Project: Netherlands/Dutch and Flemish Name Fields

Categories: Netherlands Project


Dutch/Flemish Names and Name fields

In this page we show you how names are added correctly to the name fields for Dutch and Flemish profiles, with some practical examples. Completing surnames in Wiki Tree normally follows the rules agreed on within WikiTree. See for a comprehensive and detailed explanation of name fields: WikiTree Name fields. Please note that different rules are agreed on for Dutch profiles; for all Dutch profiles we use their convention instead of ours. Click here for a detailed explanation and backgrounds: Dutch Naming Convention. For example: Vanderbilt is correct for this person born in the USA but incorrect for his grandad born in the Netherlands, his name was van der Bilt. In Belgium, the spelling depends on the official spelling used in the birth certificate.

In a time when fewer people were able to read and write, the name was spelled phonetically and often spelled alternately. Older birth certificates are handwritten on paper and can often be consulted via online archives and microfiches at archives.
See also:


In WikiTree it is important to enter the last name correctly at birth. In principle, you can find the correct surname in an official birth certificate or derive it from a baptismal note. If a birth or baptismal document is not available, you can proceed from a marriage certificate / (sub-) marriage certificate or Death certificate / certificate.
Birth certificates are generally drawn up by a civil registrar following the declaration of the birth of a child. Baptisms, from shortly after birth, can be found in the baptismal books of mainly the Reformed, Reformed and Catholic churches.
It used to be the case that birth certificates of Dutch nationals abroad were drawn up at an embassy and stored in the archive of the embassy concerned. When an embassy was dissolved, these deeds were transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Over the years, birth certificates have been made and stored in an increasingly different way.


A patronymic is the first name of the father, followed by a closing group of letters. It designates the person as the child of the father. Patronyms are the most obvious names by which old Dutch ancestors were known.
The earliest forms of patronymics are a suffix soon or soen, later son or simply sz or z for boys and for girls dogter, dohter later daughter or just sdr or dr. Other common forms of patronymics are a closing zen, sen, se or just s. These can be used for both boys and girls, and use seems to vary.
Girls could get the first name of father as patronym 'dr' . For example a daughter of father Jan got the patronymic Jans 'dr' . They could also have the same patronymic as men, the z in itself has nothing to do with gender. When a girl was born as Pieternelle , she could also Pieternelle Jan 'sz.' , Pieternelle Jan 's' or Jan 'se' are called because it means that Pieter (nelle) has a son / daughter belongs to Jan.
Trijntje Jansdr Duindam
The spelling of a patronymic cannot be determined from a baptismal note and often differs in the various acts, depending on who wrote it. It is preferable to take the patronymic from the earliest official record found, usually a marriage record or baptismal record of the children. In addition, you can state the spelling used from later deeds such as notes in burgher books, death notes and wills in the biography.


A Matronym is the same as a patronym but now the child or children get the name of mother for patronymic, this is called a Matronym. Example: Fetje Martjes Scholte


Prepositions are written separately in the Netherlands for example "van Dijk". In Belgium, where the name is written as recorded in the population register, the prepositions may also be intrigued in the surname. For example, the famous cyclist "Franck Vandenbroucke". It also occurs in the Netherlands that the preposition is integrated in the name, for example: "Vermeulen".
In the Netherlands prepositions are not capitalized if they are preceded by another part of the name, for example "Nel van Haaren" with a small v, but it is, if the first name/letter does not precede it, "Ms Van Haaren". Foreign names are in principle spelled with uppercase or lowercase letters as is customary in the country of origin. Belgian surnames are unchanging and are written as recorded in the population register. If the surname is registered as "Van der Doelen", that is always the correct spelling for Belgium, regardless of whether the first name precedes it or not: "François Van der Doelen" and "Mr Van der Doelen".

