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New Amsterdam - Notable Citizens

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  • Rachel Vigne (bef.1623 - 1663)
    Baptism 19 Mar 1623: Baptism of Rachel, daughter of Guillain Vigne. Witnesses: Henri Lambert, Pierre de Fache and Marguerite Vigne. Leiden Walloon Church Children 1646 Jun 10; Cornelis Va...
  • Michiel Janszen Vreeland (1610 - c.1663)
    (aka) 1647 Jan 20; Michiel Janszen Van de Berg ; Enoch; Jacob Stoffleszen, Adriaen Dirckszen, Brechtie Maryns ~• from New Amsterdam Baptisms Project Michiel Jansen [Vreeland] (1610-1663) was born in ...
  • Aucke Janse van Nuys (1622 - 1698)
    AUCKE JANSZ was probably born 1622 in Nuys, Groningen Province, Netnerlands, the son of Jan Goosens and Ebelken Hermans. Jan Goossens was born about 1581 in Dokkum, Friesland and was a cloth shearer wh...
  • Cornelis Luycasz van Tienhoven (c.1611 - 1656)
    From the English Wikipedia page on Cornelis van Tienhoven: Cornelis van Tienhoven (ca. 1601 Utrecht- November 1656 ?, Manhattan ?) was secretary of the New Netherlands from 1638 to 1656 and as such...
  • Johannes de Peyster (1666 - 1711)
    Johannes was Baptised in New Amsterdam at the Dutch Reformed Church 1666 Sep 22; Johannes de Peyster, Cornelia Luberts; Johannes ; Johannes Van Brug, Jacques Couseau, Margareta de Riemer scholtz.or...


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







St Mary's