First Blog Post….First Child Born in New Netherland…Sarah Rapalje

Since this is my first post I thought I would start by writing about my 9th Great Grandmother, Sarah Rapalje, the first European child born in New Netherland. She was born at what would become Albany, New York on July 9, 1625, and died in New Amsterdam in 1685, by then known as New York City. Her parents were Joris Jansen Rapalje [1604-1662] and Catalyntje Trico [1605-1689], they had sailed from Holland on the Eendracht, the first ship to bring immigrants to New Netherland in 1624. The Rapalje family originally settled at Fort Orange, in what would eventually become Beverwyck (later known as Albany, New York).

Catalyntje and Joris were to live at Fort Orange for three years. It was there, in a dirt-floored room of a small cabin inside the stockaded fort, that their daughter Sarah was born in 1625.

In 1626 Peter Minuit was appointed the third Director-General of New Netherland and on 24 May 1626, on behalf of the Dutch West India Company, he purchased the island of Manhattan from a Metoac band of Algonquian-speaking Lenape known as the Canarsee Indians. Soon after all the families at Fort Orange were moved to Manhattan, where a grid of streets and canals were laid out,  houses and farms established, and warehouses built.

Catalyntje and Joris Rapelje went on to thrive in New Amsterdam, where they were allocated a plot on the north side of Pearl Street, abutting the Dutch fort and there Joris opened one of the first taverns, which also served as an Inn. There they remained until after the birth of their youngest child Daniel in 1650.

Medallion given to Sarah Rapelje on occasion of her marriage to Hans Hansen Bergen, 1639.
Medallion given to Sarah Rapelje on occasion of her marriage to Hans Hansen Bergen.

Sarah married Hans Hansen Bergen in 1639 when she was only 14 years old and he was 29. Hans died in 1654, only 15 years following their marriage. Sarah was 29 years old and had borne 8 children, including my ancestor Michael Hansen Bergen. About a year after her husband Hans Bergen died, Sarah married Teunis Gysbertsen Bogaert. Sarah and Teunis would then go on to have seven more children.

Sarah died in 1685, during her 60th year. Her mother, Catalyntje Trico actually outlived her oldest daughter Sarah. Catalyntje passed away in 1689, at age 84, four years following Sarah’s death. It has been estimated that Sarah Rapalje’s offspring number at least a million descendants. One of the more famous descendants is Humphrey Bogart, the actor.

My descent from Sarah