Showing posts with label Rensselaerswyck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rensselaerswyck. Show all posts

July 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: Cornelis Van Slyke 17th Century Adventurer


52 Ancestors: Cornelis Van Slyke 17th Century Adventurer
In the early 1630s, a Dutchman named Van Rensselaer began to advertise for people to colonize his New World venture. Van Rensselaer envisioned the Patroon system of ownership with the landowner a feudal lord over his tenants. A tenant would be required to contract himself to the Patroon for a specified time, after which he could become an independent settler.

The colony of Rensselaerswyck was thus formed. By 1634, there were only twenty-six settlers living there. Rensselaerswyck lay in a wilderness surrounded by Mahicans on the east and Mohawks on the west.

My ancestor Cornelis Antonissen Van Slijk [sic] from Brueckelen,  Netherlands, left the Netherlands in May 1634 from the Texel on board De Endracht and sailed to the New World.  He was a thirty year old carpenter and mason, and his skills were desirable in a new colony.

During his lifetime in what was to become the state of New York, Cornelis met and married a Mohawk woman, had several children with his Mohawk wife (all of whom became valued interpreters between the Mohawk and the Dutch), and rose to a position of importance in the colony.

Cornelis Starts as a Farmer

Cornelis Van Slyke contracted to Kilean van Rensselaer as a carpenter and mason, but agreed to do farm work when necessary, for the fee of 180 florins a year. In the contract he signed on April 5, 1634 he stated he was 30 years of age.  Farmhands received 100 to 150 gl. per year so we can see that Cornelis' skills were highly valued. But what did that 180 florins per year buy, remembering that one florin equalled one guilder? In 1639 a mare was sold for 200 gl., a shirt for 3 gl., a pair of farmer's shoes for 4 gl. and a pound of butter or pork 6 stuivers, with 20 stuivers equal to one guilder.

Cornelis Gains Favour in the Colony

Between 1643 and 1648 Cornelis spent much of his time at Manhattan, as interpreter and negotiator with the natives. His absence did not always sit well with the authorities, and the Secretary of  Rensselaerswyck, Antony de Hooges, wrote to him in 1646 urging him to             "...come up the river to see how the harvest proceeds" and hinted that he might at least come to the Colony once a year to look after his farm.

Van Rensselaer was not happy with Cornelis by this time, and complained about his personal accounts and his service as representative, threatening to end their association if matters did not improve.

Cornelis as Interpreter and Representative

In September 1650 tensions increased with the natives and rumours of an impending attack on Fort Orange by the Mohawks were rampant. The settlers at Rensselaerswyck were anxious so they decided to send five trusted representatives into Mohawk country to renew old friendships and ensure peace.

On 23 September, 1650 Cornelis was one of those chosen to act as an ambassador to the Mohawks. He went on this important mission into what was called Maquas country. The mission was successful and the colony could relax.

Cornelis Marries a Mohawk Woman
 
By this date, Cornelis had already formed his liaison with Ots-Toch, a Mohawk woman, which produced at least four but possibly five children: Jacques, Marten, Hilletie and Lea, and  Cornelis.  Jacques and Hilletie occupied a very strategic position among the Dutch, English and Iroquois and became trusted interpreters for the state of New York.

By all accounts Cornelis was a much respected and trusted man. He would never have dreamed that his life could take such a turn from a simple carpenter in Holland to marrying a Mohawk woman  and becoming a fairly important man in the new colony.

Credit: This blog post was extracted from my book The Van Slyke Family in America: A Genealogy of Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke, 1604-1676 and his Mohawk Wife Ots-Toch, including the story of Jacques Hertel, 1603-1651,Father of Ots-Toch and Interpreter to Samuel de Champlain REVISED EDITION published May 2010. Coil bound 8.5x11. 287 pages by Lorine McGinnis Schulze.

If you are a descendant and wish to purchase this book, you may print an order form or order by Paypal

November 13, 2013

Reconstructed New York Ships Passenger Lists 1624 to 1664

A few years ago I started reconstructing ships' passenger lists to New Netherland (present day New York) from various sources (see below for details)

In some cases, I've been able to reconstruct names for a ship list that has never been published before! In other cases, I've been able to add names to previously published lists. This is an Olive Tree Genealogy exclusive and is freely available at
ships' passenger lists to New Netherland

I reconstructed the names of those sailing on various ships from the following sources. Please note that not every source was used to reconstruct every ship. I have indicated which sources were used for each individual:

  1. Abstracts from Notarial Documents in the Amsterdam Archives by Pim Nieuwenhuis published in New Netherland Connections in series Vol. 4:3,4; Vol. 5:1-3 (hereafter NNC)
  2. Early Immigrants to New Netherland 1657-1664 from The Documentary History of New York (hereafter EINN)
  3. Settlers of Rensselaerswyck 1630-1658 in Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (hereafter VRB)
  4. E. B. O'Callaghan's Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany NY (hereafter CHM)
  5. New World Immigrants: List of Passengers 1654 to 1664 edited by Michael Tepper (hereafter NWI)
  6. Emigrants to New Netherland by Rosalie Fellows Bailey, , NYGBR; vol 94 no 4 pp 193-200 (hereafter ENN)
  7. De Scheepvaart en handel van de NederlandseRepubliek op Nieuw-Nederland 1609-1675 unpublished thesis by Jaap Jacobs [hereafter JJ][Olive Tree Genealogy database]
  8. The records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674 [hereafter RNA] [an online book from Ancestry.com]
The ships passenger lists begin in 1624 with a reconstructed list of names and end in 1664 with a total of 64 ships.