Quick tip: “Van”-names

Medieval portrait

Floris van Egmond

Many Dutch names start with “Van” (from) like “Van Benthem” (from Bentheim) and “Van den Berg ” (From the mountain/hill). Often “Van”-names originated if somebody moved and used his origin to describe who he was.

Some people assume that families with “Van”-names are members of the nobility. Although many noble families used “Van”-names (e.g. “Van Egmond,” “Van Grevenbroeck”), the opposite is not true since most “Van”-names were used by commoners.

Venn diagram showing the overlap between nobles and people with Van-names

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About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Wondering My Maiden Name is van Egmond and my Father is from the Netherlands wonder about the Family tree.

  2. Gary Trump says

    So, looking for George Van Trump, born in the 1680s in The Netherlands and from an earlier line in Germany (probably Von Trump) should I just search for Trump?

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