When "van" is part of a surname, as in "van haecke", does it always mean from and should it be capitalized?

+5 votes
What would be the meaning of haecke?
WikiTree profile: Marinus van Aken
in The Tree House by Stephanie Yinger G2G Crew (310 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

1 Answer

+12 votes
Best answer
Hi Stephanie,

"van" can mean "from", but also "of", "belonging to" or even very generally "somehow related to". Based on the spelling, I would guess that the name originated in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium (it's old spelling; in the Netherlands, names tend to be 'modernized', in this case to "van Haak", while in Belgium, they have kept the older spelling), but it might also be from the Netherlands.

"van Haecke" literally means "of the hook". Where that comes from, I can't say. Maybe a fisherman, maybe somebody with a hooked nose, maybe captain Hook ;) . As far as I know, there's no place called Haecke, but I don't know all places.

In the Netherlands, the rule is to not capitalize prepositions (so "van Haecke"), but in Belgium, the rule is the follow the way it was written in the birth record. Before roughly 1800, however, spelling of names was not standardized. Unless you're sure the name was used in Belgium after 1800, the safest guess would be to not capitalize.

Do you have more information about the person that you're interested in?

Best regards,

by Filip Beunis G2G6 Mach 2 (24.8k points)
selected by Willem Vermeulen
At least with respect to the Netherlands there is Hoek van Holland. In older handwriting "a" and "o" can look very similar.

Thank you very much for the great answer! I do have more information on this family, (van Heacke), but the puzzle I am trying to solve is why the name became "van Auken". This family lived in Flanders but moved to Cadzand and then later (1685) to America. Variously it has been van Aken, van Auken, van Aker and a few others. Could this be the result of a pronunciation or spelling change? Originally it was believed the family originated in Aachen but now it seems they lived in Sint Laureins, Adegem, and later Cadzand. My direct ancestor is Marinus Van Auken (Marijn van Haecke) baptised 1646 Sint Laureins, died 1724 New York.

Hi, Stephanie. I am also a Van Aken descendant.

There has been a good bit of research and much confusion regarding the origin of the name van Aken or van Aaken (the latter is the form of the name that most consistently appears in the early records in the New Netherland area). The Disputed Origins section of the WikiTree profile for Marinus Van Aken discusses some of the multiple theories that have been proposed (and in several cases rejected) for the origin of our immigrant ancestor Marinus.

As I see it, we have fairly good evidence for Marinus as an adult, beginning in about 1682, living in Cadzand, and much conjecture about his earlier life and ancestry. Multiple people in Europe (including some Dutch members of WikiTree) are convinced that records they have located in the Netherlands represent our ancestor, but they have different theories -- and I am skeptical of all of those theories. I am not a subscriber to the Van Aken newsletter, but I saw the statement on Facebook in 2017 saying that the Netherlands genealogist the group had hired had reported the following:

On 23 December 1646 twins are baptised in Sint Laureins in Belgium. They are called Marijn and Peter van Haecke. Peter died young, he was buried 21 January 1652.

The parents of these twins were Cornelis van Haecke and Cornelia Braems. They married in 1634 in Sint Laureins.

The parents of Cornelis van Haecke were Pieter van Haecke (born around 1567) and Josijntje van de Ghewelde (born around 1572). They died in Adegem. Adegem is a small village just under the city of Maldegem.

Pieter van Haecke died in Adegem at the age of 80, so he was born around 1567. Josijntje van de Ghewelde was buried in Adegem 13 Feb 1658 at the age of 86, so she was born around 1572. They must have married 1590 or a bit later.

More details in the Van Aken/Van Auken Newsletter, Vol 33 & 34 (current).

I have not seen the evidence that supposedly indicates that our Marinus van Aken is the child Marijn van Haecke from Sint Laureins. Have you seen the evidence?

PS - Our profile for Marinus is pretty messy, due to the merging of duplicate profiles and the concatenation of content from at least half a dozen family trees, combined with efforts to present and document (or debunk) various different theories for his name and origins.

PPS - One thing I find a bit curious about Marinus is the timing of his immigration. He arrived in about 1684, ten years after the British took full control of New Netherland. By that time, Dutch people were no longer coming to New York, but Huguenots were. His wife Pieternelle was from Wingen in France and is believed to be a Huguenot. Was Marinus also a Huguenot?

Thank you for the informative answer. I have been a subscriber to the VA Newsletter for many years so have seen the van Haecke/van Aken information, but have not yet seen "proof" that Marinus and Marijn are one and the same. In fact the researchers have warned that evidence is lacking and that records are probably impossible to find.

As you state, the evidence for Marinus in Cadzand and in Ulster County New York is good.

