days you will receive a research proposal which outlines the exact results and costs that you can expect.
If the proposal is to your liking you can accept it and we will start working on your tree. How long the research takes depends on the depth and difficulty of the research. Most trees, however, take between 6 and 8 weeks to complete*. You do not need to pay up front or make a deposit. You will receive an invoice after the research is delivered to your satisfaction.
*Important note! Family history research is handwork and by nature unpredictable. Sometimes archive collections are not available because they are being cleaned, indexed or digitalized. Sometimes we stumble upon a great discovery or an unforeseen difficulty that calls for more research time. Therefore, all delivery dates we give are estimates. We will keep you informed on progress regularly. Often we have a waiting list and we will not be able to start your tree right away. If so, we will let you know up front in our research proposal. If you are planning to present your family tree as a gift for a birthday or Christmas, make sure to contact us well in advance!
This is what we usually include...
Family tree diagram
There are family trees in all shapes and forms. There are traditional schemes like paternal or maternal lineages and pedigrees. However, there are also a myriad of other creative research lines you can follow. When trees get big or the chosen path is quirky they can quickly become confusing. That is why we always include a clear family tree diagram.
All our research is backed by original Dutch records. We allways include full references to all primary sources we used. This guarantees that whatever claim we make about your family is true. Since these records are also very beautiful and contain nice little details like your ancestor's signature, we also include copies of the most relevant records.
We make sure to include your ancestors' occupations. This helps you form an idea of their talents and skills, but also about their social and financial circumstances. Did your ancestor make promotion or switch jobs often? Did the women work or not? Did they follow in their parents' footsteps or not? Answering these questions sheds a light on crucial parts of their identity.
After 1850 the Dutch have kept meticulous records of where people lived. This allows us to track all movements of your ancestors. We can find detailed addresses and the exact composition of households (including servants and seasonal laborers on farms). Whenever available we will mark the addresses on historical maps. Occasionally the house still stands and can be seen on Google Streetview!
Sometimes we can find a description of an ancestor's appearance. These are usually men that served in the military. Their service records almost always includes a physical description. For some criminal ancestors that ended up at the penal colony of Ommerschans, even mug shots have been preserved. And just occasionally we can find a picture in a newspaper. If we find anything of the like, we make sure you get it!
Occasionally we can find traces of the things your ancestors possessed. Wills can contain extensive lists of jewelry, furniture and clothing. Land deeds reveal what lands were bought and sold. Newspaper ads can give a beautiful insight in the businesses they ran or the garage sales they held. And even if they were poor, we can sometimes find traces of what amount of welfare they received.
Not all ancestors were good folks. Almost every family has its proverbial black sheep or skeleton in the closet. These people actually are very interesting because of the often detailed records we can find about them. Police and court records. Prison records with the occasional mug shot. Newspaper articles about their crimes. Luckily it's mostly about petty theft and drunken fights and rarely about murder.
Whatever it is we find about your ancestors, we will make an effort to put it in the appropriate historical context. Did four children af the same couple die within a week? Then we may point out that a cholera epidemic was raging at the time. But we also include information on the normal aspects of life. What was it like to be a housewife, schoolchild or soldier in that period? What was going on in the world that may have occupied your ancestors?
The Dutch have always registerd very precisely to which faith people belonged. Knowing your ancestors' faith tells you a great deal not only about their believes but also about their social status. Sometimes ancestors change faith. It is interesting to figure out why. Did they convert out of conviction or out of love? The latter is quite common: marriages of mixed faith were after all not socially acceptable at the time.