Joris Jansen Rapalje

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Georges Rapareilliet

Also Known As: "Georges Rapareillet", "Joris Jansen Rapalje", "Joris de Rapalje", "Joris Jansen Rapelje", "Joris Jansen de Rapelje", "Joris Jansen de Rapelji", "Hugenots", "Joris Jansen DeRapalje (Rapareilliet", "Raparlie", "Rapareille Rapalje", "Raparlie", "Rapareille Rapalje"
Birthplace: Valenciennes, Hainut, Spanish Netherlands
Death: February 21, 1663
Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn Parish, Smith & Fulton Street, Breuckelen, New Netherland Colony (possibly heart attack)
Place of Burial: 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 Joris Rapalje; Jannetje Jorise Rapalje; Judith Rapalje; Jan Jorisen Rappalje and 7 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, Occupation Magistrate from 1655 to 1657 New Amsterdam, New Netherland-Plantation Owner
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:

About Joris Jansen Rapalje


  • Joris was born in 1604 in Valenciennes which at the time was a 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, unfortunately his mother is not named on his baptismal record (normal practice).


  • Joris was baptised 28th April 1604 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 700 km south to Rochelle to become a merchant before then travelling a further 1,000 km 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 its 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 ship's name is usually translated as “Unity”) which sailed from Amsterdam on 25th January 1624, arriving in Hudson Bay spring of the same year. This was the ship of Adrian Jorisszen Tienpoint who became the first Governor of New Netherland.
  • 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.
  • 1646 Lot outside fort walls
  • For an eye witness description of the area see NEW NETHERLAND IN 1627. LETTER FROM ISAACK DE RASIERES TO SAMUEL BLOMMAERT


  • 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).


  • There is a 1768 portrait by John Durand called "Rapalje Children" at the New York Historical Society. The description at describes Garrett Rapalje (b. 1730), his wife Helena de Nyse (b. 1732) as the parents of the four children Garrett II (b. 1757), George (b. 1759), Anne (b. 1762), and Jacques (b. 1752). Garrett was the son of George Janse Rapalje and Diana Middach. The caption says he was "descended from Joris Jansen Rapalje, one of the earliest settlers of New Amsterdam."

Further Reading

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

Russell Shorto, Amsterdam, 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

Teunis G. Bergen, "The Bergen family, or, the descendants of Hans Hansen Bergen, one of the early settlers of New York and Brooklyn, L. I., with notes on the genealogy of some of the branches of the Cowenhoven, Voorhees, Eldert,, Stoothoof, Cortelyou, Stryker, Suydam. Lott, Wyckoff, Barkeloo, Lefferts, Martense, Hubbard, Van Brunt, Vanderbilt, Vanderveer, Van Nuyse, and other Long Island families", 1876

John Blythe Dobson "The fraudulent Coligny-Rapalje descent", 2006

History of the City of Brooklyn, Volume 1, page 24-25 (and others), page 85-87 {includes chain of title} by Henry R. Stiles (1887) see especially, footnote on pages 89, 90 & 91

History Aid for Fort Orange
"Eight refugee families from the Spanish Netherlands were brought to provide labor and grow food for the fort, but they were relocated to Manhattan Island two years later for their own safety..."


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Joris Jansen Rapalje's Timeline

April 28, 1604
Valenciennes, Hainut, Spanish Netherlands
April 28, 1604
St Nicolas, Valenciennes, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
April 28, 1604
Valenciennes-Est, Valenciennes, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Age 18
New York, New York
Age 18
Fort Orange (now Albany), New Netherlands
Age 18
Fort Orange (now Albany), New Netherlands
Age 18