Scope and Content Note

The register of the provincial secretary contains a vast array of legal documents that were filed with the secretary in conjunction with civil and criminal proceedings. Records relating to the administration of real property include deeds, leases, mortgages, indentures, patents, and surveys. Commercial records include contracts, inventories, agreements, accounts, bonds, returns, receipts, bills of sale, certificates, invoices, and charters. Records relating to personal and family matters include powers of attorney, wills, estate inventories, marriage contracts, adoptions, complaints, protests, and counter protests. Documentation of other civil and criminal matters appears in declarations, affidavits, reports, discharges, stipulations, appointments, assignments of claims, notices of appeal, minutes of interviews, mandamuses, manumissions, like bonds, and bequests.

The register of the provincial secretary originally constituted volumes 1-3 of the New York Historical Manuscripts in the New York State Library. Volume 1 was completely destroyed in the New York State Capitol fire of 1911; however, a partial transcription was not in the building and survived. Volumes 1 and 2 (1638-1647) were created during Willem Kieft's tenure as director-general of New Netherland. Volume 3 (1648-1660) documents a portion of his successor Petrus Stuyvesant's tenure (1647-1664). The original records are in the Dutch language.