The Search For Happiness

By the City of Amsterdam Archives staff

Our joint search for individuals who left their mark on the history of New York brought us new stories about some well-known people and about new characters who left Amsterdam for the colony - or traveled in the reserve direction. A common theme of their stories is the search for happiness. Three centuries after these pioneers started their adventure, we embarked on our exploration of their personal histories, which sometimes required very particular clues and at times led to bizarre situations.

The notarial archives in Amsterdam mention a certain English captain by name of Voster, who was banished from New Amsterdam and was ordered to board a ship to the Netherlands. Why do we find his name in the Amsterdam archives, but not in the New York archives? Our research established that the "English" captain was in fact Scottish. However his name became Voster in the Netherlands, he was known as Andrew Forrester on the other side of the ocean.

Did Andrew quickly change his name or did the notary write down his name phonetically? We don’t know. It is one of the cases which makes the search more difficult but also produces wonderful stories. In this way we seek to contribute to the fascinating history of New Amsterdam and New York.