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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dutch naming patterns

The early Dutch in America were sometimes referred to by more than one name, sometimes following the patronymic pattern and sometimes using English surnames more or less inconsistently.

The same man, Floris Willemse Krom might also be known simply as Floris Willemsen, or Floris son of William.

Surnames/last names might also pertain to the village or town of origin [Winkel=market town], the office or employment of a person [Peltz=fur trader], or a person's character [Vrooman=honest].

Their Christian/first names were sometimes translated into English and sometimes common Dutch nicknames might have been used. Understanding the first names is essential in identifying the right children and parent combinations in the baptismal records.

Some English persons were married or baptized their children in Dutch churches, so anyone researching Colonial New York and New Jersey will benefit from using this book.

My favorite book on Dutch names comes from Kinship Books, and is Names, Names and more Names: Locating your Dutch Ancestors in Colonial America by Arthur C.M. Kelly (1999), website http://www.kinshipny.com/. It's currently out of print, but I found a few older copies at Amazon here.

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