Among the NGSQ Archives are countless articles on sound genealogical research methodology. Some of those articles are so well-written and useful that they have become must-use resources for genealogists ever since. One such timeless contribution comes from NGS Hall-of-Famer Rosalie Fellows Bailey (elected in 2010). In 1953, she published the two-part article, “Dutch Systems in Family Naming: New York and New Jersey.”
While this work may be particularly helpful for researchers of New York and New Jersey, every researcher of the Dutch in early America and their descendants throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest will find this resource a critical tool in solving their Dutch problems. Those with non-Dutch ancestors who lived in New Netherland, New York, and New Jersey may also make discoveries here by understanding how the Dutch recorded both first and last names, sometimes well into the 18th century.
Revisiting this topic is particularly timely for NGS members as the 2018 NGS Conference will be held in May in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the destination region of one of the Dutch migrations to the Midwest. The conference features eight separate lectures on various aspects of Dutch and Dutch-American research. You can find them in the Conference Registration Brochure online by searching “dutch.”
Readers who take the time to read Bailey’s original twenty pages will find themselves rewarded with more than mere tidbits about strange and befuddling practices. Dutch naming systems are so important, in fact, that gaining a thorough understanding of them gives researchers the most effective tools they can possibly have to answer longstanding questions and identify new avenues of research. The summary below is merely an appetizer, whereas Bailey’s article provides real meat and a deeper value.
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