Name after marriage

A married woman generally carries her husband's surname. If Ellie de Bakker marries Piet van Aalsdorp, she can call herself Ellie van Aalsdorp or Ellie van Aalsdorp de Bakker. You can see that as a shortening of "van Aalsdorp born de Bakker". It is officially allowed for a wife to enter her husband's surname, and vice versa. However, the official name does not change in the Netherlands, so it remains in official registers Ellie de Bakker (possibly with the addition e.v. (wife of) van Aalsdorp). Since 1995, the right to use the name of the marriage or registered partner applies to both women and men. Under Belgian law, marriage does not have any effect on the spouses' surnames. You keep the surname that you had before you were married.

Name fields

In this section, we'll show you how to properly fill in WikiTree name fields with some practical examples.
Filling in surnames in Wikitree follows the rules agreed upon within WikiTree. Click on the links below for background information and a detailed explanation about filling in Dutch and Belgian surnames.

General rules

Here is an overview of the general rules that apply to fill in the Name fields for Dutch and Flemish profiles. The main name fields in WikiTree are often referred to by abbreviations. LNAB stands for, Last Name At Birth and PFN for Proper First Name.
  • Proper First Name: First name(s) at birth (Voornaam)
    Full name or names at birth mentioned in an official birth certificate or baptismal record.
    • Johannes, Cornelia Magdalena etc.
    • If a patronymic also is mentioned as name, the patronymic.
      For example: Pieter Jansz. de Ridder; then add in the PFN field: Pieter Jansz.
    • Note:
      Unlike other genealogy websites, WikiTree has a Middle name field. If you have entered multiple names in the First Name field, the message Middle Name Warning will appear and you will be asked if there is a Middle Name. In Belgium and the Netherlands we do not have Middle Names, so you can indicate that you do not use them.
      (Most countries do not know Middle name and many members do not need to see the Middle Name Warning . Via the multiple choice menu My WikiTree > Settings > Miscellaneous Settings (at the bottom of the page) you will find the option Disable Middle Name Warning for First Name fields. When this is checked you will no longer receive this message).
  • Preferred Name: (Roepnaam) Here automatically the content of the PFN field will show. If known, you can replace it or only add the preferred name.
  • Other Nicknames:
    Other names or nicknames by which the person was known.
    For example: Maatje de Nooijer was known in her village as Maatje van Keetje van Jacob or Jan de Boer had the nickname "de Snurker".
  • Middle name: Middle names is something we don't have, know or use at all in Belgium and the Netherlands. So for all Dutch and Flemish profiles always check the box : no middle name.
  • Last Name At Birth: (Achternaam)
    In this field, the profile ID is defined.
    1. Last name including prepositions given at birth in an official Birth or Baptism Note.
    2. Patronymic that can be derived from a Birth or Baptismal Note. (First name of father + sz, s , dr)
      See the explanation below below for more info about patronymics, matronymics or the multiple generation ones.
    3. Matronymic same as Patronymic (First name of mother + sz, s, dr)
    4. If no data from birth are available, surname listed in Wedding banns and documents .
    5. Surname mentioned in other official documents.
    • Prepositions
      • The Netherlands 🇳🇱
        • The last name is placed including preposition in the LNAB field.
        • van Opdorp, van der Stee, de Mooi
        • de Vos van Steenwijk
        • Prepositions of Dutch names always with lowercase letters.
          van, van den, op den, ter, de etc.
      • Belgium 🇧🇪
        • Belgian surnames are written as recorded in the population register. Prepositions can therefore be capitalized here.
          Vandenbroucke, van den Broucke or Van Den Broucke, all three can be correct.
      • Don't use abbreviations, for example, v/d.
    • Lastnames start with a Capital folowed by lower case letters.
      • Jansen, Barentsen, Claessen
    • Add Surname including preposition separate from each other in the LNAB field.
      • van Opdorp, van der Bilt, de Mooi
      • de Vos van Steenwijk
  • Current Last Name. This field could be called Preferred Last Name, Last Name at Death or Married Name.
    • For living people, it should be whatever they would currently prefer.
    • For non-living people, it should be the last name they were using at the time of their death. If a woman was married more than once and because of this had multiple names you can add the others to the Other Last Names field.
    • If it concerns a married woman who is known to have had her husband's last name, you can choose to enter her husband's last name. This is because the woman can also be found under the name of the husband. However, it is preferable to fill in the official surname at birth of the woman as stated in the death certificate.
    • Early profiles (Pre-1700) for married men or women; only add the surname of spouse if records show he or she had adopted it as surname.
  • Other Last names
    This field could be called Alternate Last Names or Last Name Variations. It could be used for alternative spellings that appear in the records. This and the Other Nicknames fields are the ones that can include multiple names. Separate these with commas.

