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The nobility is a class of people who had special political and social status. Members of this class had titles such as Baron [Baron], Duke [Hertog], Count [Graaf], and Knight (Sir) [Ridder]. Noble status was usually inherited. It originated with people who had power, influence, and land in ancient times or who received a grant of nobility from a king.
Most family traditions of a noble ancestor turn out, on investigation, to have little foundation in fact. Most members of the noble class did not emigrate to the United States. In addition, contrary to prevailing opinion, it was not customary to disown members of noble families for unacceptable behavior. Thus, traditions of an ancestor being "erased" or eliminated from "all records" are unfounded. Illegitimate children, while not entitled to noble status, were often recorded (although the father may not have been named) and can be found in the records.
Some archives to consult:
Royal and Nobility Archives
Address: Paleis Noordeinde, Den Haag (Via Paleistuin, Prinsessewal)
Postal address: Postbus 30412, 2500 GK Den Haag
tel.: (070)362-47-01 (070)362-47-01
Opening hours: Monday - Friday by telephone appointment
Closed regular holidays as well as 31 January
How to get there:
From train station HS: tram 8 or bus 5, train station CS: tram 7 or bus 4 (stop Mauritskade)
In the Royal House Archive are the personal records found of the members of the House of Nassau and Orange Nassau from the 13th century till the present.
Hoge Raad van Adel
Address: Nassaulaan 2-B, 2514 JS Den Haag
Postal address: Postbus 16325, 2500 BH Den Haag
tel.: (070)361-42-81 (070)361-42-81
Web-site: Court of Nobility
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 9.30 - 16.30 uur
Advising of the Crown concerning nobility issues, gevornment heraldry, some name changes and military emblems; advising of lower public judicial bodies concerning flags; advising of corporations and privat persons concerning genealogy and heraldry.
The noble class formed only a small percentage of the population of the Netherlands, and the growth of the noble class was limited. Laws specified which children of the nobility inherited their parents’ status.
Although some original records such as grants of nobility still exist, you can adequately accomplish most nobility research by using compiled sources. These include published or manuscript genealogies of noble families. The noble class has been anxious to preserve its identity. This has led to the publication of most noble lines of the Netherlands. If your ancestor was of the noble class, the following books may help you in your research:
Hoge Raad van Adel (Nederland). De Nederlandse Adel: Besluiten en Wapenbeschrijvingen (The Dutch Nobility: Royal Grants and Description of Coats-of-Arms). ’s-Gravenhage: SDU, 1989. (FHL book 949.2 D5h.) This book was prepared by the High Court of Nobility.
Nederland’s Adelsboek (The Netherlands’ Nobility Book). 86 vol. ’s-Gravenhage: W. P. van Stockum & Zoon, 1903–1997. (FHL book 949.2 D55na; some volumes on film.) This periodical contains genealogies of Dutch royalty and nobility.
Miroir des notabilités nobiliaires de Belgique, des Pays-Bas et du Nord de la France (Nobility of Belguim, The Netherlands and northern France). (FHL INTL Film # 1181992 Items 1-2). The author of this book was: Félix Victor Goethals, 1798-1872
See also the "Heraldry" and "Genealogy" sections. The Family History Library has collected many records of noble families. These records are listed in the Place search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
NETHERLANDS – NOBILITY
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE] – NOBILITY
NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE], [TOWN] – NOBILITY