Genealogie Bos

This is my English-language Genealogy & Ancestry Blog.
(Mijn Nederlandstalige blog is

31 Aug 2013

Surname Saturday - The most common surnames in Europe

In many areas around the world, patronyms predate the use of family names. A patronym, orpatronymic suffix, is a component of a personal name based on the given name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. In Europe many surnames originate from patronyms.
An example is the nr. 7 surname in England: Johnson (0.37%) that originally meant "son of John". On the Faroe Islands Johannesen ranks nr. 7, too (1.09%). In Norway Johansen ranks nr. 2, but the nr. 1, Hansen, is just a shortened version of the same name. In Sweden Johansson is the nr. 1 name (0.16%).  In The Netherlands Jansen ranks nr. 2 with 0.46%, but when the closely related Dutch surnames Jansen, Janssen and Janse are combined, they rank nr. 1. The top 2 names in Belgium are patronyms, too: Peeters and Janssens, names mostly used in Flanders. 
In Russia the surname Ivanov (Ivan's/John's) ranks 2nd (1.30%). That surname is also popular is Estonia and Bulgaria. Jovanović (son of Jovan/John), ranks 1st in Serbia. The prefix Ó in Ireland means "descendant of", while the prefix Mac/Mc means "son of". Nowadays, Icelandic law still favors the use of patronyms - or more recently, matronyms - over family names.

12 Aug 2013

Madness Monday - Death by Beard

A 16th century Austrian, Hans Steininger, was famous for having the world's longest beard - and for dying because of it. Hans was proud of his nearly 1.4 m. long beard. He used to keep his beard rolled up in a leather pouch, but failed to do so one day in 1567. 
A fire broke out in his town that day, and in his haste to evacuate, Hans forgot to roll up his beard. H accidentally stepped on his beard, lost balance and stumbled. Apparently, he fell down the stairs and broke his neck. 

See also:

7 Aug 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Giving birth in Pennsylvania

Giving birth in Pennsylvania

Source: Vries, L. de, Ha dokter Ho dokter (Knotsgekke Geneeskunde Uit Grootvaders Tijd), 1980