Dutch Terminology

This page contains a translation of Dutch words that you might encounter when you consult Dutch genealogical records. If you do not understand certain translations, or you are of the opinion that the explanation is incorrect, please let me know.

A

  • aannemer grondwerken = builder of roads, trenches for sewerage, etc.
  • achternaam = surname, last name
  • advocaat = lawyer
  • afkomstig van = from
  • afschrift = copy
  • aldaar = there / in that place
  • ambtenaar = civil servant
  • apotheker = pharmacist
  • arbeider = labourer (male)
  • arbeidster = labourer (female)
  • arts = doctor

B

  • bakker = baker
  • bakkersknecht = baker’s assistant, baker’s hand
  • bankwerker = fitter or toolmaker
  • bediende = servant
  • begraafboek = register of burials
  • belastingambtenaar = tax official
  • bevolking = population
  • bevolkingsregister = population register
  • Bezoldigd rijksveldwachter = village policeman
  • bgm = abbreviation for bridegroom
  • bierbrouwer = brewer of beer
  • bijlage = appendix, annex
  • bijzonderheden = particular detail
  • binnenschipper = skipper on interior waterways (transporting goods on rivers and canals)
  • binnenvaart = barge/boat used for canals
  • binnenvaarder = ?
  • blikslager = tinsmith, tinker
  • bloemist = florist
  • boekbinder = book binder
  • boekhandelaar = bookseller
  • boekhouder = bookkeeper
  • boer = farmer
  • bouwboer = farmer
  • boerenarbeider = farm hand
  • boerenknecht = farm hand
  • boerenknegt = farm worker (performs a variety of tasks in growing crops and breeding and raising livestock)
  • boerenmeid = female farmworker
  • boswachter = forest supervisor (forester, woodsman)
  • Bouwman, bouman = farmer
  • brander = distiller of alcohol;  most likely Jenever  (or Dutch gin), a juniper-flavored and strongly alcoholic traditional liquor of the Netherlands
  • brandmeester = chief fireman
  • brd = abbreviation for bride
  • bron = source
  • broodbakker = bread baker
  • brouwer = brewer
  • brugwachter = opening-bridge operator (Operates controls to open bridge for the passage of water traffic and close bridge for use by road vehicles)
  • buitenvaart = barge/boat used for the ocean
  • burgemeester = mayor
  • Burgerlijke Stand = Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • buschauffeur = bus driver

C

  • chauffeur = driver
  • chef = station-master
  • chirurgijn = chirurgeon, barber-surgeon
  • collectie = collection
  • commissaris = commissioner, chief constable
  • constructiewerker = construction worker

D

  • dagloner = day labourer
  • dg = abbreviation for day / days
  • dienselven nagt = the same night (Dutch/German dialect
  • dienstbode = maid-servant
  • dienstknecht = hand servant (male)
  • dienstmeid = maid-servant
  • dijkgraaf = chairman of the dike-board/ polder-board
  • dogtertjie = daughter
  • dr. or dochter = daughter
  • drukker = printer
  • drukkerij = printer

E

  • echtgenoot = husband, spouse
  • echtgenote = wife, spouse
  • echtscheiding = divorce
  • ehelieden (ehel) = married couple (German)
  • electricien = electrician
  • emigrant = emigrant

F

  • fabrieksarbeider = factory worker
  • fabrikant = manufacturer or owner of a factory
  • familienaam = family name, surname, last name
  • familienaam = surname, familyname
  • familiewapen = coat-of-arms
  • fotograaf = photographer
  • fotokopie = photocopy
  • Fr. d.d. = abbreviation for French date. The First French Republic used between 1793 and 1805 the so-called Republican Calender. A year started on September 22. Every month lasted 30 days and were grouped to the seasons.

