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 exception: If both grandfathers or grandmothers had the same name, in rare cases they are both named after, leading to two children of the same parents with the same name. Often, they will get different call names, or one will get a suffix like ‘the younger.’

Example: family of Martinus Trouw and Petronella Oomen

A good example of same-named siblings is the family of Martinus Trouw and Petronella Oomen, who lived in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant in the 1860s. Their daughter Catharina, born in 1862, died in February 1865. The next daugher, born in July 1865, was also called Catharina. Likewise, they had a son Adriaan, born in 1863 who died in March 1865. A new son Adriaan was born to them in 1867. The younger Catharina and Adriaan lived to adulthood, married and had children.

Etten-Leur, population register 1860-1869, household of Martinus Trouw.

Etten-Leur, population register 1860-1869, household of Martinus Trouw1

  1. Etten-Leur, population register 1860-1869, district G p. 36, household of Martinus Trouw; “Voorouders,” index and digital image, Regionaal Archief West-Brabant (http://www.regionaalarchiefwestbrabant.nl : accessed 24 May 2014).
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. I don’t know if this fits into this but………..in case of a second marriage of either male or female the first born in this second marriage was called after the deceased spouse.

  2. Adam H Strait says

    What about half siblings? I am looking at a family tree in ancestry.com at a dutch reformed family called Stephens in Frederick County, VA, USA from 1700s where a mother died young supposedly after giving birth to Mary, Sarah, Peter and John. After the father remarried, more children with all of those first names were born as well as others. Is this credible or not?

Leave comment