This project is created to support the research into genealogy of the African immigrant population in New Netherland (1609-1674). Because of the 'special nature' of this immigration, the reconstruction of African family trees in New Netherland (and beyond) is particularly challenging. Through the project, collaborators will bring together profiles and supporting documentation to facilitate the research.
By and large, it is estimated that the African residents of New Netherland represented about 10% of the population of the province. Whilst most African immigrants were brought in as slaves, some acquired a certain degree of freedom and the right to property and family.
In response to a petition by 10 Africans, the Council of New Netherland and its Director, Willem Kieft, struck an ordinance in 1644 which gave these Africans a level of freedom. The text of this ordinance can be found here.
The Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam started to keep baptismal records in 1639. From those early days, the birth of Africans has been recorded. However, the church considered that, to be baptized, any person had to be christian and free. As a result, these baptismal records only give us a very limited insight into the African population of New Amsterdam. But, it's a start.
The first free Africans
The following list below gives us the names of the ten Africans that benefited from the 1644 ordinance of the Council of New Netherland (spelling may vary):
- Paulo Angola
- Big Manuel
- Manuel Pietersen Minuit, AKA 'Little Manuel'
- Manuel de Gerrit de Reus, AKA 'Emanuel Swager'
- Simon Congo
- Anthony Fernando Portugis, AKA Gratia d'Angola
- Peter Santomee
- Jan Francisco
- Antonio Cleyn, AKA 'Little Anthony'
- Jan Fort Orange
For the benefit of providing a framework to capture the genealogy of these immigrants, the initiators of this project decided to consider them as brothers. If research allows us to confirm separate ancestry, this will be corrected.
Chronology of arrival
(Work in progress)
The following is a chronology of arrival for documented delivery of African slaves:
- 1626 : the first 11 Africans arrive
- 1628 : 3 women from Angola arrive
- 1630 : 20 men and 30 women arrive (captured by GWIC ships from a Portuguese slaver)
- 1636 : 3 blacks arrive
- 1642 : a French privateer, La Garce, arrives with slaves
- 1646 : a cargo of slaves arrives from Brazil
- 1652 : the slaver 'St Anthoni' (Spanish, captured by a Dutch privateer) brings in 20 men, 10 women, 2 more adults, 12 children
- 1655 : the slaver 'Witte Paert' brings in slaves directly from the Bight of Guinea
- 1659 : the slaver 'Sphera Mundi' brings 4 men and 1 woman from Curaçao
- 1660 : the slaver 'Eyckenboom' brings in slaves
- 1661 : the slaver 'New Netherland Indian' brings in two cargos, one with 36 slaves from Curaçao
- 1664 : the slaver 'Musch' brings in 24 male, 15 female and 1 child slave
- 1664 : the slaver 'Gideon' brings in 290 slaves, of which 115 men and 103 women (others unknown)
About adding profiles to this project
The initial profiles added to this project are the above eleven African immigrants. All additional profiles need to be original immigrants (not descendants born in America).