G

  • geboorteakte = certificate of birth, birth certificate
  • geboorteplaats = place of birth
  • geboren = born
  • gehuwd = married
  • genealogie = genealogy
  • genealogie en kwartierstaten = genealogies and family trees
  • genealogische bestanden = genealogical files
  • gepensioneerd = retired
  • gescheiden = divorced
  • geslacht = gender
  • gezworene = member of the polder board
  • goudsmid = goldsmith
  • groente kweker (modern spelling; older spelling was kweeker) = grower of vegetables
  • groenteventer = vegetable vendor
  • groentenkoopman = vegetable merchant
  • grootmoeder = grandmother

H

  • handarbeider = labourer
  • handelaar = salesman, broker
  • havenmeester = harbour master
  • heelmeester = physician
  • hellingknecht = shipyard worker
  • hengstenhouder = owner of stallions
  • herbergier = innkeeper
  • herder = shepherd
  • Hervormd, Nederlands = Dutch Reformed
  • hoefsmid = shoesmith
  • hoevenaar = farmer/tenant
  • horlogemaker = watchmaker
  • houtzaagmolenaarsknecht = precision sawyer, hand or machine (see also zaagmolenaarsknecht)
  • houtzager = sawyer
  • huishoudster = housekeeper
  • huisarts = doctor
  • huisknecht = manservant
  • huisverver = building painter
  • huisvrouw = houswife
  • huwelijk = marriage
  • huwelijksafkondiging = marriage banns (usually posted/announced 3 weeks before wedding)
  • huwelijksakte = marriage certificate
  • huwelijkse bijlagen = marriage appendices
  • hypothecair schuldenaar = mortgager
  • hypotheek = mortgage
  • hypotheekbewaarder = recorder of mortgages

I

  • ijker = inspector of weights and measurers
  • ijzersmid = ironsmith
  • impost = impost, duty
  • ingenieur = civil engineer
  • inlandsche kraamster = street vendor (sells goods such as fruit, vegetables, ice-cream, coal or wood on street or waterway or from door to door)
  • inlandsche kramer = street vendor (same as above)
  • inlandskramer = hawker
  • inwoner = inhabitant

J

  • jachtopziener = gamekeeper
  • jager = hunter
  • journalier = labourer (male) (a French term)
  • journaliere = labourer (female) (a French term)
  • jr = abbreviation for junior
  • jr = abbreviation for year / years
  • jurist = lawyer

K

  • kantoorbediende = office worker, clerk
  • kantwerkster = lace worker
  • kapelaan = chaplain
  • kapper = hairdresser
  • kastelein = innkeeper or bartender, publican
  • kerkenraad = church council
  • kledermaker = tailor (male)
  • kleermaker/kleermakersche = tailor
  • klinker = riveter (rivets metal with hand hammer or hydraulic or other rivet press)
  • kleinlandman = small-scale farmer
  • klompenmaker = maker of wooden shoes
  • knecht = assistant, apprentice, hired hand
  • koehouder = cattle farmer
  • koetsier = coachman
  • koewachter = cowherd
  • kok = cook
  • koopman = salesman, merchant
  • koopvrouw = female merchant
  • kraamkind = new-born baby
  • kraamverzorgster = a nurse who provides care for newborns in the home
  • kroeghouder = owner of a bar or cafe
  • kuiper = cooper
  • kwartierstaat = pedigree chart, Ahnentafel
  • kweeker = grower of flowers

L

  • landarbeider = farm labourer, agricultural labourer
  • landbouwer = farmer, agriculturalist
  • landbouwersche = female version of landbouwer; also could mean farmer’s wife
  • landbouwerse = female version of landbouwer; also could mean farmer’s wife
  • landbouwersknecht = farm hand
  • landbouwster = female version of landbouwer; also could mean farmer’s wife
  • landgebruiker = farmer, usually small farm for their own use.
  • landman = farmer
  • landvrouw = farmer’s wife
  • leerling = apprentice
  • leerlooier = tanner
  • letterzetter = compositor, typesetter
  • leurder = hawker
  • leurster = hawker (female)
  • levenloos = still born
  • lidmaat = (church) member
  • logementhouder = hotel or lodging house operator
  • loodgieter = plumber
  • loods = pilot

