Genealogy Services

Please contact me if you’re in the need of Genealogy related services (research, preparations, trips, etc).

You may contact me for any country
(such as Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Israel, etc).

Contact me and let’s discuss fees and further details about your request.

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CABR files in Hague

The original article first appeared in AVOTAYNU, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Vol. XXXV, no. 2, Summer 2019.

End May 2018 I made contact, through MyHeritage (which is a very valuable tool for at least first contacts if not more), with descendants of one of my great-grandmother’s siblings from the Strauss family.

During one of our conversations via e-mail, the resistance work of a mutual relative during the second world war in The Netherlands came up. I knew through one of my uncles notes that his name was Edgar Kan, he fought in the Dutch resistance and he was born in 1928, Edgar was my maternal grandmother’s cousin. My new-found cousin wanted to know more about the resistance work, and how Edgar came to be murdered.

Useful session at the Famillement conference:
I was lucky to have joined a conference in the same week as Continue reading

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Passenger lists from the Holland-America Line (HAL) at the Rotterdam City Archives

Between 1900 and 1969 millions of people traveled and emigrated with the ships of the Holland-America Line.

The Holland-America Line (HAL), originally a Dutch transatlantic cruise company, offered full trips, but emigrants also made use of the HAL. Many Dutch people do have relatives who have migrated to the United States or Canada. There is a good chance that they have used the HAL services.

Also, many Polish Jews traveled via Rotterdam to New York. Between 1880 and 1920, approximately one million Eastern Europeans traveled to America via Rotterdam. The Holland America Line had offices in Bulgaria, Latvia, and Russia where tickets could be purchased for the train to Rotterdam, the boat to America and again the train to every station in the New World. The list also shows that they booked their trip in their native country.

These passenger lists (“passagiersstaten”) are handwritten lists with information about who made the crossing to the promised land with which ship and when. It was also recorded how much the passengers paid for the trip and in which class they traveled.

These sources are one of the most consulted Continue reading

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Mini-expo at FelixArchief in Antwerp: “Foreigners in a foreign city”

The FelixArchief (the City Archives of Antwerp: announced in their recent newsletter from February, sent out via email, that the subject of the mini-expo which will run from February 12, 2019, until Friday, April 5, 2019, will be about “Vreemdelingen in een vreemde stad” (Foreigners in a foreign city). I think that it is worth sharing, hence this post with a translation of the original announcement

(please note, the translation is my responsibility and was not specifically endorsed by the FelixArchief. I’ve included the full URL with the original announcement below the translated text.)

In 1839, the then Sûreté Publique (State Security Service), was commissioned to check all foreign nationals on Belgian territory. In order to gather the necessary information about each foreign national, the State turned to the cities and towns. They were instructed to keep a close eye on every stranger and to forward documents with information to Brussels, where they were kept in a central file.

Antwerp started in 1840 with the Continue reading

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The Joodsche Almanak / Almanach Juif issued in 1934 by J. Fuss and J. Salpeter

In 1934 an almanac in Yiddish, titled “Joodsche Almanak” / “Almanach Juif”, was published by J. Fuss and J. Salpeter. Edition “Progrés” was issued in Antwerp at Lange Kievitstraat 66.

In the publishers’ introduction which was originally written in Yiddish, they explained the intention of the Almanac.  For your convenience I have translated it into English (not word-for-word):

In our young Jewish community we felt already for a long time the need for a handbook which will help the Jew in Belgium to get oriented in the new setting and to get to know more about what Belgium has to offer regarding Jewish life which is developing continuously.

Now with the closure of the Belgian borders for new immigrants, and with the Continue reading

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Updated website for Antwerp City Archives (Felixarchief)

The city archives of Antwerp (known as Felixarchief) has updated its website. On their website you can read, among others, the following about the update:

Thanks to the new search function you can find a relevant search result faster and more efficiently. Filters allow you to define a relevant time period or limit a search to a few specific detail entries. […] Thanks to a new algorithm, results are not returned in a randomized order, they appear higher in the result as they become more relevant.

In the search guides you can read briefly how you search in certain popular archive series and you will always find a direct link to the series.
(Source:, Retrieved on November 27th, 2018)

Innovation is (always) fun, but it will certainly require some adjustment from the users because the new website is now, compared to the earlier version, completely overhauled.

Visit their website through the following URL:

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Solving Cold Cases – An Attempt

Photo by Fulvio Spada from Torino, Italy (Cold case) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I am currently in the middle of reading the book on my Kindle “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara which tells the story about, what is, or better was, considered a cold case. The book tells the gripping story about a mysterious and violent predator, later nicknamed the “Golden State Killer”, who committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders (see 

Thanks to the possibilities which DNA later offered, in combination with similarities of different M.O.’s the investigators learned about, it became possible to link multiple cases to the same perpetrator. In 2018 they nabbed a suspect, Continue reading

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My recent visit to the Alsace

Last summer holiday I stayed with my family in the French Alsace.
Since my children don’t have yet a real interest in musea, I have attempted to squeeze in visits to musea and other (not only Jewish) Points of Interest, which I have mostly succeeded in doing so.

Places I have visited are:


Rosheim (Photo taken 2 August 2018)


The vineyards on the outskirts of Rosheim (Photo taken 2 August 2018)

Rosheim – We went there to hike between the vineyards the Alsace-valley is known for. I hoped to reach Rosenwiller, but since also France, like a big part of the rest of Europe, had to cope with an extremely hot summer, we gave up. We just walked a bit in the town of Rosheim. I knew that there was supposed to be a building in Rosheim, which stems from the middle ages and served as a synagogue. Continue reading

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Interview in Quarterly of the Flemish “Familiekunde Vlaanderen”

Familiekunde Vlaanderen“, which is a Flemish genealogy organization, has published in their quarterly, “Vlaamse Stam“, an interview with me.

They have kindly given me permission to republish it on my website, I hope that you’ll enjoy reading it (in Dutch):

(Click on the image below in order to read all pages on the PDF)

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Tante Hennie, my maternal grandmother’s cousin, but how?

For obvious reasons it is extremely important to add sources to each record which you ´re adding to your family tree. But sometimes it could be nice to know how you found out about the source in the first instance. Often it comes with surprising stories which are not always added to the family tree. The family tree is mostly about facts with accompanying sources. Take the following example. I knew only about  ´Leon Weigert ´, who was married to my grandmother’s cousin,  ´Tante Hennie ´. I also had a photo of him standing next to my grandmother ´s father (i.e. my great-grandfather). But who was he really, where did he come from, and most importantly, how did I find out about them in the first place. Please read on:

In July 2014, I received a few photos by postal mail from Friedel Hoffmann-Gerstner, who’s father was my grandmother’s, Betty Gerstner (16 Apr 1914 in Nürnberg, Germany – 12 Mar 1990 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands), first cousin.

On one photo we see two men and a child:

Onbekend,Onbekend en Jossi Gerstner,datum onekend(April 1958)(via Friedel Hoffmann-Gerstner(per post jul14)(recto)

The only thing we Continue reading

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