Dutch term: Neef en Nicht

Group of cousins, all grandchildren of Cornelis Trouw and Maria Gommeren

A neef is a male relative: either a first cousin or a nephew. A nicht is a female relative: either a first cousin or a niece. Like the word 'cousin' in English, the words 'neef' and 'nicht' are sometimes used to describe a more distant relationship. Someone who is referred to as a 'neef,' may turn out to be the husband of a first cousin once … [Read more...]

Quick tip: try spelling variations

Girl writing in a notebook

Even after the introduction of the civil registration, but especially in earlier records, there may be spelling variations of a name. A woman may be called Elizabeth or Elisabeth, her last name might be written as Jansen or Janssen. Especially since most Dutch search engines only find exact matches, it is important to try different spelling … [Read more...]

Quick tip: there is no letter y in the Dutch alphabet

boy looking at paper of boy sitting next to him

The Dutch alphabet has a letter ij, not a y. Dutch names with a ij typically get spelled with a y in English, for example Dijkstra/Dykstra, Wijnveen/Wynveen. Next time you're having problems finding a person in a Dutch search engine, check that you've used the Dutch spelling. … [Read more...]

Quick tip: “Van”-names

Medieval portrait

Many Dutch names start with "Van" (from) like "Van Benthem" (from Bentheim) and "Van den Berg " (From the mountain/hill). Often "Van"-names originated if somebody moved and used his origin to describe who he was. Some people assume that families with "Van"-names are members of the nobility. Although many noble families used "Van"-names (e.g. … [Read more...]