The Basics: A Guide
Descriptive Dutch wills often expand scope of research
Notarial records (notariele protocollen) include some records that you will find in the court records. Notarial records are known to exist from approximately 1530 to the present. Many of the records are not yet indexed and therefore they maybe difficult to find. The other problem with notarial records is the handwriting, particularly in the early 1700's.
However, there are many organizations in the Netherlands which are busy making indexes for the notarial, as well as the court, records. For most genealogists the most important aspect of the notarial records are the wills, marriage contracts and division of land (onroerend goed) and other property (roerend goed). It is here that we find the names of our forebears and their children (often with ages included).
Sometimes we even get the names of brothers and sisters and better yet the names of their parents. For the family historian the wills and land transactions give us an excellent insight into our forebear's life.
In 1722, Ariaantje Cornelisse Bon, one of of my forebears, made out her will. In it are listed all her belongings, some shared with her husband Maarten Hofstede. There were no secrets, the list even included every article of clothing the family owned. The will also included all the property (land, homes, boats, etc.) belonging to the couple. The will also included other names and the places where these people lived. This information gave us other areas to search.