Quick tip – The suffix ‘-je’

In the Dutch language, the suffix ‘-je’ indicates a diminutive. Depending on the preceding word, it can be -je, -kje, -tje, -pje, or -etje; sometimes with an -n at the end. In Low Saxon dialects in the north-east of the Netherlands, -ke, -ske, -ken, -sken, or -chien are used.

The diminutive suffix is used for nouns and names. Many female names are diminutive forms of male names. The diminutive form of a name is also used for a young child, so studying the name in context is necessary to interpret it correctly. Some female names that have no male equivalent (“Maria”) can take a diminutive to create a variation or call name, often used for a younger child.

Examples of female names with a diminutive are: Jannetje, Jenneken, Harmpje, Hendrickjen, Derksken, Marietje, and Lammechien.

Baby on a scale

Baby on a scale. Credits: Nationaal Archief (Willem van de Poll)

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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