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.
The search bar below will search across all translated material on this page.
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 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. The Secretary of New Netherland was responsible for recording public documents for potential presentation in court. These volumes contain a wide range of documents, including depositions, contracts, wills, and estate inventories.
• Volume 1, 1638–1642 (translation and partial transcription)
• Volume 2, 1642–1647 (translation and transcription)
• Volume 3, 1648–1660 (transcription only)
Council Minutes. These volumes contain the minutes of the council of New Netherland.
• Volume 4, 1652–1654 (transcription only)
Correspondence. These volumes collect the official correspondence of Petrus Stuyvesant, Director-General of New Netherland. They begin with his arrival in North America in 1647.
• Volume 11, 1647–1653 (translation only)
• Volume 12, 1654–1658 (translation only)
Curaçao Papers. This collection of documents—ship manifests, land grants, official reports, and resolutions—chronicles Dutch rule of Curaçao as a Caribbean trading center. These documents are from the files of Petrus Stuyvesant who served as director-general of New Netherland, Curaçao, Bonaire, and Aruba.
• Volume 17, Curaçao Papers, 1640–1665 (translation, transcription, and manuscript images)
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
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.
• Memorandum Book of Antony de Hooges introduction and translation
• Memorandum Book of Antony de Hooges transcription
• Memorandum Book of Antony de Hooges manuscript images at site of the New York State Library
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.