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September 21, 2008

Understanding Diminuitives in 17th Century New York Dutch names

I talked about patronymics in an earlier post. Hopefully it helped clear up any confusion! But research in 17th Century New York is not easy.

You also have to be aware of the diminuitives of regular first names, because the patronymic might be formed from the normal name or its diminuitive. For example:

* Antonis=Theunis/Teunis (patronymic of Antonisz or Theunisz)
* Matthys=Thys/Tice (patronymic of Thyssen)
* Harmanus=Harman or Manus
* Jacobus=Cobus
* Nicolas=Claes (patronymic of Claessen)
* Denys=Nys (patronymic of Dennysen or Nyssen)
* Bartolomeus=Bartol or Meese/Meus (patronymic of Meesen)
* Cornelis=Krelis

There are two kinds of Dutch diminuitives: the shortened 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 or 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.

Browse the list of English names and their Dutch equivalents, including both shortened and diminuitive Dutch forms when known.

1 comment:

Kathryn Lake Hogan said...

Thank-you Lorine for explaining this! Tremendously helpful in explaining the names in my Ryckman and Van Slyke lines.