kolff: genealogy: dutch family names

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Genealogy - Spelling of Dutch and Belgian Family Names

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Dutch family name prefixes and the use of capitals

Many Dutch family names have prefixes such as:
van, van de, van der, van ’t, ten, te, etc.

It is common use that capitals are only used at the first prefix when the Christian name or its initials are not used.

In alphabetical listings the prefixes are always ignored, family names are categorized on the noun after the prefixes. A name such as, Van den Heuvel, would be categorized under “H”.


In Belgium a family name as (Dutch spelling:) “Van den Heuvel” will often (but not always, depending on the choice of the family in previous times) appear as: Van Den Heuvel, categorized under “H”, or as Vandenheuvel, and subsequently be categorized under “V”.
In case in Belgium when the prefixes are written seperately, they use: Van Den Heuvel (all capitalized) in most cases.

Furthermore: In most other countries these names are often written as Vandenheuvel or VandenHeuvel.

Examples on use of capitals:    
The Netherlands   Belgium
John van den Heuvel  
Mr. Van den Heuvel  
Mr. John van den Heuvel  
Family Van den Heuvel  
Mr. J. van den Heuvel  
John Van den Heuvel, John Van Den Heuvel
Mr. Van den Heuvel, Mr. Van Den Heuvel
Mr. John Van den Heuvel, Mr. John Van Den Heuvel
Family Van den Heuvel, Family Van Den Heuvel
Mr. J. Van den Heuvel, Mr. J. Van Den Heuvel
This page: | Dutch Family Names and Prefixes | Double Family Names |
Double Names which are One Family Name

Throughout the genealogy the Dutch spelling of family names is used. This may sometimes lead to some confusion in case of double names, and for that reason an explication on the ways double names are used internationally has been included here.
Several Dutch families have ‘double’ names, so have many of the Kolff’s: Van Santen Kolff, Kolff van Oosterwijk, Van Breda Kolff, and - rather recent - also Kolff Breymann.

In the Netherlands a double family name is never connected by: “ – ” as they are, for example, in England or Germany. So anyone named: Benthem Reddingius as the family name would never be hyphenated. If she marries a Kolff, her name would be written as: Mrs. Kolff-Benthem Reddingius.
Hyphens are used in Dutch family names, but only for women when they use their husbands name and their maiden name (as the example shows, and which is used very often; more about this at right).

In England or North-America this would be written as: Benthem-Reddingius. In this case, in the Netherlands, this would be read as: this is a female married to a Benthem and the female's maiden-name is Reddingius.

Contrary to general practise in the Anglo-American world Dutch women keep their maiden name, but it gets connected by a “ – ” to the husbands name that preceeds it (unless, nowadays under new legislation, they decide differently: e.g. the female keeps her maiden name as her family name, or, the husband - also legally possible - decides to take the wife’s name).

New legislation in the Netherlands may make things more confusing: in case of same sex marriages couples can choose the name they want to use. The Kolff Family Association follows Dutch legislation (see: Association: Regulations [most recent Regulations date from 2001]) in membership to the Association and inclusion in the Genealogy. This is one of the reasons why, in many cases, the children of female Kolffs now appear in the Genealogy: they are included when the family name Kolff has been choosen for them (according to Dutch law they can opt for change, once, when reaching maturity in order to enable them to decide for themselves).

Examples for double family names: (the use of Ms. has been left out of this schedule)
  Netherlands and international spelling: International, often also written as: Anglo-American examples:
Male married or not Mr. Van Santen Kolff Mr. Van Santen-Kolff
or Mr. Van Santenkolff
or Mr. Vansantenkolff
or Mr. VanSantenKolff
well, you see, there are many possibilities
Mr. Van Santen-Kolff
or Mr. VanSanten-Kolff
Female not married Miss Benthem Reddingius Miss Benthemreddingius
or Miss BenthemReddingius
Miss Benthem-Reddingius
She marries a Kolff Mrs. Kolff-Benthem Reddingius Mrs. Kolff-Benthemreddingius
or Mrs. Kolff-BenthemReddingius
or Mrs. Kolff
Mrs. Kolff
or Mrs. BenthemReddingius-Kolff
or any other spelling of her maiden name
here its the sequence which is important
On prefixes the same as written above applies to double names. Please note intentional use of ‘miss’, above.
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