Useful Links

This is a fairly idiosyncratic collection of pointers to family history resources that I have found helpful in my research, and to content that I have transcribed from documents that I have encountered. It doesn't intend to be comprehensive - there are better places to look for that, such as Cyndi's List, however it may include some slightly unusual places to look for family history information.


The Canadian Archives contain a number of online databases. I've found identifiable Van Cooten's in the following. The Virtual War Memorial also contains 116,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who gave their lives for their country.

The Netherlands Nationaal Archief (formerly the Netherlands Algemeen Reichsarchief (ARA)) is the archive for central records, and each province has an ARA branch. Their WWW English language WWW site doesn't appear to contain all the information contained in their Nederlands site. The archives include an extensive maps collection, as well as information from the Dutch West India Company. The ARA is in The Hague, right next to the main railway station, and in the same building as the CBG.

See Missionaries for more regarding the Church Missionary Society archives.

The National Archives (formerly known as the Public Records Office) in Kew, near London, is an amazing place. The retrieval system is very modern and hi-tech. Their catalogue is on-line and the on-line guides are excellent. The range of material held is astonishing, as is ability to handle material of great age. It is possibly the best resource for British Guiana research. Their WWW site contains many resources for genealogists, and the bookshop includes 'Tracing Your West Indian Ancestors'. The expanding Documents Online site includes searchable and downloadable wills.


Births, Deaths and Marriages

The FreeBMD Project's objective is to provide free Internet access to the Civil Registration index information for England and Wales.

The LDS site contains the on-line version of the International Genealogical Index. The catalog contains all microfilmed material which can be ordered through LDS Family History Centres.

Channel Islands

Some Van Cooten family lived on Guernsey, and attended Elizabeth College.


Language Translation

I'm particularly interested in services that help me translate between Dutch and English.


Local History


Military/War Records


The Church Missionary Society (established in 1799) is a missionary society working with the Anglican Church, active in many areas of the world. It's archives have been lodged with the University of Birmingham, and significant portions have been microfilmed and published by Adam Matthew Publications. The Adam Matthew site contains an online guide to the CMS archives, as well as contents details of the microfilmed material, including the names of missionaries whose papers are included in the archives.

The London Missionary Society was founded in 1795 during the evangelical revival as a non-denominational body dedicated to spreading the Christian faith around the world. It was largely associated with the Congregationalist movement in England and the United States. It's archives are contained in the archives of the Council for World Mission archives, stored at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. The archives have been microfilmed and published by Inter Documentation Company. The Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton University contain a description of this material. This material includes mission activity in the West Indies, including British Guiana. My ancestor, Hendrik Van Cooten, had connections with the London Missionary Society, and copies of letters from him are contained in their archives. The British Guiana material also contains copies of newspapers from the colony, mainly surrounding the slave rebellion and trial of missionary John Smith in 1823. Graham and Merle Van Cooten have started transcribing John Smith's diary from the LMS microfiche.





Telephone Directories

United Kingdom

West Indies

My ancestor, Hendrik Van Cooten went to the West Indies from Holland. Researching in the West Indies is difficult, as not a lot of resources have been put into maintaining archives.

Mitchell's bibliography is an extremely comprehensive listing of material published in English relating to the West Indies.

See Missionaries for more regarding the missionary society archives containing West Indies resources.

Volumes 26 and 27 of series 2 of Hakluyt Society publications contains extracts from despatches by Laurens Storm van 's Gravesande to the directors of the Zeeland Chamber of the Dutch West India Company, 1738-72, selected to illustrate the rise and expansion of the colony, with a detailed introduction.

John Wilmer has done extensive work in transcribing early 19th century newspapers from the colonies that became British Guiana, the present day Guyana.

WWW Sites