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ij or y

From the August issue of Trace your Dutch roots: The letter combination ij is very common in Dutch names (and in Dutch words in general) - so common that Dutch typewriters and keyboards have a separate key for ij. In older, handwritten, documents ij and y are often used interchangeably. ij still has a special status in the Dutch alphabet. It is sometimes treated as a single letter, sometimes not. Dictionaries sort words containing ij as you would expect, but some phone books sort ij as if it were y. Occasionally, you may find the ij sorted just before (or just after) the y. If a name starts with ij, both letters are capitalized: IJsbrand, van den IJssel. Dutch immigrants in the US often replaced ij in their name with y. So if you can't find your de Rooy ancestors in Genlias, it could be because they were listed as de Rooij.

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