New Netherland Family History

The following is from Janny Venema's Deacons' Accounts: 1652-1674, First Dutch Church Reformed Church of Beverwyck/Albany, New York.

A researcher can be confronted with many difficulties when reading a book containing seventeenth-century Dutch names. Problems begin with the simple matter of spelling the same name in different ways. For a non-Dutch reader it may be useful to be aware of some of the most common spelling variations in order to facilitate research. May the following selected tips encourage the researcher to continue the search!

In a time when not everyone was consistent in the application of spelling rules it is worth noting that several combinations of vowels and consonants would work, as long as they resembled the sound of the spoken name. The following list provides some examples in which certain characters or combinations of characters indicate a similar sound:

a(a) - ae: in names such as Alberts - Aelberts/ Andriessen - Aendriessen;

Aartsen - Aertsen; Adriaan - Adriaen; Bierka(a)cker - Bierkaecker

a - e: Hartgers appears frequently as Hertgers; Harberts - Herberts;

Harmen - Hermen; Barentsen - Berentsen; Gerritsen - Garritsen
au - ou: Paulein - Poulein; Jan Gauw - Jan Gouw; Paulus - Poulus

b - p: as in Albertsz - Alpertsz; Jacob - Jacop

c - k: before a vowel, as in the names Carels - Karels; de Coperslaeger -
de Koperslaeger; Coninck - Koninck

c - s: before an e: Marcelis - Marseelis

ck - k(k): Backer - Bakker; Schoenmaecker - Schoenmaker

ch - g(h): in words such as jonch - jongh; Vosburch - Vosburg(h)

eu - ue: Teunisen - Tuenisen; Keuninck - Kueninck; Geurt - Guert

e - ij: Hendricksen - Hijndricksen; Rensselaer - Rijnsselaer

ei - ij: Poulein - Poulijn

ph - f: Philipsen - Flipsen

i - e: Gerritsen - Gerretsen; Teunisen - Teunesen

i - j: Iansen - Jansen; Iacob - Jacob

I - ie, or y, or ey: Pitersen - Pietersen - Pytersen; Isbrant - Ysbrant -
Eysbrant; Timmerman - Tymmerman; Rickersen - Ryckersen;
kistemaecker - kystemaecker; Dircksen - Diercksen; Isaack - Ysaack -

ui - uy: Bruin - Bruyn; Cuiper - Kuyper

sz - sen: Hendricksz - Hendricksen; Jansz - Jansen/Janssen (Jans zoon)

T - Th: Teunisen - Theunisen; Tomassen - Thomassen

tje - tge: Jannitje - Jannitge

u - o: Jurcksen - Jorghsen; Jurriaen - Jorriaen

s - z: Sacharias - Zacharias

The above examples and the combined variations, together with assimilation of letters can lead to spelling variations which at first sight seem far-fetched but after pronunciation can lead to surprising discoveries. For example, who would have thought of Cornelis van Dijck, the chirurgijn when reading the word serresein? Or of Jan Claesen de Oostzaander, from reading Dosaner and Cornelis Theunisen, from reading Knelis Tonnesen?

Other complications arise from the many variations on one name, such as Tewes, Teiwis, Tijs, or Mattys, for Mattheus, or Kees for Cornelis. Simplication of names can mislead researchers, such as Uyl for Uylenspiegel (which is a nickname for Claes Teunisen) and Korrelaer or Koorlaer for Van Curler.

In addition to the above it may be valuable for the researcher to have some understanding of the naming system in the time period concerned. In the index of this translation persons are listed exactly as they appear in the text. Wherever possible, reference to the patronymic is provided, while under the patronymic listing there is reference to the various other names (family name, nick names). The following examples serve to help finding information on a special individual in various ways.

Examples of men's names:

a. family name: Abeel, Stoffel Jansen

b. patronymic: Jansen,Stoffel Abeel (determined by his father's first name)

c. nickname based on background area: Claes Jansen, de Brabander; Jan
van Hoesem; De Noorman; de Vlaeming; Dossaner; Carwaet; de Goyer;
van Noortstrant; de Wael;

d. nickname, based on trade:

(de) Backer, Jochem; Jochem Wesselsz

(de) Metselaer, Harmen; is Harmen ? (patronymic or family name is

(de) Bierkaecker, Marten; Merten Hendricksen

(de) Brouwer, Jacob; Jacob Jansen van Noortstrant

de Smit, Barent; de Karreman, Terck; de Cooperslager, Maes; de

Cuyper, Jan; de Glaesemaecker, Jurriaen

e. nickname based on character, physical appearance. etc: Pieter
Loockermans de oude/de jonge; - Lange Marry; Met de baerdt, Jan;
Swarte Marten; de Malle Vries; Flodder; Jan Gauw; Uylenspiegel; Het
kint van Weelden

Examples of women's names:

a. family name: Coeymans, Geertruy Pieterse

b. patronymic: Pieterse, Geertruy Coeymans

c. first name: Geertruy, daughter of Pieter Coeymans

d. after marriage she takes husband's family name: Ryckie Daret (was
Ryckie van Dijck), Stintien Luyers (wife of Jacob Luyersz)

e. takes husband's first name, replacing her own patronymic: Trijntie
Ruts (Ruts vrouw; wife of Rutger Jacobsz; Trijntie Jansen van Breestede);
Neeltie Yssebrants (wife of Ysbrant Eldersz); Weyntie Poulusse (wife of
Poulus Jansen) and Volkgen Jans (Volkje Jurriaens, wife of Jan van

f. uses first name: Le(e)na, Teiwis' wife; Neeltje, de Noorman's wife

g. takes husband's nickname: Susanna Bierkaeckers; Grietie met de
; Angen Norman's; Mertyen, Kees Schoesters; Volckgen van

h. uses her own nickname: Lange Marry

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