Minutes Of The Orphanmasters, New Amsterdam (1655-1663)

Berthold Fernow

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society digitized the two volumes entitled Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam 1655 to 1663, translated and edited by former New York State archivist Berthold Fernow and published in 1902. In the Netherlands every city had a weeskamer or orphan chamber, a court consisting of "orphanmasters" who, under Roman-Dutch Law, appointed curators (guardians) charged with protecting the estates of widows and orphaned or half-orphaned children.

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Within these records you can discover information relating to families of orphaned or half-orphaned children. For example, by searching for Pieter Cecer, we learn that he and his wife died, leaving six small children. The Orphanmasters then appointed Pieter van Linde, the mother’s stepfather, as guardian and Isaacq Kip as witness to the youngest child. Often there will be details provided about the estates of the deceased persons. You can also discover information about the organization of the Orphanmasters and the work they did.

The "search" button will allow you to search by first name, last name, or perform a full text search. The "browse" button will allow you to browse either Volume 1 or Volume 2.