Quick tip – Patronymics May Not Be Easy to Recognize

Sometimes it's hard to see the difference between a patronymic and a middle name. One of my ancestors, Hendrik Jan Smulders was called "Jan" because his father was named Jan. At that time, people in Tilburg didn't use a genitive form to indicate patronymics so it's difficult to see if "Jan" is a middle name or a patronymic. In other regions and … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Hiding under another name

If your ancestors were from a small town and you can't find their parents, perhaps they're hiding under another name. There wasn't a great influx of new people in a small town, so don't automatically assume that people came from elsewhere if you can't find them. They could be hiding under a different farm name, or their last name could be a … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Don’t add another generation just based on the patronymic

Your brick wall ancestor might be somebody who did not use a surname but went by patronymic only. He might be Leendert Pieters (son of Pieter), Jan Hendricks (son of Hendrick), or Claes Huijgens (son of Huijg or Hugo). The patronymic indicates the name of the father. It is a best practice in Dutch genealogy not to add another generation with … [Read more...]

How to Record Prefixes and Patronymics

Dutch names often have prefixes like Van der, De, and Ter; and patronymics like Jans (son of Jan) or Pietersen (son of Pieter). Dutch genealogy programs have separate fields for prefixes and patronymics but most international programs do not. So where do you enter these name parts in a genealogy program that only has fields for First name and Last … [Read more...]

Quick tip – Was that last name a patronymic?

If the last name of your ancestor ends in -s, -se, -sen, or -en, it could originally have been a patronymic; a name derived from the name of the father. Common examples are Jansen [son of Jan], Pieters [son of Pieter] or Cornelissen [son of Cornelis]. Other names are more difficult to recognize as a patronymic, such as "Flooren" [son of Floris], … [Read more...]

Top 10 most common Dutch surnames

The ten most popular surnames in the Netherlands in 2007 were De Jong, Jansen, De Vries, Van den Berg, Van Dijk, Bakker, Janssen, Visser, Smit and Meijer. More than 5% of the people in the Netherlands had one of these ten last names. 1. De Jong (86,534 in 2007) De Jong literally means "The Young". Often used when two people in the same … [Read more...]

Patronymics

'Patronymic' literally means 'father's name'. It means that someone calls himself after his father, for example a son of Jan would call himself 'Jansen'. This is similar to the English name 'Johnson'. … [Read more...]