The Journals of the Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon (JDBU) are an excellent resource for researching material on the Dutch Burgher community in Sri Lanka, particularly in the pre-migration period of the late 1950s. Up to this point, when the community and the Union enjoyed strength in numbers, the JDBU was published with regularity and presents a broad insight into the lives and times of the community spanning the first half of the twentieth century.
Apart from being an insightful glimpse on the evolution of a community, perhaps the most significant feature of the JDBU is the 200 plus genealogies of Dutch Burgher families published. Following the advent of the Internet, genealogical research has evolved into one of the fastest growing pastimes and the genealogies featured in the JDBU represent a vital resource to those involved in this pursuit.
The JDBU was first published in 1908, the year in which the DBU was founded. Initially, the JDBU was published in four separate Parts under a single Volume number representing a single year (later – calendar years). However, while the Volume numbers and four Parts have largely been retained as a format throughout, the JDBU has undergone varying changes to its frequency and “Part” combinations, particularly since the mid 1950s.
While some Volumes’ had permutations of Parts combined in the one publication; sometimes Parts one & two, or three and four and so on, the thirty year period from the mid 1920s onward saw an almost unbroken period in which the four Parts were published independently.
Reflecting the migration of the Burghers after 1956, the publication of the JDBU slowly but surely appeared to have run its course. The four Volumes from 1964 to 1968, saw, for the first time since 1920, all four Parts being combined in the one annual publication. Then, in 1969 the JDBU was not published for the first time since the early 1920s, when a couple of years at that time also past by without a Journal being published. This remained the status quo for more than a decade until the JDBU made a re-appearance in 1981. A comparative revival of sorts of the JDBU followed and a further ten Volumes ensued over the next 16 years, drying up as it were once again from 1998 to 2004. In 2005, Volume 70 of the JDBU was published and this remains the last publication.
The JDBU featured in this section are from cover to cover and therefore include the genealogies that are also featured in an independent section on this website. The independent genealogy section is for the purposes of convenience in accessing genealogies in alphabetical order. The rationale therefore for retaining the genealogy pages of the Journals is to present each publication in its entirety. Also note – Some of the pages scanned and featured in this section are of insufficient quality, primarily due to the poor condition of the source document. We will identify these pages in the coming months and endeavour to re-scan the offending pages with better quality source material. Please bear with us till such time.