Name and variants:
Craei, Craeij, Craij, Kraaij, Kraei, Kraeij, Kraij, de Kraai, de Kraaij, van Kraaij, van Kraaij, van de Kraai, van de Kraaij, van der Kraai, van der Kraaij etc.

Family Name History
The Dutch family name Van der Kraaij originates from the Netherlands. It is classified as being of nickname origin. Surnames  derived from a nickname are  one of the widest and most varied classes of family names. This particular category includes many different types of origin. The most obvious are those names which are based on a physical characteristic or personal attribute of the initial bearer. In this particular instance, the surname Van der Kraaij was based upon the mediaeval Dutch word “craeye”, denoting a “crow” or “raven”. According to scholars, this sobriquet was often used to describe an individual regarded by his companions as loud or voluble, one who was inclined in discussion and controversy. The nickname might also have referred to a person who habitually dressed in black or displaced an austere or somber demeanor.  

Variants of the surname Van der Kraaij include “Kraiij”, “Craay”, “Craeys” and “Kraai”. One of the earliest references to this name or to a variant is a record of one “Sebastiaan Craeys”, who was the prior of a monastery in Antwerp from 1502 to 1537. However, research is still ongoing and the name may have been documented even earlier than the date mentioned.  

In the Netherlands, formerly called Holland, the name Van der Kraaij and its many variants can be found in the provinces of North and South Holland. In particular in Delft and Delftshaven (Delft’s harbour), near Rotterdam in South Holland Province, the name traditionally is of frequent occurrence. In the province of North Holland the name exists in and around Broek op Waterland.  

This name was introduced to the United States as early as 1847, in which year we find a record of the emigration of Evert Kraai, who sailed to Baltimore. The name could of course have been first introduced to that country at an earlier date.


Sources, e-mail addresses and other relevant information.

  1. The foregoing is partly based on research carried out by the Historical Research Center, USA

  2. It is also based on Theo van der Kraaij’s website with a database of hundreds Van der Kraaij’s and related variants. This is an extraordinary interesting website containing a database with hundreds of Van der Kraaij’s (and variants), going back to the 17th century, set up and maintained by Theo van der Kraaij, New Zealand. Here you can find e.g:
    Craeij and Craij
    Kraaij, Kraei, Kraeij and Kraij

  3. Besides, the information from these sources has been supplemented by personal knowledge of the present author. Here you can find his family background and the genealogical tree going back as far as 1702 (nine generations).