Quick Tip – Unexpected Nicknames

My grandmother's official name was Catharina Flooren, but she was known as "Toos." That's a common derivative of Catharina, which came about via Catharina > Cato > Toos. Other examples of nicknames that  might seem surprising are Mees for Bartholomeus, Elen for Aleida, and Nel for Petronella or Cornelia. Especially before the introduction … [Read more...]

Quick Tip – Is that Dutch Name Male or Female?

If you're not Dutch, you may wonder if a first name is male or female. You can consult the First Name Database to search for the name. It will give you statistics on how many men ("m") and women ("v") had that name in the past 100 years. You can see a graph that shows the popularity of the name over time. You can even click "verspreiding" to see … [Read more...]

Open data case study: Changing names in Winterswijk

The Gelders Archief just published many of their genealogical indexes as open data. This allows everyone to download the indexes and re-use them. Being a bit of a geek, I could not resist downloading some of the sets for Winterswijk to see what I could do with them. Winterswijk is the town where my father was born, and most of his ancestors to0, … [Read more...]

Quick tip: The first of same-named siblings probably died young

If you see multiple siblings with the same name, the first one probably died before the next one was born. Dutch parents typically named their children after relatives. By giving the new child the name of the deceased sibling, both the deceased sibling and the relative that that sibling had been named after were commemorated. There is one … [Read more...]

Quick tip: naming patterns

Most Dutch parents followed a strict pattern when naming their children: the first son was named after the paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather; the first daughter was named after the maternal grandmother and the second daughter after the paternal grandmother. When you find a source that lists children in their … [Read more...]

English versions of Dutch first names

Many Dutch people took American names when they came to the US. Some common combinations are listed here. All of these combinations have been found in actual documents, even though the translations aren't always what you would expect. Tip: use the search-function in your browser to search for a name (Ctrl-F or Command-F in most browsers). … [Read more...]