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About the Dutch Colonial Records Digitization Project

The project's primary goal is to make seventeenth century Dutch colonial records held by the New York State Archives available online. The records are among the earliest administrative records documenting the European colonization of the region that now forms all or part of the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut. The records also play a critical role in documenting the ascension of the Netherlands to its status as the premier trading nation of the world during the seventeenth century.  The destruction of the Dutch West India Company's records in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century increases the historical value of these records.   

Until now, access to the records could be challenging, particularly online.

  • The records are physically fragile owing to their age, early water damage, and fire damage sustained in 1911.
  • Most records are written in Dutch in pre-modern handwriting of various styles.
  • Published English translations are available for many but not all of the records, and not all of the translations are available online.
  • The translations are only selectively indexed.

With funding from the Dutch National Archives and specifications and standards developed by the New York State Archives, the documents were scanned by an imaging services provider. Document-level metadata was created by extracting descriptive information from E.B. O’Callaghan’s Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, 1630-1664. The calendar consists of a brief synopsis of each document, arranged roughly chronologically according to the original volume and page numbers.

The New Netherland Institute (NNI) provided access to digitized copies of translations prepared by NNI staff. Using those files, the New York State Archives produced document-level versions of the available translations, which can be viewed in the context of each digitized document.

Images and descriptions of all of the original documents, and translations of most of them are now available online through the New York State Archives Digital Collections, where researchers can browse or search records and download high resolution TIFFs. From the Digital Collections, researchers can link to our online Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Finding Aids, allowing them to browse document descriptions and link directly to digitized versions.

The Society of Daughters of Holland Dames provided essential support to the project by funding the project archivist, who was responsible for working with project partners, preparing the images, and and insuring quality control throughout the project.

About Our Partners

The Society of Daughters of Holland Dames The Society of Daughters of Holland Dames was founded in 1895 by women who were descendants of the seventeenth-century Dutch of New Netherland. Since its establishment, the Society has worked to promote a broad understanding of the history, virtues and achievements of those ancestors and settlers. The Holland Dames does this in a variety of ways, including collecting and preserving genealogical and historical documents relating to the Dutch in America, establishing commemorative memorials in lasting tribute to the early Dutch and encouraging excellence in historical research relating to the Dutch in America.
National Archives of the Netherlands The Nationaal Archief (Dutch National Archives) is the ‘national memory’ of the Netherlands. The Archives holds 125 kilometres of documents, photos and maps both from the central government, as well as from organizations and persons of national importance (past and present).
New Netherland Institute The New Netherland Institute (NNI) is an independent 501c(3) non-profit, non-State organization dedicated to fund raising for and supporting the efforts of the New York State Library’s New Netherland Research Center (formerly the New Netherland Project). Created in 1986 as the Friends of the New Netherland Project, the NNI has supported the transcription, translation, and publication of the 17th-century Dutch colonial records held by the New York State Library and State Archives.