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John Woolsey, of England, Maryland, and of Hempstead, Long Island, New York

George Wolsey

of the
Reformed Dutch Church
in New Amsterdam and New York

"They throw a flood of light upon the genealogical
and social history of New Amsterdam and New York"


Trouw - Bouck 1
Oft Register der
die Hieringeschzoovon,ou
Hier, oft Buyton defe
Stadt New ~ Yorke
Getrouwt zyn.

Van den ll Oct. 1639 . totten 15 May 1652
Ad 1639.
den 21 Occturb.
den 1 Sep   Ao1643
Thomas Willet, j. m. Van Bristol
in Engelt en Sara Cornell, j.d. Van Essex in Engelt 2 .
p. 14 [580]
den 3 dicto. (Nov)
  Ao 1647
Carel Ver Brugge, j. m. Van Cantelberg, en Sara Cornelis,
Wede Van Thomas Welert
den 9 Decemb.   Jarge Woltzen, j. m. Van Jarmuijden, en Rebecca Cornel,
j. d. Uijt oudt Engelandt.
[Above are the marriages of the two sisters Sarah and Rebecca Cornel]


1 Sep 1643   Thomas Willet, young man from Bristol in England and Sara Cornell,
young girl or maiden from Essex in England.
3 Nov. [1647]   Charles Bridges, young man from Canterbury, and Sara Cornel, widow of Thomas Willett.
9 Dec [1647]   George Wolsey, young man from Yarmouth, and Rebecca Cornel, young woman of old England.


Baptisms 3
from 25 Dec 1639 to 27 December 1730

"The rite of baptism is as old as the Christian religion. Being a custom and not, like marriage, a contract; being founded on moral aspiration and religious belief, and not on civil polity, the universality of it among our immigrant Holland ancestors bears striking testimony to their deep-rooted piety and earnest faith in God."

[The ministers during this period of time were:

    Everardus Bogardus, b. , d. 1647, served from 1633 - 1647.
  1. Johannes Backerus, b. , d. , served from 1647 - 1649
  2. Joannes Megapolensis, b. 1603, d. 1670, served from 1649 - 1670

[Baptisms Book]

[page, date] [ouders (parents)] [Kinders, (children) [Getuygen (sponsors, witnesses)]
p. 27 [277]
den 7 Aug
Joris Wolsij Sara Ao 1650
Breyne Nuijting, Sara Van Brugge, Susanna Breser.
p. 32 [283]
13 dict (Oct)
Joris Wolsij Joris
Ao 1652
Carel Verbrugge in sijn huvs vr. Hendrick, en Elsje Nuton
p. 52 [306]
den 4 Apr
Tjaerts Wolsij Rebecca Carel Verbrugge, Rebecca Cornel
p.59 [313]
den 16 dicto (Jan)
Joris Wolsij Johannes Ao 1661
Thomas Hall
p. 72 [326]
den 19 dicto (Mart)
Joris Wolsij Marritie Ao 1663
Carel Van Brugge, Maritie Jacobs, Rebecca Varrivanger

The Dutch "y" is little "i", little "j" or "ij". Now to us it looks like it should be pronounced "ij" but that is the Dutch "y" and is pronounced "e". Thus Wolsij would be pronounced Wolsey. The J in Joris is not sounded as in English, so Joris would be pronounced "Youris." So Joris Wolsij would be pronounced as "Youris Volsee". "Tjaerts" is a dialect or local pronunciation, as "Yertz" so it is pronounced "Yertz Volsee". It is more of a nick-name or a term of endearment, as we would say John, then " Johnny."

God Parents and Witnesses

p. 24 [271]
den 26 Apr
Hendrick Bresart Rebecca Ao 1648
Joris Wolsie, Jan Dalij, Jonas Nuijting, Rebecca Wolsie
p. 34 [285]
den 20 d. (Apr)
Rendel Huwits ________ Ao 1653
Thomas Hall, Joris Wolsij, Elsje Nuton, Britje Baxster
p. 65 [319]
Eodem. (2 Jul)
Richard Cornell Elisabeth Ao 1662
Georgie Wolsij, Sara Bridge

A.  Now there are three baptisms that must be accounted for:

  1.   Thomas Woolsey - He is definitely mentioned in his father´s will. He has a definite date of birth (or baptism) but Wilford has not yet found his baptism date.
  2.   Mary Woolsey - It appears as though there is another baptism for a Mary Woolsey, daughter of George and Rebecca, but at a later time. We will discuss this later.
  3.   William Woolsey - There definitely is a William Woolsey, baptized at the same time as Mary Woolsey, above. These two will be discussed at the same time, later.

