Most common Dutch surnames
The most common Dutch surnames in the Netherlands (as of 1947) and Flanders in Belgium are listed to the right. Meertens' Dutch surname database lists 94143 different family names, the total Dutch speaking population in Europe is estimated to be about 23 million people. The most common Dutch names in Belgium are nearly all "father-based" names in which they are composed with the following formula name of father + "-son", the only exceptions being "De Smet" (the Smith) and - to a certain extent, because it is also a patronymic ("Thomas") - "Maes" (Meuse). The most common Dutch names in the Netherlands are more diverse, with names ranging from "Visser" (fisherman) to "Van Dijk" ((living along) the dike) and "De Jong" (the young (one)). It should be remembered however that these figures are based on the data of an entire country, and on a smaller scale other names tend to dominate certain regions.
Last name: Fischer Recorded in several spelling forms including the popular Fisher (English), Fischer (German), Fiszer (Czech and Polish), Visser (Dutch), de Vischer (Flemish) Fiser (Danish) Fisker (Norwegian) and many others, this interesting surname does seem to have a pre 7th century Olde English origin. If so it is from the word 'fiscere' meaning to catch fish, and it may be an occupational name for a fisherman, or it may be a topographical name for someone who lived near a fish weir on a river. Here the derivation is from the word "fisc" plus the Middle English "gere" a development of the Old Norse "gervi" meaning weir or apparatus. It may in some case be an Ashkenazic name for a fisherman from the Yiddish word "fisher". Early examples of surname recordings include Michael Fysser, a burgess of Perth in Scotland in 1292, Martin atte Fisshar of Sussex, England, in 1330, Konrad Fischer, given as being the bergmeister of Todtnau, Germany, in 1331. Other early recordings are those of Margaret Fyser who married Phillip Meredyth at St Margarets church, Westminster, on April 22nd 1575 and Murice Fitzer, a witness at the church of St Gregory's by St Pauls (Cathedral), on August 19th 1655. One of the most notable nameholders and an early arctic explorer was George Fisher (1794 - 1873), who acted as astronomer to the Polar expedition of 1818. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard le Fischer, which was dated 1263 in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" for the county of Essex. This was during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.