Dutch baptisimal given name (doopnaam) before 1811

+2 votes

I've a question about naming Dutch people from before 1811. As example this profile I made for my 3rd great-grandfather: Hendrik van Stiphout.

Hendrik was baptized in 1798. In the (Latin) baptisimal records the name 'Henricus' is used. During the rest of his life the given name 'Hendrik' is used in all (Dutch) official records.

When Hendrik would have been born after 1811, there'd be a birth certificate with his official name, which is in the catholic south generally the Latin baptisimal name (doopnaam), so Henricus in this case. This Latin name would then be used in all official documents. However this isn't the case here. There is no birth certificate or other Dutch-language document around his birth and the baptisimal name and official name in Dutch documents are different.

Which name should I use for the Proper First Name? Is it Hendrik, because all official documents in Dutch use that name and the baptisimal records would use a latinized version of the name, or Henricus, because this is the only first name recorded around his birth.

The same problem arises for the few years 1811-1814 where official documents can be in French and all names would be in French, e.g. Henri for Hendrik.

WikiTree profile: Hendrik van Stiphout
in Policy and Style by Koen van Hoof G2G4 (4.1k points)
retagged by Koen van Hoof

1 Answer

+3 votes
Hi Koen,

First of all: welcome to wikitree.

I am from Belgium, so I know the 'problem' of the Latin vs Dutch vs French versions of names very well. I settled on using the language of whatever is the earliest record for the 'proper first name' field, but I use the 'preferred first name' field if I have evidence of what the person usually was called. There's two reasons for this:

First, in the case of Hendrik, you know the Dutch version, but you'll probably come across people for which you don't know, because all available records are in Latin. e.g. Theodorus might be Dirk, Dorus or Theo. Anything other than the Latin form would then be a guess.

Second, using both first name fields makes it easier for other people to find the profile. The wikitree search is not smart enough to find Henricus if you search for Hendrik (or the other way around), but it is smart enough to look in all first name fields.

And as an added bonus, you'd be following the Dutch Roots guidelines :)

by Filip Beunis G2G6 Mach 2 (21.9k points)
Thanks! These are good arguments to use the 'doopnaam' as Proper First Name.

So using the first recorded name (Henricus in this case) is according to the Dutch Roots guidelines?
I've now changed the Proper First Name to Henricus and added a research note about which name is used when (Henricus/Henri/Hendrik). Would this be a good approach?

There is a standard naming convention used by WikiTree along with various exceptions to those rules in order to match the local customs.

The most important standard rule is that new profiles are created using the name(s) exactly as they are written on the earliest record for that person; this is true for Dutch profiles also.  The only time this rule is sometimes broken is if the family name of only one of many children is spelled differently from the parent and other siblings, but in this case you would still want to include the different spelling in the profile as an "Other last name" and make a note in the biography text why there are different spellings of the family name.

In your case, put "Hendricus" in the "Proper First Name" box and put "Hendrik" in the "Preferred Name" box.  Doing this will only display "Hendrik" on automatic links to the profile and show "Hendricus (Hendrik) ..." on the profile.  The name area on a profile can get very crowded if you include all the first names, preferred names, other nicknames, last name at birth, current last name, and other last names so use your judgement to figure out which names belong in the searchable name fields and which can be noted in the biography text.

Thank you! I'll use the first recorded name (so often the Latin name) in the Proper First Name field.

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