The Beijen/Beyen Family Site
by Laurens Beijen
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Beijen or Beyen?

Two dots

Some people write their name as Beijen, others as Beyen. In the Netherlands, the official name is determined by the birth certificate. Previously these certificates were handwritten, and the difference between Beijen and Beyen was not more than two dots.

The pictures at the right are from two birth certificates that were drawn up in 1853 and 1861 in Utrecht. The first town clerk did not write dots in the name of the father of het child, the second one did. Strictly speaking the first child had the surname Beyen and the second child the surname Beijen. We may suppose that this was a matter of indifference to the people concerned.
In later years typewriters and computers were used. Therefore, the difference is now much more visible.

The spelling of the surname gives no indication to which of the families Beijen or Beyen one belongs. The next overviews can illustrate this.

Personal Record Cards and Personal Record Lists

The official names of the inhabitants of the Netherlands are set down in the official population registration. The data of people who are living now are not public, but the data about deceased persons may be asked for.
Since 1939 the Dutch municipalities have used Personal Record Cards to register information on every inhabitant. In 1994 these cards were replaced by digitalized Personal Record Lists. I have obtained copies of the record cards or record lists of all members of the Beijen or Beyen families who have died in the Netherlands between 1939 and 2015. These people can be split over the four families as follows:

  Deceased persons 1939 - 2015Beijen      Beyen      total      
  IJsselstein family, total
      Gijsbert branch
      Jan Thomas branch
      Johan Franco branch
211      
63
138
10
19      
11
5
3
230      
74
143
13
  Nieuwkapelle family12      2      14      
  Breyell family7      0      7      
  Hengelo family34      1      35      
  total264      22      286      

This shows that according to the official population registration in all these families and branches the name Beijen is far more numerous than the name Beyen.
The distribution of the names within the families and branches is rather random. There are various examples of siblings of whom one was registered as Beijen and the other one as Beyen. In the past many of the clerks who had to take care of the administration must have considered y and ij as the same letter.

Private registrations

There are also registrations for which people can state their name themselves. They don't always use the name by which they are registered in the official registrations.
One of these lists is the telephone directory. In March 2008 the Dutch telephone directory on the internet (http://www.detelefoongids.nl/) stated (after removal of some duplicates) 121 people as Beijen and 23 as Beyen. They can be divided over the families and branches as follows:

Beijen      Beyen      total      
  IJsselstein family, total
      Gijsbert branch
      Jan Thomas branch
      Johan Franco branch
85      
29
47
9
14      
3
10
1
99      
32
57
10
  Nieuwkapelle family3      4      7      
  Breyell family11      2      13      
  Hengelo family22      3      25      
  total121      23      144      

On http://www.schoolbank.nl/, the leading Dutch site for finding old school friends, many members of the Beijen and Beyen families can be found as well. In March 2008 it included in total 101 entries, 14 of which were double. Among the remaining 87 people 85 had registered themselves as Beijen and 2 as Beyen. The distribution over the families and branches is as follows:

Beijen      Beyen      total      
  IJsselstein family, total
      Gijsbert branch
      Jan Thomas branch
      Johan Franco branch
62      
12
41
9
1      
0
1
0
63      
12
42
9
  Nieuwkapelle family2      1      3      
  Breyell family7      0      7      
  Hengelo family14      0      14      
  total85      2      87      

In March 2008 in total 103 members of the Beijen and Beyen families were registered on the Dutch social networking site Hyves. 99 of them used the name Beijen and 4 the name Beyen:

Beijen      Beyen      total      
  IJsselstein family, total
      Gijsbert branch
      Jan Thomas branch
      Johan Franco branch
75      
21
43
11
4      
2
2
0
79      
23
45
11
  Nieuwkapelle family1      0      1      
  Breyell family8      0      8      
  Hengelo family15      0      15      
  total99      4      103      

A shift from Beyen to Beijen

In the telephone directory the name Beyen comprises 16 % of the total, whereas it is much lower on Schoolbank and Hyves: 2 and 4 %, respectively. This is probably an indication for a general tendency. The names in the telephone directory are written as they were noted down when a person had his first telephone connection. For many people that was decades ago. The names on Schoolbank and Hyves have been submitted not more than a few years ago.
Obviously the use of ij in the name Beijen/Beyen is nowadays even more popular than before. An extra indication for this is the fact that several people who have been listed in the telephone directory for many years as Beyen, are listed on Schoolbank and/or Hyves as Beijen.

The names Beijen and Beyen on this website

On this site I try to follow as much as possible the preference of the people concerned. A careful study of the photo gallery, for instance, shows that in several cases within a group of siblings the names Beijen and Beyen are both used.
For brevity's sake only the name Beijen is used on some other pages of this site. In that cases the other spelling is meant as well.

Beijen and Beyen in other countries
The spelling Beijen is typical for the Netherlands. Nevertheless many descendants of Dutch families who are living abroad have stuck to the ij. In Belgium and Germany only the spelling Beyen is used.

Whereas many Dutchmen see a great resemblance between ij and y, most people from other countries have a quite different view on it. Kemal Beyen of the Bogazici University of Istanbul, for instance, whose name can be found on the internet, reacted kindly but very surprised on an e-mail in which he was asked if he had ever heard of relatives in the Netherlands: "Our surname BEYEN does not show any similarity to Beijen, at least, in spelling."


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