Photograph of the houses at Zaagmolendrift in Rotterdam.
Methodology Spotlight

Auke Frieling’s death in newspaper announcements

Today, we are looking at the death record of Auke Frieling (1960).

Death record of Auke Frielink (1960).
civil registration (Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands), death records 1960, record no. 1479, Auke Frieling (20 June 1960); “Zoeken op personen,” database with images, Stadsarchief Rotterdam ( : viewed 17 June 2020)


Today, twenty June nineteen hundred sixty, appeared before me, civil registrar of Rotterdam: Joris de Ruijter, 56 years old, undertaker, living in Rotterdam. Hey declared that on seventeen June nineteen hundred sixty, at 16.00h in the municipality of Rotterdam died:

Auke Frielink, 59 years old, born and living in Rotterdam, sheet metal worker, husband of Geertrui Francisca Trompert, son of Bastiaan Pieter Leonard Frielink and Maria Alida Dijkstra, both deceased.

The informant declared to have first-hand knowledge of the death. The record was read to him, according the law.

[followed by the signatures of the informant and of the civil registrar]

entrance of crematorium Westerveld in Velsen, photograph by G.J. Drukker, 2002 (credits: Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed, Amersfoort, document 345414)

Family announcements

We wrote about death records in a previous article. Today we want to demonstrate that not only civil records contain details about life events. A very important source for information about birth, marriage and death are the familieberichten (family announcements) in newspapers.

One day after Auke’s death – and note that this was two days before the official recording of his death – the Dutch newspaper Het Vrije Volk already placed a death announcement. [source: Delpher] The death announcement provides a lot of additional information.

  • Auke died in the Diaconessenhuis, a hospital located at Westersingel in Rotterdam
  • he was a echtgenoot (husband), a broeder (brother), a behuwdbroeder (brother in law), an oom (uncle) and a neef (cousin); apparently he was not a father or a grandfather, which suggests Auke had no children
  • G.F. Frielink-Trompert place the announcement, on behalf of the rest of the family
  • the address Zaagmolendrift 19 (in Rotterdam) is most likely Auke’s last residence
  • funeral home Onderlinge Rouwvereniging took care of the funeral arrangements
  • Auke was not buried but cremated; his cremation took place on 21 June in the first crematorium of the Netherlands, located in Velsen (Noord-Holland)

Digitized Newspapers

The website Delpher hosts a large collection of digitized Dutch newspapers. The oldest newspapers in this database date from 1618, the most recent newspapers are from 1995. The newspapers are not only interesting for people who look for relatives in the Netherlands. There is more! For example, descendants of Dutch immigrants in the United States might take an interest in De Sheboygan Nieuwsbode (1849-1861), De grondwet (1860-1940), De Volksvriend (1874-1951), De Volksstem (1890-1919), Het Oosten (1904-1940) or Onze toekomst (1925-1952). All these newspapers were published in the United States and focused on Dutch immigrants.

Digital versions of Dutch newspapers are also available on websites of several local or regional archives. When you are looking for a specific newspaper or article, we suggest you start with Delpher. If the newspaper is not available on that website, you could see if there is a local or regional archive that has a (digital) copy.

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