Wednesday Weddings – Jan Verkruisjen and Janke de Graaf

These are photos of records from 1845 from the Netherlands from the marriage of my paternal great-great-great-great grandparents, Jan Verkruisjen and Janke de Graaf. Jan and Janke were married on December 28, 1845 in Leeuwarden, located in Friesland. Jan was 27 years old, and worked as a “koopman”, which means “merchant”, and Janke was 22 years old.

I found these on one of my favorite websites, WieWasWie.

(Ignore the left page)

I’m confused about the names, but Dutch names confuse me. Is it Jankese Graaf or Janke de Graaf? I’m guessing Janke was a shortened version of Jankese but why are they different on the marriage record?  Surnames can also be confusing. I know many surnames used prefixes, like “de”, which means “the”. When I read about Dutch surnames, I found out they did not become mandatory in the Netherlands until 1811, when Napoleon required them, so then everyone had to choose a surname, which could be absolutely anything. Many chose the patronymic surname their male head of household was using, others chose surnames based on their occupation, place of origin or other things. According to some resources, De Graaf is an occupational surname, and was the most common name in 2007. It means “the count”. It also appears Verkruissen was actually Verkruisjen way back when and the Americanized version became Verkruissen.

Thanks for reading!

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