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The origin of your Dutch surname II

In an earlier post I told you about the Meertens Institute, where you can find out more about the origin of your Dutch surname.

I did some research on their website on the five most common Dutch surnames: De Jong, De Vries, Jansen, Van den Berg, and Bakker.

With 55256 people in the 1947 census, De Jong is by far the most common name in The Netherlands. De Jong is Dutch for the young, or the younger, and was often tagged to someone's name to differentiate from an older person with the same name.

De Vries (49298 people in the 1947 census) means the Frisian - someone from Friesland (Frisia). Friesland - now a province in the north-west of The Netherlands - was once the name of almost the entire Dutch coastal area, and it stretched well into what is now Germany.

Jansen (49213 people in the 1947 census) is a patronymic name, from the first name Jan. Jan (short for Johannes, Dutch for John) is the most common first name in The Netherlands. In many areas of The Netherlands it was (and occasionally still is) common to use a patronymic in addition to (or instead of) a surname. Pieter, son of Jan, will become Pieter Jansz (short for Pieter, Jans zoon, or Peter, John's son), or Pieter Jans, or Pieter Jansen (both forms are possessive, meaning Peter John's, or Peter of John).

Van den Berg (37678 people in the 1947 census, including Van der Berg and Van de Berg) means from the mountain. It is a toponymic name, probably used for people living on a relatively elevated part of their region.

Bakker (37483 people in the 1947 census) means baker, usually a baker of bread. A village baker called Jan Jansen may, even today, be known as Jan de bakker (John the baker), while his son Pieter may be known as Piet van de bakker (Pete of the baker).


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