Before getting on board, an emigrant may have gone to a notary to:
- have a will drawn up (you never know if the ship will go down)
- give a power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member to handle their affairs
- enter into a work contract, including an agreement about the payment of the passage.
This is especially true for richer emigrants, who had business affairs to put in order. They may have gone to a notary in their place of origin or to a notary in the their port of departure.
Amsterdam was the main port of departure for emigrants to New Netherland (modern day New York and surrounding areas) in the 1600s. I have solved several New Netherland cases using Amsterdam notarial records.