Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Het gat

That literally means "the hole" but can also, I believe, mean "the inlet" in a geographic sense (where is SK?). The previous post got me thinking about the origin of the name Barnegat, and I think I'd heard way back in seventh-grade "Social Studies" class that it was derived from something Dutch (and I think around that time I was in the nascency of my nederlandophilia). A memorable class went something like this: "What are some local Indian place names?" Mantoloking, Manalapan, Assunpink... "What are some local Dutch place names?" Kill Van Kull, Schuylkill, Hoboken.

Well, apparently, Barnegat comes from the phrase barnde gat or barende gat (see here and here). I even found an example of a Barnde Gat that still exists in Nederland:

Noorder IJplas
Locatie: Ten noordwesten van Amsterdam, staat ook bekend als Barnde Gat.

[NB: greater detail of the 1878 map above can be seen here and here.]

1 comment:

SubtleKnife said...

I'm here!

Yes, "gat" literally means hole, but can also signify an inlet or a strait (cf Kattegat).
And "baren" are rough waves, so a "bar(e)nde gat" could be a place that causes waves to pile up and/or break.

This reminds me of a nursery rhyme:
Varen, varen, over de baren,
Varen, varen, over de zee

I was going to bitch about Hoboken being in Belgium, but fortunately realised on time that the naming happened before 1830...

And thanks for that list, some of course are quite well known, but I never knew about Rhode Island, Catskill, or Greenwich (which I had assumed was named for the one in Greater London)