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New Amsterdam - Notable Citizens

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  • Jacobus Backer (c.1631 - aft.1666)
    Jacob came to New Amsterdam as a merchant • one of the 93 who signed the Remonstrance that convinced Stuyvesant to surrender New Netherland to the British in September 1664. Marriage 1655 30 Oc...
  • Joost van den Bogaert (c.1589 - aft.1642)
    Joost van den Bogaert, involved in the earliest days of the New Netherland colonies, the South or Delaware River especially, married Angnieta (Niesjen) Jans Selijns in February 1618. Joost van den Bo...
  • Rev. Johannes Rizema (1707 - 1794)
    Reverend Johannes Ritzema was born at Friesland, Netherland and died 07 April 1794 at Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York. biographical notes From The New York Genealogical and Biographical Recor...
  • Jan Brouwer (c.1628 - 1702)
    Jan Brouwer was born ca. 1628 at Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He married Jannetje Jans at Europe ca. 1653.5 Jan Brouwer died after 17 November 1702 at probably Flatlands, Kings Co., Long Island, New...
  • Jacob Jansen Moesman (1616 - aft.1665)
    Merchant with a store on Wall Street Marriage inschrijvingsdatum: 03-03-1646 naam bruidegom: Moesman, Jacob Jansz naam bruid: Barents, Hilletje naam eerdere man: Jansz, Tadick bronverwijzing: DTB...


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

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

  • Jacques Bentyn
  • Reynert Harmensen
  • Andries Hudde
  • Martin Gerritsen van Bergen
  • Jacobus van Curler
  • Lubertuse van Dincklage
  • Claes van Elslant

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)


  • 1633-1643 : Adam Roelantsen
  • 1643-1648 : Jan Stevensen
  • 1648-1648 : Jan Cornelissen van Hoorn
  • 1648-1649 : Pieter van der Linde (interim)
  • 1649-1655 : Willem Verstius
  • 1655-1660 : Harmanus van Hoboken
  • 1660-1665 : Johannes de la Montagne
  • 1665-xxxx : Evert Pietersen

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














New Haarlem


New Utrecht




  • Brandt Peelen, in 1630




St Mary's