Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Adam Brouwer Documents at the New York State Archives Digital Collection

Digital images of the original documents that were transcribed and included in Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1642-1647, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Volume 2, can be viewed online at the website of the New York State Archives, in their Digital Collections. They can be found with a simple search using "Adam Brouwer." Here are direct links to each:

     Assignment by Adam Brouwer to Geurt Servaessen of his claim on the West India Company. This is document 141a, found at pages 290-291 of Register of the Provincial Secretary, 1642-1647. You can see here that it is crossed through, i.e. canceled, and replaced by the following document.

     Power of Attorney from Adam Brouwer to Geurt Servaessen to collect wages due from the West India Company. This would be document 141b, found at pages 291-292.

     Document 141c is the Contract of Sale from Hendrick Jansen to Adam Brouwer of a house and garden on Manhattan Island. It is found at pages 292-293. This, and the above two documents are dated 21 February 1645. They are the very first records that we have for Adam Brouwer, not only in New Netherland but also anywhere. No documentation has yet been found for Adam Brouwer in Europe.

     Power of Attorney from Adam Brouwer to Govert Loockermans to receive money due him by the West India Company. This is document 149j and is found at pages 341-342. The date here is 21 September 1646, so apparently Geurt Servaessen was unsuccessful in obtaining for Adam Brouwer, his past due wages. Govert Loockermans is well known to many who study the early inhabitants of New Netherland. Govert Loockermans, Correspondence and Papers can be accessed online at the New Netherland Institute website. There are a few links here for those seeking to learn more, including a translation by Wim Vanraes; a transcription by Janny Venama, and a companion piece to the collection by Willem Frijhoff.  Govert Loockermans was married to Marritje Jans (second marriage for both). Marritje was a daughter of Tryntje Jonas, and sister of the "famous" Anneke Jans, the supposed heiress to the valuable Trinity Church property, and falsely claimed as an illegitimate heir of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, by 19th and 20th century fortune seekers. Anneke was first married to Roelof Jansen, and secondly to Dom. Everardus Bogardus. We don't know if Govert was successful in getting Adam Brouwer his overdue paycheck. I wonder if he ever received it.

Clicking on each of the digital images at the New York State Archives website will open up the image in a new window. There is a magnification tool available so each can be viewed in detail. The documents can be downloaded (they are .png files) however, the resolution is not that great and detail is lost when the downloaded image is magnified. The online image works better. Viewing the images leaves me with a taste for just how difficult the process of transcribing and then translating these documents was (and is, as the work continues). I'm left with a sense of appreciation of the talent, and gratitude for the work of Arnold J. F. van Laer, for that Charles T. Gehring, and the others who labor at the task of making 17th century New Netherlands available to the rest of us.

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