Kreu(t)zwendedich

In the Netherlands the surname Kreutzwendedich von dem Borne (with a letter t) is being used instead of Kreuzwendedich von dem Borne. The addition of the letter t happened by mistake in the birth certificate of Ernst Wilhelm, born in 1903 in Wonosobo (Kedoe, Midden-Java) (1).

The name Kreuzwendedich started in the family as an extra first name. The name is derived from the sentence Kreuz, wende Dich! “Cross, turn around”. This first name was given to a newborn child when an earlier born child had already died, a custom not only used in the von dem Borne family but also in other noble families (2). This custom started after the Thirty years’ war (1618-1648) had resulted in widespread devastation and loss of lives. In the 18th century the name Kreuzwendedich became heritable in the family (3, 4). Nowadays it is no longer used by the German descendants and has been integrated in the surname of part of the Dutch descendants.

In the family ran a legend suggesting that the family name originates from the Crusades (3, 4). A young crusader was collecting water from a well for Kaiser Barbarossa. A female Saracen, who liked the crusader, told him that the well had been poisoned. By shouting “Kreuz wende dich von dem borne (cross turn away from the well)” he prevented the poisoning of the Kaiser. Next he was made a noble man and given this name. This legend may not be more than a poetic imagination, since the use of Kreuzwende only started in 1630 (3, 4).

1. Nederland’s Adelsboek 80; 271-278 (1989)

2. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kreuzwendedich

3. Elisabeth von Viehahn, Berneuchen und Seine Herren

4. Georg Schmidt, Die Familie von dem Borne mit dem namesverwandten geschlechtern