B.  At the same time, we will be discussing the interesting little document that the sheriff of Jamaica was required to submit in 1686, concerning various happenings in his district for the past seven years from 1679 to 1686. We will discuss this later.


WOLSY, Joris , came to New Amsterdam in 1647; md 9 Dec 1647, in New Amsterdam [Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church], Rebecca Cornell. Issue: Sara, bp. 7 Aug 1650; Joris, bp 18 Oct 1652; Rebecca, bp 4 Apr 1659; Johannes, bp 16 Jan 1661; Maritje, bp 19 Mar 1664 - all at New Amsterdam [New Amsterdam Dutch Reformed Church]; and William and Marritje, bp 30 Jun 1678, at Flatbush [Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church]; by which it may be inferred he resided there at that date. There was, as per p. 128 of Vol. IV. of the Genealogical Record, a George Woolsey, an English boy, b in 1610, who had resided with his parents in Rotterdam, came over in a Dutch vessel with emigrants in 1623 and went to Plymouth, MA, (www does not agree with the 1610 and 1623 dates) and in 1647 made his appearance in New Amsterdam. In 1648 he was a fire-warden in said city. In 1661 there was a George Woolsey among the freeholders of Jamaica, and in the beginning of the 18 th century there were Woolsey, probably descendants of Joris or George, residing in Flatlands. Signed his name "Joris Wolsy."


From the Records of the Reformed Dutch Church 6 in New York, we find these early Baptisms:

[2:24] 26 Apr 1648, bapt. Rebecca d/o Hendrick Bresart Witnesses: Joris Wolsie, Jan Daly, Jonas Nuyting, Rebecca Wolsie.
[2:27] 7 Aug 1650, bapt Sara d/o Joris Wolsy Witnesses: Breyne Nuyting, Sarah Van Brugge, Susan Bresea.
[2:32] 13 Oct 1652, bapt Joris s/o Joris Wolsy, Rebecca Witnesses: Carel Verbugge, & spouse, Hendrick an Elsje, his spouse.
[2:34] 20 Apr 1653, bapt _____ Rendel Huwits Witnesses: Britze Bax, Thomas Hall, Joris Wolsy, Elsje Nuton.
[2:52] 4 Apr 1659, bapt. Rebecca d/o Tjaerts Wolsy Witnesses: Carel Verbugge, Rebecca Cornell
[2:59] 16 Jan 1661, bapt Johannes s/o Joris Wolsy Witnesses: Thomas Hall
[2:65] 2 Jul 1662, bapt Elisabeth d/o Richard Cornell Witnesses: Georgie Wolsy, Sarah Bridges
[2:72] 19 Mar 1664, bapt Marretie d/o Joris Wolsy, Rebecca Witnesses: Carl Van Brugge, Marretie Jacoba Van Awange?

Joris and Rebecca Woolsey had two children baptized in the Dutch Reformed church at Flatbush, Kings Co, NY. The record indicates that the children were not infants.

[119] 30 Jun 1678
Wm & Maritje (of reasonable age)
Joris and Rebecca Woolsey Flatbush (being reasonably old)
Joris = Yourse = George
Tjaert = Jertz = George

The following was received 1 Jul 1998 from the Editor of the NYG&B Record, Harry Macy:

New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
James Riker Papers, Memoria vol. 30, p. 187.

"Extracts from an old manuscript book formerly belonging to Capt. William Hallett of Newtown (who died in 1729 age 81) and now in possession of one of his descendants, Marvin R. Briggs of New York, 1851."

