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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

English Names Dutch Equivalent Names Shortened Dutch Names
Anthony | Tony Anthonius | Antonis Anton | Antoon | Toon | Tonnis | Antonus
Tony Theunis | Teunis Teun | Toni
Arnold | Art Arnoldus Arnold
Bartholomew Bartolomeus | Bartholomeus Bartol | Bart | Meese | Meus
Bert | Burt Bertus | Berthold Bert | Mart
Cornelis | Cornelius Cornelis Krelis | Nelis | Kees | Cees | Cor
Dennis Denys | Dionijs Nys | Nijs
Harmon Hermannus | Harmannus Herman | Mannus (see note)
Jacob Jacobus | Jakobus Jacob | Jokob | Jaap | Jakob
John Johannus | Joannus Johan | Jan | Hans | Hannus /Johannes
Matthew | Matt Mathias | Mattias Thys | Thijs | Tijs | Tice * see note
Nicholas | Nickolas Nicolaes | Nikolaas Claes | Klaas | Niek | Nico | Niekolaas
Peter Petrus Piet | Peter | Pieter
William Wilhelmus | Willem Wilm | Wim

*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

English Names Dutch Equivalent Names Diminuitive & Shortened Dutch Names
Alita Aleida Leida
Anthonia - Teuntje
Catherine Catharina Katrintje | Trintje | Trijntje
Cornelia Cornelia Neeltje
Kathy Katharina Katrijn | Trijntje
Cynthia - Steentje
Elenora | Nora (Elenora = Lena*) Eleonara | Nora (Lena) Leonora | Nora | Noortje
Frances Fransiska | Fransisca Francytje
Gertrude Gertuida/Geertruida Geertje | Truida | Trui
Helena | Helen (Helena = Lena*) Helena | Heleen (Lena) Lena | Heleentje | Leentje
Henrietta | Harriet Henriette Henriet | Hennie
Jane Johanna | Janna Jannetje | Jantje | Jannie
Joan Johanna | Johanne | Joanna
Hanna | Janna | Hannie | Hanneke
Magdalena (Magdalena=Lena) Magdalena Magda | Lena | Leentje
Maria Maria | Marita Maritje | Marie | Ria | Marit
Margaret Margaretha Margrietje | Margje | Margriet | Margreet | Greet | Grietje
Phoebe Pheabea Femmeke | Femmetje | Femke | Femme /Famke/Phoebe
Sara Sara Saar | Saartje | Sytie
Sophia Sophiia Fytie | Fientje
unknown Hendrika | Hendrike Rika | Hendrikje

*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.


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