Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Researching Dutch American Ancestors

A Starter Pack for Dutch American Research!
I began researching my Dutch ancestry about 20 years ago. It is the line of my grandmother Eva Bradt. Her 6th great grandfather was the Norwegian  Albert Andreissen Bradt (1607-1686) who owned the mill on the Normanskil River in New Netherlands.He lived among the Dutch settlers and his children married within the Dutch community.He was a fur trapper and trader, a land owner,briefly a tobacco grower and by all accounts a tough as nails, litigious character. His brother Arent is the one who shines most brightly in historical accounts, however I find my line to be equally as intriguing.
The Memorandum Book of Anthony De Hooges has a translation online at  the New Netherlands Institute

As I began researching my Dutch ancestors it became clear that many had gone before me on this task.I have to say that I relied heavily on the meticulous work of some family historians who did the leg work of researching documents long before computer genealogy was one of the countries most popular hobbies.

 If you are researching your Dutch American ancestors, here are a few tips and links which my help you to develop your tree. Because this is such a well documented group of people, I recommend starting with Family Associations.

Here are some examples of Family Associations of my Dutch Ancestor Surnames:

Some Family Associations have added Facebook Pages such as these:

Once you find an association that relates to your family line, it is helpful to everyone if you make contact with them and give them the information of your branch of the tree. Some groups have reunions. historical tours and newsletters which can be a terrific source of networking. People who belong to these associations usually have a strong dedication to building and perpetuating the family  heritage and I have found them to be very helpful.

Books Online
There are numerous free book resources on the web  such as the National Archives and Google Books which can help with Dutch Genealogy Research. Primary resources are essential for accurate research, but books can bring ancestors to life via anecdotes, stories of adventures and maps or later photos of their homes and lands.Here are some examples of books that relate to Dutch research.

Op Dyke  Genealogy by Charles Wilson Opdyke

The Van Rensealler Family by  W.W. Spooner 

A History of the Van Sickle Family, in the United States of America  .By John Waddell Van Sickle  

Minisink Valley Reformed Dutch Church Records by the Genealogy Society of Sussex

Photo from the book  Dutch Houses of the Hudson River Valley by [Helen Wilkinson Reynolds. Depicted are my Van Aken ancestors in the front yard of their home circa 1870 in Esopus,N.Y.

Search The Library of Congress Photo Archive and you may find a gem like this: A photo of the barn of my 8th great grandfather Johannes Decker.
Wallkill, Ulster, New York

There are many free to view websites which are excellent sources for Dutch American research.
Hear Dutch Here

New York Public Library
The 1609 Exhibition features the "Distinctly Dutch" influence on culture, food, furnishings and more. See the online exhibit Here
Hudson River Historic View Flyover

I hope that this little starter pack of Dutch American genealogy inspires you to find out more about your heritage.

Thank you for stopping by! The Glamorous Genealogist!


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers!
    Reading your blog I saw a number of Dutch names Van Aken being one of them. Being Dutch myself, I was very much interested. I also have a blog with many genealogical subjects. One of my posts shows a survey of foreign genealogical blogs/sites showing Dutch origin surnames. The URL is http://www.patmcast.blogspot.com/2012/05/dutch-ancestors.html. The idea is to try and establish contacts between people who have an interest in the same surname. There are numerous cases in The Netherlands where people emigrated centuries ago without leaving a trace in Dutch archives. With my blog I try to bring Dutch and foreign (mainly US/CAN) genealogists together.
    Therefore, I like to have your permission to show your site in my a.m. blog. In that case can you provide me with a list of all the Dutch surnames in which you have a direct interest?
    I look forward to your reaction!
    Kind regards,

    1. Hello Peter,
      Yes you have my permission to share this article! I have been researching my Dutch ancestors surnamed Van Aken /Van Auken, Van Vechten, Van Shaik, Van Slyke, Van Garden, Van Dusen are a few of the names . I am going to spend some time going through your blog later today. I am certain to find some interesting information there. Sincerely, The Glamorous Genealogist

    2. First of all my apologies for reacting so late! It completely slipped my mind...
      As of today your blog is mentioned in mine. If you want me to change or add anything, please let me know.
      Hope some useful contacts will develop.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. If you want to search for Dutch genealogical records from Dutch records, on a website available in English, head over to Open Archives!

  4. I enjoyed your article. I am a descendant of the Gentry's of Gentryville Indiana. Us Gentry's are also descendants of the Dutch "De Hooges" and "Bradt" families of New Amsterdam. It's a fun history to study, I have also been digging around for a number of years, very enjoyable.