An Acount of the agees of Mr George Woolseys Children

Sarah Woolsey was born in New York August y 3 in ye year 1650 Au 7 she was Baptized in ye English church by Mr. Denton Capt Newton godfather

George Woolsey was born in New York October ye 10 1652. October ye 12 he was baptized in ye Dutch Church Mrs. Newton godmother

Thomas Woolsey was born at Hemsted April ye 10 1655 & then Baptized by Mr. Denton

Rebeckah Woolsey was born at New York February ye 13 1659 febr: 16 she was Baptized in ye Dutch Church Mr. Briges godfather and her grandmother godmother

John Woolsey was born at New York January ye 12, 1661. January ye 16 baptized in ye Dutch Church Thomas Hall godfather

William Woolsey was born in Jamaca on ye Isleand Nassau October ye 12 1665

Mary Woolsey was born at Jamaca on ye Isleand Nassau September ye 8 1673

An account of the ages of the children of William Hallett

William Hallett born at Jamaca December ye 10 1670
Sarah          " " " March ye 19 1673
Rebeckah     " " " August ye 31 1675
Joseph         " " " March ye 4 1678
Moses          " " Halletts Cove January ye 19 1681
George        " " " April ye 5 1683
Charity        " " " March ye 16 1685
Mary          " " " October ye 22 1687
Elizabeth       " " " April ye 12 1689
Richard       " " " November the 17 1689

Capt William Hallett Esqr Departed this life on Munday August the 18 th 1729 aged 81/82"

Some Comments on Woolsey-Hallett record from Riker Papers (by Harry Macy)

This had to be compiled after 1664 as it refers to the city as New York, not New Amsterdam. Most likely William Hallett copied it from a Woolsey bible or other record after he married Sarah Woolsey.

Sarah was baptized in the Dutch Church on the date indicated; Mr Denton at that time would have been pastor of the English Church in Newtown (Middleburgh) on Long Island.

New Amsterdam Dutch Church records show baptisms of George, Rebecca, and John but not all the dates match. They also show another daughter Marritie in 1664, not on this list.

The last two children´s baptisms are in the Flatbush Dutch Church records in 1678, where it is indicated that they were not infants, (of reasonable age).

Te birthdates of the Hallett children are in NYGBR 6:28 with one difference, and without the places of birth.


In New York City in the Seventeenth Century
By Prof. Charles A. Briggs, D.D.

In an early account book, which has been handed down in my father´s family, and which is now in my possession, dating the seventeenth century, occur the following records:

Sarah Woolsey was born in New York, August ye 3d, in ye year 1650 Aug. 7, she was baptized in ye English church by Mr. Denton, Capt. Newtown, godfather.

George Woolsey was born in New York, October 10, 1652; October 12 he was baptized in the Dutch church, Mrs. Newton, godmother.

Thomas Woolsey was born at Hemsted, April 10, 1655, and there baptized by Mr. Denton.

Rebeckah Woolsey was born at New York, 13 Feb 1659. Feb. 16 she was baptized in the Dutch church. Mr. Bridges, godfather, and her grandmother, godmother, etc.

Several times these records had passed under my eye; but not thinking of dates or ecclesiastical history, I innocently supposed that the two churches referred to in New York City were the Dutch Reformed and the English Episcopal. During the past Winter, however, my attention has been called to the origin of Presbyterianism in New York, and these ancient records assumed a new meaning. They disclose a very interesting and long forgotten chapter of ecclesiastical history in our metropolis and our empire state.

[In the following, long continued mistakes are printed in bold type. www]

George Woolsey was the son of the Rev. Benjamin Woolsey, a pastor of the English church in Rotterdam, Holland, the successor of Dr. Wm. Ames. He was a Puritan emigrant from Yarmouth, England. George, the son , came over in a Dutch vessel to Plymouth in 1623 ; but soon after, with Isaac Allerton, removed to Manhattan Island, where they established themselves as merchants. He Married, Dec. 9 th , 1647, Rebeckah Cornell, a sister of Sarah Cornell, whose first husband was Thomas Willett, formerly of Bristol, England, and whose second husband was Charles Bridges, the gentleman mentioned in the register. ("Whitaker´s Southhold."p. 250.) Captain Newtown, the godfather, was the celebrated military officer of Governor Stuyvesant, who became one of the original proprietors of Jamaica, Long Island.

