Category Dutch History

An Almanac from Dutch New York

The year was 1759 and the English had just defeated the French on the plains of Abraham in the major battle of the French and Indian War. By the end of the year, an enterprising printer in New York City, James Parker, continued a tradition of publishing an almanac in Dutch for the New York […]

Dutch Bibles and Beaver Hats in 18th century NY Wills

From the takeover of New Netherland in 1664, through to the 1820s, New York collected inventories of the material possessions of the deceased. The records, now available for free on Ancestry.com, (search for “Estate Inventories and Accounts, 16661-822”) are far from complete, but might be useful to historians and genealogists. I’ve been using them, for […]

Book Review: Karin Sitalsing, Boeroes: Een Familiegeschiedens van Witte Surinamers (2016)

In 1845, a group of some 384 poor Dutch men and women arrived in Suriname.  By year’s end, half of them had died, probably from typhus and tropical diseases. In the next few years, the survivors were joined by more migrants from Overijssel and Groningen.  Now, 7 to 9 generations later, there have been an […]

Environmental History of Dutch America

The North American Drought Index (http://drought.memphis.edu/NADA/Default.aspx) uses dendro-chronological data (tree-rings) to measure wet v. dry years over time and by region. The tool looks very impressive and I’ve only begun to figure out how it works. Essentially, you can select a custom area of the map of North America and a date range and then […]

The Longest Possible Dutch Name: Dutch Jokes in 19th Century Vermont

While looking for Dutch New York sources on newspapers.com, I’ve noticed a whole lot of Dutch jokes appearing in newspapers in Vermont in the 1820s through 1850s. There are a few reasons why I suppose this is the case. Vermont borders the Hudson Valley and so many Vermonters had crossed into New York State to […]

A Schepel of Wheat as Currency in Dutch New York

You might remember from history class that colonial Americans bought and sold things with Native Americans using wampum, that is beads made from shells. The Dutch in New Netherland used wampum too, but they called it “sewant.”  This was an important but not the only form of money in the colony.  In 17th century Virginia, […]

A Brief History of the Phrase “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t Much”

It’s a phrase frequently employed in media coverage of Dutch Americans. It appears on kitsch t-shirts and coffee mugs. Even Dutch King Willem Alexander said it a speech in Michigan in 2015. “There’s an old expression here,” chuckles Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University in Grand […]

A Census Anomaly or a Large African American Migration in upstate New York?

North of Albany, along New York’s border with Vermont, Washington County formed in 1772, and grew quickly in its first decades. If the census is to be trusted, there appears to have been a large migration of free African Americans into and then out of the county between 1800 and 1820. Census records note that […]

Yankee Dutch from 1682

Brandt Schuyler writing to Robert Livingston in New York in 1682. The English had taken over New York just 18 years beforehand, and both English and Dutch languages competed for control of the Hudson Valley. Here, Brandt writes “Liffingston” for “Livingston” and in the second line uses the English word “opportunity”  [oppertunietyt].    

Lincoln’s Assassination (Telegram to the Netherlands)

Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, and died of his wounds the next morning. News of his death spread widely and quickly, particularly because of the spread of the telegraph and the first transatlantic cable, laid in 1858. Here is a telegram I once found in the Dutch national archives. King Netherlands Hague […]