Prior to the 1680s, the Dutch did not use family surnames. Even then the practice was not universal until it was made compulsory by Napoleon in 1811. Before that, the Dutch system was similar to the Norse. Men usually either added “sen”, “se” or “s” (meaning “son of”) to their father’s given or took a place name preceded by van (meaning “from”). Thus Jan, the son of Hendriks who lived in Ness could be Jan Hendriks, Jan Hendrikse, Jan Hendriksen or Jan van Ness.

s’meijers probably means “son the son of Meijer”.

Meijer or Meyer is of German and Jewish origin deriving from the German word “meiger”, meaning a wealthy landholder such as the senior farmer in a settlement, or the leaseholder of a landlord like an abbey (but not a mayor). Among German Jews, “Meyer” converged with the name “Meir”, which means “one who shines” in Hebrew.

(The German Meyers crest is shown.)