M

  • m = abbreviation for male
  • machinist = engine driver
  • makelaar = house agent
  • mannelijk = male
  • marsdrager = pedlar, hawker
  • matroos = sailor
  • mattenmaker = mat maker
  • meid = maid
  • meubelmaker = furniture maker
  • melkrijder = the job melkrijder can be milkman, but also the man who collected the milk at the farm and drove it to the melkfabriek(milkfactory).
  • metselaar = bricklayer, mason
  • mijnwerker = mine worker
  • milicien = soldier
  • militair = soldier (someone in the military)
  • mnd = abbreviation for month / months
  • molenaar = miller
  • molenaarsknecht – miller’s helper
  • monteur = mechanic
  • mutsenmaakster – maker of caps, bonnets

N

  • N N = Nomen Nescio = name unknown
  • n.v.t. = abbreviation for irrelevant
  • naaister = seamstress
  • nakomeling(e) = descendant
  • Nationale Militie = National Militia (?)
  • Nederlands Hervormd = Dutch Reformed
  • niet opgenomen = not mentioned

O

  • o = abbreviation for unknown
  • olieslagersknecht = oil presser (extracts oil from oil-bearing fruits, nuts and seeds)
  • onbekend = unknown
  • onbezoldigd rijksveldwachter = unpaid village policeman (volunteer, honorary)
  • ondertrouw = intended marriage
  • onderwijzer = teacher
  • ongehuwd = unmarried
  • onroerend goed = real property, estate
  • opperhoutvester = chief forester
  • opzichter = supervisor
  • overl. = abbreviation for deceased
  • overleden = deceased
  • overlijden = death
  • overlijdensakte = certificate of decease, death-certificate

P

  • pagina = page
  • panbakker = brick and tile kilnman
  • papiermaker = paper maker
  • papiermakersknecht =  paper maker’s assistant
  • particulier(e) = self-employed person
  • patroniem = patronymic
  • polderwerker = worker in a polder
  • pottenbakker = potter
  • praamschipper = barge skipper
  • predikant = clergyman, minister

R

  • raadsheer = councellor
  • rechtbank = court
  • rechter = judge
  • registers van de Burgerlijke Stand = Civil Register of Certificates
  • remmer staatsspoor = brakeman for the state railroad
  • rentenier = landlord of rented properties
  • rentmeester = steward
  • Rijksveldwachter = village policeman
  • rijwielhersteller = bicycle repairer (mechanic)
  • rijwielmaker = bicycle repairer (mechanic)
  • rijwielmonteur = bicycle mechanic

S

  • schaapherder = shepherd, sheepherder (US)
  • scheepsbouwer = ship builder
  • scheepsbouwersknecht = ship builder assistant
  • scheepsjager = animal-drawn vehicle driver
  • scheepsklinker = metal shipwright (assembles and erects framework and other metal parts of ships’ structures)
  • scheepstimmerknecht = ship-carpenter assistant
  • scheepstimmerman = ship-carpenter
  • schepen = sheriff
  • schilder = house-painter, painter
  • schipper = master mariner
  • schipper op de kleine vaart = master mariner
  • schippersknecht = skipper’s assistant
  • schmitknecht = blacksmith’s assistant
  • schoenmaker = shoemaker
  • schoenmakersknecht = shoemaker’s assistant
  • schoolmeester = schoolmaster, teacher
  • schoonmoeder = mother-in-law
  • schoorsteenveger = chimney-sweeper
  • schout = bailiff, sheriff, judge
  • schuitevoerder = driver of animal drawn vehicle to transport freight or passengers
  • secetaresse = secretary
  • secretaris = secretary
  • sjouwer = porter
  • slachter = butcher, one who slaughters animals
  • slager = butcher
  • smid = blacksmith
  • smidsknecht = smith’s assistant
  • soldaat = soldier
  • spoorbeambte = railroad employee
  • spoorwegarbeider = railway worker
  • sr = abbreviation for senior
  • stamboom = pedigree
  • steenbakker = brick maker
  • steenbrander = brick maker
  • stikster = seamstress
  • stoelenmaker = chair maker
  • stoelwinder = literal translation: chair winder.  A person who either makes braided seats or winds rope around the legs of the chair.
  • stoker = fireman (for an engine)
  • stoommachinist = steam machinist
  • strandwerker = beachworker
  • stroodekker = thatcher
  • stukadoor = plasterer

