If you are researching ancestors from southeastern MA, Cape Cod, and Rhode Island, like I am, it is easy to overlook their Dutch neighbors in New Amsterdam, part of the larger New Netherland colony in the 1600s. Well, there's a lineage society for that - the Holland Society of New York. Their research focus for the past 134 years has been the colonists and history of New Netherland. Recently I found an ancestor, Thomas Cornell, who had been in Rhode Island but went to what would today be the greater New York City metro area, got a land grant (along with other families), left after an Indian attack, went back again, and eventually died in RI. Anne Hutchinson and family were part of a group that left RI over religious issues and went to New York. Anne was killed in an Indian attack but left descendants. The Holland Society of New York has one requirement many (most) of us cannot meet: a straight male line of descent from that ancestor in New Netherland. In other words, if my surname were Cornell, I could join. There are other options for those of us whose surname changed, though. One is their "Friends Of" membership category, which costs $75 and includes "all the benefits" of membership except attendance at their annual meeting. Another option is to subscribe to their scholarly journal, De Halve Maen (named for the Half Moon, Henry Hudson's ship, if your Dutch is shaky.) Online it is just $15, and $45 for paper. A typical outmigration pattern from New England starting in the mid-late 1700s was into New York, along the Hudson River area settled by the Dutch, then across the state, intermarrying with the Dutch as they went. Also, people often tell me they can't possibly have any Mayflower ancestors because their ancestors settled in the Chesapeake Bay area, but the Allertons and Howlands sent contingents there in the 1600s. New Netherland reached that far. Particularly if you have anyone who ever set foot in what is today the New York City or Hudson River Valley areas or married into a Dutch family, The Holland Society of New York's research library, genealogical database, and journal may have the records you need to close your genealogical gaps.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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