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Spelling of Dutch surnames with prefixes

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Spelling of Dutch surnames with prefixes

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 8:20AM GMT
Classification: Immigration
Edited: 29 Aug 2012 8:52AM GMT

If you are American and wonder about some of the Dutch original surname spellings, I have a few bits of advice.

* Surnames starting with Vander always started off in the Netherlands as 'van der', so as loose seperate prefixes that were originally not attached to the rest of the surname
* Same for other prefixes like 'van de', 'in 't ', 'de', 'van', etc.
* In some cases in the Census returns, the immigrant gave his/her name in the way that Dutch officials would write down people's names, starting with the last part of the surname, then followed by the prefix[es] and then the given name[s]
* Most often the transcriber will then mistakenly have taken the surname to be a given name and often the prefixes with the given name end up transcribed as the "surname".
Which can make it harder to trace a Dutch relative in the census returns

e.g. Broek van den, Antje
is in real life: Antje van den Broek

This was done in this way by Dutch officials because surnames with prefixes in Holland are not sorted by the first letter of the prefix but rather by the first letter of the last part of the surname.
So e.g. the surname 'van den Broek' is in Holland always punt under 'B' [not so in Belgium!] and not under 'V'


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