WikiTree ID

The ID of a profile is generated from the data in the LNAB-FIELD. For technical reasons, an ID always begins with a capital letter and ends with a number, spaces between the name and number are filled by the minus sign. ( - )
For example: Jansen-1, Barentsen-237 of Claessen-12.
Between the prepositions and multiple surnames among themselves an Underscore. ( _ ).
For example: Van_Opdorp-1, Van_der_Stee-71, De_Mooi-5 or De_Vos_van_Steenwijk-15. Note that here the first preposition does start with a capital letter, however the prepositions of the names are displayed in a profile as you have entered them, so in lower case. Note that alphabetical lists in Wikitree are sorted by the ID . So Mrs van Boven finds her name in an index at the V.


Below are some examples of the most common cases in terms of Dutch names you may encounter and how to use the different name fields. For a Dutch-English translation of terms in the deeds see: Glossary Netherlands

Example 1: Most common cases, present and recent past.

Birthcertificate of Johannes Hendrikus Kop
Data in a birth certificate, please note that the document is dated March 26 but the person was born on March 24. See illustration above. The creator of this profile could still remember the prefered name of the grandfather was Hans. The death certificate show the same names as stated in the birth certificate.
  • Proper First Name: Johannes Hendrikus
  • Preferred Name: Hans
  • Last Name At Birth: van der Kop
  • Current Lastname van der Kop

Example 2: changed name, 19e century

Lieven van Belzen

This man was born in 1819 with the name Lieven van Belsen but is mentioned in both his marriage certificates as his death certificate as Lieven van Belzen with a z instead of an s . During his lifetime the s in his name is changed to z for unclear reasons. He himself also signed with van Belzen on official documents. His nickname was Lieven Tak.

  • Proper First Name: Lieven
  • Preferred Name: Lieven
  • Other Nicknames: Lieven Tak
  • Last Name At Birth: van Belsen
  • Current Lastname van Belzen

Example 3: Patronymic, Pre 1811

A patronymic is the father's first name followed by a closing group of letters used as the surname. It designates the person as the child of this father. Patronyms are the most obvious surnames, especially in the countryside, with which many Dutch ancestors from before 1811 were known. After the introduction of mandatory surnames by Napoleon, this custom came to an end.
Below an example of Blaas Jobse uit Arnemuiden.
Baptismal Note Blaas Jobse
Datering 24 November 1776
Plaats Arnemuiden
Gedoopte Blaas
Vader Job Lievens
Moeder Maatje Pinte
Archief Gereformeerde kerk Arnemuiden
Doopboek 1660-1811
The father of Blaas is, according to the baptismal note, Job Lievens.
The patronymic of Blaas becomes, in this case, Jobse (son of Job). Other shapes are also possible, such as Jobs, Jobsz or Jobsen. How the patronymic was spelled can be seen from later documents such as wedding and funeral certificates, lists of members and baptismal certificates of their children. In this case too, later documentation was looked at.
  • Proper First Name: Blaas
  • Last Name At Birth: Jobse
It is common for different documents to spell the name differently depending on the person who handled the pen. For example Claasse, Claese, Claesz etc. In this case you can choose the most common as LNAB or if you only see two different shapes, for example, you can choose from those two. In the biography you can then mention the other patronymics with any detailed explanation.

For more information about patronymics see: Dutch Name Convention, Patronyms.

Examples 4: Patronymic with a last name added during life.

