Has anyone ever delved into the possible origins of the Aten (of the Adriaen Hendricksen Aten line) surname?I don't think I've ever seen the issue addressed in any of the literature I've ever seen on him or his descendants.
The Dutch traditionally used a surname-less patronymic system, but began to adopt surnames within a generation or two of settling in Nieuw Nederlandts to conform to local (English) practice.Each individual was know by their first name and the name of their father.For example, if a man named Adriaen had a son named Elbert, the son was called Elbert Adriaensen, or "Elbert, son of Adriaen," the "-sen" being the suffix for "son of."The suffix for women was "-sdochter," or "daughter of."
The most common practice when adopting a surname was for an individual to simply assume his existing patronymic and pass it to his descendants.But Aten doesn't fit this pattern, since it does not end in "-sen" and is not itself used as a given name.
The Dutch also developed other collateral naming systems which operated alone or in tandem with the patronymics.The first consisted of surname taken from their place-names.Often preceded by the prefix "van" meaning "from," these names were taken from such places as home towns or villages, local districts, farm-estates, or similar places.The second consists of names taken from occupations.The next group came from personal characteristics; for example, "Vroom" for "pious;" or "Stille" for "quiet."
Aten does not appear to fit either the second or the third of these, since it does not appear to exist as a word in Dutch (at least in the dictionaries I've been able to reference).
That leaves the geographic possibility.However, I had previously been unable to locate an "Aten" place-name in any Dutch geographic gazeteer.But today I ran across another possibility.
It is generally agreed that Adriaen was from Gelderland Provice; either from the town of Doesburg or Borculo.What caught my eye today though is that there is a small village very close to Borculo named Aalten, in the area called "Achterhoek."
In Dutch, the pronunciations of "Aten" and "Aalten" is very close.And Aalten is in the same province that Adriaen came from, and is a stone's throw from Borculo.Could it be that this is where "Aten" comes from -- just a corruption of the spelling of "Aalten"?