Genealogy… Surnames and Nobility, Understanding “De”


For quite some time, in Europe, “De” was used to distinguish those of noble birth. The right to use it was granted by the king. “De” is French and it means “of.” It is used in many surnames. If the surname started with a vowel it was written as d’. It is also seen as “des” and “des la.” It’s important to bear in mind that for example, the name Des Marets means “of Marets” and there may be instances where the surname will be listed under Marets, because occasionally the prefix is disregarded. The name Des Marets is also seen as Demaree. A change like that happens when the descendants merge the prefix with the suffix. Personally, I prefer the beauty of the ancient French name, Des Marets.

If you run across the prefix “te” as in “te Bonte” it probably means the same as “de.” “Te” is from the Old Dutch and is used to signify that something is located at, in or on.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees, Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VI – Freemasons, Jewish Conquistadors and the Holy Family. Available here:

Secret Genealogy:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V:

Secret Genealogy VI:

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