Freij
I was wondering if anyone had any information on the origin and meaning of the surname Freij. I've been searching but haven't been able to find anything, so any information would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Freij is a Frisian surname which has the same meaning as German Frei whose origin you'll find at http://www.ancestry.com/facts/frei-family-history.ashx
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It's not a Frisian surname, it's the Dutch spelling of a German surname. Being Dutch myself, and knowing the difference between typical Dutch surnames and typical Frisian surnames (and I do know about Frisian, since Friesland is a Dutch province), I should know.But well, in addition to Marc's link (which is American and commercial, not necessarily scientific, by the way), here's also a useful link. It's mainly in Dutch, unfortunately, but it's one of the best and highly regarded scientific websites for Dutch surnames (and some German ones as well, mainly those of German immigrants). Frisian surnames are included there as well, of course, since Friesland is a Dutch province. :)http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nfb/index.php?taal=eng
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Thank you for the information and link. It was very helpful.
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The spelling looks Dutch to me. According to the Dutch Surnames Database, however, this surname seems to originate from an other language: most likely German, since Frei was among the related surnames listed there. So, in short, Freij would be a 'dutchized' spelling of the German surname Frei (derived from German frei "free"). Compare archaic (i.e. medieval) German frey (and freyheit, freyheyt "freedom") and archaic (i.e. medieval) Dutch vrey (and vreyheyt, vreyheit also "freedom"). There are more variant spellings (such as freijheijt for medieval German, and vreijheijt for medieval Dutch), since in medieval times, there wasn't a standard spelling and many people were not proficient in writing - but I won't go further into that. However, this definitely makes one see how closely related Dutch and German are, especially in medieval times.Either way, in modern German, it's frei and freiheit, and in modern Dutch, it's vrij and vrijheid. You see that German has an f- where Dutch has a v-, which makes it even more likely that the surname is German in origin. It looks like one of your earliest ancestors originated from Germany, then settled in The Netherlands (or Flanders) - and after a while of living there, the surname became Freij (unless it already was Freij, as a medieval German variant spelling of Frey) - like I said before, there wasn't a standard spelling in medieval times). This kind of thing happened all the time back in the day. A surname's spelling only became permanent (in most of continental Europe) after Napoléon introduced the civil registry at the end of the 18th century.But to make a long story short, this surname is most likely German in origin (and if not, then it's Dutch in origin - I guess it all depends on where your earliest known ancestor came from, long before one of his descendants emigrated to the USA) and its meaning is definitely "free".Well, I hope that helped. :)

This message was edited by the author 11/14/2010, 4:27 AM

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Thank you for the information. The family is Middle Eastern and we weren't sure what the origins could be. This was very helpful. Thanks again.

This message was edited by the author 11/21/2010, 4:43 PM

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That's interesting - sounds like one male ancestor of that family at one point visited the Middle East, fell in love with a woman there, subsequently married her and then settled down with her in her native country. At least, that seems one of the possible scenarios to me, because it certainly generally is very rare to see a traditional Western name on a Middle Eastern family. :)
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There is a Lebanese surname, Freij. I don't know its meaning, it may be a variant of the male given name Faraj, "repose, ease". There was a Christian mayor of Bethlehem called Ilyas Freij.
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This makes more sense. Freïj is a placename in Lebanon as you can see at http://tinyurl.com/2dka79w
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Freij,est,un,nom,ou,prénom,arabe,dont,la,signification,est:
celui,qui,a,vu,la,fin,de,ses,difficultés,ou,problemes.
Merci,de,bien,vouloir,traduire,MARC.
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Translation: "Freij is an Arabic surname or given name which means 'one who has seen the end of his troubles or problems'."
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