One of the questions I get asked frequently in person is whether a certain surname is Dutch. That can be tricky to answer, especially if a name got spelled differently after emigration. To find out where your name comes from requires genealogical research to trace the line that bears the last name back to its place of origin.
That being said, here are a few resources to see if a last name occurs in the Netherlands:
- Database of surnames in the Netherlands.
This is the first place to look. This has all surnames in the Netherlands that were in use in the 1947 census, including maps that show distributions.
- Open Archives
This website has indexes of genealogical records of many archives in the Netherlands. If the last name was originally in use in the Netherlands but died out before 1947, you have a good chance of finding it here.
Another genealogical database to check if the name occurred in Dutch records in the past.
- Persons index at Archieven.nl
Another genealogical database to check.
This might miss some regional names that no longer exist or where the spelling got changed after emigration, but in general, if the name is not in any of these databases, it was not a Dutch name. At least, not in that spelling. If the name is in the databases, that does not necessarily mean your family originally came from the Netherlands. Many names appear in several languages and countries (e.g. Post, Muller, Trip) so even if you find the name in the database, that does not mean it was Dutch.
A database search is not a substitute for genealogical research.