Ask Yvette – How to capitalize Dutch names with prefixes

Friendship book of Pieter van Harinxma thoe Slooten.
Credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA)

Many Dutch names have prefixes like Ter, Van or Van der. People have asked me if and how they should be capitalized. Here's what the current rules are for Dutch (they're different in Belgium and other parts of the world). A prefix that is preceded by another part of the name is not capitalized. Parts of the name are first names, initials, other … [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...]

Prefixes in surnames

Medieval portrait

Many Dutch family names have prefixes like 'de' or 'van'. They have a special role in the Dutch family name which you have to be aware of when researching names with prefixes. … [Read more...]