On both sides of the Atlantic, records are being digitized that will help us trace New Netherland ancestors.
The New York State Archives is digitizing the New Netherland records. With funds provided by the Dutch government, they are digitizing 9,500 pages of records not already digitized. These include New Amsterdam council minutes, correspondence, Fort Orange records and registers of the Provincial Secretary. Read more about the project at the New York Historical and Biographical Society blog.
In Amsterdam, the Amsterdam City Archives has started the monumental task of digitizing and indexing the more than 2 miles of notarial records, covering the period of 1578 to 1915. 1.8 million pages have already been scanned and the first 8,000 records have been indexed. The first results can now be searched at the “Notariële Archieven” website, which unfortunately is available in Dutch only and requires a login.
Amsterdam housed the Headquarters of the West India Company. Most people who went to New Netherland sailed from Amsterdam. Before departure, many of them went to a notary to draw up a last will, a work contract, or power of attorney. I am convinced that the Amsterdam project will lead to many New Netherland discoveries. The indexing project will probably take decades to complete, but the results will be published as they go so we can start searching now.