The New Netherland Research Center is making available digitized versions of translations and transcriptions of documents relating to New Netherland. Written in an archaic hand, these seventeenth-century documents were damaged by fire and water, but they are our best source of knowledge about the former Dutch colony. Available on this website are government records held by the New York State Archives, private and corporate papers from the collections of the New York State Library, and selected documents from other repositories. Scanned originals of many of these documents are available on the websites of the New York State Archives and New York State Library.
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Guides and Finding Aids
The Guide to Dutch Manuscripts Relating to New Netherland is a catalog of primary source material located in repositories throughout the United States. The purposes of the Guide are to 1) describe relevant documents and collections and 2) provide researchers with their location. Originally compiled in 1977 and 1978 by Dr. Charles Gehring, the Guide was updated in 2010–2012.
• Dr. Gehring's original Guide can be found here in PDF format.
• The digital update to the Guide can be searched here.
• A text version of the Guide that incorporates recent findings, with hyperlinks to available online translations is coming soon.
This compilation of the introductions to the New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch / New Netherland Documents series translations contains 13 introductions and allows researchers to quickly acquaint themselves with the content of these publications.
From the Collections of the New York State Archives
Register of the Provincial Secretary, containing a wide range of documents including depositions, contracts, estate inventories, leases, deeds, wills, bonds, powers of attorney, and other private instruments.
• Volume 1, 1638–1642 (translation and partial transcription)
• Volume 2, 1642–1647 (translation and transcription)
• Volume 3, 1648–1660 (translation and transcription)
Council Minutes, containing the executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings of the Director General and Council of New Netherland.
• Volume 4, 1638–1649 (transcription and translation)
• Volume 5, 1652–1654 (translation)
• Volume 6, 1655–1656 (translation)
Correspondence, containing the correspondence of Director General Stuyvesant with the directors of the West India Company, the governors of neighboring colonies and the subordinate officers in New Netherland.
• Volume 11, 1647–1653 (translation)
• Volume 12, 1654–1658 (translation)
Laws & Writs of Appeal, containing ordinances and writs of appeal.
• Volume 16, part 1, 1647–1663 (translation coming soon)
Fort Orange Court Minutes, containing the proceedings of the court of Fort Orange.
• Volume 16, Part 2, 1652–1660 (translation)
Curaçao Papers, containing ship manifests, land grants, official reports, and resolutions relating to the administration of the island of Curaçao. These documents chronicle Dutch rule of Curaçao as a Caribbean trading center.
• Volume 17, 1640–1665 (translation, transcription, and manuscript images)
Delaware Papers, a continuous series of manuscripts from the beginning of the Dutch period through the period of English rule containing a wide range of documents pertaining to the administration of the region.
• Volumes 18 & 19, 1648–1664 (translation and transcription)
• Volumes 20 & 21, 1664–1682 (translation)
Land Papers, containing patents, deeds, and conveyances.
• Volumes GG, HH & II, 1630–1664 (translation)
From the Collections of the Albany County Hall of Records
Fort Orange Records, containing the oldest surviving archival papers of the Dutch community that eventually became Albany.
• Volume A, 1656–1678 (translation coming soon)
• Volume B, 1654–1679 (translation coming soon)
Minutes of the Court of Albany, Rensselaerswyck and Schenectady, 1668–1685 (translation coming soon)
This series contains similar types of information found in the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwijck minutes; only the name of the court has changed. The volumes summarize the day to day proceedings of the court and document common cases involving property disputes, acknowledgement of debts and slander
From the Collections of the New York State Library
Van Rensselaer Manor Papers. The court minutes of Rensselaerswijck along with the business and personal correspondence of patroon Jeremias van Rensselaer (1632–1674) and his wife Maria (1645–1688/89) chronicle social, economic, legal, and governmental aspects of life on the patroonship.
• Correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer - Translation
• Correspondence of Maria van Rensselaer - Translation
• Court Minutes of Rensselaerswijck - Translation
• Manuscript Images for Correspondence and Court Minutes from the Digital Collections of the New York State Library
The Memorandum Book of Antony de Hooges (translation, transcription, and manuscript images)
Antony de Hooges served as business manager of Rensselaerswijck, beginning somewhere between March 1645 and February 1646 and running through March 1648. De Hooges recorded the colony’s business and some personal observations in the Memorandum Book.
From the Collections of the New-York Historical Society
Govert Loockermans: Correspondence and Papers. (transcription and translation; manuscript images coming soon)
From the Collections of the New York Public Library
The New Netherland Papers of Hans Bontemantel. Hans Bontemantel was a director of the Dutch West India Company's Amsterdam Chamber, which supervised the governance of New Netherland. In addition to official correspondence, this collection contains private communications from Director-General Petrus Stuyvesant and his First Councilor Nicasius de Sille.
From the Collections of the Scheepvaart Museum in Amsterdam
Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts. This collection comprises a great variety of papers, including journals of voyages, deeds, leases, contracts, accounts and inventories of cattle; but the most important item is a volume containing copies of letters, memorials and instructions written between the years 1630 and 1643 by Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the founder of the colony of Rensselaerswyck, to his colonists, to officials of the West India Company, to his copartners and to the States General. Nearly all the papers relate primarily to the establishment and the early development of the colony of Rensselaerswyck, but incidentally they touch on many matters relating to settlement in other parts of the province of New Netherland as well.
Peter Stuyvesant's 1665 certification of land grants to manumitted slaves (transcription with translation)
Guide to Seventeenth-Century Dutch Coins, Weights & Measures — a glossary of terms that appear in the above records.
A compilation of other published primary sources available online can be found at the site New Netherland and Beyond.