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New Amsterdam - Notable Citizens

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  • Cornelis Melyn (bef.1600 - c.1663)
    After several trading voyages between Europe and America, Cornelius Melyn immigrated with his family to America aboard the "Den Byckenboom" ship on August 14,1641. The ship arrived in Nieuw A...
  • Michiel Paulus Vandervoort (1615 - c.1692)
    Marriage Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York -Samuel S. Purple 1640 18 Nov; Michiel Paulus, jm van dermonde in Vlaenderen; Maria Rappalje, jd van N. Nederlt Chi...
  • Joris Jansen Rapalje (bef.1604 - 1663)
    Birth 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). ...
  • Johannes Pieterszen Van Brugh (1624 - 1697)
    Corporal Blue Flag Co, Burgner Corps 1652-3 New Amsterdam, President of the Bench 1662 Provincial Envoy to Amsterdam 1664 Burgemeister 1673-4 Captain, New Orange 1673-4
  • Anthony Colve (deceased)
    Zie Wikipedia... Anthonij Colve, was in sept. 1668 vaandrig in de compagnie van kapitein Bernard de Beaufort (regiment Schotte) (zie aldaar); verbleef toen in Zeeland na terugkeer uit Suriname; 2...


This chapter includes...

  • Governors of New Netherland
  • Great Burghers (1657-1668)
  • Notable Citizens...

Governors of Nieuw-Nederland (New Netherland)

Great Burghers

Between 1657-1668, New Amsterdam ran a system of citizenship, meant to protect the interests of the citizens against the commercial competition of non-resident traders. The system recognized 'great burghers' and 'small burghers'.

This, in effect, created a certain 'aristocracy' as it confirmed the positions of the most powerful families in the colony. Besides the fact that the title of 'great burgher' was hereditary, one of its privileges was access to the highest public positions in the colony.

Nevertheless, the system had fundamentally democratic principles, because everyone could become a citizen of both types - depending on a few rules and the payment of a fee. Per 1657, twenty citizens were privileged as 'great burghers', whilst a further 216 became 'small burghers'. More citizens acquired the status throughout the existence of the system.

The 'great burghers' in 1657 were:

Notable Citizens in the New Netherland settlements and towns

Currently being researched:

  • Mayors (in Dutch: burgemeesters)
  • Aldermen (in Dutch: schepenen)
  • Bailiffs (in Dutch: schouten, or baljuws)
  • Schoolmasters
  • Clergymen

sticker_new_right.gif Multi-document resource on Roots Web

Early Governance

Though New Netherland was a province of Holland, the colony was run in its early days by the Dutch West India Company. The early governors of the colony were also called 'Directors', and they ran the colony as a business. Though all major decisions about the colony were taken by the WIC in Amsterdam, the governors appointed their own council for the management of practical affairs in the colony.

Council of the Province of New Netherland

Minuit's Council - 1626-1632

  • Peter Bylevelt
  • Jacob Elbertsen Wissinck
  • Jan Jansen Brouwer
  • Symon Dirckssen Post
  • Reynert Harmensen
  • Isaac de Rasières, secretary

Twiller's Council - 1633-1638

The New Amsterdam Council

Before the incorporation of New Amsterdam as a city, in 1653, the affairs of the settlement were run by the governor, assisted by a council of elected men (a first form of direct representation of the citizens). The council is identified by their number upon election. Below, we list all recorded members.

Twelve Men (elected August 29, 1641, abolished February 18, 1642)

Eight Men (elected in 1643 and 1645)

Nine Men (elected in 1647, 1649, 1650 and 1652)

New Amsterdam



Attorney General & Bailiffs (in Dutch: Schout-Fiscaal)


Ministers of the Reformed Dutch Church (in Dutch: Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk)














New Haarlem


New Utrecht




  • Brandt Peelen, in 1630




St Mary's