Sarah, the eldest child, whose baptism is first recorded, married Capt. William Hallett, of Hallett´s Cove, L. I., whose father, William, had come from Dorsetshire, England, to Greenwich, Conn., and thence to Hallett´s Cove, L. I. He was a sturdy Puritan, and was deposed from this office as sheriff in 1656, and fined and imprisoned, by Governor Stuyvesant, "for entertaining Rev. Wickenden from Rhode Island, allowing him to preach at his house and receiving the sacrament of the Lord´s Supper from his hands." (See Riker´s Newtown," p. 403.)

Mr. Denton, the minister who baptized Sarah in New York in 1650 and Thomas at Hempstead in 1655, was Richard Denton, the English Presbyterian, who came to America from Halifax, England, in 1630 " .... some Independents, also man of our persuasion, and Presbyterians. They had also a Presbyterian preacher named Richard Denton, an honest, pious, liberal man."

Richard Denton seems to have ministered also to a little flock of Puritans in New Amsterdam (now New York City). We note that it is said that the baptism of Sarah Woolsey took place in the English church. There can be no mistake here; for English is contrasted with the Dutch of the next baptism, and Richard Denton, the English Presbyterian, officiates.

We have examined the records of the Reformed Church and find the entry:

Sara Wolsey baptized Aug. 7. Getuygen. - Brejne Neuting, Sara Van Brugge, Susanna Breser."

This entry does not mention the officiating minister. Indeed, this registry of baptisms is not the original list, but a copy made by Dominie Selyns of all the baptisms in the church up to his pastorate, 1682. We do not understand by English church a distinct edifice from the Dutch church, but that an English Puritan church worshiped alongside of the French and the Dutch churches in the one church building then existing within the fort at New Amsterdam. That there was such an English Puritan church at the time, and even earlier, is clear from abundant evidence. Francis Doughty, an English Presbyterian minister, son of a Bristol alderman, and probably vicar of Godberry, Gloucester, who was silenced for nonconformity, was one of the original settlers of Taunton, Mass., in 1637. He removed from New England because he differed from the Taunton church in holding that children of baptized parents, whether these were communicants or not, were Abraham´s children and ought to be baptized.

He sought a home among the Dutch and received the conveyance of Mespat (now Newtown), L. I., with the view of establishing a Puritan colony from New England. The settlement was begun, but was soon destroyed by the Indians, and the minister and his flock were driven into Manhattan Island for shelter during the war. He officiated as minister to the English Puritans in our infant city for several years, from 1643 to 1648 ("Doc. Hist. N.Y." I, 426; "Rikers Newtown," p. 20), and was supported by public contributions from the English with the assistance of the Dutch. His daughter was married to Adrien Van der Donck, a prominent lawyer in the city. Governors Kieft and Stuyvesant did not interfere with his preaching. They rather favored it, but they were indignant at Doughty, and persecuted him because he would not give up his claims on Mespat. This case was the subject of complaint in a representation from New Netherland, published in 1650, subscribed by Van der Donck and others, which Stuyvesant was compelled to answer to the authorities of Holland. Doughty was glad to escape from the arbitrary governor, and went into Maryland and became the first Presbyterian minister in that colony and in Virginia.

This fact has recently been brought to light by Edward D. Neill, in his valuable historical monographs. Doughty preached in Lower Accomac County, on the eastern shore of Virginia, where his brother-in-law, William Stone, resided, in 1650. He was at Patuxent in 1659 at a dinner given to the Dutch ambassadors, and also preached for a time in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was more than thirty years prior to Makemie in Maryland and Virginia and deserved the credit of being the first Presbyterian minister not only in New York City, but also in Maryland and Virginia. He preached to the little flocks here and there, which were subsequently gathered, from thirty to fifty years later, into church organizations. Driven from one place by intolerance he fled to another, and carried on his Master´s work in spite of difficulties of every kind.

