Joris Jansen Rapalje

Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, United States

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Georges Rapareilliet

Nicknames: "Georges Rapareillet", "Joris Jansen Rapalje", "Joris de Rapalje", "Joris Jansen de Rapelje", "Joris Jansen de Rapelji"
Birthplace: Valenciennes, Hainut, Spanish Netherlands
Death: Died in Breuckelen, New Netherland Colony
Cause of death: possibly a heart attack
Place of Burial: said to be the first burial in the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery, Flatbush, Kings County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jean Rapareilliet and Unnamed mother of Georges Rapareilliet
Husband of Catalyntje Trico
Father of Sara Jorise Rapelje; Marritje Jorise Van Der Voort; Jannetje Jorise Rapalje; Judith Joris Van Nest; Jan Joriszen Rapalje and 6 others
Half brother of Jehenne Rapareillet; Maria Rapareillet; Jeanne Rapareillet; Olivier Rapareillet; Anne Rapareillet and 3 others

Occupation: Borat worker / tavern keeper / chief boatswain / farmer / magistrate
Managed by: R.W. Prinkey
Last Updated:

About Georges Rapareilliet


  • Joris was born in 1604 in Valenciennes which at the time was town in the province of Hainut in the southern part of the Spanish Netherlands (now in the Nord department of northern France).
  • Joris was the youngest child of Jean Rapareilliet but his mother is not named on his baptismal record (normal practice).


  • Joris was baptised 28th April 1606 in the church of St Nicolaes in Valenciennes under the name “Georges Rapareilliet”.
  • Georges/Joris’ baptismal record lists him as an illegitimate child (this is not the case for his six older siblings), there are several theories to explain this, the strongest of which is that Joris’ mother was not his father’s wife (Elizabet) but rather an unnamed woman with whom his father had an affair.

Early Life

  • Joris’ (step- ?) mother, Elizabet, died when he was nearly two years old and his father died not long after meaning Joris would have grown up in the household of an older sibling or perhaps an aunt or uncle or god-parent.
  • Alleged references in colonial documents to a link between Joris and the port city of Rochelle, France have led some genealogists to suggest that Joris had traded as a merchant in Rochelle prior to moving to Amsterdam, however, it seems highly unlikely that a poor nineteen year old Walloon boy might have travelled 700km south to Rochelle to become a merchant before then travelling a further 1,000km north to work as a poor textile manufacturer in Amsterdam.


  • An intention to marry, Dutch “ondertrouwregister”, was lodged in Amsterdam 13th January 1624 for a marriage between “Joris Raparlie from Valenciennes, boart worker, age 19 years, residing on the Walenpad, and Catharina Trico from Pris in Wallonsland, accompanied by Mary Flemengh, her sister, riesiding in the Nes, age 18”. (NB: a boart worker is involved in the manufacture of woven cloth from wool).
  • On 21st January 1624 they married in the Walloon Church in Amsterdam.
  • Only eight days between announcement and marriage is against all socially acceptable norms of 17th century Dutch society and many researchers suspect that the West India Company must have used it’s influence with the Dutch church to ensure that Joris and Catharina could be married before they departed for the colonies.


  • The first vessel to bring agricultural colonists to the Hudson Valley was the Eendracht (named for a phrase in the Dutch national motto the ships name is usually translated as “Unity”) refe wiki which sailed from Amsterdam on 25th January 1624, arriving in Hudson Bay spring of the same year.
  • The best accounts of the ships’ arrival and subsequent events in the following weeks are Catharina’s own famous depositions of 1680 and 1688. Joris and Catharina settled at Fort Orange (present day Albany, NY) with several other families.

Fort Orange

  • Previously an armed trading outpost the West India Company wanted permanent settlers to strengthen the validity of their claim to the territory.
  • Joris’ first child, Sara, was born at Fort Orange on 9th June 1625.
  • Sara claimed in her life time to have been the "the first-born Christian daughter" in the colony of New Netherlands. This is often mis-quoted as the “first-born Christian child”, in either case it is highly possible that neither statement is true, Sebastian Janszen Krol said in a statement to the Amsterdam Consistory, on 14th November 1624 , "that there are pregnant women there [meaning the colonies in America]." As Krol would have departed Fort Orange mid-1624 to be in Amsterdam in November and Sara was not born until mid-1625 the pregnant women referred to cannot have included Sara’s mother.

