Names in the Low Countries before 1150

Early-medieval personal names in The Netherlands and Flanders

Material and Methods

The compilation is based on the registration of persons in early-medieval written sources. The list below contains all sources consulted.
The same person could be mentioned more than once, in several charters and/or narrative sources. Below it is explained how individuals have been identified and how a year, a location and a social class were established for each individual.
The total number of individuals (6049) and the distribution between men and women, the centuries, regions, and social classes are presented.

Base material: the sources

The following list gives the written sources that have been consulted.
The three columns to the right give the regions, the period, and the numbers of individuals derived from each source for the present compilation. It is possible that a source covered a wider geographical area, a longer period, or more individuals, but that only the relevant parts were included here. When the same person appeared more than once in a source, he or she is counted only once in the column 'number'. Due to overlapping sources (a charter could be printed in several charter books and a person could feature in more than one chronicle), the sum of the column 'number' (9077) is higher than the number of individuals in the compilation (6049).
More and more sources and books appear on the Internet. For instance, all MGH-publications can be viewed at Digital versions have not been included in this list, except when printed versions are difficult to come by, and a good website is available. Further digital versions can be found by searching at and

code name edition regions period number indiv.
Diplomatic sources
DB Diplomata Belgica Gysseling, M. & Koch, A.C.F., Diplomata Belgica ante annum millesium centesimum scripta, Belgisch inter-universitair centrum voor Neerlandistiek, Brussel, 1950. Flanders; also Utrecht, Gelderland, Holland, Limburg until 1100 1551
LcSG Liber confraternitatum Sancti Galli MGH Necr. Suppl. Utrecht 1040 60
Lok Van Lokeren Lokeren, A. van, Chartes et Documents de l'Abbaye de Saint Pierre, Hoste, Gent, 1868. Flanders until 1150 1795
MF Miraeus-Foppens Miraeus, A. & Foppens, J.F., Opera Diplomatica et Historica, Tome 1 - 4, Bruxelles, 1723- 1748.
From these four volumes only a few charters were used, that have not been published in any other charter book.
Flanders, South 669 - 1016 9
OGZ Charter book Gelre and Zutfen Sloet, L.A.J.W., Oorkondenboek der graafschappen Gelre en Zutfen, Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, 1872. Central, East until 1150 1089
OHZ Charter book Holland and Zeeland Koch, A.C.F., Oorkondenboek van Holland en Zeeland tot 1299, I: eind van de 7e eeuw tot 1222, Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, 1970. West; also Flanders until 1150 831
ONB Charter book North-Brabant Camps, H.P.H., Oorkondenboek van North-Brabant tot 1312, I: de Meierij van 's-Hertogenbosch, Nijhoff, 's-Gravenhage, 1979.
Dillo, M., Van Synghel, G.A.M. & van der Vlist, E.T., Oorkondenboek van North-Brabant tot 1312, II: Breda en Bergen op Zoom, Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 's-Gravenhage, 2000.
Flanders, South until 1150 289
OSU Charter book Sticht Utrecht Muller, S. & Bouman, A.C., Oorkondenboek van het Sticht Utrecht tot 1301, I: tot 1197, Easthoek, Utrecht, 1920. Central, East until 1150 1178