Death note
Note baptism
Date1776 November 24
Place Arnemuiden
Firstname Blaas
Father Job Lievens
Mother Maatje Pinte
Archive Gereformeerde kerk Arnemuiden
Doopboek 1660-1811
Death note
Datum1837 February 18
Deceased person Blaas Jobse de Ridder
Archive 25.ARN-O-1837
Arnemuiden overlijdensakten burgerlijke stand

The father of Blaas is called, according to the baptismal record, Job Lievens.
By the use of patronyms the last name of Blaas is: Jobse (son of Job).
The death certificate stated Blaas Jobse de Ridder. In the name field Current Last Name becomes Jobse de Ridder filled. From this death certificate can also be deduced that the last name is Jobse and not Jobs or Jobsz.

  • Proper First Name: Blaas
  • Last Name At Birth: Jobse
  • Current Lastname: Jobse de Ridder
Sometimes girls get behind the name of father the patronymic dr. For example, a daughter of father: Jan . Patronym: Jansdr. They also could get the same patronymic as men, the z in itself has nothing to do with gender. When a girl was born Pieternelle, she good be named Pieternelle Jansz.,Pieternelle Jans or Janse because it's means that Pieter(nelle) is a son/daughter of Jan.
Trijntje Jansdr Duindam

Example 5: Patronymic with an added surname at birth.

Note baptism

In the baptismal record of the daughter of Blaas, Maatje , stated that the father is named Blaas Jobse de Ridder. She is the daughter of Blaas so the patronymic is Blaasse in addition, also the surname de Ridder is mentioned. It was agreed that by the Dutch naming convention, in this case add the patronymic behind the firstname in the Proper First Name field.

  • Proper First Name: Maatje Blaasse
  • Last Name At Birth: de Ridder

Example 6: Multiple generation patronymic, 15e century.

In a multi-generation patronymic, the first name of the father together with his patronymic form the patronymic for the child. For example "Thomas Lievensz Jans" who is the son of Lieven Jansz. For an example of a multi-generation profile you can see the profiles of father: Jan Lievensz, son: Pieter Jan Lievensz and grandson Anthonis Pieter Jan Lievensz.

Fathers name: Jan Lievensz
  • Proper First Name: Jan
  • Last Name At Birth: Lievensz
Pieter is son of Jan ( Jan is a son of Lieven, so PFN: Jan and LNAB: Lievensz.) Normally Pieter would just get his fathers first name (Jan) for patronymic: Jansz. But in these multiple generation patronymics children get their fathers name as well as their fathers patronym and that gives their patronym. So patronymic for son Pieter is: Jan Lievensz. and his full name is Pieter Jan Lievensz. Added in the profile of Pieter Jan Lievensz as:
  • Proper First Name: Pieter
  • Last Name At Birth: Jan Lievensz
In this patronymic is first name of father (Jan) as well as patronym of father (Lievensz) becomes as the patronym for the child ( Jan Lievensz ). Girls also could get the same patronymic, the z has nothing to do with the gender, so if Pieter was Pieternelle, she also could be named Pieternelle Jan Lievensz, because it just says Pieter(nelle) is a son/ daughter of Jan who's a son of Lieven .
Than Pieter has a son as wel, his son was named Anthonis (Thonis). Son Anthonis gets the Last name of his father including the patronymic of his father for patronymic Pieter Jan Lievensz , so his correct name now is: Anthonis Pieter Jan Lievensz
  • Proper First Name: Anthonis
  • Last Name At Birth: Pieter Jan Lievensz

Example 7: Surname of married woman

Maatje was married with Lieven Karelse van de Gruiter she dies in the year 1857. She had taken her husband's surname.
  • Current Last Name: van de Gruiter.
In Dutch death certificates of a married woman, her birthname is stated as the official surname. Also under Belgian law, marriage does not have any effect on the spouses' surnames. You keep the surname that you had before you were married.
So you can choose to enter this official surname in this field, which is generally

Related Projects and Groups

Voor de Nederlandse tekst zie: NEDERLANDSE EN VLAAMSE NAAMVELDEN

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