New Amsterdam

  • All the families at Fort Orange were relocated by the West India Company to the new settlement of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island soon after the harvest of 1626.
  • At first the family probably lived near the East River.
  • Later the family built two houses at numbers 17 and 19 Pearl Street (daughter Sara by then was married and living at number 15).
  • Joris’ other ten children were born in New Amsterdam and it is likely the family lived on Pearl Street until 22nd June 1654 when Joris sold his property and removed to his farm at Wale bocht, where he lived the rest of his life.
  • Colonial records show that Joris worked as trader and tavern keeper as well as being part-owner of a privateer and entering public office and is referred to in one legal document as a "chief boatswain".
  • Joris was appointed to the famous Board of Twelve Men between 29th August 1641 and 18th February 1642 to advise Governor Kieft on policy for dealing with the native Indian population.


  • Joris bought, on 16th June 1637, a farm containing one hundred and sixty morgens or three hundred and thirty-five acres from the Indians land at the Wallabout (the Dutch called it Wale bocht) in present Brooklyn - the first acreage to be purchased in that part of Long Island, adjacent to the East River. This famous Rapalje farm was called "Rinnegakonck" because it was at a stream named such by the indians.
  • On the 17th June 1643, his Indian purchase was patented to him by Governor Kieft, described as "a piece of land called Rinnegakonck [Waaleboght, or Wallabout Bay], formerly purchased by him of the Indians, as will appear by reference to the transport, lying on Long Island, in the bend of Mereckkawick [Indian name for Brooklyn], east of the land of Jan Monfoort, extending along the said land in a southerly direction, towards and into the woods ..."
  • In 1655, 1656, 1657, 1660, and 1662 he was a schepen (magistrate) in Breuckelen (Brooklyn).


  • Joris died during a meeting of the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn 21st February 1663 and was allegedly the first person to be buried in the cemetery of that church (the church still stands on the corner of Flatbush and Smith Streets in Flatbush, NY).


Further Reading

The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto, Random House, 2005

Amsterdam, Russell Shorto, Random House, 2013

George Olin Zabriskie, "The Founding Families of New Netherland, No. 4 - The Rapalje - Rapelje Family", 1972

Hugh T. Law, "Chapter 7, Ancestors Traced to France: Joris Jansen De Rapalje and Catharine Trico," How To Trace Your Ancestors to Europe, 1987

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Joris Jansen Rapalje's Timeline

April 28, 1604
Valenciennes, Hainut, Spanish Netherlands
April 28, 1604
Valenciennes, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
January 21, 1624
Age 19
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
Age 19
Fort Orange

the newly married couple came on the first boat of immigrants to New Netherlands

June 9, 1625
Age 21
Fort Orange, New Netherland Colony

"Sarah was considered the first European born in what would become New York" (Island at the Center of the World, Shorto)

Age 21

From Zabriskie

Soon after the harvest in 1626 the Rapaljes' sojourn at Fort Orange terminated when the Company re-settled all eight families there in Manhattan. With their removal from the area, Fort Orange ceased to be a settlement and reverted to its former status of fortified trading post; and so it remained for several years. In 1630 a small number of Rensselaerwyck colonists arrived, some with families. Another group came in 1631; and others followed. For these people the fort provided protection and a source of supply. Long afterward, in 1652, the village of Beverwyck was established encompassing Fort Orange within its boundaries.

The re-location of families downriver was pursuant to the Company decision to establish a center of operations for New Netherland on Manhattan. Selection of this locale over the initially favored Burlington Island in the Delaware River made it necessary to build up the site, called New Amsterdam, and for this purpose Company-obligated colonists were brought together on the southern tip of Manhattan.

March 11, 1627
Age 22
New Amsterdam, New York
August 18, 1629
Age 25
New York, USA
July 5, 1635
Age 31
Fort Orange,Albany,New York,USA
August 28, 1637
Age 33
New Amsterdam, New York