Dutch Names & Nicknames and their English Equivalent
Dutch names can be very difficult to figure out. There are two kinds of Dutch diminuitives: the sh ortened Dutch name and the endearing Dutch name.
The shortened name was used by the Dutch for both males and females. The endearing diminuitive was used exclusively for female names. This diminuitive form attached to female names as an expression of endearment was formed by adding the suffix -je or -tje. As well, -je, -tje, -ie and -ke are also additions to a child's name.
A boy with the Dutch name "Jan" will in his childhood very often be named "Jantje". It is also used to show an age difference in place of Senior [Sr.] and Junior [Jr]. the father will be called "Jan" and the son "Jantje".
Female names are slightly different. If a grandmother is named for example "Sien" or "Sina" the girls Dutch name very often is "Sientje" meaning small/younger Sien, and this will be the name given on the Birth certificate. Thus Sientje is her registered name, not just the diminuitive.
As well, the suffixes -je and -tje, while normally used as a diminuitive, are also used to create the female form of the name (especially in Friesland). For example, "Eelke" is the male name and "Eelkje" is the female form. "Hendrik" is the full male name, "Henk" the short form and "Hendrikje" or "Hendrickje" the female form.
Following is a list of some Eng lish names with their Dutch equivalents, including both shortened and diminuitive Dutch forms when known. !
Dutch Male Names and Nicknames
| Antoon | Toon | Tonnis | Antonus
| Bart | Meese | Meus
| Nelis | Kees | Cees | Cor
| Mannus (see note)
| Jokob | Jaap | Jakob
| Jan | Hans | Hannus /Johannes
| Thijs | Tijs | Tice * see note
| Klaas | Niek | Nico | Niekolaas
| Peter | Pieter
*Note: Thank you to Arjen Ronhaar for sharing his knowledge of Dutch names
and providing The Olive Tree Genealogy with more names and explanations. Arjen,
his great grandfather, and uncle all are "Arend Jan Ronhaar". His great
grandfather was called "Arend", his uncle was called "Jan" and he is
called "Arjen". Also thanks to Henk Koopmans for his corrections and
additions to Dutch names.
He has also explained Harmanus vs. Hermanus:
- Harmannus = Harman = Mannus. (can be Harmannes, Mannes)
- Hermannus = Herman. (can be Hermannes)
- Herman is a common Dutch name which could be changed to Helmar or even Harrie.
- But Harrie also can come from Harman.
Dutch Female Names and Nicknames
& Shortened Dutch Names
| Trintje | Trijntje
| Nora (Elenora = Lena*)
| Nora (Lena)
| Nora | Noortje
| Truida | Trui
| Helen (Helena = Lena*)
| Heleen (Lena)
| Heleentje | Leentje
| Jantje | Jannie
| Johanne | Joanna
| Janna | Hannie | Hanneke
| Lena | Leentje
| Marie | Ria | Marit
| Margje | Margriet | Margreet | Greet | Grietje
| Femmetje | Femke | Femme /Famke/Phoebe
| Saartje | Sytie
*Note that Magdalena, Helena and Elenora all become Lena and this makes searching difficult when we try to work backwards to the Dutch diminuitive Leentje. The original baptsimal name is often lost when the diminuitive is used.
Dutch Customs of Child Names
Most Dutch families followed certain customs of child naming. The two eldest sons were named for the grandfathers, the paternal one first unless the maternal one had some distinctive social position, had more money or was deceased. Sometimes the first son was named for the mother's first husband if she were a widow. The two eldest daughters were named for the grandmothers. Some families alternated with the first son being named after the paternal grandfather, the first daughter after the maternal grandmother, but this is not as common. If a child died, almost always the next child of the same sex was given the same name.