Netherlands Handwriting

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  • Records are most commonly written in Dutch or Latin. You do not have to be fluent these languages to read your documents! Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use this Dutch Genealogical Word List to translate the important points in the document.
  • Also, the handwriting can be slightly different, so you will want to watch these lessons, as needed, depending on the pre-dominant language in the region your ancestors lived:
Reading Dutch Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The Dutch Alphabet.
Reading Dutch Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Dutch Words and Dates.
Reading Dutch Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Dutch Records.



The following books are available at the Family History Library:

  • Brouwer, H. Geschreven Verleden: Genealogie en Oud Schrift (The Written Past: Genealogy and Paleography). ‘s-Gravenzande: Europese Bibliotheek, 1963. (FHL book 949.2 G3b.)
  • Gouw, J. L. van der. Oud Schrift in Nederland: een Leerboek voor de Student (Paleography in the Netherlands: A Student Handbook). 2nd ed. Alphen aan de Rijn: Canaletto, 1980. (FHL book Q 949.2 G3g.)
  • Leverland, B. N. Zo Schreven Onze Voorouders: Nederlands Schrift tussen 1450–1700 (So Wrote Our Ancestors: Dutch Handwriting Between 1450–1700). 2nd ed. ’s-Gravenhage: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 1984. (FHL book 949.2 G3L.)

The following handbooks may be purchased from the Central Bureau for Genealogy. See the "Societies" section for the address.

  • Alkemade, W. R. C. Oud Schrift, 1700–1825 (Old Handwriting, 1700–1825). Den Haag: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 1995.
  • Bruggeman, T. M. and H. J. P. G. Kaajan. Oud Schrift, 1600–1700 (Old Handwriting, 1600–1700). Den Haag: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 1996.
  • Glopper-Zuijderland, C. C. de. Oud Schrift, 1400–1600 (Old Handwriting, 1400–1600). Den Haag: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, 1997.

Some records from areas on the German border, and some Lutheran Church records, are written in German Gothic script. For help in using these records, see Germany Handwriting.