Quick tip – Mind the long S

Up until well into the twentieth century, there were two different ways to write the letter ‘s’ in Dutch (and other languages): the regular ‘s’ and the long ‘s’. The long ‘s’ looks like an ‘f’ without the crossbar.

The long ‘s’ is used in different situations. In words with double ‘s,’ the second ‘s’ is often written in the long form.

When transcribing names or words with a long ‘s’, make sure to transcribe it correctly as an ‘s.’ For example, the name of my ancestor in the birth record below is Marijnissen, not Marijnisfen.

Birth record of Johannes Marijnissen, 18641


  1. Civil Registration (Made en Drimmelen, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands), birth record 1864 no. 38, Johannes Marijnissen, 7 July 1864; “Zoek een persoon,” index and images, Regionaal Archief Tilburg (https://www.regionaalarchieftilburg.nl : accessed 18 April 2021).
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a board-certified genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 30 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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