The Beethoven family tree can be traced back to the mid 13th century. The name appears in chronicles of Flemish cities, in parts of northern France, in Mechlin and Antwerp. Two possible theories of the origins of the name are:
– van (the) Hof (Beet-Garden) – grower of Beets
– after the Belgium town of Betouwe (“be” – better; “ouwe” -land).
Source: Marek, George (1969) Beethoven: Biography of a Genius. London: William Kimber, p.28.