Piot Charter book St-Truiden Piot, CH., Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint-Trond, Hayez, Bruxelles, 1870. South until 1150 482
TB Traditiones Blandinienses Fayen, A., Liber Traditionem Sancti Petri Blandiniensis, Meyer-Van Loo, Gent, 1906. Flanders until 1150 1044
TF Traditiones Fuldenses Dronke, E.F.J., Traditiones et Antiquitates Fuldenses, Muller, Fulda, 1844. North 782 - 945 140
WU Werdener Urbare Kötzschke, R., Rheinische Urbare, Zweiter band: Die Urbare der Abtei Werden a.d. Ruhr, Behrendt, Bonn, 1906. North until 1150 732
Annals and chronicles
ABe Annales Bertiniani MGH SRG V Frisia 9th century 5
ABl Annales Blandinienses Grierson, P., Les annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint-Amand, Palais des Académies, Bruxelles, 1937. Flanders until 1150 99
AEg Annales Egmundenses Gumbert-Hepp, M., Gumbert, J.P. & Burgers, J.W.J., Annalen van Egmond, Verloren, Hilversum, 2007. Holland, Utrecht until 1150 92
AElm Annales Elmarenses Grierson, P., Les annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint-Amand, Palais des Académies, Bruxelles, 1937. Flanders until 1150 83
AElno Annales Elnonenses Grierson, P., Les annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint-Amand, Palais des Académies, Bruxelles, 1937. Flanders until 1150 32
AFo Annales Formoselenses Grierson, P., Les annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint-Amand, Palais des Académies, Bruxelles, 1937. Flanders until 1150 34
AFul Annales Fuldenses MGH SRG VII various 9th century 10
AHi Annales Hildesheimenses MGH SRG VIII various 11th century 13
AM Alpertus Mettensis: De Diversitate Temporum MGH SS IV
Also in: Van Rij, H. (vertaling en inleiding), Gebeurtenissen van deze tijd, Alpertus Mettensis / Alpertus van Metz, Verloren, Amsterdam, 1980.
Central circa 1000 17
AMp Annales Mettenses priores MGH SRG X Frisia circa 700 31
AMW Alpertus Mettensis: Miracula S. Waldurgae MGH SS XV-2 Central circa 1000 3
AR Annales Rodenses Website KGV:, ed. Kerkrade Gisteren en Vandaag. South 1100 - 1150 70
ASC Anglo Saxon Chronicle Whitelock, D., English Historical Documents c. 500-1042, Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1955. Frisia 896 3
ASx Annalista Saxo MGH SS VI various 1000 - 1150 41
AV Annales Vedastini MGH SRG XII Central, West 9th century 5
AX Annales Xantenses Gumbert-Hepp, M., Gumbert, J.P. & Burgers, J.W.J., Annalen van Egmond, Verloren, Hilversum, 2007. Central 9th century 4
Bede Bede's Ecclesiastical History Whitelock, D., English Historical Documents c. 500-1042, Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1955. Central 7th century 6
Beo Beowulf Heaney, S. (translation into modern English), Beowulf, Faber & Faber, London, 1999. Frisia 6th - 7th century 3
CM Chronicon Moissiacense MGH SS I Central, West 8th - 9th century 6
CS Cronica Slavorum (Helmond) MGH SRG XXXII South 1047 1
CSA Chronicon S. Andreae MGH SS VII Flanders 11th century 13
EA Einhardi Annales MGH SS I North circa 800 2
EE Evangelieaantekeningen Egmond Oppermann, O., Fontes Egmundenses, Kemink, Utrecht, 1933. West 900 - 1100 40
FC Fredegar: Chronica MGH SRM II Frisia circa 700 3
GA Genealogia Arnulfi Comitis (Witger) MGH SS IX Flanders 9th - 10th century 9
GCF Genealogia Comitum Flandriae Bertiniana MGH SS IX Flanders until 1150 38
GEC Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium MGH SS VII Flanders and Brabant 7th - 9th century 38
