Please help with name format [closed]

+11 votes
I have added a profile for Alphonse DeMeerleer and want to get the name correct. He was a Belgian immigrant to the US and lived in Michigan. His son, accused of murder at age 17, was involved in a case that went to the Supreme Court (he had been tried accused, tried, and convicted in one day,and freed after the Court reversed the conviction after he spent 17 years in prison.)

I found some records at familysearch and now I'm confused about the surname. It looks like he was probably from the Dutch-speaking area of Belgium, and I have no experience with Dutch roots names. Does the "De" get capitalized or not? Is it separated from "Meerleer" or spaced together? I don't want to get this wrong. Also, I believe his son, Rene, may already be on WT, and his surname is entered as DeMeerleer. [[DeMeerleer-2]].

Thanks for the help.
WikiTree profile: Alphonse DeMeerleer
closed with the note: Found what I was looking for, thanks to Isabelle.
asked in Genealogy Help by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (405k points)
closed by Natalie Trott
Thanks, Keith, for adding that tag.

1 Answer

+7 votes
Best answer
If he was Dutch, his name would certainly be de Merleer.

In Belgium you see much more changes in spellings including in the 19th century and there is no clear convention as to whether to put spaces between "de" and/or "van" and whether to capitalize De. Even if you find the original records, you will usually find that the style varies, depending on the officer who recorded the events.

In your case, you have a choice between De Meerleer, de Meerleer or Demeerleer. I would rule out DeMeerleer, this style was not used in Belgium.

Not very helpful, is it? Is there a clue of where he came from so that perhaps we could find his birth record?
answered by Isabelle Rassinot G2G6 Pilot (235k points)
selected by Natalie Trott
Every article says "Belgian immigrant" and some articles use "De Meerleer" while others spell it "DeMeerleer."
 I believe I found his name in the arrival New York passenger list, says he was Flemish and heading to Michigan, where he had family. (He did have a brother, Rene, in Michigan.)
Thanks, Isabelle.
I have an Alphonsus De Meerleer, born 14 September 1883 in Kerksken, East Flanders, from Geneanet. I see that one of the documents for him gives "Kershen, Belgium" as his place of origin. Do you know how to access his birth records from Familysearch with that information?

EDIT: that's him, obviously! Now we need to find the actual records.
Awesome, Isabelle! I am not finding any articles or records for his death so far. I have a subscription and have found a few DeMeerleer articles, but nothing about Alphonse except in regard to his son's conviction.

Here's his birth record  - #43 (he's actually an Alphonse on the birth record)

"Belgique, Flandre-Orientale, registres d’état civil, 1541-1914," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 May 2016), Kerksken > Geboorten, huwelijken, overlijden 1871-1890, geboorten, huwelijken 1891-1900, overlijden 1891 > image 269 of 749; België Staatsarchief, Oost-Vlaanderen (Belgium State Archives, Oost-Vlaanderen).

Fantastic! So, it looks like de Meerleer?

And, I thank you, Isabelle. You have been such a big help! I'm not particularly good at searching European records in languages other than English. (I feel like such an American!)
It does. Or De Meerleer, it's hard to tell the difference.
Yes, it looks like both are in the record. ;-/
You are welcome. It was fun looking for him!

And he looks like he could be connected, we already have a good contingent from Kerksken (90+ profiles)
That would be a blessing!
I am sorry Natalie none of the Dutch Roots Project took a look at this. Obvious all too busy at real. I am really sorry. But thanks to Isabella!


Agreeing with Isabelle I think roots are Belgium so previx with captive.......... De. If dutch with de. Hope you already found what you need.? Did you?
I did, thank you, Astrid!

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