I have actually seen (held!) and photographed the trouwen book record  of Marinus and Pieternelle's marriage in the Middelburg archive, and the fact that Pieternelle came from Wingene and also resided near or in Zuidzande makes it seem plausible that Marinus was also in that area of Flanders. Also I understand that Marijyn is a variant of Marinus.

As for the timing of immigration, I  think Marinus was escaping the Netherlands due to some overwhelming debt, and there were many Dutch settled along the Hudson (maybe even an earlier relative - who knows!). Perhaps religion played no part - his children were all baptized in the Kingston Dutch Reformed Church, so....

I will now read the Disputed Origins that you mentioned (I'm new to Wikitree) and get more confused haha. I appreciated your input and intelligent discussion of this puzzle and hope to have further conversations with VA researchers.

My line: Marinus > Pieter > Gideon > Johannes > Aaron > Henry > Cicero > Wilbur > my mother

Hi, Stephanie. I guess you and I both grew up very aware of the Van Aken name. wink  My line is Marinus > Pieter > Petrus > Hendrick > David > Alanson > David > DeBaun > Homer > my mother.

I have no doubt that Marinus/Marynus/Marijn/Marijnus are all the same name. From my experience doing New Netherland genealogy at WikiTree, I no longer even blink when I encounter variant spellings far more different than those. Also, it is useful to know that ij and ΓΏ (which is often transcribed as y) are interchangeable.

But what makes you think that Marinus faced overwhelming debt in the Netherlands? (If he was deep in debt, how did he pay for his passage to America?) Is that  inference about debt derived from Dutch records for Marijn van Haecke?

And having his children baptized in the Reformed Dutch Church is very unremarkable -- that is where everyone in New Netherland/New York in those years had their children and marriages recorded, pretty much regardless of the family religion. I have encountered one direct ancestor who is reported to have been Roman Catholic who refused to join the Dutch church, but his wife was a Protestant and their children were baptized in the Albany Dutch church. I know there were Jews and at least one Muslim in New Netherland; I have not looked into where their children and marriages were recorded, but I would not be surprised if it turned out to be the Reformed Dutch Church. Distinct Huguenot and Lutheran churches seem to have come into existence around 1700.

Marinus seems to have started his life in Cadzand by  first leasing and then buying the farm of Catharina Hauweel. From 1680 till 1683 he was involved in 21 lawsuits for debts either paid or received. In 1682 he was unable to pay the debt on three years of rent he owed Catherine Hauweel (167 pounds Flemish - evidently a lot)). This was in the midst of an economic crisis due to the years of war between the Dutch Republic, the English and the French. The price of crops had gone down and rents had stayed high. Hauweel demanded he sell his harvest, animals and tools publicly in her name  at the end of the summer in 1682, for 100 pounds and the rest of the debt later. He had to promise to sow rapeseed and work the land for a good crop. He promised to pay his debts after the harvest, but was planning to "leave the farm". There was a major flood disaster in Cadzand in 1682 - probably affected crops - .He then married Pieternelle in 1683. They had their first child Roseanna, 1683, who died in 1684. Then off to America.......

This info is mostly from the Netherlands researchers Jo Patteeuw and Huib Plankeel, who found many of these these records.  Seems totally logical that Marinus thought he needed a new beginning! (There's a joke there....)

What do you think?


"I have actually seen (held!) and photographed the trouwen book record  of Marinus and Pieternelle's marriage in the Middelburg archive"

I guess this is the same record (right page, top entry):

"Netherlands, Zeeland Province, Church Records, 1527-1907," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99QJ-SXBZ?cc=2036997&wc=MCLG-1Z3%3A345031601%2C345101601%2C345826101 : 22 May 2014), Nederlands Hervormd > Cadzand > Trouwen 1607-1796 Begraven 1702-1796 > image 122 of 408; Nederlands Rijksarchiefdienst, Den Haag (Netherlands National Archives, The Hague).

Wow, Stephanie! I would love for you to share the information you have gotten from the Van Aken/Van Auken Newsletter and other sources. But before you think about working on an early profile like the one for Marinus, I recommend that you get familiar with the WikiTree editing interface and other aspects of this site by adding your parents, grandparents, etc., including your line extending back to Johannes Van Aken (the most recent Van Aken on your list who has a profile on WikiTree). Connecting yourself to the WikiTree network will connect you to some of the more interesting features of the WikiTree site. smiley

Are the records of Marinus' financial travails in Cadzand court records, or deeds, or notarial papers, or ???    Do the records call him Marinus Van Aken, or do they use some other form of the name?

I suppose if he was in such deep financial trouble, he must have absconded with some of the farm revenue and used the money to pay for his passage to America. surprise

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