Saturday, May 30, 2009

Using "New Netherland Connections" on

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announced several months ago that they had digitizing and indexing images of the New Netherland Connections periodical and placing them on the NEHGS web site at The eleven year run of the publication, from 1996 to 2006, are currently available. Note: you must be an NEHGS member to access their databases.

Since I have several 17th century Dutch ancestors (Van Vorst, Putman, Mol, Bloetgoet, maybe others) in New York, I wanted to review this publication (of course, before I lost Mary Bell from my ancestry due to Devier Lamphear Smith's adoption, I had many more!).

From the home page, I clicked on the Databases & Research link and saw this web page:

The fourth item down the list was New Netherland Connections, so I clicked on it and the New Netherland Connections web page came up (two screens, little overlap):

Over on the right-hand side of the top half of the screen is a list of the 11 volumes that can be read or downloaded in PDF format. Each volume is between 4 and 5 megabytes, so they take a little time to load, but they are easily readable. Each volume is a calendar year, and there are four quarterly issues per volume. Each volume has 110 to 150 pages, depending on the work submitted to the editor.

Here is the top of the first page of Volume 1 (1996) where editor Dorothy Koenig explains the focus and purpose of her periodical:

Each issue has several feature articles about a New Netherland family, a locality in New Netherland, naming conventions, social customs and other information about the New Netherland period of New York history (basically 1607 to 1664). Some of the articles take descendants reports into the 19th century. All of the articles are well sourced and written in a professional quality manner.

Here is one of the surname articles in Volume 1:

About half of all of the pages are devoted to Queries - including answers to the queries sent in by readers or answered by the editor. The first Queries page looksl ike this:

Each Query has a year and number (in the above case, it is 1996-1) so that replies can be keyed to the query number. It's a great system. Over the years, there are many extensive replies to queries.

At the bottom of the New Netherland Connections web page is a Search area. From my reading of the volumes, I knew that my Van Vorst family was mentioned in some of the volumes. The user can put a given name and surname in the search fields, with or without a publication date range and with a Soundex check box. A user could put the volume and page number at the bottom of the Search page also. I entered "Van Vorst" in the Surname field and clicked on the "Search" button:

The matches to my Search query listed the names, publication year, volume, and page number for the results:

I clicked on the second one down, and the page appeared in a non-PDF format:

I could Print Preview and Print this page, or save it, using the browser File menu.

My first impression of this publication is "Wow. What a great periodical. A lot of effort and research went into the content, and a dedicated editor published it for eleven years without fail." Dorothy Koenig mas to be proud of her effort here - what a labor of genealogy love. I am really impressed by the content and the publication. Scrolling through the volumes and reading selected articles, I learned a lot about New Netherland, its people and customs. Now I know where to go to find out more!

The NEHGS is to be commended for making this publication available to its members and for providing an every name index of the content. This periodical alone is a good reason to join NEHGS, especially if you have early New York and New Jersey Dutch ancestry.

1 comment:

Peter said...

On my blog I have a post showing blogs with Dutch origin surnames. The URL is The idea is to try and establish contacts between people who have an interest in the same surname. In your blog I have seen the following names: Van Vorst, Putman, Mol, and Bloetgoet. I also noticed the surname Bresee which does exist here but also Breese (with a NYC reference in GenLias), Briese, Brezee and Brusee. My question to you is, is this a complete list of your Dutch origin surnames? And do you agree that I put them in my blog?
Pse let me know by commenting on my blog or just send me an email at patmiebies at gmail dot com.
I look forward to your reaction!
Kind regards,