Using Google Translate For Dutch Genealogy Sources

The Netherlands has vast archives that will make every serious genealogist drool. Many provincial archives have started to offer digital search even on their church records (which date back to the 1600s). More and more Dutch newspapers are being digitized. Regularly new special collections appear online, such as maritime archives, East India archives, criminal archives, to name just a few.

The only catch is, all these sources are in Dutch. Some sites provide an English interface, but most of the time the results of any query are still delivered in Dutch. If you cannot read Dutch, that is quite annoying.

Hiring a professional translator to make sense of crucial original documents can be a good investment. However, it is certainly far too costly to have a pro translate all the query results you need.

Luckily, there is a great free tool available that will solve most of these problems for you: Google Translate. You can use this tool to translate single words or paragraphs to English (or to any of a bunch of other languages for that matter). However, its most handy feature is that you can feed it a web address and it will translate everything on the page for you. Of course this often does not produce the prettiest English, but it will suffice to make sense of what it says.

So go ahead and give it a try!