Vaen

Vaen - what does Vaen surname mean?

This is a Dutch surname, which may have been either job descriptive or a nickname. Recorded in several spellings including Vaan, De Vaan, Vaen, and De Vaen, it derives from the medieval word `vaan` meaning a flag or banner. This suggests that it was either a metonymic for a maker of of banners, or may it may have been a status word to describe a person who carried a banner in the famous pageants or processions of the Middle Ages. Prepositions relating to surnames have been almost entirely lost in English speaking countries, but remain as a major part of the Dutch etymology. The preposition `de` in Dutch means `the`, and unlike the French `de` (of) does not usually imply nobility or the land owner class. When associated with `van` as in `Van de Berg` for example, it is more akin to the French form. In this case it suggests that the name means `Jan, the banner maker` as in the example recording of Jan Gerritz de Vaen of Utrecht, on September 29th 1660. Other recordings taken from authentic surviving church registers include: Jacob de Vaan, the son of Gerrid de Vaan, at Oude-Schild, Nord Holland, on June 19th 1746, and Jan Vaan, who married Catharina Schippes at Wolfaartsdijk, Zeeland, on January 4th 1784.

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