E. B. O'Callaghan

Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan became keeper of historical manuscripts for the state of New York in 1848. In that role, he completed the original translation of the Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1638–1642 . . .

The Secretary of New Netherland was an employee of the Dutch West India Company. He was responsible for recording and authenticating official documents for potential presentation in court. Along with the director general and other councilors, he was also a member of the Provincial Council, the colony's main governing body.

The Register contains a vast array of legal documents that were filed with the secretary in conjunction with civil and criminal proceedings. Records relating to the administration of real property include deeds, leases, mortgages, indentures, patents, and surveys. Commercial records include contracts, inventories, agreements, accounts, bonds, returns, receipts, bills of sale, certificates, invoices, and charters. Records relating to personal and family matters include powers of attorney, wills, estate inventories, marriage contracts, adoptions, complaints, protests, and counter protests. Documentation of other civil and criminal matters appears in declarations, affidavits, reports, discharges, stipulations, appointments, assignments of claims, notices of appeal, minutes of interviews, mandamuses, manumissions, like bonds, and bequests.

This is the first volume of the Dutch Colonial Manuscripts at the New York State Archives and the first of three volumes in the series Register of the Provincial Secretary. In the 19th century, E. B. O'Callaghan reorganized the original 49 record books of New Netherland into this series based on document type and time period. O'Callaghan translated these documents in the mid-nineteenth century, and A. J. F. van Laer undertook a new translation in 1911. His initial work and the original documents burned in the disastrous fire in the New York State Library that year. Van Laer subsequently completed a revised translation based on O'Callaghan's original that was published in 1974 as Volume I in the New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch series. Van Laer's transcriptions of documents 95 –143, which were at his home, survived the fire. Those transcriptions are also presented here.

For more on the arrangement and publication of the Dutch Colonial Manuscripts, see the compilation of the introductions to the New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch / New Netherland Documents Series.

Volume 1, Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1638–1642 translation (published book images)

Volume 1, Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1638–1642 transcription (doc's 95 – 143 only)

About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


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