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January 21, 2011

Ships Passenger Lists to New Netherland (New York) - What Exists?

If you have early 17th century ancestors in New Netherland (present day New York) you may be among the majority who are confused by the available ships passenger lists for that time period.

Researchers need to understand that all "passenger lists" for travel from the Netherlands to New Netherland between 1654 and 1664 came from information on the debit side of the West India Company Account Book. This book showed who owed money when they arrived.

Information from the credit side (those passengers who paid prior to their passage) has not been published.

The list of those who owed money on arrival in New Netherland has been published but this brings us to a caveat. Researchers must be very cautious about which version they are using. Many of the early versions are incorrect or missing names.

Briefly, the first attempt at making a list of passengers from this account book was done by O'Callaghan in 1850 in his Documentary History of New Netherland. This published version only covered the years 1657 to 1664. It was reprinted in 1896 by The Holland Society. In 1902 the Holland Society published another version by A. J. F. van Laer, correcting errors in the earlier O'Callaghan version and adding a few more ships between 1654 and 1657.

The problem for researchers is that not only does this early 1850 version exist in early publications,it has been reprinted in various articles and journals in later years.

The corrected Holland Society 1902 version has also been reprinted. In 1963 Rosalie Fellows Bailey published an article which added more details to the 1902 version. It can be very confusing to genealogists as they hunt for an ancestor.

Complete details of which of the many published versions are accurate can be found in the explanation Which Published Versions of Ships Passenger Lists to New Netherland Are Accurate?

There are also many online versions of these early ships passenger lists but genealogists must be careful to check which version the site used for its source.

With that in mind, Olive Tree Genealogy has been reconstructing more information regarding these ships' passenger lists. Using new and reliable sources such as Abstracts from Notarial Documents in the Amsterdam Archives Olive Tree Genealogy has reconstructed names of those on board ships that have never been published before.

In total I used 9 different sources to reconstruct names of those not on previously published lists. Many new ships have been found, making a total of 81 ships passenger lists. These reconstructed ships passenger lists cover the years 1624 to 1664. The nine sources are fully cited online on my site and each additional reconstructed ship or individual name has a footnoted source attached. This means genealogists will know exactly where the information came from.

You can view these reconstructed and new passenger lists at
Ships Passenger Lists to New Netherland This is an Olive Tree Genealogy exclusive. If you find my reconstructed lists on any other websites I'd appreciate a note letting me know. Sadly, plagiarism and copyright violations are in full force on the internet.

I hope those who have New Netherland ancestors as I do, will benefit from this Reconstruction Project. I welcome submissions to the project but submissions of names must be accompanied with a full source notation. Submissions citing family lore such as "Grandma Alice always told me that our ancestor sailed to New Netherland on the ship Eendracht" will not be used.


Barbara Poole said...

Thank you so much for this important and useful information. I look forward in checking out your link, "Ships Passenger Lists to New Netherland."

Celia said...

In less than 10 minutes, I found my Terwilliger ancestors: 1663, on De Arent (The Eagle) just like the stories say. Terwilliger is a made-in-America surname taken by this Dutch families' descendants. Wow! I am so pleased with this. Thank you for all your very detailed work! Much appreciated. I have a huge smile now! - Celia