GH Gesta Hammaburgensis (Adam von Bremen) MGH SRG II various until 1063 17
GTH Gregorius from Tours, Historia MGH SRM I-1 South circa 350 1
GTM Gregorius from Tours, Miraculi MGH SRM I-2 South 350 - 600 2
Lex Lex Frisionum MGH LL III
North circa 790 2
LHF Liber Historiae Francorum MGH SRM II Central circa 700 4
LSA Liber Sancti Adalberti Oppermann, O., Fontes Egmundenses, Kemink, Utrecht, 1933. West 900 - 1150 284
ME Monumenta Epternacensia MGH SS XXIII Central circa 700 2
RC Regino: Chronicon MGH SRG 50 various 9th century 18
TA Tabula of Egmond (Beke's Necrologium) Oppermann, O., Fontes Egmundenses, Kemink, Utrecht, 1933. Central, West 900 - 1150 59
TM Thietmar von Merseburg: Chronicon MGH SRG NS IX various until 1018 19
Vitae of the saints
PFr Passio Friderici (Odberto) MGH SS XV-1 Central, South 780 - 1020 6
PWR Passio Walfridi et Radfridi Website Gjallar:, ed. L. van der Tuuk. North circa 1000 2
VAb1 Vita Adalberti Prima Oppermann, O., Fontes Egmundenses, Kemink, Utrecht, 1933. Central, West 690 - 960 14
VAb2 Vita Adalberti Secunda Oppermann, O., Fontes Egmundenses, Kemink, Utrecht, 1933. Central, West 690 - 1150 32
VAd Vita Adelheidis (Bertha) MGH SS XV-2 East (Gelre) 10th century 8
VAm Vita Amandi MGH SRM V Flanders 7th century 4
VAr Vita Arnulphi (Lisiardus) Nip, R.I.A., Arnulfus van Oudenburg, Bisschop van Soissons (+1097), Mens en Model, RUG, Groningen, 1995. Flanders 11th century 21
VBa Vita Bavonis MGH SRM IV Flanders, South 7th century 8
VBo Vita Bonifatii (Willibaldo) MGH SS II Central, North 8th century 15
VEl Vita Eligii (Dado) MGH SRM IV South 7th century 2
VGr Vita Gregorii (Ludger) MGH SS XV-1 Central 8th century 10
VGu Vita Gummnari (Theobaldo) Acta SS Oct 5 Antwerp 7th -11th century 7
VHb Vita Hugberti MGH SRM VI South 7th - 8th century 3
VLa Vita Landiberti (Sigeberto) MGH SRM VI South 7th - 8th century 13
VLg Vita Liudgeri (Altfrido) MGH SS II Central, North, East 8th - 9th century 45
VLw1 Vita Lebuini (anon.) MGH SS XXX-2 Central, North, East 8th century 11
VLw2 Vita Lebuini (Hucbaldus) MGH SS II Central, North, East 8th century 7
VMw Vita Meinwerci MGH SRG 59 East circa 1000 11
VMx Vita Maximini (Lupo) MGH SRM III Frisia 4th century 1
VOd Vita Odulfi Acta SS Juni 2 Central, South 9th century 5
VRb Vita Radbodi MGH DD XV-1 Central circa 900 9
VRm Vita Remacli (anon.) MGH SRM V South 7th century 1
VSr Vita Servatius (Jocundus) MGH SS XII. South 11th century 19
VTr Vita Trudonis MGH SRM VI South 7th - 8th century 8
VWb Vita Willibrordi (Alcuino) MGH SRM VII Central circa 690 3
VWe Vita Werenfridii Acta SS Aug 6 Central 8th century 2
VWf Vita Wilfridi (Stephano) MGH SRM VI West 678 2
VWh Vita Willehadi (Anskarius) MGH SS II North 8th - 9th century 16
VWi Vita Wironis Acta SS Mai 2 South circa 750 3
VWu Vita Vulframni episcopi Senonici MGH SRM V various circa 690 8
Liv Livius codex Blok, D.P., De Franken, hun optreden in het licht der historie, Fibula-Van Dishoeck, Bussum, 1968. Central circa 780 1
Mon Coins Chijs, P.O. van der, The Munten der Frankische- en Duitsch-Nederlandse Vorsten, Bohn, Haarlem, 1866. South 7th century 14
Run1 Runes 1 Looijenga, J.H., Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent AD 150-700; Texts & Contexts, RUG, Groningen, 1997. North 550 - 800 6
Run2 Runes 2 Halbertsma, H., Frieslands Oudheid, Matrijs, Utrecht, 2000. North 8th century 2

