Project: New Netherland Settlers

Categories: United States Projects | New Netherland Settlers Project | Pre-1700 Projects

Welcome to the New Netherland Settlers Project

New Netherland was a 17th-century colony on the east coast of North America, controlled by the Dutch West India Company, located primarily (but not exclusively) in the Hudson River Valley (modern U.S. states of New York and New Jersey). Dutch presence began with Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage of exploration. Dutch control ended on 27 August 1664, when governor Peter Stuyvesant surrendered to invading English forces of the Duke of York (Articles of Capitulation), but the Dutch maintained significant autonomy in New Netherland until 24 October 1674, when the Treaty of Westminster stipulated all Anglo-Dutch hostilities were to end. However, the Dutch-dominated culture of New Netherland continued to characterize the region (the New York Capital District, Hudson Valley, New York City, western Long Island and northern New Jersey) until well into the 19th century.

WikiTree's New Netherland Settlers Project seeks to support the development and maintenance of accurate genealogical information on the people of New Netherland, including settlers during the period of Dutch control (through 1674), descendants of those settlers (through 1776), and others who were a part of the Dutch-dominated New Netherland community.

This page is part of the
New Netherland Setters Project
New Netherland Settlers
New Netherland Descendants 1674-1776
New Netherland Community 1619-1700
People of New Netherland
Help × Families × Immigrants × Ancestors × Resources × Ships × New Netherland
For more information, join our forum discussions at NEW_NETHERLAND


How to Join

Project participants need to be members of WikiTree. If you are not yet a WikiTree member, see Help: How to Use WikiTree to get started.

Are you interested in the New Netherland Settlers Project?new_netherland.gif

If you have any other questions, please see our FAQ page.

Project Information


The Project definition of a New Netherland Settler is based on the criteria used by three lineage societies:

The New Netherland Settlers Project recognizes 24 October 1674, the date that the Treaty of Westminster took effect in North America, as the cutoff date. People who were born or resided in New Netherland territory before the cutoff date, are defined as New Netherland Settlers.

Note: Dutch nationality is not a requirement for being a New Netherland Settler. As a mercantile colony, immigrant arrivals to New Netherland included people from most every part of Europe and the Mediterranean region, as well as Africans (enslaved or free). Also, some of the indigenous people of the region (Native Americans) figured prominently in the history of the colony and are treated as New Netherland Settlers.

In addition, the Project includes the descendants of the Settlers born prior to 1776 and others who became a part of the New Netherland Community prior to 1700, including Huguenots who arrived after 1674.


The New Netherland Settlers project aims to work collaboratively to enhance the accuracy and quality of the profiles of New Netherland people.

Project Involvement in Profile Management

In support of the project's goals, the project seeks identify profiles that fit within the scope of the project and add them to the project by adding the project profile as a profile manager and including a project box template on the profile. All profiles that display project box templates are also required to have the project profile as a profile manager. Some profiles also are project-protected to help prevent erroneous merges and name changes. Please see the WikiTree page Project protection for more information about project protection and Are profiles owned by the projects that manage them? on the WikiTree Project FAQ page for information about project management of profiles.

To have the project profile added as a profile manager of a particular profile, add the appropriate project box template (i.e., {{New Netherland Settler}} or {{New Netherland Descendant}} or {{New Netherland Community}}, depending on the person's life dates and ancestry) at the top of the text section, and (if you have the necessary permissions) add to the Trusted List, then make the New Netherland Settlers Project a profile manager.

Note: When we add the project account as a manager on a profile, it is to partner with current profile managers, never to replace them. Project members, project leadership, and other profile managers are expected to collaborate on maintaining and improving the quality of profiles included in the project.

Naming Conventions


If you are bewildered by New Netherland names, you are hardly the first genealogist to feel that way. Some background to help with understanding New Netherland names:

  • Most New Netherland people of Dutch, Flemish, or Scandinavian extraction did not have modern-style surnames. Instead their last names were patronymics. A patronymic is a name derived from the father's given name, usually by the addition of an affix such as "sen" or "sz." For example, the son of Jan might be recorded with a last name of Jansz, Janz, Jansen, Janse, or Janszen, and the daughter of Jan might be recorded as Jans or Jansdr. See Dutch Patronymics of the 1600s by Lorine McGinnis Schulze for a more detailed introduction to this topic.
  • Many New Netherland people came from places (such as England) where modern-style surnames were in use, and they typically kept their family surnames.
  • Dutch women, including the women of New Netherland, did not customarily use their husbands' last names.
  • Spellings of names and the forms for patronymic names were not consistent.
  • Recordkeeping was typically done by Dutch-speaking people who often had difficulty understanding (and thus writing down) the names of non-Dutch people living in New Netherland.
  • In 1687, the British mandated the adoption of modern-style surnames, but New Netherlanders were slow to comply.
  • There was no one standard rule for choosing a modern-style (permanent) surname. Some families simply passed a patronymic name such as Jansen down to future generations of the family. Other family names were derived from occupational names such as Brouwer (a brewer); personal nicknames such as de Noorman ("the Norman" or "the Norseman"); or geographic identifiers such as van Vechten (from Vechten).

The Naming Conventions of the New Netherland Settlers project apply the WikiTree-wide naming conventions and provide special guidance for dealing with the special challenges encountered with New Netherland names.

Overview of Naming Conventions

It is important to determine the surname and project protect the lowest-numbered WikiTree ID for that surname before merging tons of duplicate profiles, and this project has tons of duplicates for just about everybody. Each duplicate should then be merged directly into the project protected profile (PPP). (This is a technical issue - see "the redirect problem" for details and this G2G post for a great explanation.)

Naming conventions used by the New Netherland Settlers Project include:

Last Name at Birth (LNAB)

The order of preference for the LNAB of New Netherland profiles:

  1. Signature (it must be in an image) - The reasoning for this is that primary sources are rare in the New Netherland. When a signature is discovered, it is likely the only primary account of a name we will discover.
  2. Father's last name on baptism record (unless the father was using a patronymic at the child's baptism; in that case, the baptism record cannot be assumed to show the child's last name, so we look for a later record of a name that the child was recorded with).
  3. Marriage record
  4. Children's baptism records
  5. Court documents

In general, earlier records are better.


As explored in "New Netherland Naming Systems and Customs" in the Jan 1995 issue of the NYGBR, though the British officially ended the use of patronymics in 1687, usage continued; therefore the New Netherland Settlers Project uses what is found in baptism and marriage records.

The first surname (or patronymic) that appears in church records for a person will be used for the Last Name at Birth (within reason). Other last names, including names later adopted by the family, are placed in the Other Last Names field where the names can be found through searches and profile creation forms.

The project does not use patronymics derived from baptism records that don't include a surname, as the Last Name at Birth. These patronymics should be added after the given name in the First Name field.

It is sometimes difficult to separate family names from other words that were used to describe or to disambiguate a person. In records, people were sometimes described by location (toponymic), by profession or even nicknames they had somehow earned.

Naming of Married Women

Consistent with customary practice in the Netherlands and the other European countries they came from, married women in New Netherland generally did not use their husbands' last names. This practice changed gradually over time. The Current Last Name for a married woman should not be her husband's last name unless a contemporary record shows her using that name during her lifetime (or at her death). If published genealogies or other modern sources identify her with a husband's last name that she is not documented to have used, that name may be listed as an "Other Last Name."

To Do

Beware of bogus information found in many New Netherland family trees due to software errors!!

Future Goals

  • Create more New Netherland Census Free Space pages and link them to profiles.
  • Link baptism witnesses in church records to their profiles
  • Locate signatures for profile images
  • List from Settlers of Rensselaerswyck
  • List of immigrant women by patronymic
  • Succession boxes for politicians (see Register of New Netherland, 1626 to 1674)


Project Boxes

The New Netherland Settlers Project has four (4) project box templates to add to profiles for which the project is a profile manager. Each profile that is managed by the project should display one of these templates. Please follow the links to learn more and to see examples.

  • {{New Netherland Settler}} for people that arrived or were born in New Netherland prior to 24 October 1674.
  • {{New Netherland Descendant}} for descendants of New Netherland Settlers born between 24 October 1674 and 4 July 1776.
  • {{New Netherland Community}} for people who were significant in the history of New Netherland or were part of the Dutch-dominated New Netherland community (arriving prior to 1700), but do not meet the criteria for being a "New Netherland Settler" or a descendant of a settler.
  • {{New Netherland Ancestor}} for immediate ancestors of New Netherland settlers whose profiles have been determined to require management by the project.


The project also has two stickers:


Example Profiles

Language Help

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This page was last modified 00:11, 28 September 2023. This page has been accessed 87,236 times.