Trace your Dutch roots

Using Genlias to find your Dutch ancestors

Links
Genlias
Blog posts on Genlias
Related pages
Trace your Dutch roots online
Sources for Dutch genealogy research
A Dutch genealogy dictionary

Please note: This article refers to the Genlias project. This project was discontinued at the end of 2012. Its successor is WieWasWie.nl. You can read more here.

An introduction to Genlias

If you want to research your Dutch ancestors via the internet, your starting point should be the Genlias website. Genlias is the most important online source for Dutch genealogy research.

Genlias is a joint product of the regional history centres and state archives in the Netherlands. Its goals are ambitious:

Dutch archives aim to enter all data from the open civil registers in the Netherlands into Genlias in the near future. These will be supplemented with additional information from older sources and statements of succession.

The Dutch civil register is a register that lists all births, deaths and marriages that took place in The Netherlands since 1811. Most marriages from the period 1811-1922 are now in Genlias (notable exceptions are the marriages from the three largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague).

Please note: This article refers to the Genlias project. This project was discontinued at the end of 2012. Its successor is WieWasWie.nl. You can read more here.

Searching Genlias

If your ancestors came from Holland in the early 20th, or mid- or late-19th century, Genlias should be the first place to go to trace them. Genlias has an English interface (click "English" in the top right), but all information it contains is in Dutch. To search, click "Searching in Genlias", then "Searching in Genlias database" (or go directly to the search page). It may be a good idea to read the Search instructions and Explanation of the results first.

You may search with just a surname, but usually you will find hundreds of records. Better restrict the number of results by filling in some other fields.

Please note: This article refers to the Genlias project. This project was discontinued at the end of 2012. Its successor is WieWasWie.nl. You can read more here.

An example

Gerrit and Maria van Nederynen arrived with their six children, aged 6 to 15, at Ellis Island on 5 August 1907. Their last residence was Hilversum, Holland. Contact address in the Netherlands was Maria's brother Cornelis van Kampen - we may therefore assume Maria's maiden name was van Kampen.

Let's see if we can find their marriage on Genlias. If you have read the search instructions, or my pitfalls article, you will know that you should not include "van" in the surname field. There is, however, another pitfall: The surname was actually van Nederijnen, not van Nederynen. In older Dutch documents, ij and y were used interchangeably. Searching for Nederynen returns zero results. What we should fill in is nederijnen in the surname field for first person, kampen in the surname field for second person:

Filling in the Genlias search form

Press search, and wait for the search results to appear. In the list of search results, select the civil marriage for Gerrit van Nederijnen. And there it is: The marriage listing for Gerrit van Nederijnen, 28, from Harderwijk, son of Gijsbartus van Nederijnen and Geertruida Petronella Jansen, and Maria van Kampen, 27, from Hilversum, daughter of Cornelis van Kampen and Gerritje de Rooij.

Marriage listing for Gerrit van Nederijnen and Maria van Kampen on Genlias

The marriages of the respective parents and the birth of Gerrit are also on Genlias. Finding them is left as an exercise for the reader.

Let me know if the information provided was helpful, or whether it could be improved.