Identification of individuals

Each record of a given name in a charter or a narrative source was included in the compilation. Thus, a total of 10.334 attestations was collected. This does not include persons from beyond the study area (see below).
One individual could be mentioned more than once in several charters and/or narrative sources. In some cases it was clear that two (or more) attestations related to the same person, especially if it was somebody important. For instance, there is no doubt that Odilboldus Treiectensis episcopus, mentioned in 870, is the same as Odilbaldus, Trajectensis ecclesie Veteris venerabilis episcopus in 896: Odilbald, bishop of Utrecht. The text could give other additional information, besides a profession or a place, such as the name of a relative or a nickname, which made it possible to determine whether or not two attestations related to the same person.

However, in many cases nothing more than a given name was registered. When additional information was lacking, two attestations of the same given name were considered to represent one person if:
- they came from the same geographical location (= modern province), AND
- they were registered not more than 20 years apart.
If two attestations were less than 20 years apart, and a the same name appeared a third time within 20 years from the second attestation (all within the same region), this was also considered the same person. If that same name occurred again, within 20 years from the third, but more than 40 years from the first, this was counted as a new individual.

In this way, the 10.334 attestations were brought back to 6049 individuals. (1) There were 5126 men and 923 women. (2) For each individual, one year, one region and one social class were established.


Each individual was assigned to a year: the year in which he or she was first mentioned in the sources. Thus, a person appearing in 992 and in 1003, was scored (only) in the 10th century.
Usually, the charter books give a year and even a date for each charter. However, for some charters, especially the older ones, no exact year could be given, but merely a range. In such cases, the earliest year in the range was considered. If only a century was given, the year exactly halfway the century (e.g. 1050) was scored. Thus, for each name, a year could be scored.
Sometimes a person was mentioned indirectly, as 'the father of'. In such cases, the father was scored 20 years (about a generation) earlier than the year in which he was mentioned. For instance, in 707 an Aengilbert filius Gaotberti was mentioned. Aengilbert was scored in the year 707, and his father Gaotbert in the year 687.


The study area has been arbitrarily divided into seven regions, each corresponding with two to five modern Dutch or Belgian provinces (see Region overview). For each individual in the compilation I have tried to find out in which region he or she belonged. (3)

Sometimes a person had a locative byname, or the text mentioned explicitly his or her place of birth. If such indicators were absent, the context might give some clues. For instance, when a man donated grounds in a particular region, it was assumed that he also lived there. Any relatives were allocated to the same region.
If all these clues failed, the place where the charter had been written was taken as the location for the persons mentioned in it.
A few persons were recorded in several regions. The 7th century saint Amandus, for instance, started his career as a priest in Ghent (region Flanders), and later became bishop of Maastricht (region South). In such cases, the name was scored only in the first region.
In a small number of persons (all male) it was not exactly clear where they belonged, only that it had to be in 'Frisia'. This could be the Northern or the Western region, and maybe even Central or East. These persons have been allocated to the (seventh) region 'Frisia'. In the analyses of differences between regions they have been excluded.

The compilation includes persons that were born in the study area and/or remained there for several years. Willibrord and Bonifatius are on the list, but the bishops of Cologne and Liege are not, and neither are the popes from Rome. The Frankish kings and the German emperors fell between these two categories: they resided outside the study area, but occasionally they did pay a visit. In the present compilation, they have been excluded.

Social class

For each person, an attempt was made to determine his or her social status. Five classes were considered:
- clergy: monks and nuns, provosts, priests, abbots and abbesses, bishops, etc.
- nobility: knights, counts, dukes and kings, their wives and their offspring,
- commons: free men and women, including land owners without a noble rank,
- serfs (or slaves): mancipia and lites,
- witnesses: people who signed a charter and whose rank could not be established.

Persons who were born in a noble family, and who later became a cleric (such as bishop Egbert, son of count Dirk of Frisia) were classified among the clergy.

Numbers of individuals

The tables below present the numbers of individuals identified, and the distribution among the six centuries, the seven regions and the five social classes.