T

  • tapijtwerker = carpetmaker
  • tapper = tavern keeper
  • tapster = tavern keeper, publican (female)
  • taskeschipper = skipper of small cargo boat (max 80 tons), usually carrying peat (also used as derogatory term by other skippers)
  • tekenleraar = art teacher
  • tichelwerker = tile worker (making tiles)
  • timmerman = carpenter
  • touwbewerker = rope maker
  • touwslager = rope maker
  • trouwakte = certificate of marriage, marriage certificate
  • trouwboek = register of marriages
  • tuinier = gardener
  • tuinman = gardener
  • tuinmansknecht = nursery or garden worker

U

  • uit dit huwelijk = from this marriage

V

  • v = abbreviation for female
  • vallaatsmeester = ?
  • varensgast = seafarer, seaman
  • varensgezel = sailor (male)
  • veehouder = cattle farmer
  • veldwachter = constable
  • veldwerker = fieldhand, labourer
  • venter = vendor, peddler
  • ventster = female version of venter; a female vendor/peddler
  • verpleger/verpleegster = nurse (male, female)
  • vertegenwoordiger = salesman
  • vertrokken = left
  • verver = yarn, fabric or garment dyer (treats yarn, textile fabric or garment with dyes to give it required colour)
  • verwant met = related to
  • visser = fisherman
  • vissersknecht = fisherman’s assistant
  • vleeshouwer/vleeschhouwer = butcher
  • voerman = driver, carrier
  • vonnis = sentence
  • voornaam = first name
  • voornaam = first name, given name (US)
  • voorouders = ancestors
  • vrachtrijder = carrier, lorrydriver
  • vrouwelijk = female

W

  • wagenaar = carter or cartwright; from Middle Dutch waghenare
  • wagenmaker = cartwright, wagonmaker
  • warmoezier = market gardener
  • wdnr = abbreviation for widower
  • wed = abbreviation for widow
  • weduwe = widow
  • weduwnaar = widower
  • weefster = weaver (female)
  • wegarbeider = paver (Lays wood blocks, paving stones, slabs, bricks and kerbstones on sand or other type of bed to make roads, pavements and open drains)
  • werkhuismoeder = Werkhuismoeder was the “managing director” of a home/institution for troubled individuals. These youth were sent out to learn trades and to work. The werkhuismoeder (usually her spouse was the werkhuisvader) received salaries and had their lodging also inside the “institution”.  Consider it juvenile detention in our modern day.
  • werkman = labourer (male)
  • werkmeid/werkster = charwoman
  • werktuigbouwkundige = mechanical engineer
  • werkvrouw = labourer (female)
  • wethouder = alderman
  • wever = weaver
  • wijk = district
  • winkelbediende = shop assistant
  • winkelier/winkelierster = shopkeeper
  • wk = week / weeks

Z

  • zaagmolenaarsknecht = precision sawyer, hand or machine
  • zager = sawyer
  • zakenman = businessman
  • zeeman = mariner, sailor
  • zetbaas = manager
  • zetschipper = skipper sailing on account of ship’s owner
  • zilversmid = silversmith
  • zonder = without, no
  • zonder beroep = no profession
  • zn. or zoon = son
  • zoontje = son
  • zwager = brother-in-law

Thanks to the following for their help in putting together this page.  It has saved me countless hours!