The English church to which Doughty ministered in New Amsterdam . . . the vacant charge. He was intolerant to the Lutherans and the Independents, and was rebuked for it by the West India Company ("Corwin´s Manual," p. 379). The English Puritans demanded services of their own, and kept together during the times of Doughty and Denton. The Dutch saw it to be good policy to satisfy them. Accordingly Samuel Drusius, who had been pastor of the Dutch church of Austin Friars, London, and who could preach in French and English, was called to assist Megapolensis. In 1652 he began his work, and was very acceptable to the Puritans. We see no reason to doubt that the English service was continued in the one church alongside of the Dutch and the French, for the benefit of the Puritan population.

The establishment of the Church of England worship by the chaplain in the fort in 1678, after the English conquest, doubtless drew some from their ******s. And the establishment of the Church of England, in 1694, supported by the Tory governors, tended to weaken them. Yet the Rev. John Miller, the Episcopal rector, on his return to London in 1695, reports that there were 40 families of English Dissenters in the city; and we learn from Episcopal sources that the Congregation of Trinity church was in large part of those who preferred the Presbyterian order, but who worshiped there, having no other place to go to. (See Baird, "Magazine of American History, 1879." p. 605.) In 1707, Francis Makemie and John Hampton, two Presbyterian ministers on their way to Boston, were invited by the New York Puritans to preach for them. The Consistory of the Dutch church, in accordance with their generous custom, offered their church edifice for the purpose; but their kindness was prevented by the tyranny of Governor Conburg. However, Makemie preached in the private house of William Jackson, in Pearl Street, and baptized a child there, and Hampton went to Newtown, L. I., and preached there. They were arrested and put on trial by the arbitrary act of the governor; but he was obliged to release them; for it was shown that they had violated no law.

A narrative of this trial was published by Makemie, and the affair noised abroad as an act of unjustifiable persecution; it was made a great deal of by Presbyterian lawyers in subsequent times. Otherwise, it might have been forgotten that Makemie preached that sermon and baptized that child. We have no reason to suppose that the serviced rendered by Doughty, Denton and Makemie to the Puritans of our city were the only ones in those early times. We should not be surprised if it should be found that several other Presbyterian and Congregational ministers conducted services for the Puritan population of our metropolis between the time of Denton and that of Makemie.

It is noteworthy that there is the same connection between the Puritans of our city and the Long Island towns in the time of Makemie as we have observed in the times of Doughty and Denton. The Puritan families were intermarried, and the connection continued to be intimate during the seventeenth family.

The names which meet us in the early records of the Puritans of Long Island again appear among the founders of the Presbyterian Church in New York in the early part of the eighteenth century. The Halletts, the Woolseys, the Jacksons, the Youngs, the Van Hornes and Smiths were the nucleus of Puritanism in both places. Union Theological Seminary .

  1. Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Volume IX. 1940. New York. Marriages from 1639 to 1801 in the Reformed Dutch Church, New Amsterdam, New York City, New York .
  2. . The Society. "Marriages from 1639 to 1809 in the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York City." New York. 1940. [FHL # 974.7 B4n3 vol 9:12] 1 Sep 1643.
  3. Evans, Thomas Grier, Editor. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. New York. Printed for the Society. 1901. Reprinted in 1968 by The Gregg Press, Upper Saddle River, N.J. Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York. Baptisms from 25 Dec 1639 to 27 December 1730
  4. Bergen, Teunis G. Register in Alphabetical Order, of the Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N.Y. from its First Settlement by Europeans to 1700; with contributions to their Biographies and Genealogies, compiled from various sources . Introduction by Harriett Mott Stryker-Rodda, C. G. Polyanthos. Cottonport. 1973. p. 393.
  5. Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Reformed Dutch Church, New York. Baptisms 1639 - 1730
  6. . New York. 974.7 B4n3. Vol. 2. 3. Reformed Protestant Dutch Church.
  7. Versteeg, Dingman. Church Records of Flatbush, Kings County, New York, 1677-1757 . A Microfilm copy of handwritten transcript in the possession of the Holland Society of New York, New York City. Copied by Dingman Versteeg from a copy made from the original by Henry Onderdonk. Flatbush is now part of metropolitan New York.
  8. Union Theological Seminary. The Independent . 31 Jan 1884.

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