Quick tip – Last Name or Patronymic?

If you’re researching a family with a name like Jansen, Zwiers, or Pieterse, at one point you will find the original person for whom the name was not a hereditary last name but a patronymic derived from the father’s name.

My mother’s name is Marijnissen. As a beginning genealogist, it took me a while to realize that the father of her brick wall ancestor wasn’t called Marijnissen but had Marijnis as a first name. I found his father as Marinus Peeters.

When dealing with such names before 1811, you should always test both possibilities: that the father used the same last name, or that the father used a first name from which the patronymic of the child was derived.

baptismal record

Roman Catholic Church (Chaam), baptismal register 1626-1698, fol. 122, Joannes Marini Peeters (30 April 1688); “Zoeken in Registers,” images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (http://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 14 July 2018)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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