Netherlands Names, Geographical

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In parts of Eastern Gelderland and Overijssel, Farm names were used before 1811. Under this system, instead of having a surname, persons used the name of the farm they resided at. When they moved(usually only at marriage), their name changed. In 1811 their surnames were fixed.

In the Sallands Region(West Overijssel), farm names were not used, but church registers recorded the name of the farms people lived at. In 1811 people took these farms as their permanent surnames.

Identifying Places

Naturally a genealogist will wish to find out where particular farms their ancestors lived at are located. The 1833 Cadstral registers are a good source. Formerly located at WatWasWaar, they should be placed online again sometime in 2016. WatWasWaar had a map that showed many names of local features and farms. In Overijssel and Friesland it was possible to click on individual plots of land on the map and see information about their owners in 1833. In all other areas you could see the original lists of landowners and maps showing the plots with a number system linking to landowners. The replacement site should have all these features.

Another good method is to use Google Maps or an equivalent and search for the farm. The original farm may be listed, or there may be a road or feature named after it.


A book that discusses farm names is:

  • Wijk, Vincentius van. Boerderijnamen: over hun Oorsprong, Geschiedenis en Betekenis (Farm Names: Their Origin, History and Meaning). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1948. (FHL book 949.2 H2w; film 1183590 item 8.)

This source is listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under:

NETHERLANDS – NAMES, GEOGRAPHICAL

Other books that give details about place names are listed in the catalog under:

NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE] – NAMES, GEOGRAPHICAL

NETHERLANDS, [PROVINCE], [TOWN] – NAMES, GEOGRAPHICAL