Region per century c7 c8 c9 c10 c11 c12 total
M North 4 30 112 80 275 55 556
East 0 60 176 50 56 186 528
Central 8 37 123 100 195 342 805
West 12 9 27 78 50 300 476
Flanders 33 41 187 450 682 459 1853
South 40 66 26 133 237 372 874
Frisia 8 1 23 0 0 2 34
total 105 244 674 891 1495 1717 5126
F North 0 3 31 13 30 4 81
East 0 4 18 7 7 5 41
Central 0 6 27 24 8 7 72
West 1 4 7 19 18 57 106
Flanders 9 17 61 76 212 120 495
South 9 9 1 23 35 51 128
Frisia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
total 19 43 145 162 310 244 923

Social class per century c7 c8 c9 c10 c11 c12 total
M clergy 35 57 66 115 206 363 842
nobility 15 24 44 79 187 132 481
commons 52 92 386 287 752 1004 2573
serfs 3 26 65 91 49 34 268
witnesses 0 45 113 319 301 184 962
total 105 244 674 891 1495 1717 5126
F clergy 3 3 1 6 5 6 24
nobility 5 6 5 19 37 26 98
commons 8 20 75 93 207 190 593
serfs 3 14 63 44 60 22 206
witnesses 0 0 1 0 1 0 2
total 19 43 145 162 310 244 923

Region per social class clergy nobility commons serfs witnesses total
M North 22 47 467 2 18 556
East 24 48 343 39 74 528
Central 273 74 380 29 49 805
West 58 43 335 40 0 476
Flanders 270 119 671 148 645 1853
South 193 145 350 10 176 874
Frisia 2 5 27 0 0 34
total 842 481 2573 268 962 5126
F North 0 8 73 0 0 81
East 4 10 10 16 1 41
Central 2 11 40 19 0 72
West 6 16 76 8 0 106
Flanders 2 24 325 143 1 495
South 10 29 69 20 0 128
Frisia 0 0 0 0 0 0
total 24 98 593 206 2 923

Clearly, the numbers were not equally distributed over gender, region, class, and time. Many more men were recorded than women, in the later centuries more persons were registered, and the totals per region varied considerably.
A closer inspection of the tables shows that the increase in numbers over time did not apply to all gender/class or gender/region combinations. In the early Middle Ages, there were not many female clerics, and male clerics were abundant in the Central region, but rare in the North and East. In the Northern region there were hardly any serfs, or at least their names have not been recorded. The witnesses with uncertain social class were nearly all male, and there were many other such examples.

The unevenness of the available material is a given fact that cannot be altered. It must be kept in mind when interpreting the differences and the patterns found.


If a source has been printed more than once, the most recent edition has been followed for the spelling of personal names.
Often the name of a person was spelled in various ways, sometimes even within one charter. In this compilation all different spellings have been presented, and the most common form has been indicated. However, the various Latin endings (among men: -us, -um, -em, -i, -ii, -ne, etc.; among women: -a, -da, -de, -em, -is, etc.) have not been presented in full: per spelling, only the most frequent ending has been included in the lists. Also, the various spellings of the character w (uu, uv, vu) have not been included in full: if more than one variant occurred, only the ‘w’; had been presented.


In order to determine whether or not any differences were statistically significant, the Chi-square test was employed (result: X˛-value; df= degrees of freedom, p = probability).

1 It was difficult to distinguish individuals when a particular name occurred frequently in one region in a short period of time. This happened, for instance, in Utrecht in the 11th century when many clerics, often with the same given names, acted as witnesses in charters. A few decades later it seemed to swarm with Allards, Isbrands, Walos, and Galos in the Haarlem-Alkmaar region. In order to identify the individuals the studies by Van Vliet (2002, especially appendix 3) and Vis (1993, especially p. 107) have been followed.
2 - Six persons have been excluded from the compilation because their gender was uncertain: Ama, Eeba (or Geba), Hera (twice), Luua (or Luva), and Sita, all commoners and witnesses in a Charter in Alkmaar from the year 1116 (OHZ 99). According to Schoonheim (2004, p. 15) they were all male, but Jurjen Vis (pers. comm., February 2012) argues that this is not certain. These six dubious cases are not in the lists and have not been included in the total of 6049 persons.
3 - The Lexicon of Dutch toponyms, by Künzel, Blok & Verhoef (1988) has been used here.


Material & Methods

Male names
Male names extended
Female names
Female names extended
Table of roots
Non-Germanic names
Single rooted names
Composition rules Namesakes
© Dr. Kees C. Nieuwenhuijsen
Last update: September 2012