Glossary

Attestation

Probably similar to affidavit (witness statement).

 

Authorization

Probably similar to a power of attorney.

 

Court minutes

The activities of the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens were recorded in the court minutes by the secretary. Arranged chronologically, the minutes described the cases brought before the court in each session.

 

Court of Burgomasters and Schepens of New Amsterdam

The court of justice that served the city of New Amsterdam. The court was made up of two burgomasters (similar to mayors), five schepens (similar to aldermen), and one schout (similar to a sheriff, with the functions of a public prosecutor or attorney general as well). The court was established in February 1653.

Source: New Netherland in a Nutshell: A Concise History of the Dutch Colony in North America by Firth Haring Fabend. Published in 2012 by the New Netherland Institute.

 

Mortgage

A loan agreement in which the borrower pledged a piece of property as security for the loan. Not like our mortgages today.

Source: Dennis J. Maika, "The Credit System of the Manhattan Merchants in the Seventeenth Century." De Halve Maen 63, no. 3, (September 1990): 5-6.

 

Notary public

“Under Roman Law and its modifications in most countries of continental Europe, the Notary Public is a high official of the courts of law, who goes very nearly through the same course of legal studies as would be required of a judge, and most Universities have in their Faculty of Law a chair for Notarial duties. A document, sworn to before a Notary, needs not be verified by any court. A last will and testament, drawn up, signed and witnessed before and by a Notary, if left with him, needs no action by a Surrogate (except it be contested).”

Source: Minutes of the Orphan Masters of New Amsterdam, 1655 – 1663, No. 2 by Berthold Fernow. Published in 1907 by Francis P. Harper.